Sex, Drugs & Yodeling….Introducing: Joey Allcorn


there ain’t nothing new in Joey’s sound and that’s just the way he wants it.

AllcornWell, the ol’ Hank III cussin’ board has done it again. Thanks to the fine (usually) folks over there, I have been turned on to an unsigned Georgian — making country music the way it used to be. I will stop shy of saying it is country music the way it should be, since I do not feel I can speak as an authority, but I will say it is country music the way I like it.

Joey Allcorn is a 25 year old from Columbus, Georgia who writes and performs songs that could have been played on the fabled stage of the Grand Ol’ Opry in it’s heydays at The Ryman. Classic country songs with steel guitars, fiddles, lyrics of heartbreak, heaven, hell, and all matters of turmoil in between.

In the title track of his debut CD “50 Years Too Late” he sings about never getting to meet the country legends of ‘ol, and in the last verses he says “and I’ll never get to meet them cause they’re all dead and gone, but I feel that it’s my place to pick up and carry on with the kind of country music that they left behind and it might turn out that it was fate I was born 50 years too late.” It just might indeed.

For an unsigned artist putting out his debut album — Allcorn boasts an impressive roster of guest singers. Hank III, BR549, the guys from Those Poor Bastards, and the mad crazy steel talents of Andy Gibson are all on display throughout the disc….and while I may not be able to speak with authority on country music, those people damn sure can and anyone who gets their seal of approval is a-oh-fucking-kay.

Allcorn has the classic country nasal vocal delivery that hints at a less road/drugs/whiskey/pills/pot/15 shows in 17 nights hell raising weary Hank III but fear not Joey…you are young yet.

Every anti-Nashville artist must contain a “fuck trashville” cut on their CD and “50 Years Too Late” delivers accordingly with In Nashville, Tennessee. The track is intriguing because it features a more electric sonic structure, but as a whole I tend to ignore these songs. The artists are right, Nashville has killed the classic country sound but they may as well write fuck Clear Channel songs.

The prerequisite anti-Nashville track aside there is not a single track on this CD I do not like, and some such as Graveyard Bound, Alabama Chain Gang, This Ain’t Montgomery, and Son of a Ramblin’ Man have already found a place on my “Bad Muthafukas” playlist on the Ipod.

So, if you are a fan of the classic country sound you need to check out this kid from Georgia cause he’s got it going on….visit his site, check out the tracks on his myspace site, buy a CD…hell, buy two and mail one to your local community radio station (that’s what I’m doing) and show some support for someone doing it for love over money.

Joey Allcorn – 50 Years Too Late
Joey Allcorn – Graveyard Bound
Joey Allcorn – Son of a Ramblin’ Man

You can hear more songs over on Joey’s myspace site. Joey was kind enough to answer a few questions the other day as well. So, here is a little mini-interview to help y’all get acquainted: How did you manage to score such and impressive roster of guest artists on a debut cd?

Allcorn: Well, most of the people on the album come from the Hank III realm and it’s just a side effect of knowing him for so long… I’ve known III for about 6 years or so and of course it was through him I was turned onto Those Poor Bastards and met Andy Gibson. I’ve been a fan of Donnie Herron since I was 15 years old and listening to BR549 records. Johnny Hiland I actually met in Nashville at one of his shows when he was opening for Brent Mason and those guys, But I knew who he was from the tracks he did on Shelton’s Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’ back in 01. Tell me about the choice to wear the suit on stage. Is it in reverence to country musics past or is it a rebellion to the current commercialization of the country-image….or have I just completely over thought the whole damned thing?

Allcorn: Well I wear the suits because I think it represents something that is missing from todays country music and that’s class. It is a shame that guys will go on the Opry with torn up jeans and tank tops etc. It is the Mother Church of Country music and should be treated with some respect. But overall, it’s just something not very many people are doing anymore and I believe should be a part of country music once again. Do you get much backlash from people thinking you’re just trying to ride a gimmick or imitate Hank Sr. If so, how do you deal with them?

