Darker the Light

One man. Scraggly hair. An old guitar that barely stays in tune. Goggles on his head. Another man behind a drum set made of brake drums, 5 gallon buckets, cracked cymbals and a washboard hanging from his neck. See them separately and you’re forming your “I can’t give you any money” excuse. See them together and you’re looking for the hat to drop your hard earned money into as your ass tries to shakes itself free of you.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Portland, Oregon’s own Hillstomp.

Hillstomp is Deep Blues Boogie Woogie Band. They remind me of a more lighthearted version of Shake Hands With Shorty-era North Mississippi Allstars, back before the Dickinson boys started taking themselves too seriously. The blues is a genre that’s as much about celebration and release as it is about wallow and despair, and Hillstomp makes you wanna dance.

While Darker The Night doesn’t have quite the same jukejoint at 3:00 am feel as their previous releases, it’s definitely a must hear for fans of the Deep Blues Sound.

Hillstomp – Banjo Song #1
Hillstomp – Cardiac Arrest In D
Hillstomp – You Got To Move

Hillstomp’s Official Site, Hillstomp on myspace, Buy Darker The Night


Whew. Well, the alcohol induced shakes from Deep Blues Fest have finally subsided. I got (2) more guest pieces for y’all and I’ll be back posting on Friday. Till then, I have a post from halkaloogie about to awesome bands I’d never even heard of.

halkaloogie here and it’s a pleasure to be allowed to fill in on ninebullets. Seeing that Autopsy IV was asking for help I instantly raked my brain thinking of bands and singers that had not been posted, but a quick use of the blog search button I quickly found that this was not going to be that easy, after 1000+ posts this cat has covered a lot of ground.

I did find a few things that I hope all of you will enjoy

Anyways, a few years ago I was playing an out of town show that ended up being a total disaster we played to a gaggle of 15 year old kids who weren’t there to see us and hated every minute we were on stage, we were stiffed by the venue and ended up with a bar tab bigger than our cut. With a sour taste in our mouths and anger in our fists we headed down the street to find a hole to sulk and lick our wounds, and made our way into this little bar called the Baby Bar which is really a 15×15 foot room with a few chairs and a ton of alcohol. There was maybe 10 people in this place and right in the middle sitting on top of a table with a guitar and a bass drum banging out raw country and blues like there was no tomorrow was Toothless George. He was swilling whiskey cussing stomping and taunting everyone to fight and damn if we didn’t all feel a hell of a lot better.

I ended up trading a few CD’s and t-shirts with him and spent the next months listening to them and hot damn if [the above] picture doesn’t just scream awesome and sum up what Toothless George is all about. He was born in Lithuania of all places and calls Philly home. An old school punk rocker who decided that Hasil Adkins was just as hard core as Danzig.

Toothless George – Don’t Fuck With Me
Toothless George – Train Wreck
Toothless George – Give Me 40 Acres

Toothless George’s Official Site, Toothless George on myspace, Buy Toothless George’s albums

Another great set of musicians that I don’t see have been posted on theses pages are The Cracker Cats, these girls are a great all girl darkgrass 3 piece out of Saskatoon Canada.

I haven’t been able to find that much info on them, but did catch a show in BC Canada a few years ago, and these girls put as much energy into their shows as anybody I’ve seen and very much a girl equivalent of the .357 String Band.

The Cracker Cats – Endlessly
The Cracker Cats – Feed The Fire
The Cracker Cats – Shady Grove

The Cracker Cats on myspace, Buy The Cracker Cats music


Hello everyone. Sorry about yesterday’s silence. It was a case of an insane weekend turning into a long night which resulted in comatose AIV yesterday. I’ve got a few more guest posts for y’all this week while I recover from Deep Blues Fest. This one come’s from Kasey Anderson. I first saw it on AltCountryTab.ca and I am very happy that he agreed to repost it on ninebullets. Hope y’all like it.

You’ve seen Blake Miller’s face. Eyes to sun-strained slits, staring off at God Knows What, smoke swirling around him, cigarette dangling like he’d taken classes from James Dean. When Miller’s photo, taken by Luis Sinco, appeared on the front page of the Los Angeles Times November 9, 2004 – and subsequently appeared in hundreds of publications, along with being singled out by Dan Rather – he became an instant, iconic image of the war in Iraq. Whether he knew it or not, whether he wanted it or not, Miller’s face became a canvas upon which any beholder could paint his or her version of the American Military Man. You want to see quiet resolve and stoicism? It’s there. Looking for a beleaguered soldier whose only remaining coping mechanism is the sort of numbness one can only achieve by constant subjection to death and destruction? It’s there. Any version of America you’re looking for is visible in Miller’s face, you need only project it.

