Showing posts with label Margo Price. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Margo Price. Show all posts

Mar 13, 2019

Country Walk-Up Songs 2019


College baseball has started and MLB is on the way. Go Cubs! 
As we did in 2013 & 2017, FTM ponders what songs country singers 
should use as their perfect "walk up" music if they were baseball players.
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Dustin Lynch


Mitchell Tenpenny

David Allan Coe

Sturgill Simpson

Kane Brown

Margo Price

Jordan Davis

Russell Dickerson

FGL

Rich O'Toole

Jason Aldean



Dec 10, 2018

New Blood: Nichole Wagner

By Robert Dean

A few nights ago, I stumbled into a Tom Waits night at one of our local haunts, The Volstead, down here in lovely Austin, Texas. The night as a whole was entertaining; the Volstead has a creepy lounge vibe, so the context was perfect. And for a free show, the artists who played a few songs impressed me. They all worked the Waits-ian thing of being a little oddball with their delivery, working the room for the jokes and banter lost somewhere in the shadows or cobwebs. 

If any cities can pull off a Tom Waits night, Austin is definitely on the short list. 

One of those singers that I immediately enjoyed was Nichole Wagner. After belting out two Tom Waits tunes with a country twang, I wanted to hear what her original music sounded like. 

On Wagner’s latest record And The Sky Caught Fire, the excitement for her music is validated. The country twang is in full effect, offering a little slice of Kacey Musgraves older songs, mixed with a little bit of The Civil Wars concerning vocal approach. 

And The Sky Caught Fire feels very “Austin” with its production sensibilities, but also has a slight poppy feel to it, as well. While I sincerely enjoy Wagner’s vocals and songwriting ability, I was a little underwhelmed with the backing band. Something about “The Rules of Baseball” and “Let Me Know” has a darkness that’s not on front street, but permeates the air. Because of that internal expectation, I’d like to hear what Wagner could do with a band who was sonically closer to Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit or whoever is backing Margo Price. 

Music nerd gripes aside, And The Sky Caught Fire is a solid country/Americana record. The production is bright, and the craftsmanship is there. If you’re looking for something that you could throw on while cooking dinner, this has that sensibility, which having a few good dinner records is never a bad thing. For a first record, this is a fine place to start kicking. At a slim 35 minutes, Wagner packs in a lot of punch in just a short amount of time. 


If you’re down here in Texas, I’d suggest giving Nichole Wagner a shot out in the clubs. She handled those Tom Waits songs with velvet gloves and made them her own, which was transfixing. I’m definitely going to catch her live because I have a suspicion she’s capable of throwing fire when it’s her songs we’re listening to. 

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And the Sky Caught Fire is available on Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify, etc. 



Jul 27, 2018

Chasing the Sky: A Conversation With Kasey Anderson



By Kevin Broughton

Almost two years ago, Kasey Anderson opened up in depth here about his spiraling descent from artist-on-the-cusp to grifting, locked-up addict. He was then not quite a year post-prison. And while there was still a hint of an artist’s confidence about him, it was tempered by the gun-shyness you’d expect of a guy fresh from the halfway house and with a long list of pissed-off victims, many of them former friends.

Little did he know that within a couple of months he’d begin the long, cathartic and ad hoc process of recording a comeback album. In fact, he really had no clue what would come of the sessions, done virtually pro bono by a collection of generous friends and musical colleagues from the Portland indie scene.

Anderson’s voice on the telephone is stronger today. He sounds healthier, no doubt buoyed by the album-making process that was critical to his ongoing restoration as a man. The humility is still there, no doubt, but the knowledge that he’s made a really solid rock ‘n’ roll record has put a spring in his step. From A White Hotel, released today on emerging label Julian Records, is poignant, introspective and sprinkled with Anderson’s trademark irony, starting with the title, a reference to his drab lodgings for more than two years. Oh, and his name isn’t on it.

We caught up with Anderson with just a few days to go before his nuptials, and talked redemption, recovery, the virtues of not being preachy, and the inevitable Steve Earle comparisons. And the whole, stupid “outlaw country” thing.

