Link & News for January ‘10….

Posted by Payton | Posted in links and news | Posted on 01-26-2010

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Here are some happenings in my music world right now:

Daytrotter has a couple new sessions worth checking out: The Roadside Graves (1/8), Dave Rawlings Machine (1/13) and Samantha Crain (1/20). And for you iPhone users, the folks over there have created an app for the iPhone that lets you stream any artist’s session as well as Daytrotter radio.

The Low Anthem recently recorded one of those amazingly quaint NPR Tiny Desk Concerts. They perform ‘Ghost Woman Blues,’ ‘Ghosts Who Write History Books,’ and ‘This God Damn House’ – the tune with the infamous cell phone interference trick. Also notice the special placement of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species on the bookshelf behind the band. You can view it on their website, along with a recent performance of ‘Charlie Darwin’ from Letterman. The Low Anthem will also be embarking on their first headlining tour soon following a road stint opening for The Avett Brothers.

Speaking of NPR, head over there to stream Patty Griffin’s brand new album Downtown Church (Out Today). As the title may suggest, it’s a gospel-flavored album that was actually recorded in an empty church. Another chillingly tender album from Patty. Go ahead and but it: [Amazon CD/mp3]

Austin City Limits aired The Avett Brothers‘ set this past Saturday (my intention was to get this post up before the weekend to give you guys the heads up). It was pretty amazing – good mix of old/new material performed very intimately to a warm audience. See a preview here. Definitely picking up the DVD when it comes available.

Justin Townes Earle has a new track available. It’s a cover of Dolly Parton’s ‘Do I Ever Cross Your Mind’ done with Dawn Landes – Josh Ritter’s wife. Justin’s voice is velvety-er than ever on this one. Pick it up from Rollo & Grady.

Joe Pug’s full-length debut is nearly upon us. I came across an advance (probably illegal) copy of it, but wasn’t able to download it. Oh well, I can wait patiently. But for now, check this:

Thursday One-Hitter…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in thursday one-hitter | Posted on 11-05-2009

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Although I already have a feature post that highlights just one track – One Liners – sometimes I feel a bit constrained because I tend to base those picks on my photography first. For that reason, I’m implementing a new weekly (hopefully) post that features one track that strikes me particularly right that week. It will focus more on songwriting/lyrics than most of my posts and, if at all possible, I’ll try to offer some interesting notes about the song/artist.

And because today is Thursday… I give you your first Thursday One-Hitter:

Patty Griffin – Moses

buy Living With Ghosts (1996)

Diamonds. Roses. I need Moses
To cross this sea of loneliness, part this red river of pain
I don’t necessarily buy any key to the future or happiness
But I need a little place in the sun sometimes, or I think I will die

Everywhere is somewhere and nowhere is near
Everybody got somebody with their wine and their beer
So I’m just this tragic figure in the corner over here
With an empty apartment and a best friend who is a queer

Everytime I see him he smiles
And he tells me how well he’s walking these miles
But he never, ever asks a single thing about me
If I die, he’d hear about it eventually
Diamonds. Roses. I need Moses
To cross this sea of loneliness, part this red river of pain

Everywhere is somewhere and nowhere is near
Everybody got somebody with their wine and their beer
So I’m just this tragic figure in the corner over here
Go home to an empty apartment and call a best friend who is a queer

Diamonds. Roses. I need Moses
To cross this sea of loneliness, part this red river of pain
To cross this sea of loneliness, part this red river of pain
To cross this sea of loneliness, part this red river of pain

At its inception, Living With Ghosts, Patty’s 1996 debut, was a hauntingly beautiful recording – simply Patty and her guitar. When her label wasn’t quite satisfied with the studio production treatment it got, Patty suggested that A&M Records release the sparse original demo. That decision payed off. The world was therefore introduced to Patty Griffin the right way: bare, unfiltered, and consequently far more evocative than had her songs been shrouded by a full band.

