Showing posts with label Lucinda Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucinda Williams. Show all posts

Apr 2, 2020

Breaking Down Steve Earle's Discography (Pre-Woke)

By Kevin Broughton

They say Gram Parsons was the Godfather of alt country, and I believe them. Evidence abounds. If that’s the case, Steve Earle was the Michael to Parsons’ Vito. I don’t know – though I doubt it – that they ever met. If they had, I’m sure Steve would have told us. Funny thing: Neither knew they were part of a musical movement. At least Steve didn’t in 1986, when Guitar Town came out, and I was a sophomore in college and about to ship out for Army basic training. (I have Auburn University’s WEGL to thank for even knowing who he was at the time.)

It was a record that transformed my musical life. Suddenly it was okay -- cool, even --  for a kid raised on rock ‘n’ roll to dig country music. He was part of the “new traditionalist” movement that included Randy Travis and Dwight Yoakam. But there was something extra-edgy about this guy. A few years later I’d learn to play guitar, inspired by the songs on Guitar Town and Exit 0. I’d write to him in prison, after I’d wondered, pre-Internet, where the hell he’d gone.

There was always a populist, working-class ethos to his music. But it stayed mostly below the surface, never predominating his work. Well, for a while, anyway. His dad was an air traffic controller who got bounced when Ronaldus Maximus fired him and the rest of his brethren in the PATCO strike of 1981. I don’t think Steve ever got over that. Politics sprinkled his musical world for a while, but eventually covered it. Early on, he was clever and nuanced about it; later, he decided you needed to be punched in the mouth with his Che Guevara chic. Steve Earle, you see, was “woke” before “woke” was a thing…you little savage capitalists.

He had his (then) pet projects. Death penalty bad! Land mines bad! I guess we can let Steve in on the bad news – not that he doesn’t know.

Quadruple murderers can still get the needle.

American soldiers in the Second Infantry Division just south of the 38th Parallel in Free Korea can still count on defensive land mines to help stave off Kim Jong Un’s communist hordes, at least until the cavalry can arrive.

Western Civilization can be thankful that Steve Earle failed in his woke crusades to abolish the death penalty and land mines.

There’s a new pet project, you know. You didn’t? You didn’t know Steve Earle’s a playwright? Yeah! And he doesn’t hate Trump supporters anymore. (I’m not one, so I don’t really care, but yeah.) He talked all about how he doesn’t loathe Republicans anymore. I’m sure it’s not because he wants people to SPEND THEIR CAPITALIST DOLLARS to buy records or go see his play or anything. It’s all about the West Virginia miners. Not money. Money is evil, like capitalism.

But that’s not why we’re here.

We’re here to break down the albums of Steve Earle. Well, the ones of his pre-WOKE era, anyway. And by “pre-woke,” we mean every album up to the point he became so overcome with hatred for America that he felt compelled to write an ode to the American Taliban, John Walker Lindh. Nah. We stop just before the album Jerusalem.

I say “we.”

I mean “I.”

I quit listening, Steve, when you glorified Lindh. My fellow Auburn alum, Mike Spann, was the wrong American to die that day in Balkh Province in November of 2001.  It should have been the California POS you wrote your song about.

Oh, wait. I’m getting angry and political, aren’t I? Sort of like you and all your records after 9/11? Mike Spann’s buried in Arlington. Think you’ll ever write a song about him? Here’s a picture.

Sorry. Let’s look at the Steve Earle albums before he got so angry and political, shall we?

Okay, let’s break them down…

One more thing, sorry. Hey, Steve: I’m sure your reaching out to Trump voters has nothing to do with making money for your stupid effing play that trashes the coal industry that employs millions of people, right? Because that would make you a capitalist…and a hypocrite.

Okay, I promise. I’m done.

We’ll look at them in chronological order, highlighting the great songs, then do a rating, which will be purely subjective. Sound good? Okay.

The pre-prison albums

Guitar Town, 1986

The one that started it all. The title cut is so good and attention-grabbing. It was just SO different for the time. Kathy Mattea and Randy Travis and Michael Martin Murphy were pulling country back to its roots, but there was an anti-hero vibe from this guy who’d learned his chops from Guy Clark and Townes. This sad song is the one that hooked me. “Lovers leave and friends will let you down.” I think he might have been singing about heroin.  

