Sunday, December 28, 2008

Best of 2008

This is my Finaa list of the year. The Truckers are #1 and went wire to wire in the top spot. No small accomplishment. Give me your thoughts and your top picks:

1) Drive By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
2) The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
3) Kaey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - Rattlin' Bones
4) Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
5) Tift Merrit - Another Country
6) Hayes Carll - Trouble in Mind
7) Reckless Kelly - Bulletproof
8) Old 97's - Blame it on Gravity
9) Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
10) Chris Knight - Heart of Stone
11) Kaiser Chiefs - Off with Their Heads
12) The Steeldrivers - The Steeldrivers
13) Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Cardinology
14) Old Crow Medicine Show - Tennessee Pusher
15) My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
16) The Waybacks - Loaded
17) Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
18) Band of Heathens - Self-Titled
19) Shawn Mullins - Honeydew
20) The Whigs - Mission Control
21) Ashton Shepherd - Sounds so Good
22) Jaon Boland & the Straggler - Comal County Blue
23) J. J. Grey & Mofro - Orange Blossoms
24) Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
25) Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
26) The Beautiful Loser Society - Aim Low
27) Yarn - Empty Pockets
28) Griffin House - Flying Upside Down
29) The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
30) John D. Hale - Lost
31) Drew Emmitt - Long Road
32) Infamous Stringdusters - Self-Titled
33) Wild Sweet Orange - We Have Cause to be Uneasy
34) Cherryholmes - III
35) R.E.M. - Accelerate
36) Justin Townes Earle - The Good Life
37) Joey & Rory - The Life of a Song
38) Ray Lamontagne - Gossip in the Grain
39) B. B. King - One Kind of Favor
40) British Columbians - Self-Titled
41) Teddy Thompson - A Piece of What You Need
42) The Waifs - Sundirtwater
43) The Bridge - Blind Mam's Hill
44) Brett Dennen - Hope for the Hopeless
45) Donna The Buffalo - Silverlined
46) Heybale - The Last Country Album
47) Tejas Brothers - Self - Titled
48) Railroad Earth - Amen Corner
49) Kathleen Edwards - Asking for Flowers
50) Sierra Hull - Secrets
51) South Austin Jug Band - Strange Invitation
52) Eleven Hundred Springs - Country Jam
53) Jim Lauderdale - Honey Songs
54) Dr. Dog - Fate
55) The Stills - Oceans Will Rise
56) Hank Williams III - Damn Right Rebel Proud
57) Chatham County Line - IV
58) Sonny Landreth - From the Reach
59) Graham Lindsey - We are All Alone in This Together
60) Have Gun Will Travel - Casting Shadows Tall as Giants

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Alternate Routes - A Sucker's Dream

It is easier to describe the Alternate Routes by what they are not. They are not Rock, Pop or Folk. They are just good. Their eclectic sound will actually work against them but they are too talented to ignore. For some reason in the current music industry we need to pigeon-hole everything. Every where else in society multi-culturalism and diversity are valued. But in music we have to be able to fit things into neat radio formats pre-approved by Clear Channel executives. Fortunately Vanguard Records cares about artists and knows that the artists worthy of being found can find their place. Even if they don't fit in some radio executive's little box. In the current music landscape there are more distribution channels than ever. So good artists can be promoted and discovered. Indeed if there is a theme on A Sucker's Dream overcoming long odds seems to be it.

This album like their previous Vanguard debut was produced in Nashville by Jay Joyce (John Hiatt, Patty Griffin). From sweeping ballads, catchy pop hooks and earthy Rock this album goes in more directions than their previous record Good and Reckless and True. The Alternate Routes home base is the blue collar town of Bridgeport, Connecticut but their true home is the road. They tour relentlessly and are gaining a reputation as a real crowd pleasers. I have not had the privilege of seeing them live. However, listening to the album I am not surprised their music translates so well to an audience. There is an emotional presence in their music that seems very sincere. This earnestness adds a certain aura to the music that draws you in as you listen. Such honesty deserves a place in the music landscape for sure.

This review also appears on Twangville

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

From the Twangville Posse

Check out Kelly's review of Charlie Louvin

Check out Tom's Best of 2008. Which will get your appetite going for the final AWT Poll.

Also don't miss Mayer's Playlist

The British Columbians

Ironically they actually are from British Columbia. So their name may lack a little originality. That is ok because it appears they put all of their originality and creativity into their music. The Blues have influenced Rock & Roll since, well actually forever. However, thanks to bands like White Stripes, Black Keys and Black Mountain among others the blues are invading Indie Rock again. You can add The British Columbians to the list. Their self-titled debut album on Rural Records is garnering some attention but it deserves much more. The album was mixed in B.C. at The Hive by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Destroyer, and Ladyhawke). Not unlike Black Mountain the album has a Psychedelic Blues sound but it is also influenced by Classic Rock and Roll. Consequently, the band doesn't let the solos and improv over-shadow the core song like a lot of Psychedelic influenced bands. Instead The British Columbians employ Rock and Blues influences that let the songs be the focus.

