The Low Anthem @ The Basement – Nashville, TN

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 08-20-2009

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Although my trip east was for the Big Surprise Tour, I managed to find another show in the area while there. The Low Anthem, a band I’ve only recently become acquainted with, played an opening set for Langhorne Slim at The Basement in Nashville.

The Basement is a quaint, little venue that, although cramped and stuffy (kinda like a basement), is one hell of a place to catch a band like The Low Anthem. The dark, intimate setting is perfect for a mellow, harmony-focused three-piece.

I downloaded the band’s Oh My God, Charlie Darwin a few days before the trip and immediately loved what I heard. I hadn’t, however, looked up much info on the band themselves. I was under the assumption that there were at least two primary lead singers, due to the fact that the album portrayed two very different vocal styles. To my surprise – and delight – I found that Ben Knox was the one and only lead vocalist. The polar opposites of silky, airy vocals and grungy warbles show this guy’s range. Check out these tracks for examples:

The Low Anthem – (Don’t) Tremble
The Low Anthem – The Horizon Is A Beltway

Ben is joined in the band by Jocie Adams and Jeff Prystowsky. The three of them together play a total of 65 instruments…. OK, a little exaggeration, but not much. That night at The Basement showed the band constantly trading instruments and places on stage. Ben and Jeff shared duties on both the organ and the drums. Ben and Jocie both played guitar (acoustic and electric). Jeff thumped a stand-up bass for the majority of the time, while Ben had an array of harmonicas around his neck. Jocie plays the clarinet and the crotales – I had to ask her after the show what it was. At one point, Ben stepped away from the mic to show his skills on the alto horn. But just when you thought they couldn’t possibly pull out another trick, Ben closed out a particular tune with some well-controlled cell phone to cell phone interference – that is during the song, he pulled out a phone, called another phone conveniently placed on stage, and let a couple harmony notes echo back and forth between the phones and through the mic. Skills.

The Low Anthem, however, shines brightest in their harmonies. The crowded bar was often mesmerized down to silence due to the band’s captivating 3-part vocal showcasing. Don’t beleive me? Listen…

The Low Anthem – Cage The Songbird

I haven’t even had the chance to mention that Ben’s lyrics are often as unbelievable as the band’s musical skills. I never like to get too in-depth decoding lyrics anyway, so I’ll trust that you check ‘em out for yourself.

Buy Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (vinyl available!) and please catch this band when they come your way.

"One eye on the sunrise, one eye on the clock…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in one liner | Posted on 08-09-2009

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Hayes Carll – Little Rock
buy Little Rock (2005)

Passing through Arkansas today; spending the night in Memphis. Let me know some things to do if you know the area.

"The best country singers die in the back of Classic Cars…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in one liner | Posted on 08-04-2009

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(One Liners is a recurring feature at This Mornin’ I Am Born Again that offers a single song, paired with a photo taken from my personal library, with one lyric highlighted for effect.)

Bright Eyes – Classic Cars
buy Cassadaga (2007)

Check out more One Liners at ThisMornin.com

"She left me for a Hollywood movie star. She liked the way he spelled his name."

Posted by Payton | Posted in one liner | Posted on 08-04-2009

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Matt Powell – The Hammock Song
buy Dragonfly (2002)

More on Matt Powell here.

Check out more One Liners at ThisMornin.com

"Your blue blood runs like it’s got some important place to be."

Posted by Payton | Posted in free music, one liner | Posted on 08-04-2009

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Joe Pug – Black-Eyed Susan

Pick up the rest of Joe’s new EP, In The Meantime, for FREE on his site. It’s good.

Check out more One Liners at ThisMornin.com

Links, News, & Pictures for May…..

Posted by Payton | Posted in links and news, live show | Posted on 05-21-2009

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I don’t have any super-interesting links or news today, but there are few things I’ve been wanting to share with my readers, so you may find some filler…..

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So for the real point of this post…. I wanted to brag a little and mention a couple milestones I’ve recently reached for my blogging/music collecting career.

Last Tuesday, sometime between the hours of 7 and 8 am, This Mornin’ I Am Born Again received its 100,000 visit. Now that may not sound like a lot in the large scheme of the internet, but it sure as hell is lot more interest than I ever thought this little place would garner. It took nearly a year-and-a-half, which comes out to about 230 visits/day. There was a time last year when I was averaging closer to 500 hits/day, but I simply couldn’t keep up with making 2-3 posts per week. Now, most of the other blogs I read (which, judging from their stats, you probably do too) blow these numbers out of the water, but, hey, I’m just one dude at his computer. And to keep my posts genuine and authentic, I don’t post about music that I don’t like. So if there’s no good music being added to my library, there’s generally nothing new on this page.

