Showing posts with label Scott H. Biram. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scott H. Biram. Show all posts

Nov 6, 2019

Don't Sleep on Bloodshot Records in 2020 (and 2019)




By Robert Dean

Bloodshot Records is dropping some cool records over the next month or two. They've been digging in their vaults and finding putting together some exciting collections and new releases definitely worth checking out. 

Wayne Hancock is just too good. Channeling the best of the honky-tonk swing of years past, "The Train" is back with a collection of tracks from early Bloodshot Records releases. On Man of the Road: The Early Bloodshot Years, the label has to curated a solid batch of Hancock's best bar room bangers, the kinds of songs people swing on the dance floor's all night long.

The collection is the first time any of these songs - recorded initially and released with Bloodshot Records on albums from the last two decades - have appeared on vinyl (including the classic "Thunderstorms & Neon Signs"): A-Town Blues (2001), South Austin Sessions EP (2001), Swing Time (2003), Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration of Wanda Jackson (2004), Tulsa (2006), and Viper of Melody (2009).

Scott H. Biram, everyone's favorite dirty old man weirdo, has a new gospel-inspired record, Sold Out to the Devil: A Collection of Gospel Cuts by the Rev. Scott H. Biram and it's everything you expect from Austin's favorite damaged son. 

The songs are a ramshackle collection of songs about God, religion, and spirituality with Biram's signature booze-soaked delivery. The album also includes a previously unreleased cover of the Louvin Brothers' "Broadminded." The record is predictably low-fi but an excellent collection of songs that get the blood moving and the drinks flowing. 

And finally, if you're looking for some ultra-dark bummers, get Jason Hawk Harris' Love & the Dark on the radar. It's definitely got the big country hooks, but the depth of the lyrics Harris has is oceanic. There are some demons on this record that permeate the songs to their core. Like Jason Isbell, it's apparently by the end of the opening track, "The Smoke and The Stars," Harris has seen some shit. If you're looking for some sad anthems, this is the next stop on the bus. 


May 5, 2017

FYI: Moonrunners is Back for Year 5


by Robert Dean

Back for its 5th year, Moonrunners Festival is finally here. And this time, it’s loaded for bear. Kicking off today on Chicago’s South Side, at its perennial home, Reggie’s, Moonrunners is ready to be the best country festival many don’t know about.

Moonrunners has always been about staying scrappy, rolling with the underdogs, and being the festival for the acts who deserve the spotlight but may not be the household names that get tossed around, thanks to Nashville’s money machine. But, that’s why the whole twisted experiment works and continues to be Chicago’s best springtime party, year after year. A drunken bonanza of personalities, radical music and crushed cans of PBR, Moonrunners offers a weekend getaway, a retreat that feels like a summer camp. Bands party with one another while friends from around the country pass out hugs and get reacquainted – away from Facebook.

It’s a great pleasure to have been involved with Moonrunners, the website when it existed. Because of that time, I’ve created some many friendships that have lasted over the years. It’s also a fond memory of mine to have participated in the first two festivals. It’s such a drunken blur, I hardly remember a lot of it, but I know I had an excellent time. It breaks my heart that I can’t be in Chicago to celebrate the music, see some old friends, and get loose. One day, I’ll get back, and it’s going to be wonderful.

If you’re anywhere near Chicago, I’d grab a bag and hit the road. Let’s be honest: festivals usually suck ass. Not Moonrunners, though. Because it’s held in an indoor venue, the stage times are manageable, and the vibe isn’t a bunch of assholes clogging the joint up. Instead, it’s a community feeling with a lot of cool folks.

There’s a little something for everyone. Give everyone a hug for me. There will be a lot of good people in Reggie’s this weekend. You can count on that.

PS. Here are some quick Chicago pro-tips:

Chicago pizza isn’t that deep dish shit. That’s for tourists. Get a pizza delivered from Phil’s on 35th
Go grab dinner in Chinatown. You’re only blocks away
Eat an Italian beef @ Al’s in Little Italy
Never put ketchup on your hotdog, ever
The White Sox are the superior baseball team, despite whatever Trailer tries to tell you

Lineup and Schedule

Friday May 5th

2:45- James Hunnicutt- Rock Club
3:25- Jimmy Swope- Music Joint
3:55- Gary Moore II- Rock Club
4:35- Viva Le Vox- Rock Club
5:05- Pearls Mahone- Music Joint
5:35- Stump Tail Dolly- Rock Club
6:05- Mystery Actions- Music Joint
6:35- Jesse Dayton- Rock Club
7:15- Jeff Shepherd- Music Joint
7:45- Hooten Hallers- Rock Club
8:30- That Ol’ Coondog- Music Joint
9:00- Scott H. Biram- Rock Club
10:25- Brittany Avery- Music Joint
11:00- Legendary Shack Shakers- Rock Club
12:00- Urban Pioneers- Music Joint

