Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best of 2010

So here it is the last week of the year and coincidentally also time for my obligatory best-of-the-year list.  I'll keep it short because I don't like pretending that there were fifty albums released this year that you should spend your dough on.  But be assured that if I've listed them here, they are good.  Some of the links to previous posts will still have active mp3s in case you missed them the first time.

1) State Champion - Stale Champagne
Being that it was released way back in January, I had all year to possibly forget about this one.  But now, a year later, I still listen to it a couple times a week.  The band calls their music garage-country, and I can't think of a better description.   Here is what I wrote about it when I first heard it. 

2) Truckstop Darlin' - Truckstop Darlin'
 These guys from Portland, Oregon have put out a genre-defining alt-country album with their self-titled debut.  See what I had to say about it here.

3) Andrew Combs - Tennessee Time EP
By far the best pure country album of the year, regardless of the fact it's an EP.  Andrew has a great young-man-with-an-old-worn-voice thing going, but the ace up his sleeve is his songwriting.  "Tennessee Time" and "Too Stoned to Cry" should set the standard for country radio if things were right with the world.  My post from this past summer.

4) Reno Bo - Happenings and Other Things
This album might stick out like a sore thumb in this list.  It's rock and roll with a strong pop tilt.  Don't let my description discourage you though, because I'd describe Tom Petty in the same fashionRead my review here.

5) Elizabeth Cook - Welder
Confession:  This was my first exposure to Elizabeth and now I'm a fan.  My goal for 2011 is to see if her previous releases are as good as this one is.

6) Two Cow Garage - Sweet Saint Me
Would've made my best of list based only on "Jackson, Don't You Worry,"  but the rest of the album is great typical Two Cow and that will make my best of any year.

7) American Aquarium - Small Town Hymns
Another band carrying the alt-country torch and holding it high.  They had a really good album last year and have followed it up with another one full of great songwriting and ragged vocals.  You need this one in your collection.

8) Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song
I like good country music and Jamey is doing it better than any other mainstream artist out there.  These songs aren't cookbook Nashville arrangements either.  A lot of different chord progressions and tempos and a couple classic covers keep it interesting across both discs.

9) The Black Keys - Brothers
 I like some of their earlier stuff.  My wife bought this album.  I borrowed  snatched it.  I like it.  A lot.


10) The Famous - Come Home to Me
Solid alt-country outing from the San Francisco gang.  Lots of great guitar work on this one.  Here's what I had to say about it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Free Music: Joe Pug - Nation of Heat EP

From now until Christmas you can download Joe Pug's EP Nation of Heat from WXRT radio.  Also be sure to check out Joe's full length Messenger from last year, available from Lightning Rod Records.  I'm downloading the free EP now, so go do the same.

Download Nation of Heat for free!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Scott Miller - Christmas Gift

I generally fall in the category of No-Thank-You when it comes to Christmas music, with only a handful of exceptions.  So when I heard of Scott Miller's new EP, Christmas Gift, I raised an eyebrow and then forgot about the album completely until a few days ago.  I'm a big fan of Scott's, but I wasn't sure if he could pull off a Christmas album that I would actually enjoy.  However, I've since given it a few complete listens and it is actually a pretty good little experience.  And since I don't have a favorite Christmas album I guess it wins that title by default.  Scott wrote two of the seven tracks on the album.  "Yes, Virginia" relates  memories of Christmas with the family, but with a more sincere and appreciative sentiment than Robert Earl Keen's take.  The other original, "The Kingdom Has Come",  is a bit of a mashup of Miller's lyrics and a T.S. Eliot poem, but it turns out much better than that sounds.  Scott picked some great covers to complete the disc, including Prine's "Christmas in Prison," Neil Young's "Star of Bethlehem," and a bluegrass instrumental of the hymn "Joyful, Joyful."  "Christmas in Prison" is just as good as the original and should have been included on the John Prine tribute album.  Check it out below (right-click, save-as) and pick it up if you like.  Look, it even has the sticker on the front is you want to give one as a gift.

Scott Miller - Kingdom Has Come  (from Christmas Gift) (Buy)

Scott Miller - Yes, Virginia  (from Christmas Gift) (Buy)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Free Show: Bodeco at Ear X-tacy - Saturday December 18th

Just a quick note to let you know that local favorite's Bodeco will be playing a free in store show at Ear X-tacy this Saturday, December 18th.  Show starts at 8 pm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Free Music: Kent Goolsby's Wide Eyed Son

Kent Goolsby, singer/writer/guitar player for The Only Sons, has made his first solo album Wide Eyed Son available for free download from the TOS websiteWide Eyed Son was recorded by Glossary's Joey Kneiser and will get you through the winter until The Only Sons release their next LP American Stranger in February 2011 on Sophomore Lounge Records.  While you are on the download page, be sure you pick up their 2008 release Steel Hearts while it is free too.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ronnie Fauss - Mulligan

Ronnie Fauss is an alt-country artist based in Dallas that has put out three EP's to date on FTG Records.  His latest, Mulligan, carries on a streak of simple arrangements paired with observant lyrics that are memorable but manage to avoid cliches, similar to John Prine's approach.  My favorite number off of Mulligan is the honky tonk "It's a Long, Long Way," which I've posted below (click the link to download).  New Songs for the Old Frontier Vol. 1, Ronnie's previous release, had Slobberbone's fingerprints all over it with Brent Best producing and Jess Barr doing the banjo work.  So for your enjoyment (and because I don't want to post two songs off of a six song EP) I've posted a good track off of that EP as well.  Look for New Songs for the Old Frontier Vol. 2 in the near future.
Also, if you go to Ronnie's Noisetrade page you can download his other EP, I Can't Make You Happy for free.

