Conor Oberst – Outer South – Download Code Giveaway!!

Posted by Payton | Posted in contest, free music | Posted on 02-03-2010

Tagged Under :

Another week, another winner, another contest. Congratulations to Tim for winning the Justin Townes Earle contest from last Wednesday.

This week, I bring you another top 10 album from my listConor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – Outer South. The album placed #5 and also marked the 3rd year in a row that Conor Oberst (in some form) has created a Top 5 album – according to me, of course. Outer South shows The Mystic Valley Band taking a step towards the front of the stage – writing and taking lead vocals on a number of tracks. These songs really contribute to the album as a whole and actually played a big part in my high placing of it. Of course, Conor’s songs are impressive. Three of them made it to my Top 50 Songs List.

Once again, simply click below (or on the album cover above), enter your email, and that’s it. I’ll randomly pick a winner this time next week.

Click here to enter the Conor Oberst Contest
Contest Complete – Congrats Brad!

The Lists: Top 50 Songs of 2009

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 01-12-2010

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , ,

Finally, my first post of the new decade. After my ski trip, I was backed up with work, and I’ve had a lot of photos to edit. And for the second year in a row, the task of making my lists sort of drained the free-form fun out of what I do here. I’m ready to start finding new music as well as posting about some older stuff that had a hand in me starting this blog in the first place.

Truth be told, I wanted a little extra time to refine this list as it is quite large. So without further adieu, my Top 50 Songs of 2009:

50. Sunflower Rain – Ryan Adams
[purchase]
49. Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine [purchase]
48. You Never Know – Wilco [purchase]
47. Sailor Song – First Aid Kit [purchase]
46. Ship Come In – Jonny Burke [purchase]
45. Give Me Time – Dawes [purchase]
44. – Brendan Benson [purchase]
43. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear [purchase]
42. Goodbye Hollywood – JET [purchase]
41. Cry - Slaid Cleaves [purchase]
40. Don’t Come Calling – Stephanie Briggs [purchase]
39. Orion & Dog – Sea Wolf [purchase]
38. Boots Boy – Langhorne Slim [purchase]
37. Brother John - Middle Distance Runner [purchase]
36. The Guitar – Guy Clark [purchase]
35. In These Arms - The Swell Season [purchase]
34. Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare – Matt & Kim [purchase]
33. Cooperstown - The Felice Brothers [purchase]
32. Bells of Harlem – Dave Rawlings Machine [purchase]
31. Eager For Your Love – Tristen [purchase]
30. Nikorette – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
29. Champion Angel – The Low Anthem [purchase]
28. Lisztomania - Phoenix [purchase]
27. Heartbroken, In Disrepair – Dan Auerbach [purchase]
26. Round Here – Middle Distance Runner [purchase]
25. Ten Women – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
24. Hurtin’ You – Ben Kweller [purchase]
23. Smith Hill – Deer Tick [purchase]
22. Tell Me True - Sarah Jarosz [purchase]
21. Cage The Songbird – The Low Anthem [purchase]
20. Ten Thousand Words – The Avett Brothers [purchase]
19. The Traitor – Sea Wolf [purchase]
18. Funeral Singers - Califone [purchase]
17. Day Is Done – Ryan Bingham [purchase]
16. Everyday - Vetiver [purchase]
15. White Limo – The Felice Brothers [purchase]
14. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap [purchase]
13. A Thousand Men – Joe Pug [purchase]
12. Far And Wide - The Roadside Graves [purchase]
11. Easy - Deer Tick [purchase]
10. Mama’s Eyes – Justin Townes Earle [purchase]
9. The Big Surprise - The Felice Brothers [purchase]
8. Speak of Trouble – Great Bloomers [purchase]
7. Laundry Room (live version) – The Avett Brothers [purchase]
6. Gunslinger - The Medders [purchase]
5. Take It In - Wye Oak [purchase]
4. I Got The Reason – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
3. Ticket Taker – The Low Anthem
[purchase]
2. Honeymoon – Bombadil
[purchase]

1. Ruby - Dave Rawlings Machine [purchase]

Ruby, let down your golden hair
When I’m standing at the bottom of your stairs
Ruby, I can see your TV on
But the people there, they flicker and they’re gone
So let down your golden hair for me tonight
Let down your golden hair for me to climb
Just like an old-time telegraph man
I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your head’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

Ruby, you ain’t lonely yet
With your crystal and your Russian cigarette
Ruby, haven’t you heard before?
Working is the finest tower when it hasn’t got a door
So let down your golden hair for me to climb
Let down your golden hair for me tonight
Just like an old-time telegraph man
I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your bed’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you, Ruby

