THE DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – GO-GO BOOTS


When I wrote about the new Lucero album last year, I posed the question of whether or not it’s fair for a band to be required to stay within the walls its fans had erected around it. Now admittedly, I am guilty as everyone else when it comes to the Truckers, and I’ll probably never stop comparing everything they release to the trinity of Southern Rock Opera, Decoration Day & The Dirty South. That said, I’ve finally accepted that there will never be another one of those albums from the band. Even if they explicitly sat down with the intention of making it, I don’t think it’s even in them anymore. So when the talk of Go-Go Boots started to hit the internet, I didn’t even get excited, and when “Used To Be A Cop” was released, even I was surprised with the amount of indifference I felt towards it.

So imagine my surprise when I got the album and honestly and genuinely liked it.

Go-Go Boots seems to be a mashup of the Truckers sound and the sounds they were making backing Betty Lavette and Booker T. Jones. The band calls it their “country, soul and murder ballads” album. I call it the most exciting thing to come out of the DBT camp since the opening moments of The Dirty South. Perhaps we’re gonna see a rebirth of the band, moving from that Southern rock sound we all knew and loved to a Muscle Shoals country soul band. After listening to Go-Go Boots more times than I’ve listened to Brighter Than Creations Dark, A Blessing and A Curse and The Big To Do combined, I think they could pull it off. Even that track that was initially met with a wall of indifference (“Used To Be A Cop”) has become one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Also, I’d like to address Shonna’s contributions to Go-Go Boots, “Dancin’ Ricky” and “Where’s Eddie”. In the past I’ve been known to say things like, “why in the fuck do they let her sing?” and “Holy crap! Shonna’s songs freaking suck”. So in the interest of fairness I’d like to take a moment to say that Shonna’s songs aren’t bad. While “Dancin’ Ricky” isn’t exactly my cup of tea, I don’t feel the need to hit the skip button with finger breaking force when it plays and, truth be told, “Where’s Eddie” could even be considered a good song. Yup, I said it. And I’m as surprised as you.

Anyhow, the album may or may not be up your alley, but if you are or ever were a Truckers fan you should definitely check it out.

The Drive-By Truckers – Go-Go Boots
The Drive-By Truckers – Everybody Needs Love
The Drive-By Truckers – Used To Be A Cop

The Drive-By Truckers’ Official Site, Stream Go-Go Boots, Buy Go-Go Boots

TOP 5: TAKEN TOO SOON…


December 8, 1980 & December 8, 2004. John Lennon and Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott respectively were shot. If there is a running theme in music besides “Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll” it’s the consistent muting of some of it’s brightest stars before their time and I thought today’s Top 5 could acknowledge that.

So, today’s Top 5 is “Artists Who Died Too Soon”.

Here are mine:

Robert Johnson: The lack of reliable documentation about Robert’s life has allowed plenty of rumor and conjecture up to and including the story the he sold his soul to the devil. However, what is known is that Robert Johnson recorded exactly 29 songs and in doing so, essentially defined a genre. On August 16, 1938, Robert died at the age of 27 from symptoms consistent with strychnine poisoning.

Robert Johnson – Cross Road Blues

Jim Croce: Jim released 3 albums while he was alive. His 4th album, I Got A Name, was released shortly after his airplane crashed in Louisiana on September 20, 1973. While Jim’s best known for hits like “Operator”, “Time In A Bottle” and “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song” I think his more interesting works were his character songs.

Jim Croce – You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

Hank Williams: Died on January 1, 1953 at the age of 29 and still worshiped at the altars of country music some 50+ years later. Originally, I wasn’t gonna include anyone who died from a drug overdose on my list but it kept feeling incomplete without Hank on it so I broke my one rule. I guess Hank was worth that though. Interesting factoid: The last single released while Hank was alive was the prophetic, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive”.

Hank Williams – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive

Tupac Shakur: It’s easy to just blow 2Pac off as “a gangsta rapper”. It’s easy for people who aren’t fans of hiphop to just blow rap off all together. Both are shortsighted and shallow. If ever the phrase, “muting of some of it’s brightest stars before their time” applied to an artist, it’s Tupac (though he has released more albums dead than he ever did alive).

Tupac – So Many Tears

Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines & Cassie Gaines: Were they the best southern rock band? Probably not. Do they define it the southern rock sound? No doubt about it and they might have gone on to be the most important band to ever emerge from the south. But an airplane took that chance away in 1977.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone

LEFT FOOT SALLY – LADY LUCK


I don’t know if we’ve ever talked about this on ninebullets, but even if we haven’t I doubt if it would come as a surprise that I download music. I buy a lot of music but I also download my fair share. A lot of it comes from random PR emails but there is plenty that comes from me firing up my favorite P2P app or Bittorrent client and castnetting band names, maybe because they sound interesting or for whatever reason I might decide to pull down a band I’ve never heard of.