Ronnie Fauss - It's a Long, Long Way  (from Mulligan) (Buy)

Ronnie Fauss - The Last  (from New Songs for the Old Frontier Vol. 1) (Buy)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Truckstop Darlin'

I may be late to the party stumbling across this band, but I'm damn glad I did. From the first verse of the album opener, "Tired Old Prom Queens," I could tell Truckstop Darlin's self-titled debut album was going to be a good one. But it wasn't until I'd let all twelve tracks play through that I realized I had an instant classic in my hands. I've always considered Wilco's - A.M. and the Drive-By Truckers' - Decoration Day the best examples of what alt-country is, but Truckstop Darlin' defines the genre just as well. The songwriting covers the essential dark country topics, but in a way that is unique but still familiar. Guitar hammer-ons give a nod to classic southern rock and the pedal steel mixed up front sets the mood on most tracks (see "Grandpa" below), with the bass and drums locking in to fill out the sound behind the gravelly lead vocals. The band [John Phelan (vocals/guitar), Eric Kotila (drums), Nick Foltz (bass/vocals), Michael Winter (pedal steel)] is based in Portland, Oregon so it may be a while before they make it to Louisville, so the best thing you can do for yourself is go buy their album until they do come through town. This is definitely one of the best albums I've heard in a long while and I am already looking forward to their next one.  Check out a couple tracks below.

Truckstop Darlin' - Grandpa  (from Truckstop Darlin')(Buy)

Truckstop Darlin' - King of the Highway  (from Truckstop Darlin')

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chris Knight: An IMBR Primer

This is the first in what will be a series of In My Basement Room Primer posts: a handful of my favorite tracks from what an artist that I consider absolutely essential. The idea is that those of you not familiar with a Primer artist will have the chance to hear some of their better tracks and ultimately become a fan.

To start off the series, I could think of no artist better suited than Chris Knight. With seven albums released to date, Chris has not recorded a single bad song, where most artists with that size back catalog will have at least one complete dud of an album. Chris is consistent: he may make you wait two or three years between albums, but it is worth it. He's the best songwriter I've heard, with only Prine, Springsteen, and Dylan giving him a run for his money. But Chris's songs resonate more with me than those more prominent writers. His songs are about regular folks, usually down on their luck or in the wrong place at the wrong time. Card cheats, truck drivers, and pool hall townies (you get the idea) mixed in with murders, affairs, and child abuse.

I've selected six tracks for this first Primer. If you like Chris Knight (and if you are reading this blog chances are you will), go see him when he comes through your town and pick up his albums here.

Here it is -- Chris Knight: An IMBR Primer.

"William" (from Chris Knight)
"Hard Edges" (from The Trailer Tapes)
"A Train Not Running" (from The Jealous Kind)
"Down the River" (from A Pretty Good Guy)
"Run From Your Memory" (from Chris Knight)
"It Ain't Easy Being Me" (from Trailer II)

This is a really good read on Chris from about ten years ago courtesy of No Depression.

And here is a great video from the folks of Chris doing "North Dakota."

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kelsey Waldon - Anchor in the Valley

Anchor in the Valley is the first album from west Kentuckian Kelsey Waldon. On the whole it is definitely a country album, but there is something thankfully unique in the combination of Kelsey's songwriting (she wrote all ten tracks), the beautiful vocals, and the steel guitar driven instrumentation. You can pick up the album for $5 on bandcamp or Amazon and Itunes if you prefer. Kelsey is finishing up a new EP to be released this coming spring and will feature another outstanding backing band.
First, here is one of my favorite songs from Anchor in the Valley.

Kelsey Waldon - The Light (from Anchor in the Valley) (Buy)

Next, here is a really nice video of "Mississippi Ride", another great song on the album.

"Ballad for Modern Times Pt 2" another good one from the album.

This last one is an audio Youtube of a Neil Young cover, "Don't Let it Bring You Down." Maybe this is the Neil Young cover that will be on the upcoming EP. No video, but be sure you check it out; it's good.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jason Isbell covers Patterson Hood

This one came up on the shuffle today.  "The Assassin" is, in my opinion, Patterson Hood's best song and also my favorite of the select covers Jason does.  Patterson put the song on his his 2004 acoustic solo release, Killers and Stars, but Jason and the 400 Unit make it a top shelf rock song, slide guitar and all.  I've heard there is a studio version from Jason's Sirens of the Ditch sessions floating around, but I don't have it and I can't imagine it lives up to the raw live versions.