I’m that old-time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

I’m that old-time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you
————-

The Lists: Top 20 Albums of 2009 (1-10)

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-22-2009

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , ,

Part II of my Top 20 Albums of 2009


10. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies

Bloodshot, 3.3.2009

Justin Townes Earle’s second album cemented his star-studded name as star in his own right and won the top spot in the first ever Bird List – by a landslide. Justin, like some of the best out there, has a difficult time translating his live show allure to a studio CD, but Midnight At The Movies does a damn good job trying. His rollicking, ‘Hillbilly Music’ (tracks like ‘Walk Out’ and ‘John Henry’) are where he grabs your attention, but it’s the slower, more personal songs (‘Mama’s Eyes’, ‘Someday I’ll Be Forgiven’) that truly separate JTE from other folk-country acts out there.

Justin Townes Earle – They Killed John Henry
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

9. Sea Wolf – White Water, While Bloom
Dangerbird, 9.22.2009
Alex Brown Church and the folks behind him, better known as Sea Wolf, are probably one the most accessible bands I promote here. I have to admit that they had a little advantage making my top 10 due to the fact that I didn’t discover their 2007 release Leaves In The River until last year, and wanted to make up for not mentioning it in my inaugural posts. This year with White Water, White Bloom, Sea Wolf continued to make listener-friendly indie-rock paved with inspiring string pieces, powerful rhythm sections, and soaring vocals.

Sea Wolf – Dew In The Grass
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

8. Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Songs In The Night
Ramseur, 4.28.2009

Samantha Crain broke into the folk scene last year with a superb EP. Don’t let the fact that her debut full-length was released early this year and the hype surrounding her may have since slowed lead you astray. This is one killer album. Songs In The Night contains very mature writing and even better music created by The Midnight Shivers. It’s got a perfect mix of tempos – sing-along folk-rockers, contemplative acoustic ballads, and even a couple electric grooves. If I could pick a poster-band for the sound I want out of my Americana, this is it.

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Devils In Boston
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

7. Middle Distance Runner – The Sun & Earth
Engine Room Recordings, 10.20.2009

Every year so far, I’ve had at least one album that made my list for one simple reason – it rocks. This year’s album that always seems to get my head bobbin’ is Middle Distance Runner’s The Sun & Earth. I stumbled across the D.C. band earlier this year thanks to a couple mind-numbing singles/EPs they released. I grabbed the full album released in October, delighted to see those tracks on it, and even more thrilled to enjoy the rest of the disc. It’s one of those albums that you seem to not remember tracks names simply because it’s 45 minutes of pulsating Rock n Roll intertwined with moments of acoustic bliss of that all melds together in you brain – in a good way.

Middle Distance Runner – Round Here
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

6. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid
Nonesuch, 2.10.2009
I was skeptical of Dan Auerbach breaking from his bandmate to strike out on a solo mission. But I was a fool. Dan brought his funk-filled guitar licks to the studio, polished them off just a tad, and ultimately brought everything to his solo debut that The Black Keys were missing. Keep It Hid has the feel of an artist who knew the exact sound they wanted. Plus, who knew this blues-rocker could slow it down and give us a handful of touching down-tempo ditties to compliment his unique, blistering electric sound.

Dan Auerbach – When The Night Comes
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

5. Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Outer South
Merge, 5.5.2009
I had Outer South, the second album bearing Conor Oberst’s name and the first bearing The Mystic Valley Band, in my library for a while this year before I really gave it a listen. I don’t know what held me back – maybe I was overwhelmed by the amount of tracks on it and the fact that Conor participated in another release this year – but as soon as I listened once through, I knew it was a top 5 album. This year will mark the 3rd year in a row that Conor Oberst has placed an album in the top 5 here at This Mornin’. Last year, I made the claim that his self-titled album solidified his place as the Best American Songwriter under 30, and with this release I stand by that claim – though he only has 2 more months to hold the title. He will then have wait 5 years in a distant second place until Ryan Adams turns 40.

Outer South doesn’t necessarily show us anything particularly new about Conor – his songs continue to be energetic – only slowing when necessary – well-written, and most noticeably perfectly delivered. Conor has a knack for isolating a line apart from the music behind it with the effect of heightening the importance of that lyric like no one else. What sets this album apart from Oberst’s earlier work is his band. Although The Mystic Valley Band played on Conor Oberst, that album was more about Conor. On Outer South, he lends prime real estate to his bandmates letting them take 7 of the 16 tracks, including tracks as early as 3 and 4. The songs that Nick Freitas, Taylor Hollingworth, and Jason Boesel wrote and provide lead vocals for aren’t my favorite off the album, but they ain’t bad, either. Hollingsworth may have the standout non-Oberst song with his Replacements-esque ‘Air Mattress.’ Outer South is yet another disc from the Omaha alt-rocker that doesn’t have a single skippable track.

