Dec 272011
 

11. William Elliot Whitmore-Field Songs:  Songs about working and struggling and grasping to the only piece of fucking dirt that yours and some SOB trying to cheat you out of it.  Thanks WEW.  I’m taking bullshit handyman work over the winter just so I can afford to eat Burger King and drink a couple of Miller High Lifes every once in a while, so I’m a disciple of these songs.  I wonder what the farmers in Iowa do in the wintertime to survive.  Is the suicide rate higher then?  He’s singing about surviving here, that’s what you sing about when you know it’s not a guaranteed kind of thing.

10.  David Wax Museum-Everything Is Saved:  I’m writing this two and a half days before Christmas and I’m 2000 miles away from anyone I share blood with.  That and other real life bullshit is why “The Least That I Can Do” is my favorite song of the year.

9.  Hayes Carll-KMAG YO-YO: Hayes Carll is a goddamn wiseass but he’s my kind of wiseass.  I’d bet we drink for the same reasons.  It’s safe to say his year’s gone better than mine because this record isn’t as full of downtrodden and broken spirit as much of his earlier work.  Good for him.

8.  Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Here We Rest:  It’s entirely possible that two years from now this will be my favorite album from 2011.  It’s cozy, like snuggling up with an old dog cozy.  My dog is only two and a half so I’m not talking about snuggling with him.  I’m talking about breaking into your house while you’re away and snuggling with your dog.  I’ve done it.  If you don’t believe me ask your dog.

7.  Lauderdale-Moving On:  I’m probably the same age as the fellas in Lauderdale but they kinda feel like a little brother.  Like I’ve been away from home for a while and when I got back my little brother was drinking beer, not in an obnoxious drooling all over yourself and pissing people off kind of drunk, but the let’s go wander around kind of drunk.  I can tell my little brother’s been introduced to whiskey and I wish I’d been the one to pour his first.

6.  The Head & The Heart-Self Titled:  My favorite debut of the year.  This is a good mood, riding down the road with the windows down kind of record.  It’s 9 degrees outside right now and I would call my mood good so if you’re one of those well-off fucks with a fancy phone pull it out and make some notation to listen to this record on your Spring Break trip with all your friends.  It’ll sound amazing then.

5.  The Low Anthem-Smart Flesh:  I’d like to be all snarky and smug in this paragraph but the truth is I basically fell in love with Josie Adams when I saw The Low Anthem earlier this year in Denver.  She’s the band’s secret weapon.  If you read this Josie please don’t write, I don’t want to find out you’re not as badass as I imagine you to be.  There’s a blog about one of the band members making some kind of giant moth sculpture.  I wish they would hurry up and finish with that project so they can make another record.

4.  Drive-By Truckers-Go Go Boots:  You ready to fight?  This is the best truckers record in a long time and some folks have gotten so used to sub-par outputs that they don’t notice when a great fucking album shows up.  They finally found the sound they were looking for since they wrapped The Dirty South.  Stop your bitching about it not being Decoration Day.  It’s their 9th studio album and when the cannon of DBT songs is complied “I Do Believe,” “Used To Me A Cop,” “Everybody Needs Love,” “Pulaski,” and “Mercy Buckets” will all be included.  MB being one of the five best songs Hood has ever written.  Disagree?  I’d be ok with punching you in the mouth.

3.  Brown Bird-Salt For Salt:  Everything that needs to be said can be understood by noticing that dude is wearing a Mastodon T-shirt in this video.

2.  Cave Singers-No Witch:  This record still freaks me the fuck out.  There was something about procreating to it in my review and I’m still not sure where that notion comes from but maybe The Cave Singers are aliens or ancient warriors from the Garden of Eden.  Seriously, what are the sounds on this record that spook me, how did they make them?  Why does he have to howl while he sings?  Is there possession involved?

1. Glossary-Long Live All Of Us: Has any band in our little neck of the music landscape released three successive records as badass as Glossary’s last three since the SRO, DD, TDS trilogy?  I think not.  There are literary quality lyrics about sinning and quests for redemption.  Buy the damn record and help the little band that could move from the bars to the clubs.  This record makes me wanna dance.  Do you wanna dance? 