Nearly one year to the date after Sinco’s photo ran, Miller found himself discharged from the military and attempting to re-adjust to civilian life. Jenny Eliscu chronicled Miller’s turbulent re-entry in a piece that ran in the April 3, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone, focusing on his constant battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, estrangement from his wife and involvement with the Highwaymen, the motorcycle group of spotty reputation. I’m not going to summarize Eliscu’s story here, as the link makes it readily available, but suffice it to say it’s not an easy piece to “shake off.” I read the piece when it originally ran and found myself turning Eliscu’s words – and Sinco’s photo – over and over, until I was writing about Miller myself.

At the time, I was working on a record that dealt almost entirely with my own life, the first time I had ever written a record that was entirely autobiographical. “I Was a Photograph,” the song I wrote about Miller, was the last song I wrote for the record, and I considered not including it, not because I felt it didn’t fit but because I didn’t want to cheapen Miller’s story by sandwiching it in between songs about how I was a fuckup and love is hell and everything else I had been writing about. But the more I played the song, the more I felt it belonged. Because Miller was like me, like anyone else, before the war. And that’s the point. We all know war changes people but we assume that, like being a fuckup or dealing with a busted heart and a bunch of burnt bridges, they get over it and/or get through it. Eventually. That’s the American way, right? We persevere. Or they do, so we don’t have to.

Well, not always. Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller is living proof that the casualties of war cannot be measured by a death toll or by the deteriorated physical condition of many of the men and women who return home. The casualties of war are something Blake Miller lives with every single day, in his dreams, in his subconscious, in every waking moment of his life (of which there are plenty, he doesn’t sleep much). The casualties of war were written on James Blake Miller’s face long before he came home. They’re there. You just have to look for them.

Kasey Anderson – I Was A Photograph (Blake’s Song)


Seriously, I am not gonna fuck this post up with lots of words that cloud the point and I don’t want any stupid jump cut put it to increase clicks….Here it is. Cut and Dry.

Do you like Scott H. Biram?
Do you like Bob Log III?
Do you like The Black Diamond Heavies?
Do you like your blues with a punk lean?
Do you wanna see a great fucking show?

Wednesday night. The Garage. The deep blues juggernaut from Fort Wayne, Indiana that is Left Lane Cruiser is coming. You should too.

Left Lane Cruiser – Big Mamma
Left Lane Cruiser – Pork & Beans
Left Lane Cruiser – Set Me Down


The 2009 version of the Deep Blues Festival kicks off next week and this weekend we got a view of the new poster (they can be purchased here).

Between now and boarding a flight for Minneapolis I got a couple of Left Lane Cruiser shows and Nerdapalooza to attend so it looks like another busy week.

Here is a track by Left Lane Cruiser that was written about the first DBF ever:

Left Lane Cruiser – Mr. Johnson

NIBBLES AND BITS (chuck ragan, revival tour II, dan auerbach, deep blues festival and more)

Here is some stuff I’ve been sitting on that I’m not gonna be able to make a full post out of but I think might interest some of y’all:

  • This years Deep Blues Festival takes place from July 15 to July 19 in Minneapolis, MN at The Cabooze. A full festival pass costs 100 dollars but currently are offering them at a discount rate of 80 dollars. If that’s something that might interest you then go get ’em.
  • If you live in the Tampa Bay Area and you make music then The Homemade Music Symposium might be something that will be of interest to you. It takes place Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14 in Ybor City and will feature seminars and workshops as well as plenty of live music. As an added caveat, your truly will be sitting in on one of the panels.
  • A song from one of the Black Key’s frontman/guitarist, Dan Auerbach’s earlier bands, The Barnburners has been making the rounds. They’re performing a cover of  Hound Dog Taylor‘s song “Gonna Send You Back To Georgia”. You can listen to it here.
  • From the “oh my god I can’t believe I am getting this lucky” file. While I am up in Minneapolis for the Deep Blues Festival this year none other than Slim Cessna’s Auto Club are also gonna be in town. Going to see them means I am gonna miss some of DBF’s Friday night festivities but actually having a chance to see Slim Cessna’s Auto Club with my own two eyes and not doing it…well, quite simply, that’s just not an option at all. With this new addition I am afraid my head may explode from the awesome at some point that weekend.
  • Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – This Land Is Our Land (redux)


Considering I drive from St Pete to Sarasota and back every day for work, there are very few things that will get my happy ass back down there, but finally seeing The Pack AD is definitely one of those things.  I’ve had to listen long enough to Autopsy brag about seeing them at Deep Blues last year, now was my turn to catch their show for myself.

The show was scheduled to start at 8 and we got there around 10, figuring that the two openers would be done and we’d be right on time to see the main act.  However, as we walked up to the venue we saw Becky and Maya (aka, The Pack A.D.) chilling out front and they advised us nobody had played yet, but that they were going on second instead of third now.  Eh, fair enough, more drinking time.  We caught a little of the opener, Mumpsy, a 4-piece who reminded me of Dr. Dog with maybe a dash of TMBG, headed to the back with our drinks for a bit, and then it was time for The Pack to take the stage.