Allcorn: Well, I am doing this because I listened to Hank Williams Sr., and as long as I can get out there and sing his songs and promote his memory I will. He has had more impact on my life than anybody else and I will always show respects to Sr. If anybody thinks I immitate him by wearing the suits or singing in that style or whatever, they need to go watch some old Opry footage from the 50’s, everybody dressed like that and alot of people had that same type of vocal style. It seems a lot of the people pushing to bring back country music originated from the punk rock scene. Why do you thinkg that is?

Allcorn: I honestly don’t know. I guess maybe because it is a real and honest form of music and there’s alot of people who can relate to it. That is why I’ve always been a fan of both, it’s just honest lyrics and basic music. Any plans of touring to support the cd?

Allcorn: We have been on tour since October supporting the new record and will continue into next year. Weve been all up in the northeast and next we are heading to TX, then a break and probably the midwest after that, Im not really sure… But I love being on the road and meeting all the people out there who are into old school country music. Who would win in a fight between Big & Rich and Toby Kieth?

Allcorn: They would never fight. Their lawyers would settle it in court before it ever got that far.

Introducing: I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House


Ever since the Two Cow show and the after show conversation I have known I had a task that needed to be completed….make a post about I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House…heretofore referred to as ICLASOB. ICLASOB is a rock band from Portland, Oregon…think Skynyrd gets political full of piss and vinegar….Currently there are four cds available from these guys: 2002’s “Creepy Little Noises”, 2004’s “Put Here To Bleed”, 2005’s “Menace” and the recent “Live At Dante’s”. Also, there is a solo cd by Michael Dean Damron (singer) called “Perfect Day for a Funeral”. Michael’s voice has a certain amount of raggedness that fans of Two Cow and Lucero have grown to love. Lyrically they range from drinking, drugs, killing to decidedly “I hate Dubya and his p.o.s. war” (so do I Mr. Dean, so do I) material….there are also moments of tremendous tenderness such as “Pauline” and “Thousand to One”….one this there isn’t is a lyrics wrapped in innuendo and symbolism. ICLASOB is pretty direct in the same way a hammer on the bridge of your nose would be and perhaps that is a the root of my devotion to these guys. Michael Dean’s solo cd is decidedly darker and more personal than the ICLASOB material and musically it is notably calmer but the biting and brutal honestly are still present. It is a shame that in the modern industry prefab paint-by numbers bands like Nickleback grace the tops of charts and covers of Rolling Stone the bands that matter are stuck riding in vans and sleeping on floors.

Ultimately, High Bias put my feelings regarding ICLASOB better than I ever could:

“The argument’s been made that the best rock & roll is about feeling, emotion, catharsis. Craft and polish are all well and good, but ultimately there better be a throbbing heart under all the machinery, or the effort is tantamount to an empty gesture. In that light, no one feels things deeper or more painfully than Mike D, the leader of Portland, Oregon’s I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House.”

So, check out these songs and perhaps buy a cd or three.

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House – Pauline
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House – Good Day To Be A Husband
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House – Fall Down

Michael Dean – Outlaw Song

I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House myspace
Michael Dean Damron myspace

Introducing: The Heathens

It’s funny. Sometimes you can spend so much time in search of new music that you miss the obvious…The bands busting their ass right in your town. Such is the case with The Heathens….it took a mix cd with “Busy Night and the Meat Market” mailed to me from Rhode Island to finally hear them and 3 days after the cd arrives the bartender at a local watering hole was wearing a Heathens tshirt so I do a little internets poking around and WTF? they are from Orlando….all the time spent at local shows, I should have known that… quote my grandmother “if it had been a snake it’a bit chya”. The cd has a very whimsical light sound to it with violins and vocals that seem almost innocent…not by subject manner mind you but by the twangy manner in which they are delivered. I just figured I would drop a few lines on these guys since they are local and it seems like everyday some shit new nu-metal-punk-postpunk-hardcore-rap act is being hyped as the best thing in central florida. These guys have some growing to do to completely break out of the local scene but they seem to have the necessary ingredients. I, for one, look forward to supporting them on their trips to Tampa….I will also be making sure to include one of these 3 songs on all mix cds I make from this day forth:

The Heathens – Busy Night at the Meatmarket
The Heathens – Sex in Silent Films
The Heathens – Stickin’ Around

The Heathens debut release “Big White House” can be purchased over at post-records.