I’m curious about the way your band is billed. I was partial to the name “Kasey Anderson and The Honkies.”  “Hawks and Doves” is the name of an underrated Neil Young album & song; why the switch? Were you worried about the local Portland anarchist community torching your pad to protest your white privilege? Sorry, I know it’s low-hanging fruit…

Ha! No. First, I decided to do it under a band name because of the way the record came together. I had written all the lyrics and had the structure of the songs, but the instrumentation came together in such a collaborative way that it felt disingenuous just to put my name on it. And The Honkies, I didn’t want to go back to that because all those guys were such strong personalities in their own right, and I just kinda wanted to leave it there with those guys because I have such fond memories of that band.

And I love that Neil Young record. The phrase “hawks and doves” is a political and military term. It seemed pretty appropriate for what’s going on now. Plus, it just sounds cool.

The first time I heard that song was on Scott Miller & The Commonwealth’s live album…

Yeah, yeah! From The V Roys!

And since it’s not “Kasey and the Hawks and Doves,” just the band name, any concern that nobody will know it’s you?

I don’t think it’s a horrible thing for me to make a clean break with the work that I did and the life that I led as a solo artist. It wasn’t a calculated move to do that; maybe it’s an added benefit? And I think that the way it’s being marketed through the press, it’s pretty clear that it’s a band I’m involved in.

This is a collection of a dozen pretty dang good songs. How long have they been percolating? Did some of these words get put to paper while you were locked up?

Yeah, about half of them were written while I was locked up, during my second year in prison. “Every Once in a While,” for instance, is about my first cellmate. That’s his story much more than mine. The other five or six songs happened around after the election, in late 2016. It took us a long time to make the record because of the way we went about it.

Tell me about this band, and how you got the record made; I imagine raising funds to get an album done might have been challenging for someone in your position.

The band is Jordan Richter (guitars,) Ben Landsverk (bass, keys, viola, background vocals) and Jesse Moffat (drums, percussion). Other folks who played are Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Kurt Bloch, Ralph Carney, Kay Hanley and Dave Jorgensen.

Jordan engineered it and owns a recording studio in town. And I think right after you and talked last time, some folks reached out and asked if I’d like to contribute a track for a benefit record they were involved in. I told Jordan, “Hey, I’d really like to do this, but I don’t have money to pay for studio time or to pay session players.” And he said, “Are you sure you want to do a benefit record?” (Laughs)

…I wasn’t gonna say anything. It was a real thing, though, right?

(Laughs) Yeah, it was a real thing. It was to help this woman named Jennifer Holmes – who has since passed away – with her cancer treatments. So once I proved to him that it was a real thing, he said he’d get some people together. We covered this song called “Wise Blood” by the band Tender Mercies.  At the end of the session Jordan said, “Man, if you ever want to just come in the studio and roll tape, everybody gets your situation and knows that you don’t have a bunch of money to throw into making a record. There are people willing to play your songs for fun and just see where it goes.”

And that’s what we did. Jordan would text a group of us that said, “I have this day where the studio’s not in use, and you don’t have to pay me for the time.” So it took us more than a year, because we’d do a day here and there, and everybody would go back to their lives. So that’s how the record got made, and it was really generous of him to do that.

And then I sent [the album] to several of my friends and said, “I really don’t know what to do with this; I can’t put it out.” I have a friend named Nathan Earle here in Portland who’s in a band called The Get Ahead, and he told me about this new label, Julian Records. “They seem to be looking for bands,” he said. “Why don’t you send it to them?” I had planned to just try and put it out digitally, but the Julian Records folks were into it, and took it from there.

That’s certainly fortuitous.

It’s very fortuitous, and the only way it was going to come out physically. I mean it’s not really cost-prohibitive to get an album out digitally. But this was very generous. Everybody seemed to think the songs were cool, and were like, “Don’t worry about it right now, let’s just see what happens.”

When last we spoke, we touched on your being medicated for bipolar disorder, and how that can sometimes stifle creativity in artists of all stripes. There’s a line in “Lithium Blues” that says, “You took the words right out of my mouth.” Is there a balance you find yourself having to strike between mental health and creativity?

