Drive-By Truckers “American Band” – by Morgan Enos

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Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of pieces written for Nine Bullets by special guest artists, creators and other friends of the site.  Morgan Enos fronts the bands Other Houses and Hollow Sunshine.

 

It sometimes feels like an artifact of the Baby Boomer mentality to need a song to illustrate your times. But, I remember driving around with my dad listening to Neil Young’s Living with War when it came out. It’s another of Shakey’s “impulse albums” that was recorded as quickly as it was forgotten, calling for George W. Bush’s head. But, to my 14-year-old brain, it truly seemed like a cataclysmic political message, like that burlap packaging on the cover contained a letter bomb to Washington. It was 2006, but I felt like I was in 1966.

Ten years later, Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers appeared at the Democratic National Convention in support of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. It was stunning to see the Alabaman authors of “The President’s Penis is Missing” (Pizza Deliverance, 1999) as talking heads on the national news, a flash of authenticity onscreen. And as 2016’s American political climate parodies itself to a nearly psychedelic extent, we could do worse than Cooley and Hood as our musical ambassadors against the chaos. Now, we have American Band.

I actually wrote off Drive-By Truckers for most of my life. I’d sniff every time I’d hear someone’s rendition of “Bulldozers and Dirt” or “Women Without Whiskey” at a cafe or bar and presume whoever was behind it was unbearably hokey. It took James Jackson Toth of Wooden Wand penning a comprehensive piece about the band for Stereogum, which calls them “maybe America’s greatest extant band,” for me to realize how wrong I was. I quickly fell in love with the band’s body of work, with their multiple songwriters and needle-sharp narratives, accompanied by their go-to illustrator Wes Freed’s visual aesthetic of Cooley birds and tattered Southern landscapes.

American Band is their most streamlined work yet, and, on the surface, disposes of many of the elements that initially drew me to the group. Gone is the Wes Freed album cover, replaced by an unprecedented photograph of a muted, half-mast Old Glory. The songs operate differently, too. While the group’s past tunes set personal and mythological scenes against a changing American South, these songs fire outward against police killings, nationalist creeps and blind Rebel Flag waving. The Truckers have a righteous axe to grind.

It doesn’t hurt that the band sounds better than ever. Divorced from the sometimes compressed, distorted sound of recent albums like The Big To-Do (2010) and English Oceans (2014) the band sounds loose, energetic and wide-open. Cooley’s “Kinky Hypocrite” is yet another in his growing pile of Stonesy rave-ups (check out “Marry Me” or “Shit Shots Count” for the same kind of song) but it’s a wickedly funny put-down of the 1%. It’s not all finger-pointing, however: several songs reference co-leader Hood’s relocation from the Truckers’ home base of Athens, Georgia, to Portland, Oregon. His “Guns of Umpqua” finds the songwriter taking stock of his new life against the climate of a horrific recent shooting in Oregon. “When the Sun Don’t Shine” is a sweet, simple weather report of Hood’s internal world, in which he opts to “watch the moon peak into my room” rather than bask in some rays.

 

But it’s the weighty closer, “Baggage,” that is far and away the most potent cut here. To my ears, it’s the end credits to the band’s entire history, from the anarchic, inebriated makers of Gangstabilly (1998) or Pizza Deliverance (1999) to modern rock’s poet laureates.

In a revealing Facebook post from 2011 about the Truckers’ early song “Buttholeville,” from Gangstabilly (1998), Hood related his anger at his hometown of Florence, AL at age 24. “Things weren’t going particularly well on any level back then. I was very frustrated with everything in my life, personal, musical, financial, you name it,” he recalls. It’s a sense of despondency that’s seeped into his work ever since, but he spends the six stormy minutes of “Baggage” battling his demons in real time. It’s a fitting encapsulation of the current state of Drive-By Truckers as they near 20 years of existence. On American Band, Cooley and Hood crucially sharpen themselves as individuals and storytellers to go after our nation’s intolerance, violence, and poisoned traditions. Sometimes we do need a song.

