Believe it or not, this was my first ever Chuck Ragan show. I mean. I’ve seen him a few times on the Revival Tours but I’d never simply seen a Chuck Ragan show. When I saw he was pulling a two night stand in Gainesville last weekend I immediately noticed the Saturday night line up and I knew I needed to be there. So the wife and I made the snap decision to make the 2 1/2 road trip up to the land the Tebow built.

We arrived about two hours before the venue’s doors opened so we checked into our hotel before strolling out to find some food and liquor. This was my first time in downtown Gainesville that I can recall and I have to admit, it was kind of cute. I miss the brick streets of my hometown and downtown Gatorville was flush with those. After a quick meal complete with a couple of Hurricanes we headed down to The Atlantic to make sure we didn’t miss anyone.

My initial impression of The Atlantic was that it should be in Austin. It so reminds me of a Mexican restaurant that closes the kitchen during SxSW, takes out all the tables and becomes a music venue for the week.

Greenland Is Melting took the stage first and commenced to just kill it. I like these guys more and more each time I see them. This time around the band had a fella sitting in on electric guitar which really added a nice element to their sound. Jon Gaunt, as would be the case throughout the night, sat in on a few songs with the guys as well. I said it when I first wrote about these guys and I’ll reiterate it now, Greenland Is Melting is, to me, what The Avette Brothers should sound like. Check them out if you get a chance.

Greenland Is Melting – The Kitchen Song
Greenland Is Melting – No More Sorry Songs

I know this might be blasphemous for some to read but it was The Takers playing more so than a Chuck Ragan show that really made me decide this was a show worth driving for and they were up next. In preparation I did the only proper thing one can do before a Takers show, I ordered up a double whiskey ginger and took a spot up front center stage. What followed next was vintage Takers which is to say it was tipsy, loud and awesome. The band opened with a couple of new songs before launching into familiar territory from the album, Taker Easy. This was my second time hearing a few of the new tracks and I gotta say, they’re great. Hopefully the band will manage to get the money together to get them recorded one day. They closed their set with the bar room anthem and crowd favorite, Friends In Bottles.

The Takers – St. John’s Son
The Takers – Friends In Bottles

Hometown hero, Chuck Ragan closed the night out with style. Joined on stage by Gaunt and the rest of his band Chuck ran through songs from all of his solo-releases, Bristle Ridge and even pulled out a Hot Water Music (maybe more, I’m not overly familiar with HWM) all of which were performed in full accompaniment of the Gainesville crowd.

All in all, it was a great night and it felt awesome to get out on the road and put sime effort into attending a show again. Perhaps I’ll start doing it more often.

Chuck Ragan – Rotterdam
Chuck Ragan – Get ‘Em All Home


To call me a Chuck Ragan fan, you’d pretty much have to stretch the limits of elasticity of the word to it’s breaking point. A couple of years ago, while my friends were buzzing like meth heads about an upcoming Chuck Ragan show, I’d never even heard of the man. Their references to Hot Water Music also fell on deaf ears, as I’d never heard of them either. Then, as the initial Revival Tour was announced, I looked into the album Feast or Famine only to find myself underwhelmed and that’s why I’m as surprised as anyone else to be making the following statement.

I can not find a single fault with Chuck Ragan’s newest effort, Gold Country. Since it’s release, Gold Country has been one of my favorite cds on my iPod, and my attachment to it seems to be growing with every listen. The improvement from Feast or Famine to Gold Country is not something to be glossed over. Feast or Famine, to me, felt like the standard punk frontman putting out his obligatory folk album, as was the rage those days, but Gold Country is something else all together. Gold Country is, at is core, a country album. There are still some punk ethos bubbling through lyrically, but even this is cast in a much more mature light. Now I’m not gonna pretend to know anything about Chuck Ragan, but you can tell he spent some time working on these songs and the result is a instrument-heavy, passionate album that should make everyone (non-fans like myself included) sit up and take notice.

So I guess this bears the question, am I now a Chuck Ragan fan? For now I’ll just say I am a Gold Country fan. It’s a great album, possibly my favorite this year. There something about its passion that keeps pulling me back in and it certainly seems to be standing the test of time and the constant onslaught of new music that my ears endure. I guess that if the growth seen from Feast or Famine to the Austin Lucas collaboration, Bristle Ridge, to Gold Country continues, then the answer, quite simply, will be yes. There will be plenty of time for those conversations in years to come, though. For now, let’s just enjoy the fuck out of this album.

Chuck Ragan – Rotterdam
Chuck Ragan – Get Em All Home
Chuck Ragan – Don’t Say A Word

Chuck Ragan’s Official Site, Chuck Ragan on myspace, Buy Gold Country