MICHELLE EVANS INTERVIEWS JUSTIN WELLS OF FIFTH ON THE FLOOR

The first time I met Justin Wells, I wasn’t quite sure how to take him. He’s well over 6 feet tall with a booming voice, a self-described “full o’ shit” jokester mentality, and a rather intimidating albeit charismatic stage presence. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to dine with him, see some more Fifth on the Floor shows, as well as talk with him, and ssshhhh, you guys, he’s kind of really awesome – about as awesome as his music, I’d say.

Here’s one of those conversations.

So, you’re quite the sarcastic one. It took me a few times before I figured you out. [laughs]

[laughs] People ask me all the time, “When are you serious?” and the thing is, I’m not. Ever. Maybe when I’m on stage, but even then, not even half the time.

You’re very serious-looking on stage, though. Very serious.

I am. I am! I think that part of my personality has evolved, because I’m a big dude, and people are instantly fucking defensive when they meet me.

Sure. I can see that.

Yeah, see, and it’s like, man, there will be no ass-kickings. I just wanna talk. I have to clown around, you know, to make people feel comfortable, and I do. I try to. I smile a lot, and I clown around a lot.

I see big dudes, and I think, “Ooo! Fluffy teddy bear! Cuddly!”

[laughs] I’m more along those lines, to be honest. [laughs]

Well, now that we’ve got that cleared up [laughs]… I wanted to ask about your voice.

Shoot.

Yeah, I noticed there are certain songs y’all don’t do anymore or don’t do as often, and since I’m big on voices, I’ve noticed the way you use yours has changed – or is that all in my head?

Well, I don’t know if there’s Fifth on the Floor stuff I can’t do anymore, but our song “The Fall,” off our second record… I don’t know if I can’t, because I haven’t tried in about a year, but I’ve actually learned how to sing over, you know, 10 years of fucking doing this, and I’ve learned it’s not worth hitting one or two notes at the expense of the whole rest of the night and the whole rest of the tour. Voices aren’t like guitars, where you just find the note. We’re given a range, and you can find a few more in either direction, but it’s gonna hurt ya. I try to play to my strengths when I sing.

Makes sense.

Yeah. And Parsons sings in the band too, and he’s just a fucking incredible vocal talent, and, you know, should, by all means, be heading up his own band, and, you know, I don’t have to hit those notes anymore. If we need someone else to hit them, then someone else will.

You’re coming off a solo tour with Unknown Hinson, though, right? How’s that been?

It has been awesome. Unknown and the guys have been very kind to me. They’ve been great, but what’s been even better, is their fans. Their fans have been really kind to me. It was hard to know going in, how people were going to react, and everyone’s been really kind. We’ve had a lot of fun, had a lot of un-recallable nights [laughs], a lot of good rooms.

What’s your solo stuff like?

[laughs] It’s a lot more talking. [laughs] It’s a lot more talking than Fifth of the Floor shows [laughs] But it is! I want people to have a good time, so I talk a lot, trying to get the stage warm, and I’ve just been trying to make sure people have a good time. There are a lot of Fifth on the Floor songs, of course, but I change them so they work for me solo.

So Fifth on the Floor has had many incarnations, as fas as band members go. How many of you are original?

Just me. We started out as a 6-piece. We’ve had a shit-ton of change-overs, and, you know, we never wanted to be “that band,” but that’s just what happened. Parsons has been with us going on three years, and, you know, Aaron quit earlier in the year. The road just wasn’t working for him anymore, and we obviously wish him all the best. He had some things going on at home. Kevin Hogle replaced him and just came on board a few months ago. He’s in a band called 500 Miles to Memphis, who are friends of ours out of Cincinnati. We’ve toured with those guys and played with those guys quite a bit, and Kevin was definitely on my short list. He’s toured the world in various bands and, when he was in college, doing marching band shit. I didn’t know how much time he’d have available, but he definitely made the time available to play with Fifth on the Floor, so it worked out. Both on stage and off, he’s a fantastic member, a fantastic drummer, and one of the most positive people I’ve ever met, and he’s bald [laughs] The rest of us have the hair thing pretty well covered, so we needed the bald guy. And he has, like, sparse, chiseled facial hair that he manages, somehow, to change every night, like a video game avatar [laughs].

OH. Sexy. [laughs] Seriously, though, from what I’ve seen so far, Kevin does seem like a good fit.

Yeah, man. It’s fun. It’s really fun. It’s like we’re starting over. It’s fucking energetic.

We parted ways with Matt too. We played with Matt for seven years, and Matt’s a brother. He was one of the original Fifth on the Floor members. Matt and I started the band back in ’06, and our lives, on a personal level, just went different ways. Things just weren’t in sync as much as they used to be, so we got this fellow named Ryan Clackner out of Tennessee, who played with Bob Wayne for years. He’s a fantastic talent, and he’s the other side of facial hair [laughs]. We have to pay him, and then we have to pay his beard, and it has to have its own seat belt [laughs]. No, Ryan’s a bad-ass. It should be fun.

I would think when you bring in new people, you get new energy and new ideas. Is there any particular reason why y’all go through so many members? Is it the heavy touring schedule?

Yeah, man, everybody fucking ever has been in Fifth on the Floor [laughs] But to answer your question, I don’t know. You know, I don’t know. I’ve always loved bands that did that, and we actually had someone else who was the lead singer, who sang more songs than I did, and, really, we should’ve just changed the fucking band name. We aren’t the same band, and you can hear hints of that on the first record. You can hear where we’re at now and how that’s different from then. We wanted to be a rock and roll band, and now that’s what we are. Our goals changed, we’ve gotten a little older, and we take this a lot more seriously and really try to focus on Fifth on the Floor as a career, and not just something that allows us to drink for free in different cities [laughs]. Bands change, like any relationship, and I don’t think anything ill is meant on either side.

And, you know, we do tour heavily, and it takes a special breed of fucking people to be able to do that. I’m not speaking of us in a good way [laughs], because, you know, we’re drunken messes [laughs], and it’s just not for everyone.

Shit, dude, if I could sing or play an instrument even remotely well – I can’t do either – I would totally be one of those people. But I can’t, so I write about it and travel to shows and look into ways I can work with the musicians I love, maybe touring with them, or whatever.

You sound like me. It used to drive me out of my mind to be home.

Yes! But you have a wife and two twin daughters now. How has that changed things?


It’s great having someone at home. It really is. It makes me wanna be home, but when I was just by myself, I could just fucking tour 365, I wouldn’t care. Now, there’s this huge part of my life I leave behind when I go, but I love both, and to give either one up would, you know, create a void. We found our rhythm. My wife’s very supportive. I mean, it’s not easy, but I don’t worry about it. She’s a fucking bad-ass. I’m always happy. I just get restless. I don’t like being in the same city very long, and touring allows me to keep moving.

I just really feel like I got it made, man.

Fifth on the Floor plays tomorrow, Saturday, December 14th at Buster’s Billiard’s and Backroom in their hometown of Lexington, KY. They are touring through January and also start touring with George Thorogood and The Destroyers on March 10th at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, TN.

STEPHEN FEARING—BETWEEN HURRICANES

Like so many bands I’ve come to love, I came across Stephen Fearing’s music because of his (loose) connection to The Band. Fearing plays in a band called Blackie & the Rodeo Kings along with a guitar player named Colin Linden. Linden associated with The Band in the 80’s & 90’s and in 1987 he recored a good cover of “Chest Fever” which is a Band song nobody fucking covers.

So anyway, that’s how I learned about Stephen Fearing. Blackie & the Rodeo Kings are a decently big deal to contemporary rock fans, their song “Stoned” is awesome (and they have a new album in the works), but Stephen’s solo music has always had a stronger effect on me. On one live album he covered “Thrasher,” a Neil Young song that nobody fucking covers. That live album So Many Miles best captures Fearing’s strengths as a songwriter–it’s just him and his guitar and the clarity of every word and the effortless combination of Canadian and Irish folk influences. The six minutes you spend listening to “The Longest Road” gives you a story it takes most people a whole album to tell. Between Hurricanes, something like Fearing’s eighth solo album since his debut in 1988, is the best he’s sounded in the studio. He’s wielding metaphor like Richard Thompson at his fighting weight on “Don’t You Wish Your Bread was Dough.” Fearing’s lyrical deftness is the attraction of the album. There’s nothing flashy. It’s like he’s sewing a quilt only remarkable when your covered up in it and warm. He achieves a Sinatra-warmth, wee-small, spun out of delicacy and confidence. A combed cotton album.

Stephen Fearing – Don’t You Wish Your Bread Was Dough
Stephen Fearing – These Golden Days
Stephen Fearing – Wheel Of Love

11 finely crafted songs. Go get em on CD from Maple Music (Canada) and digitally from iTunes. Visit Fearing’s website.

Ajax Diner Book Club — 11/23/13 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

This week’s show is a special one. Jon and Chad from Drag The River came by to guest DJ. The first three songs are mine but after that you get an hour and fifty minutes of some of Chad and Jon’s favorites as well as some stories and witty banter.

Drag The River hits the road on Dec. 2nd in St. Louis, then Ohio and into New England. Then they run through Canada and finish up in Chicago. Full tour dates can be found at their website.
(The songs listed are mostly in order and mostly accurate. It’s live radio and it was fun.)
More Info:
Visit the shows pages on Facebook & Twitter
Listen to past shows HERE

TomVandenavond “Meet Me At Weber’s Deck” from Wreck Of A Fine Man

Hurray for the Riff Raff “Fine And Mellow” from My Dearest Darkest Neighbor

John Moreland “100 Pages Of Lies” from Earthbound Blues

The Kinks “Around The Dial” from Give The People What They Want

The Flatliners “Bird of England” from Dead Language

Jerry Jeff Walker “Little Bird” from iViva Terlingua!

Black Crowes “Sometimes Salvation” from The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Death Cab for Cutie “Summer Sin” from Plans

Thin Lizzy “Got To Give It Up” from Black Rose

Ted Hawkins “Strange Conversation” from The Next Hundred Years

Glossary “Lonely Is The Town” from Feral Fire

Glossary “Save Your Money For The Weekend” from Feral Fire

Gaslight Anthem “Capo 4th Fret” from The Songs of Tony Sly: A Tribute

Imperial Drag “Dandelion” from death of rock and roll

John Moreland “Black List” from In The Throes

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans “Raised All Wrong” from Falcon Lake Incident

Tony Sly “International You Day” from Acoustic

Bon Iver “Holecene” from Bon Iver

Ray Wylie Hubbard “Snake Farm” from Snake Farm

Sam Cooke “Feel It” from Sam Cooke Live At the Harlem Square Club

Rocket from The Crypt “Pushed” from Hot Charity

The Band “Stage Fright”

Shudder To Think featuring Jeff Buckley “I Want Someone Badly” from First Love, Last Rites

Shudder To Think featuring Liz Phair “Erecting A Movie Star” from First Love, Last Rites

Arthur Dodge & the Horsefeathers “Tiny Traces” from Unreleased

Slim Dunlap “Radio Hook Word Hit” from Times Like This

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 12.07.2013 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

No sad bastards this week. So, locate a free 2 hours and put some earholes on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for December 07, 2013 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Drive-By Truckers – Let There Be Rock (Southern Rock Opera)
02. Alone At 3am – Four More Beers
03. The Gaslight Anthem – High Lonesome (The ’59 Sound)
04. Glossary – When We Were Wicked (Long Live All Of Us)
05. crow’s share – mighty stitch (Crow’s Share)
06. Possessed By Paul James – 38 Year Old Cocktail Waitress (There Will Be Night’s When I Am Lonely)
07. Hurray for the Riff Raff – I Know It’s Wrong (Small Town Heros)
08. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House – A Good Day To Be A Husband (Menace)
09. JD Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers – Hidey Hole (Wild Moon)
10. Jams Leg – Drinking Too Much (Solitary Pleasures)
11. Carosels & Limousines – 17’s (Home To Andy’s)
12. Jake Bugg – All Your Reasons (Shangri-La)
13. The Decemberists – Rox In The Box (The King Is Dead)
14. The Great Unknowns – Dead River, Lake County (Homefront)
15. John Moreland – Gospel (In The Throes)
16. Flash Fiction – Murmurs of Morning (The Murmurs of Morning)
17. Left Lane Cruiser – Jukebox (Rock The Back To Hell)
18. Brothers of the Last Watch – Frank T. James (Brothers Of The Last Watch)
19. White Trash Blues Revival – Drives a Man to Drinking (Now Honey, Now Baby, Now Listen…)
20. Damion Suomi & The Minor Prophets – Pearls (Go, And Sell All Of Your Things)
21. The Heavy Horses – Copper & Gold (Murder Ballads and Other Love Songs)
22. Mat d. – Ford Marriage (Plank Road Drag)
23. The Takers – Social Smoker (Taker Easy)
24. Arliss Nancy – Nathaniel (Wild American Runners)
25. American Aquarium – Cape Fear River (Burn.Flicker.Die.)
26. Two Cow Garage – Skinny Legged Girl (Speaking In Cursive)
27. The Builders And The Butchers – Dirt In The Ground (Western Medicine)
28. Lucero – The Closer You Get (High Road)
29. Todd Farrell – Take it Slow (All My Heros Live In Vans)

Bold = Request

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P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 153: aired 12.07.2013

DREW KENNEDY – WIDE LISTENER

Back in October of 2012 I wrote about a book and an album that had caught my attention, called “Fresh Water In The Salton Sea”. Since then I’ve read said book several times, and lent it out to a good number of people who have all really enjoyed Drew Kennedys stories from the road.

When he announced a Kickstarter campaign to record his next album, I was an easy target. And even if I’ve cut down on my Kickstarter-contributions after several disappointments, I knew Drew wouldn’t disappoint me. He spent our money well, and crafted one of the best albums I’ve heard this year.

“I’m not big on preaching’
God knows we get enough of that now.
But you can’t control the seasons,
Leaves fall down”
(Age and color)

He workes tirelessly to develop his craft as a songwriter, and on “Wide Listener” there are no weak spots. The album has turned out to be a real goodybag filled with fantastic words and beautiful melodies.

The song that kicks it all off, “Age and Color” is a lot more hard-kicking than I’ve heard from Kennedy before, and it’s one of the best songs of the year. It’s fresh, it’s catchy, and the lyrics are as strong as you could ever wish for.

There’s a row of talented musicians on this album, and they’ve played around with everything from a banjo and a pedal steel, to a cello, violin and an Hammond B3 and even a Rhodes. Complete that with crisp harmonies and a very dedicated production, that give the words all the room they need to work out – this looks like an album I’ll keep spinning.

Next to his songwriting, Drew Kennedys strongest point is his voice. It’s one of the most comfortable voices in the business, and the power and devotion in which he delivers the vocals is the albums absolute strongest point. You get a mix of  anything from swinging americana to flowing folkrock and a tough countrygroove – and the result is an album that works best as a good old-fashioned ALBUM.

“Some things.
Built to last.
Your memory.
Good carpentry.”
(Good carpentry)

Picking favourites is hard, the whole is so strong and filled with quality. The storytelling is intriguing, the slow songs feels like floating along on a quiet river, and the rockers are riveting and makes is hard to sit still.

Just check it out, it’s too mellow for those who wants to feel like they get their balls kick up to their teeth when listening to music – but if you like words and songwriting – this is the place to be!

Drew Kennedy – Age and Color
Drew Kennedy – Jesus Can See You

Drew Kennedys Official Site, Drew Kennedy on Facebook.
Buy the album.

Drag The River – Self Titled

The best thing about Drag The River’s new self-titled record is that it exists at all. If you’ve followed the band at all you’re aware that they rarely play live and it’s been a number of years since their last “real” release. (Bad At Breaking Up & 2010 Demons being less than full band collections) I went back in the Nine Bullets archive and the first mention of them was in 2006 and the second mention was in 2006 about them breaking up. So the point I’m trying to make is that you should be really fucking excited that these guys made a record for us. And it kicks ass. And it’s Essential Listening.

Drag The River was the band of my college years. We were in the same town and they played a good bit way back then. I left Ft. Collins for eight years and I had a couple of friends who when Drag would play they would call me up during the show and just hold the phone up in the air. I would get voicemail messages where I couldn’t hear shit and they would go on for as long as seventeen minutes. I’m telling you this so you understand that I am totally biased in this review. The music Drag The River has made for the last decade or more is amazing and consistent. And they put the focus on the songs, so while the sound has altered very little from one album to the next, the songwriting is equal to any band in our little world. Jon and Chad’s voices blend together exceptionally well, so much so that even though there are Jon songs and Chad songs they all just sound like Drag songs to me.

Let’s talk about this self-titled record a bit: The first four songs are as rock as anything they’ve released in awhile. To me it feels like a statement; a declaration that this is a band record and that they’re going for it. “Black In Bloom” is the first song that jumps out at me. Chad sings lead on this one and it’s in stark contrast to the somber feel of his solo stuff. The subject is still heavy but it’s exciting to hear it in the context of a rock song.

After the four rock songs the pedal steel makes its first appearance right out of the gate on “Like Longfellows.” It serves as a reminder that Drag The River is essentially a barroom country band (or country and Midwestern) and even though I haven’t seen the vinyl yet, my guess is that “Like Longfellows” is the last song on side A and sets the tone for the B side.

Next up is two songs that have been in the Drag cannon for a few years but get their first full band treatment. From a songwriting perspective “Here’s To The Losers” and “The Other Side Of OK” are the centerpieces of this stellar record. It’s from these two songs that show the real growth in the Drag songwriting.

Before I get into these two songs a little more I want to flashback to what’s probably their most popular song, “Get Drunk” from 2002’s Closed. album. When I mentioned the song to Jon not long ago he said that tune was cursed by its title; that it was about not wanting to be with the one you were with, not about drinking. I would agree and add that it’s also cursed by the opening line and the good-time feel. “Get Drunk” is all emotion, an instantaneous bursting of the things you do love to try to avoid thinking about the person you don’t love anymore. It’s a young man’s way, a way of limited reflection and ignoring what’s really on your mind. “The Other Side Of OK”, off the new record is a rumination on regret, the kind of regret that’s hard for a young man to have.  A line like “Sorry for the things that I did and didn’t say/sorry on the way that I up and ran away/on the other side of OK and the thinking that you should have stayed” is not only filled with regret but it’s also overloaded with painful contemplation. And it’s allowing yourself to reflect that the younger man in “Get Drunk” is staying away from. “On Here’s To The Losers” the reflection and perspective begins with the first line. Although the slightly somber tone can feel like regret to me it’s more about understanding this is who you are. And recognizing a younger version of yourself in the people around you.  It’s a song for the older guy at the bar, and I ain’t old, but there are nights I’m aware that I’m the old guy at the bar. And about being OK with it all because there might not be a tomorrow, but there might be.

I’ll admit that I might have gone a little too music journalist for some of you. Oh well. Don’t hold it against the band and buy this record because the songs are great and the band is dialed in.

I’ve always thought Drag The River had an interesting story. They’re a bar band, maybe one of the best ones that’s ever been, but they never gained as much success as their peers. Regardless of success they seem to be held in high regard by musicians of their own generation and the next generation of our little scene. I know we don’t write feature stories here but I’ve thought I might could write a multi-part story about the band. If you’re interested in reading that kind of thing say so in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Drag The River – Black In Bloom
Drag The River – Here’s To The Losers
Drag The River – The Other Side Of OK

Official Site, On Facebook, Buy the new record

SUNDOWNER — NEON FICTION

Sundowner is alternately a lone, limp-eared horse and a stampede. Marshaling it all is Chis McCaughan, also songwriter/guitarist for darling Chicago punk band The Lawrence ArmsNeon Fiction is his third and most anticipated album as Sundowner–following his surprising debut Four-One-Five-Two (2007) and the understated but deeply satisfying We Chase the Waves (2010)–and it succeeds at showcasing everything McCaughan does well. The somber solo-acoustic songs shaded with his blue roan voice, the full(er)-band palominos that would impress fans of The Jayhawks and The Smoking Popes alike. Neon Fiction also offers a new breed of Sundowner song; on “Concrete Shoes” and “We Drift Eternal” things get a little Schwarzenbach-ier, dancier, spiked with venomy libations. In-and-out in 34 minutes, this a damn good record; a Chicago (though McCaughan now lives in the northwest) songwriter record worth mentioning with Steve Goodman‘s; a cold-weather novella to bookmark with red leaves, to read with brown liquors.

Sundowner – Cemetery West
Sundowner – Concrete Shoes
Sundowner – Grey on Grey
Sundowner – Wildfires

Find Neon Fiction on vinyl, CD, and MP3 on Fat Wreck Chords and iTunes (MP3s are cheaper at Fat Wreck!!). Follow Sundowner on Facebook.

NATO COLES & THE BLUE DIAMOND BAND—PROMISES TO DELIVER

It is not news to compare songwriters that we feature on Ninebullets and those featured on MTV and say–see, they’re different! But Nato Coles’ career stands in such stark contrast to everything popular media portrays music careers to look like and what stories pop songs can tell, that the comparison is worth mentioning briefly. Looking over the VMA winners from a few weeks ago, the only songs with any specific details in them at all are Mackelmore’s “Same Love” and “Can’t Hold Us.” They’re on the hip-hop side of pop, where specific details and characterization often come in the form of cultural references, which don’t turn out to be so indicative of real characters, though they do effectively characterize a type of person who would speak in that cultural dialect. I’m not saying details make all songs better or that pop music is stronger for details–Buddy Holly and Barrett Strong songs are general and universal to great ends–but I’m saying that when pop songs, to such a pervasive degree, evade any specific socio-economic, political, or subcultural details of their characters, that it speaks to what we think of ourselves. It speaks to which parts of us deserve to be sung. The parts of us that fall in love and remain as young as possible and have fun–absolutely those deserve songs! The parts that know every TV or fashion reference in a hip-hop song–also meaningful! But the parts of us that make up the rest of our time–the working parts, the misinformed parts, the parts that didn’t make it out of your youth with you–those are fucking important, too. And if Bruno Mars, who I like, can be propped up in front of teens and sing to them “Your sex takes me to paradise” then I think you can give teens or any music fan enough respect to write them a real character and expect them to respond. I mean, any time Tim Barry opens for Gaslight or Against Me, the kids who’d never heard him before walk away loving him forever; so that’s not far off.

Nato Coles writes songs that hammer specific characters into accessible stories. He’s a true statesman of punk, he knows how to play probably every great punk song, he’s been in some of the best unsung bands of the last fifteen years–Modern Machines (from Milwaukee), Used Kids (out of Brooklyn, also featuring badass Kate Eldridge currently of Big Eyes), Radio Faces, and for the past few years he’s been up in Minneapolis fronting The Blue Diamond Band. Over that time his songwriting has steadily risen from basement punk to basement rock. He’s always had one of the strongest senses of rock melody around, and with the Blue Diamond Band the focus is on those catchy and devastating songs. Their first full-length, Promises to Deliver, works as a big song to the unsung–from the luckless subjects of Nato’s songs to his choice to cover “Rudes and Cheaps” by the New York band Bent Outta Shape, who themselves ran out of luck and into tragedy when their frontman Jamie Ewing died at 25. Sonically, the Blue Diamond Band has a place amongst Midwestern bands like the Replacements (though less shambly, at least on record) and “blue collar” rockers such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, and Phil Lynott. Say what you will about the financial success of Springsteen and Seger by the time they wrote “Glory Days,” and “Night Moves,” respectively, those songs pack some whalloping choices. I think those are the choices Nato Coles is interested in on this album–how to tell the story of his generation of punks and friends and heroes, how to reconcile the lives they set out to live with where they are now. And Promises to Deliver delivers with fucking awesome anthemic rock music. It works. It’s one of the most compelling and exciting albums of this year. It’s Essential Listening.

Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band – Hard To Hear The Truth
Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band – Julie (Hang Out A Little Longer)
Nato Coles & The Blue Diamond Band – Rudes And Cheaps (Bent Outta Shape cover)

Stream and purchase Promises to Deliver on digital, vinyl, or CD from Dead Broke Records or A.D.D. Records or directly from Nato’s own Bandcamp. Check Nato Coles’ blog and Facebook for his relentless tour schedule. This album really feels to me like a companion piece for the Aaron Cometbus novel I Wish There Was Something I Could Quit, so check that out, too, via the awesome Microcosm Publishing.

ARLISS NANCY – WILD AMERICAN RUNNERS

Last week I talked about being jaded and expecting bands to eventually trip up, and how Have Gun was defying those odds. I thought I’d stick with that theme and talk about Arliss Nancy and their new album, Wild American Runners.

The music industry hasn’t been incredibly kind to these kids from the great state of Colorado. They released their first two albums for free on Death From Above Records before signing to Suburban Home Records for the release of their third album, Simple Machines. Suburban Home promptly closed it’s doors, leaving a ridiculously great album without out any US distribution. Rather than tucking their tails and getting day jobs, the boys pushed forward. All the while their internet buzz kept gaining momentum, and by the point Wild American Runners hit American ears, kids were already shedding former allegiances and donning Arliss Nancy tshirts (I literally own three) at the big shows.

Arliss Nancy’s sound is basically the foundation of what you might call the ninebullets wheelhouse. It’s a pretty simple formula; big guitars, sad songs created because you fucked up one night after too many beers and a properly mistreated set of vocal chords delivering them. But don’t be fooled by the simplicity, like food, the simpler a song is, the easier it is to see and focus on the weakness. With that said, Arliss Nancy have rarely fucked up over their career, and Wild American Runners is no exception.

Wild American Runners is a collection of twelve songs with an over-arching theme of desperation, disappointment and uncertainty. And while you might say there is nothing new about that, I would argue that no one has done it this well since Lucero and Two Cow had to worry about where they would sleep or eat the next night.

The album closes with “Vonnegut”, a song that perfectly captures everything that this 40 minute album offers you in a simple three and a half minutes.

Three chords and desperation is Essential Listening every time it’s done right, genre be damned.

Arliss Nancy – Vonnegut
Arliss Nancy – Benjamin
Arliss Nancy – Wild American Runners

Arliss Nancy on Facebook, Arliss Nancy on Spotify, Buy Wild American Runners

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 11.09.2013 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

For the firs time ever we took the show on the road this weekend. It was weird and I was a little uncomfortable but the music was spot on. So, locate a free 2 hours and put some earholes on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for November 09, 2013 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Sunday Valley – All The Pretty Colors (To The Wind and On To Heaven)
02. White Trash Blues Revival – She Don’t Care (Now Honey, Now Baby, Now Listen…)
03. Husky Burnette – Highway 41 (Tales From East End Blvd.)
04. Scott H. Biram – Sinkin’ Down (Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever)
05. McDougall – Ready, Begin (A Few Towns More)
06. Lincoln Durham – Beautifully Sewn, Violently Torn (Exodus of the Deemed Unrighteous)
07. The Dexeteens – Sunsphere (Sunsphere EP)
08. John Moreland & The Dust Bowl Souls – Low (Everything the Hard Way)
09. Valerie June – Wanna Be On Your Mind (Pushin’ Against A Stone)
10. Drive By Truckers – My Sweet Annette (Decoration Day)
11. Chuck Ragan – Nomad by Fate (Covering Ground)
12. Todd Farrell – My Currency is Doubt (All My Heroes Live In Vans)
13. Chris Knight – Nothing On Me (Little Victories)
14. The Fox Hunt – i’ll drink cheap (Long Way To Go)
15. Tim Barry – (Memento Mori) (28th & Stonewall)
16. Frank Turner – Photosynthesis (Last Minutes & Lost Evenings)
17. Possessed By Paul James – Sweet But Bitter Life (There WIll Be Nights When I Am Lonely)
18. Arliss Nancy – Benjamin (Wild American Runners)
19. Lucero – The Closer You Get (High Cotton)
20. Andrew Combs – Emily
21. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House – Mayberry (Mayberry)
22. Have Gun Will Travel – Standing at the End of the World (Fiction, Fact or Folktale?)
23. Two Cow Garage – Hey Cinderella (Death of the Self Preservation Society)
24. The Builders And The Butchers – Dirt In The Ground (Western Medicine)
25. Brother Paul – Never Ending Dream (Brother Paul)
26. Matt Woods – Deadman’s Blues
27. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside – Do Me Right (Untamed Beast)
28. Austin Lucas – So Much More Than Lonely (Stay Reckless)
29. The Vansaders – End of the Line (Stuck In New York City)
30. Drag The River – History With History (Drag The River)
31. The Whiskey Gentry – Holly Grove (Holly Grove)
32. Hellbound Glory – The Feud

Bold = Request

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P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 149: aired 11.09.2013