Rocky Votolato & Chuck Ragan – Kindred Spirit Review – 2015

kindred spirit

I’d never been into Rocky Votolato, and not because of any discourse with his music, it just hadn’t reached the top of my list of things to listen to until this split came along. I am a huge fan of Chuck Ragan and all his musical endeavors, so when Kindred Spirit hit the shelves, I immediately put it into regular rotation.

My attention was immediately grabbed with the first line of the opening track by Rocky Votolato – “Sparks of Recovery”,

“In a 91 that still runs but barely, Writing your name in the fog on winter windows in the morning”

A great metaphor of life. A perpetual feeling that life is about to fall apart but the comfort and company of another is all you need to get through.

Sparks of Recovery is a beautifully constructed tune that captures a great metaphor of life. The perpetual feeling this uncontrollable journey is falling apart, and yet the comfort of another will lead to resolution or perhaps just acceptance. Struggle and perseverance, whatever that may be.

Rocky’s other two tracks, “St. Louis” and “Let Go” continue in the same vein as this opening track. Sonically soothing, unavoidably beautiful and surprisingly comforting. He has a great ability to introduce ideas of ultimate sadness only to be followed by a perfectly uplifting resolution:

“Eventually we’ll all lose every single thing we love”
“But we can beat death while we’re still alive”

These songs server as a great reminder that resolution is in the hands of your own mind, so make of it what you need.

Chuck Ragan’s side of the split does not disappoint. Three great tracks, with some fantastic guest’s helping him out on the vocals. Dave Hause, Jon Snodgrass, Ben Nichols, and Chad Price all make appearances.

Chuck’s tracks all sound like they could have been included on his previous release “Till Midnight”, and made the already brilliant record, even better. “Vagabond” is a track you will recognize from Till Midnight, but the guest appearances make this a well deserving re-release.

My favorite track on the record is the closer, “Before Dust”. It’s a slow grind that’s captivating enough to make you lose yourself in thought, if you let it. The song makes me feel like I’m on a motorcycle cruising two lane mountain roads well after midnight, with only my mind and the stars above to keep company. The song is like a good book that can be read in snippets. Take nearly any line presented throughout and let your mind digest it. I mean really dig in, and see where it takes you. Challenge yourself to learn more about yourself through this brilliant thought provoking track. My current favorite:

“We all must land somewhere”

Anyway – this is a great record from end to end, and damn good soundtrack for road trips and traveling into the great unknown. Hop on over to Chuck Ragan’s website, link below, and get yourself a copy of this on CD or Vinyl

Rocky Votolato & Chuck Ragan – Kindred Spirit – ORDER HERE!


GUEST POST: ROCK REPORT: SLIM CESSNAS AUTO CLUB'S NEW YEARS EVE SHOW:

Autopsy IV is on his annual pilgrimage to strap a board to the bottom of his feet and slide down mountains. While he is away 9B will feature a collection of guest posts. Today’s post comes from our good buddy Shawn Kellogg who reviews a show I hope to make it out to one year…the annual Slim Cessna’s Auto Club New Years Eve show.


To those of you that are lucky enough to live and be apart of the wonderful Denver music scene, you know that when you see what appears to be the Rocky Horror Picture Show of Americana walking down East Colfax, you know that its that time of year once again, for Slim Cessna Auto Club to invade the new year’s eve holiday. This year, we were blessed when it was announced that Drag the River would be playing support, which totally blew my mind about this show. I have seen Drag to many times to count, but have never seen the much talked about live show that Slim Cessna’s Auto Club is known to put on.

The show itself drew the packed crowd at the Bluebird theatre that Slim Cessna always draws for these shows, despite the eight inches of snow that we received that day. Upon arrival, we ran into Jon Snodgrass from Drag who broke the news to use that J.J. Nobody and Steve Bauer (bass and drums respectively) just could not make it from the springs due to the weather, so Jon and Chad Price held down the fort. This was disappointing since Jon told us that Drag has been practicing a bunch of new songs and were stoked to play them. After that bummer of a surprise, that was much more of a pleasant surprise. The first support band, A. Tom Collins was a new name to me and to everybody I talked to around the stage. They were an eclectic mix of piano and songwriting with a dash of horns. It was quite a refreshing sound and definitely surprised myself with how much I really got into them, and their live show is definitely worth catching. I later found out from some of the Suburban Home crew that the lead singer is the former lead singer of the sorely missed Machine Gun Blues that were gathering steam in the Denver scene before their demise.

After A. Tom Collins, Jon and Chad from Drag the River came out as a duo to the unfortunate weather circumstances and played a wonderfully well rounded set, about an hour long. It was quite obvious that much of the Slim crowd was totally new to Drag and it was a good introduction to them. Along with some of the staples of a DTR live show, including “Medicine” and “Mr. Crews”, many of the songs from “Demons” made an appearance, and eventually turned into a crowd request with the Slim crowd obviously enjoying their first, and hopefully not their last dose of Drag the River.