Yeah, for sure. “Lithium Blues” might have been the first thing I wrote in prison that I was really happy with. I had to go back and figure out, okay, there’s an element of magic to creativity, but there’s a much bigger element of math to it. And I know how to make a song so that the pieces fit together. If I can trust myself enough to do that, the rest will come along in time. That’s kind of what that song is about.  We talked about this a little bit before, but I had almost resigned myself that [playing music professionally] was behind me, that maybe I could do some shows for fun from time to time. But over the course of making this record it became clear to me that I still know how to make a song work. Whether this is a thing I get to do on a larger scale remains to be seen, but I was able to prove to myself that I can still put a good song together, even when I’m not up for five straight days.  

An article in Glide mentioned that you’re training to be an addiction counselor.  Is there some sense of duty there? Have you become more zealous about “the program” and living clean? Maybe a little of both?

It’s a little of both. I have certainly become more zealous about making sure that people who deal with mental health and/or addiction issues – especially younger people – have someone they can talk to without feeling judged or dictated to.

The name of your band, as you mentioned, has political overtones, and there are some references to current events on the album. But you didn’t lose your mind and start bashing people over the head with your opinions, like so many artists have done since 2016. Why do so many folks make everything about politics?

When I wrote these songs, one of the things I tried really hard to do was invite people into a conversation rather than dictate to them how they should feel about any given thing.

Thank you.

I really feel that’s a far more effective way to engage an audience, if you want to have that conversation. I have never responded to anybody – even when I agree wholeheartedly with what they have to say – addressing whatever they imagine their audience to be, by dictating what their thoughts or beliefs should be. That just doesn’t work for me, and when I wrote these songs I tried really hard to stay away from that. I wanted to ground it in narrative and open-ended conversation.

Yeah. It’s there, but it’s not preachy, and it’s open to interpretation. And believe you me it’s refreshing. Because I didn’t vote for the sumbitch, but I’ve had about a bellyful of being preached to by guys whose music I otherwise love.

Switching gears, redemption is certainly a theme running through From a White Hotel. How cathartic was this whole process, and where are you on the whole making-amends thing that started when you got out of the joint?

Well, in terms of the process being restorative, the making of the record – playing music with other people, being able to work on songs – was really, really healthy.  And it was good to do it in a way that I didn’t have to feel like my life depended on whether people liked these songs. Obviously I wouldn’t have put the record out if I didn’t want people to hear the songs, but it’s not going to ruin my life if there’s a deafening thud when it’s released. I’m still gonna be married to this wonderful woman, I’m still gonna be helping people who struggle with mental health and addiction issues. At the end of the day, the act of making a record was rewarding in and of itself.

The amends thing? Well…the second you say you’re humble, you’re not.

Ha! I guess that’s true.

(Laughs) Yeah. I’ll just say I’m really proud of the work that I’ve done. I think I’m living out amends to people to whom I can’t make direct amends. I’ve worked really hard at doing a good job of that.

By the time this article runs you’ll have been married for about a week. Was Caitlin a part of your life before you went away? How big a part of your road back to normalcy has she been?  

She was a part of my life. She wasn’t my girlfriend at that time, but she was part of a close group of friends. My girlfriend at the time was named Tracey, and she called Caitlin that night and said, “You’re not gonna believe this, but he’s gone. He’s going to prison, so can you come get his stuff out of my apartment?” So Caitlin went and got all of my stuff and took it to Goodwill in East Los Angeles. A lot of us had drastic changes in our lives around that time but we all stayed in touch for the most part. And Cait and I stayed in touch while I was locked up, and she’s been so supportive. She was never judgmental. It’s been one of the most positive things in my life – if not the most positive – to have that person with me every step of the way.

On the title cut you say, “I ain’t no kind of outlaw, and I never claimed to be.” The wit and irony are strong in you, Kasey Anderson.

(Laughs) Well, you know, that’s true. I never tried to market any of the records we ever made as any sort of “outlaw country” thing…

Oh, wait! Gosh, see, there’s so much irony I missed the irony. I was thinking in the literal sense, in that you’ve done time and technically are an outlaw.

(Laughs) I technically am an outlaw, and that’s kind of the point I wanted to make. It’s not all those artists’ fault that they’re being marketed and trumpeted that way. But a lot of times I’ll read an article about some “outlaw country” artist and think, “Man, I’ve actually been an outlaw and it sucks!”

