Ajax Diner Book Club 3/9/15 KRFC Ft. Collins CO

The Drams “You and Me, MF” from Jubilee Dive

Steve Earle “The Tennesse Kid” from Terraplane

James McMurtry “How’m I Gonna Find You Now” from Complicated Game

Tyler Keith  “Do It For Johnny” from Alias Kid Twist

Glossary “Everything Comes Back” from Long Live All Of Us

Maggie Bjorklund “Bottom of the Well” from Shaken

Kierston White “Big Star” from Don’t Write Love Songs

Lonesome Heroes “Long Time Coming” from Can’t Stand Still

Descendents “Bikeage” from Two Things At Once

Dwayne “Can’t Keep Up With You” from Dwayne

Guided by Voices “I Am Columbus” from Motivational Jumpsuit

Land Lines “Limb from Limb” from Natural World

JD McPherson “You Must Have Met Little Caroline” from Let the Good Times Roll

J Roddy Walston & the Business “Caroline” from J Roddy Walston & the Business

Langhorne Slim “Rebel Side of Heaven” from Langhorne Slim

Podcast – Ajax Diner Book Club 9/29/14 – Podcast Only

This week on the radio show I participated in KRFC’s pledge drive. It was way too much of me asking for money and trying to create witty banter with someone else. I prefer to do my radio alone. So instead of subjecting you to that I put together a totally different patch of songs with less talking. I was in my living room with a beer, a dog and a shitty microphone. But the songs are good.

John R. Miller – Parking Lots, Service Engine
Slobberbone – Some New Town, Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today
The White Buffalo – When I’m Gone, Shadows, Greys & Evil Ways
Steve Earle – City of Immigrants, Washington Street Serenade
Drive-By Truckers – Goddamn Lonely Love, The Dirty South
The Old 97’s – Most Messed Up, Most Messed Up
Levon Helm – Poor Old Dirt Farmer, Dirt Farmer
Drag The River – Mr. Crews, It’s Crazy
Arlis Nancy – Nothing To Show, Wild American Runners
Shane Sweeney – When I Am Empty, The Finding Time
American Aquarium – Abe Lincoln, Burn.Flicker.Die.
Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound – I Don’t Need To Know, Self Titled

Playlist – Ajax Diner Book Club 6/30/14 KRFC Ft Collins CO

Austin Lucas “Alone In Memphis” from Stay Reckless

Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound “I’ve Got Her” from Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound

Low Anthem “Home I’ll Never Be” from Oh My God Charlie Darwin

Steve Earle “To Live Is To Fly” from Townes

Sturgill Simpson “Living The Dream” from Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Two Cow Garage “Van Gogh” from The Death Of The Self Preservation Society

Secret Sisters “Rattle My Bones” from Put Your Needle Down

Blue Mountain “Generic America” from Homegrown

Willie Nelson “The Git Go” from Band of Brothers

Wilders “Hey Little Darlin” from Someone’s Got To Pay

Lucero “Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble” from 1372 Overton Park

Lake Street Dive “Bad Self Portraits” from BAD SELF PORTRAITS


Canada keeps delivering great musicians, and one of my latest personal discoveries is Ana Egge. This is her seventh album, so I know I’m late to the party but better late than never, right? I’ll also have to admit that I only found out about Ana Egge because this album was produced by Steve Earle. And knowing that Steve Earle has managed to get the best from female singers before, this was placed in my “need to listen to” pile.

We’ve all heard Lucinda Williams ultimate masterpiece “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road”. Don’t be fooled though, this is not another Lucinda. Ana Egge has her own sound, and her mellow voice is nothing short of beautiful. She has a floating way of singing that just makes your head spin with happiness, and her words stick to your mind all the way.

The songs on this album are recorded in Levon Helms’ studio in Woodstock, produced by Steve Earle – and both Steve Earle and wife Alison Moorer sing on the album. Naturally it’s mixed by Ray Kennedy. And the sound is just so utterly perfect for these songs and this voice. The biting guitars and the laid back rythm-section compliment her voice – and makes this a pleasure to listen to.

According to her website, Lucinda Williams called her “the Nina Simone of folk”, and I can totally see where that’s coming from. But the voice is one thing, in my opinion a good voice is nothing without songs and substance in the lyrics. And her lyrics are constantly great throughout the album. They are haunting, and explore mental illness from a perspective that will make you consider how sane your own mind is.

It’s hard to pick favorites, as the album is of a consistently high quality that’s rare these days when most artist have 2-3 good songs in them, and fill albums with crap just to get something released.

But I’m very fond of “Hole In Your Halo”, “Bad Blood”, “Hands And Knees” and “Shadow Fall”.
And let’s not forget “Silver Heels” !!
The latter being one of the best songs released last year, the guitar on the song is plucked right from a dark David Lynch nightmare, and the bass is so brilliant I want to sell my own bass and never even consider playing music again. I’m annoyed at myself for not getting around to listening to album earlier. It would have caused havoc on my year-end list for 2011…

I’m careful to play out the “Essential Listening” card, but if you like female singers with a story to tell, and music that’s close to Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch or Iris DeMent – you should give Ana Egge a listen. You won’t regret it. That’s a promise.