Saturday, May 6th

11:15- Bad Saddles- Music Joint
11:45- The Decayed (members of Last False Hope)- Rock Club
12:05- Soda Gardocki- Music Joint
12:40- Husky Burnette- Music Joint
1:05- Brett Conlin- Rock Club
1:40- Devil’s Cut- Rock Club
1:55- AJ Gaither- Music Joint
2:25- Matt Woods- Rock Club
3:00- Duane Mark- Music Joint
3:35- Still Alive- Music Joint
4:10- Adam Lee- Rock Club
4:45- SS Web- Rock Club
5:15- Evil Empire- Music Joint
5:45- Rachel Brooke- Rock Club
6:35- Last False Hope- Rock Club
7:05- Ted Russell Kamp- Music Joint
7:40- Shawn James- Music Joint
8:10- Call me Bronco- Rock Club
8:45- Won’t Stay Dead- Music Joint
9:20- Left Lane Cruiser- Rock Club
10:00- James Hunnicutt- Music Joint
10:35- Escape from the Zoo (members of Days N’ Daze)- Music Joint
11:05- Joseph Huber- Rock Club
12:00- Shooter Jennings- Rock Club

Feb 23, 2017

Drunken Review: Scott H. Biram - The Bad Testament

By Robert Dean

Whoop Whoop. Guess who’s back on the bottle, y’all?

Today’s drunk review is brought to them folks over @ Ghost Tequila. Now, I’m a known whiskey drinker, but show me a bottle with a cool ass skeleton rib cage thing, and I’m liable to give it a whirl. What makes this review, even more, fun is I don’t usually fuck with the fine agave plant’s sprits. This is uncharted territory. But, real talk: holy horse nuts, I’m shit hammered.

I'm embarrass your family at Christmas drunk. Yell at your uncle cuz he likes to listen to Alex Jones drunk. (Yeah, I’m a liberal. Fight me at the park, neckbeards.) This here Ghost Tequila is like if Patron didn’t taste like cat piss, and was something you’d go out of your way to order. For real, tho – Patron sucks. Who’s ordered that shit aside from that time the random loud guy with the shaved head made you do a shot with him? You know who I’m talking about. He wears a dress shirt with no undershirt, wears a bottle of cologne, his shaved his is shiny, and he drags around a girlfriend who looks miserable. Usually, her boobs are hanging out of her shirt.

Anyhow, on to the music. This week, we’re talking about that ol’ Scott H Biram’s new joint The Bad Testament. This is some good timing music, right here. At first, I thought homie went and got himself a band, but nope. Still just Scott. But, damn, I thought dude got some John Bonham beats happening, but it’s just a kick drum. Blame the bottle, dawgs.

There’s a good mix of some country bummers on here, which I like. I like my Scott H Biram like I like my Ben Nichols: all fucked up. But, the upbeat songs are rad, too. I mean, come on. Scott knows his ballpark. He ain’t gonna go all left turn on us. He knows how to play some bluesy country with the best of em’. He’s a good hermano.

The Bad Testament is classic Scott H Biram. No surprises, just some good ass country music. I’m on team Scott. This bottle has a real dent in it. Holy shit. Scott is cool. Listen to Scott H Biram. Do it for America. Scott H Biram might be the only person who can save us at this point. A little bit of the bottle, a little smoke, and some other cool lyric. Yay for Ghost Tequila. Yay Scott H. Biram.



--------

The Bad Testament is out tomorrow and you can find it on the Bloodshot site, iTunes, etc.


Photo by Christopher Cardoza
Some bio:
With the heart of a genuine Texas bluesman, the head (banging) of a Zappa and Lemmy disciple, and boots resting in the dust outside of town at sunrise, Scott H. Biram journeys through the harrowing human condition like no one else. A walk on the Biram side straddles the chasm between sin and redemption and The Bad Testament lands somewhere west of the Old Testament and south of an AA handbook. It’s a record of hard-grinding lost love, blues and deep, dark Americana.

Scott H. Biram conjured the words and music for The Bad Testament during mad alchemical sessions at his homemade studio in Austin, TX.  Through stacks of amps, spools of cable, and a prodigious collection of microphones, he spread his technical wings wide, while never losing the immediacy honed from a life on the road. He added a drum kit and rustic vocal duet to his skill set (which already includes all guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals, and percussion on the album). And strip away the one-man band eccentricity, SHB is out-writing any meeting taker on Music Row. The man writes on a razor’s edge of aggression and deftness, thoroughly contemporary but steeped in the backwaters, back porches and back alleys of our collective musical heritage.

May 19, 2015

Whitey Morgan and the 78s - Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue

Here, Whitey and the 78s cover Scott H. Biram's "Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue." A fantastic studio version is included on Morgan's HIGHLY RECOMMENDED new album Sonic Ranch (out today).


May 19, 2014

New Video: Scott H. Biram

Moonrunners Festival 2014: Jeremy's Recollections


Moonrunners II

By Jeremy Harris
(Note: This is largely unedited and unabridged, so all credit and/or blame goes to Jeremy)

MoonRunners Music Festival promised after year one that "You ain't seen nothing yet" (Was this a reference to the blacklights in the restrooms at Reggie's because I don't wanna see it if so.) so I thought I'd put them to the test by checking out version 2.0 this year. And disappointed I was not. Hell, I was even overwhelmed by the talent that was packed into Reggie's in downtown Chicago and the food packed into the $10 buffet over the two day period. They even managed to add a third day as a pre-party at Reggie's featuring Powder Mill, Dustbowl Revival, Rosie Flores and more. Being that I had never caught a Powder Mill show but had enjoyed their recorded music so much, I was ready to spend the extra day at the venue. Powder Mill definitely did not disappoint and played a short but powerful set for the Thursday night crowd. Up next was Dustbowl Revival and needless to say I was a little skeptical when they came to the stage with more members (including a trombone and clarinet player to accompany the normal string band configuration) than you'd find on the coaching staff of a college basketball team. I was pleasantly surprised by the sweet sound and the overall good time feel that the band brought with them. The final act of the evening was Rosie Flores and wow! What a talent and special kind of entertainer she was. Rosie had the entire crowd in the palm of her hand (namely the frontman of a band that performed earlier that night that shall remain nameless) with her superb telecaster skills and beautiful voice as she promised to "Americana your faces off" to everyone in attendance. I'm not sure what it's supposed to feel like to get your face removed by Americana but to me it felt like more of a demonstration of how to kick you ass with rock-n-roll with a country twist, but what do I know, other than that this was a good way to start the weekend and kickoff the festival which would begin the next day.