Exit 0, 1987

The perfect follow-up record. If you go through the whole (pre-woke) Steve Earle catalog, I challenge you to find two back-to-back albums that pair together more seamlessly. “The keeper at the gate is blind, so you better be prepared to pay.” So much unintentional foreshadowing. “The Rain Came Down” was his answer to Mellencamp’s “Scarecrow,” and it was better. “Six Days on the Road” made it onto  the Planes, Trains and Automobiles soundtrack. “Someday” is a teenage wonder-hit.

Copperhead Road, 1988

At this point, Steve and MCA knew they were headed for a breakup, even as he had his first – and only – crossover hit. He didn’t LOOK like a country singer was supposed to, and he was basically telling Nashville to pound sand. So very many great songs… “Snake Oil” is his song of rage against Reagan, and well done. Maria Mckee of Lone Justice sings with him on the most unlikely Christmas song, “Nothing But a Child.” My favorite? The WW II ode, “Johnny Come Lately,” with the help of The Pogues.

The Hard Way, 1990

Things are really starting to fall apart for him now, though no one really knew – again, pre-Internet. Crack and heroin are in control of Steve’s life right now. There are two or three decent songs on this one. “Billy Austin” is the best, but it’s a bedwetting, anti-death penalty, pro-murderer ballad.  We’re posting the other good one:

Shut Up And Die Like An Aviator (Live), 1991

If we’re to believe the storyline of “Johnny Come Lately,” we have to believe the title of this album is from a saying of Steve’s granddaddy. He’s pretty out of his gourd during this one. But this cover got me interested in the Stones’ (Keith’s, really) country fixation.

The Post-prison albums

“Post-prison,” you say?

Yeah. Steve got 11 months, 29 days for a bunch of failure-to-appear violations on crack/heroin offenses. In fact, he did a prison gig at Cold Creek Correctional Facility as part of his community service. MTV filmed it, while he was working out some new material. This was in 1996. But first there was…

Train A Comin’, 1995

A truly unplugged album, and a new beginning. It features a Beatles cover (“I’m Lookin’ Through You”), and his first recorded cover with Emmylou, “Nothin’ Without You.” We also got a taste for Steve’s appreciation for history with a couple cuts. “Tom Ames’ Prayer” is an outlaw ballad that makes mention of Arkansas Judge “Hanging” Isaac Parker. But what’s really chilling is his point-of-view tale of a Confederate soldier:

I Feel Alright, 1996

The post-prison triumph and return to form, and maybe the best pre-woke album. “The Unrepentant” is a straight rocker. “Hardcore Troubadour” is the most Steve Earle song ever, and a duet with Lucinda Williams is the unheralded gem of a great record.

El Corazon, 1997

Notable for several collaborations, and Steve’s first foray into bluegrass. Del McCoury and his band (FORESHADOWING ALERT) post up on “I Still Carry You Around.” The Fairfield Four accompany him on “Telephone Road.” Emmy makes a return on the historiography “Taneytown,” another great point-of-view song. “You’d think that they’d never seen a colored boy before.” What a line in a great murder ballad.

This next one’s so good it deserves its own

Separate Heading. Though Still Chronological, The Bluegrass Record:

The Mountain (With The Del McCoury Band), 1999

The thing about bluegrass is, you don’t just dabble in bluegrass. Yet Steve wrote a really good record in the genre. It didn’t hurt that he got a really good band to back him. Steve, being Steve, managed to offend Del not long after by using a bunch of foul language at the bluegrass festivals they played together. Still, what a bunch of keepers on this record. “Carrie Brown” was his vision of an enduring bluegrass hit. It should be.

But just to bookend things, I like the Civil War song, this time from a Yankee’s point of view. Based, incidentally, on a composite character in the Michael Shaara novel The Killer Angels.

“I am Kilrain from the 20th Maine and I fight for Chamberlain. ‘Cause he stood right with us when the Johnnies came like a banshee on the wind.”

There will never be a better couplet written about July 2, 1863. Makes this Johnny weep. It’s that good.

“…now we’re all Americans.”

Transcendental Blues, 2000

As we wrap up our tour of the pre-woke catalog, we see a transition into what might have been: that old/new Steve Earle sound without virtue-signaling pretense. There are a handful of really good songs here. The title cut is great. “Everyone’s In Love With You” is an electric rocking/stalking tune in the tradition of “More Than I Can Do” from I Feel Alright. “The Galway Girl” is a return to a Gaelic thing we’d heard hints of on a bunch of records. “All Of My Life” is a real keeper. Sucks he had to get all preachy after this record.

