INTRO: AUSTIN LUCAS

Put The Needle Down

With Austin Lucas’s Collection coming out this week it’s time for an Intro. For your listening pleasure 9B presents: Put The Needle Down (an Intro to Austin Lucas). For someone who’s only been around for a little while Austin has quite a few records under his belt. For the intro I think I covered everything released under his name except the European only vinyl At War With Freak Folk which I do not have. However, all but two of the tracks were released on Somebody Loves You and the two that weren’t are on the forthcoming Collection. Aside from Somebody Loves You I chose tracks from Putting The Hammer Down, The Common Cold, Bristle Ridge which was Chuck Ragan along with Austin, as well as his split with The Takers to round out fourteen of what I think are not necessarily the best Austin Lucas tracks but the best tracks to represent his musical stylings, amazing vocals, and timeless lyrical ability.

Track Archive

Suburban Home Records Artist Page for Austin Lucas
Austin Lucas’s Official Site
Austin Lucas on Wikipedia

EDIT: Austin has just hit the road on a new tour. If he’s coming to your neck of the woods go check him out. Here are the dates:

Jun 4 Atlantic, Gainesville, FL
Jun 5 Village, Tavern Mount Pleasant, SC
Jun 6 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
Jun 7, House show, Richmond, VA (email: blownamps@hotmail.com for more info)
Jun 8 The Fire, Philadelphia, PA
Jun 9, Bar Nine, New York City, NY
Jun 10 Great Scott, Boston, MA
Jun 11 The Acheron, Brooklyn, New York
Jun 12 Googie’s Lounge upstairs at The Living Room, New York, NY
Jun 14 Chez Baptiste, Montréal, Québec
Jun 15 Sneaky Dees, Toronto, ON
Jun 16 Mansion House, St Catharines, ON
Jun 17 Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, ON
Jun 18 The Grist Mill, Waterloo, Ontario
Jun 19 Mac’s Bar, Lansing, MI
Jun 20 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
Jun 22 The Bishop, Bloomington, Indiana
Jun 23 Ronny’s, Chicago, IL
Jun 24 Mad Planet, Milwaukee, WI
Jun 25 Triple Rock, Minneapolis, MN
Jun 26 Manitoba, Canada
Jun 28 Slice, Lethbridge, AB,
Jun 29 The Haven Social Club, Edmonton, AB Jun 30 Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Alberta
Jul 1 Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Alberta
Jul 2 Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Alberta
Jul 6 the Can Can, Seattle, WA
Jul 7 White Eagle, Portland, OR
Jul 8 White Eagle, Portland, OR
Jul 10 Bombay’s, Redding, CA
Jul 11 Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA
Jul 12 Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA
Jul 14 Hi-Dive, Denver, CO
Jul 15 Triple Nickel, Colorado Springs, CO
Jul 16 Vale, CO
Jul 17 Bike Doctor, Missoula, MT

INTRO: COODER GRAW

Today I realized I had not done an intro in quite some time and it vexed me. I promised you folk some more Texas bands and I need to get off my ass and take care of that. So here’s an intro to a, sadly, defunct Texas band known as “Cooder Graw”. I saw these guys at the Firehouse Saloon many times over the years and their self proclaimed “Loud Country” became a staple of my music collection. I missed their last show at the Firehouse which was only a couple of days before their final show as a band and it’s one that I highly regret missing. Consisting of an assistant DA from Gray County (Matt Martindale) and a manufacturing plant manager (Kelly Turner) along with Joe Ammons, Paul Baker, Jim Wisenhunt, Nick Worely, Kelly Test and John “Fish” Hunt and with their ages ranging from 30 to 50 years old these guys weren’t the standard Stillwater crowd that was dominating the Texas/Red Dirt scene at the time. They didn’t care that they didn’t fit the mold and made music anyway and garnered a huge following consistently selling out shows all over Texas. The name “Cooder Graw” came into being because another band was using their original name “Coup de Grâce” so they took the name and Texa-fied it so to speak. They played for about eight years before launching a final tour and leaving us with six albums of great music. After the band dissolved Matt Martindale continued to play, and still does, backed by “The Matt Martindale Band” and while his music is good it ain’t no “Cooder Graw”. And much like this fine band there’s nothing left (to say) but the music…

Kick My Ass

Track Archive

Cooder Graw’s Official Website
Cooder Graw on Myspace

THE RAYS TRY TO STAY ALIVE TONIGHT…

Game 5.33 tonight…the rays got 3 innings to win or start setting tee times.
No matter what happens at least we don’t have to live in Philadelphia.

