Top 5: Train Songs


It’s been a while since we had a top list and I figured train songs would be a great topic. So here are my Top 5 train songs:

  1. The Monkees – Last Train To Clarksville: This one has a lot of sentimental value for me and while it might not be one of the best train songs ever written it’s still one of my absolute favorites. A lot of train songs remind me of my grandpa, because reasons, but this one reminds of me of Saturdays with my mom and those memories are more than welcome.
  2. Jerry Jeff Walker – Some Go Home (The Train Song): Most folks would probably pick Desperadoes Waiting For A Train if they put a Jerry Jeff song of their list. This is a more of a deep cut about life in general and I think it’s a little more melancholy than Desperadoes and for that reason it’s a little higher on my list. Trust me, Desperadoes is on my list, it’s just not in the Top 5.
  3. Johnny Cash – Hey Porter: This is truly one that reminds of my Grandpa. From hearing him play it to the wooden train toys he made me by hand, that I failed to appreciate, while I was growing up. This is truly the stuff of fond memories and good times.
  4. Woody Guthrie – Hobo’s Lullaby: A true classic of the folk genre and beautifully performed song. I went back and grabbed Woody’s version but truly any cover I’ve heard has been amazing. I really like Woody’s take on this 1938 classic. The recording isn’t perfect but I think that adds to the experience.
  5. Avail – West Wye: As far as I know this is one of the only punk songs about trains and it’s the one that’s inspired the most wanderlust in me in recent years. The opening creates the perfect amount tension which drop you right in to Tim Barry’s vocals backed by the rest of Avail providing the perfect amount of drive to match the lyrics. I think that regardless of how life goes that this will always by my favorite train song.

There you have it, my top 5 train songs, so let’s have your thoughts on them as well as your top train songs…


Ninebullets Radio is a radio extension of the blog that airs every Thursday night in Tampa, Florida on WMNF 88.5 FM at 10pm Eastern. The show is archived for one week after it’s original air date and is available for streaming here. Also, don’t forget to head over to Facebook and like the Ninebullets Radio page.

Below is the playlist for February 23, 2012

01. Todd Farrell – Ninebullets Radio Intro
02. Justin Townes Earle – Look The Other Way
03. Moot Davis – Fade To Gold
04. Have Gun Will Travel – Dream No More
05. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Centreville
06. Lincoln Durham – Love Letters
07. Wess Floyd – Record Player
08. Otis Gibbs – Big Whiskers
09. Poor Man’s Poison – Crown Vic Headlights
10. Anais Mitchell – Young Man In America
11. The James Low Western Front – Whiskey Farmer
12. The Steeldrivers – If It Hadn’t Been For Love
13. Strawfoot – The Lords Wrath
14. The Gaslight Anthem – God’s Gonna Cut You Down
15. Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land

Bold = Request

You can download Ninebullets Radio here

P.S.: If you like this show, do me a favor and post about it on your Facebook/Twitter/Blog. It’ll do a lot to help these bands reach new ears…and in the end, that’s what this is all about. It’ll also help bring the existence of the radio show to more people’s attention & the more people there are listening/paying attention to the show the more likely it is to stay on the air.

Episode 60: aired 02.23.2012


Note from AIV: Otis approached me about this post and I thought it was a great idea and I hope to make it a reoccurring piece here on 9B. Hope you enjoy.

As a traveling musician, I’m given countless CDs from people I meet on the road. I have no interest in being a music critic, but I try my best to listen to as many as I can. In the spirit of turning people on to good music, this is a list of three records that stand out from the crowd.

Thanks for giving a damn,
Otis Gibbs


I met Adam a few years ago at a festival in Colorado. I was booked to do a songwriters round with Adam and Tim Easton. At the time, Tim and I had never heard of Adam, but we were completely blown away. Later that night, Adam and I hung out and he gave me this record. Since then, Adam has become one of my favorite songwriters and has released quite a few wonderful albums. I think this album is a great starting point and it’s one that I keep coming back to time and again. If you search around on Youtube you can find people like Slaid Cleaves and Hayes Carll covering Adam’s songs. Recommended if you like Guy Clark, Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt.

Adam Carroll – Erroll’s Song


Jason and I met while we were playing a hobo gathering in La Crosse, Wisconsin. After the gig, he handed me a CD-R that he’d written his name and album title on with black marker. My best buddy Todd and I drove home to Indianapolis after the gig and listened to this album 3 times straight through. I found out a few years later that the record was produced by Gurf Morlix and had guest appearances by Rick Richards, Guy Forsyth, Carolyn Wonderland and Slaid Cleaves (just to name a few). I did a quick Google search and wasn’t able to find anywhere to buy this record online. I’m hoping that you’ll be able to hunt it down, because it’s well worth the effort. Recommended if you like John Prine, Woody Guthrie.

Jason Eklund – Farmer Ain’t The Man


A mutual friend took Amy and I to a dive bar in Nashville (Brown’s Diner) to see Chet. I was instantly a fan. I loved his voice, his guitar playing and his writing immediately. This record was recorded and produced by my buddy Thomm Jutz, and it showcases Chet at his finest. Chet recently toured Ireland with Nanci Griffith and was awarded “Song Of The Year” in 2010 by the International Bluegrass Music Association (beating out Guy Clark and Bill Monroe). Recommended if you like John Prine, Bob Dylan, Blaze Foley. (AIV Note: We have a full 9B piece on Chet’s album planned for the near future.)

Chet O’Keefe – Game Bird


When it came time to decide what this week’s Top 5 topic was gonna be I didn’t have to look any further than the front page of my favorite news sites.