I've posted a couple audio tracks and good quality video version to check out.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mountain Heart - That Just Happened EP

I've been a Mountain Heart fan for years.  I have a few of their of their albums (as well as Jim VanCleve's and Clay Jones' solo albums) and  and have been to many, many of their shows.  They are among the best in the business when it comes to live performances, and I can't begin to convey the energy that their live shows have. 

That said, I have not seen them in probably three years.  I have heard mixed reviews from friends concerning the new lineup/style, mostly from fans of the traditional bluegrass sounds.  I, however, appreciate a band, especially in the bluegrass genre, that tries to evolve and add something new to the music.  Hey, J.D. Crowe was scorned (I hear) when he brought in drums to the New South in the late 80's, and he is one of my favorites.  There are thousands of great bands that play the same old covers, but I respect a band that writes it's own music (or at least finds some original songs). 

About half of the songs on their new EP, That Just Happened, are written by vocalist/guitarist/(gasp!..pianist) Josh Shilling (who replaced Steve Gulley, but if you are familiar with Mountain Heart you already know that) and/or fiddler Jim VanCleve.  The covers aren't the typical bluegrass standards either.  Okay, one of them is, but it is done quite nicely, and the other two are a Greg Allman cover and a David Allan Coe cover.  To be completely honest, I did not care for the title cut that opens the album, "That Just Happened."  It is very slick, very catchy, and very power chord pop sounding, so much so that it is something you are likely to hear on modern country radio.  It doesn't seem to fit the band or the rest of the EP, but I suppose it goes along with the new sound/image they are creating.  I would have picked "Same Old Heartache" as the song to push, but what do I know?

Anyway, ignoring the title cut, the rest of the EP is a good listen and is a snapshot of band that is evolving and could possibly be on the verge of creating another new-grass/progressive movement in the genre, one that may translate well to the modern country crowd.  The band has all the pieces necessary.  Everyone is a master of their instrument, and Josh has a very good voice that blends well with Barry (Abernathy) and the others.  All Mountain Heart has to do is keep writing/finding good songs.  If you have the chance to see these guys soon, you should do so.  They have more energetic shows than a lot of rock acts I've seen.  Just remember: it ain't exactly grandaddy's bluegrass.  Check out two tracks from That Just Happened below.

Mountain Heart - Same Old Heartache (from That Just Happened EP) (Buy)
Mountain Heart - The Ride (you know, the one David Allan Coe made famous but didn't write)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

YouTube Bluegrass: J.D. Crowe & the New South

J.D. Crowe & the New South circa 1975.  Best bluegrass group ever?  You can certainly make a strong argument that they were.  Consisting of the banjo master himself along with Tony Rice on vocals/guitar, Ricky Skaggs on vocals/mandolin, Bobby Slone on fiddle/upright bass, and Jerry Douglas on dobro, the New South at this time was a supergroup for sure.  Each of these gentlemen will surely be members of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame (Crowe already is).  The video below is of "The Old Home Place," one of their most well known songs from the classic 1975  self-titled album.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Famous - Come Home to Me

I've been sitting on this album for too long, but I have a halfway decent excuse.  I've had the album at work since I got it and it hasn't really left my CD player (yeah, I still have one of those).  Better late than never.

The Famous is a four piece out of San Francisco that sound like they've spent a lot of time in Bakersfield.  Their latest album Come Home to Me has plenty of jangly twang guitars but is mixed equally with punching pop power chords that combine for some really memorable hooks.  Think Buck Owens meets the Old 97's.  The Famous is Laurence Scott (Vocals, Guitar), Victor Barclay (Guitar, Backing Vocals), Chris Fruhauf (Drums), and G.D. Hensley (Bass).  Definitely check this album/band out if you are a fan of great alt-country guitar and songwriting.  No dates listed on the website, and I'd imagine they don't make it this far east too often, but maybe they'll come around soon.  In the meantime you can pick up Come Home to Me and their 2005 release Light, Sweet Crude on the buy link below.

The Famous - Off My Mind (from Come Home to Me) (Buy)
The Famous - Moving On

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

YouTube: State Champion at Ear X-tacy

I stumbled across these videos of State Champion today so I'll share with you.  It appears to be from the Stale Champagne record release show at Ear X-tacy earlier this year, before the store moved to it's new location, which was the first time I caught them live as well.  Watch all four parts and it's like you were there man!  Did I mention that Stale Champagne is one of my favorite albums of this year?  Thanks to whoever shot these and put them up.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Monday, November 15, 2010

