You know the term “better late than never”? Well if ever it applied to anything, it applies to me finally writing about these guys. I dunno why, but I’ve managed to find more reasons not to write about this album than I could to avoid a prostate exam. It ain’t cause I don’t like the album either. Quite the contrary, I friggin’ love it and finally….I’m gonna tell y’all about it and then you, too, can love it and buy it and all will be right with the world.

Roppongi’s Ace are Alex Spoto (Vocals, Guitar, Fiddle), Max Norton (Drums) and Jesse Norton (Bass). They originate outta the Tampa Bay area, but life and school currently has them strewn out all over the Eastern seaboard. That said, Roppongi’s Ace are still alive and well, playing shows whenever they can all get together. Last year they all came together in the St. Petersburg based Zen Recording Studios and laid the framework for what would be their debut cd, Into The Night.

Into The Night was recorded live over the course of a week with local pedal steel guitarist Tommy Cooper joining in on the sessions to give the band’s sound a little more dimension.

And what about that sound?

Man, far be it for me to compare one unsigned local act to another local act in a completely different state, but god damnit…that’s exactly what I am gonna do. I am gonna say Roppongi’s Ace remind me of faves, Minneapolis based A Night In The Box, but with double the rock, half the blues and no hats. One might say it sounds like the material The Black Crowes were making before any of us knew who they were. A sort of fly by the seat of your pants Southern rock with just enough twang to make you wanna drink your beer from a can.

Into The Night is not only essential listening, it very well may be the best local album release this year…Check ’em out & buy their shit.

Roppongi’s Ace – Waiting For The Day
Roppongi’s Ace – 1955
Roppongi’s Ace – So It Goes

Roppongi’s Ace’s Official Site, Roppongi’s Ace on myspace, Buy Into The Night


I’d like to drop a little love on some local boys making the sweatiest, grittiest, gonna fuck your momma juke-joint blues in town: Nervous Turkey. For the past year, Nervous Turkey has been wowing audiences on both sides of the bridge and creating a following (in a traditionally unwilling-to-follow region) one show and shirtless front man at a time.

I went up to New World last Friday for their cd-release party and was immediately surprised at the sheer amount of people in the place. So surprised, in fact, that I just assumed a lot of the crowd just happened to be there since it was a Friday night. Those doubts were quickly dashed once the band fired up and the entire bar smashed onto New Worlds patio to sing and dance along to the band.

Allow me to break rank for a moment and say, Good Job Tampa. It’s about time that we, as a community, support our local musicians. Keep it up, kids.

Now. Some blues comes from suffering, some comes from sadness, and still other times it comes from fear, or love, or from a need for release. There is another kind of blues altogether that comes from the dick, and that’s the kinda blues Nervous Turkey puts out. I dunno, maybe it’s the organs with the harmonica, but while I stood, sweating and watching the crowd on this particular August evening, I was moved to text the following to my Twitter account:

“Best thing about the blues is the ways it makes women move”

With that said, I’ll leave y’all with the music. You can pick up cds at any show in the area. For any of you out-of-towners that may want a copy for yourself, I’m sure a quick myspace message will get you all zipped up.

Nervous Turkey – Strang
Nervous Turkey – Too Late For Romance
Nervous Turkey – Viper

Nervous Turkey on myspace


The Tampa Bay area is not known for much. Sure, there’s professional sports teams, it’s the strip club capital of the Southeast, we have sandy beaches, can wear shorts in December and there may be a few other things I don’t feel like listing, but we aren’t really known for our musical talents. There’s our crown jewel from way back, The Outlaws, some junky who flamed out on American Idol, and Ronny Elliott. I may be missing one more, but I don’t think I am…well, there is the Smell Yo Dick chick, but she’s from Bartow. Anyway, my point is that we’re better know for our student-fucking teachers and goth scene than for our musical talents and it’s a real damned shame, ’cause there are a lot of really talented kids here busting their asses for little or no support. Today I am gonna talk about a group of those kids who just released a fantastic debut album.

Have Gun, Will Travel is Matthew Burke (voice, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica), Daniel Burke (bass guitar, voice), Jean-Paul Beaubien (drums, percussion), Nathaniel Oliver (elec. guitar, lap steel, voice), and Joshua Hernandez (viola). It began as the solo acoustic side project of Matt Burke, releasing an EP that managed to produce a few national ripples. Somewhere between that EP and Casting Shadows Tall as Giants, Burke dropped the “solo” and (I believe) the “side”, making HGWT a full-fledged effort. The result is a solid debut of 12 seemingly death-obsessed tracks. Don’t let that turn you off though, this is an album that can hang with anything on Miles of Music’s It’s A Cracker list, so check them out.