That minimalist treatment was essential in making ‘Moses’ the power ballad that it is. The lyrics are edgy enough to keep this one from being covered by radio queens. Patty sings about the usual personal struggles: pain, loneliness, and happiness (or lack thereof), but it’s the way in which she delivers her words that stops you in your tracks. I would go so far as to say that this is the most emotion I’ve ever heard someone express in song. In just over three minutes, Patty takes you on the rollercoaster ride that her heart is obviously well-accustomed to at this point.

If the level of overall emotion in her vocals were tracked on a scale of 1-10, Patty begins ‘Moses’ at a healthy 6. She desperately calls for Moses to help her “cross this sea loneliness, part this red river of pain.” In verse 2, Patty falls to her lowest, a “tragic figure” questioning her solitary living and even her choice of friends. We follow Patty as she reveals her love interest and his blatant lack of interest in her. Dripping with spite, she sings, “if I die he’d hear about it eventually.” But as Patty repeats the opening lines, all hell breaks loose. She busts out of that 1-10 scale to somewhere near 14 as a few stirring Oh’s trail the verse. Once more through the refrain, she manages to gently lay the song back down, allowing the listener to catch his breath and realize the power of the song he just heard.

"It’s Strange How Hard It Rains Now"

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-19-2008

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After enduring near drought conditions here in central Texas for a couple months, the skies have finally opened up.
And they let it all go.
Neither Dolly nor Edouard earlier this year had enough left by the time they reached me. But a simple northern front showed up just in time to stifle the heat and quench the earth. The last 2 days of constant rainfall have not only held the dust down, but instantly turned the brown fields to green and lifted burn bans.

Rain, as well as many of mother nature’s offerings, have been the subject of (or influence for) a plethora of songs. Dark clouds, thunder, lightning, and being forced to remain indoors can bring out the sadness in some and helps to create those somber songs.

Patty Griffin – Rain
buy 1000 Kisses (2005)
Willie Nelson – Rainy Day Blues
buy Songbird (2006)
Ryan Adams – Rainy Days
from The Destroyer Sessions (2000)
Walt Wilkins – 18 Days of Rain
buy Hopewell (2007)

Often used as a metaphor for the cleansing of the soul, rain songs can also be uplifting, despite the gloominess the rain might bring. You can find some hope in a storm if you look forward to the fresh skies that will follow.

The Jayhawks – Save it for a Rainy Day
buy Rainy Day Music (2003)
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
buy Pendulum (1970)
James McMurtry – Walk Between the Raindrops
buy Walk Between the Raindrops (1998)
Jerry Jeff Walker – Hill Country Rain
buy Hill Country Rain (1992)

i’ve got an even better of mix of storm songs that i created as a mixtape when a hurricane was on its way here a few years ago. The next time one rolls through i’ll try to post it.

New Digs…….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 07-11-2008

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Last weekend i made it over to Austin.
i swear, sometimes i really need a simple Austin fix.

Made my obligatory trip to Waterloo without much of anything in mind. i knew i wanted to pick up some vinyls – hoping for some Townes, but ended up getting an eclectic mix from the bargain section later on at Backspin Records. (btw, check out for some record stores near you that are down with good music)

I had been on a kick for chick folk music, so i picked up something from Patty Griffin and Gillian Welch.

Patty Griffin – Fly
buy A Kiss In Time (2003)
Patty puts everything she has into her songs, and it really shows live.

Gillian Welch – Red Clay Halo

Possibly one the most underrated artists anywhere near the folk scene today, Gillian Welch (always with help from David Rawlings) can take you back to depression-era times with the first note she hits. The overwhelming spiritual quality of her music helps to offset her tragic lyrics.

After falling into The Jayhawks a while back, i’ve been lookin‘ a little deeper into Gary Louris. I picked up his first solo release that came out earlier this year, as well as Golden Smog’s comeback (?) album – Another Fine Day. If you don’t know – they were/are an on-again, off-again group of musicians formed from the ashes of a few pretty namely bands (learn). Gary Louris most often played the front-man, with none other than Jeff Tweedy stepping in occasionally. Other spots were filled out with dudes from The Replacements and Soul Asylum.

These two tracks show their all-over-the-map sound.
Golden Smog – Long Time Ago
Golden Smog – Corvette

Heard this one on Weeds. A cool show that makes you a little sympathetic towards drug dealers.
The songs on there are always attention-grabbing and well placed.

Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine
buy Ongiara (2007)

as always, enjoy responsibly………..

SuperPost: The Road…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in super post | Posted on 07-04-2008

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No, even though i have been talkin’ a little about books lately, this post is not about the Cormac McCarthy novel. There are countless songs that have been written about/inspired by that mixture of gravel, cement, and tar we like to call The Road.

Rather than save it for last, i’m gonna start with the song that inspired this post. It could be construed as too literal, but Jerry Jeff was best at being blunt.
mp3: Jerry Jeff Walker – Life on the Road
buy Scamp (1996)

Since the introduction of the automobile, Americans have long had an affinity for The Highway. Whether it represents the distance between a man and his lover, the treacherous path taken while transporting precious cargo, or a mythical place where the good go to be bad, the highway has always possessed transcendental qualities.

mp3: Owen Temple – Tennessee Highway
buy General Store (2002)
mp3: The Everybodyfields – Out On The Highway
buy Nothing Is Okay (2007)
mp3: Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (alt take)
buy No Direction Home – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 (1995)

There’s something special about the feeling you get from being on The Road. Whether you’re a traveling musician or not, there’s a calming effect that comes from the mixture of the soft hum of your tires on the blacktop, the wind in your face, and the surrounding scenery. The long stretches with nothing to do except bounce stuff around in your head have no doubt spawned some of your favorite songs from your favorite artists.

mp3: Hayes Carll – Down The Road Tonight
buy Little Rock (2005)
mp3: Bruce Robison – Driving All Night Long
buy Long Way Home From Anywhere (1999)
mp3: Patty Griffin – Long Ride Home

buy 1000 Kisses (2005)
Of course, the best part about a road-trip of any kind is that there is no TV and no movies – that leaves one of two things: Good Conversation or Good Music. i’m the type of person that will always find time to listen to music, but so many people only give themselves the chance when they’re in the car. One of my favorite things to do is use the time during a drive to subject anyone in the car (willing or not) to a little music schoolin’. And the right music will always lead to good conversation.

If i know there’s a road-trip in my future, i make sure i stock my toolbox o’ music with some Max Stalling. As of yet, i haven’t said much about Max, but he’s a got a knack for conversational songs (the topic of a forthcoming post) as well as drivin’ music. i can’t quite pinpoint what it is about his sound, but it will take your mind off of the road and make your destination seem that much closer.
mp3: Max Stalling – The Rock Song
buy Comfort In The Curves (1997)

for more Max Stalling drivin’ music, check out I-35, Runnin’ Buddy, Travelin’ Lite, Dime Box TX, Probably Corsicana, and Green Lights. Jeez…… i could have made this post with only his songs.

mp3: Blake Powers – Old Blevins Road
from Old Blevins Road (2001)

mp3: Bleu Edmondson – What I Left Behind
buy Southland (2001)

mp3: Brandon Rhyder – Back Roads
buy Conviction (2005)

Often portrayed as a metaphor for life itself, The Road takes on deeper responsibility when it determines the destination and not simply the gettin’ there.

mp3: The Avett Brothers – Salina
buy Emotionalism (2007)
mp3: Reckless Kelly – Desolation Angels
buy Under The Table & Above The Sun (2003)

mp3: Walt Wilkins – I Chose This Road
buy Mustang Island (2005)

i’ll leave you with some gems from Townes……

“it’s a hard road you’re travelin’/you can’t walk it alone/find a big man to stand beside you”

“mother thinks the road is long and lonely/
little brother thinks the road is straight and fine/
little darling thinks the road is soft and lovely/
i’m thankful that old road is a friend of mine”

“there’s lots of things along the road i’d surely like to see/
i’d like to lean into the wind and tell myself i’m free/
but your softest whisper’s louder than the highway’s call to me/
close your eyes, i’ll be here in the mornin’/
close your eyes, i’ll be here for a while”

New Digs……

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, new digs | Posted on 03-07-2008

