Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In My Basement Room's Top 5 of 2009

Here are my favorite albums of 2009 based entirely on the amount of time I spent listening to each one. Granted, there were a lot of albums I did not buy. It was easy to pick my number one. It was far and away better than anything else this year. Numbers two through five could have been in any order; I just picked a sequence and went. They all received a lot of play.

1. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Self Titled - Lightning Rod Records

2. Lucero - 1372 Overton Park - Universal Republic

3. Drive-By Truckers - The Fine Print - New West Records

4. Ben Nichols - The Last Pale Light in the West - Rebel Group Records

5. Chris Knight - Trailer II - Drifter's Church Productions

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Don't Forget: State Champion in Louisville Tonight!

State Champion is playing an acoustic show at The Swan Dive with Mansions and Animal City. Show starts at 9:00pm.

The Swan Dive
921 Swan Street
Louisville, KY 40204

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Country Music Highway: Dwight Yoakam

This post will hopefully be the first in a series featuring artists from the Country Music Highway in eastern Kentucky. The Country Music Highway is the stretch of U.S. Route 23 that runs north-south in eastern Kentucky. An unusually large number of country music stars were born in the counties that the highway lies in. I want to start the series by featuring one of the bigger stars, and one of my absolute favorite artists.
Dwight Yoakam was born in Pike County, KY. He writes and sings a lot of songs that are influenced by lifestyles of the area. Coal mining, preaching, family. The song below is one he wrote about the highway itself and how the mentality in the area is to learn the basics and then take the highway north out of the area to find a decent job. Dwight's solo acoustic album dwightyoakamacoustic.net has a great version of the song on it, and it is probably my favorite Dwight album by far. The version below is recording for a radio broadcast on KPFK in California on August 4th, 1985. This is before Dwight hit it big. The track is over seven minutes, but the second half is some great interview/discussion with Dwight. I got this set from A Truer Sound a while back. Check it out here. Hopefully it is still downloadable.

Dwight Yoakam - "Readin', Writin', and Rt. 23"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Goose Creek Symphony

I discovered Goose Creek Symphony's Welcome to Goose Creek probably ten years ago in a stack of old beat up records. The album is an experience and should be heard beginning to end in one sitting. However, the track featured below convinced me to upgrade to the CD format. And even though the album is almost forty years old now, you can still get it from a number of sites. The music falls into a bastard of a genre, with bluegrass, folk, country, and blues the likely fathers. Charlie Gearhart, band founder and songwriter, comes from Goose Creek in southeast Kentucky. You can read some of his "fishing stories" on the band's website. The band plays in KY area frequently so keep an eye on the site and catch them live if you can.
"Right Track" (from 1971's Welcome to Goose Creek) (Buy here!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recent Vinyl Finds

I picked up the following albums for a total of $6.00. Yeah, I had to sort through a bunch of junk to find these but it was worth it. The Springsteen live box is in excellent condition other than the box itself and was three bucks. The Kenny Rogers is sealed. The rest of the albums looked to be in really good shape for the most part, but I haven't put them on yet.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Steve Earle at A Truer Sound

I have been listening to these discs for a couple weeks now and have found I like Steve a lot more than I used to. In my opinion, this collection is better than a lot of his commercial releases. Check out the "Dead Flowers" cover. Go on over to A Truer Sound and check it out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

State Champion: Stale Champagne

To me there is nothing better than hearing a band you have never heard before and being blown away and hooked right from the start. It happened when I first heard the Drive-By Truckers. It happened the first time I heard Lucero. And Slithering Beast. It's a sense of excitement about what I am hearing that makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning, waiting on everyone else to wake up so they can join in the excitement. And I am truly glad that it happened when I fired up Stale Champagne, the upcoming release from State Champion.
State Champion, now calling Louisville home, play a garage-country style of music with a little folk, songwriter, and indie rock influence as well. Stale Champagne is coming out in January on Sophomore Lounge records (which also happens to be the home of IMBR favorite Slithering Beast). The band is Ryan Davis (vocals/guitar/piano), Aaron Osbourne (drums), Mikie Poland (bass), Sabrina Rush (violin/mandolin/banjo) w/ additional vocal contributions by Lindsay Powell. They have a bunch of upcoming shows across the states listed on their myspace, with one later this month in Louisville. Check out the tracks below then get in line at a show to get the album.
"Thanks Given"

"Bite the Dust"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fifth on the Floor

The Color of Whiskey
Fifth on the Floor is a country band out of Lexington, KY with a new album, The Color of Whiskey, out on Sol Records. I am ashamed that I haven't seen them live, but I plan to rectify that in the next couple of months. I can't exactly find a link to buy the album on the website. All the more reason to see them live. I'll post an update if I get a purchase link figured out. Until then, check out the slow-burner below and visit their links to stream the rest of the album and check tour dates.