Hot damn, these women fucking rock, plain and simple.  On stage Maya seems to be the ambassador, joking around between songs and interacting with the audience.  When she’s working those drums, though, she’s lost in the songs.  Meanwhile, Becky plays the ever living hell out of her guitar while channeling Janis Joplin with that great, big gravelly voice.  When they first took the stage I seriously thought to myself, how the hell is the voice I’ve heard on their CD’s going to come out of her?  Well it did.  All of it.  Wow.  When Maya announced that they were playing their last song for the evening I didn’t want to believe it was almost over, but that was it.  Rock and roll, cut and dry, with no pretense and apparently no encore.  If you’re lucky enough to have their tour coming your way as they head back North towards Canada, you definitely need to catch this show.

Check out The Pack AD’s website for the rest of their tour dates here
See the rest of the pix from the show here

The Pack A.D. – All Day Long
The Pack A.D. – Making Gestures
The Pack A.D. – Wolves & Werewolves


I am reposting this because when I originally posted about it back in November the album was next to impossible to acquire. As of today it can easily be purchased from Amazon.

I’ll be honest. I’m not really too into tribute albums. I mean, they usually have their high points but when you take them as a whole they tend to feel mailed in or uninspired.

Such is not the case with this particular tribute album, and while I am sure there have been no shortage of tribute albums to Hank Sr. or Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, I am sure there hasn’t ever been one quite like this. For one, check out the take no prisoner’s, my way or fuck you contributing artists. With acts like Scott H. Biram, Possessed By Paul James, Bob Log III, Jawbone, Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Soda taking part you know these aren’t just gonna be mere remakes of classics. For another thing, take the folks putting it out- Hillgrass Bluebilly Entertainment. In what dealings I have had with these guys two things are for sure. They have as much passion about the whole punkass/deep blues scene as anyone, and if they are gonna do something they are gonna do it 100% all out. Taking all of that into account I had a hard time imagining how this particular tribute album couldn’t be awesome.

I was right.

Hiram and Huddie is a double cd tribute album, one disc being a tribute to Hank Sr. while the other is a tribute to Huddie Ledbetter. Both discs feature the same lineup of artists for the most part with each artist seeming to have been given complete freedom to do whatever they wanted with their tracks, and the bands used that freedom to make the tracks their own. Really, there isn’t a track to be skipped across either disc, but as with any compilation some tracks just stand out from the others.

Soda’s cover of Hank’s “Ramblin’ Man” is one such case. Sounding like it would have come from a drunken 1920’s New Orleans speakeasy, this track just begs for you hit repeat until the ink wears off the button. Scott Biram just seems like he was born to sing Sr.’s songs, and the soul of William Elliot Whitmore’s voice adds a richness to his songs that recording techniques in the original version’s time couldn’t capture. As good as all of these tracks are though, it’s Possessed By Paul James’ contributions that totally steal the show and his version of Lead Belly’s “The Bourgeois Blues” wears the “best song” crown.

“The Bourgeois Blues” was originally recorded by Ledbetter after he went to Washington, D.C. at the request of Alan Lomax to record a number of songs for the Library of Congress. After they had finished, they decided to go out with their wives to celebrate but were thrown out of numerous establishments for being an interracial party. The song rails against racism, classism, and discrimination in general.

It would be a shame for this album to get lost in the cracks only be rediscovered years later as a lost gem. Do yourself, Hillgrass Bluebilly, me and every single artist on this album a favor and buy it. Buy two. It’s that good. It’s easily gonna be the best compilation of the year.

Soda – Ramblin’ Man (Hank Sr.)
Scott H. Biram – Lost Highway (Hank Sr.)

William Elliott Whitmore – The Gallis Pole (Ledbetter)
Possessed By Paul James – Bourgeois Blues (Ledbetter)


The other night I was about 4 whiskey and gingers into the evening and I was thinking about ninebullets. Really, I was thinking about how long it had been since I wrote about some down and dirty primal blues on here. I mean, I know I posted the Left Lane Cruiser set from Deep Blues a few weeks back, but I post about LLC at least once a month so I was thinking about something fresh, something we ain’t heard before. Then, like the swamp blues god knew what we needed, I reached into my big box of ‘shit I need to listen to in a more timely manner but I am too fucking slow’ and pulled out The Speaking Tongues.

The Speaking Tongues are a punk-blues duo out of Canada consisting of Aaron Doyle on guitars and Pete Ross on drums, while both share the singin’, hollerin’ and wailin’ duties. They come out of your speakers like a big ole’ wall of distorted Mississippi Blues meets punk rock sound. Exactly what ninebullets.net has been lacking the past few months…someone said goddamn the torpedoes, let’s put the volume on 15 and beat the shit out of these instruments and see what happens. I’ll tell you what happens….some bad ass shit. Chris, are these guys playing Deep Blues Festival? If not, they need to be part of 2010.

The Speaking Tongues – What’s Yer Story?
The Speaking Tongues – Run To My Door
The Speaking Tongues – Woe Is Me

The Speaking Tongues’s Official Site, The Speaking Tongues on myspace, Buy Wild Sound