Showing posts with label John Moreland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Moreland. Show all posts

Oct 24, 2019

Rocky Horror Picture Show Country Reaction Gifs

When you hear Jason Aldean playing over the speakers before you even walk into a store

New Sturgill Simpson be like...

Why should you buy the concert ticket?

Luke Bryan's dance crew practicing before a show

New John Moreland and American Aquarium albums next year?

When somebody asks me why I listen to so much sad country music

When Janet Weiss is a Kane Brown fan

Explaining Zac Brown's rise and fall

Aug 23, 2019

Hopeful Emergence: A Conversation With Jason Hawk Harris

Photo by Sean Rosenthal
By Kevin Broughton

Jason Hawk Harris hit rock bottom during the writing and recording of his debut full-length albumLove and the Dark. In the last few years, the Houston-born-and-raised, Los Angeles-based musician endured life-altering hardships—illness, death, familial strife, and addiction—yet from these trials, a luxuriant and confident vision of art country emerged.
With an unlikely background, Harris is a singer/guitarist/songwriter who walks his own line, one that touches on Lyle Lovett’s lyrical frankness, John Moreland’s punk cerebralism and Judee Sill’s mysticism and orchestral sensibility. There’s even the literary and sonic audacity of an early Steve Earle, an outlaw unafraid to embrace harmony. Comparisons to Jason Isbell will inevitably follow, and they won’t be hyperbole, either. 
While touring and performing in the indie folk band The Show Ponies,Jason started writing his own songs, intuitively returning to his country roots but incorporating his classical and rock ‘n’ roll performance skills. He released his first solo offering, the Formaldehyde, Tobacco and Tulips EP in 2017 and hit the road.
Meanwhile, his world fell apart: his mother died from complications of alcoholism; his father went bankrupt after being sued by the King of Morocco; his sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and gave birth to a premature son with cerebral palsy; and—subsequently—Jason got sidetracked by his own vices.
This album is his personal narrative on death, struggle, and addiction, of a life deconstructed and reassembled. From the opener, “The Smoke and the Stars,” it’s apparent this album, produced by Andy Freeman, will take you to compelling new places. An ache, a longing, claws its way out of the speakers, the gradual drone blossoming through without rigid genre designs. You can hear the essence of classical music in a long crescendo; you can feel his Houston upbringing in JHH’s soulful and humid inflection; you can sense his Los Angeles home in the sharp and risky dynamics. You can also hear the joy and exquisite desperation when he swings for the fences, belting “Maybe I was just waiting for you, to get through the grapevine, tear down that door, and let me live in those green eyes of yours.”

Harris has composed one of the best country albums of the year and helped Bloodshot continue its hot streak of debut records from its stable of the finest talents in the genre. 

A master’s degree in music was at one time a viable option for you. Though you ended up not going that route, I’m curious about what formal or classical music education you’ve had. 

Yeah, I have a bachelor’s degree – from a small, liberal arts college in Southern California called Biola University -- in music composition with an emphasis in voice. That’s the level I stopped at. I applied and was wait-listed for the master’s program at UCLA, but I just decided I didn’t want to go that route. 

Do you play more than guitar on this album? 

Uh, let’s see…I played some percussion; I played most of the guitars, though there were a few of those parts I didn’t play. I played somepiano, but for the most part, anything that wasn’t guitar…I wanted killer players on this record and had them in studio. So the piano and percussion stuff I did was after the fact and just to fill in space. 

A couple of the songs have a classical or orchestral feel to them, particularly the first and last cuts.  Can you describe how you and (producer) Andy Freeman went about arranging and producing this album? You obviously had some really good players; how much of this was done live?

As far as the arranging goes, I’m the most anal about that sort of stuff. So usually when I go in the studio I have a really good idea what I want to do. And I’ll throw it to Andy, and he’ll be like the fine-toothed comb; he’ll say, “Well, I like this, but this part needs to shine a little bit more,” you know? Andy is really good at unlocking the creativity in the people he’s producing. And sometimes he’ll just let me go nuts, like I did at the end of “Grandfather,” and bring out all the classical chops and orchestral training. 

A lot of the album was recorded live. Even the base tracks for “Grandfather were recorded live; obviously the strings and the percussion and xylophone were not. “I’m Afraid” is one whole, live take. 

Speaking of the opening song: I believe a dream about being in a room full of snakes inspired “The Smoke and the Stars.” Someone with green eyes comes to your rescue, but by then the snakes are a metaphor for something else, aren’t they?

Mmm? I don’t know. Maybe. My thing is when I’m writing like that, I’m not just writing metaphors. And I don’t like metaphors that have to work too hard. So I’m just writing as if the subject is real. 


You’ve not made a secret of the fact that you struggled with substance abuse during the making of this album. If you don’t mind elaborating, which were your poisons of choice, and what are your physical and spiritual states as you approach your release date? 