Fifth on the Floor

"Last Night in Memphis" (mp3)
from "The Color of Whiskey"
(Sol Records)

More On This Album

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DBT - "The Big To-Do"

So it has been a month since my last post. Might as well get back into things with a quick update. I got the following in my email today:


“Drive-By Truckers are the best rock band in America.” CNN.com

New York, NY—ATO Records is pleased to announce the signing of Drive-By Truckers and their label debut, The Big To-Do. The album, which will be the band’s tenth in their thirteen-year career, is scheduled to be released March 16, 2010. The Big To-Do features thirteen new tracks from the Drive-By Truckers and was produced by their long time producer, David Barbe (Sugar, Bettye LaVette). “It’s very much a rock album,” says Patterson Hood of the Trucker’s upcoming release. “Very melodic and more rocking than anything we’ve done since disc 2 of Southern Rock Opera.”

The inspiration for The Big To-Do came to the band during their time on the road. “We’ve often set our songs and albums in different periods of time, but this one finds us directly in our present. Riding all through the highways of America (and Europe) trying to make sense of a very different world than the one we grew up in,” says Hood. “I don’t write a lot of songs on the road, but I did more than usual on this album and many more were inspired by or set there, either in a literal sense or something I witnessed or heard about while I was out there.”

Hood and Mike Cooley continue to be the chief songwriters of the group, continuing a musical partnership that has lasted over twenty-three years. Bassist, Shonna Tucker, flexes her songwriting muscles once again by contributing two original songs to the album. Brad Morgan (drums), John Neff (guitar/pedal steel) and Jay Gonzalez (keyboards) round out the current Drive-By Truckers lineup.

The band recently backed legendary R&B musician, Booker T. Jones, on his critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album, Potato Hole. The album is nominated for Best Pop Instrumental Album and Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

The Drive-By Truckers will be hitting the road at the beginning of the new year. A full tour supporting The Big To-Do will be announced in early 2010.

The Big To-Do Track Listing:
1. Daddy Learned to Fly
2. The Fourth Night of My Drinking
3. Birthday Boy
4. Drag the Lake Charlie
5. The Wig He Made Her Wear
6. You Got Another
7. This Fucking Job
8. Get Downtown
9. After the Scene Dies
10. (It’s Gonna Be) I Told You So
11. Santa Fe
12. The Flying Wallendas
13. Eyes Like Glue
14. Girls Who Smoke (Bonus track – vinyl only)

Drive-By Truckers on tour:
1/28 Huntsville, AL Crossroads Music Hall
1/29 Mobile, AL Soul Kitchen
1/30 Tuscaloosa, AL Jupiter Bar & Grill
2/11 Greenville, SC Handlebar
2/12 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre
2/13 Raleigh, NC Lincoln Theatre
2/14 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theatre
2/25 Charlotte, NC Neighborhood Theatre
2/26 Charlottesville, VA Jefferson Theatre
2/27 Charlottesville, VA Jefferson Theatre

Photo taken by Erika Goldring on Halloween at Voodoo Fest in New Orleans 2009.
LtoR: Jay Gonzalez, Brad Morgan, Patterson Hood, Shonna Tucker, Mike Cooley, John Neff

For more information contact: Traci Thomas / Thirty Tigers / 615-664-1167 / traci@thirtytigers.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Larry Sparks - Casualty of War

Fitting song for Veteran's Day by one of the best voices in bluegrass.
Larry Sparks does it right.

Friday, November 6, 2009

JJ Schultz

I discovered JJ Schultz four or five years ago through Pandora Radio. I don't remember what station I was listening to, but I was sold after the first verse of "Speed Train". I have a playlist of about 18 songs that I call Alt-Country Essentials and two of those tracks are JJ's. I could put a couple more of his tracks on it and the mix would still be worthy of the title. JJ has three albums out on San Francisco's Last Stop Records. His sounds range from intimate singer-songwriter tales of desperate farmers to snare drum driven numbers about drinking in country bars. I have posted a favorite from each album below. I don't know of JJ playing in the Louisville area anytime soon, but go check him out if you happen to get the chance. You can get all three of JJ's albums at CDBaby. If you buy all three you'll get them for $5 each!

"Max My Dog" (from 2004's Bustin' Outa Town)

"Speed Train" (from 2005's Something to Me)

"Traveling Song" (from 2007's Traveling Songs)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Bowerbirds: 11/16 @ the 930 Listening Room

The Bowerbirds latest album Upper Air, on Dead Oceans records, is a grower. It is full of lonesome songs with mournful harmonies and simple instrumentation. It may take one or two complete spins, but after becoming familiar with the tracks and the direction each song takes you will likely enjoy their mellow indie-folk sound. At any rate, the 'birds are playing the 930 Listening Room in Louisville on November 16th. Get their catalog here and go see the show. It's suitable music for a Tuesday evening.

