Cover/Uncovered: Hesitation Blues

Posted by Payton | Posted in cover/uncovered | Posted on 05-12-2010

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It’s been a while since my last Cover/Uncovered. For the uninitiated, it’s a feature where I explore a song in which I first heard the covered version – and subsequently learned of the original, or ‘uncovered’ it.

This installment explores a blues/bluegrass standard that’s just about as close to ‘traditional’ as you can get. Written in 1914 and has since gathered more than thirty verses, the refrain being the only consistent part.

How long have I got to wait

Can I get you now

Or must I hesitate?

My introduction to the song came from Old Crow Medicine Show’s 2001 album Eutaw. The band treats the song fairly traditionally, Ketch Secor’s fiddle carrying the melody that will become familiar soon enough. Willie Watson begins with a verse heard nowhere else:

I was born in England, raised in France. Aw, they sent the coathanger, wouldn’t send the pants.

but the second verse is present in nearly every version, and might just be my favorite:

I was raised in Alabama, born in Tennessee. If you don’t like my peaches, don’t you shake on my tree.

Cover: Old Crow Medicine Show - Hesitation Blues

 

Since finding the song, I’ve located quite of few live bootleg versions from some of my favorite artists. Scott Avett does what sounds like an impromptu version that reveals the often indiscernable lyrics. He begins with a common verse:

If the river was whiskey and I was a duck, I’d dive to bottom and I’d never come up.

Cover: The Avett Brothers - Hesitation Blues (live)

 

My favorite version from my library is performed by none other that Justin Townes Earle. Justin fingerpicks that lovely melody all while strumming the rhythm and delivering an impassioned performance. He includes a verse I’ve yet to hear elsewhere:

Now I ain’t the doctor, but I’m the doctor’s son. Mama, I can play the doctor ’til the doctor come.

Cover: Justin Townes Earle - Hesitation Blues (live)

 

Moving to some older recordings, we find the Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk, doing his version of the staple from back in 1960. Blues legend Leadbelly included a recording of the song on what would become his last ever recordings, done in 1948.

Cover: Dave Van Ronk - Hesitation Blues
Cover: Leadbelly - Hesitation Blues

 

Most songs this old, with so little consistency within the lyrics can’t be traced back to any one writer. But the men that wrote ‘Hesitation Blues’ just so happened to be in the music publishing business. Billy Smythe, Scott Middleton, and Art Gillham formed a band in 1914, and while on the road, penned multiple verses to go along with the above-mentioned chorus. One of the earliest recordings of the song was done by Art Gillham, also known as The Whispering Pianist. His lyrics show that the song was always meant to be lighthearted and improvised:

I’m going down to the levee. Gonna make a rocking chair. If the blues don’t leave, gonna rock away from there.

I had a sweet mama, so bashful and shy. When she mends her underwear, she plugs the needle’s eye.

A doctor’s in love with my girl, they say. I got her eating apples just to keep him away.

You must love your neighbor, like the good book say. But that don’t mean to love her when the husband’s away.

Uncovered: Art Gillham - Hesitation Blues

Spring/Summer Album Release Update

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 05-12-2010

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Over the last few months I’ve posted quite a few notices of Album Releases spread across April, May, and June. Here’s a re-cap for your pre/late ordering pleasure all in one convenient place:

April

6th/ Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digital]

I only recently became a Dr. Dog fan, but since I finally gave their 2008 album Fate a listen, they’re basically ALL I’ve been spinning. I also had the pleasure of catching their live show in Austin a couple weeks back, and it was THE BEST rock and roll show I’ve ever seen. If at all possible catch this tour – the light show is mindblowing.

Dr. Dog - I Only Wear Blue

 

20th/ Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The third album from this acoustic folk outfit from Portland dropped late last month. I received my vinyl copy a few weeks ago, but haven’t had the chance to fully enjoy it yet. This one sounded good on the first pass:

Horse Feathers - Vernonia Blues

 

May

4th/ Josh Ritter – So Runs The World Away

buy: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ll be honest, So Runs The World Away kinda bored me on the first listen. The second time through, the latter half of the disc sounded better – especially this one with it’s busy acoustic guitar:

Josh Ritter - Lark

 

11th/ Sam Quinn + Japan Ten – The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships

buy: [CD][Digtal]

Sam’s first solo endeavor, The Fake That Sunk 1,000 Ships showcases the heartbreaking songwriting ability we all came to love with The Everybodyfields.

Sam Quinn + Japan Ten - So Strong

 

18th/ Band of Horses – Infinite Arms

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

I’ve given this one a few spins since picking it up and I like just about everything I’ve heard. This one seems to be a more melodic record than previous Band of Horses albums.

Band of Horses - Laredo removed by request

 

18th/ The Black Keys – Brothers

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl][Digtal]

The world’s best Blues/Rock duo has done it again with Brothers, the band’s 8th studio album. They continue to invent the grooviest of grooves, but Brothers isn’t as raw as the rest of their catalog – Dan’s songwriting shows through nearly as strong as on his solo album.