After Drag played their set, Slim Cessna came out for the tenth anniversary of their New Year’s shows at the Bluebird theatre. And they held their version of Alt-Country church that their live shows our famous for. Both Manly and Slim Cessna himself spent a good portion of the set in the audience, who was hanging on every word the two of them had to say. After about 90 minutes, the Slim Cessna revival continued for about another half hour with a long encore that had the sold out crowds of the Bluebird near combustion. Despite the snow that everybody, including the bands, had to deal with, A. Tom Collins, Drag The River and Slim Cessna Auto Club helped everybody ring in the New Year a day early, and its never to early to start drinking for the New Year. And on a real quick note, I just want to thank Autopsy IV for the opportunity to write this article, and thanks for reading.

Drag The River – History with History
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Children of the Lord

STREAM THE "NEW" DRAG THE RIVER ALBUM: PRIMER


Drag the River’s break-up turned nonbreak-up turned…well….I don’t even know what it is these days has spurred the release of another new(ish) cd, Primer.

The 20 tracks were hand selected by Jon and Chad and while there is probably a track or two missing Primer probably looks like the mixtape you would make if you were trying to turn someone on to Drag. So, check out the full album stream below and then go order it.

BEST OF THE CHAD PRICE 10 BREWERIES IN ONE DAY TOUR:


Back in mid-October Chad Price and a merry crew departed from the offices of Suburban Home Records in a party van with the intent of doing 10 shows at 10 different breweries in support if Chad’s new album, Smile Sweet Face (9b.net review). Our good internet buddy (and stellar show taper) James Freeman from That’s The Thing About That went along for the ride to record the shows. He culled those recordings down to the best from it all and released it earlier this week and he was kind enough to allow me to repost it over here. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I am:

Here is the track listing:

Odell’s

01. So Long Hoss
02. Static
03. Cursed

Road 34

04. Booze N’ Pills
05. The Death Of The Life Of The Party
06. Barroom Bliss
07. Your Paralyzing Wings
08. Lost Angel Saloon

Tasty Weasel

09. Lizzy
10. When The Lights Go Down In The City (Journey)
11. Medicine

Left Hand Brewery

12. Beautiful And Dammed
13. This Cross
14. Mr. Crews
15. This War
16. Peachy Tuscadero

Upslope

17. Johnny Come Lately (Steve Earle)
18. Your Voice Is Music

Avery Brewery

19. Caleb’s Grave
20. With Broken Hearts
21. Tobacco Fields
22. Cathy’s Clown (The Everly Brothers)
23. Leavin’ In The Morning

Great Divide

24. Modern Drunkard
25. I Know It’s Over (Jeff Black)
26. Loving Touching Squeezing (Journey)
27. Brookfield *
28. J.J.’s Driving *

*With Dan Utter on harmonica

You can download the entire show here.

Also, if you miss Drag The River proper (full band) as much as I do James has a show from this past August featuring a full band. You can find it here.

JACKSON TAYLOR & THE SINNERS

Aces n Eights

This might be a little off the farm for some of ya’ but here is an album from an ol’ boy I saw quite by accident and ended up hangin’ with (read: got way too wasted with) all night…

I was headed out to see Jason Boland at The Firehouse for the umpteenth time and left too early or didn’t stop and eat so I got there before the opening act had even started. You see I usually skip the opening acts for most bands I go see and that may be kind of shitty it’s just how I’ve done it for years. Anyway… The opening act, some dude named Jackson Taylor, starts up and much to my surprise the music was quite good. I meandered over near the stage there was this old boy wearin’ a Social D t-shirt, covered in tats belting out country music. One thing led to another and instead of seeing the band I came to see I ended up hanging out with the opener all night. There’s a story there that doesn’t warrant telling here but you can rest assured I had a grand ol’ time.

That said I have to admit this isn’t my favorite Jackson Taylor album. I mean he’s a bad son of a bitch (I was at a show he was late to because he had to bailed out of jail for a bar fight the night before) but it seems sort of forced in places on this album. The music is more polished than his early stuff and that could play into why I am not as into as his other albums. So why write about it? Well that’s because as much as it’s not my favorite JT album it’s still a damn site better than most of the tripe passing as country music these days and there are some real gems on it as well. I have a feeling even the songs that aren’t that great on this offering will be pretty damn good live because that’s just how Jackson is.

