It’s time to start marking your calendars and saving your change because Deep Blues Festival ’09 is happening and the dates have been set. Here is the info from the Deep Blues Official Site:
The dates will be Wednesday July 15th through Sunday July 19th. The festival will be in Minneapolis MN. The Wednesday show will be at the 331 Club and the rest of the festival will be at the Cabooze..
After some email exchanges with festival organizer, Chris, I got further clarification on how the days are breaking down:
Weds – KFAI radio in studio appearance by one or two bands and a free show at the 331 Club in Minneapolis that evening.
Thursday – A private indoor party at the Cabooze for all the festival bands and the advance sponsor ticket buyers. We’ll have six bands perform; three chosen by the festival bands and three by the fans.
Friday and Saturday – Indoor and outdoor multistage fest.
Sunday – Gospel brunch. I’m thinking this will be a chance for festival bands to mix it up a bit. This is likely to be free and open to the public.
So there you go. One day shorter than last year and in a bar environment instead of in a field. All of this is great news, not to mention that’s it’s actually in Minneapolis this year. Nothing but good news. Fuck SxSW, Fuck PitchforkFest, Fuck ACL…this is the festival for the people.
I’ll be there with the wife. Anyone else planning on making the trip?
Here is a song from ninebullets.net faves, Left Lane Cruiser. I chose this song cause it’s written about the Deep Blues Festival founder and organizer, Chris Johnson.
Left Lane Cruiser – Mr. Johnson
As a side note: If you add The Deep Blues Festival to your myspace friends list they’re currently sending out bulletins with possible DBF’09 bands and soliciting your opinion.
“Let’s talk about a night in the box” may sound like something I would have said to one of my boys back in the day after he pulled a stupidly hot chick, however, A Night In The Box is actually a band. In all likelihood you’ve never heard of A Night In The Box, and that’s okay, neither had I when they were taking the stage at the Deep Blues Festival earlier this year. Matter of fact, I saw them taking the stage and thought, “Wow, these guys are gonna blow.”
It was probably the hats.
Regardless of why I thought they were gonna suck, the point is they did the polar fucking opposite of suck. I was officially blown away by this band one minute into their first song. I used this next line a few weeks ago while describing Possessed By Paul James’ show @ Deep Blues Fest, and I am more than happy to recycle it here: There is a quote in the inset of Kid Rock’s cd, A Devil Without A Cause, that reads, “If it sounds good, you’ll hear it; If it looks good, you’ll see it; If it’s marketed right, you’ll buy it; but if it’s real, you’ll feel it.” Not only do you feel it when ANITHB is performing…you know they feel it too.
So, I walked away from their DBF set with the following note on my notepad, “A Night In The Box…who the fuck are these guys? Best show of the festival so far…buy their music…” So, I did. I came home and immediately got Write A Letter. I am proud to announce that the cd is almost as awesome as the performance. Don’t take that as a slight though, I don’t think it’s possible to capture the awesomeness of these guys live on a silver disc. For all you Minneapolis folks, their show is essential viewing and for the rest of us their cd is essential listening.
A Night In The Box – The Hustle
A Night In The Box – Rich Man’s Table
A Night In The Box – Terraplane Blues
A Night In The Box – Fiddle Foot Jones
A Night In The Box on myspace, Buy Write A Letter
This post is too late in coming. I wanted to write this the day I got back from Minneapolis…better late than never, I’ll write it now.
Some people pursue music for pussy. Some do it for the money. Others do it cause they love it, and then there are those rare few that do it for a much more organic reason. They chase this music thing ’cause they have to. Even when they don’t necessarily want to, there is something inside of them that makes them do it. Even when it’s hurting the ones they love and themselves, asking them to stop is as ludicrous as asking you to stop breathing. It’s in them, it has to come out…they are but a vessel. I am of the opinion that the Reverend Deadeye falls into that category. It is that very drive that made him leave a city that never really embraced him and hit the road with no clear plan outside of playing another show. He set out on the road with a van, a beer can turned into a microphone, a handmade guitar, and a sermon of hellfire and damnation for your sinnin’ ass soul.