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Cabbage Town
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Air Mattress
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]
4. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day
Partisan, 6.23.2009

Easily my most anticipated release of the year, Deer Tick’s sophomore effort obviously pleased me. But not right at first – if you read my initial reaction, you’ll see I was happy with it, but thought it paled in comparison to 2007’s War Elephant. What I grew to enjoy about the album after some time, however, was everything that sets Born On Flag Day apart from their debut. Aside from John McCauley’s grizzled vocals, this album doesn’t have the same grunge-rock feel of which we were introduced to Deer Tick. In its place as an overlying feeling on the album is a bit of a retro-vibe. Born On Flag Day boasts multiple tracks that sound straight out of a 50’s studio session outtake disc. Both vocally and musically, I’ve heard traces of The Everyly Brothers (when they tried out an electric set), The Animals, Chuck Berry, and even some Beatles when I listen to this album. John manages to get those familiar, classic rock tones from his sea-green Fender Strat, both on this album and in the band’s live show.
Deer Tick – Stung
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]
3. Bombadil – Tarpits & Canyonlands
Ramseur, 7.7.2009

I could sit here and regurgitate words that tell you how Bombadil is groundbreaking, brave, and stylistically unclassifiable, but if you’ve ever heard their music, that is all too apparent. The simple fact is, it’s fun to listen to them – and what else do you really need to know? Tarpits and Canyonlands outreaches the band’s last album in terms of accessibility and execution. Here, there are real songs, still liberally arranged with instrumental twists and turns, but in a more focused way. The guys took their time with this recording, and it shows. Most impressively, Tarpits‘ strongest parts may be the more subdued moments. The slow-building opener ‘I Am’ provides a gentle, yet ominous lead-in to an album with peaks and valleys in terms of tempo and activity, but never a dull moment.

Bombadil – I Am
Bombadil – Kuala Lumpur

[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]


2. Dave Rawlings Machine – A Friend of a Friend
Acony, 11.17.2009

I reserved big, comfy spot for this album in my Top 10 as soon as I learned of its release. Don’t get me wrong – I still analyzed the songs, but I already knew what we were getting. For an artist with a resume like Dave Rawlings, over a decade to hone his songwriting chops, and the likes of Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show ushering him in, A Friend of A Friend was bound to be nothing short of spectacular. The last thing I expected going in was to be most impressed by the strength of Dave’s original songs. ‘Ruby’ immediately shot to the top of my favorite songs list, while ‘Sweet Tooth’ and ‘Bells of Harlem’ are at once fresh and classically timeless. It’s a short and sweet album, with a perfect mix of Dave’s early co-writes, well-chosen covers, and original compositions that will no-doubt stand the test of time. Expect a further in-depth review of this one after I’ve let it simmer a little longer.

Dave Rawlings Machine – Sweet Tooth
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]


1. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Nonesuch, 6.9.2009

Last year, I expressed my thoughts on what I believe makes a great album. Most importantly, that it need be a cohesive, focused, flowing collection of songs, none being superfluous or out of place. The Low Anthem’s Oh My God, Charlie Darwin takes this idea to another level. It’s a beautiful record, start to finish, complete with ballads and rockers, an interlude, and a reprise. It flows seamlessly, taking you through ethereal hymns and turbulent gospel barn-burners. Some may argue that OMGCD was a 2008 release – the Providence-based band self-released the album in September of 2008 and were subsequently picked up by Nonesuch Records. The label then gave the record a proper release (including vinyl) in June of this year. I discovered the band just after this release and was pleased to see that their schedule crossed paths with mine and we would both be in Nashville at the same time – me for The Big Surprise Tour, them for an intimate show at The Basement. Catching a live show of theirs and meeting the band members had a big part in the placement of this album at the top of my list. Read my review.
The Low Anthem’s strongest quality – as a band and especially on this album – is their unmatched instrumentation. Between only Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystokwsky, and Jocie Adams, The Low Anthem travels with a trailer-full of gear, all of which gets used on a nightly basis. Their stage progression plays out like a carousel, or literally a game of musical chairs. Most instruments can be played by more than one member, each with their own personal flair. I read a few interviews with the band prior to this write-up (check out this well-written one). In one interview, Miller says they try to push their musical limits by limiting their play on instruments they are comfortable with. He says they walk blindfolded into the instrument room; they “prefer to stumble into beauty.” Another interesting note I picked up on, Miller says that band doesn’t get too caught up in listening to a lot of contemporary music. This is obvious in the end result of their own music – you can’t seem to pick out any specific influence or even compare it to anything else you’ve heard before: completely original music, earthy and natural.