Maybe he’ll come back, that Steve Earle.

Ranking Them

1. Copperhead Road

2. Guitar Town

3. I Feel Alright

4. Exit 0

5. The Mountain

6. Train A Comin’

7. Transcendental Blues

8. El Corazon

9. Shut Up and Die Like an Aviator

10. The Hard Way

Nov 2, 2018

New Blood: Senora May

by Robert Dean

Seriously, while Texas and Tennessee get the love for being hotbeds of country music, what the hell dances in the water down in Kentucky? 

Senora May is yet another artist who’s redefining what it sounds like to rise up from the bluegrass state and does so with such a charismatic, unique flair. 

On Lainhart, May doesn’t channel the requisite names we’re all used to hearing from everyone’s favorite slice of Appalachia, but instead, May is an impressive mixture that’s a little bit of Lucinda Williams, but a metric ton of John Prine. I’d also be remiss to say given the razor-sharp observations to the record’s lyrics on songs like "California King," I sense a non-linear influence by Kathleen Hannah at some point. 

The songs on Lainhart aren’t straight ahead country bangers, but instead this collection feels like an off-kilter exorcism that’s not as dark as expected down in the bible belt, but instead, feels like a calling back to something missing, a moment in a time, or maybe a feeling that’s imprinted on her bones. 

Being her first record, Lainhart is an impressive effort, with many nods to May’s rural upbringing, and without the cheese, many country singers rely on for some dopey sense of “authenticity” but instead, tracks like “Elusive” or “Gone From The Mountain” feel genuine. 

May’s music doesn’t feel like it was written by a hardened road dog, but instead like we’re getting a sheltered peak behind the pine curtain off into the hollers, which makes it feel like an old ghost. And that's a damn fine way to be. 


Lainhart is available on Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify, etc.

Oct 15, 2018

New Blood: Chelsea Nolan & Dan Conn

by Robert Dean

If you’re looking to fill that emotionally charged void left by waiting for new stuff by Tyler Childers, Chelsea Nolan’s debut e.p. Chelsea is an excellent place to start. On Chelsea, Nolan taps into a slow and steady dive bar tempo that’s the soundtrack down here in my fair city of Austin, Texas. The tunes are in the same vein of Childer’s Purgatory, and I’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t appreciate how Nolan channels an electric mix of Lucinda Williams’ growl, but also some Janis Joplin heartache and howls, too.

“Rock Bottom” doesn’t feel trite, or without its moments of chaos, instead, it’s raw and powerful. The song is country, but it’s got a rock and roll heart. There’s something about eastern Kentucky, these folks have a sense of rhythm that’s different than the rest of the country, the sound is becoming instantly recognizable, and on tracks like “Green Bridges” and “Sugar Holler”, Nolan is almost textbook in how to do the sound correctly. 

Chelsea is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon, etc. 

Dan Conn is another Kentuckian, but unlike Chelsea Nolan, Conn’s sound is a little more subdued, less “Kentucky.” The vibe on his new record, Shine On, Conn’s approach is decidedly less honky-tonk and more bar room bummer. 

If you’re looking for a driving record or something to throw on while you throw a few back, Shine On hits the mark. The standout tracks on the album are “The Pistol”, “Southern Accent”, and “Green Eyed Gal”, all which are 100% pure no bullshit country music, the exact stuff you shove in someone’s face when they ask you about pop country vs. the good stuff; that’s what Dan Conn is for. Give em’ Shine On to suck on.

There are a few clear indicators of artists like Wilco, The Jayhawks, and Tom Petty threaded throughout Shine On, and the more spins I give it, the more it proves to be something that could find its way into your favorite dive bar jukebox. 

I dunno about you, but dive bar jukeboxes are the holy grail of cool, so that’s some pretty good damn company. Dan Conn can write a sad bastard song for the ages.

You can pre-order Shine On (due Nov. 30) here:

Feb 15, 2018

Ruby Boots: The Farce the Music Interview

Photo by Cal Quinn

By Kevin Broughton

The stage name – Ruby Boots – is quite ironic, given the varied and calloused life thus far lived by the gal who thought of it (though she can’t recall exactly why.) On her own by 14, Bex Chilcott has been around. I mean, the world. Several times. As in, learned to play guitar working the high seas of the South Pacific.