His latest release, Turn or Burn, is available for the painfully low price of ten dollars. You should buy two and mail one to your momma. It’s a frantic explosion of slide-guitar blues meets tent-revival preaching. It’s everything that’s right with the one man band explosion. Check it out.
The Reverend Deadeye – Fuck The Devil
The Reverend Deadeye – Bless My Soul
The Reverend Deadeye’s Official Site, The Reverend Deadeye on myspace, Buy Turn or Burn
If you can not tell, catching The Rev. two times while I was up in Minneapolis converted me into a gigantic fan of the man. So, it should do without saying that Turn or Burn is Essential Listening. After coming back from DBF, The Reverend and I exchanged a few emails in the form of an interview. Check it out and, seriously, buy his shit…:
9b: What happened in Denver?
Rev: mostly I just got flimflammed, bamboozled, and horns waggled one too many times. I put everything I had into Denver music included money, blood, sweet, and now tears.
9b: How’s life on the road treating you?
Rev: Life on the road is damn lonely. There are plenty good folk that I run into, but a lot of the time the bar keeps are jaded and don’t care who you are. Once I start playing everything changes, but that’s usually pretty late in the night.
9b: What albums are getting heavy spin in the Reverend’s rolling church?
Rev: Charlie Parr doesn’t ever stop spinning even when it ain’t.
9b: I came to hear of you via your addition to the Deep Blues Festival lineup and have managed to mention you multiple times a week on the site since then. Have you seen an increase in your fan base thanks to the festival?
Rev: I would have to say definitely yes. All of my shows up in Minnesota were great, because people had heard of me and were excited to see me. It changes the dynamic of the show, because the punch is there right from the beginning, and people know what they’re getting themselves into.
9b: Looking at your schedule for the remainder of the year you look to be pretty damned busy. September has you slotted to finish a new album. Any insight as into that album?
Rev: Well I’ve been doing a lot of different styles of recording so it might be a few different sounds or it might not. I guess it’s a little hard to figure what yer gonna get because I’m all over the map. All of my albums have been pretty different to this point.
9b: What does your suitcase recording studio consist of?
Rev: I’ve got an old RCA mono track reel to reel, a Tascam 4 track, and some sort of sound input device for my computer.
9b: How did you manage to get involved with The Folk Singer?
Rev: I’m not sure how that happened, I got an email one day from Mr. Littler tellin’ me I should drive to Austin to play a part in his film. So I did. The folksinger is the result.
9b: How was working with Scott Biram? He seems like he can be a little…shall we say…unpredictable.
Rev: In the film, I didn’t really work with Scott only Konrad and of course Eliza Jane. I love Scott, I wouldn’t really say he’s unpredictable its how people are going to react around him that I usually find unpredictable.
9b: Any chances your One Man show with no home is gonna find it’s way into Florida one day?
Rev: yes, but not till I get someone to book my shows for me. I can barely keep up with booking the shows I got, and I haven’t had any luck booking that direction at all. You would think the South would love the Reverend, but they’re stone wallin’ me.
That’s it kids. As soon as I press the “publish” button on this entry I am shutting off my work PC and heading home to pack, hang out with the dog and get ready for my A.M. flight to St. Paul, Minnesota for the second annual Deep Blues Festival. To say I am excited about this thing is an understatement of epic proportions.
I seriously doubt ninebullets.net will see an update one minute before Wednesday but you never know…I might sneak in a late night drunken ramble some time during the weekend. I will have a digital camera and a flip camera. Perhaps I can score some video interviews. For those that might care I will be attempting to fully assimilate into the Web 2.0 culture by posting frequent updates to my twitter account. If you wish, you can follow the feed here. It might be interesting to see how comprehendable the posts get as the nights wear on…it could turn into sad, sloppy drunk tweets before it’s all said and done.
