Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jon Langford - Old Devils

Is it possible for the leader of bands like the Waco Brothers andhe Mekons to become introspective, and produce an album that results in something beyond the live music bar bash that characterizes every Waco Brothers show? The simple answer is yes. Langford is also a very accomplished outsider artist, maybe his visual art is bleeding into his songwriting.

The Rootsy Punk is still there, but there is also an introspective biography embedded in the album. There are autobiographical tracks and stories of other characters, who seem to exhibit traits and faults that he sees in himself. Dare I say the album is Folk with Pumk undertones. That description seems as oxymoronic as James Taylor spitting on his audience in a Sid Vicious type rage. In reality, that is what Jon Langford's  audience is presented with on Old Devils

Why are the words so poignant this time around? Only Langford can answer that for himself. However, no matter who you are or what your vocation, there comes a time when you must mature from being an innovator to a mentor. This is an uncomfortable task for some people. Langford seems to be straddling the fence himself. If so, that is a shame because Jon Langford is the type of multi-faceted creative genius that young artists should seek out. Maybe we could start a petition to get him on the next "Dancing with the Stars." In fact, what could get him more recognition than doing the tango while grabbing the ass of some forgotten actress. If nothing else, Jon Langford could make reality TV worth watching.

Jon Langford Website

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marty Stuart - Ghost Train , The Studio B Sessions

The new Marty Stuart release, Ghost Train , The Studio B Sessions, has everything a real Country album should have. The album was recorded at the famed RCA Studio B in Nashville. The studio was designed in the 50's by Chet Atkins and quickly became the Country Capital's premier recording venue. In fact, It would be easier to make a list of the "Nashville Sound" era artists that did not record there than a list of the ones that did. Marty Stuart has always played the role of being a bridge from the past to the present. He works hard to keep the traditional styles of Americana vibrant, even in the current Idol winner tuned hillbilly world of Country Music. Along the way he has been able to buck the trend and record some big hits of his own.

On Ghost Train  he decided to include as many of the styles and themes of traditional Country as possible. Of course there is the unmistakable influence of his former father-in-law, Johnny Cash. In fact, the executioner's tale, "Hangman", was co-written with Cash shortly before the Man in Black passed away. Ghost Train begins with the outlaw Honky-Tonk of "Branded", then follows it up with a Rockabilly number, "Country Boy Rock". The most emotional song is the heheartbreak ballad "Driftin' Apart". When Stuart sings "I'm a stranger in your world now and it's driving me out of my mind", you feel the pain of a love torn apart over time. Along the way he even works in a Bluegrass tune and themes such as the plight of the working man. It is as if Stuart is on a missionary's journey to preserve the history of Americana Music. Hopefully, he wins a lot of converts along the way.

Check out Stuarts newest venture:
The TV network RFD-TV