Truckstop Coffee – One Damn Thing To Redeem


Truckstop Coffee serves up a breed of alt.country/southern rock with songs about whiskey, women, heartache, and interstate highways. Their sound is probably best compared to fellow whiskey, women and heartache stalwarts Lucero or The Drive-by Truckers. Hailing from Lake Worth, FL, Truckstop Coffee is Pete Stein, Caleb James, Nick Orow and Venny Portalatin.

In December of 2006 they released thier debut LP (a 5 song EP was released in 2004), One Damn Thing to Redeem. Partially recorded in South Florida and part in Knoxville, Tennessee. The cd opens up with a barn burner and possibly the best track on the cd, Way Down South, which is followed by Pretty Lil’ Smile, a fantastic song that sounds like it could turn up on the next Lucero disc. The cd then downshifts and cranks up the pedal steel for Madison County a fond recollection of someone’s hometown. There are stories of lost farms, lost women, and memories made sweeter with whiskey. The cd closes with a track about something I am probably way too familiar with, Whiskey Shivers, a song about trying to get out of a town you’ve become to comfortable in. Whiskey Shivers also contains my favorite lines on the entire album:

“Whiskey bottle never got anybody very far / But it’s hard to leave town when you can walk to the bar / and take your old familiar place / You’re an old familiar face”.

Ain’t that the truth.

Although, I worry that the “whiskey soaked heartbroken miles on a midnight highway” sound might be so dominated that they may have a hard time getting noticed outside of the local market, but with over 100 shows under their belt, a gig as openers for Brooks and Dunn, and having earned the title “Best Country Band — 2005” by Florida’s Citylink Magazine would suggest otherwise.

Truckstop Coffee – Way Down South
Truckstop Coffee – Pretty Lil Smile
Truckstop Coffee – A Little Too Close

Truckstop Coffee’s Official Site, Truckstop Coffee on myspace, Buy One Damn Thing To Redeem

Introducing: Jawbone


I had plans when I came home tonight. I was gonna write a piece on a cd and do the dishes. When I opened the front door there was a change in plans. Sitting on the sideboard was a manila envelope with a Jawbone logo in the return address area. Straight into the cd player, fire up the laptop…let’s talk Jawbone.I stumbled across this guy on myspace while following friends of other bands and the minute I heard it I knew I wanted to tell you guys about him. Jawbone is a one man lo-fi punk blues band from Detroit. His debut album “Dang Blues” was discovered and championed by John Peel in 2004. Soon after Jawbone did a small tour in London including a peel session at Miada Studios. Jawbone was signed to London based label Loose Music in July of 2004 who re-released Dang Blues shortly after as well as Hauling in 2006. Both albums were recorded in Jawbone’s basement with what could quite possibly be a cassette recorder on the opposite side of the room of his amps.

Jawbone’s band consists of him stomping a bass drum pedal, tambourine and high-hat stomps a manic slide-guitar, harmonicas and a distorted mic through which he whops, shouts, growls and sings his way through original tracks and stripped naked and shaved version of the Roger Miller classic Chug-a-lug. All of this is played with a raw and manic desperation that gives it an energy you can not help but feed into. I fell in love almost immediately. Dude reminds me of Scott Hiram Biram and as we all know, I love me some Biram. So how does some diy cd recorded in a basement on god knows what with amps powered by a 12 volt car battery become my favorite cd of the year thus far? Probably because of it’s honesty. This isn’t some “retro outfit” playing music that sounds 40 years old. This is a guy, in his basement, after work, getting it out cause he has to and I can not recommend him enough.

Jawbone – Bullcat
Jawbone – Get Rhythm (Cash Cover)
Jawbone – 4-11-44
Jawbone – Saucy Sauce

Jawbone’s Official Site, Jawbone on Myspace, Buy Jawbone’s cds.

Introducing: Chicken Legs Weaver


“This is music wrought from blood and bone, concrete and steel, an inner-city voodoo for the disposed and forgotten.”

Originally championed by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Chicken Legs Weaver is Andy Weaver, Jane Howden and Mik Glaisher. The Band hails from Sheffield but writes a breed of music that could easily come from the delta of the Mississippi. The band has built a following across the UK opening for act as from all genres, including: The Buzzcocks, Electric 6, Hammel on Trail and 16 Horsepower. Chicken Legs Weaver hope their deubt CD Nowhere will fall on willing ears on our side of the pond.Andy Weaver employs a growl reminiscent of Howling Wolf or Tom Waits, which is distracting at first to say the least. If you are willing to let that low rumble grow on you, you’ll find it fitting for the slow, menacing moodiness that Chicken Legs Weaver serves up. By the time you begin to learn the words you can’t imagine any other style vocals over these songs.