Arliss Nancy

I ran across these guys thanks mainly to a review of their newest EP, Truckstop Roses by Front Porch Musings. They immediately became a favorite of mine. Arliss Nancy is on Death to False Hope Records, a grassroots label that helps bands promote their music for free. Most of the albums on DTFH can be downloaded on the pay-what-you-want-principle, and you should check out their entire catalog.  This is one of the first times that I have agreed with a band when they say they are similar to Lucero.  I can definitely hear the influence.  Throw them a few bucks and download the new EP and the full length debut Dance to Forget.
Arliss Nancy - Wrong or Right (from Dance to Forget)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Show Review: Slithering Beast @ Dragon Pub

Friday night Slithering Beast played two sets at the Dragon Pub in Frankfort. It was my first time at the Dragon and I didn't know what to expect. I showed up just as the guys were getting started on the first set. It was a small crowd, maybe due to the UK basketball game, as I noticed a few groups showing up later on decked out in blue. The guys started off with the classics, a new song,and a couple covers (one a nod to In My Basement Room with "Dead Flowers") in the first set. The band (Mark Sieckman-drums, Alex Plamp-guitar, Nick Dittmeier-guitar & vox, Paul Dittmeier-pedal steel, Matt Kavorovic-bass & vox) sounded really good. Bass and drums were really locking in for that unique Slithering Beast rhythm, Nick and Alex were trading guitar licks, and Paul was all over the steel. After a short break, the band came back out with a more of the older songs from the first two albums mixed in with a couple more new songs. They ended the show with a pure rock and roll cover of "In the Midnight Hour" that even had people walking over from the pool tables to check it out. It was a great show and I wish more people had been there to see a really good original band in their own backyard. Nick will be doing an FREE acoustic show with Ryan Davis of State Champion on November 26th (7pm) at Sunergos Coffee House in Louisville.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Classic Flatt & Scruggs

I was browsing you tube and found this nice video of Earl & Lester doing "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy." It is a great closeup of Earl's nice guitar work instead of his usual banjo finesse. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Here's a few tracks for Veteran's Day.  If you see a vet today, don't forget to thank them for your freedom.

Reckless Kelly - American Blood (from Bullet Proof) (Buy!)

6 Day Bender - Wartime (from 2008 S/T debut) (Buy!)

Blue Highway - He Walked All the Way Home (from Midnight Storm) (Buy!)

Jason Isbell - Dress Blues (from Sirens of the Ditch) (Buy!)

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Dress Blues (from Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit) (Buy!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ben Gilmer & The Sidearms - Heart That Burns

I'm way behind on this one, and I'm not going to make excuses.  I'm posting my favorite song off of the rather short eight track album.  If you are a fan of classic Rolling Stones style country-rock, chances are you'll enjoy this so do yourself a favor and check it out.  I honestly don't know the best way to purchase the album, so contact Ben through his myspace page and see if he can point you in the right direction.

Ben Gilmer & The Sidearms - Wildcat (from Heart That Burns)

Monday, November 8, 2010

6 Day Bender - E'ville Fuzz

Coming straight out of Charlottesville, Virginia is a band with the best name I've heard in a good while, 6 Day Bender. Due to a slight failure in electronic communications I never got around to featuring the band when I first stumbled across their music last year. Fortunately, the new album E'ville Fuzz found it's way to me this year. The band is made up of Luke Nutting (banjo, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals), Clayton Avent (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, cello, vocals),
James Keenan (bass, harmonica), and Corey Gross (drums, percussion). A pretty typical country-rock outfit, right? Well, yeah, but where 6 Day Bender differs from the masses is that they hit that mark that everyone else is aiming for but falling short of. The banjo, when used, sounds like it is necessary for the mood of a lyric and not just an addition at the end of the recording session to cater to the "folk" fans.  The songwriting cover all the topics I want from a rough country band, and the guitars, bass, and drums, are just ragged enough to do justice to the vocals of Luke and Clayton.

Since I didn't post anything last year, I'll put up a couple tracks from the new album and the self-titled debut.  E'ville Fuzz features the electric guitars a little more prominently and tends to lean toward pure rock than the debut album.  The musicianship sounds more evolved, as you would expect.  In the end, each album is simply a different side to the same proverbial coin.  You can buy either/both albums and other 6DB goodies here.

6 Day Bender - Wartime (from 2008 S/T debut) (Buy!)
6 Day Bender - Kick Out the Fire (from 2008 S/T debu)

6 Day Bender - Clover (from E'ville Fuzz) (Buy!)
6 Day Bender - Miss Linda (from E'ville Fuzz)

 Check out the video of Deliverance off of E'ville Fuzz from the 6 Day Bender youtube channel.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

In My Basement Room: Best of the First Year

I started this blog a little over a year ago.  I've neglected it much of that time for more serious responsibilities, but I still think it is in its infancy and has some room to grow.  Over the next few weeks I'll be getting back on track with the quick reviews of albums I happen upon and posting notes about shows I make it too.  I've reached my five-sentence-per-post limit so download my comp, The Best of the First Year.
Of course, be sure to check out an artists website if you like what you hear.  Order up one of their albums and go see a show if they come through your town.