Finally, before I say goodbye. I made a Deep Blues Festival muxtape full of bands playing the festival for folks to listen to if they want. Check it out:
I feel real bad about this. All three of these bands have been in the disc changer for two weeks. I’ve been intending to write about them but time just slipped by. Here we are now, on the eve of me leaving and I still haven’t written a single word…So let it be known, all three of these bands deserve far more attention than they are about to get.
The Scissormen come out of Nashville and featuring a fella on slide-guitar, Ted Drozdowski, that just plain kills it. As much rock and roll as they are blues they are exactly what I wanna hear from a band when I walk into a foreign bar.
The Scissormen have 2 albums available, 2005’s Jinx Breaker (produced by Billy Conway of Morphine) and 2007’s When The Devil Calls. They will be performing at The Deep Blues Festival on Sunday night as well as a collection of shows around the St. Paul area before and after their set.
The Scissormen – Death Letter
Gravelroad come out of Washington State. As of late, as well as doing their own thing they’ve been acting as T-Model Ford’s backing band. An honor and that has not been lost on them. They have the kind of sound you would expect from a few kids from the state that created grunge that probably own everything from the Fat Possum roster. Don’t let that come off as a slight to them cause it could not be further from the desired affect. This album, Shot the Devil (released August 5, ’08),has a sound so dirty and thick it kind of oozes out of the speakers and into your ears much like the mud of a Mississippi swamp. All the while the grit in Stefan’s voice plays the perfect compliment. This is whiskey drinkin’ music and I’ll be right primed to do just that about the time they take the stage at the DBF Friday afternoon. Weight
Gravelroad – Call My Name
Gravelroad – Taildragger
I initially wrote about Cicada Omega last August after they sent me a 5 track EP. Flash forward a year and I’m listening to their full-length getting ready to see them live thousands of miles from either of our homes. These Bones has a sound that could best be described as hill-country revival blues. The songs build and swell to feverish jams while Winfield’s vocals, howls and cries mesh to remind anyone who has been to a Church of Christ revival of that lady in the back who breaks into feverish tongues.
Every single thing coming out of Portland written about these guys talks about how awesome this band is live and lines like this from the Willamette Weekly only make me wish Cicada had pulled a night slight at the DBF:
the local quartet has proven itself a live act to be reckoned with—leaving audiences (and the members themselves) shaken and sweaty by the end of their howling, fiery performances.
Too bad they aren’t playing any club shows this weekend.
Cicada Omega – Last Night
Cicada Omega – Big Black Chain
Much like our newest ninebullets.net contributor, I have been plowing through a list of bands I’ve never heard of or heard in preparation of the Deep Blues Festival. While I haven’t been putting it all together in a neat package like she is, I have been reporting a number of those bands in one fashion or another. One of the bands I am most happy to have discovered is this Minnesotan, Charlie Parr.
Charlie plays a self-taught version of the Piedmont Blues that sounds like it’s hopped right off an Al Lomax field recording and into your living room. With a minimalist approach, Charlie sings about everyday people going through everyday suffering. He has six albums to his name with 2007’s self-released Jubilee being his latest. If the thought of acoustic country-blues that sounds like it could have come off a 1940’s front porch wets your whistle, then charlie Parr is your man. Check out the offerings below.
Charlie Parr – Jesus On The Mainline (from Jubilee)
Charlie Parr – I Wonder How Long Till I Can Change My Clothes (from Criminals & Sinners)
Charlie Parr – Hogkill Blues (from 1922)
Charlie Parr – Miner’s Lament (from King Earl)
Charlie Parr – Lowdown (from Criminals & Sinners)
Charlie Parr – In The Ground (from 1922)
Charlie will be playing the Deep Blues Festival on Saturday Afternoon. I will be front and center.
Ever since The White Stripes hit the scene, there has been no shortage of two man (or woman) bands out there releasing cds. Hell, there’s been no shortage of coverage for them on this here web site, either. And while there are more two man bands out there than you can shake a stick at, I promise you there are none, and by none I mean ZERO, that are quite like the Black Diamond Heavies. The Black Diamond Heavies are not for the uninitiated…Nay, the Black Diamond Heavies are for people who are ready to feel sin and salvation through the low end of a B3, with a tumbler full of whiskey and Van Cambell’s growl as a drinking partner. I’d been kicking around various ways to describe BDH’s sound and then I saw it spelled out perfectly on a CMJ review of Someone Else’s Class as such, “humid tone over heated tunes.” A perfect description for a gutturally raw and fantastic band.