The Black Keys - Howlin' For You

 

June

8th/ Deer Tick – The Black Dirt Sessions

pre-order: [CD][Vinyl]

Following their meteoric rise over the last two years, the Providence Grunge-Folk Rockers Deer Tick release their third full album. They opened for Dr. Dog this month in Austin and from the sampling we heard, this one should be stellar.

Deer Tick - Twenty Miles

 

22nd/ Various – Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows (John Prine Tribute Album)

pre-order: [CD]

An All-Star cast of today’s best folk musicians came together to pay tribute to one of folk music’s best songwriters of all time. Whether it’s Justin Vernon, Josh Ritter, Willie Watson, or John McCauley doing the singing, the simply perfect melodies never let you forget you’re hearing a John Prine song.

Old Crow Medicine Show - Angel From Montgomery

Dave Rawlings Machine Double Shot

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 12-13-2009

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Headed to Waterloo Records in a few to catch an in-store performance from Dave Rawlings & Co. I’ve seen a few videos of similar shows and therefore am just as excited about the in-store as I am the full concert following. The Parish Room on 6th St will host the Dave Rawlings Machine and opener Sarah Jarosz. It’s a great music venue where I’ve previously caught my favorite Old Crow Medicine Show performance. And with 3/5 of OCMS plus the addition of the ever-impressive Gillian & Dave combo, it’s sure to not disappoint. Details/Photos to follow.

Here’s a lively, OCMS-dominated track off A Friend of a Friend:
Dave Rawlings Machine – It’s Too Easy
buy it – it’s great.

Dave Rawlings Readies Debut….

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release | Posted on 10-19-2009

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I mentioned the other day that the long-awaited Gillian Welch follow-up to 2003’s Soul Journey is finally coming, albeit in the form of The Dave Rawlings Machine. Now that we have full details including track list, release date, album art, and pre-order, I thought I outta give this release its own post.A Friend of a Friend is the first solo album from Dave Rawlings, although he has collaborated (and played alongside) Gillian Welch throughout her career. In addition, the duo has been instrumental in helping a couple of my favorite artists get their recording feet on the ground. Dave pays homage to these friends on his album, due out November 17th on Acony Records, by re-recording songs co-written with Ryan Adams (‘To Be Young’) and Old Crow Medicine Show (‘I Hear Them All‘).

Those co-writes, along with five other original songs make up with bulk of the album, with an interesting cover medley of Conor Oberst’s ‘Method Acting’ and Neil Young’s ‘Cortez The Killer’ thrown in the mix. I’m most looking forward to the lead-track ‘Ruby’ and ‘Sweet Tooth,’ both of which I vividly remember from The Big Surprise Tour. As expected, Gillian lends her siren vocals throughout the album, and Old Crow Medicine Show will help fill out arrangements.

1. Ruby
2. To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
3. I Hear Them All
4. Method Acting/Cortez The Killer

5. Sweet Tooth *

6. How’s About You

7. It’s Too Easy

8. Monkey And The Engineer

9. Bells of Harlem

Pre-order now at Amazon – $11.99

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The Big Surprise Tour: Nashville, TN

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 08-13-2009

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Checkin’ in from the hotel in Nashville before I head down to the banks of the Cumberland to enjoy night 1 of my Big Surprise Tour double-feature. I feel like I’ve already been on vacation for a week, but have yet to experience the real reason for the trip. We’ve been in Music City for 3 nights now – checked out Lower Broadway, the uber-tourist, live music strip in downtown Nashville, as well as some other, less-cheesy areas of the city. We caught an amazing show from The Low Anthem in a quaint, little brick joint known as The Basement. I will put up a full review of the show complete with photos when I get the time.

The venue couldn’t be more in the heart of Nashville. Riverfront Park is a grass lawn overlooking a stage/barge docked in the Cumberland River. The area backs up to the corner of First St and Broadway. The backstage area not only consists of the river and various bridges, but the Titans’ LP Field also serves as a scenic backdrop.

The bands are no-doubt in full stride by this point in the tour, having had numerous stops from New Hampshire on down to Tennessese, and the last stop tomorrow night in Knoxville promises to be a blowout of a finale. Full reviews/photos to follow.

The Felice Brothers – The Big Surprise
buy Yonder Is The Clock (2009)

"Take me to another place. Take me to another land…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 08-07-2009

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Arrested Development – Tennessee

That song steps a little out of my normal genre realm, but how can you not love it? As I searched my library for ‘Tennessee,’ it was the first result. Immediately, I was taken back to raiding my sister’s CD collection when I tired of my own crappy, country cassettes.

“A game of HORSESHOES!”


Tomorrow (in spite of being warned that Tennessee sucks in the summer), I head east to catch two instances of the Big Surprise Tour. If you don’t know, it’s pretty much the best folk lineup in this young century. Old Crow Medicine Show headlines an August-long set of dates with help from The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, and the spectacular duo of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Yeah.

The showcase is said to feature all acts “shar[ing] the stage, taking part in each other’s songs, resurrecting old standards, and playing newly written collaborative material as they go.” Ketch Secor says of the lineup: “If there is a ‘scene’ around the music we play, these artists make up the better part of it.” I couldn’t agree more.