Drive-By Truckers on 91.9 WFPK's Live Lunch

A few weeks late, but still worth mentioning.  The Drive-By Truckers played 91.9 WFPK's Live Lunch series before their show in Louisville last month.  You can also download a free track if you are a fan of DBT on Facebook.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Slithering Beast @ Third Street Dive - Saturday 10/30

Slithering Beast is playing at Third Street Dive this Saturday night.  $5 will get you in the door and a guaranteed good time.  The guys are working on a new album that is set to be out in January so you may hear some of the new songs along with some of the classics.  I've also posted a couple more upcoming dates and I am looking forward to the Nick Dittmeier (of Slithering Beast)/Ryan Davis (of State Champion) solo acoustic shows next month.

Hallooween Show!!!
Saturday, October 30th @ Third Street Dive Louisville, KY
440 South Third Street , $5 21+ starts at 10pm

Friday, November 12th @ the Dragon Pub Frankfort, KY
103 W. Main Street, 21+ starts at 9 pm

 Friday, November 26th @ Sunergos Coffee House Louisville, KY
306 W. Woodlawn Ave ( solo acoustic show w/ Ryan Davis of State Champion)
free!!! starts at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Couple Local Festivals

A quick note to make sure you aware of a couple local festivals coming up.

Highlands Fest
September 25, 2010
1:00PM – 11:00PM
 Louisville Highlands
900 Block Baxter Avenue

Check the lineup and schedule here.  Take note of Hambone at 1:30 on the south stage.

Cropped Out Fest
Friday, October 1 through Sunday, October 3
American Turners Club
3125 Upper River Road, Louisville
$18 day tickets, $30 weekend

Check out a bunch of lineup, schedule, and ticket info posted over at The Decibel Tolls.
State Champion plays on Sunday if you can only make it one day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Simon Fagan

I want to a quick feature today on Irish artist Simon Fagan. The song I've posted below is my favorite off of his latest album, Outside Looking In. It's probably a little more pop than I usually prefer, but I still dig it. It's a good song on a good album. Simon has a free EP available for download in exchange for an email. Check it out and see what you think, and buy his latest from his bandcamp if you dig it. If you are in Toronto, he has a few dates coming up there pretty soon. If you aren't, well, check out Simon's videos on his website instead.

Simon Fagan - Damn Honey

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Free Band of Heathens download

The Band of Heathens have a cover of "Sin City" available for download here. All it will cost you is an email address.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jim Lauderdale: Patchwork River

I first heard Jim Lauderdale a few years ago on an album with Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys (Lost in the Lonesome Pines). I really liked the album and Jim's voice and delivery on the songs. For whatever reason, primarily the fact that I never got to see him live and this was before I knew of independent radio, that was the only album of Jim's that I ever bought. I saw him occasionally on televised music specials and I would see his name credited as a writer or backing vocalist on other albums from time to time.
Jim has an new album out on the Thirty Tigers label called Patchwork River, and you can hear much more of his blues influences coming through instead of the country/bluegrass tendencies I am more familiar with. There's some soulful blues guitar backing Jim's great vocal on "Patchwork River", one of the album highlights for me. There's one chord in the verse that makes the song. There are also some traditional country songs featuring great harmony ("Between Your Heart and Mine") thrown in that make the album really listenable all from start to finish. Jim sounds right at home in this style, and if this is album is any indication of the sound of some of his past albums I've missed, well, I have a lot of catching up to do. You can listen to two complete tracks below and buy the album here. Check out Jim's tour dates on his website, and listen to his monthly broadcast concert Tennessee Shines.

Jim Lauderdale - Patchwork River
Jim Lauderdale - Winnona

Monday, July 26, 2010

Chase Fifty Six - Allatoona Rising

Chase Fifty Six is a Georgia band that plays Georgia rock, a perfect blend of unapologetic country lyrics, dirty rock and roll guitars, and vocal deliveries that leave no doubt that the singer has lived the words he's singing. Their latest album, Allatoona Rising, out on Dirtleg Records, is packed with eleven such examples. Stories about useless women, trailer parks, and love, sometimes all in the same song, are common themes on the album. I'll be catching Chase Fifty Six if they ever make it close enough. Until then, you can buy the album here. Check out the two tracks below to get a feel for the album.
Chase Fifty Six - Worst Thing
Chase Fifty Six - Goodbye Princess

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Clark Paterson - Songs for Another America

Clark Paterson, a Nashville based singer-songwriter who was born and raised in Sandusky, MI and spend most of his college years and early 20's in Chicago, just released his first EP, "Songs for Another America". Clark draws on his experiences with love ("Rather Regret It"), rural life ("God's Country"), deciding to play hooky from work ("Good Afternoon") and paints pictures of the strange ("Abandoned Boat in the Woods"). An excellent first EP that was helped by the excellent backing musicians (including members of Lambchop and Chris Scruggs) and the production work of Mark Nevers. The songs are catchy, well-written and if this is a glimpse of work to come, Clark's best work is still yet in front of him. Definitely worth picking up and rocking out to in your truck.