I don’t say this to shock anyone. Hell, I think the real shock these days would be someone who doesn’t download any music. I say this ‘cause I’m not really sure how Left Foot Sally’s album ended up in my music directory, but I suspect it might have been from less than legal means.

Regardless of how the album got to my ears, I’m glad it did. The first time I pressed play on it I was (based on the band name) expecting a rockabilly act with a girl singer. What I got was sweet Southern rock guitars and a singer that kind of reminds me of a deeper-voiced version of the singer from Cross Canadian Ragweed, which is funny ‘cause in the research for this post I learned that they’re both from Oklahoma (I don’t know, all Oklahomans sound alike to me). Lady Luck is the band’s first effort and the 10 tracks occasionally offer a glimpse to the newness of the band, but as a whole I can feel comfortable saying that Lady Luck serves as a fantastic opening salvo for these guys.

Check ‘em out.

Left Foot Sally – Second Wind
Left Foot Sally – Lady Luck

Left Foot Sally on myspace, Buy Lady Luck

LEROY POWELL & THE MESSENGERS – ATLANTIS


I should have written about this album months ago but it’s difficult to get much news about Leroy unless you’re actually seeking it out. Anyhow, Atlantis is Leroy’s fourth solo album and the first with his new backup band, The Messengers. While Leroy’s first two solo albums after departing from Shooter Jenning’s backing band, The .357’s, were firmly entrenched in the classic country sounds Leroy started to expand his sound with last year’s release of Paranoid.

Atlantis continues down the southern rock/blues trajectory that Paranoid took off in but manages to pull some of the classic country back into the fold from time to time. The end result is a very well rounded album that can rock as easily as it weeps. Well worth checking out.

How has this guy not been picked up by a label yet?

Leroy Powell – I Ain’t Human
Leroy Powell – Gravedigger Blues
Leroy Powell – It’s Our Turn Now

Leroy Powell’s Official Site, Leroy Powell on myspace, Buy Atlantis

GUEST POST: GOV'T MULE – MULENNIUM

Today we got another guest post from Mr. Adam Fenwick (many more of these and we’ll have to make him an official contributor) about a band he really loves that’s never received any run here on 9B despite me being a fan of the band. Anyhow, enjoy!


For the last three months, I’ve had Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 circled on a calendar I keep tacked to my bulletin board at work. Not because it was a birthday, not because it was an anniversary, but because that was the day real rock and roll was scheduled to arrive in my mail box.

Mulennium, the most recent release from southern rock/jam band stalwarts Gov’t Mule, is something I and many other diehard fans have been waiting for a very long time. For the uninitiated, I’ll give a quick summary.

The band started off as a power trio, featuring Warren Haynes (lead singer/guitar), Allen Woody (bass) and Matt Abts (drums). The group released a few albums and had just released what many expected to be their breakout record, Life Before Insanity, in February of 2000 when Woody died of a drug overdose in August of the same year.

While the band continued forward with a new bass player (who has since come and gone), things were never quite the same. To put it into perspective, its like Shooter Jennings without Leroy Powell, although not quite as fucking awful. The band was still good (great when Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools would play with them), but they were never the same without Woody’s passionate and heavy bass line.

Fast forward to Aug. 3, 2010, and we find Mulennium, a recording of the bands New Years Eve show Atlanta, Ga., on Dec. 31, 1999, released to the general public. The major selling point is this: the record features the original lineup of Haynes, Woody and Abts in their prime (it should be noted this is the first release to feature the original lineup since Woody died).

Playing this record is like a flashback to the glory days of hard bass lines and gutsy guitar rifts that this band was known for 10 years ago. Not only does the record feature Gov’t Mule favorites like Lay Your Burden Down, Blind Man In The Dark and Towering Fool, but it also features a number of covers (a Gov’t Mule New Years Eve tradition) such as Helter Skelter, 30 Days in the Hole and Simple Man, as well as blues legend Little Milton during the second set.

I know I have absolutely no voting rights here at ninebullets.net, but if I did this record would go on the Essential Listening list without a second thought. If you like loud as fuck rock and roll with a heavy bass, buy this record. You won’t be disappointed.