I saw this on myspace today and found it hilarious:

PAUL BROGAN – MLB WORLD SERIES RAP

I had remove the video cause I could not figure out how to disable autostart. Follow the link though. It’s funny.

Peace, Love and Hard Liquor:


Billy Bob Thornton and Matt Groening love him. Hank III has his face tatted onto his arm. Marty Stuart introduced him as his illegitimate brother at the Ryman. Tom Petty once came backstage to ask him how he gets his “sound” and the Rolling Stones once invited him to participate in a soundcheck session and John Rich (Lonestar/Big and Rich) requested that he be booked as entertainment for his birthday party in Nashville. All that plus four albums and odds are you best know Charlotte’s Unknown Hinson as the voice of Early Cuyler on The Squidbillies.

Looking like a character walking out of a Quentin Tarantino film with his pompadour and mutton chops the self-labeled “King of Country Western Troubadours” could easily be brushed off as a joke at first glance if you weren’t careful. With song titles like “I Cleaned Out A Room In My Trailer For You,” “Your Man Is Gay” and “Undead Blues” people might get the idea that this is just a kitschy hickabilly Tenacious D but underneath it all there are these blazing guitar solos that let you know this fella means business.

I was recently telling some friends at the bar the Unknown was coming to Tampa and they had no idea who I was talking about. It’s a god damn shame. So, if the thought of Cash in his druggy days meets Elvis and rolled in the dirty blues then check out Mr. Hinson. If you like what you hear then check out his live show (dates are on their myspace profile) and find out what ventriloquism, hoola hoop contests, target practice, monster sideburns, and hellacious guitar solos have in common…

From the cd “The Future is Unknown”:

Unknown Hinson – Rock and Roll is Straight From Hell
Unknown Hinson – I Cleaned Out A Room (in my trailer for you)
Unknown Hinson – Lingerie

From the cd “Target Practice”:

Unknown Hinson – King of Country Western Troubadors
Unknown Hinson – Barbie-Q
Unknown Hinson – Undead Blues

Unknown Hinson’s Official Site, Unknown Hinson on Myspace, Buy Unknown Hinson cds

Edit: The first time I ever heard Jason Isbell’s new cd the song, The Magician it seemed really familiar. In the process of gathering songs for this here post I realized that it was reminding me of. Mr. Hinson’s song, Torture Town. Compare:

Jason Isbell – The Magician
Unknown Hinson – Torture Town

Introducing: Laura Love


I close out the trifecta of female fronted bands with my favorite; Laura Love. I first heard Laura via my local community radio station‘s morning drive show. They were playing the song I Am Wondering on a daily basis and the more I heard it the more I wanted to hear it. Eventually I made my way over to the local record store and bought the album “Octoroon” and my love affair with Laura Love’s music began.

Laura Love was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and is the daughter of the jazz saxophonist, Preston Love and Wini Winston, a jazz singer. Her father abandoned the family while Laura was still an infant and Laura did not see him again until, at the age of 16, she snuck into a nearby club to see him play. For most of her childhood she had believed he was killed in an automobile crash as her mother had told her. In addition, her mother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia that would often render her hospitalized and Laura would be moved into orphanages or foster homes. Her story and struggles are quite humbling and were released as a book entitled “You Ain’t Go No Easter Clothes” published by Hyperion books.

Laura’s music is best described as an afrocentric meshing of bluegrass, funk, and folk that is impossible not to move to. Lyrically her songs run the gamut from humorous, to political at times, sometimes personal, but always thought provoking. Then there is her voice. In a word I would have to describe her voice as amazing. Listening to her cover Nirvana’s Come As You Are and the a capella song Blind Bartimus off Octoroon literally gives me chills. You never know where the songs are going. One song she’ll be reciting nursery rhymes and the next she’ll be talking about watching her ass grow. All of this meshes into pure delight.

Laura’s travelling cast of characters includes Barbara Lamb on the fiddle, Chris Leighton on drums, Rod Cook and Julie Wolf on guitars. Laura’s voice is even better live, and the sheer joy and energy that comes from her during a show makes everyone in the crowd smile. Hopping and dancing while playing the bass and using creative Chaka Kahn melodies to introduce her band makes her shows a two hour party.

