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
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
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
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
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
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
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.
"Bite the Dust"
Friday, December 11, 2009
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"
Thursday, December 10, 2009
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 SIGN TO ATO RECORDS, RELEASE NEW ALBUM
“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 / firstname.lastname@example.org