Ana Egge – Hole In Your Halo
Ana Egge – Silver Heels

Ana Egge’s Official Site, Ana Egge on Facebook, Ana Egge on Spotify, Buy Bad Blood


Back in mid-October Chad Price and a merry crew departed from the offices of Suburban Home Records in a party van with the intent of doing 10 shows at 10 different breweries in support if Chad’s new album, Smile Sweet Face (9b.net review). Our good internet buddy (and stellar show taper) James Freeman from That’s The Thing About That went along for the ride to record the shows. He culled those recordings down to the best from it all and released it earlier this week and he was kind enough to allow me to repost it over here. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as I am:

Here is the track listing:


01. So Long Hoss
02. Static
03. Cursed

Road 34

04. Booze N’ Pills
05. The Death Of The Life Of The Party
06. Barroom Bliss
07. Your Paralyzing Wings
08. Lost Angel Saloon

Tasty Weasel

09. Lizzy
10. When The Lights Go Down In The City (Journey)
11. Medicine

Left Hand Brewery

12. Beautiful And Dammed
13. This Cross
14. Mr. Crews
15. This War
16. Peachy Tuscadero


17. Johnny Come Lately (Steve Earle)
18. Your Voice Is Music

Avery Brewery

19. Caleb’s Grave
20. With Broken Hearts
21. Tobacco Fields
22. Cathy’s Clown (The Everly Brothers)
23. Leavin’ In The Morning

Great Divide

24. Modern Drunkard
25. I Know It’s Over (Jeff Black)
26. Loving Touching Squeezing (Journey)
27. Brookfield *
28. J.J.’s Driving *

*With Dan Utter on harmonica

You can download the entire show here.

Also, if you miss Drag The River proper (full band) as much as I do James has a show from this past August featuring a full band. You can find it here.


Until further notice, this is the best record of the year. Period.

Tom Russell’s work has been interpreted by Johnny Cash, Dave Alvin, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others, but Russell has, inexplicably, flown under the mainstream radar for the duration of his career. The fact is, Russell is one of an elite group of living songwriters (Steve Earle and Peter Case among them) whose work has improved exponentially as their careers have progressed.

Blood and Candle Smoke may not bring Russell to the forefront of public consciousness, but it does serve as an astonishing reminder of his career evolution and devotion to his craft. Russell may be every bit the grizzled borderland  barfly that his singing voice suggest, but his is a poet’s heart and here, backed by Calexico, Russell unleashes a cannon blast of evocative, razor-sharp lyricism, blowing the doors off of anything I’ve heard this year. I would say that Blood and Candle Smoke will be remembered as Russell’s masterwork but he’s obviously got plenty of gas left in the tank and miles to go before that proverbial sleep. Judging by his body of work, I have every reason to believe he’ll bleed that tank dry getting to the finish line, much to our benefit.

Tom Russell – East of Woodstock, West of Vietnam
Tom Russell – Don’t Look Down

Tom Russell’s Official Site, Tom Russell on myspace, Buy Blood and Candle Smoke

Tim Easton – Porcupine

To say Tim Easton has spent the better part of the last decade “toiling” in relative obscurity would be stretching it – he records for New West, seems perennially omnipresent at SXSW and the Americana Music Conference, and counts Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams among his friends and fans – but Easton’s is not a name you hear mentioned in the same breath as Adams, Tweedy, Farrar and the like.

The cause? I suppose one could tab the general crapshoot nature of the music industry as partly to blame but the fact is, Easton had yet to make that career-defining record that anyone could point to when recommending Tim Easton to the uninitiated listener. Adams has Heartbreaker and Strangers Almanac to his credit, Tweedy’s got Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and so on. Tim Easton has written a lot of great tunes, and made a couple of very good records, but there’s not one prevailing work that anyone could or would point to as “must-have Tim Easton.”

Easton’s new record, Porcupine, may change that discussion. If it is not “The” Tim Easton record, it’s certainly the closest he’s come yet to a streamlined, cohesive “artistic statement,” whatever that’s supposed to mean.

Put more simply, Porcupine is Easton’s best record, top-to-bottom. Easton vacillates deftly between a raspy, Dylanesque weeze and a slightly more tender, drawling vocal approach that vaguely reflects the Joshua Tree desert where Easton spends a good deal of time, his razor-sharp ruminations floating over jagged, jangly guitars and carefully revamped blues and folk licks.

If there is a defining theme to the records, it is found in a line from the chugging “Broke My Heart,” as Easton declares, “there’s only two things left in this world / love and the lack thereof.” Easton’s characters spend the majority of Porcupine in search of love, trudging their way through the lack thereof. It’s a broad landscape, but Easton has supplied a nice little soundtrack for the ride.

Tim Easton – Broke My Heart
Tim Easton – Baltimore

Tim Easton’s Official Site, Tim Easton on myspace, Buy Porcupine


Admittedly, I’m not really a fan of Steve Earle, outside of his role as Waylon, Bubble’s N.A. sponsor, on the greatest television series ever, The Wire. So when Steve Earle’s newest album, Townes, arrived in my inbox I wasn’t expecting too much.

Townes is a tribute album to one of Steve’s greatest musical inspirations, Townes Van Zandt. There will be plenty of other far more knowledgeable publications writing about this album in the coming days/weeks, so I’ll leave the stories to them. I wanted to write about this album only to tell you that I am not a Steve Earle fan at all and I love it. The reverence that Steve brings to the songs is palpable. You’d almost have to be dead not to like this album.

Check it out.

Steve Earle – Poncho and Lefty
Steve Earle – Lungs
Steve Earle – Marie

Steve Earle – Way Down In The Hole (theme song from The Wire)

Steve Earle’s Official Site, Steve Earle on myspace, Buy Townes