For music previews, pictures and tour dates, check out Clark's website here (with links to social networking).

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Harmed Brothers - All The Lies You Wanna Hear

The Harmed Brothers come from small-town Oregon and write songs that have an Appalachian feel about them. It is very rare that I care for banjo work that isn't of the Scruggs style, but Alex Salcido gets two thumbs up from me for his style on the Harmed Brothers album All The Lies You Wanna Hear. Many times I hear "Americana" albums that sound like someone said "Hey, we need a banjo track on this song," so one was added. The songs on ATLYWH depend on the banjo and would be nowhere near as powerful without it. The banjo, along with Salcido's and Ray Vietti's vocals and lyrics make for a minimalist sound that creates an emptiness that will leave you hitting repeat, especially on the tracks below. Check them out and buy the CD here, and be sure to check their myspace for upcoming shows. No Kentucky dates yet though...
The Harmed Brothers - One in the Garden
The Harmed Brothers - Greetings from Mardi Gras

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rose's Pawn Shop - Dancing on the Gallows

I've been meaning to post about this album for a while and am just now getting around to it. Los Angeles based Rose's Pawn Shop is a band that's new to me, but they've been around for a few years. Their second album, Dancing on the Gallows, is out now. The instrumentation and vocals have a haunting quality to them, especially in tracks like "Debt Collector," featured below. RPS has a lot of shows all over the country this summer, so check them out here. Somehow, I didn't get the memo on the shows, because I missed the show at Natasha's in Lexington earlier this week. You can buy both albums at the Rose's Pawn Shop store.
Rose's Pawn Shop - Debt Collector
Rose's Pawn Shop - Pine Box

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Andrew Combs: Tennessee Time

Today's album is another one that found me via Reviewshine. I'll preface by saying it is great to see that there is still great original and pure country music being made today. Andrew Combs' debut EP Tennessee Time is on my short list for album of the year. Yeah, I know it's an EP but I'd rather have six excellent songs over one or two with twelve "fillers" any day. Andrew has written 5 of the songs and the choice cover he does, "Dark End of the Street", has become my favorite version of the song. Andrew's voice is just gravelly enough to suit the country-rock crowd, his delivery is just as good as Haggard or Jones, and his songwriting, based only on this EP, is top shelf as well.
You can buy Tennessee Time here, and check out Andrew's website and myspace for show dates. Check out the tracks below in the meantime. Let me know what you think too.

Andrew Combs - Tennessee Time
Andrew Combs - Too Stoned To Cry

Also, check out this video of Andrew doing Tennessee Time and a little bit of an interview.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

State of the Blog Address

As most of the three of you reading this blog may have noticed, the posting frequency has dwindled to a slow trickle. This is a result of a few things happening that are important to me and probably not important to anyone else. While things are going to be slower for a few months, this is not the end and there is no swan song in the works. I plan to be back to a regular posting pattern in just a few months, but in the meantime I'll only waste your time with the best new music I receive. I may have someone else guest posting from time to time also. Check out Twitter (@bootlegend) and Tumblr ( as those are a little quicker and I sometimes throw stuff up there that I find of interest. It requires less work from me, but is also limited too. Anyway, I'll be around.

Shadwick Wilde: Unforgivable Things

I discovered this album through Reviewshine, and it is one of only a handful that I've received that way that didn't suck. Shadwick Wilde was raised in a San Francisco but is now based in Louisville. He's just self-released Unforgivable Things, an album of songs concerning heartache and sadness (more or less). No happy melodies here. There's a lonesome fiddle here and a sparse, somber electric guitar fill there, but the primary focus of the album is the lyric. "Wearing Thin" is the confession of a man on the edge of giving up, and "Motorcycle Song" is about the guy that can't get that one girl.

The first comparison that came to mind when I heard Unforgivable Things was Lucero. Careful though, because I'm talking The Attic Tapes brand Lucero, not rock and roll brand Lucero. That said, this could be Shadwick's Attic Tapes, a group of songs that have a vulnerable identity when first recorded that is great, but may also grow into rock and roll excellence somewhere down the road.

Shadwick is playing a ton of shows in Louisville now so you should check him out if you can. He has an Ear X-Tacy show coming up too. Buy Unforgivable Things here, or get it from Itunes.

Also, for you local people, I noticed in the liner notes that Nick Hamstra (Hambone) played electric guitar on the album. So check it out if you dig Hambone too.