Have Gun Will Travel – Blessing and a Curse
Have Gun Will Travel – Come, All Ye Sinners
Have Gun Will Travel – Pins and Needles

Have Gun Will Travel on myspace, Buy Casting Shadows Tall as Giants


In preparation for my friends 30th birthday this weekend (we’re renting Wrestlemania @ our local bar) I was cleaning off the camera. I realized I’ve taken a lot of pictures from shows but never managed to post ’em. So here they are.

Pine Box Boys from Dave’s Aqua Lounge

Nervous Turkey from Skippers Smokehouse

Mofro from Skippers Smokehouse

Lucero from The State Theater

Lucero – Old Sad Songs (seemed topical…one of the best 1 minute songs ever)

The Nine Volts

When I started I had these naive fantasies of sprinkling local Florida bands into my daily musical ramblings, and thus giving them an even larger audience outside of the local area. After a few months of working on the site, I started sending out emails. I quickly learned that, by and large, the Tampa/St. Pete based bands are arrogant and lazy. There are a few exceptions, but as a rule it was like beating your head against a wall. They bitch about the scene not supporting them, but then can’t even be bothered to reply to a few emails. Ultimately, I just gave up and began ignoring them like the rest of the area. Oddly enough, however, the Florida bands outside of our little Tampa Bay area have been far more receptive to my inquiries, which has resulted in some pieces on ninebullets, and me getting to hear some really awesome bands that I probably never would have heard otherwise.

The Nine Volts have applied an amazing amount of effort into getting me a cd. When I originally contacted them, they were in the process of recording their new EP and asked if I would mind waiting. I told them I had nothing but time and whiskey bottles. Over the coming months they even managed to email me from time to time just to let me know they had not forgotten and were still working on the cd. This was all way above the call of duty in my opinion but it was nice to see a band act in an organized manner and apply a little effort.

The Nine Volts are James Mitchell and Conrad Wilson. They come from the Space Coast area that is Cape Canaveral, Florida. After playing in numerous successful local indie (author: ick) acts, the two decided to build on their common love of the Americana/roots rock sound and formed The Nine Volts. After honing their act on stage, they entered the studio to record an eponymous five song EP. IMO, the standout track on the EP is “B. Jolene”. Sounding like The Drive-By Truckers, stuck right between the Southern Rock Opera sound and the Decoration Day song writing. “All From Here” features an acoustic guitar and a banjo taking the top of the mix, with a spoken word delivery laid beneath that, for some reason, reminds me of being 16 again. The opening track “Broken Chains” immediately makes me think Roger Hoover (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) could have done it.

Seeing as how this thing is a mere 5 songs I am only gonna post two. The entire EP is available at Nine Volts shows and on iTunes. Check it out. Support the little guys.

The Nine Volts – B. Jolene
The Nine Volts – River

The Nine Volts Official Site, The Nine Volts on MySpace, Buy their debut EP

Tampa/St. Pete…this weekend…To Do:

This Saturday @ Skipper’s Smokehouse, 88.5 WMNF will be hosting their Second Annual Americana Festival. Featuring 12 of the best Florida-based Americana artists, the show starts at 3:00 and runs till Midnight. Know what that means? It means you are gonna have to sample some of that fine, fine fried catfish they serve up there at Skipper’s. The wife and I will be getting there just as quickly as possible after she gets off work.I hope some of y’all get a chance to get out to this. It is a great way to get to know some of your local talent…plus; it’s Skipper’s.

Schedule of Events: (tickets are $15.00 at the door)

Memphis Train Union (3:00-3:30)
Jukebox Graduate (3:45-4:15)
Experimental Pilot (4:30-5:00)
Have Gun Will Travel (5:15-5:45)
Holidaysburg (6:00-6:30)
Truckstop Coffee (6:45-7:15)
The Human Condition (7:45-8:15)
Rebekah Pulley and the Reluctant Prophets (8:30-9:00)
Steve Connolly and the Lesser Gods (9:15-9:45)
Hangtown (10:00-10:30)
The Diviners (10:45-11:15)
The Urbane Cowboys (11:30-12:00)

previous articles: Truckstop Coffee, The Diviners, The Urbane Cowboys

Tampa/St. Pete…To Do: Saturday night

Stand Back

Who: Stand Back with Nervous Turkey & Blind Buddy Moody
Where: Dave’s Aqua Lounge (10820 Gandy Blvd. St. Petersburg, FL 33702)
When: Saturday night @ 9:30
Cost: $6.00

I got Stand Back’s EP in the mail a few weeks ago and have been listening to it on a pretty regular basis since it showed up. Local to Saint Petersburg, Stand Back is Joel Tatangelo (guitar/vocals), Joey Canfield (drums) and Thomas Stevenson (bass). They play what I would call a guitar-oriented version of rocking barroom blues, music meant for dancing and drinking.Recorded in one afternoon in Pinellas Park’s Zen Studios, I was surprised to find that all 6 tracks on the EP were originals. I had heard somewhere that the band was only 6 months old, but I found the songs to be much more mature than that. When I spotted this show on their myspace page a few weeks ago, I marked it on my calendar, since I have always wanted to go to Dave’s and I really wanna see these boys live. IMO, blues riffs are the best riffs for late night drinking, so if they come off as good in person as they do on the EP, I expect to become a regular at their St. Pete shows. You can check out the mp3’s below and more tracks on their myspace site, and I’ll bet by the end you’ll be dancing in your seat.