Her Bloodshot Records debut, Don’t Talk About It, out last week conjures country sensibilities with an edge: Lucinda Williams meets T Rex, with a dash of – dare we say – Lone Justice. 

We caught up with the brassy, sassy, sexy, saucy Aussie and talked pearling, the (de)merits of the metric system, and checking off a huge bucket list item in the nick of time. And some other stuff, too. 

Americans generally view Australians as fascinating and a little exotic. What really grabbed my attention from your bio is that you were working on a pearling boat at age 19. That sounds both exotic and grueling. Describe that kind of labor.

Well, I guess with any kind of out-of-the-box job, there are really cool perks to it. I was out at sea for two to five weeks at a time, and I was in the sunshine 10 hours a day. It was really beautiful, seeing whales during meal breaks. It really helped my work ethic, but it was literally back-breaking work, pulling up 300 cages a day and cleaning all the oysters. It was in the most beautiful environment, though. 

It’s a complex process, and I suppose we could do the whole interview on pearling (laughs). They have these Japanese technicians who come during harvest and put a plastic bead in the oyster’s tummy. Then they hang in these cages in ocean for two years. And we had to meticulously clean each one. It was a pretty radical thing to do, off the beaten path. But I needed to get out of my hometown.

Give us a thumbnail sketch/timeline of how you wound up in the States, and Nashville particularly.

I ended up hurting my back on the boat – it’s literally back-breaking – but I also ended up learning to play guitar and writing songs while I was out at sea, so I decided to travel around the U.K. and Europe for a couple years. And I came back to Australia and started playing open mics and gigging. That was around 2008, I believe, and I was gigging a lot and ended up developing nodules on my throat because I wasn’t singing the right way.  

So I had to take two years off from singing just to get rid of these nodules on my vocal cords. And after putting my energy into recovering from that, I started gigging and recording, and started to open my eyes to what was out there, and came over to Nashville in 2012. I fell in love with the city immediately; I’d never had that feeling with any other place in the world. And I’ve seen a lot, really: Asia, India, Europe and Australia. And I just kept coming back, because it has this incredible vibe, this small-town feel with all this creative energy that it was living off of. I was coming back a couple times a year.

And then I was awarded a government grant to write my record, so I afforded myself some time in Nashville to get it done, then finished out my last album cycle touring around the country. So in May of 2016, I settled down in Nashville again to write this record. 

This is random, but have you quit thinking in the metric system since you’ve been here? Have you embraced “miles” and “pounds?”

Hell. No! (Laughs) My Siri on my phone is still in kilometers and has an Australian accent!  I’m all about assimilation, but I still need to know where I’m going, how long it’s going to take me to get there, and how far away it is. (Laughs)

Why the stage name, Bex? Going forward will “Ruby Boots” be you & whatever band is behind you at a given time, and how did you come up with the name?

Actually it’s been so long ago, and I’m trying to remember. This came up recently when I was in Australia and on this radio program. It was live-to-air, with an audience, and I was asked about it and I just honestly couldn’t remember; I’ve used other names in the past and have just used this one for the last couple of album cycles. That name’s been with me for a while now and I’ve started to make fans with it in this area. I’ve thought about changing it to something closer to my actual name, but people have grown used to it and can relate to it. 

I do remember that my real surname was not at all stage-worthy, so that was the motivation behind finding an alter-ego name.

The Texas Gentlemen – whose album I’ve worn out since last fall – backed you on this record. How did that introduction come about? 

One of the guys who had played with them a lot who had also played with me – Chase McGillis on bass – has become a very dear friend. And he told me the Gents were passing through Nashville on their way to play the Newport Folk Festival, where they were backing Kris Kristofferson. They were doing a warm up show at the American Legion Hall in Nashville, and Chase rang me about two hours before the show and said, “Do you want to come down and sing “Me and Bobby McGee?”

So, I went down there and sang “Me and Bobby McGee!”


Yeah! So the Gents put on my old record on the bus and listened to it on the way to Newport. And when they were on the way back to Dallas, I was living in Nashville at Nikki Lane’s at the time and they were all there. (Texas Gent and producer) Beau (Bedford) was asking me what I was doing, so I started sending him songs. The rest is kind of history, I guess. 