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin
The Low Anthem – Horizon Is A Beltway
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

————————————————-

Top Albums of 2008 (Part II)….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album review, best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-28-2008

Tagged Under : , , ,

5. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
3/25/08 ~ Third Man/Warner Bros.

i’ve always been a little wary of Jack White. His first effort with The Raconteurs swayed me a bit, but Consolers of the Lonely has sealed the deal. Much like what Caitlin Cary does for Ryan Adams, i believe Brendan Benson has a calming effect on Jack, keeping his crazy side in check. With each turn taken during the album, i am continually impressed with the musical decisions of this superband. Consolers reached just far enough into the folk realm to get me interested in the first place, and acquiring the album made visible the allure that has surrounded Jack White since the beginning.

Old Enough

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

4. The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers
3/4/08 ~ Team Love

Although they’ve been releasing music since 2006, i feel like 2008 was the breakout year for The Felice Brothers. i first posted about them back in February and, aside from Ryan Adams, they have been one of the most prevalent bands here at This Mornin’… An apt follow-up to last year’s Tonight At The Arizona, their self-titled album from this year is a raucous ride through backwoods country-side making stops in old-time barrooms and dirty roadside oases. ‘Frankie’s Gun’ took top honors in my Best Songs List without much of a fight. If i didn’t feel the need to spread the accolades around, songs like ‘Wonderful Life’, ‘Greatest Show’, ‘Take This Bread’, and ‘Love Me Tenderly’ could have also made the list. Moreover, i got to see the brothers live a short while back, and it only further instilled my appreciation for this authentic, super-talented band.

Love Me Tenderly

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
6/3/08 ~ Sub Pop

An album sure to be on many top lists, Fleet Foxes self-titled debut deserves every bit of praise coming its way. Sub Pop has proved once again that the sounds coming from the rainy Northwest are well worth paying attention to. The Foxes have self-described themselves as ‘baroque-pop,’ and as much as i’ve tried, i haven’t found a better description. With a lack of desire for conventional song structure and soaring vocals, The Fleet Foxes have managed to come off as classical while retaining what the appeal of the indie sound. Their chamber-music is at once peaceful and deeply inspiring. The fact that a 22-year old Robin Pecknold had the sage vision to put together a band of their caliber gives me tremendous hope for this young generation and their music.

Your Protector

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

2. Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
8/5/08 ~ Merge Records

Conor and his Mystic Valley Band took refuge in a secluded part of central Mexico to record the first album to bear the name of this Omaha alt-rocker. As you well know, Conor has a slew of releases under the moniker Bright Eyes as well as a ton of side projects. Conor Oberst is the most focused and accessible album that he has recorded. Shedding much of the cult-like stigma that hindered his 2007 Bright Eyes album as well as most of the peculiar and erratic tendencies from his adolescent career, Conor has solidified his place as the Best American Songwriter under 30. ‘Souled Out’ reached #7 on my Best Songs List, which is an obvious injustice to the rest of the album. i truly can’t skip one song on the disc, and that includes the 50 second horn-blowing track from Ruben the Mexican. Conor and band headlined the above-mentioned show i attended in Austin. Read what i said about Conor Oberst back in my September Album Round-up.

Get-Well-Cards

Purchase: [Amazon CD /Vinyl][Direct CD /Vinyl /mp3][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

1. These United States – Crimes
9/23/08 ~ United Interests

These United States’ second album of 2008 was immediately put in the running for the top spot when i first picked it up back in September. Read my original impression. Following A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden (whew…), Jesse Elliot put together a group of musicians and booked some studio time with an obvious vision in mind. What came out of the sessions was the Best Album of 2008. If you refer back to the preamble in Part I of this post, i talk a bit about the concept of an album – it being a complete work and not simply a neat packaging of songs. You’ll notice no cuts from Crimes were on my Best Songs List. Crimes reads like a story, a narrative that wouldn’t be complete without each element intact. The track-breaks flow seamlessly like chapters, with each song relating to the others through the common theme of the innate sinful nature of the human being. Crimes is jangly and loud for the most part, heavy on the background vocals and community instruments. Even the songs that begin at a crawl build and evolve back into an all-inclusive, welcoming sing-along. To have an album feel cohesive but still manage to continually engage the listener, one vital element is necessary: Dynamic. Crimes is unmatched in its layer quantity and progressive feel. And that’s just the sound of the album. Jesse Elliot fills each song with witty phrasing that begs you to listen intently. He’ll take a well-known saying and cleverly alter a word or two so that it will catch your ear no matter what other activity you’re engaged in. His slightly arrogant, but overly friendly delivery has the effect of a beloved author – one that you know is much smarter than you yet is still very relatable. Pick up this one, don’t simply download a track. Play it from beginning to end, and i promise it will leave you wanting more.