Playing with Stand Back is a band called Nervous Turkey. Honestly, I had never heard of them until a myspace bulletin started circulating this week about one of their guitars being stolen. The material on their myspace page has left me intrigued to say the least, especially the track Too Late For Romance. They kind of remind me of Chicken Legs Weaver, but more groove oriented. Check out their myspace site and see for yourself.

Rounding out the bill is a band called Blind Buddy Moody. I have never heard of him and can’t really find anything about him on the internet, outside of a mention on a Bluegrass site, but lord knows there ain’t nothing wrong with Bluegrass.

All in all it looks like it could be a nice little night of filthy-nasty-dirty-blues and rock with a little funk thrown in for the ladies. So, to quote Stand Back, “Let’s raise a glass and shake our asses”.

I hope to see a few of y’all out.

Stand Back – King Snake Crawl
Stand Back – I Hope You Freeze

Nervous Turkey

Truckstop Coffee – One Damn Thing To Redeem

Truckstop Coffee serves up a breed of 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

The Urbane Cowboys…only the truth tonight

Saturday night, Tampa’s Urbane Cowboys will be celebrating the release of their new cd “…only the truth tonight” with as many of their closest friends that they can pack into Skipper’s Smokehouse. Claiming influence from Hank Sr. to Social D and including the one I can *really* hear, Whiskeytown, the Urbane Cowboys pump out a pop infused brand of’allternative/cow punk/what ever the cool kids are calling it these days. Only the Truth tonight moves effortlessly from the rock and roll riffs of Here We Go Again to the pedal-steel infused country melodies of 30 Days and through the shit-kicking instrumental Saddle Up the guys have definitely put together a collection of tracks to be proud of. Hell, there is even a wonderful cover of The Pixies song, Wave of Mutilation that will make you wish the original had a pedal steel in it. If you are living in the Bay area try and get out to Skipper’s and share some whiskey, wine, and cigarettes with the guys and pick the cd up. You will not be disappointed.

If you do make it out don’t be an asshole like me. Always slumming around local bars watching bands you get used to a certain aesthetic. Beat up instruments, facial hair, stained clothes etc. etc. I’m sure y’all know the uniform. These guys come clean and have beautiful instruments. It is enough to make you (me) prejudge them as a country-rock boy band. As I’ve said before, I can be a judgemental prick. None the less, I tried like hell not to like them at first but after 4 songs they had won. I began tapping my foot, then I was raising my beer after songs, and then I was up front. Moral of the story, don’t be an asshole like Autopsy and you will enjoy the entire show.

The Urbane Cowboys – 30 Days
The Urbane Cowboys – All We Have
The Urbane Cowboys – Here We Go Again

The Urbane Cowboys Official Site, The Urbane Cowboys on myspace

and now for something a little different:

I am gonna take a break from the typical music posts and drop a few words on a friend of mine.

Disclaimer: he has some art work for the site as well as the art for the upcoming site redesign and for some stickers I recently ordered. What does a low traffic mp3 blog need stickers for? Well, that is another post for the day the stickers actually show up…..back to Mike.

Mike came to Tampa via Orlando and Buffalo. Kicked out of art school for threatening his roommate with a meat cleaver (hey, being from Buffalo can scar people for life) he put down the camera and concentrated on a myriad of musical efforts. Flash forward nine years and he has picked the camera back up and in his own words, “and here i am …taking pictures meant to shock people and writing music that sounds like shit“.

When he first started posting his photos they were good but typical. Long exposure skylines and what not. As he began to find his groove the pictures really began to take on his voice. Not afraid to enhance his photo’s with his considerable photoshop skills you can never be too sure if what you are looking at is what was really in the viewfinder at the time. Some purists might struggle with that by claiming it isn’t true “photography”. Personally, I am far to ignorant to comment from that level but as one of the unwashed masses I will say they are pretty to look at and “real photography” or not, they are art.

Here recently Mike’s work has taken a more “gruesome” turn. While they are not for the squeamish his last photo series has been my favorite by far. Here is a sample of one of Mike’s songs and a small sampling of his photography work. If you would like to see or hear more you can check out Mike’s flickr site and/or his myspace site.

This picture goes perfectly with this song: SUFTBC