Gov’t Mule (w/Audley Freed) – Helter Skelter
Gov’t Mule (w/Audley Freed) – 30 Days In The Hole

Gov’t Mule’s Official Site, Gov’t Mule on myspace, Buy Mulennium

CHASE FIFTY SIX – ALLATOONA RISING


Sometimes ninebullets can be work, albeit enjoyable work, but work nonetheless. Then there are times where it’s fun, where you get to write about a band you really think folks will like once they’ve had a chance to hear them. The first time I wrote about The Fox Hunt it was like that, same as the first time I wrote about Strawfoot, and I’m getting that same feeling as I sit here getting ready to tell y’all about this little unsigned band from a town in Georgia you’ve never heard of (hell, I got all sorts of family in Georgia and I’ve never heard of it) that goes by the name of Chase Fifty Six.

Chase Fifty Six, like certain other notable Georgia-based bands, has a three axe attack, featuring Kenny Mac, Brent Griggs and Chris Stalcup (who is also the singer). The outfit is rounded out by Jared Cobb on drums and Jim Vollrath on bass. Their new album, Allatoona Rising, was recorded in a shack in the Georgia woods during the summer of 2009. The album features 11 tracks of something they’re calling “Georgia Rock.” Now, honestly, I’ve never heard of the Georgia Rock until now and I’m not sure Georgia has a defined enough sound to get their own genre yet, but you know, whatever. When I told my wife about the album I explained it as such, “It’s like early Drive-By Truckers. Think pre-Southern Rock Opera minus those bad attempts at being funny that the Truckers experienced from time to time. The singer sounds sort of reminiscent of Cooley, but there’s no “Love Like This” on the album. I hope no one feels like it’s a slam to say that the songwriting here isn’t on par with Cooley’s. I mean, IMO, Cooley is one of the best songwriters I’ve had the pleasure to grow up with, watch play and witness grow. So, songwriting comparisons aside, I’d like to say that Allatoona Rising is a fantastic effort from a band worth paying attention to.

Chase Fifty Six – Mary Jane
Chase Fifty Six – Goodbye Princess
Chase Fifty Six – Devil’s Bed

Chase Fifty Six’s Official Site, Chase Fifty Six on myspace, Buy Allatoona Rising

JAVI GARICA AND THE COLD COLD GROUND – SOUTHERN HORROR

Take one part Texas country, one part southern rock, one part garage band mix them together with a pinch of anger and a dash of fierce independence and what you’ll get is Javi Garica and the Cold Cold Ground. The debut release from these New Braunfels boys is a two disc set, one full length with an EP, titled Southern Horror that landed in the midst of the Texas music scene swinging its fists and taking on all comers. The whole Texas/Red Dirt scene is independent but Javi Garcia takes that a step farther without going over the line into hyperbole. The title smacks of the “southern gothic” genre which I usually avoid but I heard the music first and it’s definitely not anything close to that. What it is pure Texas music and as usual it defies being placed solidly into a genre.

There’s not much out there on the history of Javi Garica and the Cold Cold Ground but the music speaks for itself. Sixteen tracks spread across two discs is a lot of music and the whole shindig starts out with a little murder ballad almost worthy of putting on a Mother’s Day compilation or maybe a Father’s Day compilation depending on your bent and the depths of your daddy issues. There are a few songs out there about disappearing an abusive asshole one way or another but the starkness of the music and the underlying fiddle makes this one of my favorites. “Voodoo Queen” kicks up the reverb a little bit with a rocker that wouldn’t be out of place in a seedy biker bar. The anger still shows through in “God and Country” and Javi almost reminds me of Michael Dean Damron with the way he belts out his anger in this one. A little bitterness at the scene shows through in “Lose Control” but not so much that it comes across as melodramatic. And that’s they way the next twelve tracks go as well. It’s almost as if Javi Garcia just opened up his closet, drug out a skeleton, fired up a bowl or knocked back a fifth with it and then proceeded to exorcise it in song. This is not a happy two discs and there are some dark themes but it’s full of damn good music. Hell you may even find some catharsis of your own in track or two. I recommend taking with whiskey, alone, in the dark and seeing if you can get what Lewis Grizzard refers to as “…crying about your daddy drunk” because this is the right kind of music to use a soundtrack for just that. And yes this is Essential Listening.

LP Tracks:
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground – Voodoo Queen
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground – As Wicked As You
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground – Flood

EP Tracks:
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground – The Pills
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground – Needles & Thread

Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground official website
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground on Twitter
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground on Myspace
Javi Garcia and the Cold Cold Ground on Facebook

GUEST POST: WARREN HAYNES presents: THE BENEFIT CONCERT VOL. 3

Hey guys. Sorry for no post yesterday. I was planning on doing a Top 5 but an unexpected road trip kept me on the long black ribbon all day yesterday. Our guy, Adam Fenwick, checks back in on this here Thursday morning with a review of a cd that came out this month but was recorded back in 2001. Sound confusing? I’ll let Adam take it from here:


It’s always a special day when a concert that you’ve attended gets released on CD. I got to enjoy one of those special days recently when Warren Haynes presents The Benefit Concert Volume 3 was released to record stores across the nation.

For those not in the know, let me school you for a split second. Warren Haynes, the lead man of southern rock/jam band quartet Gov’t Mule, hosts the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville, N.C., every year as a benefit to the local Habitat for Humanity organization.

The event, which will be in its 22nd year in 2010, started in a small bar in Asheville and has grown into a multi-night event at the Asheville Civic Center featuring some of the top musicians from all over the country.

Back on topic, this particular record chronicles the happenings of the 13th annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam on Dec. 21, 2001, for which myself and several other members of my family were in attendance.

Admittedly I’d forgotten much of what I saw during this concert by the time I heard they were finally releasing it to the general public, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the record and refresh my ears.

Those appearing at the show in 2001 included the host Haynes and his band Gov’t Mule, Phil Lesh & Friends, Blues Traveler, Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin, Alvin Youngblood Hart and a number of other special guests (including Robert Randolph, Edwin McCain, Jimmy Herring, Oteil Burbridge and Audley Freed, just to name a few).

The two-disc effort does a good job sampling songs from each set during the show, which started early and ended VERY late in the evening. The final song on the second disc (and of the evening) is a rocking version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” prefaced by a short “Masters of War” intro, performed by Gov’t Mule with the help of several other musicians.

It was a great way to end the show and really sums up what the show is all about: Making great music, having fun and supporting a good cause. Speaking of supporting a good cause, all proceeds from the sale of the CD will benefit Habitat for Humanity.

With that said, I suggest you go out and buy some good music for a good cause. You’ll feel good afterwards, I promise.

Buy The Album

SWEET SIX BULLETS – SKIN, WINE AND SIN (RIYL: DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS)


For as far out of the 9b scope the Amanda Blank album was, Sweet Six Bullets is exactly what the site was started for. On my first pass through the album I posted the following on Twitter, “Sweet Six Bullets….I love when a band takes me by surprise….” So let’s talk about them.

There isn’t too much information about these guys on the internet and the lone review was pinned by my good internet friend Johan from altcountryforum.nl, who is the guy that told me to check them out. The band features three songwriters, three guitars and an unapologetic Southern rock sound. If you’re thinking, “Damn, sounds like DBT!” you would be heading in the right direction. The band not only sounds similar to DBT, on paper they also sound pretty similar to early Truckers in action. Fortunately, the band embraces the comparison and even goes so far as to fill out their live sets with a small collection of DBT covers.

Skin, Wine, Sin is a fine debut for this sextet from Belton, South Carolina, and all DBT comparisons aside they’ve shown enough of themselves in their debut to make me wanna see what else they can come up with. Check out these samples and tell me what you think:

Sweet Six Bullets – Halfway Home
Sweet Six Bullets – Twenty-five for 5
Sweet Six Bullets – Georgia Rain

Sweet Six Bullets on myspace, Buy Skin, Wine and Sin

THE MAGPIES – STRANGERS


Ever since Roger Hoover and The Whiskeyhounds became The Magpies I’ve been pretty disappointed in the musical direction the band has taken. That said, I still check out anything new they release on the off chance they might recapture that Whiskeyhounds spirit I’d so loved. So, when I saw they had released a new album, Strangers, I decided to check it out.

Right off the bat I recognized the songtitles “Vagabond” and “Blueberry Wine” as old Whiskeyhound songs and as the album played I quickly came to suspect that all the songs were old Whiskeyhound songs. A little digging through a cd rack proved my theory correct. Turns out, Strangers, is essentially redo of the Roger Hoover and The Whiskeyhounds album, Panic Blues. The songs are slightly revamped and the recording quality is vastly improved but 9 of the 11 songs on Strangers originally appeared on Panic Blues. At first, this felt lazy to me (and still does to some extent) but listening to the competing versions of the songs back to back leaves no doubt that the songs have been improved and honestly, Panic Blues was my favorite of the Whiskeyhounds albums so it would stand to reason I’d like Strangers. That said, I think I’m gonna follow Hoover’s lead and just copy/paste a slightly altered version of my thoughts when I originally wrote about Panic Blues:

“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.”

The Magpies – Keep Me Away from You
The Magpies – Vagabond
The Magpies – Blueberry Wine

The Magpies’ Official Site, The Magpies on myspace, Buy Strangers