Most Disapointing Record:  My Morning Jacket-Circutial

Favorite Book: Donald Ray Pollack-The Devil All The Time (but I read a bunch of books, here’s the whole list)

Favorite Shows: Langhorne Slim/Pineross, Proud Larrys.  The Low Anthem, Larimer Lounge.

Favorite UFC fight:  Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua 

Dec 272011
 

Why 13, you ask? Well, it’s my favorite number and, conveniently, it is also the number of albums that grabbed my attention this year. Plus, I like the title of “Lucky 13″ for my list.

13. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire. This is the album I’ve turned to all year whenever I’ve been in the mood to chill. Perfect for sitting back with a bottle of scotch. (Sound pretentious enough?)  On a side note, Ryan did a couple excellent covers of my music idol, Bob Mould, this year: Black Sheets of Rain (Live on Letterman) and Heartbreak a Stranger (Bob Mould Tribute Concert)

Ryan Adams – Chains Of Love

12. Foster and Lloyd – Its Already Tomorrow. This album out jangles The Byrds. The title track and “Lucky Number” are the best power-pop songs I’ve heard in years.

Foster and Lloyd – Lucky Number

11. R.E.M – Collapse Into Now. I doubt if R.E.M could have left after a better album, short of retiring after Automatic For The People (a valid argument). “Discoverer” may be their best opening track since “Begin the Begin” off Life’s Rich Pageant. “Uberlin” may simply the best song they’ve recorded in the past 10 years.

R.E.M. – Uberlin

10. Hayes Carll – KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories). Hayes gets the most attention for his romps and stomps, but his songwriting really shines on the slower songs.  “Another Like You” is a cleaver give and take with Cary Ann Hearst.

Hayes Carll – Stomp and Holler

9. Drive by Truckers – Go-Go Boots. One of the things about doing these lists is you go back to revisit albums from earlier in the year that you got burned out on. Sometimes you realize they weren’t as good as you thought. Other times they sound even better on the second “first” listen. This is the latter.

Drive-By Truckers – The Weakest Man

8. Have Gun, Will Travel – Mergers and Acquisitions. Pretty much everything Autopsy said.

Have Gun Will Travel – Freightliner

7. Dave Alvin – Eleven Eleven. No better CountryRockBlues album released this year. Like his songwriting, Dave’s baritone is as strong as ever. How did I overlook reviewing this? Gonna have to rectify that after the first of the year.

Dave Alvin – Johnny Ace Is Dead

6. The Decemberists – The King is Dead. I’m one of those who never got into The Decemberists before this album. But, being a REM-head since the mid-80s, it is in my DNA to adore this one. “Down By The Water” another of my songs of the year.

The Decemberists – Calamity Song

5. Jason Boland and The Stragglers – Rancho Alto. A true country album in every sense of the word. If anyone is carrying the “traditionalist banner”, it’s Jason. This album is proof. “Farmer’s Luck” ranks with Mellencamp’s “Rain on the Scarecrow” as one the great songs describing the troubles of the American farmer. “False Accuser’s Lament” is a prime example of Jason’s vivid storytelling.

Jason Boland & The Stragglers – False Accuser’s Lament

4. The Damn Quails – Down the Hatch. See review

The Damn Quails – Me and The Whiskey

3. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Here We Rest. Top notch songwriting, great band, great album. “Codeine” is one of my songs of the year, although “Go It Alone” might be the song that got the most play as it has helped me get through my separation and pending divorce.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Go It Alone

2. Hellbound Glory – Damaged Goods. Anyone from Nashville that calls themselves “Outlaw Country” needs to listen to this and then hang their heads in shame. Review is upcoming next week.

