Claire EP by Ella Woolsey

I must make a big deal out of this because it is unlike much of the pedestrian pabulum that main-stream commercial radio forces us to listen to on a daily basis from which I joyfully rebel. Additionally, because her bio made a point of highlighting it, she is only 17 years old. What is remarkable here is that most of the kids in my classroom aren’t listening to anything this original and probably with one or two exceptions, probably wouldn’t be able to or even want to consider making anything so beautiful. Read More

Song of Sorrow by Rx27

Joie Blaney has retired his former project, Joie Dead Blonde Girlfriend. While occasionally enlisting a few additional players to round out his sound, it was primarily an extremely powerful one-man-band. Moving to Los Angeles about ten years ago more or less, Joie fought like hell to thrive as we all do in a new place and he has done very well for himself, establishing and exercising his musical chops like I always expected him to do when I first encountered his musical cyclone in New York City. Read More

The Lutras “Give It All Up for Christmas”

I seem to be lucky with the Christmas music this year, and that makes me just a little rebelliously happy when I turn the stereo up to maximum as I write and make attempts at dancing alone at a desk. It’s probably also really hard to screw up a Scots indie rock anthem over the holidays, and the Lutras are here, they don’t disappoint, and neither do their other tracks. Read More

The Waco Brothers’ Going Down in History

The Waco Brothers
Going Down in History
Bloodshot Records, 2016

If I am not mistaken the last Waco Brothers album was years ago.  Having seen them live at a few Bloodshot BBQs, nothing seems to have changed but the seasoning has, perhaps become stronger.

“DIYBYOB” opens the album, declaring that “this is the first track from the last album,” perhaps as an obscure homage to Cheap Trick’s Live at Budakhan or the Beatles’ Live at the Hollywood Bowl, but I may be stretching things a bit. There are hints at apathy, DIY, and going on with existing, rather than living, and an election season filled with circus antics that are probably no worse than what we’ve seen in the past. This may be the closest they have ever come to a stereotypical country song.

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Al Scorch’s Circle Round the Signs

Al Scorch
Circle Round the Signs
Bloodshot Records, 2016

At this point, I don’t remember how long Bloodshot has been around blessing us with Alt-Country of every possible variety that you can imagine.  I do remember eating vegan dogs at the Bloodshot BBQs in New York during CMJ at the now defunct Brownies in the East Village to see many early legends, including Ryan Adams, with a rolled up farmer’s shirt and acoustic guitar, before his star shot into the stratosphere, and on South Congress in Austin during SXSW.  Those BBQs were legendary and I hope I am able to attend another in the future.

Al Scorch is new to me, and since I have a little time to kill and Bloodshot keeps sending me emails, I figured Scorch and Bloodshot deserved a review, or what passes for one from me in 2016.

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Robbie Fulks’ Upland Stories

Robbie Fulks
Upland Stories
Bloodshot Records, 2016

Regrettably, I don’t think I have ever seen Fulks in concert, though I really need to.  While he isn’t a songwriting factory like Ryan Adams (though brilliant a factory he is), Fulks is a great songwriter, and I am happy to see he continues to create.  While most may not remember this, one of my favorite tunes is “F*ck This Town” chronicling his experience as a singer-songwriter in Nashville and their lack of appreciation of his talents.  He was originally signed to Bloodshot early on, and left with great fanfare to a major label.  After releasing one album on an unappreciative major label, he returned to Bloodshot and has never left.

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