Mar 5, 2022
Feb 15, 2021
Oct 4, 2019
|Local tool, in his usual attire|
by Trailer - Originally posted on Country California April 09, 2009 - Idea by Mr. Wilcox
Local tool and fan of "whatever the country station is playing," Morty 'Mo' Haas, dressed up as Kenny Chesney to attend Friday's Kenny Chesney concert. The idea first came to Mo after a shower, as he stared through a heavy cloud of Axe at his image in the fogged mirror and realized just how much he looked like the superstar from east Tennessee. The male pattern baldness, the insane guns, the extraordinarily average visage, the 5 foot 5 stature... it all added up.
Two hours later, Mo and his buddy Chaz Vance stepped into the Mohegan Sun Arena dressed to kill... margaritas. Mo was clad in a sleeveless Hooters t-shirt, a rumpled cowboy hat bought at a garage sale, tattered size 36 Rustler jeans that took 10 minutes to stretch over his meaty thighs and a pair of Corona flip flops. His buddy Chaz dressed as one of Kenny's guitar players, wearing jeans and a t-shirt of some indie rock band he'd never actually heard of (R.E.M.). All the fine ladies drooled and the guys mad-dogged as they strode into the arena, Mo later reported.
When Kenny hit the stage, singing some song about feet or Yoohoos or something, most of the fans were staring at Mo, thinking he was actually Kenny singing from the audience, reported Chaz.
"The resemblance was disturbing" says April Curtis, who was also at the concert on Friday. "I had seats near that guy, but me and my girlfriends moved down into some empty seats because his hairy gut kept popping out from under his too-tight shirt and bumping my elbow; I nearly mouth-vomited."
By the midway point, Chaz and Mo were so deep into the $8 margaritas that arena security officials were watching them closely. "That tool in the stretch jeans kept telling girls he actually was Kenny and that his stunt double was filling in for him tonight so he could chill with all the sexy honeys," said Rufus Long, Mohegan Sun rent-a-cop director, "and the other sleazebag was 'screening' girls for him."
Their conduct, although pathetic, never warranted an arrest during the show, but section FF was completely devoid of females by the encore. As he and Chaz stumbled out womanless, Mo bought a $35 t-shirt as a memento of the event and promptly ripped the sleeves off.
Sep 18, 2019
We’ve got an exclusive premiere today from the Alex Krug Combo. Their EP Sleeping on the Woodlands comes out tomorrow, but you can give it a full listen right now. It’s an exploration of nature, love, and life as an outsider. Musically, you’ll hear yearning folk rock with jazz influences, flourishes of country instrumentation, and the emotional spaces of R.E.M.-esque college rock. It’s dreamy, atmospheric stuff, but never gets so heady as to pull you out of the moment, Krug’s clear vocals keeping you in the now. This is the kind of music my mind turns to in the fall, so it’s perfect timing.
Adobe and Teardrops described the EP as “four intricate songs that joyfully wed Americana influences with jazz. These songs will take you far afield, with free-wheeling song structures reminiscent of early-90s queer artists like Ani DiFranco.”
Here are some thoughts and origins from the band on 3 songs from the EP:
It was winter in western North Carolina where I live. The mountains had new snow and a crispness about them. A few friends and I drove to go for a hike on a remote trail that follows a clean fast river. I walked in the back behind them, our foot steps making fresh tracks in the snow. It was late in the day and the beginnings of dusk were coming in around us, deepening shadows. I was looking around at the young green snowy hemlocks and the sycamore, which leaned over the creek with their strong smooth gray and white camo trunks and dry winter achene dangling from the thinner twigs, unfazed by cold winter. The words just came to me there on that walk for some reason.
Is for those who are on the outside, that are on the periphery, who have been, in some way marginalized, tossed out, thought unworthy, not included, neglected, dismissed, hurt and harmed, sometimes killed (due to hate, injustice, prejudice and ignorance). This song is so close to home I have to let it speak for itself.