– Morgan Enos
Keep up with Morgan on his website 

Former And Current 9B Editors on the Radio

Our very own Wolf was on the radio with former 9B writer and editor Charles Hale this week and this is what it sounded like:

Benchmarks – “American Night” – American Night
Two Cow Garage – “Continental Distance” – Continental Distance
Benjamin Booker – “Have You Seen My Son?” – Benjamin Booker
Adam Faucett – “Rock Ain’t Gold” – Blind Water Finds Blind Water
Gaslight Anthem – “Lonesome Sound” – The ’59 Sound
Kill County – “Straight Six Ford” – The Year Of Getting By
Michael Dean Damron – “Dancing In The Moonlight” – Father’s Day
Shane Sweeney – “Motel Blues” – The Finding Time
Robert Chaney – “The Morning After” – Cracked Picture Frames
Tim Barry – “No News From the North” – Lost & Rootless
Jason Isbell – “Something More Than Free” – Something More Than Free
Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – “Waiting On You” – Catch the Presidents
Tyler Childers – “Charleston Girl” – Live At The Red Barn Vol. 1
Aaron Lee Tasjan – “Santa Monica & Vine” – The Thinking Man’s Filth
Arliss Nancy – “Front Seat” – Simple Machines
Langhorne Slim & The Law – “Past lives” – The Way We Move
Lilly Hiatt – “Jesus Would’ve Let Me Pick the Restaurant” – Royal Blue
The Killers – “Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf” – Sawdust
Against Me! – “F*** My Life 666” – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Austin Lucas – “Alone in Memphis” – Stay Reckless
John Moreland – “Sad Baptist Rain” – High On Tulsa Heat
Barton Carroll – “Every Little Bit Hurts” – Avery County, I’m Bound To You
Jamestown Revival – “revival” – Utah
Matt Woods – “Beating Down My Door” – Matt Woods Manifesto
Cory Branan – “No Hit Wonder” – No Hit Wonder
Glossary – “At midnight” – How We Handle Our Midnights
Lucero – “Hearts On Fire” – Live DVD
Drive By Truckers – “Daddy’s Cup” – The Dirty South
Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires – “Dirt Track” – A Live Show

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit this was an excuse to post Charles’ podcast because it completely rocks and he’s pretty damn awesome. I know I miss his voice in the background of things around here. I’ve added his podcast to “Sites We Read” and hopefully you’ll all subscribe to it. There’s a lot worse things you could do with your time.

Ajax Diner Book Club – 3/2/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

Booker T & the M.G.’s “Big Train” from Soul Dressing

Adam Faucett “Melanie” from Blind Water Finds Blind Water

The Cedar Shakes “From The Guts” from This Western Road

James McMurtry “Ain’t Got a Place” from Complicated Game

Micah Schnabel “Middle Child Complex” from Not The Boy You Used To Be

Robert Chaney “Patch It Up” from Cracked Picture Frames

Charlie Parr “Dead Cat On The Line” from Rooster

Drive-by Truckers “Grandpa Rock City” from Dragon Pants

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires “Can’t Get Right” from Arkedelphia

McDougall “Restless Friend” from McDougall

Pops Staples “Somebody Was Watching” from Don’t Lose This

The Soul Stirrers “Time Brings About A Change” from Joy In My Soul

Sly & the Family Stone “Everyday People” from Anthology

The Forty Fives “Go Ahead And Shout” from High Life High Volume

Superchunk “breaking down” from I Hate Music

Sour Boy Bitter Girl “Yellow Ribbon” from The Days After The Fire

6 String Drag – Roots Rock 'N' Roll – 2015

6string

Often times I wake up with songs stuck in my head, only a few words to sing to myself or a melody to hum, but it happens so regularly that I’ve grown to expect it. Often times it’s songs that I’ve recently played on the radio or have been planning to. The last few mornings I have found myself humming melodies from the new 6 String Drag album, Roots, Rock ‘N’ Roll.

After taking a nearly two decade hiatus from playing together, 6 String Drag has found a genre they help define in its infancy explode into recognized and well-publicized style of music. Gone is some of the swagger and desperation of the landmark High Hat album but they have effortlessly replaced it with the grace that only veteran musicians exude. A swinging drummer plus an upright bass for the foundation of these eleven songs, often complemented by an understated but on-point horn section.

6 String Drag will leave there North Carolina stomping grounds to join Drive-By Truckers during their annual 40 Watt homecoming shows. If you’re in Athens make sure you show up early.

 

Official Site, On Facebook, Buy Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll

Podcast – Ajax Diner Book Club 9/29/14 – Podcast Only

This week on the radio show I participated in KRFC’s pledge drive. It was way too much of me asking for money and trying to create witty banter with someone else. I prefer to do my radio alone. So instead of subjecting you to that I put together a totally different patch of songs with less talking. I was in my living room with a beer, a dog and a shitty microphone. But the songs are good.