You know, smoking weed doesn’t make someone an outlaw. My mom’s 65 and she’ll smoke weed and watch Netflix. That doesn’t make someone a badass. Figure out what you mean by “outlaw.”

Speaking of outlaws: Everybody’s favorite badass, Steve Earle, gets a nod on “Clothes Off My Back,” right down to the title of his 1996 post-prison album.  I can understand why you could maybe not resist a tip of the ol’ driver’s cap; it’s just too perfect. But aren’t you afraid he might get a big head over it?

Um…no, I’m not. Because I think Steve knows how good he is. He’s far enough along in his career that he knows he’s revered by people who write songs.

Very diplomatic, by the way.

(Laughs) But the point of that song…Steve’s been sober for a long time now, and he’s done a really good job of living his life according to that. And so it’s an acknowledgement that I’m not anywhere near where this guy is as a songwriter, and certainly not in my recovery. But I’m certainly a lot better than I was five years ago.

Yeah. I was really hoping you’d rise to the bait there.

(Laughs) I can’t.

I know.

Also, just to clarify one comment: my issue with “Outlaw Country” isn’t with any of the artists, it’s with the folks who use it as an easy/“cool” way to market and categorize artists. I don’t know too many artists who are actively seeking that label. I know Sturgill and Aaron Lee Tasjan for sure have poked fun at it in the past. That kind of marketing and categorization, to me, draw attention away from how great artists like Sturgill and Margo Price and Elizabeth Cook and those folks are individually, and makes it into this one homogenous category. It’s counterproductive. Their work is great, so let it stand on its own.



Newlywed Kasey Anderson is on tour. Check dates here.

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From a White Hotel is available everywhere today, including Kasey's site.


Jun 12, 2018

Anthony Bourdain Was My Hero and Now He's Gone


by Robert Dean

I always thought I’d meet Anthony Bourdain. I was convinced that as my career evolved, we’d cross paths. I’d get to be one of those writers he loved, we 'd sit there, sucking down Lone Star longnecks in a roadside diner somewhere in west Texas or we’d be on an adventure down in Melbourne talking about why we loved the Ramones and The Stooges, too. About why books matter, why writing is a hard life, not dissimilar to the pirate mentality of a line cook. 

Being a writer and someone obsessed with the kitchen, I assumed this relationship was a natural fit - game recognizing game. He was my idol. A beacon of hope that a punk rock loser could get a win. I don’t have many heroes, but Bourdain was a guy who’d battled his demons. As someone who fights depression, I thought I knew him. 

We’d opine about Pam Grier flicks like Coffy or just how badass Michael Caine was in Get Carter.  We’d order a round of Jameson’s and extol our love of Jim Harrison’s Legends of The Fall. We clink our shot glasses and then go on a bender of epic proportions. He’d dub me an heir to his throne, and we’d exchange texts and samples of whatever we were writing. 

I’d see him one day in my travels and we’d bond about Tikka masala or Old Towne Inn in Chicago. He’d ask a few questions about The Rolling Stones best record and I reply, “fuckin’ Exile on Mainstreet, of course.” And we’d be off to the races.  

It was a good fantasy, and now, it’ll forever remain only that – make-believe. 

I know things because of him. I envied him because he’d shared meals with some of humanity’s most exceptional people when in reality, he was one of the finest too. Anthony Bourdain wasn’t just a host. He was the guy who snuck in the back door, leaving a crack open for the rest of us. 

When people die, it rakes us over the emotional coals, challenging our sense of being, and purpose. Death dares us to ask: what does it mean to live genuinely? Can we carry on someone’s legacy, or did the memory of that person affect us as profoundly as we like to say on Facebook? 

Losing Anthony Bourdain is a knife in the gut. This one hurts. Bad. How could someone who'd realized the dream, who seemingly had the (now)-perfect experience, burn it like a slip of paper into the ether? We’ll never know went on inside of his head. That was Tony’s choice, as he stared into oblivion, locked away inside his five-star French hotel room. 

Folks from all over the world will muse about his greatness, his likability, his genuine nature, that he was an A+ original. They won’t be wrong. Every note and letter spent adoring his name will be a statement in truth: our species is better off for getting to know him over these last two decades. 