An exploration of head over heels love and admiration.
More information about the band and album are below the player.
Life is at its very core about exploring. We can remain stagnant and rooted in place, or we can take a page out of the Alex Krug Combo’s playbook and dive headfirst. The thrill of adventure looms ahead of this heart-driven blues-rock band, and with a new EP called Sleeping on the Woodlands, the Asheville-based players strike a stunningly evocative chord about life, being an outsider and the kind of heartache that transforms your soul.
In their burgeoning career, the Americana six-piece already boast quite a list of accomplishments. To-date, they’ve shared stages alongside such movers and shakers as Horse Feathers, The Hip Abduction, Erin McKeown and Donna the Buffalo, among countless others, and stormed such gigs as LEAF Festivals, All-Go-West Festival, Grey Eagle, Orange Peel and Pisgah Brewery. Additionally, their 2015 EP, Gentle Spotted Giant, was named one of the Top 5 “Dreamiest Local Albums” of the year by the Mountain Xpress and features production work from the prolific Michael Selverne (Motley Crue, Steep Canyon Rangers, India.Arie), as well as contributions from Bill Berg (Bob Dylan), Lyndsay Pruett (Jon Stickley Trio) and Jackson Dulaney (The Blood Gypsies, The Aaron Burdett Band).
It’s been four years since that very first project, one that is as bold as it is raw. Lead singer, songwriter and musician Alex Krug is a colossal force of power, strength and charm, and her voice emerges as a diamond in the rough. Having grown up in rural Maryland, Krug didn’t have many friends, but she did have a record player in her room. Left to her own devices, she would jam out to many classic ‘60s records spanning every genre you could think of. “I’d get lost in the sounds,” she says. Krug also made frequent visits to her grandmother and would tinker around on an old piano to pass the time.
Krug’s parents later purchased her a Yamaha keyboard, and she soon began writing her own songs and playing music. Free from inhibitions, she followed her muse wherever it so happened to lead. In 2007, she moved to Asheville, North Carolina, and initially, she abandoned music altogether. Her work took her to Wilderness Therapy, an organization to help troubled teens with behavioral and emotional problems find a new lease on life.
Two years later, though, music beckoned her back in, and she formed the Alex Krug Trio, a collaboration which included her now-ex-girlfriend. “It ended in a heartbreaking way,” she remembers. The Combo iteration as she now knows it kick started around the time she met Bill Berg, and they began to jam out together. “Drums changed things a lot in a great way,” she says.
That’s when Gentle Spotted Giant took shape, and her artistry reached soaring new heights. “That album was a really huge for me. I got to meet Bill, and it brought us all together. He has an insane sense of groove, and he’s one of the best drummers in the country,” says Krug, whose vocal inflections are tightened with production that’s earthy, yet slick. “He slays all the way.”
Berg’s pedigree not only includes a brainstorming studio session with the one and only Prince, but he once worked as a senior animator for Disney. His credits include work on The Lion King, Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast. You could say Berg’s vast style and sense of color and ambiance spilled between media in a way that revitalized what Krug could do on her recordings.
“That album also overwhelmed me. I got to work in awesome studio, so it took me a year or two to lean into having a drummer and learn how to play with a really good drummer,” she says. “I was letting go and trusting the music and them. Once that started happening, it was really freeing. We like to set each other free, and it’s like a machine now.”
Sleeping on the Woodlands is four tracks of rollicking, organically-produced Americana. Recorded at Echo Mountain Recording, the collection is a steam locomotive barreling down the tracks -- the team behind the release is an exquisite lineup, including executive producer Jessica Tomasin, mixers Michael Selverne (also primary producer), and engineer Julian Dreyer. Even more, Jackson Dulaney’s work on lap steel is astonishingly tight-knit, as is Zack Page’s upright bass, yet both permit the arrangements to really breathe on their own. Truly, it is Alex Krug and her mountain-crushing vocals and evocative storytelling driving the industrial-sized apparatus.