John R. Miller – Parking Lots, Service Engine
Slobberbone – Some New Town, Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today
The White Buffalo – When I’m Gone, Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways
Steve Earle – City of Immigrants, Washington Street Serenade
Drive-By Truckers – Goddamn Lonely Love, The Dirty South
The Old 97’s – Most Messed Up, Most Messed Up
Levon Helm – Poor Old Dirt Farmer, Dirt Farmer
Drag The River – Mr. Crews, It’s Crazy
Arlis Nancy – Nothing To Show, Wild American Runners
Shane Sweeney – When I Am Empty, The Finding Time
American Aquarium – Abe Lincoln, Burn.Flicker.Die.
Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound – I Don’t Need To Know, Self Titled

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 09.20.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

We did the damn thing. If you wanna hear it, put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for September 20, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Drive-By Truckers – Zip City (Southern Rock Opera)
02. Jason Isbell – Cover Me Up (Southeastern)
03. Parker Millsap – Old Time Religion (Parker Millsap)
04. Otis Gibbs – The Darker Side Of Me (Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth)
05. Two Cow Garage – Swingset Assassin (Speaking In Cursive)
06. Have Gun Will Travel – Take Me Home, Alice (Fiction, Fact or Folktale!)
07. The Takers – Friends in Bottles (Taker Easy)
08. Matt Woods – Deadman’s Blues (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
09. Big Shoals – 12 Steps (Still Go On)
10. American Aquarium – Burn. Flicker. Die. (Burn. Flicker. Die.)
11. Will Quinlan and The Diviners – Acrimony Blues (Navasota)
12. Sturgill Simpson – The Promise (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
13. Arlo McKinely & The Lonesome Sound – Sad Country Song (Arlo McKinely & The Lonesome Sound)
14. Kierston White – Love Songs (Don’t Write Love Songs)
15. Chuck Ragan – Vagabond (Till Midnight)
16. Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil – She Has Her Moments (Catch The Presidents)
17. McDougall – Ready, Begin (A Few Towns More)
18. John Mellencamp – The Brass Ring (Plain Spoken)
19. Willie Nelson – The Songwriters (Band Of Brothers)
20. John Moreland – Gospel (In The Throes)
21. Nikki Lane – Right Time (All Or Nothin’)
22. The Wind + The Wave – From The Wreckage Build A Home (From The Wreckage)
23. Hiss Golden Messenger – Southern Grammar (Lateness of Dancers)
24. Ben Stalets – Don’t Call Me Lonely (Dear Golden)
25. David Mayfield – Rain On My Parade (Strangers)
26. Becky Warren – Off My Back (The Iraq EP)
27. Adult Boys Thunderband – Mothers Love Me (Abducted Again)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 193: aired 09.20.2014

[MIX TAPE] I HAVE A MAP OF TALL BUILDINGS AND A SCOPE

I made this one, like many others, when I wasn’t feeling quite right in the head. It’s getting really interesting to be able to look back at these and try and figure out where I was when I made the mix. I hope that you’re all enjoying these as much as I am. It’s sort of cathartic to be able to post these and look that far back because some of these are pretty damn old.

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 08.23.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

We did the damn thing. If you wanna hear it, put your ears on the archive of the show.

Below is the playlist for August 23, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. Drive-By Truckers – Where The Devil Don’t Stay (The Dirty South)
02. Otis Gibbs – With A Gun In My Hand (Souvenirs Of A Misspent Youth)
03. John R Miller – M.O.T.E. (Service Engine)
04. Becky Warren – Off My Back (The Iraq EP)
05. Tompall Glaser – T for Texas (Wanted! The Outlaws)
06. Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson – Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To be Cowboys (Waylon & Willie)
07. Hank Williams, Jr. – A Country Boy Can Survive (Greatest Hits)
08. The Charlie Daniels Band – Long Haired Country Boy (Fire On The Mountain)
09. The Marshall Tucker Band – Fire On The Mountain (Searchin’ For A Rainbow)
10. Have Gun Will Travel – High Road (Fiction, Fact or Folktale?)
11. Willie Nelson – Hard to Be an Outlaw (Band Of Brothers)
12. Sturgill Simpson – Living The Dream (Metamodern Sounds In Country Music)
13. The Whiskey Gentry – Dixie (Holly Grove)
14. Joe Sundell – Mr. Z (The Hat Thief)
15. The Northerners – Don’t Play (The Northerners EP)
16. The Wind + The Wave – Raising Hands Raising Hell Raise ‘Em High (From The Wreckage)
17. Lucero – Women & Work (Live From Atlanta)
18. Matt Woods – Lucero Song (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
19. American Aquarium – Cape Fear River (Burn.Flicker.Die)
20. Parker Millsap – Truck Stop Gospel (Parker Millsap)
21. Old Crow Medicine Show – Tennessee Bound (Remedy)
22. NQ Arbuckle – Hospitals (The Future Happens Anyway)
23. Cory Branan – The Only You (The No-Hit Wonder)
24. Jason Isbell – Try (Sirens of The Ditch)
25. Benjamin Booker – Wicked Waters (Benjamin Booker)
26. First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Stay Gold)
27. Ben Knight and The Welldiggers – Iceman’s Lament (Divining Rod)
28. The Holy Ghost Electric Show – Surprise (The Great American Holy Ghost Electric Show)
29. Andrew Combs – Month Of Bad Habits
30. Roadkill Ghost Choir – Down & Out