Every walk of life watched A Cook’s Journey, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown. We voyeuristically imagined ourselves drinking a cold beer in the jungles of Brazil or wandering on the streets of Tokyo through his adventures. We learned new things about people on the other side of planet, just as they learned about us, over here in TrumpLand.

Anthony Bourdain taught us why food is important, why it binds across the lines of reality and what we’re willing to fight for. All cultures, all people center life around food, and whether seated on the floor or at a table, its an experience we all share as a people. If there’s a universal truth we all know, it’s that food makes us less assholes. 

Even if you hate one another’s opinions, points of view, and guts, there is always the commonality of the meal. We’re drawn to the scent of flesh cooked over fire. Blame it on our hard-coded hunter/gatherer DNA, but it moves us, and Anthony Bourdain tapped into that. 

We tend to be a lot less mean when a medium rare steak served with glistening plate of waffle fries is dropped in our laps. Anthony Bourdain dared us to sit at life’s table, no matter how awkward the conversation, to find a solution, in spite of the gravity of the world. 

Before Kitchen Confidential, chefs were seen as these guys with folded arms in starched white jackets and big funny hats. We were let in on the secrets of the service industry, that everything wasn’t gleaming and pristine. Bourdain pulled the curtain back. He showed us the teeth of the pig, the hair plucked from the hide of the animal, and did so with a bloody, drug-induced irreverence. 

That book changed our relationship to the food we eat. Everything was less about how a plate comes out to the table, but how we see the mechanisms of the environment, which it was centered.


Before him, the Food Network was just knives hitting the cutting board, not a real peek into the industry of service. The Food Network didn’t know what to do with Anthony Bourdain. Instead of embracing the weird, they laid their chips on safe programming. It wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to see how bad they wanted to make up for their error in later years. After just one season, A Cook’s Journey was pulled. To the Travel Channel went Bourdain and the beginnings of an empire were created. 

Despite food being the pulse of No Reservations and Parts Unknown, the people are what made the body of work shine. Viewers into the world of Bourdain learned how to appreciate the far corners of the world, how the people in the streets, the dinner table or against the brass at the local pub, all wanted the same thing: an enjoyable life. 

Parts Unknown stood as the last real bastion of counterculture America in the mainstream. Bourdain created cinema-inspired television on a network, a feat that changed the face of CNN from talking head machine into a place of experience and stories. Anthony  Bourdain let the squares inside his orgy of life. 

While Bourdain hit the nicest of the nice, he also slummed – it wasn’t about the luxury of the room or the number of Michelin stars dangling from the name, it was about the experience. He had drinks made from spit and cow’s blood, he devoured fresh caught snapper on the beach, pulled from a man’s cooler who couldn’t speak a lick of English. The narrative never changed: love the people, and learn their secrets.


Bourdain and his Zero Point Zero crew made television that wasn’t a bunch of fat white guys guffawing over a local beer and burger joint. That pedestrian shit was for the birds. Instead, they saw their chance to make high art, to challenge viewers and take them on the journey.

The Heart of Darkness, the movies of Federico Fellini, the car chases of Steve McQueen, a penchant for crime and darkness, books, and music all permeated the landscape of the show. While competing travel shows opt for canned guitar riff music you could find in an elevator, bands like Queens of The Stone Age, and The Black Keys wanted their songs featured. Margo Price, Ume, The Sword, the godfather of punk, Iggy Pop all got to experience the world of Bourdain, and the result remained centered around the love of art, no matter the medium. 

The look and feel of his shows were never a hatchet job. The narration, the vibe, everything was poured over. Every shot mattered. The writing on the show was brilliant, honest and true. While Bourdain’s books and essays are testaments to his writing prowess, it was the guttural rawness of his scripts that ached, that begged the viewer to travel, to eat, to experience life. 

The honesty of the subjects he took on is what made people adore Anthony Bourdain. He took us to Montana, to Madagascar, to Moscow. We saw the streets of New Orleans, the intensity of South by Southwest, and we got to know the tragedies of Iran and Myanmar. When Anthony Bourdain visited West Virginia, he handled the opioid crisis with care and humanity. He showed his character, it wasn’t devastation porn, but a portrait of a hidden America.  

He was a brilliant writer, a storied cook, a former addict, and the guy you wanted to talk to at the party. And now he’s gone. 