Hellbound Glory – You Better Hope You Die Young

1. John Moreland and the Dust Bowl Souls – Everything the Hard Way. See review

John Moreland and the Dust Bowl Souls – Christian Rock

Bonus: Jody Booth – Nashville. Perfectly describes the corporate music machine in 2011.

Apr 062011
 

Note from AIV: Otis approached me about this post and I thought it was a great idea and I hope to make it a reoccurring piece here on 9B. Hope you enjoy.


As a traveling musician, I’m given countless CDs from people I meet on the road. I have no interest in being a music critic, but I try my best to listen to as many as I can. In the spirit of turning people on to good music, this is a list of three records that stand out from the crowd.

Thanks for giving a damn,
-Otis Gibbs

ADAM CARROLL


I met Adam a few years ago at a festival in Colorado. I was booked to do a songwriters round with Adam and Tim Easton. At the time, Tim and I had never heard of Adam, but we were completely blown away. Later that night, Adam and I hung out and he gave me this record. Since then, Adam has become one of my favorite songwriters and has released quite a few wonderful albums. I think this album is a great starting point and it’s one that I keep coming back to time and again. If you search around on Youtube you can find people like Slaid Cleaves and Hayes Carll covering Adam’s songs. Recommended if you like Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt.

Adam Carroll – Erroll’s Song

JASON EKLUND


Jason and I met while we were playing a hobo gathering in La Crosse, Wisconsin. After the gig, he handed me a CD-R that he’d written his name and album title on with black marker. My best buddy Todd and I drove home to Indianapolis after the gig and listened to this album 3 times straight through. I found out a few years later that the record was produced by Gurf Morlix and had guest appearances by Rick Richards, Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland and Slaid Cleaves (just to name a few). I did a quick Google search and wasn’t able to find anywhere to buy this record online. I’m hoping that you’ll be able to hunt it down, because it’s well worth the effort. Recommended if you like John Prine, Woody Guthrie.

Jason Eklund – Farmer Ain’t The Man

CHET O’KEEFE


A mutual friend took Amy and I to a dive bar in Nashville (Brown’s Diner) to see Chet. I was instantly a fan. I loved his voice, his guitar playing and his writing immediately. This record was recorded and produced by my buddy Thomm Jutz, and it showcases Chet at his finest. Chet recently toured Ireland with Nanci Griffith and was awarded “Song Of The Year” in 2010 by the International Bluegrass Music Association (beating out Guy Clark and Bill Monroe). Recommended if you like John Prine, Bob Dylan, Blaze Foley. (AIV Note: We have a full 9B piece on Chet’s album planned for the near future.)

Chet O’Keefe – Game Bird

Oct 032008
 

Watch the completely hilarious video for the equally amusing track, “She Left Me For Jesus” off Hayes’ new album, Trouble in Mind. In other She Left Me For Jesus news, the song recently won the Americana Music Association’s “Song of the Year”. Congrats go out to Hayes and Brian Keane.

Perhaps we have a video of the year candidate here:

Hayes Carll She Left Me For Jesus Music video

Jun 262008
 


Hayes Carll has gotten a lot of run on a lot of blogs. Thank god too. Had it not been for me continually seeing his name on blogs I read on a regular basis I may not have ever gotten around to checking out his latest (and first I’ve ever heard) release, Trouble in Mind.

Really, everything that needs to be said about this album has already been said and it’s all been said better than I could have done. A particularly good review of the album which pretty much sums up how I feel about the cd was posted on The 9513 a couple of months ago. I especially like one of their closing paragraphs:

All and all, the good on this record far, far, far outweighs the bad. In fact, the only reason that I’m giving this one such an analytical look is because it warrants it. Work of serious artistic substance deserves serious listening and serious reflection, and this record is full of very worthy artistic substance.



This record is the very definition of Essential Listening…especially for fans of intelligent quirkiness ala Todd Snider.

Hayes Carll – Drunken Poet’s Dream
Hayes Carll – Wild As A Turkey
Hayes Carll – Knockin’ Over Whiskeys

Hayes Carll’s Official Site, Hayes Carll on myspace, Buy Trouble in Mind