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Friday. It feels good to be on time, and to have some tracks to post. If you read my album forecast, you know there were a few good ones that came out on Tuesday. Got most of ‘em (i had The Felice Brothers ship to where i’ll be next week). But today you get a little taste of everything – brand new tracks, old tracks that i just got, and even one new face:

mp3: The Black Crowes – Oh Josephine
~ buy Warpaint (2008)
i’ve always liked The Black Crowes, but never been a huge fan. I really like Warpaint after the first couple listens. There’s some classic Crowes bluesy sounds on it (Jospehine, Walk Believer Walk, Wounded Bird), but also, there’s a new, more acoustic/folk feel on some tracks (Locust Street, There’s Gold In Them Hills, Whoa Mule). Check it out.

mp3: Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová – You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
~ buy I’m Not There (Soundtrack) (2007)
Haven’t seen their movie, Once, yet, but i’m impressed with this duo. Original, inventive sounds. Their cover of one of my favortite Dylan tunes is really well done. You can find their Oscar-winning original song Falling Slowly just about everywhere.

mp3: Jayber Crow – Eugene, Oregon (Manifest Destiny)
~ buy The Farmer and the Nomad [EP]
There was considerable interest in the first Jayber Crow song i posted, so i found some more. This song has a cool battle-march feel to it.

mp3: Patty Griffin – Chief
~ buy 1000 Kisses (2005)
i saw the video for this song a couple years ago, but i just bought 1000 Kisses the other day. i don’t think Patty Griffin puts out anything that isn’t stellar.

mp3: Nizlopi – Start Beginning
~ buy Make It Happen (2008)
Nizlopi is an acoustic duo (Luke Concannon and John Parker) from the UK. Haven’t heard a lot of their stuff, and some of it may be just a little too Hip-Hop for my taste (beat-boxing and electronics), but the big stand-up bass keeps it just folky enough for me.

enjoy responsibly….

Sunshine Blues….

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized, blues | Posted on 02-02-2008

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Ever realized that sometimes the blues can make you feel, well….. not blue? There’s some kinda uplifiting quality that comes through when you hear a loud, vibrant guitar set to a a groovy melody – and maybe a harp thrown in, too. Sure, there are plenty of bluesy songs that are down right heartwrenching, but if the artists set out to write a blues tune cuz they’re feeling down, then it just seems natural that a hopeful song might emerge. So on this cool, sunny day, i’m in the mood for some groovy blues……

Old School Blues:
mp3: Bob Dylan – Meet Me In The Morning ~ from Blood On The Tracks (1975)
mp3: Nick Drake – Black Mountain Blues ~ from Family Tree (2007)
mp3: Townes Van Zandt – Black Widow Blues ~ from In The Beginning (1966)
mp3: Bob Dylan – Standin’ On The Highway ~ bootleg from WBAI Radio Interview, NYC (1962)

Bluegrassy Blues:
mp3: Chris Thile – If The Sea Was Whiskey ~ from How To Grow A Woman From The Ground (2006)
mp3: Otis Taylor – Shakie’s Gone ~ from Truth Is Not Fiction (2003)
mp3: Old Crow Medicine Show – Can’t Get Right Blues ~ from OCMS LIVE (2003)

Folky Blues:
mp3: The Avett Brothers – Backwards With Time ~ from The Gleam [EP] (2006)
mp3: Iron & Wine – The Devil Never Sleeps ~ from The Shepherd’s Dog (2007)
*by the way, i definately missed the ball by not including
this album in my Best of 2007 post*
mp3: Patty Griffin – Stay On The Ride ~ from Children Running Through (2007)
mp3: Steve Earle – Tennessee Blues ~ from Washington Square Serenade (2007)

Rockin’ Blues:
mp3: The Black Keys – Just a Little Heat ~ from Magic Potion (2006)
mp3: The Black Keys – Hold Me In Your Arms ~ from Thickfreakness (2003)
mp3: Cross Canadian Ragweed – Suicide Blues ~ from Purple (2002)
mp3: Ryan Adams – Tina Toledo’s Street Walkin’ Blues ~ from Gold (2001)

Givin’ It A Go….