Brian Allen Carr summed up Anthony Bourdain earlier. I’ll end there because as a writer, it’s genuine, respectful and stabs like a dagger. Goddamnit, Tony, we’re going to miss you. 

“Anthony Bourdain was Hunter Thompson, Fernand Point, and Studs Terkel wrapped up in one. He's the reason America eats at food trucks. He's the reason we take pictures of all our food. If you've Yelped, it's because of him. He was the most significant writer in recent memory.

Apr 30, 2018

Don't Call Him An Outlaw, Joshua Hedley Is So Much More To Country Music

by Robert Dean 

When people ask about Farce The Music, I like to think of what we do around here is spread “The Gospel of Good Shit.” We’ve helped give a little credence to folks who are either up and coming or out there killing it, who deserve more ink than other outlets are providing them.

We talked about Sturgill before he was cool, and we blabbed on about Chris Stapleton when he was still “that big, bearded dude from The Steeldrivers.” We shouted from the rooftops about Tyler Childers and Colter Wall back when no one had so much of heard of these dudes outside of Ole’ W.B. Walker. We’ve not shut up about Margo Price since she was talking about losing the farm and wanting a bottle of wine for momma.

Lindi Ortega, Jason Isbell, Lillie Mae, Ian Noe, Kacey Musgraves, and Justin Wells - all of that amazing music, we’ve been waiving those flags a long time now. This isn’t a pat on the back; it’s a mission statement: we’re dedicated to helping champion amazing artists, and hopefully getting some of these folks who are still slugging it out in bars, playing for tips, sell a few t-shirts or at least another bottle of PBR after their set. 

There’s a name that keeps popping up on my radar over and over again, someone who thanks to my mate Harsha down in Sydney, I got the chance to see in a tiny little room above a Spanish restaurant on the other side of the planet. That name is Joshua Hedley. 

While I enjoyed my experience seeing him in a packed room full of Aussies in their best country gear, it wasn’t until I heard his new record, Mr. Jukebox, when I was flabbergasted at Joshua Hedley’s beauty and brilliance.

Joshua Hedley is a name that will be mentioned in places “too cool” for country, that vaunted Sturgill Simpson territory, an area that blurs the lines of just who Sturgill’s “core” fanbase is, nobody knows – but there sure are a ton of them. Rolling Stone has already jumped on board, and then there’s NPR, The Chicago Reader, The Tennessean, to name just a few who are falling hard for Hedley’s debut Third Man Records release.

Having spent years as a featured Monday night performer at Robert’s Western World down on Nashville’s main drag, since his teens, Hedley knows a thing or two about playing the hits, and it shows on Mr. Jukebox. It’s become lore amongst the musicians on Broadway to cite how well Hedley knows his country music, but also that he can play it at the drop of a Stetson.

What Mr. Jukebox isn’t, is another record featuring a desire to be a bar room badass, a fighter in a leather hat ala Waylon with a Kool dangling off his lip, ready to clean a clock and peel out on a Harley, middle fingers up. Outlaw isn’t a world uttered when describing what Hedley does, in fact, it’s the exact opposite of what he does.

When Waylon and Willie were coming up and energizing the idea of what the Outlaw scene meant, it was on the merit of beer swigging hooligans who write songs for guys with hard knuckles and a constitution for cheap blow and fast women. The songs weren’t complex arrangements, nor did they lean on the traditions of Nudie suits or songs about horses and other fairy tales of the scene back then.

Outlaw was decidedly not what was popular in the day’s country music, which featured lush string arrangements and stories about heartbreak, and deceit by a lovelorn partner. There was a sense of beauty to those songs, a purpose driven by big choruses and a beat that anyone could two-step to, drunk or sober, happy or sad.

That’s precisely the nerve Joshua Hedley taps into on Mr. Jukebox with booming traditionalism and on the nose respect to the late 50’s early 60’s era of country, before disco or rock n' roll changed the flavor.

The soul of Mr. Jukebox is decidedly unhip to mainstream Nashville standards, but the songs are glorious throwbacks to guys like Ernest Tubb, George Jones or Buck Owens. The reason Mr. Jukebox succeeds is his backbone of traditionalism, not only in character, but also because of Ole’ Hed’s dedication to the heart of real country music.