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 188: aired 08.23.2014

WITNESSES pt. III – BILLY BRAGG

billy_bragg-flag

I am not clued-in to the minute developments in Ferguson right now. Nor to our aggression in Iraq, what’s happening or not happening in Israel, water shortages, ice buckets, the Tsarnaev trial. I feel like I am failing because of my distance from all of that, but failing on these specific terms: I am keeping my distance because the internet (and I suppose, by extension, people?) disgusts me right now, and I’m disgusted by my own attitude about that. I like my relatively insulated Facebook feed (where conservative relatives pipe up only occasionally) better than the comments sections on specific articles I’ve been reading (where I don’t know what the fuck is happening). I cannot stand collective stances when they are less about the substance of stance than being the first/best/most righteous stance–from the collective grieving over Robin Williams to the collective condemnation of Ferguson cops. I am at a breaking point here and I feel like I’m copping out at the expense of Ferguson and my soul, which is very vain of me. I suppose all I’m saying is I’m balking at feeling disgusted by people. I like people. Even when they’re disgusting. Usually. But nothing makes me sadder than media or individual people who defend the fucking system over their brothers and sisters being killed by the system. You don’t have to be clued-in to any of this to take away from it that the system does not care about you. Your brothers and sisters are the only entities in this universe capable of caring about you. The system doesn’t care how much of a suck-up you are, whether you’re sucking up nobly in defense of the system’s logical prowess (it doesn’t matter what color you are, if you follow these steps you won’t get harassed) or righteously in defense of its racial assessments (all of those kids are trouble, if it was a white kid there wouldn’t have been riots)–the system will not reward you with untouchable riches, and even if it does, it will still turn on you when it fucking wants to. Your brothers and sisters are the ones you can’t live without, because they grow your food and teach your children. You can live without a military, and you should, because militaries suck up all the money that should go toward teaching your children. I was in the post office the other day and the first thing the clerk said to me, referring to Michael Brown, was, “The kid was no angel.”

So I can’t take it anymore, a position from which I claim no moral authority. I’m being too lazy to go to better media for these things, too “busy” to go work with The Democracy Center down the street. But this is a music blog and there is a musical component to this–to frustration over obvious things and not being clued-in to minute things. All the reviews I’ve been writing lately are about albums that were made before all this shit had gone down (duh) (but, on the other hand, shit has gone down before this), and I feel less convinced when I write that these albums have important things to say than I usually do. When the government shut down last October rather than pass a healthcare reform thing, the indie band Dikembe from Gainesville re-assembled themselves as Government Breakdown and released a hardcore punk EP called Fuck Your Health for free. It was a great rhetorical response to the situation! Hardcore responds to government bullshit very well. I am not clued-in enough to have heard of a similar musical coming out of Ferguson, Iraq, or Palestine yet. HAVE YOU? I’ve been feeling that gap in this discourse. I don’t want another HuffPo article, I want a furious album. I want an album that asks “ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY, TAKING THE GOVERNMENT’S SIDE? ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY, ASKING FOR QUALIFICATION BEFORE YOU JOIN THE SIDE OF CIVILIANS BEING MURDERED IN THEIR HOMETOWNS BY THE PEOPLE TO WHOM THEY PAY TAXES FOR PROTECTION?” In my Drive-By Truckers–English Oceans review I said I was grateful to have a band like them that’s on the peoples’ side no matter what. They know the people are shitty to each other sometimes and that at the end of the day cops are people, but they’re never going to fool themselves into thinking that the people are the real problem or that cops haven’t spent the whole day serving the problem. I’ve been thinking about the Drive-By Truckers, I’ve been thinking about Sleater-Kinney’s One Beat, and wondering whether my expectation for instant gratification is too much for right now. I haven’t been listening to them, or anything political lately. I’ve been expressly avoiding Vietnam-era stuff that I usually love because I think it would sound tone-deaf in this context, but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve been listening a lot to a 90’s rock band from England called Bivouac, who are fucking awesome and sound appropriately like collapse. I think Protomartyr’s Under Color of Official Right from this April is an album to reckon with this moment. BUT I ASK YOU AGAIN, sincerely, is there a contemporary music addressing this shit that you’ve encountered? Or, what music do you turn to in extended situations like these, if you find yourself needing to turn to music?