A Touch of Someone Else’s Class is the follow up to last year’s fantastic Every Damn Time. It features production work by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and a guest horn appearance by Ralph Carney. As with any proper blues album, punk-ass or not, it features several covers, including a version of Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limit” that may be the best version of the song I’ve ever heard. The disc even offers a surprising change up for the band in “Bidin’ My Time”, a somber ballad that seems as if it was written by Campbell near last call in a smoky piano bar five states away from his girl. While I wouldn’t want an album full of songs like “Bidin’ My Time”, this particular track has become one of my favorite songs on the album.
A Touch Of Someone Else’s Class isn’t only Essential Listening, it’s another slam dunk for both the band and Alive Records…a label that just continues to drop monster album after monster album out of their catalog. If you haven’t already, check them out. And speaking of checking them out, The Black Diamond Heavies are another band that will be playing the Deep Blues Festival next month. They are one of the bands I am most looking forward to getting to check out. I’m telling you, if you are anywhere near Minnesota or in a position to get on a plane and be near it, you need to get to Lake Elmo July 18 thru 20. It’s gonna be an event fans of this sound will be talking about for years to come.
Black Diamond Heavies – Bidin’ My Time
Black Diamond Heavies – Everything Is Everything
Black Diamond Heavies – Smoothe It Out
Black Diamond Heavies’ Official Site, Black Diamond Heavies’ myspace profile, Buy A Touch Of Someone Else’s Class
Festival ticket? CHECK!
Hotel Reservations? CHECK!
Plane ticket? CHECK!
That’s it. There is no doubt about it now. I am most definitely going to the Deep Blues Festival this year. I was a little worried once the house thing started happening and we started hemorrhaging cash, but it’s all done now. To say I am excited is to certainly understate things. I am probably gonna heavily feature bands that are gonna be at the festival here on ninebullets over the coming month. Speaking of the festival, it’s a month and some change away in Lake Elmo, Minnesota (20 minutes from the St. Paul airport) and it’s gonna be great. If you are within driving distance or have the ability to hop a plane, you should make a great effort to attend. Also, if you’re going, holler at me and let me know. I would love to find someone to share my hotel room/split the bill with, and I’m always in need of fellow drinkers.
One have the bands playing DBF 08, Chris Cotton & The New Hokum 3’s, have just released their new album, The Big Sea. The Big Sea and DBF are an excellent testament to what the relationship between this scene’s artists and its fans is all about. See, when Chris wasn’t able to cover the mastering and pressing costs of the album in advance, he issued a simple request:
I need 250 people to commit/and buy my new album in advance for me to be able to Mix, Master, And duplicate my new album. It is done being recorded onto analog tape and is completely unmixed. The financier’s up to this point of the album is a friend of mine, and myself, and both of us are done as far as money goes.
Sometimes the “Y” in DIY just isn’t enough, and in this case the fan base stepped up to the plate and The Big Sea got to see the light of day. A great many artists at the DBF are doing the DIY thing. There really isn’t anything original about that, but The Big Sea is the first cd I’ve ever felt like a played a role in the release of, so I decided to feature it first as well.
According to Chris’ web site he prefers to not try to pigeonhole his sound into a specific genre, but if you have to he doesn’t care what you call it as long as it ain’t blues. Fine, The Big Sea ain’t a blues record. It’s a folk record with a heavy hill country/blues lean to it…songs that sound like they’ve come from an era long since passed, preserved in sepia prints and analog tapes.
He’ll be playing Friday afternoon at the festival…perhaps we’ll see you there.
Chris Cotton – The Gambler
Chris Cotton – What Would You Do
Chris Cotton – .44 Pistol Mama
Chris Cotton’s Official Site, Chris Cotton on myspace, Buy The Big Sea