Joey Henry's Dirty Sunshine Club
So many words for a name of one guy and a banjo. Joey played a mostly slow paced set of mostly original, strongly written songs with a few uptempo songs mixed in and was a good way to kick the festival off at 2:00 on saturday. For his last song, Joey brought up Rachel Kate to do a duet and the two sounded perfect together and had the early crowd enchanted throughout the performance.

Lou Shields
A wise man once said "Give a man some soy sauce and he'll eat for a day but give a man a soy sauce bucket and he'll attach a foot pedal and a bungee strap to it and travel around the country playing music and hope he can afford a sandwich every once in a while" or something like that. Point is, Lou took the bucket, and some outdoor carpet, and a skateboard, some rocks, a cup, a box guitar and a few other things and turned them into a musical act that is quite entertaining all while having good material. Lou romped through his short set with his multiple instruments and quick quips between songs. Definitely an act I hope to catch doing a longer set in the near future.

Six Gun Britt
Every time I go to any festival I can place all the performers into a few groups: Never heard and will give them a chance, heard and wanna hear again and heard and could care less. Six Gun Britt was the first performer to be in the never heard group and it didn't take long for me to know she was a pure talent and could have a bright future ahead of her. Luckily for me she also had a set on Saturday and seemed to improve overnight. Her chatter between songs was sweet and funny and her original songs came off as being very personal and straight from the heart. This is one girl and her guitar that I hope will be booked for next year and continue on an upward trajectory that could very easily reach the top.

Nellie Wilson
After hearing Nellie perform last year with Last False Hope but failing to catch her solo performance earlier in the day, I knew I wouldn't make the same mistake this year. What I witnessed was a very classic country voice playing as a two piece band with her on acoustic guitar while being accompanied by either a steel or electric guitar. Nellie played a wonderful mix of songs and made me wish even more I had caught her set last year.

Coondog and the Stumpjumpers
The Stumpjumpers must have gotten stuck on a branch somewhere so Coondog was flying solo for this one. With or without a backing band this guy just has something good going on and needs more recognition. Seems like I only hear anything about Coondog when MoonRunners starts posting info for their festival each year or when he puts a post up himself.

Pearls Mahone
Nothing but good old time country swing is what you'll get from Pearls and her band. With Pearls providing the vocals and a superb six piece backing band (seven after a clarinet player made his way onto the stage) keeping the beat fast and smooth, Marty McFly would think the DeLorean had screwed up and sent him sixty years too far back. I've got a feeling Marty would've hung around before tracking Doc down to look into this one.

Lonewolf OMB
One man and his various instruments causing a dance outbreak on what was quickly becoming a crowded smaller stage area. With his upbeat playing and growly voice, Lonewolf sped his way through a furious set and everyone responded.

Adam Lee Band
Two songs in and Adam had busted a string and knocked pickup out of whack on his acoustic guitar. Luckily Adam had another guitar waiting behind him on stage and didn't have to miss a second. The crowd was really getting into the old school sounds reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash and so was Adam and his band. One thing that will stick with everyone lucky enough to be packed around the smaller stage area when Adam's hair was flopping around and became askew and a fan handed him a comb to straighten himself back up just so he could jump around and do it all over again.

The Hooten Hollers
These guys are the best three piece rock band you'll ever find that features a tuba in many of their songs. Actually, they may be the only people that fit into that category so lets just say they are a straight up kick ass rock band and the tuba is a pretty awesome addition to the group. If you'd told me I would enjoy a three piece band with a tuba, I would've called you crazy before seeing it myself. At this point the show has started off great but these guys really raised the bar and the energy level and packed the large stage area.

A gritty, three piece band with obvious roots in blues and rock. A few seconds into this one and I started to wonder if I had over consumed the Hamm's beer because I was pretty sure Hank from Breaking Bad was on stage singing and playing the harmonica. (I guess that explains why he won't be on Better Call Saul) The distraction of Hank being undercover didn't last too long though thanks to a killer sounding cigar box guitar with a perfect drum beat keeping it all together. 

The Calamity Cubes
Queue the mosh pit. The Calamity Cubes hit the stage with a furry, like a bunch of drunken pilots taking their aggressions out on their instruments. These guys are fast and furious and hit you like a speeding Porsche careening into a tree.(too soon?) One thing was for sure, the band was on fire and the crowd's energy wouldn't die.

Molly Gene One Whoaman Band
I'm still wondering if her name is paying homage to the poetry of Mike Myers' character in So I Married An Axe Murderer. By this point the cheap food and even cheaper beer and starting to make me think nap but one look onto the stage reveals the most energetic person in the building, hell maybe the most energetic person in downtown Chicago. With her shaking head, aggressive playing and a foot stomp that rivals Guliver she forced her energy into the crowd and busted her kick drum pedal all at once. Not to fear, just as cheap beer would bring me back down, a little wire would fuse the pedal back together good enough to finish this one out.