Old John Chapman Takes a Good Long Walk

Purchase: [Amazon][Direct][iTunes]
(Website/MySpace)

—————————

Be sure to read my Top 10 Songs of 2008.

Top 10 Songs of 2008…

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2008, lists | Posted on 12-16-2008

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, i’ve put this off long enough. We’re now only 2 weeks away from 2009, and i might be one of last to get their lists up. And to be completely honest, my top 10 album list is not yet complete – well not the back half. But i have made final decisions on the Best Songs of the Year. But first….

What makes a song great?

That question has been tossed around since the first single was ever recorded, and if we (or anyone) knew the answer, there would be nothing left. The truth is, there is no answer. Music is subjective – some people simply listen, and if they like it, it’s a good song. Some look for originality, some for familiarity. Many people want emotive lyrics. Many want to hear words they can relate to. Many people (who are no doubt Dylan fans) are looking for groundbreaking wordplay that will blow their minds.

Of course, certain instruments excite certain people. i, for example, love the plunk of a banjo in an otherwise non-bluegrass tune. Acoustic guitars picked with purpose will grab my attention far earlier than a hard-strummed electric. Lately hand claps and tambourines make me happy.

What about vocals? Let’s be honest – the Folk/Americana/Alt-Country (what have you) world doesn’t possess the greatest or most talented vocalists. Many lead voices are of the love it or hate it variety, and can immediately turn someone off from a song. If i can’t listen to the lead vocals, the band is going to have a hard time getting on my good side. That said, there is no formula or standard that i judge by, and i have a fairly wide acceptance range. The most important thing a singer can possess is believability.

Growing up listening to mainstream country (and shifting between rap phases), i was under the impression the only song structure consisted of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus. While that simple formula still works, an artist can expand or abbreviate to an indefinite degree as they see fit. Adding dynamic to a song with a tempo or key change can seem strange at first, but is one the most vital factors in keeping the listener engaged.

A particularly separating attribute for a list like this is enjoyability. This doesn’t mean that the song has to have uplifting lyrics; it’s often the opposite. The best judge for this element is how fun the song is to sing along to. The songs that i found myself belting out (severely off-key) in my car were the first to be added to the list.

So where does this leave me? Basically back where i started. There is no formula, no set of rules, and no boundary to great songs. That is what keeps music interesting, fresh, versatile, and what makes it an essential part of life. Taking these factors into consideration, here are my picks for the Top 10 Songs of 2008.


10. The Greatest Hustler of All ~ Old Crow Medicine Show

from Tennessee Pusher, written by Willie Watson/Ketch Secor


9. Who Am I To Say ~ Justin Townes Earle

from The Good Life, written by Justin Townes Earle



8. Skinny Love ~ Bon Iver

from For Emma, Forever Ago, written by Justin Vernon



7. Souled Out!!! ~ Conor Oberst

from Conor Oberst, written by Conor Oberst



6. Sideman Blues ~ The Dedringers

from Sweetheart of the Neighborhood, written by Jonny Burke


5. Murder In The City ~ The Avett Brothers

from The Second Gleam, written by Scott Avett


4. Traipsing Through the Aisles ~ Samantha Crain
from The Confiscation EP, written by Samantha Crain


3. White Winter Hymnal ~ Fleet Foxes

from Fleet Foxes, written by Robin Pecknold


2. Rattlin’ Bones ~ Kasey Chamber & Shane Nicholson
from Rattlin’ Bones, written by Chambers/Nicholson


1. Frankie’s Gun! ~ The Felice Brothers

from The Felice Brothers, written by Ian Felice


“My car goes… Chicago.
Every weekend to pick up some cargo.
I think I know the bloody way by now, Frankie,
Turn the god damn radio down, thank you.
Pull over. Count the money.
But don’t count the .30 in the glove box, buddy.

That’s for to buy Lucille some clothes.

Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille!
Bang Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille! (He shot me down!)

Work zones, double fines.
Don’t pass the double lines.
Trailer McDonald’s, rest stop trailer double wide.
I saw a man hit my mom one time, really
I hurt him so damn bad I had to hide in Jersey.
Called my mama told her, ‘In the dresser
There’s ten or twenty dollars but there ain’t no lesser.’
That’s for to take my sister to the picture show.

Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille!
Bang Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille! (He shot me down!)

Sha nay na sha nay na na na na na…
Sha nay na Sha nay na…

Slip make a fender shine,
Frankie you’re a friend of mine,
Got me off a bender after long-legged Brenda died.
I thought we might be on a roll this time, Frankie.
I could have swore the box said Hollywood blanks, but
You see my mama
Please tell her
I left a little rock in a box in the cellar.
That’s for to wear till kingdom come.

Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille!
Bang Bang Bang Bang went Frankie’s gun!
He shot me down Lucille! (He shot me down!)

Sha nay na sha nay na na na na na…
Sha nay na Sha nay na…

Yodelea he hoo.”


Click the album covers to purchase.

Check out last year’s list (my 2nd post on This Mornin’…), and stay tuned for the definitive Top 10 Albums of 2008.

Conor Oberst/Felice Brothers Live @ Stubbs BBQ…

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 11-29-2008

Tagged Under : , ,

Found some down time while here in NYC – awaiting a late reservation at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill – to put together a few words/pictures regarding the raucous concert i attended last weekend in Austin. One that featured 2 bands, each of whom has an ‘08 release in the Top 5 of my soon to come year-end list.

The show was everything i expected from both bands – unrivaled energy, expert showmanship, and of course great music. From what i could gather, many show goers were there to see the artist formerly known as Bright Eyes and had no clue who The Felice Brothers were. As if to exploit this fact, the Felices opened their set with a new low-key, slow ballad keeping the stage lights dim. Just when they had this fresh audience lulled into submission, The Felice Brothers stomped into Whiskey In My Whiskey, bringing the house down with only their second song. Although it made for a somewhat less accessible set, the band filled the half of the show with new material, foreshadowing (hopefully) an early 2009 release.

i didn’t jot down a complete setlist (much less remember much of anything after Conor began) as Makers Mark gradually climbed its way up my priority list throughout the night. But i can tell you it was a riot. There was a veritable mosh pit/hoedown for much of the concert. Conor and his Mystic Valley Band know how to engage a crowd as well as keep things interesting. Many of the Felices made cameos in Conor’s set – as well as a surprise appearance from Ben Kweller. All were present for a wild encore of I Don’t Wanna Die (In A Hospital).


Both bands were more than impressive, and they each solidified/earned the spots they should receive on many Best of 2008 lists.

Pictures in the City…

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 11-25-2008

Tagged Under : , ,

Conor Oberst ~ NYC – Gone, Gone
buy Conor Oberst (2008)
One of twelve reasons you should buy his album.

Shippin’ up to The Big Apple in the morning to visit my sister for Thanksgiving. i’ll be there through the weekend, and may or may not get a post up. i have a NYC Mixtape planned – it has some songs that simply reference the city, but maybe i’ll pick up a few others that capture the mood while i’m there.

New York is an amazing place anytime, but the holiday season brings out a different, festive feeling noticeable in every corner of the city. My first trip to New York was during Christmas, so maybe that’s why it’s memorable to me. i feel like i’m in another country when i’m there. Methods of travel, interaction with people, and simply living life are all completely different in a city of its magnitude. i’ve grown up around Houston, a very large city in its own right, but NY is a different type of big. Space is not only limited, it’s maxed out. Apartments are tiny, bathrooms are cramped, even refrigerators are smaller. But somehow these shrunken elements come together to create a place larger than its own legend. A place rich in culture and diversity. A place teeming with activity 24/7. A place at once historic and completely modern.

Everywhere you look in NY, especially for someone from Texas, is something you’ve never seen before. That’s why it’s one of the coolest places on the planet to take pictures. i took this one on a trip there in ‘06 and up until a month ago, some form of it was used as the header picture for This Mornin’… Vinyl Mania was a record store just 4 doors down from my sister’s apartment. She told me earlier this year that it went out of business and the sign was gone. i was really hoping to take a newer photo of the storefront with a better camera, but that may never happen now. NYC offers so many amazing things to snap photos of, i’ll find something else to fill the void. Upon my last trip, i was armed with only my cell phone camera and although the picture quality was low, you could get some really interesting shots, especially in the dark. It was that trip, and many of those photo opportunities, that got me turned on to photography. Greasy streets and grungy gutters can sparkle with beauty when the streetlights hit them just right. Passing headlights can reveal the elegance behind layers of fliers and graffiti on a chained storefront. The borough skylines are speckled with facades you swear you’ve seen on TV before.

Here’s a few of those pictures from last trip:

We don’t have much planned except eating turkey, so i’m sure i’ll have some free time to roam the city and people watch. Nowhere else would that sound so interesting.
———

On a related note, check out Neal Casal’s photography page, especially the NY pictures. They show how something so simple can become ART if the conditions and treatment are right.

Summer Album Round-up….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album release | Posted on 09-25-2008

Tagged Under : , , , , ,

As promised, i’ve sorted through my recent album purchases to bring you a Late Summer/Early Fall Album Round-up.

