Last Friday I announced the line-up of bands for this years Deep Blues Festival. Earlier this week I bought my plane tickets for Minneapolis. I tell you that so you don’t think I am just pimping the festival for some nefarious reason. I buy a ticket just like everyone else. That said, I really do believe in DBF, in what Chis is doing and in the bands playing it so I will take every opportunity to pimp it.

Hence Deep Blues Fridays.

On select Fridays between now and the festival I will feature bands playing it, live sets from festivals past and things of that ilk. I hope y’all like it…and if you’re anywhere near Minneapolis, join us in July, it’s gonna be a blast.

This is a sampler the festival recently put out featuring performances from last years show. Chris told me I was free to post it here so here you go. Individual tracks are below from listening, complete sampler can be downloaded here.

  1. Juke Joint Duo – Stay Here In Your Arms
  2. The Moaners – I Think I Love You
  3. Jawbone – And Wine
  4. Left Lane Cruiser – That Ass
  5. Robert Cage and Hezekiah Early – Things I Used To Do
  6. T-Model Ford – Cut You Loose
  7. Black-Eyed Snakes – Good Woman Blues
  8. Those Poor Bastards – They Don’t Make Folks Like They Used To
  9. A Night In The Box – Death Letter
  10. Reverend Deadeye – Clean Train
  11. Charlie Parr – 1922
  12. Boogaloosa Prayer – She’s Gone
  13. Hillstomp – Lay Down Satan
  14. Pat MacDonald – Reset Me Lord
  15. Dex Romweber Duo – Blues That Defy My Soul
  16. Black Diamond Heavies – Bidin’ My Time
  17. Bob Log III – Six Stringer Kicker
  18. Pure Country Gold – Club 21
  19. American Relay – Bonedry
  20. Tarbox Ramblers – What Month Was Jesus Born
  21. Possessed By Paul James – Hear The Call


I am reposting this because when I originally posted about it back in November the album was next to impossible to acquire. As of today it can easily be purchased from Amazon.

I’ll be honest. I’m not really too into tribute albums. I mean, they usually have their high points but when you take them as a whole they tend to feel mailed in or uninspired.

Such is not the case with this particular tribute album, and while I am sure there have been no shortage of tribute albums to Hank Sr. or Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, I am sure there hasn’t ever been one quite like this. For one, check out the take no prisoner’s, my way or fuck you contributing artists. With acts like Scott H. Biram, Possessed By Paul James, Bob Log III, Jawbone, Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Soda taking part you know these aren’t just gonna be mere remakes of classics. For another thing, take the folks putting it out- Hillgrass Bluebilly Entertainment. In what dealings I have had with these guys two things are for sure. They have as much passion about the whole punkass/deep blues scene as anyone, and if they are gonna do something they are gonna do it 100% all out. Taking all of that into account I had a hard time imagining how this particular tribute album couldn’t be awesome.

I was right.

Hiram and Huddie is a double cd tribute album, one disc being a tribute to Hank Sr. while the other is a tribute to Huddie Ledbetter. Both discs feature the same lineup of artists for the most part with each artist seeming to have been given complete freedom to do whatever they wanted with their tracks, and the bands used that freedom to make the tracks their own. Really, there isn’t a track to be skipped across either disc, but as with any compilation some tracks just stand out from the others.

Soda’s cover of Hank’s “Ramblin’ Man” is one such case. Sounding like it would have come from a drunken 1920’s New Orleans speakeasy, this track just begs for you hit repeat until the ink wears off the button. Scott Biram just seems like he was born to sing Sr.’s songs, and the soul of William Elliot Whitmore’s voice adds a richness to his songs that recording techniques in the original version’s time couldn’t capture. As good as all of these tracks are though, it’s Possessed By Paul James’ contributions that totally steal the show and his version of Lead Belly’s “The Bourgeois Blues” wears the “best song” crown.

“The Bourgeois Blues” was originally recorded by Ledbetter after he went to Washington, D.C. at the request of Alan Lomax to record a number of songs for the Library of Congress. After they had finished, they decided to go out with their wives to celebrate but were thrown out of numerous establishments for being an interracial party. The song rails against racism, classism, and discrimination in general.

It would be a shame for this album to get lost in the cracks only be rediscovered years later as a lost gem. Do yourself, Hillgrass Bluebilly, me and every single artist on this album a favor and buy it. Buy two. It’s that good. It’s easily gonna be the best compilation of the year.

Soda – Ramblin’ Man (Hank Sr.)
Scott H. Biram – Lost Highway (Hank Sr.)

William Elliott Whitmore – The Gallis Pole (Ledbetter)
Possessed By Paul James – Bourgeois Blues (Ledbetter)

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.