Northern Lights

Beneath Your Trees

Monday, October 26, 2009

Live Music Archive Gems: DBT at Cooley's House

This is the first in what will be a regular feature called Live Music Archive Gems. If you don't know, the Live Music Archive is continually growing collection of live music recordings available for free. Most can be streamed or downloaded as either mp3 or lossless audio. There is a ton of great music to be had. In these recurring posts I will sort through the junk and post the gems.
For the first post I have selected my favorite download from the archive. It is an intimate acoustic recording of the Drive-By Truckers from 12-29-2003 jamming/practicing at Mike Cooley's house. Listen to the download from start to finish and you will hear chatter of friends, bottles being passed around, and jokes being told.
I've posted one song from each of the songwriters (at the time). You can go here to download the whole recording or individual tracks as mp3 or lossless files. There is also a text file with notes such as set list, recording lineage, and taper. Thanks a lot to Chris Pennington.

Company I Keep

Love Like This

Decoration Day

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Free Music: Suburban Home Records via Beer Advocate

Suburban Home Records (through an ad in Beer Advocate) is offering a free sampler download with some great music: Drag the River, Two Cow Garage, and the Takers to name only a few of the artists. Check out the Vinyl Collective store and sign up for the newsletter. They send out great offers pretty regularly.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mic Harrison & the High Score

Mic Harrison & the High Score make good music. It's not white collar music; it's not even blue collar music. It's more like sweat-stain-collar music. The songs are about hard work, whiskey, and women. The music is Harrison's brand of country: Budweiser drenched and sawdust coated. You may know Harrison from his days in the V-Roys, where he sang and wrote along with Scott Miller. That band went on to be signed to Steve Earle's record label. Harrison then played in the Faults and Superdrag before joining up full time with the High Score (Robbie Trosper, Brad Henderson and Vance Hillard).

Both Scott Miller and the V-Roys have a good bit more pop in their music than Mic Harrison and the High Score. The band is working on a new album that will be released in the first half of next year. Check out their store for a bunch of MH & the HS albums, as well as some Harrison solo stuff, some High Score albums, and even some V-roys too.

The guys have a Halloween show coming up if you are going to be in Knoxville next weekend. Check out their website or myspace for details.

Wiser The Whiskey
(from 2007's "Push Me On Home")

Sawdust (from 2008's "On the Right Side of the Grass")

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yardsale: Louisville's Own

Yardsale is by self proclamation "Louisville's Second Most Rootin-est, Tootin-est Band." Their sound can be described with terms like country, pop, and honky-tonk, all modified with the mysterious "alt" prefix. They have a wide spectrum of sounds, from almost pure Stones rock to slow country ballads with great harmony vocals.
Yardsale has recorded three albums, a live EP, and is working on the upcoming release Knock Alley West. The songs below will be on the new album and come from each end of the Yardsale spectrum. "Mississippi's Flooding" features some really slick guitars and "Slow Motion" is beautifully simple, letting the lyrics, vocals, and steel guitar shine. Really looking forward to hearing the full album. We'll post an update when it is released. Until then, you can get your rootin-tootin fix here, or go see Yardsale when they come around. Yardsale plays The Vernon Club November 13th.

Mississippi's Flooding

Slow Motion

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bluegrass Roots: Larry Cordle

From time to time I'll be posting segments called Bluegrass Roots. Bluegrass music is one of the earliest genres I encountered growing up in eastern Kentucky. Long before I ever heard Guns n Roses or AC/DC or any other band that you are supposed to listen to when you're ten years old, I could quote Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers or Bill Monroe. While there is a plentiful supply of good bluegrass music, the weakest trait of the genre as a whole is the songwriting. Too often even the top bands in the business will use worn out cover songs for more than 50% of their album tracks. Today's featured artist is one of the few truly great and prolific bluegrass songwriters.
Larry Cordle, from eastern KY, has had songs recorded by a who's who list of mainstream country acts. "Against the Grain" by Garth Brooks. "Highway 40 Blues" by Ricky Skaggs. "Under This Old Hat" by Chris Ledoux. Check out Larry's allmusic page for a three page list. He even cowrote "Murder on Music Row" which was recorded as a duet by Alan Jackson and George Strait.
I've posted two tracks from the Murder on Music Row album from a few years back, recorded with his band Lonesome Standard Time. The whole album is good so don't be afraid to pull the trigger and order it. His whole catalog is worth having if you like bluegrass and good songwriting. Buy his albums here.
Black Diamond Strings

When It's All Said and Done

The Coal Men

The Coal Men are a Nashville band that play some country songs that Bruce Springsteen might wish he had written. Their latest album, Kids With Songs, is available on Funzalo Records and has some terrific slow numbers. One of the songs posted below was even featured on the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch." No shows are listed currently, but they have a nice website with some live audio and video. Buy the albums here and go check them out!

