Friday, April 30, 2010

Alejandro Escovedo - Street Songs of Love.

Alejandro Escovedo will be releasing Street Songs of  Love on June 29th, which is the day after my birthday. I think he planned it that way. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it. What better birthday present is there than a new Alejandro release. There are no secrets here. It is pretty obvious what the songs are about, but as would be expected Escovedo takes an unconventional approach to the subject. Sometimes the approach is poignant and sometimes alarming but it is done Alejandro style. This record has at its' core R&B undertones yet still gets edgy and showcases his punk roots at times.

Do you like guests? Is Bruce Springsteen big enough for you? The "Boss" contributes vocals on "Faith" one of the more edgy songs on the album. His primary songwriting partner is Friend and cohort Chuck Prophet, who co-wrote about half of the songs on Street Songs of Love. As you would expect the arrangements are crisp. In short, the loyal cult like fans of Alejandro will love this one.

Check out a live cut:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Video : Willie Nelson - Man with the Blues

From the just released album Country Music.
Produced by T-Bone Burnett


Friday, April 16, 2010

Crooked Still / Infamous Stringdusters

Two of the best young Newgrass groups have new albums.

Crooked Still - will release Some Strange Country on May 18th on Signature Sounds. They are certainly a genre bending groups always, but they rise to a new level on this. The album is beautifully arranged,lyrically infused with both spiritual and earthly wisdom, and as always the musicianship demands accolades. Heavyweights Tim O'brien and Ricky Skaggs lend a hand. In fact, "I'm Troubled" which features O'brien may be the best track. Crooked Still is no longer emerging. With the release of Some Strange Country hey have arrived.

The infamous Stringdusters - Will release Things that Fly on Tuesday. On this release they move even more toward the progressive side of the Bluegrass spectrum. The breadth of their musical palate is increasing. With this release they have created a masterpiece. Check out the EPK below.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Jason and the Scorchers - Halcyon Days

For all of you youngsters out there who love the history of alt-country, the first fact to know is that Uncle Tupelo started it all. Wrong Answer!!!! Before there was something called alt-country, there were many in the field. Rank & File (an early Alejandro Escovedo project), X was heavily roots influenced, The Blasters just to name a few. However, in my mind (which was clouded with Beer during this period)there is one band who created what later became alt-country. At the time it was referred to as Cow-Punk. Who cares what it was called then or now, Jason & the Scorchers fused Country with Rock in a way nobody had before. Jason was the panache and the voice and Warner Hodges raging guitar licks were the soul. Everyone who came to see them had kickin' party they could almost remember. The energy in a Scorchers show could power a third world country.

My life changed in 1984 when I first heard Lost and Found. They dominated the college bar scene of the 80s. They began to grow in popularity and even played with Dylan. However, label troubles, sickness and rehab (the big three for all rock bands)eventually put them on hiatus. However, with the success of the alt-country sound, which they basically created, they came back with an excellent album A Blazing Grace in 1993.

Fast forward to 2010, two years after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the AMA, they release Halcyon Days. It is their first new release in almost 15 years. Guess what folks? They've still got it. It is a more mature sound but still has everything you would expect of the Scorchers. So go out and get yourself a history lesson. It appears they intend to finish what they started.

Here's one from 1984