All of this is why Laura Love is my favorite female artist out there. While preparing this I discovered she had just released a new cd entitled, NeGrass (pronounced: KNEE-grass) on her personal label Octoroon Biography. Her website describes it as:

a collection of original and traditional Negro spirituals, field hollers and bluegrass music: Laura’s imagined history of how it might have been for her great grandparents as they were being released from slavery and stepping into a free, yet uncertain, life. This is a joyful and heartbreaking story.

I’ll be getting this cd shortly and look forward to posting a review. Check out her material below as I believe she is one of the best artists you have never heard of.

Laura Love – Octoroon (from the album Octoroon)
Laura Love – I am Wondering (from the album Octoroon)
Laura Love – Bad Feeling (from the album Octoroon)
Laura Love – Blind Bartimus (from the album Octoroon)

Laura Love – Hey Bigelow (from the album Fourteen Days)
Laura Love – Sometimes Davey Wins (from the album Fourteen Days)
Laura Love – Fourteen Days (from the album Fourteen Days)

Laura Love – Mahbootay (from the album Shum Ticky)
Laura Love – I’m a Givin’ Way (from the album Shum Ticky)
Laura Love – Shum Ticky (from the album Shum Ticky)

Laura Love’s Official Site, Buy Laura Love’s music

Here is a video of her performing a cover of Nirvana’s Come As You Are on Sessions @ West 54th. Her version is also available on her cd, Octoroon:

Alela Diane – The Pirate's Gospel

When left to my own vices I don’t listen to many bands fronted by women. No real reason for it. As Dan Bern says in Chick Singers, “it’s just guys I hear the most.” So, if a cd arrives that is by an unfamiliar female singer, it will get pushed aside in favor of other, male fronted bands. Such is the case with Portland, Oregon resident Alela Diane’s latest effort, The Pirate’s Gospel. The cd has been floating around my house for months, and had it not been for the title, I may never have given it a listen. As it turns out, I was looking for Buccaneer songs for a post one afternoon, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I knew I was gonna like Pirate’s Gospel about two minutes into the opening track. Musically the cd is a sparse acoustic guitar and Alela’s vocals. Her voice reminds me of someone who would have been singing in a prohibition era speak easy. Again, no real reason for it but when I put the headphones on and close my eyes, that’s where I imagine these songs have come from. There is the occasional Natalie Merchant feel to her delivery as well. There isn’t anything terribly distinctive about the music but her singing has me hook line and sinker and will keep me coming back for more.

Alela Diane – The Pirate’s Gospel
Alela Diane – The Rifle
Alela Diane – My Tired Feet

Alela Diane’s Official Site, Alela Diane on myspace, Buy The Pirates Gospel

Bob Frank & John Murry – World Without End

Okay, the moment I read the Miles of Music description of this cd I wanted to like it. I mean, look at it:

Ten grisly tales based on historical deaths. Bob Frank and John Murry, who co-penned the tracks, have weaved together a haunting folk-country collection of murder ballads. The tales are not for the faint. The details are grim. The stories are compelling like a Matthew Brady photograph. Glimpses into the lives of the dead. If a collection of music could be consider a page-turner, this might be it. — Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music

Come on, murder ballads about real murders? Unbeatable subject matter. I was so excited when the cd arrived I had to let it sit for a few days and prepare myself for the possibility that I wouldn’t like it.

So you have these two guys, Bob Frank, a 62 year old fella who once released his now infamous self-titled debut and was promptly dumped by his label for letting his feelings regarding the label president be known at a New York City press conference for the debut. He promptly dropped off the radar…oh, about 30 years. Then you have a 27 year old John Murry, former member of The Dillingers and The Glass, as well as occasional Lucero stage addition. They were brought together by a mutual friend and after playing a few shows together as Los Gueros they decided to pen an album of murder ballads together. Quickly realizing that the traditional murder ballad thing had been done, redone, remixed, and undone many times before them, they took a different route. They decided to start researching stories about real murders and write about them as they happened, sans the morality and rationalization commonly present in such songs.

So, does it all work? In my opinion the guys hit a home run. There is nothing bad for me to say about this cd so it will head to the essential listening list. You should pop over to M.O.M. and pick up a copy for yourself.