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2007, lists | Posted on 01-22-2008

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Ok, so first post…….

i started blogging on my myspace page to try it out. i made a couple of ‘Best Of 2007′ posts and really enjoyed it, so i decided to move it over to this site. Here are the original posts.

-originally posted on January 12th, 2008 @ 11:57pm

so i’ve been thinkin a lot lately about starting a music blog since i spend about 90 percent of my time on the internet reading them. for those that may not know these are blogs where people post best of/worst of lists of music, highlight artists they like, or simply talk about music. the best part however, is that these bloggers post links to mp3’s of songs mentioned. as far as i know this is legal music sharing, as there is always a link to buy the albums/songs, a disclaimer saying the songs are for sampling purposes only, and artists/labels can request that their music be removed. also, the links normally expire within a few months, so you gotta move fast.
if you’re interested in this, try starting out at The Hype Machine tracks a variety of MP3 blogs. If a post contains MP3 links, it adds those links to its database and displays them on the front page.
2007 was a big year for me musically:
- i bought a fiddle; two actually (still workin on that tho)
- i finally took off my ‘texas music’ blinders and have since found some of the best artists around and redefined what i think good music is (i won’t even try to explain what that is).
- i gave in and starting using iTunes as my music library program, and consequently…
- i bought a 160gb iPod to store all this newfound musical goodness (plus, i outgrew my 20gb iRiver).
Because 2007 was good to me, i’ll return the favor my starting my blogging career with some best of 2007 lists.
stay tuned for those…….
-originally posted on January 13th, 2008 @ 8:28pm (**these mp3’s are linked to other blogs that i found through**)

so, as i said, i will commence my music blogging with a look back at the best of 2007.
but first, i’m gonna attempt to explain the music i like:
you can read my interests in music on my page to see a loooong list of artists i like, but i’ll try to explain it a little more.
almost everything i listen to is rooted in country in some way. Texas/Red Dirt is still a huge part of what i like, although removing the aforementioned blinders made me realize that some of the artists in this so-called genre that i used to dig on basically blow. i won’t give any specific names, but i will say that the mention of things like… uh, beer, bait, and maybe ammo in front of a steel guitar used to do it for me. not so much anymore. but i’m glad for all the music i’ve gone through on my way to what i now like. (i’ll probably look back at these lists in five years and think i was an idiot for listening to this music. right now, i find that nearly impossible, but then again, i would’ve said the same thing in my rebel-flag flying, mudding high school days). ok back to the task at hand….
so, over the last year, i’ve gotten into bluegrass music. mainly due to Old Crow Medicine Show (which isn’t technically bluegrass, but that’s for another day). i dig the sound of a mandolin, a stand up bass, and of course a screamin’ fiddle.
i listen to a lot of folk music, which isn’t a very good description of genre, but simplified it means country-tinged, traditionally born music. by getting into folk, i, in a sense, rediscovered some artists that i had previously come across and took for granted: Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, etc.
through folk, i found some ‘indie folk’, artists such as Iron & Wine and The Everybodyfields, and blog-hunting led me to discover some artists that could be described as ‘indie rock’: The Kooks, Spoon, Band of Horses, etc.
i’ll stop wastin your time with words and show some results:

My Top 10 Albums of 2007

10. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin

This album, as well as number 9, i don’t actually own, but from the sampling of songs i’ve gotten my hands on, i’m sold (and i’ll pick them up as soon as possible **edit 1/14/08** i picked this one up today**). The sophomore effort from Band of Horses is killer indie rock highlighted with echoey guitars and sweet harmony.
Band of Horses – The General Specific [MySpace] [iTunes]

9. Patty Griffin – Children Running Through

Patty Griffin, in addition to sharing a name with a good buddy of mine, is the current queen of folk. She’s been covered more than waffle house hash browns and her voice sends chills through me (so does waffle house – both in a good way).
Patty Griffin – Heavenly Day [MySpace] [iTunes]

8. Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
There is way too much music out there for me to check it all out, so i try to at least remember the names of artists i come across. If i see the same name show up numerous times across different blogs, i’ll check them out. Earlier last year, i saw Josh Ritter’s name just about everywhere, including the cover of No Depression Magazine. Wow. What this guy can do with words is kinda like pringles does with chips: there’s a bunch in there and they’re all good.
Josh Ritter – To The Dogs or Whoever [MySpace] [iTunes]

7. The Everybodyfields – Nothing Is Okay

You know how it seems weird to mix thick, black, licorice-flavored Jagermeister with bright, bubbly Red Bull, but where you do, it’s oh-so-glorious? That’s kinda like what you get when mix the voices of Sam Quinn and Jill Andrews to form the Everybodyfields. This folk duo (with a fiddle and dobro thrown in for good measure) from Johnson City, TN sings powerful tunes so sad you’ll want to forget the Red Bull and just take a pull (or fifteen).
The Everybodyfields – Lonely Anywhere [MySpace] [iTunes]

6. Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I visited my sister in NYC last summer before i had really gotten into the whole ‘indie rock’ thing. i remember seeing this damn album cover on every light pole, subway station, and covered walkway in the city. Then i kept seeing it on all kinda music blogs. Okay, Spoon, you win. Checked it out and here we are. Theses guys from Austin rock hard with more random percussion than a dishwasher. **edit 1/14/08** so, today, i was movin some cd’s around and a bonus cd fell out of the back on the Ga Ga Ga… case. how sweet is that? and not just like a 2 track cd, but 12 friggin’ songs! i’ll report back on what i think of them later**
Spoon – Eddie’s Ragga [MySpace] [iTunes]

ok, i’m tired – top 5 tomorrow……


-originally posted on January 13th, 2008 @ 11:32am

5. Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams released an album in 2007. It’s gonna be on my list.
Ryan Adams – Halloweenhead [MySpace] [iTunes]

4. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga

Conor Oberst, or Bright Eyes, is only like 27 and has almost 20 releases (including EP’s) since ‘98. Some of them are a little obscure for me, but Cassadaga is pure lyrical and musical goodness. Plus, he gets a little help from Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings (kind of a recurring theme in my favorite artists).
Bright Eyes – Classic Cars [MySpace] [iTunes]

3. Deer Tick – War Elephant
John McCauley is only 21 and is the mastermind behind Deer Tick. He sings lyrics as real as Townes or Dylan with groovy guitar licks behind them and unusual arrangements. Hell, i even hear a little Hank in there. i’m anxious to see if his debut effort breaks Deer Tick into popularity, but the fact that his own record label (Feow Records) is sold of of the album and you can only download it on iTunes is a positve sign.
Deer Tick – Art Isn’t Real (City of Sin) [MySpace] [iTunes]

2. The Kooks – Inside In/Inside Out

This is my first real taste of the so-called ‘Brit Pop’, but if it were all like this i think i would’ve found it a long time ago. The Kooks are huge overseas and fastly getting that way here. The only reason this album isn’t 1, is that i just got it at Christmas, but this is one of the best peices of music i’ve heard. Hook writing masters, the Kooks bring just enough acoustic riffs out in the middle of hardcore reggae rock. Yeah that’s right. (Thanks, Ashley, for turning me on to them)
The Kooks – Ooh La [MySpace] [iTunes]
p.s. i know this album was released in late ‘06, but you can lick me, it’s that good.

1. The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism

Scott(banjo) and Seth(guitar) Avett, along with Bob Crawford(stand-up bass) form the Avett Brothers and they are probably the most talented group of guys around. Everyone knows when brothers get together to sing harmony, amazing things happen, but add to that harmony – unique instrumentation (try Seth stomping on a high-hat pedal and Scott stomping on a bass drum pedal all while rockin’ hard on their respective instruments) – profound and flowing lyrics (“when you run, make sure you run – to something and not away from – ’cause lies don’t need and aeroplane – to chase you down”) – mix in a little punk rock (the brothers were previously in a hard rock band, and have retatined a little of their screamo attitude) – and you get my favorite album of 2007. Emotionalism. (By the way, both brothers play the drums and Scott is a painter)
The Avett Brothers – Die Die Die [MySpace] [iTunes]

stay tuned for my Top 10 Songs of 2007……