Nowhere, their debut album, was produced by none other than Johnny Dowd, a man I referred to as the “Bad Santa of the blues” on this here web site. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got the CD, but with Johnny Dowd attached to the project I knew it was not gonna be a straight forward blues album. Dark as a new moon midnight, some times punk, sometimes gospel, some times blues and always primal, the CD does not disappoint.

Chicken Legs Weaver – Howling Road
Chicken Legs Weaver – Your Enemy Can Not Harm You
Chicken Legs Weaver – Paper House

Chicken Legs Weaver on MySpace, Buy the Chicken Legs Weaver CD

Introducing: Reynosa

Pensacola is like many a small southern town: Traditional, Republican and hard-line Christian. The town’s favorite son is Republican Congressman turned right-wing bobblehead Joe Scarborough. Reynosa’s high school, East Hill Christian, is “committed to a doctrine, which supports the infallibility of scripture, that the Bible is the ultimate authority against which all evidence is examined.” Judging from the songs on their new album Directions, that doctrine never really had time to set.

Named after the road on which their practice space is located, Reynosa is: Jordan Richards on guitar and vocals, Nathan Dillaha with guitar, Aubrey Nichols playing piano and contributing backing vocals, Josh Duff on bass and Josh Barnhill on drums. Formed in 2005 they write a mature form of Southern rock that belies their relative age, both as a band and as individuals, the oldest being 23. When I say “Southern rock” I think more Wilco than Skynyrd, more Ryan Adams than Drive-By Truckers.

This debut CD sports 11 songs infused with small-town monotony, bible belt mentality and late nights in bars … all served up over telecaster riffs and bass driven hooks that will leave you singing them long after the CD ends. The tracks open with the hard driving beat of “It’s All Uphill From Here”, and by the time Richards sings “… and I don’t want to but I will…” I knew there was an excellent chance I had found another gem of a Florida band. Directions was recorded live in a Gulf Breeze, Florida studio in an effort to capture the same intimate, energetic sound that is present in their live shows. The recording environment gives the album a rather refreshing and loose feel. It is rare you find a CD with no skip-by tracks, even more rare that it would come from an unsigned act out of the Florida panhandle, but here is is none the less. From the hooky-as-trout line “Find Some Faith” to the album’s stand-out and hardest rocking track “Goodbye Woman”, it is obvious that Reynosa put two years of songwriting to good use. They should be extremely proud of the results.

Reynosa are currently touring in support of Directions. I would encourage you to sample their efforts by listening to the sample songs below. If you agree with me, support them financially by heading over to CD Baby and purchase this disc.

Reynosa – Goodbye Woman
Reynosa – Find Some Faith
Reynosa – Trouble

Reynosa’s Myspace Page, Buy the Reynosa CD

Introducing: Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds

Did you ever stop to think about the stupid amounts of awesome music coming from Ohio?  If not, you really should because there is something in the Ohio water that makes rock stars out of their kids. Check out Two Cow Garage to see what I am saying. Sharing the same hometown as The Black Keys, Akron residents Roger Hoover (vocals, guitar) and his Whiskeyhounds; Freddy Hill (lap steel, guitar), Dave McKean (drums), Justin Gorski (keyboards, accordion), and Adam Simms (bass) got their water with a vintage rock twist. The first time I heard Roger Hoover I kept thinking “I can’t wait for my dad to hear these guys“. The next time I saw him after dropping off a cd to him, it was just as I had expected; “The Roger Hoover fella is pretty good.” and that’s pretty high praise.

Sounding uncannily like David Gray of Marshall Tucker Band greatness, Roger Hoover sings songs that sound as though they could have been written long before his time. Much like I felt when I wrote about Backyard Tire Fire, the songs these guys write would have fit right into the Capricorn Records catalog perfectly. While most of the time they posses a decidedly southern rock sound they aren’t afraid to let their primal blues side out for a track or two here and there. These guys are definitely a band on the rise. Reportedly recording their, as of yet untitled, new cd with Levon Helm of The Band. A move which may help them make the step from lovable little band to critical/blogger mammoths.

Hopefully.

If their first few releases have shown us anything it is that Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds are capable of being in this game for the long haul. With mature songs that have a sound and texture that belies the bands relative youth these guys have nowhere to go but up. Coupled with Roger’s songwriting and ability to express his personal struggles and ideology literately through songs and you should have lightning in a bottle.

Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds – Vagabond
Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds – Roger Hoover’s Dream
Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds – Keep Me Away From You

Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds Official Site, Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds on myspace, Buy Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds cds

Introducing: The Dirty 30s

The challenge: To write about a cd that you love from beginning to end without sounding like a cheap PR one sheet. I have been thinking about this piece for a little over a week now. How do you tell people that a cd is completely wonderful but keep it close enough to the vest that people will still look into it…..and should I even bother? Should I say The Dirty 30s cd is 11 tracks that will not ever see the skip track button on your cd player and you will send me countless emails thanking me for telling you about them? Who knows but whatever I am gonna say, I am gonna say it now.A few weeks back I contacted The Dirty 30s and asked for a copy of their cd. I had been listening to the tracks on their myspace site for a few weeks and the Miles of Music goes and labels their cd “It’s a Cracker”. For the uninitiated, It’s a Cracker means they guarantee that you will enjoy that record. If you don’t, send it back and they’ll give you full credit of the cost of the CD towards your next purchase. It’s a great way to check out people you have never heard of. So the cd shows up and I promptly tossed it in the cd player and knew I was in love after one time through.The Dirty 30s are Jason Riley (guitar, vocals), Jeb Venable (Bass), Brian Heuring (Guitar) and Stu Farris (drums) from Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They play a loose at the hinges brand of American rock. The loose feel can be attributed to the band rarely practicing as a full band. When I say loose I don’t mean sloppy. I mean the bolts have some wobble to them. It really adds to the atmosphere of the cd. I get the feeling that these guys are the consummate bar band and as a St. Louis Times reviewer said, “To call them a bar band is no slur: They play fast and loose with free-wheeling blues-based guitar riffs, always a dependable soundtrack for drinking till last call and smoking up on the way home.” If you are a fan of the earlier (more raw) Drive-By Truckers, Lucero (both bands get the Replacements comparisons), or gimmick-free American rock and roll, do yourself a favor and check these guys out. If you hate it just send the cd back to Miles of Music and get whatever Ryan Adams released that week. Personally, this is my favorite cd to have entered the house so far this year and even though it came out in 2006 I am labeling it my favorite cd of 2007 so far.

The Dirty 30s – Rode Hard
The Dirty 30s – Local Anesthesia

The Dirty 30s – Justine

The Dirty 30s Official Site
, The Dirty 30s on myspace, Buy The Dirty 30s cd from Miles of Music

Introducing: Mat D and the Profane Saints

I remember when Biohazard released their first album, Urban Discipline. Man, that shit hit me like a jab coming right up the pipe. Raw as a freshly popped blister with more grit than a fish fry. You got the feeling that the songs on that album were written from experience and when he sang “you’re on the wrong side of the tracks” it probably wasn’t the first time such an encounter had occurred. While Mat D. and the Profane Saints don’t sound anything like Biohazard they still manage to remind me of that debut cd in every other way.

Mat D and the Profane Saints are like a well worn pair of jeans. Frayed edges, skoal can imprint in the back pocket and too many stains for them to be proper in local eating establishments but you do it anyhow. Mat D writes songs about the underbelly of the American dream. Dive bars, dead lovers, drag queens, and liquor fueled nights. All the while you have his Profane Saints providing a southern fried blues back beat with a little rockabilly and country thrown in for spice. All of this is performed with more familiarity than a Bible College graduate should have. On a personal note, I am glad the devil’s siren, rock and roll, pulled this guy off the path of righteousness and pointed him down the seeder road of lost faith, sexuality, and sin of back roads rural America.

Mat D and the Profane Saints are Mat D (Guitar & Mandolin, Vocals), Jeff Deignan (Drums), Kurt Mullins (Bass) and Kelli Johnson (Lead). With the recent break-up of their other Deignan and Mullins’ projects the Profane Saints became a full fledged band and are currently in the process of recording tracks for a new cd scheduled to be released sometime this year. If you come around this blog looking for new music then you are probably right up the Profane Saints alley. Mat D puts it best when he says, “I don’t try to market myself to a very young rock ‘n’ roll crowd because I don’t think they’ve really caught on,” he said. “What I go for are people that are probably more into the country thing, probably classic rock. I think my age group is probably 30 and over.

So there you go. Check out these guys internet offerings and be on the lookout for that new cd. I am guessing that deciding to be an exclusive band will only make their new material stronger.

Mat D and the Profane Saints – Rambling Mary Jane Walker
Mat D and the Profane Saints- Swivel Town
Mat D and the Profane Saints- Drinking Gin and Sipping Tea

Mat D and the Profane Saints Official Site, Mat D and the Profane Saints on myspace, Buy Mat D and the Profane Saints cd “Small Town Burning”

Introducing: American Minor


I stumbled upon American Minor while flipping through the used cd bin at my local record store. I guess the cd cover reminded me of The Legendary Shack Shakers “Believe” cover and that was enough to get me to drop 5.99 on it.