What about the arrangements and production? Did you go into the studio with a pretty good idea of how you wanted it to sound? How collaborative was it? 

I definitely had set about to move into this record with a fuller electric sound; that was a conscious choice as I was writing the songs. I felt like on my previous tours from other albums that I was missing that extra grit, you know? My punk heart was really missing that.

Beau came out to Nashville and we went through all the songs and talked about them, and what we heard in them. And we set out to honor all the songs, I guess, but still with that electric feel. And we definitely came together chatting about old school records like T Rex, or Tom Petty – whom I’ve just always idolized as my go-to, No. 1 songwriter – and Beau definitely has a lot of the same influences.

But once we got in the studio, all those guys just have such an encyclopedia set between them of such raw musical instincts! The boys are each such great musicians and songwriters; so we did honor the songs, but in a very collective way with such a wealth of everyone’s musicality. 

Several of the songs on this record obviously come from dark places; you left home at 14 for starters, and you named the album “Don’t Talk About It.” Ignoring that title for a moment, I’d like to know where these songs come from, and how cathartic it was to record them. Did you get any kind of closure, or was that something you were even looking for? 

There are some particularly personal elements in the record, and I’m not trying to avoid...(pauses) the listener thinking they’re all songs that I’ve written from a place within myself. But a lot of them were conversational; they started conversations within myself, you know? What was going on in my life at the time, in my friends’ lives…society, and how all of those things spoke to me and came out in songs. 

It’s not a breakup album, it’s not a love album; it’s a life album to me. The introductory track, to me, is a classical example of it. 

It’s that element where…I mean, you can be on the giving end of it or the receiving end of it, but you’ve been in a situation where information is being withheld, and all of a sudden this other person informs you that they have a significant other. And it’s too late to make a moral choice; you’re already locked and loaded in that situation. (Laughs) And I think there’s an element of relate-ability there with the audience. And that’s what I wanted to do with the record and the way listeners digest it.

The great thing about coming from a tumultuous life experience in many ways is that you can always tap into it artistically. It doesn’t leave you – it gets better as time goes by – but it’s always there to tap into. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing as a songwriter. And I think there are elements of strength and vulnerability in this record, with a woman’s voice – a good bit of defiance, but with some fragility too. 

A long-winded answer, but it’s hard to wrap up the voice of my record in a sentence, you know. 

You’ve drawn comparisons to Lucinda Williams and Nikki Lane – the latter sings harmony on one cut. I’m reminded of Kasey Chambers – but that could just be my American brain making subconscious generalities. I’m also reminded of Maria McKee from Lone Justice, but that could be way before your time…

Oh my goodness! I love Lone Justice! You are the FIRST PERSON who’s ever made that comparison! I swear I was just thinking please, please, let him say Lone Justice, let him make a Lone Justice comparison!

Honest, that was the first thing I thought of. I said, “Man, this is Lone Justice.”

No sh*t? That’s awesome, and one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said. I love her! To hear you say that about someone I admire so much is a very big compliment. So thank you very much.

Who are some of your other influences?

Off the top of my head, Lucinda, Ryan Adams and Tom Petty are probably my top three songwriters that I just adore.  Anytime I feel like I’m not getting what I want from what I’m listening to, I can just go back to those three. 

I still can’t believe Tom Petty’s gone. Can’t process it. 

You know, a lot of bad sh*t happened last year, but that was the worst. I feel really lucky because I finally got to see him in Detroit last year, on the 40th Anniversary Tour. I had just fallen in love, and our first out-of-town trip was to Detroit to see Tom Petty, and that was at the top of my bucket list. I’m so glad I acted on a hunch that I might not get a chance to see them again, you know? 

What’s next for Ruby Boots? 

After the record launch on Feb. 9, I’m gonna play some shows in Kansas City, and we’ll hit South By Southwest after that. I’ll do an in-store here in Nashville. But it just means so much – it’s taken a lot of will and might – to have made my way here to America from Australia. It means so much to be able to launch this record here in America after all the tenacity and focus. It’s a really big deal for me, you know? 


Ruby Boots' Don't Talk About It is available on Amazon, iTunes, and all the usual outlets.