Before I drop the samples on you guys I want to leave you with a quote from Dustin Wells since he does such a marvelous job of summing the cd up:

Without shame, World Without End looks unflinchingly into the history of racism. Without moralizing, two of these songs look right into the past and own up to it. One song lets a Klansman speak about lynching. Another song lets the man who was lynched speak. The lesson of each ghost is that this could happen to you. From being on the receiving end of mob violence, to being caught up in the mob that unleashes the violence. The warning is that the grotesque and horrible is never far off, and is, truly, in each of us.

Bob Frank and John Murry – Bubba Rose, 1961
Bob Frank and John Murry – Jesse Washington, 1916
Bob Frank and John Murry – Doc Cunningham, 1868

Bob Frank and John Murry’s Official Site, Bob Frank and John Murry on myspace, Buy World Without End

Introducing: Sol.illaquists of Sound

If sound is essentially a movement, ultimately the fate of the movement lies within me – Tony CombsDid you know the Black Eyed Peas before Fergie?

Sellout is a term I try to avoid. Instead, I point to the moment bands start to suck. Fergie was B.E.P.’s fonzie moment. If you long for the B.E.P. before Fergie I wanna show you something even tighter, and better: Sol.illaquists of Sound.

I have a friend who writes for Reax Magazine and when they named Solilla best hip-hop act in Florida I gave her a rash of shit. It was obvious. They are signed to a big label and, well, let’s be honest, Florida hasn’t been known for hip-hop since Luke Skywalker. My major contention with their award was I thought it unfair. At the time I had heard about 4 Solilla songs. Now, after owning the cd and seeing them live, I wouldn’t give Reax or anyone shit for naming them best band in Florida….and it is unfair, cause they’re just that freaking good. It’s like watching the little league tapes of an NFL star in retrospect…there just isn’t any competition. The real muthafucker of it is that as good as they are…you ain’t gonna hear ’em. Why? I’ll quote myself from my Cunninlynguists article:

muthafuckers ain’t hearin’ ’em. Whole god damned world talks about bullshit like Fitty, and Lloyd Banks, and fucking Mike Jones, and whatever other fucking pop-rapper is spelling a tennis shoe brand on Clear Channel instead of looking past the spoon in their face.

That’s why. They’re too good for mainstream success. BEP hired Fergie and chased the paper. On one hand I can not blame them on the other….FEH. Back to S.O.S.
.
First and foremost. S.O.S. does not sound or look like a typical hip-hop band. There ain’t no turntables on stage and the girls in the band ain’t showing you half their titties and all their ass. DiViNCi is the man behind the music. He plays MPCs. You have to see that shit live to even get it, so I ain’t even gonna put it in words. I will say this: He plays those machines like politicians lie. With such a grace and efficiency that you can’t believe what you see. It’s real though. And all those MPC’s (drum machines for the confused) make S.O.S.’s sound sometimes techno, occasionally industrial, sometimes hip-hop, but always fresh. Then….shit. Then you got Swamburger and Alexandrah manning the mics. Swam raps and Alexandra sings their way through a message of self-love, respect, and knowledge within the confines of a culture which seems designed to mute personal expression and freedom.” These people are probably better than anything on your iPod. Don’t believe me? Listen to the samples below. More importantly. Go see these guys live. If you can see this band live and not be a fan, then you’re not a fan of…fuck…not just hip-hop…you’re not a fan of music. Here is a real world example of how good these guys are live: My friends rescheduled their Key West trip to be in town for their June 9 show here in Tampa.

And after all of that love you knew I was putting this album on the Essential Listening list! I’ll also say this. As If We Existed is the best hiphop cd I have heard since I heard Cunninlynguists – A Piece of Strange came out in Jan. of 2006.

Sol.illaquists of Sound – Mark It Place
Sol.illaquists of Sound – Ask Me If I Care
Sol.illaquists of Sound – Black Guy Peace

Sol.illaquists of Sound Official Site, Sol.illaquists of Sound on Myspace, Buy As If We Existed

The Black Diamond Heavies – Every Damn Time


Last week we talked Jawbone. This week I would like to talk to you about a lo-fi blues outfit that goes by the name The Black Diamond Heavies. Recently I requested the Radio Moscow cd from Alive Records and they sent the BDH disc along with it. I really did not know much about the band. I knew they were touring with Scott H. Biram and he had spoken very highly of them when he played here last. Outside of that I didn’t even know what kind of music they played.