Cletus Got Shot
Coming into this weekend I hadn't heard a great amount of Cletus Got Shot music (after the set I purchased every album and anything else I could) but enjoyed all I had previously encountered. Based on my past listening and knowing that this was a onetime reunion show before the three guys slipped back into retirement, I had a feeling this was a must see show. Must see it definitely was. From the first chord strike all the way through the end it was obvious these guys were a tight group musically and the hiatus they had taken didn't interfere with their ability to bust out a kick ass show one bit. Other than an exploding suitcase bass guitar (luckily another musician came to the rescue with a loner) a few songs into the set they were flawless and had moved the already high bar up several notches.

Hellbound Glory
Even though Hellbound Glory was listed one the schedule, Leroy Virgil was solo on this trip but Leroy is the sound and attitude of Hellbound Glory and carried the scumbag torch loud and proud to a packed crowd as the last performer on the smaller stage. Strumming his way around the highlights of his own catalogue and kicking in a few wonderfully presented covers, Leroy packed a punch swift enough to knock the drunkest of patrons into the next room to finish the night out.
PPJ

A masterful musician regardless the instrument and a high spirited individual that had the ability to bring everyone to the highest of highs but bring them down to the point of hearing a pin drop whether it was with his playing or his voice during or between songs. Completely going off the cuff and making it work so smooth you'd swear he had been planning this all out in his head for months. Nothing could stop the outpouring of talent and emotion, not even a busted banjo string (which he laid down and said that anyone who could string and tune a banjo was free to come up and get in and fix it during the show) could kill the moment for what was probably the largest crowd for any act on day one.

The Gallows are a band beyond a proper description (not that I'm not gonna try) but if I must, imagine if a large group of circus performers and sideshow acts spent their free time becoming master musicians. Shit, I think I did it! By this time, it's late and everyone has to be tired (I know I was nearly in a low grade hops, greasy cheeseburger coma) but you'd never had known it by the reaction the crowd had to the energy The Gallows were pouring out. The band played harder with each song and the crowd jumped and thrashed into each other nonstop during the entire set. Things were thrown in both directions, water was spit and spirits were high. Nearly everyone in the crowd looked as if they could go for several more hours and this was the perfect band to end night one.

Saturday

I can't believe I'm awake and made it back to Reggie's before 11:00 am. I'm too old for this but I've got my buffet bracelet on for day two and decided bourbon would be the way to go today. Good idea? I don't remember…. Good thing I kept taking notes about each act.

Tony French
Nothing like a bratwurst, bourbon and the blues in the morning to get the body rolling. The bar provided the first two and Tony French more than accommodated my need for the third with his strong riffs and low bluesy voice presenting several covers and a few originals with that guy from Under The Dome coming up to lend his harmonica skills on a few tunes as well.

Jeff Shepherd and the Jailhouse Poets
Three words to describe this group: WOW, WOW, WOW! Awesome writing, playing and vocal all coming together to possibly be the best band at the festival so far and it's only 11:50 am. Not only was the band superb but Jeff performed solo at the end and pretty much blew everyone away with his song that I believe is title Daddy Loved You More Than Life Itself. If you're not familiar with this group, what are you waiting on? Me personally, I'm just waiting to find an album to play nonstop.

Super high energy group of guys with a knack for performing live. The entire crowd was really getting into the set which featured some hardcore, upbeat picking and well thought out lyrics. Everyone was moving and enjoying the show from start to finish.

I was really looking forward to seeing these guys based on the recorded music that I had already heard and the countless videos I has streamed online and I had a feeling they would be a fun band to watch but I had no idea what I was in for. Not only was The Imperial Rooster the funnest band to watch over the entire weekend but they may have also been the best showmen at the entire festival. They performed as if they were in front of thousands of people but unfortunately they had one of the smallest crowds at the larger stage. Regardless of the small crowd, the people that were there packed in near the stage and knew they had witnessed the do not miss show of the weekend. I've got a good feeling that not only will The Imperial Rooster be back next year but they will also enjoy a much larger crowd. How could you not bring back a band that uses a road cone as a musical instrument?

Matt Woods
I feel sorry for Matt Woods because since I had five different people come up to me and start conversations with me thinking I was him and I'm sure he gets tired of people saying "Hey, aren't you Jeremy from Farce The Music?" Poor guy, probably burns him up when that happens. Even his drummer almost came up to me thinking I was him… by the way, Matt has a drummer now. Matt came onto the large stage pretty early (around 2:30 pm) and brought in a pretty good crowd for his set. He managed to provide the set everyone would hope for as he swept his way through several songs from his (at the time) upcoming album and left the crowd speechless with his critically acclaimed (Trailer liked it, so it's critically acclaimed) single Deadman's Blues and left everyone wanting more.

Filthy Still
I'm beginning to think these guys are stingy. They made my list of top live shows from 2013 and I think they thought they could get another mention this year. Hell, I think they may. This was one badass set and somehow the guys seemed to have a tighter sound now than they did last time I caught them live. Must've been real tight for me to remember it after two days of greasy food, cheap beer and only the finest bourbon.
They also have made me waste countless hours trying to find Sasquatch bones. So while they may be an awesome band, they can be blamed for this writeup not getting finished closer to the festival conclusion.