Aug 18, 2017

Album Review: Ray Wylie Hubbard - Tell the Devil I'm Gettin' There As Fast As I Can

Ray Wylie Hubbard - Tell the Devil I'm Gettin' There As Fast As I Can

by Trailer

Ray Wylie returns with another heavy dose of what he's damn good for. You know the deal: gritty Texas blues, God, the Devil, philosophy, the particulars of being a musician, and lots of stories. "God Looked Around" is a retelling of the Garden of Eden story through Hubbard's trademark filter of wit and candor. The lead single and title track is as close as you'll get to commercial-sounding in RWH's world - it brings together our fearless leader with Eric Church and Lucinda Williams providing support for this world-weary anthem about life, music, and pondering the long, strange trip. "Old Wolf" is a stomping snapshot of a dive bar and its regulars, with Ray giving us his best Warren Zevon howl. My only complaint here is that there's a sameness of sound in general, and across the first half of the album in particular. A little variance in tempo and melody could have brought the record up a notch or two in my book. Still, anything from Ray is hardly unwelcome and he's consistently consistent - a legend by any standard - and Tell the Devil I'm Gettin' There As Fast As I Can gives you exactly what you need, no more, no less.

The album is available everywhere you might imagine.

Tell The Devil I'm Gettin' There As Fast As I Can by Ray Wylie Hubbard from Ray Wylie Hubbard on Vimeo.

Aug 21, 2014

Song Premiere: Sara Rachele "Strong As My Hands (Delilah)"

FTM doesn't usually post this sort of thing (and we get quite a few requests), but I really like this tune and the sounds of the record it's on. Sara Rachele (pronounced Ra-kelly) is a singer-songwriter in the vein of Lydia Loveless, Lucinda Williams, and Neko Case. There's also an atmospheric, indie quality to her approach a la Mazzy Star. You can read some quotes and her bio below and check out the premiere of her song "Strong As My Hands (Delilah)" right here. It's also available to download for free! I think you'll dig it.

Sara's forthcoming album, Diamond Street, is out September 2

“A must-have album that follows no road map but Rachele’s heart and soul.” - No Depression

"'Bristling with an incisive edge floating aside picturesque melodies courtesy of a voice that has just enough twang to rope you in for an extended visit." - Glide Magazine

“From the moment I heard Sara Rachele’s voice and words I knew I was in the presence of truth. She is a fearless artist with a desire to lyrically explore the nuances of her experiences in, around and against life.” – Melissa Ferrick

"When sound hits tape you get something back that you know is true and honest, listening to Diamond Street there is an undeniable realness and truth in these songs" – Art Decade

Release Date: Sept. 2, 2014
Label: Angrygal Records

Recorded in her hometown of Atlanta, the NYC-based Sara Rachele's debut, Diamond Street, rides out slow and dark as a jet-black 1960s Chrysler New Yorker. The live-to-tape LP—produced by Kristofer Sampson (B-52s, Balkans, Coathangers)—was recorded in just two days, and captures the East Village nightlife of a young songwriter in a timeless, vibrant rock ’n’ roll statement. Diamond Street's sparkling lo-fi charms span the decades, Rachele channeling everything from classic Fleetwood Mac and Petty's Heartbreakers to Lucinda Williams and David Lynch muse Julee Cruise.

On recording with producer Sampson (who plays in New West Records band Ponderosa), Rachele says, "Kris really challenged me on this album. Even though we were working quickly, he had patience with the songs, and   he took the sound to a new place for me without it seeming disingenuous."

The daughter of a baby-boomer painter and Italian/Slovak immigrant, Rachele (pronounced ra-kelly) grew up a studio rat and folk child. Working for free cleaning out the cupboards at famed Atlanta acoustic hotspot Eddie’s Attic, she met countless musicians and writers and fell into bands as a side-player before she even knew how to write a song. While still a teenager, she became backing vocalist and keyboard player for The Love Willows, who promptly signed to Decca/Universal, writing and recording with producer Mike Daly (Whiskeytown, Lana Del Ray, Grace Potter).

Eventually, though, Rachele decided to leave behind The Love Willows' bubblegum pop sound, moved to Boston and enrolled for a time at Berklee College of Music, before dropping out to live in her newly adopted home of New York City. Inspired by its long history of seedy bohemian songwriters and poets, and by the energy of the city itself, Rachele filled up journals with her ramblings and penned ballad after ballad as she roamed the coffeehouses & nightclubs of the East Village, trading innocence for experience. Word spread quickly about her passionate delivery, her honest, unadorned lyrics and her uniquely Southern sound. Along with sidekick and fellow Atlanta expat Charlotte Kemp Muhl (with Sean Lennon, half of Ghost of the Saber Tooth Tiger), Rachele found a home—musical and otherwise—in New York.