The Black Diamond Heavies are a duo from Tennessee consisting of John Wesley Myers on bass keys, Fender Rhodes organ, and vocal, and Van Cambell on drums and vocals. That’s right, no guitars. The Fender Rhodes electric piano takes the place of the guitar in this punk-ass garage blues outfit. With “Waits after a bender” vocal delivery, this disc takes one by surprise. Once you get used to it, it all works amazingly well, and after a few listens it freaking rocks. The piano in place of guitar goes from an oddity to a strength to something you wish you heard more of. The distorted growling vocals goes from shocking to tolerable to soulful. And you the listener? Well, you go from shocked, maybe even a little scared and confused, to intrigued, possibly even curious, then the fingers start snapping, you turn the radio up a little and the feet start tapping, you turn it up a little more and you start goose necking. Then, turn it up juuuuuuuuust a little more…so you can feel the low end of the keys and then you are a convert.

Scott Biram will never steer you wrong. So, check out these samples and give the band a little time to grow on you before you move on….you might be glad you did.

Black Diamond Heavies – White Bitch
Black Diamond Heavies – Poor Brown Sugar
Black Diamond Heavies – Leave it in the Road

Black Diamond Heavies official site
, Black Diamond Heavies on myspace, Buy Every Damn Time

The Black Diamond Heavies played Tampa a little while back. As I type this I regret missing it. Terribly. I found this review of their performance in our local free weekly:

Call me a convert. Call me a sinner. Call me what you will. I have witnessed the devil’s music of the Black Diamond Heavies and am ready to testify. (…) Most of the set list came from the Heavies’ latest release, Every Damn Time. Notable was the performance of “Fever in My Blood,” during which Campbell and Myers launched into a vein-pumping, cymbal-crashing improvised freak out — a jam apparently so powerful that it caused one whiskey-soaked patron to stumble out of control, resulting in broken glass and a capsized speaker. – Tristan Wheelock / Tampa-Creative Loafing

Damn it man. Next time. If they are coming to your town check it out and tell me how it was.

Introducing: The Wells


Well what do you know. Another week….another piece on a band from Ohio. There really must be something in the water up there. If I feature many more Ohio bands on here I think I’m gonna have to give Ohio it’s own category in wordpress.

Hailing from Columbus, The Wells are Robert Loss (vocals), Andy Gard (bass, vocals), Billy Heingartner (drums, vocals), Nick Mancini (guitar) and Lori Parsley (vocals). Formed as a trio in 2003, they produced the EP New Valley Death Blues in 2004, which was described by their local paper as “rustic Appalachian folk music and drawling country twang with a churning rock sensibility underneath.” In December of 2004 the trio began the recording sessions that would make up their sophomore effort, The Outcasts Will Make a Strong Nation.With Outcasts they seem to have turned down the Appalachian that was in the debut and turned up the rock. Now it would be best to revise their sound description to a loose rock and roll outfit with churning rock sensibility and a drawling country twang just under the surface stealing moments in the forefront when it can. Sheesh, that’s a mouthful. The songs on Outcasts are very well crafted both from a musical and lyrical standpoint. The principle songwriter in the band has an MFA in creative writing and puts it to excellent use in the 11 five minute segments that make up Outcasts and the soundtrack for these stories is equally well-crafted.

What really makes this album stand out is the characters in the songs. As it is noted in their one sheet; “they are shysters, little Huck Finns, farm maidens, murderers, sons and fathers, the dearly departed, drug dealers, spiritually confused, morally troubled, runners, stayers, lovers and thieves. Most of all, they are survivors.” See for yourself, all of the lyrics are published on the bands web site (always a god sign, IMO). Check out the samples here and pick the cd up for yourself. Personally, I am about to place an order for their debut cd.

The Wells – Knockdown Dragout
The Wells – I had a Dream, Jess
The Wells – Hard Way To Go

The Wells web site, Buy The Outcasts Will Make a Strong Nation from Miles of Music

The other night Robert Loss was kind enough to answer some questions for this piece. Personally I think this is the best interview I’ve put on the site to date, I hope you take the time to read it. It really proves that it is as mostly interviewee than interviewer that makes for a good piece:

9b.net: What is the meaning of the title of The Outcasts?

Robert: It’s from the Old Testament, Book of Micah. I’m not particularly wed to one religion, but I was sent to Sunday school, read the Bible. I remember first hearing that phrase at a non-denominational service for AIDS awareness week when I was about 20 and it stuck with me. The phrase can be interpreted various ways; I’m looking at it from the most humanistic point of view, I think: there’s always hope, and a dignity in surviving and persisting, and you find solace among the other outcasts. (At least that’s how it was for me in high school….) Once we were putting together the record, it seemed like all the characters in the songs were, in one way or another, outcasts…from their families, lovers, communities, or themselves. That’s when I wrote “I Had a Dream, Jesse,” which is probably closest to being a title track. I was trying to write a song to the title of the record, which we hadn’t even agreed on yet as a band, and it came out differently.