Last False Hope
This band caught me so off guard last year and really blew me away. Could it happen again or would I be prepared? From the moment Robert Dean walked onto the stage to introduce the band there was a feeling that this could be something special. He announced that frontman Jahshie P would be dedicating this performance to his stepdad who had recently passed and that Jahshie's mom was in attendance. From the moment the band took the stage there was an obvious amount of emotion exuding from all of them and many in the crowd as well but they pulled it all together and delivered a great show. As the band played on and the boom of the bass drum shook the building emotion sat in once more as Jahshie told of his family's loss and the strength of his mother and pulled it together to perform another song. Part way through the song, Robert Dean (a head writer at moonrunnerscountry.com) and Chris Miller (host of Blue Ribbon Radio) stormed the stage from the back and began to jump and sing into the microphone with the band. After the song ended and as the next song was beginning Jahshie called for anyone in the crowd to jump onto the stage to join them but just don't mess up an equipment. I could hear people in the crowd talking and trying to figure out if this was legit and they could really get up there as he kept insisting during the song to rush the stage. Very few took him up on this and then next thing I know Robert Dean was reaching down to me and pulling me onto the stage. Honestly at first I was unsure about this but figured it was a good way to advertise the farcethemusic.com shirt I was wearing. (available at http://www.redbubble.com/people/trailerparkman/shop in case you were wondering) Actually I was just to drunk to fight him off but I'm glad it turned out the way it did in the end as my wife, several friends and even more strangers made this a show that at least we will always remember.

Whiskey Dick
It's not very often you can find two guys that can sit in chairs on a stage with acoustic guitars and blow you away with their playing and their overall energy but that is exactly what these two did. I'm still completely unsure how the sounds I was hearing were being produced by what looked to be a normal flattop guitar. Overall this may have been one of the biggest surprises of day two as they tore through their time on stage with great vocals, great lyrics and unbelievable instrumentation. If these two had more people with them they'd be unstoppable.

Guess what. Those two guys in Whiskey Dick are now unstoppable…. and standing up on the stage with several more members. This may have been the craziest show of day two and 100% the craziest and most packed show on the smaller stage. A ridiculously badass sound, a crowd that was asking for every beat to be delivered harder than the last and a lead singer who  was nuts. He would fall forward off of the stage during a song and allow the fans up front to push, beat and knock him back on! If you ever want to see what stage energy is all about, get to a Black Eyed Vermillion show.

Fifth on the Floor
From talking to several people that were returning to the festival from last year, this was the most anticipated show of the weekend this year. Many were blown away by last year's performance and were in for a great show once again. Fifth on the Floor has changed immensely since last year's MoonRunners not only by switching out two of the members but also by maturing musically. The sound has changed and the overall attitude and direction of the band has taken a more upward trajectory in twelve short months but could they raise the bar for people that had been waiting a year for this? Hell yes, and other than a couple that were "engaging in their own activities" above the stage to the side, I'd say they had everyone's attention. (a few may have been listening but catching a more extreme performance higher up) In case you didn't figure it out, some dude was giving it to a chick during a large portion of the set. Honestly though the real performance was on the stage (that's a lie but I had a horrible angle) and the crowd was treated to many FOTF songs that didn't exist this time last year and a few other surprises (bukaki? No, get your mind out of the gutter.) including when the band stepped off the stage and allowed Joshua Morningstar to come up with his guitar and do an original song. Josh is definitely a talented guy to keep an eye on and deserves to be performing in his own slot next year. Another great moment came at the end of the set when lead man Justin Wells brought Adam Lee and Matt Woods up to join the band and perform The Highwaymen classic "Highwayman" by trading off verses along with FOTF Jason Parsons. This was something that everyone will remember for some time to come except for the one drunk guy that came up to me afterwards and said I did a good job up there with "them fellas from Kentucky and that other guy doing that Traveling Wilburys song". And I thought I had drank a bunch.

I've been a Roger Alan Wade fan for years and couldn't wait to see him perform but was unsure how it would be. I've heard many of his recorded songs and knew he swayed back and forth from sad to funny and also listen to his SiriusXM show often. The first thing that impressed me with Roger was his guitar playing ability. I'm not sure if it's that his lyrics are so ear catching that I've overlooked this before or if he just doesn't showcase it enough on cd but he's way better in that field than I had ever expected. The rest of the show also exceeded every expectation from telling jokes to soundcheck his mike to performing flawless cover songs. The best part of the Roger Alan Wade show actually came a few days after the festival when it was announced that he had requested to return in 2015. My calendar is marked and my stomach is already aching from the thought of cheap food and even cheaper beer.

Scott H. Biram
Scott H(oobastank) Biram
And the award for drunkest coherent person in attendance goes to…… Mr Biram. Luckily Scott is a funny drunk and also one of the people that can flawlessly play and sing while being under the influence. The performance was top notch and exactly what you'd want to get from a Biram show as he played the old, the new and put his own twist on some great covers. When unforeseen circumstances caused Shooter Jennings to have to miss this year I'm sure Scott was near if not at the top of the replacement list and he made whoever made that decision look like a genius.