Introducing: Those Poor Bastards

Imagine death himself plopping his ass down at your campfire w/his pal and band mate desperation and they break out into song….what do you think that would sound like? I am gonna say Those Poor Bastards is pretty fucking close….Their bio says; “Those Poor Bastards play miserable and primitive old-time gothic country music.” Really, there is nothing more to say….that is pretty spot on….and lemme tell you, that miserable shit is freaking awesome and addictive. Though it may be called country, Lonesome Wyatt and The Minister (both are ministers interestingly enough) are more “fear and loathing” than “tear in my beer”…..If murder ballads and brooding dirges are your fancy than check these guys out cause Those Poor Bastards make hopelessness and loathing sound pretty damn good….

Those Poor Bastards – Bone to Pick
Those Poor Bastards – Drown in the River
Those Poor Bastards – Death Ain’t You Got No Shame
Those Poor Bastards – With Hell So Near

Introducing: Backyard Tire Fire

So, last week or so Aquarium Drunkard posted a small blip about a band called Backyard Tire Fire. I had never heard of them but he compared them to the Drive-by Truckers in a round about way so my interest was immediately peaked and I checked out the .mp3 he had posted with the entry. I am not entirely sure where the DBT comparison came from….first comparison that jumped out to me was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club….I guess this could be a case study in two people listening to the same song and hearing two different things. None the less, I was intrigued enough to pick up their latest full length “Bar Room Semantics” released in January of 2005. The cd opens up with it’s three, in my opinion, weakest tracks….I was just about to take it out of the cd player and forget about them but then the track Spinnin’ Around started….it’s a song that would fit perfectly on any Capricorn-era album….and there you go…I was hooked. From there the cd winds lazily through songs of bad luck, hard nights and hope in a style/sound that is *very* reminiscent of Roger Hoover and the Whiskeyhounds. They have a new cd entitled “Vagabonds and Hooligans” scheduled to be released on January 30, 2007 and you best believe I will be placing an order. They also recently released and EP entitled “Skin and Bones” in August…personally, I am not an EP kind of guy so I am just gonna let Bar Room Semantics tide me over until the new cd gets released.

Backyard Tire Fire – Spinnin’ Around
Backyard Tire Fire – 31st Fall (highly recommended!!!!)
Backyard Tire Fire – Tryin’ to get Paid

Backyard Tire Fire on myspace.

*sigh* another band I like that will never some to Florida…

Roses Pawn Shop – The Arsonist

It is easy to be skeptical when it comes to music and when someone talks about a “blugrassish country band” from Los Angeles….well, LA is known for Lipo…fake tits…failed acting careers…face lifts….and hair metal…so, excuse my skepticism…but here it is….Rose’s Pawn Shop, a self-described sound of “Appalachian bluegrass channeled through a rock band”. Far be it from me to speak with any authority on what is and what is not but I would be inclined to say that just because your band has a banjo player does not give you an unconditional lease on the bluegrass descriptor. But what ever…as I said, I am not one to speak with authority and I am not trying to slag on the band here because they are a pretty good band. There are a shit ton of instruments on the disc….electric guitars, banjos, acoustic guitars, mandolin, fiddle, pedal-steel, drums and acoustic bass and when the vocal harmonies kick in the skepticism gets lost…I mean, who cares if they are from LA…if the music is good then it’s good…right?….I mean, I am in Florida, the southernmost northern state…hell, people from Alabama do not think Floridians have any claim to the whole southern thing except for Lynyrd Skynyrd so how can I claim what is country or bluegrass and what isn’t….wait, we are starting to get way off base here, if I do not reel it in it will become a pitchfork type of review…I like the RPS disc….I really do, the songs are very well crafted and even though I was just looking for a reason not to like the disc my foot started tapping anyhow. So, if you think a nervous mix of rock, rockabilly, pedal-steel guitars and vocal harmonies is your thing…check ’em out….plus, I would be a fool not to mention that they have one hell of a fiddle player….