Hedley’s fiddle furiously battles his smooth vocal runs with a multi-disciplined attack that's just damned good music. Joshua Hedley can strum a guitar, sing with a clean, clear harmonious range, and write lyrics that are not only witty, but also painstakingly crafted so that the words on some of the record’s tracks land like guy punches.

Mr. Jukebox is the record you can slip on for MeeMaw while she’s in the kitchen and you’re likely to get a head turn out of her because the sound, the style, the playing is so believable, so in the moment; it’s hard to reckon that Mr. Jukebox is brand new. Say what you will, but there’s always something pleasing about getting a flicker of recognition from the old school, even if she’s just making a gumbo in her slippers.

The record’s opener, “Counting All My Tears” lets the listener know that without a doubt, Conway Twitty’s stamp is there.  All throughout the album, the steel guitar slides and wanes while the harmonies are large productions that harken back to the thick, wall of sound delivery, but with a slight tinge of gospel power hidden in the rafters for a sprinkle of good luck.


“Weird Thought Thinker” feels like that era of Willie Nelson before he moved back to Texas, while “I Never (Shed a Tear)” feels straight off Patsy Cline’s vine and broadcast to the world via The Grand Ole Opry. This is pure classic, country music that’s without any of the bullshit sparkles. We’re getting closer and closer to two factions of country music coming to the forefront: Southern Pop and Country Music.

If there was any doubt of what Joshua Hedley does, brother you ain’t been paying attention. Mr. Jukebox is here to stay, and the waves we’ll see in his wake will only push those boats higher and higher – green Nudie suit and all. 

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Mr. Jukebox is available everywhere you consume fine music.


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

Dec 21, 2017

Farce the Music's Top 20 Albums of 2017


Our Top 20 Albums of 2017 were voted on by all contributors again this year: 
Kelcy Salisbury, Robert Dean, Kevin Broughton, Jeremy Harris, Trailer (me), and Matthew Martin 
(with friend Chad as a tiebreaker).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


1. Tyler Childers - Purgatory
Appalachia has passed the torch to its newest great storyteller; welcome to the big time, Tyler Childers. If anyone has doubts, ask yourself if Sturgill Simpson would produce this guy if he were anything but the genuine article. Childers has set himself an incredibly high bar here; but with a couple listens no one will doubt he’ll raise it higher on the next one. Here is the real deal, and he’ll be around for a long, long time.  - Kevin Broughton

Childers' voice along with the great production on this album were home-runs.  Add in the killer lyrics that have just enough humor to break the darkness in the issues plaguing rural America and you have this incredible album.  I had not listened to Tyler Childers prior to this year and now I can't get enough of him. - Matthew Martin


2. Turnpike Troubadours - A Long Way From Your Heart
The best country band in the world delivers yet another classic. The sparkling instrumentation, the master-class songwriting, the mythos, everything is here and it's a joy to behold. - Trailer

As I wrote on its debut, this album is wonderfully more of the same we’ve come to expect from these champions of the Red Dirt universe. Nobody writes a bittersweet broken-heart song better than Evan Felker, as evidenced in “The House Fire.” - Kevin


3. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
Jason Isbell is the best there is in music right now.  I don't think it's even close.  The voice, the music, and the songs are all perfect.  After Isbell's last couple of quieter, more introspective albums, I was really looking forward to hearing Isbell cut loose a little more.  This album was not a disappointment on that front and even threw in a couple of tear-jerkers for good measure.  This year I got engaged, and hearing 'When We Were Vampires' is a song that crushes me every time.  For the rockers, 'Cumberland Gap' and 'White Man's World' are going to go at the top of the Isbell cannon.  After listening to these songs and this album all year, I can't even imagine Isbell's shows without these songs.  They are some of Isbell's best.  I know Southeastern may be Isbell's high water mark, but this album shows that he's not resting on his laurels.  He's going to continue to make incredible, hard-hitting music for years to come. - Matthew