Most of the albums considered came from Volume 3 of my Album Release Forecast. One album, Punch, was released back in March, but because of the different billing from Chris Thile’s previous releases, i was unaware of the album until recently. Also, Todd Snider’s Peace Queer release date was pushed back to October. Not sure yet if i’ll do another Album Release Forecast for Fall/Winter, so here are some noteworthy upcoming releases:

———————————————-

Okkervil River ~ The Stand-Ins
This is an album by a veteran band who is obviously very comfortable in their skin, although their dark lyrics may not express the same sentiment. Will Sheff is a pro at taking a deep, personal situation and creating a candid, incredibly catchy tune. While this disc may not contain as many ‘hits’ as its predecessor, it is by no means any less enjoyable. The only lulls within The Stand-Ins are the three short instrumental ‘title tracks’ that disconnect the disc from what would be a smooth-flowing narrative.

Okkervil River – Singer Songwriter

Conor Oberst ~ Conor Oberst
Conor proves that even without his longtime musical partner Mike Mogis and the shield of the Bright Eyes moniker, he’s still this young generation’s most inventive, fearless troubadour. He may even be better without the two – this disc is currently the best album to be released this year. From the start, Conor Oberst is a captivating album filled with original melodies accented with pointed spurts of alliteration. The aggressive acoustic solos are evident of his previous work with Dave Rawlings. While the subject of his songs continue to be spiritually driven, there’s none of the religious cult undertones that impaired Casadaga. The first couple tracks i came across from this one seemed only to be a continuation of that last album, but when you hear them in the context of the other stellar tunes, they become a perfect fit. Buy this one.

Conor Oberst – Get-Well-Cards
Conor Oberst – Moab

Old Crow Medicine Show ~ Tennessee Pusher
i heard someone else call this a ‘concept album’ centered around booze, drugs, partying, etc. While there are many nods to this kind of living (Alabama High-Test, Methamphetamine, and Humdinger are some track names), i don’t think The Show had a specific concept in mind. Just look at their previous albums and see if there is any less debauchery in the themes. You already know how i feel about the re-make of Caroline, and the sour-taste that Highway Halo left me with. Old Crow’s appeal is their imperfect, whiskey-fueled energy, and Don Was simply tried to harness this into an over-produced, radio-ready album. To sand down the sounds coming from the strings of this band is a crime. The good news is that, while most of the songs Ketch fronts were deeply affected from the heavy hand of Was, no one can make Willie Watson’s tenor wail sound anything less than pure backwoods emotion. It’s not completely a miss, but i’m already anxious to see what The Show does next.

Old Crow Medicine Show – The Greatest Hustler of All
Old Crow Medicine Show – Crazy Eyes

Carrie Rodriguez ~ She Ain’t Me
With her second solo effort, Carrie moved even further away from the Texas dancehall stigma she acquired while playing with Chip Taylor. She leans further toward contemporary jazz with fiddle highlights on this disc. Carrie also took the writing reins here, and proves she can be a successful solo artist. While i don’t think she’s found her exact sound yet, She Ain’t Me will be a stepping-stone she can proudly look back on.

Carrie Rodriguez – El Salvador

Rodney Crowell ~ Sex and Gasoline
Although he’s been making music since the 70’s, i’ve only really become a fan of Rodney through his last three records. Political tunes usually turn me off, but something about Rodney’s unbiased, regular-joe perspective coupled with unforgettable guitar riffs and melodies made much of his material very pleasing. On Sex and Gasoline, his subject matter remains the same, only none of the instrumentation is as catchy. i just can’t get into this one. An occasional political/social commentary song is a good idea, just don’t let it be all you do.

Rodney Crowell – I Want You #35

Punch Brothers ~ Punch
Had the pleasure of catching Chris Thile and his band live in Austin a few weeks ago. i went expecting a good bluegrass show but was blown away with not only their combined talent, but also the overall show experience. i knew his years in the spotlight with Nickel Creek would’ve taught Chris how to play big shows, but the way he handled a crowded room of less than 100 fans was impressive. As far a mandolin players go, Chris is no doubt one of the best around, but i was shown that each of the other players in the Punch Brothers rules their instrument just as well. The album contains four ’songs’ in the traditional sense as well as a four-movement piece entitled The Blind Leaving The Blind. Who does movements these days? Real musicians.

Punch Brothers – Punch Bowl
Punch Brothers – The Blind Leaving The Blind: Fourth Movement


These United States ~ Crimes
The biggest surprise and dark-horse for album of the year goes to These United States and their second album of 2008. Jesse Elliot has finally found the right lineup and sound direction for this ever-changing band, and let’s hope he keeps it that way. Read more here.