Roses Pawn Shop – Down the Line
Roses Pawn Shop – Funeral Pyre
Roses Pawn Shop – Deep Red Clay

Roses Pawn Shop’s cd is a self-released title available on M.O.M. and CDBaby.

Don’t worry RPS….people always laugh at me when I say I go mountain biking in Florida. Highly annoying but these are the stereotypes we are saddled with…

Who is Johnny Dowd?

okay….first things first…I must admit that i got the cd, Cruel Words, as mp3’s from a friend as an album that I *had* to listen to.  I do a little Dowd research and see that he is “” or “country” depending on where you look and he is in his upper 50’s. Okay. I am expecting typical country fare and I may or may not like it but I am not by any means expecting anything special.  So, the mp3’s camped out on my computer for a month or more and my bud emailed me asking what I was thinking of the cd.  I told him I had not gotten around to checking out yet……2 minutes later I got a profanity laced reply telling me if I did not listen to it today I was gonna get kicked in the shins this weekend…well, I hate getting kicked in the shins and it was a pretty slow day in my cubicle so i fired it up.  Well, 2 songs into it I emailed the dude and asked him if this was a joke? Cause the mp3’s I have are mislabeled or something….this sounds more like Buck 65 than a 50 something year old country musician.  “Pretty funky ain’t it” was his reply.  Ever the skeptic and convinced I was at the tail end of an elaborate joke I did a little research. Turns out the sounds coming from my speakers were indeed the Johnny Dowd fella….Freakin’ Hell!  Retro Organs…driving “punchy” guitars and a spoken word rap style vocal delivery…this dude fucking rocks!  His subject matter is seriously dark as well….one song sets a Brokeback Mountain type scene…however, instead of giving in to his love this cowboy takes out his revolver and….well, goes commando on his junk… “He drew his pistol, fired six warning shots/ Five of them missed their target, but the sixth one did not.”  There are suicidal musicians, drunks, junkies, vets in wheelchairs and whores scattered throughout the disc telling their stories and cussing their maker in a very interesting form of doom-laden country goth….at the end of the third time through the cd I sent my friend a single line response:

“Johnny Dowd is the bad santa of country music.”

what’s that mean? It means I like this Johnny Dowd character and you might as well…

Johnny Dowd – Anxiety
Johnny Dowd – Cradle of Lies
Johnny Dowd – Miracles Never Happen

A Man and His Banjo

Introducing: William Elliot Whitmore

“This is American folk music stripped to its basics but freed of any stultifying reverence. Whitmore writes original songs which sound timeless in a voice which doesn’t fit his comparative youth.” – WIRE

disclaimer: I am not really one of those guys who gets into the people behind the bands he likes too much. I mean, I love the bands and push to get people to hear them but most of the time I could not tell you the band members names, ages, favorite movie etc. etc…..There is nothing wrong in doing that, I’m just not that guy with obvious exceptions: Weary Boys, Lucero, DBT, Legendary ShackShakers blah blah blah.

With that said, I have been listening to William Elliot Whitmore for about 6 months now after he popped up on a “you might like this guy list”…so, for 6 months I have been thinking I was listening to some old dude all leather skinned from years before sunscreen mattered….turns out; the dude is only 28 years old or so. His music would fit perfectly in a montage of a movie about the dust bowl or the great depression. His deep grizzled voice is usually only accompanied by a banjo or guitar with the occasional track having a drummer on it. These sparse song arrangements put the lyrics and lyricist out there for all to see…A lesser songwriter might crumble under such scrutiny. However, Whitmore’s song writing and voice pick the songs up and carry them without effort. His newest cd “Songs of the Blackbird” is a concept album telling the story of an early century plainsman in the midst of a drought waiting and hoping for the rains and questioning his faith in the process…So, if you are fan of Biram, Waits, Cash or quality songwriting you should check out this tattooed white boy with the voice and soul of a black bluesman of the ’30’s.

Cold and Dead
One Man’s Shame
Sometimes Our Dreams Float Like Anchors

Currently, William Elliot Whitmore is on tour with Lucero…but off the tour before he gets to Florida >:-(…. You can see if he is coming to your town here.