Mar 302011

This past Friday my wife, a friend and I were blessed with a Florida appearance from the scumbag country sensations out of Reno, Nevada; Hellbound Glory. When I say my wife, a friend and I, I am not joking…there were, maybe, 4 other people in the bar and while it was very disheartening for me, it didn’t seem to phase the band one fucking bit.

They opened the show with about a 40 minute set from Leroy’s other project, The Excavators which included plenty of originals as well as a fantastic rework/cover of Kenny Rogers’, The Gambler before adding drums and morphing into Hellbound Glory.

I was skeptical of Hellbound Glory when I reviewed their album here on 9B but having seen them live I am now a believer, or perhaps I should say I am now a believer in Leroy Virgil. That dude is the real deal and we, as a musical community, should begin to embrace him. Also, while I enjoyed the shit out of seeing Hellbound Glory, I left being most excited about this Excavators project.

After the show, Leroy agreed to play a track from the upcoming Excavators album for me and I am super excited to bring it to y’all this morning. This is Leroy performing, “Living That Way (You Better Hope You Die Young)”…as a side note, we were all pretty wasted by this point:

This is a video that surfaced right after SxSW that features Leroy performing another Excavators song called “Third World County Line”:


Oct 292010

It’s been getting whispered in circles here in the sunshine state for a few months now and despite everyone hoping it wasn’t true, I am sad to report that it is. The Takers performance at Fest this weekend will indeed be their final show. There seems to be no real central reason for the split but speaking to Devon about it it just seems to boil down to the members having different visions for the band. Either way, it was a great run, there were some epic shows, a great album and lots of good times. If you happen to be up at Fest make sure you catch their final performance.

The Takers – Taker Easy
The Takers – Friends In Bottles

For those wondering, Devon fully plans to keep making music and has not shut the door on the idea of forming a new band. Last weekend I talked him into playing a song that hasn’t really been heard outside of Florida called “Narrow Road” for me. I really love the track and hope y’all enjoy it too:

As musicians are wont to do once the instruments are out Devon and Michael kept playing and I managed to get them to perform one more for me:

See y’all on Monday.

Oct 142010

Okay, I know this is gonna sound horrible but I am gonna say it anyway. I know all about Justin’s recent troubles with the law and his possible/probable relapse. That said, I don’t care. I don’t know Justin from Adam and he don’t know me, so what he does in his personal life affects me in the same way reading about Lindsay Lohan’s latest antics on Perez Hilton does, which is a wordy way of saying that, outside of tabloid fascination, it doesn’t. See, ninebullets is a site about music and seeing as my relationship with Justin is as deep as the silver cd his label sends me, that’s all I need to write about.

There has also been a little discussion of whether Justin’s music is folk or country. Again, this is an argument that registers on the irrelevant radar for me. Country music has to be one of the most segmented and hyper-hyphenated genres in music and I try to avoid getting into the overclassification game. Ninebullets is about good music and there should little doubt about whether or not JTE falls into that category.

So now that we’ve filled a screen with what we’re not gonna talk about, let’s get into something we are gonna talk about; how good this album is. Harlem River Blues has certainly been a polarizing album. Seems people either love it or hate it, and I fall squarely in the love it category. To me, Harlem River Blues far exceeds his previous two efforts, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he pays very little to no reverence to the limits imposed by the country/ fan base. He made an album as he wanted to. Too polished and full in sound to please the fundamental country crowd, while too calm and deliberate to appease the Double Latte Starbucks crowd. And, as if to take the wind out of both sails, there are moments that feel like a modern take on the 50’s bebop sound.

Personally, while I love Midnight at the Movies, Harlem River Blues feels like the album that should have followed The Good Life. Either way, it’s definitely Essential Listening, and even though Justin refuses to tour Florida (edit: Since I wrote this piece JTE has blinked and booked a Florida leg in November) I hope he’s out of rehab and back to penning and singing songs soon.

Justin Townes Earle – Move Over Mama
Justin Townes Earle – One More Night In Brooklyn
Justin Townes Earle – Slippin’ and Slidin’

Justin Townes Earle’s Official Site, Justin Townes Earle on myspace, Buy Harlem River Blues

Oct 142010

The Yeasayer show was the first of many for me in the month of Rocktober, and the first show I’d been to at the State Theater since I saw the Breeders open for Green Day, which was a long ass time ago. As anyone who read my Yeasayer post a couple weeks ago knows, I’ve been pretty damned excited about this show for a long time and it was finally here, their first ever show in Florida.

The first band up was Washed Out, which is technically not so much a band as it is a guy named Ernest Greene accompanied by touring musicians. I’m not really big on chillwave, but it was enjoyable, if not a bit sleepy. I basically drank my way through the first act, watching from the balcony as the crowd below gently swayed. After Washed Out finished their set, we were treated to some tunes by a duo of local DJ’s, The Soft Rock Renegades, and then it was time for the main act.

When Yeasayer took to the stage, the mostly laid back crowd was so excited they stepped up their swaying from level 3 to level 5. They started out slow, but three songs into their set they played “Rome”, one of my favorite tracks from the newest release, Odd Blood, and everyone seemed to come out of their trances. Chris Keating sang it like he meant it, almost yelling into the microphone, as if he was really trying to convince us of what he was saying, and we crowd chanted along with him. Anand Wilder had his own standout performance with an achingly slow and perfectly sung rendition of “Grizelda”, a song about Colombian drug lord Grizelda Blanco. Also, I had mentioned in my review of Odd Blood that I thought “Mondegreen” would be amazing, and it really, really was.

For the encore, the band played two songs. First was a version of “The Children” that was even creepier than the album version, which is saying something. The last song was “2080”, from their first release, All Hour Cymbals, and the whole place went nutso for it. Not only was it a brilliant show, but I was very impressed with the State Theater and I don’t know why it took me so long to come back. The staff was friendly and accommodating and the drinks were cold and strong. I definitely see myself coming back for another show. You can check out some pictures from the show here and read my review of Odd Blood here.

Sep 302010

A couple of years back I told y’all about a band coming out of Portland called Moonshine Hangover. At the time, I was a little bummed to have only found out about the band after they’d decided to call it quits. Well, flash forward two years (insert Garth and Wayne sound effect here) and I get an email from former Moonshine Hangover guitarist Kris Stuart announcing his new band, Root Jack, and their new cd, In The Pines.

After a few exchanges via email I found out that while in Moonshine Hangover, Kris wrote the occasional song, but now with Root Jack he’s become the principal songwriter and it’s given him the confidence to write more personally. As we all know, the closer to the heart the song is born, the better it will be, and In The Pines is chock full of great songs.

In The Pines is pretty straightforward country rock instrumentally, while lyrically it would be best described as music for lumberjacks to drink to. Being from Florida, my logging knowledge only extends to what I’ve seen on The Discovery Channel, but with tracks like “30 Days” and “Pastor of the Pines”, you can tell that Kris’ knowledge goes a little deeper than that.

In closing, I gotta say that before I heard a single arrangement or listened to a single actual lyric, I knew I was gonna love this album, based simply on Kris’ voice. Dude can sing the fuck out of a song and is perfectly matched to this style of music.

While I was bummed to tell y’all about a good band whose time had passed, I am extremely pleased to introduce y’all to its cousin; their name is Root Jack and they’re Essential Listening.

Root Jack – 30 Days
Root Jack – Pastor of the Pines

Root Jack on myspace, Buy In The Pines