Medfords Black Record Collection is a Knoxville, Tennessee based duo consisting of Matt Foster and Michael Davis who play their own version of traditional sounding country/bluegrass/folk. I mentioned I was really excited to be getting their CD last month. Sometimes you hear a few tracks on the Internet only to find the rest of the CD is filler crap. Well I’m happy to say The Flattville Murder Album does not suffer from such a fate. To put together a CD alone can be a daunting task for many unsigned bands, but Medford’s Black Record Collection took it a step further and made a concept album.
The idea for the album started off innocently enough with the duo attempting to write “the darkest, most disturbing murder ballad” to accompany a “shitty goo-goo dolls sounding guitar riff” Foster had been playing. The concept of the song eventually grew from a single song, to a trilogy, to ultimately, an entire 20 track CD. The album was recorded and mixed by Foster and Davis in their living room over the course of a year and a half. Most of the album’s songs feature two instruments and 2 part vocal harmonies seemingly recorded in a single tape which is refreshing since you hear so many home recordings drowned in effects they almost become unlistenable.
The heart of the album is the story. A tale of 3 brothers, a war, a woman, love, anger, hate and jealousy. To be honest, I was surprised at how clearly the album tells the story. It almost seems like it was made to be turned into a stage production with the songs opening and closing scenes. As I drove my car and listened to the album I began imagining the scenes in my head and picturing faces for the main characters. If I had to find something bad to say, I would say the songs tell such a complete story that some could be considered weak outside the context of the story, but that is nitpicking and stupid. Two guys from Knoxville came up with a wonderfully dark and sordid tale of a family and a town and they wrote some fantastic songs to tell that story. Trust me when I tell you it’s worthy of your attention. Miles of Music have it labeled as “It’s a Cracker” (they guarantee you will like it or you can send it back for a full credit) and I agree 100%.