This is not to say that they can't jam. They certainly aren't afraid to let it rip at times. The British Columbians are Girard Knox - guitar and vocals; Dave Moran - drums and vocals; Christopher Ellis - electric & upright bass; Owen Connell - keyboards, guitar and pedal steel. The use of the upright bass and pedal steel give the album an ancient sound at times while sounding fully modern. At times it reminiscent of Sixteen Horsepower and David Eugene Edwards. Some songs like "Bye Bye Marie" sound eerily rural while others like "Gasoline Handshake" are more electric with a clear Led Zeppelin influence. The latter song is the linchpin of the project. It has a driving bass line that gets you in a groove just in time to deliver a gut punch of an improvisational guitar solo, which flows right into a Psychedelic jam with a wailing trumpet scream. Right now the band is touring primarily in their native B.C. and Alberta. However, based on what this debut shows, Canadians won't be able to keep them to themselves much longer.


This review also appears on Twangville

Monday, December 15, 2008

Griffin House New Tour Dates in 2009

Also he released a new video for "The Guy that Says Goodbye"



Thur, Jan 15 Boulder, CO @ B Side Lounge

Sat, Jan 17 Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

Mon, Jan 19 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge

Tues, Jan 20 Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door

Thur, Jan 22 San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall

Sat, Jan 24 Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Café

Sun, Jan 25 San Diego, CA @ Anthology

Mon, Jan 26 Phoenix, AZ @ The Rhythm Room

Thur, Jan 29 Austin, TX @ Stubb’s

Fri, Jan 30 Dallas, TX @ The Loft

Sat, Jan 31 Houston, TX @ Meridian


Mon, Feb 2 St. Louis, MO @ The Duck Room @ Blueberry Hill

Wed, Feb 4 Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark

Thur, Feb 5 Madison, WI @ Orpheum Stage Door

Fri, Feb 6 Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theatre

Sat, Feb 7 Chicago, IL @ Double Door

Wed, Feb 11 Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection

Thur, Feb 12 La Salle, IL @ Uptown Grill (SOLD OUT)

Fri, Feb 13 Newport, KY @ Southgate House

Sat, Feb 14 Muncie, IN @ The Living Room

Thur, Feb 19 Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar

Fri, Feb 20 Birmingham, AL @ WorkPlay Theatre

Sat, Feb 21 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In

Wed, Feb 25 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live

Thur, Feb 26 Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java

Fri, Feb 27 New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom

Sat, Feb 28 Boston, MA @ Café 939

MARCH 2009

Thur, Mar 5 Louisville, KY @ Gerstie’s

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yarn Spin a Video

Yarn is an independent band that has seen a groundswell of Grassroots support. Watch this video of them live in WDVX:

Settin' the Woods on Fire - This Week's Charts

I am having to drop the Cross-Country chart from my polls thanks to our "friends" at Sirius who killed the best channel on XM. However I still have the Americana Music Charts and the FMQB Non-Commercial AAA chart so it is not all bad:

Americana Music Association Airplay for the week of 12-1:
1) Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
2) Todd Snider - Peace Queer
3) Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cardinology
4) Rodney Crowell - Sex & Gasoline
5) Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - Rattlin' Bones
6) Yarn - Empty Pockets
7) OCMS - Tennessee Pusher
8) Tejas Brothers - Tejas Brothers
9) Susan Tedeschi - Back to the River
10)Chris Night - Heart of Stone

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial Airplay Chart for the week of 12-1:
1) Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cardinology
2) Byrne/Eno - Everything that Happens will Happen Today
3) Susan Tedeschi - Back to the River
4) Brett Dennen - Hope for the Hopeless
5) Pretenders - Break up the Concrete
6) Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
7) Ray Lamontagne - Gossip in the Grain
8) Jenny Lewis - Acid Tounge
9) Coldplay - Viva La Vida
10)Calexico - Carried to Dust

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Beautiful Loser Society - Aim Low

Recently I came across the band from the Four Corners region of Colorado, The Beautiful Loser Society. Whose new CD Aim Low is a veritable smorgasbord of Roots Rock styles. Featuring Southern Rock, Outlaw Country and Blues. The album rocks with tales of losers, loners, moonshiners and jilted lovers. All of these tales are cloaked with a certain Gothic charm. The Beautiful Loser Society is Chuck Barry on rhythm guitar and lead vocal, Kevin Chelf on lead guitar, Danny Bankston on the drums and Mike McCluhan on the electric and upright bass. The album was mixed and mastered in Austin by Dale X Allen and Cris Burns who deserve some of the credit for Aim Low's Gothic feel. Call it Roots Goth, or Gothic Twang. Whatever description it is given the Society's music deserves to be heard.

The band seems to have a loyal fanbase in the Durango/Telluride area but I can only hope their reputation can grow beyond this regional status to a wider audience. From the opening track,"Delta Shine," which tells the story of an outlaw moonshiner to the hilarious "Best Thing (That Ever Happened to the Worst Girl in Town.)" Their is also "ole John Deere," a touching tale about a family searching for something to cling to while facing hard Times. Country songs like "Talkin' to the Devil" also abound on Aim Low. The album is fun listen and certainly a gem of a find.


Buy at CD Baby