"For such a big city, New York can be a pretty small town," Rachele says. "I saw an ex across Houston Street once—he was playing a show I think, everyone always is, you lose track. But I remember running across four lanes of traffic—just seeing him, turning, and running through the East Village. No one ever leaves you in New York. You still have to learn how to know them. It's the continuousness of it all—nothing every really ends. And the cabbies just know to get out of the way… 'cause at any moment some heartbroken woman might run out into the street."

While in New York, she befriended veteran music photographer Perry Julien, who was intrigued by Rachele and shot portraits of her at The Chelsea Hotel, that sacred place of rock lore. Her session with Julien was one of the haunt’s final photo shoots before it closed its doors to guests. Rachele's images from The Chelsea Hotel—once home to Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith & The Sex Pistols—have been featured in SXSE photomag, Creative Loafing, and art galleries up and down the East Coast. She and Julien’s collaborations were also published in Julien’s book Secrets (2013), and forthcoming Chelsea Hotel photo book Guests. Rachele is a photographer herself, her work having appeared in Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, Creative Loafing and Stereogum.

In addition to producer Sampson, Rachele's new debut Diamond Street features the musical contributions of budding folk hound J. Thomas Hall (New West imprint Normaltown Records) as well as a cast of Atlanta-based heavy hitters including Lightnin’ Ray Jackson (Washed Out, Gringo Star), Spencer Pope (Ocha La Rocha), Spencer Garn (Ruby Velle & the Soulphonics) and Snowden's Chandler Rentz. Diamond Street represents the gorgeous clash of Rachele's folk-centric upbringing and her beat rock & roll adventures in New York City. With five years of stories under her belt, she has created a moody musical pulp, resounding with smoky memories of ambling city nights.

"I think the strangeness of my work is what makes people get it," Rachele says. "We all have these stories, but where I grew up, we were always throwing furniture around the house, emotionally. Like a lot of people, I got intensified in New York, so I just started writing—to keep sane."

Aug 14, 2013

If Dallas Davidson Had Written These Americana Classics

If Dallas Davidson Had Written________

Steve Earle - Copperhead Road

Well my name's Brantley Gallimore
Standin' in the line at the grocery store
The only fake ID we've got is mine
So I'm buying' five jars of Kroger Moonshine

Lyle Lovett - If I Had a Boat
If I had a boat
I'd fill it up with hotties
And if I had a jet ski
I'd ride around my boat
And we could party all night
Shake it for me, hotties
Me upon my jet ski round my boat

Ryan Adams - Come Pick Me Up
I wish I could
Come pick you up
In my truck
Buzz you up
Crank Nickelback
See all my friends
They're all full of beer
There's no lines in your tan
Let's skinny-dip
I wish you would

Lucinda Williams - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Chillin' in a pasture outside of Macon
Jay-Z is rappin' on the radio
Smell of bonfire, dip and Jager
Truck wheels on a gravel road

Won't you rock my world little country girl
And ride with me out of town
Check out these sweet deer tracks I got at the tattoo parlor
And then pull your cut-off jeans on down

Dec 30, 2011

Top 10 Albums of 2011 - Rev. Robert Earl Reed's Ten

FTM pal and Mixtape participant (you can still get it through Monday! and get his album Carlene as a free bonus!) Robert Earl Reed gives us his top 10 albums of the year.

Reverend Robert Earl Reed's Top 10 Albums of 2011

“Inner Planetary Honky Tonk” of the first degree.

REAL! Southern Rawk from the Ozarks

North Mississippi Hill Country Influenced Badassness

Awesome story telling about an awesome story teller

Pure Powerful XXX Music 

We are watching the making of a true American Songwriting Legend with every note

A Classic Beauty of Voice

Just plain Ole Bad Ass Music

An under heard, under appreciated, Mississippi Story Teller of Monumental Proportion (think Mark Twain)

Real Songs, Real Artists 

Here's a video from Powder Mill, the #2 finisher on the Rev's list:

Larry Lee would not be happy.


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