I would personally like to thank Jahshie P, Robert Dean, Jody Robbins and everyone else at moonrunnerscountry.com along with the staff at Reggie's and all the bands that made this a special weekend for everyone in attendance. Most of all I would like to say that the hardest part of this entire thing was being there without my good friend Robert Earl Reed because I know how much being included in this meant to him. See you next year Chicago!

Apr 17, 2014

Little Known Facts: April 2014




ACM Awards organizers last Sunday scrambled to find a Rascal Flatts voice track when
Gary Levox walked onto the stage with a 12" chicken parmesan sub instead of his microphone.

The "H" in Scott H Biram is for Hoobastank and he is also
a founding member and the original keyboard player of the band.

Chase Rice chose his name from the punch line of an offensive joke about Asian people.

For the 2015 model, Chevrolet will be offering a special edition "country music" Silverado
that will feature two wheel drive with "4X4" stickers and oversized tailgate cables to
accommodate a higher dancer weight.

It takes a Masters Degree to fully appreciate country radio spin statistics. 
It takes a high school drop-out to fully appreciate Dallas Davidson songs.

Scotty McCreery celebrated his victory by entering a Clay Aiken look alike contest.

When James Bonamy recently stopped by Taco Bell for their new breakfast, 
the lady at the window said "Hey! Aren't you…. Jim from afternoon shift?"

The stick figure family on the back of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's vehicle is actual size.

Vince Gill might sing like a girl but he can apply a mean front facelock if you piss him off.

When asked about the controversial tweets from Luke Bryan's camp concerning
the ACM Entertainer of the Year Award, George Strait replied,
"Who's Luke Bryan and what in the hell is a tweet?"

On April Fools Day someone switched Brantley Gilbert's Valtrex with 
Gorilla Glue... Jason Aldean was not amused.

Cole Swindell's greatest writing influence is his set of ABC123 words flash cards.

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Most of these by Jeremy Harris

May 1, 2013

Festival Rundown: Moonrunners, Chicago, IL



By Jeremy Harris
(Non-editor's note: This is so long and interesting, I'm not going to bother editing. Blame any mistakes on Jeremy's intake at Moonrunners! -Trailer)

Before any details were even released for the Moon Runners Fest I was already full of excitement just imagining who I thought would probably be there. Many of the acts I was hoping for ended up being announced as time passed on. Many others I never would've thought of along with several I had previously overlooked also helped round out an overpacked one day lineup of some of the finest underground and quickly rising talent out today. The event took place at Reggie's in beautiful downtown Chicago. Reggie's is actually made up of several places (rock club, merchandise shop, record store, rock club, rooftop bar, and music joint) that are separated just enough to prevent sound from mixing from one stage to the other. The biggest downfall of MRF was the fact that some acts overlapped each other and you couldn't catch it all. I did however hear enough music to appease me for some time to come and of course I'm only going to provide commentary on the acts that I could get enough of a show to get a proper feel for. The following are my thoughts on these bands in the order I was able to watch them.

Carmen Lee
Carmen Lee and the Tomorrow River Two
These talented folks were the perfect band to get things started at 11:00 am. Carmen has a strong voice and look that instantly takes you back to the days of the 50's rockabilly queens of the past. Her fast pace and varied vocal range along with the old timey sound and aura provided by her bandmates got all those lucky enough to arrive early in the move around and drink beer mode. Instantly I knew I had made a wise decision to drive 6-1/2 hours one way.

The Dirty Generals
If you like a strong sounding edge of country with good rock beats mixed in kind of band, you'll dig The Dirty Generals. They have a very strong sound that doesn't sound like anyone else but has influences from southern rock of the past that really filled up the smaller music joint stage quite well and had most people at least tapping a toe. While the overall sound was great, there wasn't any one lyric or song that grabbed me but unfamiliarity is probably the most to blame for that.


Lonewolf OMB
I had some past experience of Lonewolf in the form of two tracks in my iTunes library and knowing he was a one man band. It didn't take long to be impressed by him and realize the recordings I have don't do a bit of justice to his talent. His growling voice and exceptional guitar and banjo playing are really something to marvel at. His voice lends itself to the blues as well as anyone else you'll ever find while his overall stage presence and energy would be hard to rival. In the end you're left with a feeling of amazement and thrill for what just took place.

Aran Buzzas
One man and his guitar laying it all out for everyone to enjoy. Ranging from low down classic sound to catchy tunes that are on the verge of comedy. Aran had the ability to have at least one song everyone could relate to in one way or another. I probably heard at least 3 people say "I think that song is about me" throughout his performance. I was lucky enough to talk to Aran before and after his show and he comes off as a genuine guy that's very happy just to be doing what he loves. He seemed to appreciate every person that said hello and every merchandise sale he made. I was lucky to purchase Aran's album that became available that very day at the festival. I've yet to listen to it but my hopes are high.

Ol' Red Shed (changed name to Coondog & The Stumpjumpers at some point between the schedule printing and their performance)
This is the band you've never heard of that could make an impact on FM county radio. The first thing I noticed was a superb country music voice mixed with superb instrumentation. The second thing was some of the country cliches we all know so well. While it wasn't overbearing, it was there. Fortunately I don't remember a single truck mention but there were a few name drops and this is how country I am moments. Overall they have the sound and hopefully get a shot at growing with their careers. Catch a show if they get close to you.