And speaking of my music library….

In a fortuitous coincidence, the same time my blog crossed a nice, round, LARGE number, so did my iTunes library. I added the 10,000th song to my computer with one of the tracks from the leaked Wilco (The Album) earlier this week. Again, I could have reached this number a long time ago (there are nearly 400 live Ryan Adams shows on Archive.org, remember?), but I like to be able to shuffle my enite library and not have to hear crap.

Whether related or not, just when I reached these marks, I had a hard drive crash. The 43 gigs of music doesn’t even take up 1/7 of my available memory, so I doubt that was the cause. I would say it was just Dell’s way of making money (creating parts that stop working after a year), but I was under warranty, a new hard drive was shipped out, and after some tense moments backing up files, I’m back in business.

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Reloading my Photoshop catalog on this new disc, I came across pictures from some recent shows I’ve attended and decided I needed to share them. I don’t have the energy for any sort of live show review, so here are some of the ‘keepers’ I’ve snapped over the last couple months.

Ray Wylie Hubbard @ The Mucky Duck – 3/21/09

Justin Townes Earle @ The Mucky Duck – 3/22/09

Amy Lavere @ The Mucky Duck – 3/22/09

Mike McClure Band @ The Firehouse Saloon – 4/18/09

Slaid Cleaves @ The Mucky Duck – 5/9/09

A Little Kum-Ba-Yah With Deer Tick…

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 03-19-2009

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Caught Deer Tick on St. Patty’s Day at an in-store performance at Cactus Music in Houston. The early evening gig took place upon the band’s arrival town before their night show at Rudyard’s. Nevermind their tour-van-worn appearance, foggy eyes, and slightly late arrival – these guys are good. And their party-first, obligation-later attitude only helps them make what they do look so easy.

John McCauley took the stage alone, beginning with a nimbly-picked ‘Ashamed.’ One by one, John invited the other band members up to the stage; each song adding one more layer of silky-smooth harmony. The parade of friends culminated with a five-part rendition of ‘Dirty Dishes’ done with a campfire sing-along feel.

Going solo once again, McCauley showed us a witty song, ‘Cake & Eggs’ co-written with a member of folk trio Those Darlins and admittedly ripped off from a John Prine Song. He also introduced us to the first taste of Born On Flag Day, his next album, due out sometime later this year.

The showcase was capped off with a somewhat darker version of Hank’s ‘Never Get Out of this World Alive.’ I’ve always felt a strong presence of ol’ Hank in John’s stage swagger and country drawl (see ‘Spend The Night’), but it was nice to hear him put his own flare on one of the legend’s best songs.

More Pictures:

Here are some miscellaneous DT tunes I found in my library:

Deer Tick – Hobo’s Lullaby
courtesey SpliceToday.com’s The Old Lonesome Sound Mix
Deer Tick – Still Crazy After All These Years
Paul Simon cover courtesy Aquarium Drunkard
Deer Tick – Hell On Earth

unreleased Deer Tick track

Check out my War Elephant re-release post

Super Photo Post: NYC

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 12-04-2008

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A near complete recovery from The City has been made. One piece of luggage seems to still elude the fine folks at both Delta and Continental. Never switch airlines/airports after you check baggage. Our luggage was purportedly cargoed by Delta, but strangely the claim must be filed with the airline that transported you. And i’ve recently found out that the claim/reimbursement process is much like microbiology.

But prior to Monday evening, NYC did me well. Great weather – a little chilly 35-45, but it was very refreshing. We don’t necessarily have bundle-up weather here, and therefore winter attire is a welcome change. i’ve done the touristy thing before, so i spent most of my trip in and around the West Village where my sister lives. Greenwich Village is an oasis of civility in an otherwise commercial and dizzying metropolis. As it was in the 60’s when Dave Van Ronk was the unofficial Mayor of MacDougal Street and Dylan was playing for change in a hat, The Village is brimming with eclectic culture and more importantly, record stores.

As expected, many pictures were taken. Sunshine through Saturday supplied good skies, and the rain that came Sunday made for good night shots. After sorting through hundreds of photos, a few keepers were found:

Stay tuned for my second mixtape – NYC MIX – coming tomorrow… time permitting.
Meanwhile check out Mixtape I: Surviving Ike.

Conor Oberst/Felice Brothers Live @ Stubbs BBQ…

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

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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

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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.
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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.