I’m going to look to Billy Bragg now, even though I haven’t been turning to his music in these past weeks, because as a songwriter/person he offers a great example of how to maneuver in these kinds of situation. This is a continuation of the Mark Kozelek and Phil Ochs pieces that discussed their roles as activists/witnesses/first-person songwriters.

Before becoming known as a troubadour and labor rights activist, British songwriter Billy Bragg briefly led a Clash-inspired punk band called Riff Raff. One of their songs from the late 70’s stayed with Bragg through his transition to solo/folk songwriting—“It Says Here,” an Orwellian screed against money-chasing media bias. In 1984 Bragg led off his first solo LP Brewing Up With Billy Bragg with the song. Over a quarter-century later, Bragg combated the issue again in the wake of The Sun’s phone-hacking scandal, with his 2011 freely issued single “Never Buy the Sun.”

It Says Here

It Says Here: 

It says here that this year’s prince is born
It says here do you ever wish that you were better informed
And it says here that we could only stop the rot
With a large dose of law and order and a touch of the short sharp shock
If this does not reflect your view you should understand
That those who own the papers also own this land
And they’d rather you believe in coronation street capers
In the war of circulation, it sells newspapers
Could it be an infringement of the freedom of the press
To print pictures of women in states of undress
When you wake up to the fact that you paper is Tory
Just remember, there are two sides to every story

Never Buy The Sun

Never Buy the Sun:

Tabloids making millions betting bullshit baffles brains
And they cynically hold up their hands if anyone complains
And just say “Well, we’re just giving the people what they want”
Well they’re crying out for justice

Bragg’s choice to translate his punk Riff Raff song into a folk song seems like a choice based on sustainability, and, in light of the folky “Never Buy The Sun,” a choice that allows for instant, direct response. Artists can logistically travel further and cheaper as a solo act than as a band. And it is easier to respond to a current event if you only have to execute a song yourself. Although, of course, most DIY forms of music enjoy the possibility of instant witnessing—especially punk, which at its most populist and inclusive functions as folk music. For example, the aforementioned Government Breakdown EP.

If Guthrie’s project was to put what he saw of America into songs; if Dylan’s was to use Guthrie’s folk forms to address contemporary issues, combining them with dynamic forms of rock and roll and lyrical philosophy; if Ochs’ was to uphold the responsibility of songwriters to Guthrie’s standards of witnessing, to the importance of first-person narrative, to navigate the poet-witness’ role after Dylan redefined it; and we’re skipping over the beautiful projects of Pete Seeger and Joan Baez and Steve Earle and Nina Simone and…; then Billy Bragg’s is to reconcile all of the above with punk rock, to make sure that after The Clash broke up that people still knew that Joe Strummer wanted to be called “Woody” by his friends because he looked up to Guthrie. His career is the example of how witnessing can be effective in the tension between traditional forms like folk and reactionary forms like punk.

Bragg’s “I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night,” featured on perhaps his most pointedly political collection of songs, The Internationale EP, significantly borrows its title from Afred Hayes’ poem “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night,” which had been made into a song by artists like Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson, and Joan Baez, and in turn referenced by Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine.”

Bragg’s song is an intersection of that lineage of songs and another lineage that includes Woody Guthrie’s “Tom Joad,” which was set to the tune of the traditional “Ballad of John Henry,” a tune borrowed independently by Phil Ochs in his song “Joe Hill.” Bragg’s song about Phil Ochs, when all’s said, forwards the melody of “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night” while maintaining the seminal verse from the Guthrie/Ochs line of songs, the Steinbeckian “Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ a guy, I’ll be there”—inspired verse:

I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night

Bragg “I Dreamed I Saw Phil Ochs Last Night”

When the song of freedom rings out loud
From valleys and from hills
Where people stand up for their rights
Phil Ochs is with us still
Phil Ochs inspires us still

Tom Joad – Part I

Guthrie “Tom Joad”

Wherever little children are hungry and cry,
Wherever people ain’t free.
Wherever men are fightin’ for their rights,
That’s where I’m a-gonna be, Ma.
That’s where I’m a-gonna be

I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night

Robeson “Joe Hill”

From San Diego up to Maine,
in every mine and mill,
Where working men defend their rights,
it’s there you’ll find Joe Hill,
it’s there you’ll find Joe Hill!