Check out the two tracks below.
Shadwick Wilde - Motorcycle Song
Shadwick Wilde - Girls Like You

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Trapper Haskins & the Bitter Swill - Alluvium

Trapper Haskins & the Bitter Swill's debut album Alluvium is out on Jake Leg Records and contains twelve tracks of mellow Americana straight from Tennessee. The songs are the product of a two year's writing and cover the usual country base but do so with particularly memorable choruses. The band sounds like they've played together for years and consists of Trapper (vocals and guitars), Ry Evans (drums), Paul Thacker (keys,accordion, sax, backing vocals), and Shane Vahle (bass). First half of the album is the best, partially because most of the later songs are over four minutes or closer to five minutes. Two standout tracks are posted below, along with a select chorus lyric. By the way, artwork on the album is fantastic too.
"Hydrocodone and Green Label Jack
Will push the pain away but it won't bring you back
Won't bring you back any nearer to me
And the day that you left, hon, the sun set on Tennessee"
----Hard Luck Angel----

Trapper Haskins - Souvenir
Trapper Haskins - Hard Luck Angel

Buy Album


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Musick Party @ the Morgan's

I've been meaning to post about this for a while now. It's one my favorite things I've found anywhere and it comes from the excellent Southern Shelter. The recording is a couple years old, taking place right before Adam & Wendy Musick of Southern Bitch left Athens. This is a very informal jam session/going-away party at Brad Morgan's (of Drive-By Truckers). Some others showing up to jam/sing include Patterson Hood (DBT), John C. Stubblefield (Lucero), and Don Chambers. The whole set is great with plenty of originals and choice covers. Check a couple of my favorites out below and get the whole set from Sloan here. Highly recommended!

"My Kind of Country" - Adam Musick
"Rock Salt and Nails" - Adam Musick

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reno Bo - "There's a Light"

Reno Bo, whose new album I featured here, is premiering the video for the single "There's a Light" next Tuesday, April 20th. I'm not much of a music video fan, but this one is animated by Reno himself and is pretty neat. Stylistically, it reminded me of a Schoolhouse Rock bit. If your into videos, good music, and/or art, sign up for Reno's mailing list and you can win signed and numbered prints of the artwork. Also check out Reno's Facebook and Twitter. Electric Western Records (Reno's label) will be releasing still images of the video leading up to the release date. You will be able to buy the single directly from Reno's Bandcamp upon release. I suggest picking up the whole album. It really deserved to be heard.

State Champ & Titus Andronicus @ Skull Alley 4/21

Here's a great chance to catch local favorites State Champion. Their latest album is one of my favorites of the year so far. They will be playing with a couple other bands I've heard good things about, Spider Bags and Titus Andronicus.
It all goes down at Skull Alley next Wednesday, 4/21. Tickets $10, doors at 8pm.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

YouTube Bluegrass

Here is a couple classic videos from YouTube. First one is a Gram Parsons cover by J.D. Crowe and the New South from about 1975. Check out Ricky Skaggs! Guess he has always had good hair. Second video is an "allstar jam."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Derek Hoke - Goodbye Rock N' Roll out 3/16

Derek Hoke is a son of the south working out of Nashville, and his latest record "Goodbye Rock N' Roll" is a real country album. It's a flashback oasis in the middle of a pop-country desert. The songs are instantly familiar and there isn't one single Nickelback crunchy guitar riff on the whole album to ruin it (I'm looking at you, Jason Aldean, Craig Morgan, etc). In fact, the pedal steel takes the instrumental spotlight on most of the tracks. The album has a throwback feel and sound, like Luke the Drifter-meets-Buddy Holly. The songwriting, which I'm assuming is all Hoke's; no info readily available), is excellent, as are the vocals. Very good production on the album. You won't need to use the skip when you put this disc on. You can download the album from Hoke's bandcamp site for $5, or get the disc from Electric Western.
For those of you lucky enough to be going to SXSW, Hoke will be there too.
3/17 - SXSW - Electric Western Records Party @ The Hole In The Wall - Austin, TX
3/18 - SXSW - TBA
3/19 - SXSW - Flipnotics Coffeespace Cafe @ 4pm - Austin, TX
3/20 - SXSW - Thunderbird Party @ 5pm - Austin, TX

Check out these two tracks from the album:
"Still Waiting" - Derek Hoke
"Goodbye Rock N' Roll" - Derek Hoke
And here is a righteous video of another album cut: :"Where'd You Sleep Last Night?"

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reno Bo -Happenings and Other Things

Happenings and Other Things is the debut album from Reno Bo (the band and the man) and it is stuffed full of radio friendly rock and roll. The guitar hooks are definitely catchy and the production as a whole is very clean without sounding too slick. I hear a lot, and I mean a whole lot, of Tom Petty influence in every song. Listen to "Off Your Back" and Petty's "Zombie Zoo" and you'll definitely hear the similarities in overall sound. Not one song of the eleven sounds like filler. It's a nice experience these days when you find an album that is enjoyable from start to finish and you don't have to skip every other track. Reno Bo is playing SXSW and will be touring throughout 2010 so keep an eye on his website for details. Highly recommended if you like Tom Petty (and who doesn't?). Check out the two tracks below. You can download the whole album, in your choice of digital format, from the band's bandcamp website for $5, or get the disc from the label, Electric Western Records.