If ‘Vampires’ doesn’t make you cry you may be a zombie. - Jeremy Harris


4. Colter Wall - s/t
Granted, producer Dave Cobb has an inexhaustible Midas touch. But you’d assume in situations 
like this one – producing the debut album from a star in the making from Canada – he’d largely
 just stand back. Listen to Wall’s deep, dark baritone and tell me he’s 22 years old; great golly, 
he is. Here’s the gold standard for folk albums in the twenty-teens, featuring the year’s best 
murder ballad, “Kate McCannon.” Tyler Childers’ singing harmony vocals on the traditional 
ballad “Fraulein” is the cherry on top.  - Kevin


5. Chris Stapleton - From A Room, Volume 2
This album was everything I want from Stapleton- it's bluesy, it's rowdy, and it's beautiful.  
The man can sing a damn song.  He makes you feel what he's singing, the way the best of the 
soul-singers of yesteryear could do.  This is one of the big-hitters of country music and it's completely, unequivocally deserved. - Matthew

This is the best pure country album for the last two or three years, from the man with hands-down 
the best voice in the genre. I had this playing in the background at work and a colleague asked, 
“Is this Waylon?” Well, yeah, pretty much. Take note, Nashville: Stapleton’s topping the charts, 
no thanks to you. - Kevin


6. Gregg Allman - Southern Blood
I don’t think he ever made a better solo album, and it’s so just bittersweet that we get this 
one from beyond the grave. His covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River” and 
Little Feat’s “Willin’” add a sweet touch. Given all Gregg’s givens, let’s be thankful he was 
here for 69 years. Rest easy, man.  - Kevin


7. Jason Eady - s/t
Eady does it again. Another great album. - Jeremy

The album gently grabs your attention with the song “Barabbas” and holds it throughout with 
some of the best songwriting of the year from a genuine craftsman. This Texan – by way of 
Mississippi – hits full stride with a fine album produced by the legendary Lloyd Maines and 
featuring the backing vocals of Vince Gill.  - Kevin


8. John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
From the album cover and title you’d think rap. 
From the sound of his voice you’d think awesome. - Jeremy

He writes compelling songs about feelings and situations we are all familiar with.  
He's heartbreakingly good and this album is proof that Moreland deserves even more 
accolades than he's receiving now.  With an incredible voice and lyrics; it's hard to not 
feel gut-punched at least 2-3 times per song.  - Matthew


9. Shinyribs - I Got Your Medicine
Just a fun album, start to finish. Adult-size portions of soul, real (as to what is today called) 
rhythm & blues, and gospel should keep this record in heavy rotation. - Kevin

Even a non-dancing, non-fun-having dude like me feels the desire to tap a foot every time I hear this album. It's soulful, funny, real, and my favorite thing Kevin Russell has done since the Gourds.
- Trailer


10. Travis Meadows - First Cigarette
There’s some real sad stuff on this one. If Isbell makes you feel weird and emotional,
 Travis Meadows will bring you down even more. - Jeremy


11. The Steel Woods - Straw in the Wind
A perfect balance of country and rock, and with some fine storytelling. Check your mirror,
Blackberry Smoke; these guys are on your heels. - Kevin

I was already impressed by Straw in the Wind. Seeing them live took my appreciation for
this band to a new level. They deserve any and all accolades headed their way. - Trailer


12. JD McPherson - Undivided Heart and Soul
What this country needs is more rockabilly, and this Okie delivers in spades. This is just lots of fun. It’s got a dash of British pub rock, just enough to remind us of Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe. Shake your hips, Daddy-o. - Kevin


13. Chris Stapleton - From A Room, Volume 1

Chris Stapleton continues his career with another solid album of covers and originals.  Not quite as good as Volume 2 in my opinion, but worth every bit of accolades it's received. - Matthew

There’s a magic formula that combines the best of 1 and 2 that makes it a much better album. 
With this formula 1 tops 2 by a lot. - Jeremy


14. Zephaniah OHora - This Highway
This album is an authentic, organic tribute to the golden years of country music, recalling Hank Snow, Marty Robbins and Ray Price. Another hit for the so-called “neo-traditionalists.” - Kevin


15. Steve Earle - So You Wanna Be An Outlaw
On a scale of 1 to Steve Earle, how do you feel about Trump? 
Just kidding, Steve steers clear. - Jeremy






18. Hellbound Glory - Pinball
This may be the best Leroy Virgil or whatever his name is now’s best album yet. - Jeremy







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