By “writing his words to the tunes of the day,” as Ochs sang of Hill, Bragg connects the testimonies of those previous generations of songs, storytellers, and subjects. Indeed, his whole persona is carefully constructed to embody and pass on the tradition of witness songwriting. The guitar Bragg plays live is emblazoned with The Clash stickers. His biggest commercial success has been his collaborative albums with Wilco wherein they record unearthed Woody Guthrie songs. When Bragg plays a Clash or Woody Guthrie song live, he always carefully explains the context of the original, what the songwriting choices meant at the time, and how they remain relevant. But Bragg also wardens the first person perspective inherent to those witness songwriters. He talks about what his life was like when he saw is first Clash show. He writes I dreamed I saw my hero last night and he compared my time to his and steeled me to continue working.

Even when Bragg isn’t singing from a direct first-person point-of-view, he achieves a similar directness. Perhaps songs can do this because they assume a speaker and a listener. Perhaps folk songs can do this at such a consistent and high level because they posit that there is an oppressor and the oppressed, and that the song witnesses on behalf of the oppressed. If you were getting the oppressive point of view, it wouldn’t be through the folk song—the form anybody has access to—it would be through more privileged means like corporate news. The performance of a folk song is therefore an insistence on a point-of-view from the oppressed—a testimony. Which is why Merle Haggard’s “Okie from Muskogee” warranted a response from Ochs in his Gunfight at Carnegie Hall album—the power of populist music isn’t a secret, don’t take it for granted that it won’t be used against your best interests. And which is why Bragg also has an activist project called Jail Guitar Doors that brings musical instruments into prisons to help inmates maintain a voice; to resist the whittling down of the resource of first-person perspectives. Merle Haggard, an inmate himself, rededicated his life to music after seeing Johnny Cash perform at San Quentin, where Haggard was jailed.

All that said, I don’t think folk or punk will be the form the best responses to this current shit will take, no matter how immediate, angry, or people-championing they historically are; probably because they’re forms largely, though not exclusively, taken up by white people. I don’t think an acoustic guitar can bring the world into focus the way it needs to be right now. And this is just me asking for focus from the point of view of someone disgusted with the internet; what the fuck is going to need to be sung from the point of view of people who are there?

[Playlist] Ninebullets Radio – 07.12.2014 – 88.5FM WMNF Tampa

The streak of the show never missing a fund raising goal extends to 10 thanks to each and every one of you. Even though there is plenty of talking in this episode there is also plenty of good music so find two hours and put your earholes on the archive of the show.

Your regularly scheduled program will return next week. Thanks for being awesome.

Below is the playlist for July 12, 2014 [Artist – Song (Album)]

01. The Gaslight Anthem – Rollin’ & Tumblin’ (Get Hurt)
02. Nikki Lane – Wild One (All Or Nothin’)
03. Big Shoals – 12 Steps (Still Go On)
04. Daniel Romano – A New Love Can Be Found (Come Cry With Me)
05. Chuck Ragan – Non-Typical (Till Midnight)
06. Lucero – Tears Don’t Matter Much (Live From Atlanta)
07. Arliss Nancy – Wild American Runners (Wild American Runners)
08. American Graveyard – Common Ones (Hallelujahland)
09. Matt Woods – Lucero Song (With Love From Brushy Mountain)
10. Benjamin Booker – Have You Seen My Son (Benjamin Booker)
11. Andrew Combs – Month Of Bad Habits
12. Arlo McKinely & The Lonesome Sound – Dark Side Of The Street (Self-Titled)
13. First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Stay Gold)
14. Old Crow Medicine Show – Doc’s Day (Remedy)
15. Drive-By Truckers – Women Without Whiskey (Southern Rock Opera)

Bold = Request

Ninebullets Radio on Facebook
You can stream Ninebullets Radio here
You can download Ninebullets Radio here: Hour 1 / Hour 2
If you like Ninebullets Radio please drop a 5 spot in the Tip Jar.

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 184: aired 07.12.2014