"Off Your Back" - Reno Bo
"Shine" - Reno Bo

Here's a video I found of Reno doing a track off the album at a party:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Classic Bluegrass from the Stanley Brothers

Three great videos with passable sound quality. Everyone knows Ralph after the O Brother explosion around the turn of the century, but how about brother Carter? Great vocals but taken too soon. he's playing the guitar with the huge pickguard. The other guitar player is George Shuffler, considered to be the father of flatppick guitar crosspicking. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Only Sons - Steel Hearts

Not exactly a new album, but since I didn't have a blog when it was new I figure it's fair to mention it now. Steel Hearts is the latest release (Spring 2009) by Murfreesboro, TN outfit The Only Sons. I've posted my favorite track off the album below, but you can download the whole album for free from the band's website. If you are the type of listener who needs to label a band as country or rock or this or that you may have a hard time with this album. It has country songs, and it has rock songs. Not country-rock, not alt-country, but pure Rock-n-Roll Songs that stand in the hallway smoking cigarettes and whistling at Country Song's girl as she walks by. That's not to say that the country songs aren't good, but the electric guitar in the rock numbers just do it better for me. The best thing about a free album is usually the price, but that isn't the case with Steel Hearts. It's a very solid album with a handful of very good songs that are growers, and three or four that are becoming favorites. The album was released on Sophomore Lounge, home of Slithering Beast and State Champion. The Only Sons are playing February 13th with Slithering Beast at Third Street Dive in Louisville.

Drew Blood - The Only Sons (Buy Here)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Free Drive-By Truckers Track

Head over to the website and sign up for the email list and you'll get a link for a free download of "Birthday Boy" from the new album The Big To-Do. My favorite lyric so far: "Let Miss Trixie sit up front, let her wipe your nose." Also note that the Truckers are playing Buster's in Lexington on April 10th with Langhorne Slim opening.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Copper Ridge - "One Shot of Foolish Pride"

I found this song years ago on by chance. It is by far the best song I ever discovered there. It is a great pure country song. The guitar playing is slightly behind the beat giving it a little Willie Nelson feel. I couldn't find a web page for the band, but you can see the profile at garageband.
One Shot of Foolish Pride - Copper Ridge

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

We Grew Our Hair Down to Our Eyes...

Really looking forward to this show. State Champion has their new album Stale Champagne that was released this week. Slithering Beast is retiring some older songs. Should be a good show at the Zeppelin Cafe.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Upcoming Area Shows

Some shows in the area that are coming up soon. Hopefully I can make it to a few. Let me know if you are going to catch any.

Jan 26th State Champion in store @ Ear X-tacy (Louisville)
Jan 29th Slithering Beast @ The Zeppelin Cafe (Louisville)
Jan 30th Band of Heathens @ Buster's Billiards and Backroom (Lexington)
Jan 30th Yardsale CD release show @ The Vernon Club (Louisville)
Feb 12th Lucero @ Southgate House (Newport)
Feb 13th Lucero and Glossary @ Buster's (Lexington)
Feb 13th Slithering Beast and The Only Sons @ Third Street Dive (Louisville)
Feb 19th Scott Miller @ Jim Porter's (Louisville)
Feb 20th State Champion @ Bluegrass Brewing Company (Louisville)
Feb 27th Yardsale @ Skull Alley (Louisville)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drive-By Truckers:The Big To-Do (Live)

The Drive-By Truckers' The Big To-Do is less than two months from release. They have been playing the new tracks at the live shows lately, but sadly they don't have any dates in the Louisville area before the release. Thankfully, Sloan Simpson over at Southern Shelter recorded DBT's recent three night stand at the 40 Watt in Athens, Georgia. You can download all three nights concerts, along with a lot of other good music, for free at his site. I pulled out the tracks from the new album and zipped them up so I can listen until the studio album gets here. I'll share them here, but it is no way meant as a replacement for the official release. Also one track from the album wasn't played on any night, so you'll have to wait to hear that. Oh yeah, Stereogum does have an album version of one of the songs you can download. The new album isn't listed in the DBT store yet, but go ahead and check out all their other releases and merch.

New DBT Tracks (13 Tracks, 131 MB)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Slithering Beast/State Champion Upcoming Show

Two great bands are playing next Friday (Jan. 29th) at the Zeppelin Cafe in Louisville. Slithering Beast and State Champion. Both have been featured here. I'll post more details next week or you can take a little bit of initiative and check their sites yourself. I actually have a lot of local concerts on the agenda over the next two months and I'll share those as well. Til then, here is a video I pulled from the Beast's myspace.

driving drunk live @ ear-x-tacy

Slithering Beast | MySpace Music Videos

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lone Mountain Band - Ten Mile Tennessee

This song is a little gem by the Lone Mountain Band I found years ago available as a free download from the music section. It popped up on the Ipod shuffle recently and has since become a favorite. You can now download this song and many more for free from the band's website. This is what good ballad bluegrass sounds like folks. Great lyrics too, but I unfortunately don't know who penned it. Clue me in if you happen to know.
Ten Mile Tennessee - The Lone Mountain Band (Visit the website for more free tracks)