American Minor is a 5 piece rock and roll band from West Virginia. Their debut cd was released back in August of 2005 on Jive Records. Produced by founding Blind Melon members Christopher Thorn & Brad Smith, the self-titled titled debut cd is a straight ahead no-frills rock and roll record. The production quality of the cd is as polished as one would expect from a major label release.  Sometimes the band gets a little caught up in the rock and roll cliche handbook and from time to time they wear their influences on their sleeve a little too obviously. But it is supposed to be fun and fun can often be mindless as hell.

American Minor sounds like a rawer, more rocking version of The Black Crowes. The guitars are hooky as hell with strong riffs and there are no power ballads to be found on the cd. For me personally, this is one of the few cds I can toss in the player and not feel the urge to skip a song. Strong from opening screams of `Walk On’ to the telling of a neighbors suicide attempt in “Mr. Queen” to the politically charged condemnation of Bush’s liberal use of the death penalty as Texas’ governor that is “One Last Supper” this guys have put together a really strong debut release.

American Minor – Walk On
American Minor – Mr. Queen
American Minor – One Last Supper

American Minor Official Site, American Minor on MySpace, Buy American Minor cds

American Minor CD Cover Shack Shakers Believe Cover

Myspace Bands (part 5) or Introducing: Creech Holler

I am gonna borrow liberally from Creech Holler’s myspace page for a moment:

creech holler plays the music of midnight whiskey stills and front porches. of those whose sole act of contrition before god was to make song of their sin and sorrow. of those who have been to dark places, and who left their soul there. of those who deemed it necessary to kill some poor son of a bitch who had it coming to them, and then deemed it necessary to sing a song about it. of those who loved the sacred and the profane in equal measure; who played the devil’s music on saturday night, and god’s music on sunday morning. of those who have trod black paths so long that they have forgotten the light, but not so long so as to forget to bring their gun and a shovel. of those who saw fit to salve their wounds with the banjo, the fiddle, the guitar…

…creech holler is the hills and hollers of east tennessee and the fields of the delta, and the regret and desires and vain hopes of redemption buried under their soil. it’s everywhere that america’s bad blood flows and gives birth to hymns to the wrong that lives in low men’s hearts. it’s the ghosts of america’s music reborn in furious electricity.”

These guys remind me of what’s right with The North Mississippi All-stars (Shake Hands With Shorty) minus what’s wrong with The North Mississippi All-stars (Polaris)….and I freaking love The North Mississippi All-stars, so you can imagine what I think of these guys. I don’t know the first thing about the blues, but I know what I like, and I fucking like these guys. Oddly enough, they don’t even put blues in their genre description…shows you what I know. However, under Type of Label it does say none and that is a fucking shame. So, check out these tracks, and if you like what you hear, go buy a god damned CD.

Creech Holler – Pretty Polly
Creech Holler – Red Rockin’ Chair
Creech Holler – Poor Ol’ Maddie

Creech Holler on myspace, Buy Creech Holler’s CD

Introducing: The Pine Box Boys

Is there no pity for the lonely ladies of the American Murder Ballad? Buried in unmarked graves, their ghosts have been called out to in song for more than two centuries. No face, no form, only lonely names – Polly, Sally, Maggie, Eleanor.

The Pine Box Boys are Lester T. Raww- guitar, vocals; Alex “Possum” Carvidi – banjo, vocals; Col. Timothy Leather – bass, and S. “Your Uncle” Dodds – drums. A sinister group of San Franciscans brought together by Arkansas exile (on the run for killin’ an ex-lover no doubt) Lester T. Raww, and they are singers of murder and misery. Oscar Wilde once said “Murder is always a mistake – one should never do anything one cannot talk about after dinner.” The Pine Box Boys didn’t get the memo. They have released two albums to date, 2005’s Arkansas Killing Time and 2006’s Stab!. 27 songs that all end the same way.“We never wanted any of them ladies to get killed. But they kept on bleeding and Willie kept on stabbing, so, well, I reckon we HAD to write a song about it.”

They classify themselves Southern Horrorbilly and/or Darkgrass. I have no idea what either of those terms mean. Personally, I would describe their sound as a darker version of Old Crow Medicine Show…. a much much darker version. Like, OCMS meets Those Poor Bastards. These are dark blue grassy songs for the dark humored. Call em’ love songs for the recently deceased.

I hope 2007 sees another Pine Box Boys released but I imagine there is a hill somewhere in Arkansas that may be running out of graves.

Pine Box Boys – Just a Crush (the wifes review of this track: “That song is just creepy.”)
Pine Box Boys – Arkansas Killing Time
Pine Box Boys – I Had To Cut Her

Pine Box Boys Official Site, Pine Box Boys on myspace, Buy Pine Box Boys’ CD’s