The two Social D covers, Ball & Chain and Highway 101, may be my fourth and fifth favorite covers this year (#1 Micah Schnabel – Can’t Hardly Wait, #2 Michael Dean Damron – Beautiful and Damned, #3 Chad Price – Hybrid Moments) and the new recording of Jackson’s own classic Barefeet on the Dash make this one worth picking up. At first listen the music may sound like standard Country & Western to some the lyrics and attitude is where Jackson makes his stand. He follows in the outlaw tradition of Waylon, Willie, Ray Wylie and Billy Joe in writing music that Nashville won’t touch with a ten foot pole as well as touching on topics that are generally forbidden in the radio safe sounds drifting out of Music City. Jackson is most assuredly a Texas boy, born and bred, and that shows through when he plays and in his overall approach to life.

Aces ‘n Eights ain’t gonna make album of the year for me but it ain’t getting deleted off my iPod either. It’s a good listen and I may be too harsh a critic. Pick it up and decide for yourself.

Two from Aces ‘n Eights
Jackson Taylor – Ball and Chain (Social Distortion Cover)
Jackson Taylor – Country Song

Two from Live, Locked, & Loaded at Longhorns:
Jackson Taylor – Whiskey & Women
Jackson Taylor – Old Lone Star

Jackson Taylor & The Sinners Official Site, Jackson Taylor & The Sinners on myspace, Buy Aces & Eights

STREAM THE NEW CHAD PRICE ALBUM, SMILE SWEET FACE:


Last week our own RomeoSidVicious wrote a terrific piece on the new Chad Price album, Smile Sweet Face.

I don’t really have anything to add to his posting about the album except for a possible “yeah! what he said!” but I do have the next best thing…A FULL ALBUM STREAM.

That’s right kids. Suburban Home has been kind enough to lend us their full stream of the album so be sure to read RSV’s eloquent musings on the album while listening to the entire album. After that, head over to Suburban Home Records and buy it.

CHAD PRICE – SMILE SWEET FACE


Drag The River/All singer Chad Price’s solo debut is in the running for album of the year and as far as I am concerned it’s there without a doubt. I’ve had this album for a few days now and I have been trying to put how I felt about into words and failing. To start with I love the album from start to finish but I haven’t been able to find the words to impart how Smile Sweet Face makes me feel. I can’t review this album by just telling you how cool Chad’s lyrics are or how the understated acoustic accompaniment sounds amazing. There is something more to this album than just sounding good and having the right hook at the right place. It makes me feel something and last night I was finally able to put my finger on what that thing is. It feels like coming down…

I don’t mean it feels like crashing after a weekend of doing blow like a Wall Street trader in the nineties. I mean that Chad Price has created a mood across this album that feels like the sweat filled moment after sex where you fall back on the bed exhausted but more than satisfied. The slow chords and Chad’s heartfelt vocals slow everything around you down just a little bit. The opening line in The Cross is “It feels good when the sun’s out, feels good with my arms outstretched on this cross” and only gets better from there. With the mood waxing and waning across these ten tracks I suppose this album won’t be one that everyone likes. Actually I know it won’t because my brother just didn’t get it and all I could do is stare at him dumbfounded and confused. I guess if you are anything like him then you probably won’t feel any empathy when Chad belts out “Between church and a meth lab / can’t go on living without her laugh”. If you fall into that crowd then I truly feel sorry for you.

But you already knew I would like Chad’s solo effort considering how much I dig Drag The River didn’t you? What surprised me is how much this wasn’t a Drag The River album. I expected more Caleb’s Grave and what I got was something completely different. This is a different baring of the soul than the stuff Chad has done with DTR and rightfully so. This isn’t DTR minus Jon Snodgrass it is a powerful and moving collection of stripped down, soul baring, sometimes keening tracks that shouldn’t be missed.

Chad Price – This War
Chad Price – With Bleeding Wrists
Chad Price – Your Voice Is Music

You can pick this up over at Suburban Home in just about any format you like. I recommend grabbing the deal, I don’t know how long they’ll offer it for, where you get access to everything they release for life starting with this very record…

GETTING TO KNOW DRAG THE RIVER:

I have to admit that this intro was a little harder than I expected to put together. I am a big fan of Drag The River or I wouldn’t be slapping these tunes up here for people to get to know the band but wow the history here is daunting by itself. Couple that with the amount of work produced by the band and its members and I had a pretty huge project staring me in the face. Of course I didn’t let that stop me from putting together a set of tapes that will hopefully show the band’s growth as well as their history. I should make it clear that I didn’t even try to find music from everyone who has been in this band and simply pulled from own collection. That may be a little lazy but if I had tried to track down a little from every single member this intro wouldn’t have come out until next month. So we all just have to make do with I had laying around and hopefully three tapes will be enough to make anyone go out and track down the full DTR catalog as well as the works of all the members current and present.