We’re making a road-trip out of it, taking our time getting there, and spending a few days in Nashville before catching the last two dates of the tour in Music City and Knoxville.

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings ft. OCMS – Odds n’ Ends

Gillian Welch &David Rawlings – I Want To Sing That Rock and Roll (live)
buy Time (The Revelator) (2001)

Old Crow Medicine Show – Fall On My Knees (live)
buy OCMS Live (2003)

The Felice Brothers – Hey, Hey Revolver (live)

Justin Townes Earle – Chitlin’ Cooking Time In Cheatham County (live)


Cover/Uncovered: The Weight….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, cover/uncovered | Posted on 07-22-2009

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a Cover/Uncovered. I came across one of the following tunes earlier today and quickly realized this song should’ve been one of the first examined for this feature post.

Songwriting credits are a somewhat debated topic when it comes to The Band. I remember reading once that Robbie Robertson had the biggest part in constructing this one, but I like to think Levon and the rest of the gang did their fair share. The tune takes place in the town of Nazareth (in Pennsylvania) – the home of the Martin Guitar Company – and features a cast of interesting characters encountered around town. Robertson says of the song:

In “The Weight” it was this very simple thing. Someone says, “Listen, would you do me this favour? When you get there will you say ‘hello’ to somebody or will you give somebody this or will you pick up one of these for me? Oh? You’re going to Nazareth, that’s where the Martin guitar factory is. Do me a favour when you’re there.” This is what it’s all about. So the guy goes and one thing leads to another and it’s like “Holy Shit, what’s this turned into? I’ve only come here to say ‘hello’ for somebody and I’ve got myself in this incredible predicament.”

Live, ‘The Weight’ is absolutely epic. The ever-growing number of verses, multi-part harmonies, and irresistible crowd interaction combine to make the tune a live staple. And not only for The Band. Just check out the Wiki page to see an immense list of folks that have been known to include the The Weight in their sets. The song was a nightly standard at most of the ‘Texas Music/Red Dirt’ shows I attended throughout high school and college, nearly matching the encore-worthy popularity of Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Boys From Oklahoma.

Cover: Cody Canada, et al – The Weight
Cody (of Cross Canadian Ragweed) is joined in an acoustic set by Mike McClure, Stoney LaRue, Jason Boland, and the then just sprouting Ryan Bingham. McClure adds a little comedy when he botches his verse, only to improvise a freestyle rhyme. The performance is highlighted by Stoney’s chilling vocals.

The following song (and video) is one I’ve been studying up on lately, as in less than two weeks, I will head East to Tennessee to catch two performances of The Big Surprise Tour – Old Crow Medicine Show, The Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, all joined on stage by Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. You couldn’t ask for a better folk lineup in today’s music world (well maybe if you added The Avetts in there). But more on this later – I plan on doing some kind of pre-road trip post regarding the shows.


Cover: Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, OCMS – The Weight
I love that these guys take the song back to its roots, slowing it down and revealing the true beauty in the melody. These six folks can make any song sound like it was born out of bluegrass, but it really shines here.

As good as Stoney sounds when he says “and he caught me in the fog” or Willie does when he belts “if you take Jack, my dog,” neither gives me the feeling I get when Levon Helm begins The Band’s version.

Uncovered: The Band – The Weight
purchase Music From Big Pink (1968)
Uncovered: The Band – The Weight (live at The Palladium, 1976)

———————————-
More C/U at This Mornin’ I Am Born Again:

Cover/Uncovered: Obscure Covers – 10.22.2008
Cover/Uncovered: Slaid Cleaves – 9.30.2008
Cover/Uncovered: Dead Leaves – 9.10.2008
Cover/Uncovered: Mike McClure – 4.26.2008
Cover/Uncovered: II – 3.2.2008
Cover/Uncovered: I – 3.2.2008

New Felice Brothers Track…

Posted by Payton | Posted in album release, traditional | Posted on 02-10-2009

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FYI – Head over to SPIN’s website to stream one of the tracks from the forthcoming Felice Brothers’ Yonder Is The Clock.

‘Penn Station’ out-energizes anything from last year’s album and has the feel of the final track on Tonight at the Arizona – a raucous live version of ‘Take This Hammer.’

The rest of the track names definitely keep things interesting – especially #7 ‘Katie Dear.’ I haven’t known The Felice Brothers to do too many traditional songs, but if they were going to try one out, this tune (aka Silver Dagger) takes the cake. Here are some previous versions of the song:

Old Crow Medicine Show – The Silver Dagger
from Eutaw (2001)
The Cheiftains with Gillian & Dave – Katie Dear
from Down the Old Plank Road (2002)
Joan Baez – The Silver Dagger
(live)
from Bowery Songs (2005)

Still no pre-order links available yet, but I will keep you posted. And as I said, the album will also be pressed on vinyl with a release date set for April 7th. Check out more early ‘09 releases.

Top 10 Songs of 2008…

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

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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.

Summer Album Round-up….

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

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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.