May 20, 2014
Fire Mountain's All Dies Down is my favorite pure alt-country album I've heard in ages. It harkens back to the 90s glory days of the "genre," bringing to mind the guitar pop of The Gin Blossoms, the addictive low-key melodies of Whiskeytown, and the edgy jangle of R.E.M.'s more country-leaning tunes. All Dies Down isn't stuck in that era by any means, but it certainly draws deeply from the well.
Lead singer Perry Brown has an affable growl of a voice that's versatile enough to drive heartland rockers like "Factory Line" or ache through the lush balladry of "Traces." Fire Mountain's sound is a big one - restrained, but full - with ample rhythm and crisp guitar licks. There's also piano (don't worry - it doesn't push them into easy listening territories) and it's a distinctive part of their approach, woven seamlessly into the songs.
The songs are the thing though. As good as Fire Mountain is, what they offer your ears on All Dies Down is much greater than the sum of parts. Love, loss, heartache, regret, finding your place, making changes - in their bio, they say (paraphrasing) this is the lot in life of being in your mid-twenties, but I don't know anyone who can't relate to the universal emotions relayed here.
Brown is a sneaky writer, both of subtle hooks and sharp observations. Lines like "How I hung heavy on your heart" from "Anchor Iron" will slide by you so smoothly, you won't know how it got stuck in your head 3 hours later. "When I kiss you just know that I'm spitting blood" from "Factory Line" is delivered with such simmering spite, you can taste the words.
"Doing Fine" is a prime example of the understated nature of these gently delivered but powerfully received messages. With a palette heavy on grays and muted hues, the gleams of light or glimpses of shadows stand out that much more. The chorus seems simple, but simple like a Hank Williams song, forlorn and insightful.
"Traces" is my personal favorite on the album. It's a hard-hitting ballad with a sweeping chorus (with enchanting harmony vocals provided by Janet Simpson-Templin, of Delicate Cutters/Gum Creek Killers/Wooden Wand/ Teen Getaway) and it wouldn't be out of place soundtracking a somber breakup scene in some teen soap. That's not to say it's generic and schmaltzy… okay, it's a little schmaltzy, but it's so damn well-written and just unfair on an emotional level. I would have straight up wept into my cheap beer if this had come out during my college days.
There are a few rockers on the album too, but the heart of the band is most strongly shown in the quieter moments. All Dies Down is thinking man's windows-down music. It's catchy sad-bastard music. It hurts so good.
Highly recommended to fans of: Buffalo Gospel, R.E.M., Reckless Kelly, The Gin Blossoms, Whiskeytown, Ryan Adams, good music.
Dec 22, 2011
Maybe 101 albums is too many for a "Best of" list. Some may think it's indulgent or that I'm showing off how much music I listened to ....but that's not the case. I just love music so much and it needs to be seen that good music is still being put out in this day and age of disposable songs. I listened to many, many, many new albums in 2011 and passed on dozens more after previewing them. The FTM 101 includes all the albums I heard and think are most worthy of mention. Here's the first installment (higher up the chart will include write-ups).
77. Mt. Moriah - s/t
78. Chris Young - Neon
79. The Jayhawks - Mockingbird Time
80. Mike McClure - Fifty Billion
82. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers - Unida Cantina
83. Trombone Shorty - For True
84. Too Slim and the Taildraggers - Shiver
85. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Soul Time!
86. Middle Brother - S/T
87. Blind Boys of Alabama - Take the High Road
88. Black Spiders - Sons of the North
90. Rachel Brooke - Down in the Barnyard
92. Switchfoot - Vice Verses
93. Childish Gambino - Camp
94. Deer Dick - Divine Providence
96. Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers - Starlight Hotel
98. R.E.M. - Collapse Into Now
99. The Gourds - Old Mad Joy
100. My Morning Jacket - Circuital
101. Black Stone Cherry - Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea