McDougall – Reaching for Some Light

Reaching For Some Light

McDougall is one of those guys who I’ve always liked and who’s hung out on the periphery of my regular rotation due to some reason or another. He’s one of those artists that I’ve really and truly enjoyed in smaller doses but never really inspired a binge of listening to an album over and over again with the exception of his project Brothers of the Last Watch with John Johnson of Hillstomp (I still binge play that one). Reaching for Some Light changes that completely as I’ve been listening to it for three days solid at this point. I don’t know if it’s the subject matter, the full band sound, the lack of instrumental tracks, or something else entirely but it really speaks to me on a level that goes beyond liking it enough to pull it out every once in a while and giving it a listen. This is not a record that would collect dust in my collection.

There is a definite departure from the folksy roots that attracted some to Scott McDougall and I think that the stories being painted here are perfectly suited for the style of music that was chosen as a canvas. There’s a thread of hope running through this music that the world needs right now and that’s why I chose today to write about this album. There are times when things seem awfully bleak and those time seem to be coming more frequently. That could be because I’m getting older, because of a 24 hour news cycle in an always connected society, or because things are actually worse. I don’t care what the root cause might be, the fact is that hope is getting harder to hold on to. Music is one of the most important things in my life and I rely on it to provide many things and right now hope is one of those things and Reaching for Some Light provides a spark that’s easy to stoke in to something more. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a happy album per se, it’s got it’s darker moments for sure but that thread of hope is commodity that’s important these days.

As far as the music itself goes McDougall played most of the instruments and while there are some very fleshed out tracks there are still some stripped down compositions. I feel like the mindfulness that went in to the instrumentation of each track shows just how much of himself Scott poured in to making this album. While the instrumentation changes as necessary this is still a very cohesive album that’s easy to listen to all the way through. When it’s over it leaves me with both a desire for more while at the same time a sense of completeness. That may sound contradictory but what I want is more like from McDougall and at the same time I can’t help but feel that this installment, this record, is a complete work with nothing feeling left unsaid.

The lyrics feel like Scott is reaching inside himself and sharing more reality with us. In a complete change in what I usually find attractive, the blood and guts style of so many of my favorites, there is a richness here in discovering musings on things that are good in life. Hope, love, and even faith all play a role in these songs which seems very real. Every time I listen to this one it feels like I’m being reminded that no matter how dark things look, how bleak our prospects seem, that I’ve got it pretty damn good and I should look at my life and be grateful for what I have and actually take the time to think on those things. I don’t know about you but I need a reminder of that more often than not. I really think that the production, instrumentation, lyrics, track order, and everything else all play together in such a perfect manner that Reaching for Some Light can be nothing less than Essential Listening and I hope you feel the same. There are times when the title describes everyone I know and maybe this will help someone find that sliver of light they need to step over whatever life is putting in their path. You can grab this one on Bandcamp along with his other albums.

I mentioned a lot of things in the article so here’s some extra linkage for you:

McDougall’s official site
McDougall’s FB Page
Brothers of the Last Watch on Bandcamp
Brothers of the Last Watch on FB
Hillstomp’s official site
Hillstomp on FB
Hillstomp on Bandcamp

Left Arm Tan – Lorene – 2016

lorene

It was almost three years ago, to the day, that I wrote about Left Arm Tan’s Alticana. That was my first foray in to LAT and I’ve never looked back. I even talked them in to playing the worst show, for the band, that I’ve ever booked. The sound system never showed up and the last minute replacement was barely good enough for karaoke much less a full band experience. I was mortified but they played anyway and we made a night of it. The respect I had for them before that show grew exponentially because of that. I’m actually a little shocked they don’t hate me, but they don’t. Daniel put Lorene in to my hands weeks ago and I was really stoked to get it and listen to it. Writing about it was a little harder. It’s an album of epic length and great songs but it wasn’t coming together for me and I didn’t want to just tell you all about some great songs. I wanted to get in to this album and get the feeling of it before I started banging away on my keyboard, flinging my thoughts in to the ether.

What made it finally come together was a phone call with Daniel where he explained the album title and that completely disconcerting but oddly intriguing album cover. You see there’s this guy, Doc, who was reading this zine that someone handed him on his way home from a show and in the letters to the editor there’s this little paragraph about a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave desert. There wasn’t much to the article, except the phone number, but Doc got obsessed with this phone booth in the middle of the desert and he starts calling it, at times up to 100 calls a day, never expecting anyone to answer but knowing someone could. Then one day he gets a busy signal so he keeps calling back to make sure that whoever is using this phone booth in the middle of the desert, that he’s never seen and has no proof even exists, doesn’t get away without him talking to them. He finally got an answer, it was a cinder miner named Lorene who was making her calls. Doc eventually headed out to find the actual phone booth, in the Mojave desert, in the middle of August. There’s more to the story, and you can read it here but that’s the part of the sotry that really pulled Lorene all together for me.

This is Southwestern music from start to finish, the arrangements, the vocals, the overall smoothness, everything. I couldn’t put my finger on it initially and my brain kept trying to sort it in the country and western box and it wouldn’t fit. Once I heard the story and got the desert connection in my head it made sense. So did the album cover, in a way. LAT had an artist design the cover and pretty much explained the album to him and he latched on to the desert thing and came up with a lizard licking a hairless cat. It’s the right cover for this record to be sure, it really evokes the right mood, after you get past the fact it’s a lizard licking a hairless freakin’ cat!

All those words and I haven’t even really told you about the music yet, well you’ll have to forgive me, this is an 16 song opus and I wanted to set the scene for you. The reason that’s important it because once you know the story the feel of the album changes, it becomes something more than 16 good songs. The desert seems to be threading through the background of each and every track and the atmosphere seems just a little drier when music starts up. While Lorene isn’t a concept album per se, but there’s certainly a theme playing out in the music itself, completely separate from the lyrics. And yeah, I realize I’m a lyrics guy but it’s the music that speaks to me first with this one. Like Alticana there’s a smoothness to everything but this time it seems like there’s some sand hiding there somewhere that you can feel as you listen. It’s one of those things that won’t make any sense until you listen to the record but once you hear it you’ll completely get it.

While the music is the thing that speaks to me the most here don’t make the mistake of thinking that the lyrics aren’t good as well. That would be sheer folly as LAT is still writing great songs. Over 16 songs and 2 alternate mixes the gamut is run from love and loss to catchy ditty and back again. With the feel of the music that I mentioned earlier I know this one is going to see a lot of play while I’m drinking in the driveway this summer. It’s really the songwriting that kept my brain wanting to put this record in the country and western box, thematically it’s a fit but it’s also more than that. There’s a lack of simplicity and there are layers in the stories that seem to overlooked in a lot of the drivel we’re expected to like these days. The attention to detail in the songwriting is such that you can almost see the shade of the red dress in “Easy” or feel the desert wind in “Where Were You”. I’m no songwriter, hell I can barely write about other people’s songs, but there subtleties in the lyrics here really make LAT stand out. When you add all of that in with the music then you end up with a really great album and I honestly don’t think there’s anyone who reads 9B that won’t find something they like about this record and for me it’s Essential Listening without a doubt.

Links for ordering Lorene are on Left Arm Tan’s official site and their FB page is linked up there at the top. These guys are more than worth seeing live and I’d just about kill to see them with a decent sound system!

Passing Parade – We Own Fun – 2016

we own fun

If you’re involved in the music scene in Jackson, MS then you probably know Cody Cox. He runs the Elegant Trainwreck label and plays in more bands then I’m even able to count. I first found out about him when he was playing with Goodman County and AIV and I were still posting on what I think was the second incarnation of the Lucero message board. I’ve sort of almost been able to keep up with projects over the years but thanks to Facebook that’s a lot easier these days. Cody is a prolific artist and the We Own Fun is the latest full length from one his projects called Passing Parade and it’s more than worth your time.I would have never considered myself a fan of Garage but between Passing Parade and Unions I am going to have to rethink some things.

We Own Fun is an album that, frankly, demands to be played altogether too loud. It would be a great backdrop for a late night party where there are just a few too many things going on that shouldn’t be and everybody is perfectly dressed for the occasion. There’s just something about the fuzzy guitars, the beat, and the vocal style that just grabs me in all the right ways. This album doesn’t ramp up, you’re slammed in to the music immediately with “The Chemicals” and the assault doesn’t let up until “Bad Christians” four more songs in. The pacing on this album is hard to ignore, even when it calms down just a little bit the overall feel doesn’t change. The pressure this album creates with its feeling urgency is almost palpable.

I have listened over and over since Cody sent me the link and I’m not stopping any time soon. As far as I am concerned this is easily Essential Listening even tEssential Listeninghough it’s one of those albums that pulls me completely out of my wheelhouse. You can grab it for 5 bucks, or more if you’re feeling generous, on the Passing Parade Bandcamp page. Were I you, I would also make sure to follow Cody because he’s someone that you’ll never know what he’s going to do, musically, but you probably want to be around for it.

Highland Park Optimist Club – Kitchen Tapes (Demo EP) – 2016

highland park

So this is the first time I’ve ever written about a demo and we don’t write about EPs (except when we do) but this one grabbed me. I almost didn’t write about it even though I’ve literally listened to it at least once a day since it was released. There’s two reasons for that, Highland Park Optimist Club is Paul Grant, one of our new contributors (even if he hasn’t written anything and that page is blank); the other reason being that I hate writing about my friends’ music. Sure I do it, a lot, but I always worry about them not liking my review. I decided that with the disclosure that he’s on staff and a friend, that I’d go ahead. You could have probably done with less explanation so let’s get on with the review.

No relationship is perfect but some people are better at catching that in song that others. Paul’s youth shows through in these lyrics and that can be hit or miss but in this case it’s dead on. The stories he tells are passionate and vibrant, even though everything’s gone tits up for him. I’m literally old enough to be this kid’s father and it not be socially awkward and he’s managed to drag me back to a time when burning your ex’s shit was done out of passion and not simple malice. I swear I can smell the CDs burning in my dad’s Old Smokey (yeah, he wasn’t happy about that) after one particularly interesting break up. These three stories are set to a perfect backdrop of minimalist guitar which only adds to the rawness and overall tone. Toss in a couple of meta-references about the scene and you apparently have all the ingredients to grab my full attention.

That said, it’s not a perfect record. I would love to see more confidence in the vocals when he releases an actual record and not a demo. Youth and passion do only go so far in the end. That said I think there’s a lot of promise here and this is a damn fine demo. Paul is someone you’re going to want to follow. I have a feeling he’ll get over his apparent fear of the mic and when that happens I’m going to get to say that I wrote about him before he was discovered and you’ll all have been there since the beginning.

FFS Houston! Stop Being A Dick!

bl-stolen-gear
You’ve probably already seen this, the Black Lilies had their van and trailer, with all their gear stolen right here in my hometown. This happened in a brightly lit hotel parking lot and was even captured by the security cameras. I am so sick of hearing about all the gear that’s stolen from bands. No, let me rephrase, I am sick of it happening. Of course there’s a fundraising page but that’s not the point. Instruments aren’t always just a thing you own, they have emotional value, each piece has its own unique sound. For touring bands they’re also the tools by which these folks make their living. It makes me sick that it happens so often. Some days I hope there’s actually a hell so fucktards like gear thieves can end up there.

Anyway, visit The Black Lilies’ Facebook page and look through the photos, even if you’re not in Houston as instruments are easy to transport. The assholes that stole this stuff, well, I hope they get what’s coming to them, one way or another.

As much as it sucks, I guess this is a pretty cool way to deal with it and the end verse is pretty hard on the old emotions.

Caleb Caudle – Carolina Ghost – 2016

caleb

I think that a lot of music is hard to review. I know, I’ve been doing to for years, but that hasn’t made it any easier. Writing a review isn’t like talking a friend about about an album or chatting with your buddy who just dropped his new record on you. There’s something permanent about putting words on the web because the internet never forgets. I guess for some of us that doesn’t matter and there was a time where it didn’t matter to me and I’m striving to get back to that place, a place where I can talk about how music makes me feel, where it takes me, and really what it means to me. For me music never has to be perfect, vocals never have to be on key, but it does have to make me feel and the more it makes me feel the better I like it. So when Caleb dropped Carolina Ghost on me and we talked about it a little later, I already knew what I was going to say here.

The first thing I realized about Carolina Ghost was that it’s a record my dad and I could have listened to together and both enjoyed a lot. I realized this before he passed but I never did sit down and play it for him and I really wish I had. It was a rare thing when our music tastes crossed paths and this was just about the perfect album for it. So while I didn’t play it for him it brings him to mind and makes me smile. Of course I don’t think the rest of you will have that sort of emotional reaction but it’s still pretty damn cool to me and I absolutely had to share it with you. There was really no way I could keep that to myself.

Carolina Ghost isn’t an imperfect album that draws emotion out you through it’s flaws. In fact it may possibly be a little too polished for some but I think that’s usually a cop out complaint. What we have here is an album that really brings back everything that was good about country music when I was growing up and manages to leave out the slow descent in to what has become country radio these days. In fact, I’d venture to say that there isn’t a track on here that you couldn’t swing your significant other around a sawdust covered floor to. This is pure and honest country album with no aspirations to be anything but just that.

Now when you set out to make a record like this, there’s always the chance that you’ll end up looking pretentious but Mr. Caudle manages to avoid that and still walk the line. From the perfectly place steel guitar to the natural twang in the vocals each song gives the appearance of being effortless. There aren’t any barn burners on this one and I think I might have liked one but at the same time that may have taken away from mellow place these paint in your head. If I had to pick a best time and place to give this one a listen it would near the end of a road trip, the last freeway before home in your sights, with the windows down on a spring evening. It’s just that sort of feeling, at least for me, and maybe that’s partly because it feels like Caleb found his home in these songs.

Without any reservation I can say that Carolina Ghost is Essential Listening. The pure country ethos will be hard for anyone to match this year. If you’re already a fan then you’ll love this record, if you’re not familiar with Caleb just yet then this is a great place to jump in. So go on over to his Bandcamp page and jump in on the pre-order happen. Make sure you follow him on Facebook or stalk his pictures on Instagram.

Wannabe Reviews Frank Turner’s New Album, ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’

In the newest installment of Wannabeartist Chris Prunckle reviews Frank Turner’s latest album Positive Songs For Negative People in his six-panel comic book form. Click on the image for full resolution: 

AllNewWannabe_91_Web

The post Wannabe Reviews Frank Turner’s New Album, ‘Positive Songs For Negative People’ appeared first on Glide Magazine.

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Author: Chris Prunckle

114 – Tin Horn Prayer – The “final” interview, Tin Horn Prayer talk about the origins of the band, the passing of Mike Herrera & Camden Trendler & recording the Love Under Will EP

TIN HORN PRAYER. Over the course of several beers at Cerebral Brewing, Tin Horn Prayer members Andy Thomas, Eric Epling, Scooter James, Ethan Steenson, Dan Gilbert get together one more time to tell the stories of Tin Horn Prayer’s journeys; the untimely passing of members Mike Herrera & Camden Trendler and joining forces once again to record the final Tin Horn Prayer EP, Love Under Will

This episode is brought to you by Ratio Beerworks & The Leechpit Thift Store!

Music included in this week’s episode are the tracks, “All Good Wayfaring Sons,” & “Once More” from Love Under Will Ep; as well as the “Tin Horn Prayer” cell phone demo by Dan Gilbert.

You can download the episode from Itunes at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/mostly-harmless-with-dammit/id439812373

 

Please Like MOSTLY HARMLESS PODCAST on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/mostlyharmlesspodcast

For those of you without ITUNES, You can download directly from below! Just Right Click and SAVE LINK AS!
http://traffic.libsyn.com/mostlyharmlesspodcast/MH114-Tin_Horn_Prayer.mp3

Mostly Harmless is also available on Stitcher at:
http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/mostly-harmless-with-dammit-damian-punk-rock-podcast

Or you can click PLAY and listen right here on this here page:

For more information on Tin Horn Prayer, please visit:
http://www.facebook.com/Tin-Horn-Prayer-90599728357
http://tinhornprayer.bandcamp.com/

For more information on Mike Herrera and his passing please visit:
http://www.westword.com/music/rip-mike-herrera-veteran-denver-musician-friend-to-many-7221566
https://www.gofundme.com/j1hmr4

 

 

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Author: Dammit Damian!