Pearls Mahone
Pearls was on the smaller music joint stage and also recording an album live at the festival of her set. As soon as I heard and saw her I was reminded of the movie Crybaby and some of the female characters in the movie. A super strong and classic voice that kept me entertained as I had my first of many run-ins with the Reggie's $10 all you can eat buffet while sitting at the bar. The crowd response was awesome and I'm sure that will help make the live recording that much better.

Robert Dean
I was lucky enough to talk to Robert a few times before he jumped on stage for his spoken word set. A great guy that was pretty nervous leading up to his first performance ever. After talking to him, there was no way I wouldn't be in the front for this. Robert came out and hit it out of the park all the way through his set. My opinion may be influenced some by the fact that I agreed with nearly all his rants and raves but I do believe even if you didn't agree, you would've been entertained by his numerous stories and life experiences that occupied the gaps between the rants and raves. I came away from MRF with two things from Robert Dean: an autographed novel for my wife and an appreciation for anyone who can speak their mind in front of drunk strangers and make them into his friends.

Last False Hope
Last False Hope
I'm going to be honest. I have probably heard every Last False Hope song that has been released to the public. I wasn't a fan of most of it but had a feeling they would be special live but I had no idea of what was about to take place. I like to think I have a pretty broad taste in music and have been to countless shows and festivals at arenas, bars, amphitheaters, state parks, houses, schools, stadiums, garages and bowling alleys to see everything from (heavy metal band) Lamb of God to the crappiest pop acts available and everything in between. Take all of that into consideration and then add this newly discovered fact. Last False Hope is THE GREATEST LIVE ACT I'VE EVER ENCOUNTERED. You don't expect a band that is being led by a mandolin player and contains a banjo and fiddle to kick your ass quite so hard but it sneaks upon you quickly. What are these guys anyways? Bluegrass/metal, country/punk or just alt country? Who cares! It is real music that is coming from the heart and not trying to fit some stupid corporate mold. I probably asked 20 people after the festival was over who their favorite act was and all but one said Last False Hope without hesitation. If you've never been lucky enough to catch a show you need to change that as soon as possible. From the moment the band takes the stage to the very end, they throw down like they will never have another chance. My damn neck still hurt from thrashing my brains around like a maniac. One of the cooler moments of the whole festival may have been when Nellie Wilson joined Last False Hope on stage for a song that will be on their upcoming album and blowed everyone away. Good lord this woman can sing. Damn do I wish her solo performance on the Record Breakers (this is the name of the record store that is a part of Reggie's that was home to some of the smaller acts) floor didn't overlap Fifth on the Floor so I could have caught her show.

Owen Mays & The 80 Proof Boys
It would be hard to find a better group of musicians than the individuals assembled on the stage during this performance. Owen traveled the road between county and bluegrass with violent swerves in both directions. My only complaint from this particular show would be that the group's energy doesn't always match their talent but very few acts would be able to achieve the level of energy that would require.

T. Junior
T. Junior
I was lucky enough to meet T. Junior before his show and he is such a nice guy. He also was probably the third or fourth person to recognize me from my twitter profile picture. I'm still uncertain what this says about my looks but I have a pretty good idea that it's not a good thing. Once "The Man In Gray" was on the stage his talent was overwhelming. A great guitar player with a soft yet powerful voice whom had the ability to mimic his album sound nearly perfectly while interacting with the crowd between every song and maintain a very strong stage presence, especially for an acoustic guitar act with no backing band.


Fifth on the Floor
My award for greatest moment of the entire night goes to Fifth on the Floor and lead singer Justin Wells for a special tribute to Mr. George Jones. Justin walked onto the stage along with his acoustic guitar and softly stated. "Yesterday my favorite country singer of all time passed away. Let's all take a moment of silence for George Jones." Then something magical happened. Justin sang a song I've heard him do several times, (although never quite like this) "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" by Mr. Jones and bring countless individuals to tear including myself and Wells. This was definitely the most powerful and heartfelt cover version I've heard of any song in a long time. As soon as the song ended, the band joined him on stage for a very powerful performance of their song "Burning Nashville Down" which ended with lead guitarist Matt Rodgers rendering his slide guitar useless for the night with a broken string. Overall this was the best of several FOTF shows I have attended. I could tell the band knew this was a very important show for them and everyone in the building. One guy standing near me had traveled from Georgia mainly to see FOTF for the first time and I overheard a few others say they had never heard of them before but were buying every album at their merch table after the show.

CW Ayon
Due to an overlapping schedule I was unable to catch much of this show but what I did take away was the fact that this man has a great blues voice and can play the guitar as well as any other you'll find. Several people were raving about his performance afterwards and throughout the night.


Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band
You would really have to dig deep to find a group of performers that could all just stand shoulder to shoulder on a stage and deliver kickass music any better than this fine group of individuals. From the very beginning it was a take no prisoners approach that never wore down. Unfortunately this was also the point in the night where the $10 buffet started rearing its ugly head. Through this, I also found out there was a larger amount of people between me and the restroom than expected. After resting my legs in Reggie's restroom that has some crappy black lights in all the fixtures, I realized there was no chance of me returning to my spot at the front of the stage for this show but I had enough of an encounter to know I'll try to catch another show of their's as soon as I can.


The Calamity Cubes
The bathroom trip wasn't a waste of time after all since the Music Joint Stage had just welcomed the Calamity Cubes and also offered a place to sit without a hole in the middle of the seat. I could quickly tell that these guys love music and hate their instruments. Man did they abuse those things with a violent display of energy that fit the smaller performing area perfectly and had the crowd jumping. They also weren't far from that damn buffet table that was calling my name again. I call that a win/win situation.