I’ll just say this. I’m physically and spiritually more healthy than I’ve ever been. It’s something that I’m trying…trying not to think of as something that defines me, even knowing full well that it has an effect on me. I’m not sure I’m ready to talk about drug of choice or low points or anything like that just yet. Maybe for the next record

“Giving In” is as positively an upbeat song about an addict’s relapse I can imagine, with imagery of a man’s using his wife’s wages when he goes out to fix. What went into writing this song?

Yeah. Not all of my songs are completely autobiographical. Most of them have a lot of me in them, though. “Giving In” is a character that’s kind of based on my mother and me. My mother was an alcoholic and an addict, and she was someone – and I’ve been around a lot of addicts in my life – who wanted to stop. She wanted to be sober more than any addict I’ve ever met. And she was just powerless to do so. 

So it’s a combination of her journey and her struggles, and mine. 

The line “I wish that where I am was where I’ve been” can be interpreted at least a couple of ways. Is someone looking ahead or backwards?

The way I was thinking about it was, “I wish that where I am now,” which is not sober and completely idiotic and drunk – I wish that was something I could look back on and say, “Oh man, remember when I used to get so f*cking drunk and I was a mess? That was so dumb.” 

You’ve experienced a horrific level of family tragedy in a short time. It seems hackneyed to ask if the creative process was therapeutic, but there does seem to be a hopeful air to an album filled with really sad vignettes. Do you feel like making it helped you emerge in a better place? 

Yeah, I think so. Hope is something that – even in the darkest times of the past five, six, seven years when the aforementioned tragedies took place – I never felt hopeless. It’s…I do believe in an afterlife and I believe that we’re all going there. And that gives me a lot of hope, even when I see the worst that life has to offer. Because I don’t think that it’s the end. And it’s okay if other people don’t believe that, but that happens to be where I fall on the spectrum of belief. 

I kind of got that feeling, especially listening to the last song, which I’ll ask you about now. “Grandfather” is such a warm, big sweeping song. It’s literally otherworldly; I’m just not quitesure of the context. Did you have a near-death experience and see your granddad? The song has a church feel to it; is this how you envision Heaven? Or something else altogether? 

I think I’d like to keep it open for people, because I wanted it to be – well, I wanted it to have an opiate feel, which is why I’m so vague about where I am in the first verse. And I think that’s important to the song’s ethos – that it has an air of mystery and the unknown. I think hope is the embrace of the unknown; it’s not something desperate and awful. 


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Love & the Dark is available today on BandcampAmazon,iTunes, Spotify, etc.

Apr 29, 2019

Album Review / Caroline Spence / Mint Condition

By Matthew Martin

I remember the first time I heard Caroline Spence.  She was opening for John Moreland at Jammin' Java in Vienna, VA.  I was expecting to be blown away by Moreland, but was yet again extremely happy I got there for the opener.  Caroline Spence opened and completely blew me away.  I left feeling gut-punched, not only by Moreland, but by Spence.  She sang incredible songs with a wonderful, strong voice.

On Spence's latest album, Mint Condition, she continues her strong streak of albums.  There are songs for every mood and occasion, but one thing remains constant; Spence's perfect songwriting ability.  The production on the album is also great.  It allows Spence's voice and lyrics to be the star of the show.  There isn't much flair in terms of added instruments or needless solos.  Sure, they're there, but they add flavor rather than a distraction.

As for the songs themselves, I think these are some of Spence's greatest.  She deals with trying to get out of town to turn your life around ("Angels or Los Angeles").  Or, she sings about the insecurity that comes with relationships and growing up ("Who Are You" and "Song About A City").  My favorite song on the album, "Sit Here and Love Me,” is at once crushing and beautiful.  This perfect song about dealing with depression and the need to just have a loving ear and it caught my attention immediately; I continue to go back to it more and more.  Sometimes the solution to any problem is to just love and be loved.  It's beautiful and I hope if nothing else, you listen to this song intently.


Spence can also write a damn good, clever line with the best of em.  On the great "Who's Gonna Make My Mistakes" Spence muses, "Talking to this man is like looking at an ashtray, something was there but there ain't much left..."  Lines like that are strewn throughout the album here and there.  You gotta pay attention and with Spence's voice, that isn't hard to do.  She demands attention.  She deserves your attention.  Come for the voice, stay for the songwriting.

The album finishes with the title track, "Mint Condition."  This song is a great representation of all that is Caroline Spence.  At once beautiful, clever, and graceful, the song is a perfect way to end the album.  Spence can write the hell out of a love song.

I think Spence is one of the songwriters we don't hear nearly enough about.  She consistently puts out great albums and this album is no different.  Go buy it.  You won't be disappointed.  Go see her when she comes near your town.  She's worth every damn cent.  I know I can't wait til she comes to D.C. so I can hear these brand new songs live.

—————

Mint Condition is available Friday.


Sep 20, 2018

Mr. Rogers Country Reaction Gifs


When you just got off Willie's bus

If you think country music evolved into whatever Thomas Rhett is, you're a:

Saturday night and the moon is out
I'm gonna head on over to the Twist & Shout

The entire crowd at a Parmalee concert

This train is bound for glory, this train...

 If you're here for the memes and gifs and reviews and tolerate the wrestling humor...

Dancing to a mainstream country song like...

When your friend comes through with some John Moreland tickets

And finally, here's wishing all Kane Brown fans a wonderful day in the neighborhood!











Dec 27, 2017

Trailer's Top 40 Albums of 2017


We'll be posting a few individual contributor's "Best of 2017" lists this week. 
Not all though - don't want anybody finding an error in my tally.... it's already official
Anyway, here's my top 40 (only 20 counted toward FTM Top 20).


1. Tyler Childers - Purgatory

2. Turnpike Troubadours - A Long Way From Your Heart
3. Shinyribs - I Got Your Medicine
4. Lillie Mae - Forever and Then Some
5. Gregg Allman - Southern Blood
6. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
7. John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
8. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sessions
9. The Steel Woods - Straw in the Wind
10. Vagabon - Infinite Worlds
11. Colter Wall - s/t
12. Daddy Issues - Deep Dream
13. Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile to the Surface
14. Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 2
15. Drew Kennedy - At Home in the Big Lonesome
16. Steve Earle - So You Wannabe An Outlaw
17. Travis Meadows - First Cigarette
18. Kate Rhudy - Rock n' Roll Ain't For Me
19. Zephaniah OHora and the 18 Wheelers - This Highway
20. Lee Ann Womack - The Lonely, The Lonesome, and The Gone
21. Dori Freeman - Letters Never Read
22. Jason Eady - s/t
23. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - Youth Detention
24. JD McPherson - Undivided Heart & Soul
25. Hellbound Glory - Pinball!
26. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives - Way Out West
27. Sunny Sweeney - Trophy
28. Midland - On the Rocks
29. Parker McCollum - Probably Wrong
30. Greta Van Fleet - From the Fires
31. Chris Stapleton: From A Room: Volume 1
32. Valerie June - The Order of Time
33. John Baumann - Proving Grounds
34. Big KRIT - 4eva is a Mighty Long Time
35. Nicole Atkins - Goodnight Rhonda Lee
36. Kendrick Lamar - Damn.
37. Dalton Domino - Corners
38. Natalie Hemby - Puxico
39. Margo Price - All American Made
40. Pallbearer - Heartless

Oct 4, 2017

Trailer's Top 20 Albums of 2017: 3/4 Report

Usual disclaimer: This is just my top 20. The final list will be compiled from a staff vote. ~Trailer


1. Tyler Childers - Purgatory

2. Shinyribs - I Got Your Medicine

3. Lillie Mae - Forever and Then Some

4. Gregg Allman - Southern Blood

5. The War on Drugs - A Deeper Understanding

6. John Moreland - Big Bad Luv

7. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sessions

8. The Steel Woods - Straw in the Wind

9. Vagabon - Infinite Worlds

10. The Texas Gentlemen - TX Jelly

11. Colter Wall - s/t

12. Daddy Issues - Deep Dream

13. Manchester Orchestra - A Black Mile to the Surface

14. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - Youth Detention

15. Steve Earle - So You Wannabe An Outlaw

16. Zephaniah OHora and the 18 Wheelers - This Highway

17. Jason Eady - s/t

18. Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1

19. Queens of the Stone Age - Villains


20. Kate Rhudy - Rock n' Roll Ain't For Me

Jun 27, 2017

Favorite Albums of 2017: Mid-Year Report

This is Trailer's list of favorite albums. The year-end list will look a lot different because all 
Farce the Music's contributors will vote on it, there will be actual write-ups of the top albums, and besides... there are 6 more months in the year.  There's an Americana/Country-only list at the bottom.


 


And here's a Top 20 list for Americana & Country only:
1. Shinyribs - I Got Your Medicine
2. The Steel Woods - Straw in the Wind
3. John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
4. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - The Nashville Sessions
5. Steve Earle - So You Wannabe An Outlaw
6. Jason Eady - s/t
7. Chris Stapleton - From A Room
8. Lillie Mae - Forever and Then Some
9. Zephaniah OHora and the 18 Wheelers - This Highway
10. Colter Wall - s/t
11. Sunny Sweeney - Trophy
12. Dalton Domino - Corners
13. Valerie June - The Order of Time
14. Son Volt - Notes of Blue
15. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives - Way Out West
16. Robyn Ludwick - This Tall to Ride
17. Strand of Oaks - Hard Love
18. The Kernal - Light Country
19. Nikki Lane - Highway Queen
20. Angaleena Presley - Wrangled

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