Episode 286 – Walking Pneumonia

SPECIAL PATREON/DONATION THANK YOU TO JEFFREY FIELDS, BRYAN CHILDS, GARY STAFFORD, RJ COMER and DEBORAH ROSENTHAL, BIRDS OVER ARKANSAS, PAUL KIMBALL, JASON FINCH, PAUL ECCLES, CHRIS STALCUP, MICHELLE HANKS, and RON TAVERNIER FOR THEIR SUPPORT!

With the new Patreon campaign that I have going on, I need to make sure that I’m diligent in my posting of new episodes, in order to make my goal, so that I can then buy a new digital recorder. That mean in both sickness and in health. So here I am, probably sounding like sh!t, but I’ll be damned if this walking pneumonia is going to keep me down! Enjoy!

Download this episode HEREIMG_7943

Music in this episode:

– Three Bullets AND Get Yourself Free by The Temperance Movement
(from White Bear)
www.TheTemperanceMovement.com

– Don’t Count Me Out AND Crooked Smile by Smokin’ Novas
(from Smokin’ Novas)
www.SmokinNovas.com

– Poppies & Marigolds AND Notebook Of My Mind by Cree Rider Family Band
(from Let The River Rise)
www.CreeRider.com

– Off Track AND Far Away by Lilly Hiatt
(from Royal Blue)
www.LillyHiatt.com

– Black Water AND Chasing Shadows by Thunder
(from Wonder Days)
www.ThunderOnline.com

– Never Gonna Let Her Go AND Gambler’s Heart by Shawn Mullins
(from My Stupid Heart)
www.ShawnMullins.com

—————————————————————————————
Mini-Mix submitted by Gary Tomkinson

– Don Dilego by Chicago
(from Western/Atlantic EP)
www.ChicagoTheBand.com

–  Later Days by The Mother Hips
(from Later Days)
www.MotherHips.com

– Southern Sky by John Murry
(from The Graceless Age)
www.JohnMurry.com

—————————————————————————————

SUPPORT MY  

E-Mail: AmericanaRockMix@gmail.com

Voice Mail: 941-773-9102

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Filed under: Podcast Tagged: Americana, Americana Rock Mix, Chicago, Cree Rider Family Band, John Murry, Later Days, Let The River Rise, Lilly Hiatt, Mix, My Stupid Heart, Podcast, Rock, Royal Blue, Shawn Mullins, Smokin’ Novas, The Graceless Age, The Mother Hips, The Temperance Movement, Thunder, Western/Atlantic EP, White Bear, Wonder Days
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Author: Von

W.B. Walker Presents: We Hate Pop Country! (Episode 1)

WBwhpc

The Music Featured On This Weeks Episode Is From The Following Albums:

Twin Cousins Records Presents: The Chicago Bubs (2015)

Colter Wall – Imaginary Appalachia (2015)

Caleb Caudle – Carolina Ghost (2016)

Margo Price – Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (2016)

The Excavators – Going Poaching (2016)

BCR Presents: Waylon Jennings Live In Concert Volume Two (2015)

BCR Mixtape 2015 (2015)

Willie Nelson – Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (2016)

Hayes Carll – Lovers & Leavers (2016)

The Horse Traders – Take It (2015)

Wehatepopcountry.com

Reverbnation.com/tylerchilders

Twincousinsrecords.bandcamp.com

Facebook.com/colterwallmusic

Calebcaudle.com

Margoprice.net

Justinpayne1.bandcamp.com

Hellboundglory.com

Sturgillsimpson.com

Waylonjennings.com

Shooterjennings.com

Bcrmedia.com

Willieneslon.com

Hayescarll.com

Thehorsetraders.com

Thehorsetraders.bandcamp.com

(Honky Tonk Heroes Facebook Group) Facebook.com/groups/767911196578755/

Glen-simpson.com

All music is used with permission.

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Author: wbwalker