Houston Memory

Farther Find Me Now

Monday, October 12, 2009

Dixie Whiskey

A quick post tonight with Dixie Whiskey. Head over here to download the album. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Grant Langston - Stand Up Man

Grant Langston's latest album, Stand Up Man is tight. He and his band the Supermodels really have it together, resulting in a polished-but-not-too-slick record. The songs are well written and catchy, an accomplishment when singing about Shinerbock, Vicodin, and a geriatric skirt chasing father. The album is heavy on twangy guitars and has some pedal steel and fiddle sprinkled in the right spots.
Stand Up Man is available for a limited time as a free download at Grant's site. The download comes with an electronic copy of the album artwork and liner notes. Check out the samples below, then head over and get the album for yourself.

Burt Reynolds Movie Brawl

The King of Sunset Hills

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour

Woodsongs is a radio show taped before a live studio audience every Monday at the historic Kentucky Theatre in Lexington, KY. Tickets are usually ridiculously cheap and the acts are very often national touring acts. Woodsongs is hosted by folk singer/songwriter/treehugger Michael Johnathon.

Even more amazing than the live show is the archives that are kept on the website. There are hundreds of shows with audio and/or video that can be streamed or downloaded. There are usually two featured artists per show, so you are sure to find something that you take a liking to. Check out the archives here.
Also check the Affiliates page to learn what stations in your area carry Woodsongs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Edgehill Avenue Album: Pay What You Want Until Friday Night

This comes from the guys at Edgehill Avenue:

It's really important to us that you have a copy of Rambler. We worked so hard on it and are so proud of it, that we want you to have it, no matter what. Pay what you want, but even if you have no money, please get one. From now until midnight Fri night you can pay what you want via Paypal (use departurerecords@gmail.com) and we'll send you a link to download Rambler in it's entirety. Can't afford to pay? Ok then, send an email to departurerecords@gmail.com and ask for one...just get one ok?! Feel free to share this with everyone you know, spread the word, spread the Rambler.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Slithering Beast

Nick Dittmeier writes and sings the songs for the Southern Indiana outfit Slithering Beast. The songs focus on that dirty triumvirate of good country music : drinking, driving a truck, and drinking and driving (be it truck, lawnmower, or bicycle). The band has two albums out on Sophomore Lounge Records: 2007's Werewolf Ballads and 2008's Midnight Royalty. I hear a little bit of the Bottle Rockets and a little bit of Old Crow in their sound. Get bit by the Beast here.

Slithering Beast plays Molly Malone's in Covington on November 13th.

Driving Drunk


It Just Don't Make Sense

Burning Bridges

Nick Dittmeier - "S.I.S."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Edgehill Avenue

Alright, my first post featuring a local band! Edgehill Avenue's new album Rambler is out on Louisville based Departure Records. If you don't like the title cut, you probably won't like much of the music featured on this site. This song has it all: a great story with vocals to match, sweet guitar fills, and organ work that is the icing on the cake.
(Buy Album)

Edgehill Avenue has some local shows coming up. Check 'em out!

Mike Cooley (of Drive-By Truckers)

One of my reasons for starting this blog is to introduce music that may not get noticed enough. Today I am featuring Mike Cooley, singer/songwriter/guitarist for the Drive-By Truckers. The tunes come from a solo live show a few years back that you can find over at Southern Shelter. While you're there check out some of the great music that taper and archiver Sloan Simpson has up.
The solo set is one of my favorite live shows I have. Mike plays most all of his DBT favorites, but also plays some unrealeased tunes that are just great.
"Pulaski, TN" needs to be recorded and released as soon as possible. Who knows, maybe it will show up on the next DBT record.
Pulaski, TN - Mike Cooley

"Women Without Whiskey" is one of DBT's best songs and it holds pretty dang well as a solo acoustic piece.
Women Without Whiskey - Mike Cooley

Saturday, October 3, 2009

1372 Overton Park

I got my pre-order copy of Lucero's latest release in the mail yesterday. Twelve excellent tracks, though I am already choosing favorites. "Hey Darlin' Do You Gamble" is definitely one of those, and it recalls the "old" Lucero sounds of the first couple albums. "Sixes and Sevens" delivers the pure rock-n-roll sound that was 2006's Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers. The video of "Goodbye Again" comes from Lucero fans Bill and Bob Bayne:

Lucero "Goodbye Again" from Lucero on Vimeo.

The boys have all of their albums for sale on their site; support them please.

Lucero plays Headliner's (Louisville) November 21st.