Feb 27, 2013

New Steve Earle Video: "Invisible"

From his forthcoming album The Low Highway, here's Steve Earle's new video, "Invisible."

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #65

I've already told you before that me and my boy Big Kenny were the originators and the innovators of hick-hop along with our big black cowboy compadre, Mr. Cowboy Troy. What you may not know, as a white-bread honky from whatever shit town you came to Nashvegas from, is how to write a hick-hop song. Big & Rich were before their time getting crunk son, so I know how to make them Benjies, yo. Get on this new trend and make that bankroll while it's hot, dawg! What you do is to tune in to the urban station for at least an hour a day. Pick up some slang and some swagga for your lyrics. Next, you get yourself a black friend. Maybe you could meet one at the Starbucks and be like "'Sup homey, you wanna chill?" As you converse with your new bro, listen to his or her cadence and how they put phrases together. Ask them about their culture and home life and act interested so you can gain their trust. Maybe even say something like "Hey bru-main, if you was to talk about a girl wearing cut-offs in a pickup truck in a field, how would you say it?" This is a sneaky way to get them to write lyrics for you... just make sure to have the voice recorder going on your phone when you do this research. Next up is actually writing the song. Get yourself some dank ganja and blaze up a spliff. Pour you a glass of Courvoisier and kick back in your full leather recliner with a generic beat track you stole off the internet playing on your iPad and get to laying down 16 bars! It really is that easy. Between the verses, make sure to place a catchy chorus with rearranged lyrics from a Florida-Georgia Line song and BAM. Next thing you know, you'll be the baddest cracka in the gated community! Put some extra 'Ohs' in yo bank account, kid. MAKE IT RAIN ON DEM COUNTRY HOEZ!!!!

*Not actually written by John Rich

Album Review: Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck - Eden

Expert musicianship and a keen ear for melody propel Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck on this epic-sounding collection of bluegrass and jam-band tinged Americana. Eden crackles with energy whether winding its way through "Blackstone Valley," cranking up the horns and banjo on "Inside Joke" or indulging in some tension and release on the lengthy "Parallel Lives" (Seriously, I haven't heard as satisfying a kick in a long time as when the coda drops in on this song).

Think early Wilco with a broader sound or a modernized version of The Band and you've got an idea of Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck's M.O., but they definitely have their own distinct approach and delivery. It's full of vitality and soul. "Modern backwoods music" (as someone labeled them) describes it pretty well.

"Inside Joke" is an early pick for my favorite songs of the year. The ring of an electric banjo and blare of a trumpet(?) alongside biting lyrics about a faltering relationship make this a bittersweet but uplifting gem. "Happy Ending" might sound like a too on-the-nose title for an album closer, but it's a lilting number with an earworm chorus that leaves you with the desire to hit "play" on track one again.

Eden was my introduction to these guys, who've released a whole album with Levon Helm on drums before(!), but it won't be my only experience with the band. It's an album as easy to listen to as it is difficult to take in on just a few listens. Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck's art is an addictive sound, essential to the genre and worthy of your time.


Eden will be released next Tuesday, March 5. You can get your grubby hands on it (and a cool t-shirt) here: http://music.bowthayer.com/

Country eCards: Brantley Gilbert, boobs, Blake Shelton

Feb 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash

OMG Reviews: Jason Aldean - 1994

by Brittany Fant, 15-year-old reviewer

Listen here!

MMYYYY FAVORITTTTTEEEE! Jason is such a good rapper! This song is about the year my parents got married! So cool. I bet they didn't even have awesome country rap songs back then. They were missing out! I'm actually so glad I wasn't even a twinkle in my folks' eyes back then. It was so lame. Their cell phones were like the size of a brick and you couldn't even text on them!!! No internet. And HUNTER HAYES hadn't learned to play guitar yet! What a crappy time to be alive, lol!! But at least this song about that year is so good. All you geezers complaining and saying stuff like "country + rap = crap" need to get a life. All us people who actually buy music on iTunes are voting y'all off the island, lol. Old people, we grew up with awesome bands like Linkin Park and Limp Biscuit so we know good music and we want country to sound young and cool! Jason is kind of old to be rapping, but not as old as Jay-Z so I guess it's okay. At least he's awesome at it. Now, about the song's subject matter. Joe Diffie? I don't know who that is, but his name is fun to say. I Googled him and he had some awful hair!! That's another thing about the old days. They let anybody sing on the radio! They didn't have to be hot or anything. I'm glad that's all changed now!!!! Nowadays, guys care about their hygiene and their abs, thank goodness. I clicked on a couple of Joe Diffie's songs and couldn't get through more than a few seconds. He sings like a hick! I guess it's cool for Jason to get people interested in that guy a little... maybe sell a few mp3's for him (hopefully his record company set it up for him - lol, he's probably too old to know how to use email). Maybe Joe will be able to afford a decent haircut now. At least his name is fun to yell over and over! I love that! Maybe the "Joe Diffie" will take over the Harlem Shake as the cool YouTube dance! I hope Hunter has some rap songs on his new album. He probably has better flow than 2Pac! This is the best time to be alive because music is so awesome. If you don't like "1994," you need to get out your 8-tracks of Waylon Jenkins or something and eat your pistachio pudding. It's never going back the way you want it, gramps.

5 Heart Hands!

Album Review: The Marshall Pass - Phantom Train

The Marshall Pass' Phantom Train is a melancholy remembrance of a lost friend and bandmate. This singular focus wouldn't make for the best introduction to most groups/artists, but Duncan Arsenault and Craig Rawding impart so much passion-filtered talent on this project that it's a must-hear.

As cathartic as this set of songs must have been for The Marshall Pass to create and record, Phantom Train is no simple exhaling of sorrows. It's a work of great artistry and soul, as informed by loss as it is song-craft. The dark color palette used for the portrait never bleeds to a flat gray.

Phantom Train recalls the lush textures of early Sun Kil Moon and the bluesy vocals of the Allman Brothers. Pass' sound is a warm mix of folk, rock and blues with an authentic twang that would make one think these guys hail from central Georgia, rather than Massachusetts. Everything about the EP sounds organic and unforced.

My favorite cut is "Default Line," which is a better "leave your troubles behind and go live on a beach" song than most pop-country singers ever dreamed of. Other strong tracks on Phantom Train are... all of them (here's a lyric video for another stellar tune, "Abilene"). Seven songs left me wanting. Not for depth, just wanting it to keep on going for another 30 minutes or so.

I hope The Marshall Pass isn't a one-off deal. I'm already so invested in their aesthetic and mojo, I'm itching for another release immediately if not sooner. Phantom Train proves them well-equipped to speak beyond the mourning that makes this release such an emotional monument.

Highly recommended.


You can sample and purchase Phantom Train at CD Baby, Amazon,  iTunes or Bandcamp.

Good Parenting Meme

Feb 23, 2013

Saturday Night Music: Jason Isbell and Dawes

Congratulations to Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires!

Alt-country super-couple (ever heard that term before?) Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires are casting their lot with the married life today. Guess who's marryin' 'em off? Todd Snider. I'm serious. Does it get much cooler than that? Congrats you crazy kids!

And now, one together:

From the Archives: Hip-Hop Parody Covers ft. Pitbull, Akon, etc.

FROM JUL 29, 2009


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