This first tape is all Drag the River all the time. The first three tracks are off of Hobo’s Demo’s (2000) which was recorded in ’96 and ’97 at the Blasting Room in Ft Collins, CO. Chad Price and Jon Snodgrass played and/or sang on all the tracks and a slew of other musicians in and out of the studio such as Chad Rex, Paul Rucker, and Zach Boddicker. This session also produced Chicken Demo’s (2004) which tracks 7 thru 9 hail from but which was released after Closed. (2002) which is where tracks 4 thru 6 can be found. I decided on release order for this one and freely admit it was an arbitrary decision. The next three tracks, if you managed to keep up through the above mess of a description, come from It’s Crazy (2006) and track 10 is the first DTR track I ever heard and the one that caused me to fall in love with this band. Tracks thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen all make an appearance on You Can’t Live This Way (2008) and the last three tracks can be found on Bad at Breaking Up (2009). This does not represent the full catalog of releases as there have been EPs and other appearances along the way but I feel it covers the major releases for DTR and gives a good solid overview of the band as a whole.


Tape 1 – Track Archive

The next tape, much to my dismay, only has one track from the whole band live. I was shocked to discover I hadn’t collected much live DTR and will have to remedy that in the near future. This tape is mostly Jon Snodgrass live and couple off his Visitor’s Band solo release. That covers the last track and the all the middle tracks but the first two tracks are Chad Price live and are well worth listening to. Chad’s has his first solo effort in the breech and ready to fire over at Suburban Home (there’s even a single track sneak peak) and I really wish I had more of him to put on this tape but woe and alas it is what it is.


Tape 2 – Track Archive

I almost didn’t make this last tape, and then after making it almost didn’t post it but decided it was a neat look at the forces that created DTR and the history of, admittedly only a small few, the band members. These are all tracks from the bands that the members of DTR played in prior to forming DTR with the exception of tracks seven, eight, and nine which are from Chad Rex and the Victorstands gravity works fire burns. The first three tracks are from Armchair Martian which was a Jon Snodgrass punk band. The next three are from the Karl Alverez days with All, yet another punk band, which was the kicking, screaming, live-birth of the Descendants when Milo Went To College. These three tracks are off of Allroy’s Revenge. The last three tracks are also from All but feature Chad Price and are from Mass Nerder. While not even close to a complete rundown of all the bands that the members of DTR have played in this tape should serve as a decent overview of the history and the roots of Drag The River. Since it is, according to Jon, “Chad’s and my band” I think I captured the history of the driving forces behind the alt-country powerhouse that is DTR.


Tape 3 – Track Archive

With such an amazingly dynamic lineup over the years I can’t do justice without listing the members, past and present, and tossing some links out to any current projects they may be working on and any projects that may have passed away but still have some internet presence left hanging around. So without further ado, and according to wikipedia (which may be wrong) I present Drag The River’s members:

And of course the standard linkage:

Suburban Home Records
Drag The River Homepage
Drag The River Myspace
Drag The River on PunkNews
Prior Drag The River Coverage on 9b
Drag The River on Wikipedia

CHAD PRICE (DRAG THE RIVER) SOLO ALBUM GETS RELEASE DATE:

Suburban Home Records announced that Chad’s debut solo album, Smile Sweet Face, has been given an official street date of October 20th. You will be able to preorder the album on August 21st (no mention if you’ll get a digital copy then) and there will be the normal package options including tshirts, beer coozies, pint glasses and what not.

More importantly, this ensures that Chad will have the album when he rolls through Florida on the Revival II Tour:

11/20/2009 Gainesville, FL @ Common Grounds
11/21/2009 St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre
11/22/2009 Orlando, FL @ The Social

Here is the studio version of the lead single: Chad Price – Cursed

DRAG THE RIVER – BAD AT BREAKING UP

One of the greatest musical regrets I have is ignoring Drag the River for as long as I did. As I mentioned here one time, per their name I assumed they were just a metal band and ignored them for quite some time. Fortunately, I came around in time to see them as a full band once before they “broke up”. Since then I’ve managed to catch Jon and Chad as a duo 3 times and have became a card-carrying member of the Drag The River fan club. Last month we saw what is technically their second posthumous album with this collection of 7″ tracks and B-sides in Bad At Breaking Up.

Bad At Breaking Up features all of the topical points one would expect from a Drag The River record; whiskey, women, broken hearts and barstool anthems. Sonically, the album seems more sparse and calm than most Drag albums, yet the songs do accurately represent the sound and feel of a modern Drag show.

I would not recommend Bad At breaking Up as an entry point to the DTR catalog, but it’s pretty much a must have for any fan of the band. And if you’re reading this and wondering if you should look into Drag The River, then let me answer that for you; Yes. Absolutely.

Drag The River – Having A Party
Drag The River – Jeff Black Song
Drag The River – Trainwreck

Drag The River’s Official Site, Drag The River on myspace, Buy Bad At Breaking Up