Hellbound Glory
Somehow I was able to make my way back to the front of the stage at this point just in time for T. Junior to find me and ask for directions to the buffet and an overly hydrated female to attempt to lick my eyeballs. (Yep, people like her make it to every festival) The crowd quickly made their way back to the stage with little time to spare before the band took the stage. Leroy Virgil and the band played nearly every song a fan would want to hear. (Unless you were that one drunk asshole that kept yelling "Malt Liquor" like a stuck record) The most amazing thing about the band's time on stage was probably the fact that they had just met their bassist for the show that day and he kept up quite well. My only complaint is that they all seemed a little tired and were lacking proper energy but Leroy's songwriting skills compensate for a lot in my opinion.

Banjer Dan
"Banjer" Dan Mazer made the most of his night. Not only was he one of the 80 Proof Boys joining Owen Mays on stage but he also used his time on the Record Breakers floor as a performance/banjo course with Q & A between songs. Dan is a superb banjo player and comes off as a very nice individual as well. He also kind of looks like Cecil from that Adam Sandler movie "Mr Deeds".

Scott H. Biram
If you ever need proof that stage presence and energy do not require moving around or even standing look no further than the "Dirty One Man Band from Texas". The power that comes from this man and his equipment is nothing short of amazing. The crowd was absolutely nuts during his whole show. At one point  a (I'm sure she's just lovely) fine young lady tossed a beer onto the stage near Scott and his equipment. He made a slight remark during the song and then afterwards simply stated "Throw a beer at my $10,000 music equipment again and I'll kick your ass you big tittied bitch". Ok, maybe that wasn't so simple after all. Security quickly rushed the stage to grab the woman but Scott lied and said he had taken care of it and she had left while she continued to stand in the front row but held her drink a little tighter. Mr. Biram continued to amaze everyone as he jumped from song to song and guitar to guitar while not missing a single beat and making the best of his time. The show ended with Scott flipping a switch that caused a repeat of a mid range frequency that pounded the crowd. One last middle finger and exit stage right.

Shooter Jennings
11:00 says the schedule. Kiss my ass schedule says Shooter. Oh well, I've been standing for 12 hours so what's another 47 minutes waiting and leaning on the barricade separating me and the stage. Shooter and his current band entered the stage to a massive roar of the packed crowd and kicked the night off with "Hard Lesson To Learn" from his latest album before running though some of the songs off of his older albums and keeping a great mix of songs throughout the night.

The amount of energy Shooter maintained through his set (after he had walked around in the crowd most the night) was only rivaled by the extremely drunk lady that was screaming his name the whole time while trying to offer him a drink. God am I glad he didn't give in and take it unless that would've shut her up. In that case, damn you Shooter for not shutting her up. Just as you would think it can't get any cooler than this Shooter starts in on "The White Trash Song" and is joined by Scott H. Biram just in time for Scott's verse in the song. Then just like that they were gone. No Scott, Shooter or a band. All gone! It's over. Oh wait, I almost forgot I'm up front and can see the setlist which has five more songs listed. And........ they are back. Shooter takes his place at the keyboard and does a great performance of "Wake Up" from the Black Ribbons album which included every last sound effect played live by mostly Shooter himself and rolled right into "Sweet Savannah". A few more great songs and then, POW! "The Gunslinger" is blasting in my face. Live! This song sounds so cool live and really picks up at the end with Shooter at one time playing his guitar, keyboard and some sort of synthesizer type thing all at once. The bass was hitting so hard the building was shaking and my entire body was pounding as the entire crowd joined me in a frenzy. After leaving the stage the crowd exited the room quite quickly and I was lucky enough to get invited backstage to meet Shooter and talk for a short time. Shooter is 100% a super nice guy and luckily has a good sense of humor. (making fun of him on FTM through several postings is what got me invited back to begin with.) He was nice enough to introduce me to his wife and tattoo artist friend and show me the awesome tattoo he's in the process of on his back (Trailer, start photo shopping your guesses now).

A few things I gathered from the show:
While the debate over whether rock is dead or not will go on, one thing that is evident is the fact that the soul of the punk rock fan was alive and well in Chicago on this day. No matter what genre terminology you would like to use to classify these artist as, one thing is certain: There was definitely a youthful angst amongst most the acts and fans no matter the age or geographical place of dwelling. While the types of music displayed at the event differed greatly in sound from each other they all share a common bond of being real and from the heart. I doubt we have witnessed the last of not only the festival, but also several of the acts performing at this great display of quality over commercialism. Countless times I heard the phrase "We will all be bragging about being here for year one at Moon Runners Festivals for years to come." According to Robert Dean, this will cause us all to be hipsters in a few years. And to the dude from Georgia with the backpack, we all know it was you farting all night up front at the Rock Club Stage.

While some memories of MRF1 (as us hipsters to be call it) may fade, some things I'll never forget are the friends I have gained, the soreness of my feet after being on them for 14 hours and $10 for a 14 hour buffet is a good idea that night but not so much the next morning.

My apologies to:
Lou Shields, Nellie Wilson, Jake Cox, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke and James Hunnicutt for missing your performances this time but I hope to see you down the road.

----
Photos by Jeremy Harris
Videos by various Moonrunners attendees

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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