The United States – Susie at the Seashore

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson ~ Rattlin’ Bones
This album is everything i expected from reading reviews and from hearing the title track: Kasey and her new husband going back to their musical roots. It’s a groovy, folky, uplifting album that centers around themes of heaven and hell. The most surprising aspect is how much i enjoy the inclusion of Shane Nicholson. This album will receive a high place on my Best Of ‘08 list, and Rattlin’ Bones will be a strong contender for Best Song.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – The House That Never Was
Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson – Sleeping Cold

Click the Album Covers to purchase.

Album Release Forecast, Vol. 3….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, album release | Posted on 07-24-2008

Tagged Under : , , , , ,

If you check the archives, i’ve only got 1 previous album release forecast (here). But i did, in fact, write two of them. One day, my second one mysteriously disappeared. My guess is some of the tracks i posted got some people angry, and instead of coming to me, they went to Blogger, who then removed the post – no questions asked.

But thanks to the internet and all its archiving glory, you can still find remnants of it – like here at Elbo.ws.

Anyway, my plan was to get an installment out pretty regularly, as not to miss any big releases. But this summer has been one big blob of uncertain locales and shaky internet service – with even more to come. So that didn’t happen, but i did manage to talk about some releases as i learned of them in single posts.

i will resume with a late summer/early fall album release forecast:

August 5
Conor OberstConor Oberst
(Merge Records)

This album has been talked about on every other blog and music mag, so i won’t get in-depth. Conor Oberst left behind the Bright Eyes moniker as well as his “better half” and longtime producer Mike Mogis and went deep into Mexico to record his latest effort. The self titled disc is reportedly not as much ’sad-bastard’ but more up-tempo midwest rock – much like Cassadaga, which i really enjoyed.

Conor Oberst – Danny Callahan
stream the whole thing here.

August 5
Carrie Rodriguez – She Ain’t Me
(Back Porch Records)

If Norah Jones and Allison Krauss had a love-child, her name would be Carrie Rodriguez and she would be a classically-trained violinist with a twangy, soulful voice. Carrie worked with songwriter Chip Taylor for many years, and in ‘06 released her solo debut, Seven Angels on a Bicycle. It’s a fiddle-driven, mellow album that features mostly songs penned by Chip. Carrie is set to release her sophomore effort in which she took over the writing duties – she co-wrote with Gary Louris and Mary Gauthier, and Lucinda Williams makes a cameo. Not bad.

Carrie Rodriguez – Got Your Name On It
Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez – Keep Your Hat On Jenny
pre-order She Ain’t Me

August 19
Todd Snider – Peace Queer
(New Door Records)

i already talked about this one here.

September 2
Rodney CrowellSex and Gasoline
(Yep Roc Records)

The Houston Kid honed his musical chops as a guitar player/singer with olEmmylou. He ran around with Steve Earle, Guy Clark, and Townes in the 70’s and 80′ – oh yeah, he was also married to Rosanne Cash. Known mainly for his songwriting, he has penned songs that produced hits for Emmylou, Guy, Waylon, George Strait, Keith Urban, etc. With a slew of solo albums since ‘78, Rodney’s last few discs have been politically-fueled rants set to catchy guitar/mandolin riffs.

from Sex and Gasoline:
Rodney Crowell – Closer To Heaven
from 2005’s The Outsider:
Rodney Crowell – Don’t Get Me Started

September 9
Okkervil River – The Stand Ins
(Jagjaguwar)

Will Sheff and band didn’t take long to follow up 2007’s The Stage Names (which, if i could re-do my Best of 2007 list, would make the top 5). That’s simply because they had toyed with the idea of releasing a double album last year. Though the idea was forgone, The Stand Ins picks up where The Stage Names left off. The overall theme is said to carry over, there’s a sequel to the plaintive Savannah Smiles, and even the artwork coincides. Read more here.
here’s a live version of a song that will be on the new disc – my most anticipated of this list.

Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines (WOXY.com Lounge Acts)

September 23
Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Pusher
(Nettwerk)

i posted about this release here as soon as i found out. Since then, i’ve also been informed that an EP will precede the album release. Out next week (July 29th), it will include 2 songs from the full album plus an exclusive track, Back To New Orleans.

The album was produced by Don Was (The Stones, Dylan, Black Crowes) who has his own channel on MyDamnChannel.com - check out the boys playin’ some studio sessions with country legend ‘Cowboy’ Jack Clement:

You can find an older version of Caroline at my original Tennessee Pusher post, but he’s another new tune from The Show that i’ve found:
Old Crow Medicine Show – Soul Rebel (live)

—————————————————-
If you know of any upcoming albums that fit the mood here at This Mornin‘…., please tell me.