9b.net: I saw you had mentioned in a myspace blog entry that you have begun writing songs for the next cd. How is that progressing?

Robert: I’m always writing songs and we’re always working on them. By the time the record came out, we had maybe 7-8 other songs we were doing. Since then we’ve been focusing on learning more. We’re planning to record two of them for a summertime single – two that are a little different and probably won’t fit on the next record. We don’t have a strong idea of what the next record will be like, but we’re starting to make sense of all the chatter and static. Imagine a radio you can’t quite tune in, but the signal’s getting stronger. We’re going to keep taking chances. You can’t keep doing the same thing, even if not many people know what you’re doing.

9b.net: Your songs do a wonderful job of storytelling. Where does the inspiration for the characters such as Vera Lynn come from?

Robert: Very kind of you, thanks. I’m still trying to figure out where Vera Lynn came from, especially since I’d never heard of the torch singer of the same name. But I must have, maybe when I was a kid, my grandmother played her or something. All of this debris floats around in my head – maybe it’s the same for everyone – and sometimes it all floats together, like the junk that collects on the edge of a pier. I gravitate toward stories, always have tried to understand the world from a narrative point of view. A song like “Knockdown Dragout” is really about the gaps in the story, where someone knows, but they’re not telling. That interests me. The storytelling’s connected to the folk influence, too. And it’s just what other people say, too, a mix of other tunes, especially older ones, what you overhear, the news, all that. “I Shot Tom Joad” obviously connects to a novel, two songs, and some of our current political leaders; “Red Shirt Era” sort of came from Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory. And sometimes I have just a fragment of a lyric – the first two lines of “Knockdown Dragout” are a good example – and I have to figure out who’s talking and why.

9b.net: Any thoughts of ever bringing your show to the sunshine state?

Robert: Seeing as how it’s snowing here in Ohio as I write this, hell yes. We’re trying to get more out of town shows lined up. It’s tough. Any band who does it knows how hard it is. I did it very briefly as a solo act, sometimes with a friend of all of ours, Eric Nassau; that man tours a few months of the year on his own right now. You need courage, stamina, and low monetary expectations. Of the five of us in the band, two are freelancers, one works full-time 9 to 5, and two are involved in universities. So it’s a time thing, too. But to take your songs across the country…it’s the American Dream, isn’t it? So yeah, we want to come to Florida. We’ll happily play debutante balls, retirement homes, Epcot.

9b.net: Top 5 albums currently rocking your iPod/CD player?

Robert: In no particular order:

Abbatoir Blues Tour – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (It’s the double disc that comes with the new live DVD. The studio records are great; I think they’re what he’s been after these past couple years, that lean, almost elegant but still dirty sound.)

Jubilation! Great Gospel Performances, vol. 1

Secret South – Sixteen Horsepower (One that slipped past me earlier on. That man has an ungodly voice.)

Boys & Girls in America – The Hold Steady

And “Show Me What You Got” by Jay-Z, Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hours, Modern Times. Tom Waits’ Orphans (saw him live in Akron – it was stunning). Hobo’s Cookbook by Appalachian Death Ride, a great band from Athens, OH area.

9b.net: A lot of places describe The Wells as alt.country. How do you feel about wearing the alt.country label? Any fear of it pigeon holing you guys?

Robert: Like any label, it’s got limitations and benefits. It gets you in the ballpark, and most people who would be at all interested in alt.country already are looking for some different use of the country/folk thing. Anymore I don’t even know what the term means. The most recent Neko Case record reminds me of Joni Mitchell, except her voice. But that’s supposed to be alt.country? With the best bands, you can hear the label, but the songs transcend it. We just plow forward, you know, hands at ten and two, and try to do something different. But I laugh when I hear claims like “Alt.country or Americana or whatever is dead”. Bullshit. The people who say that aren’t listening, or they have too narrow an idea of what those words mean. That underbelly of folk and country and blues and the marriage of those to electricity, and other forms of music – none of that is going away. Maybe that neatly packaged idea is dead, but it was never really that simple to begin with.