The topic picked itself. Protest songs.
It’s pretty self-explanatory. Go!

Iris Dement – Wasteland of The Free: From Iris’s 1996 album, The Way I Should.

Otis Gibbs – The People’s Day: I see hope for our country in what’s happening in others lately. One day our whispers will be louder than their screams. The people’s day will come.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Union Maid: Originally written by Woody Guthrie in response to a request for a union song from a female point of view.

Circle Jerks – Fortunate Son: This is (obviously) actually a Creedence Clearwater Revival song but I think the Circle Jerks’ version does a better job of conveying the anger in the song. The song was inspired by David Eisenhower, the grandson of President Dwight David Eisenhower who married Julie Nixon, the daughter of President Richard Nixon in 1968. John Fogerty told Rolling Stone: “Julie Nixon was hanging around with David Eisenhower, and you just had the feeling that none of these people were going to be involved with the war…”

Public Enemy – Fight The Power: Fight The Power has largely served as the political statement of purpose for Public Enemy, and serves as their biggest single.

I wanted to include one more. I wanted to include it in my 5 but could not decide if it was a song or a spoken word piece put to music. Which ever you wanna call it, it’s one of the best protest pieces ever done:

Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised


Hailing from Auburn, Alabama and named after the cemetery where they used to practice The Pine Hill Haints has been turning out what they call Alabama Ghost Music since 2000. AIV covered them here on 9B when he discovered them by accident as an opening act back in 2007. I have to admit I hadn’t read that piece until I searched today to see if they had been mentioned here. I discovered them by accident this week but through different circumstances. These folks didn’t seem like the usual 9B fare on first listen but the second time through the album I began to understand that they were more then a single listen could contain. While not the gothabilly vibe that AIV like they are dark in their own way and their self-defined Alabama Ghost Music is more than fitting.

Fronted by Jamie Barrier and his lovely wife (on washboard) Katie “Kat” Barrier along with Matt Bakula on washtub bass and tenor banjo, and Ben on snare drum it is apparently not uncommon for former members to show up and join the Haints on stage during shows. From traditional bluegrass sounds to tracks that seem like someone tossed some little swimmers from The Reverend Horton Heat, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Niick Cave into a test tube, grabbed a turkey baster, and impregnated Lucinda Williams they manage to not turn their ghost songs and murder ballads into shtick. To Win Or Lose has a decidedly southern flavored offering with lyrics flow through topics like figuring out how much drink it will take to rid oneself of memories of an evil lover mingling with the happy go lucky sounds of the banjo and squeeze-box leaving a body oddly upbeat after the dark poetry. It’s honestly one of the stranger albums I have come to enjoy recently. The lyrics, if you read them while listening to the music, wouldn’t seem to fit but once you slap on some headphones and give it a good listen you realize that there’s some magic there. Aside from their original work on this album they also toss in a cover of Woody Guthrie’s The Ranger’s Command rounding out and already damn fine album. But don’t take my word for it check out the tracks below.

The Pine Hill Haints – Never Gonna Die
The Pine Hill Haints – Scar
The Pine Hill Haints – How Much Poison Does It Take

After listening to this album I really want to see these guys live. I’m just sayin’…

The Pine Hill Haints on MySpace
Razorcake interview with Jamie Barrier


Remember when bands made records? Not ten-song collections of iTunes downloads, but complete, thematic bodies of work meant to be analyzed and appreciated as such? It is worth noting that, while the “single” as a concept has been around since long before Steve Jobs revolutionized portable and digital music, many of the most enduring songs of the last half-century were elements of larger artistic statements (“Like a Rolling Stone,” “London Calling,” and “Purple Rain,” to name a few).

With Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, The Low Anthem have crafted a collection of sparse, dynamic songs which, lo and behold compliment one another sonically and thematically. Imagine that. OMGCD deals, in large part, with the terrifying spectre of the American cultural landscape, where prayers are cast into the stratosphere via text message and photographs are “processed,” not developed. At its core, OMGCD is a collection of hymns sung to Dylan, Jack Kerouac and Woody Guthrie, to a country plowed under and built over. As stark as that image may be, The Low Anthem delivers these twelve songs beautifully, the tension palpable but not overwhelming, the fear and anger brimming but not boiling over.

OMGCD was initially released in 2008 as a limited-edition, hand-painted CD and subsequently released when The Low Anthem – Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky and Jocie Miller, the three of whom met while students at Brown – signed with Nonesuch. The re-release garnered The Low Anthem glowing reviews from Uncut, Rolling Stone and a number of other publications, and recognition from Bruce Springsteen and Ray Lamontagne. That’s all fine and good – who doesn’t enjoy the occasional accolade – but the fact is The Low Anthem were going to get recognized at some point. Songs this good will always have an audience.

In the interest of full disclosure, it’s worth mentioning that I just spent a week on tour in support of The Low Anthem, but that run of shows only served to support my opinion that somebody – or, rather, many people – ought to be championing this band. As good as OMGCD is – and make no mistake, it is a very, very good album – the songs are so vital when performed, they take on an almost primal quality. There’s a gravity there that isn’t nearly as evident on the record. Likewise, Miller’s vocals are at once searing and tender live, while the treatment of vocals on the album borrows slightly from Iron and Wine, treading the line between atmospheric and over-processed. The discrepancy between performances on the album and in a live setting is not great – great musicians tend to sound good in any format – but it’s enough that in order to really appreciate The Low Anthem, you’ve got to see the show. Think of the performance as a companion piece to the album, or vice versa.

Some recommendations come with a caveat, “before you pick up this record, you should know…” This is not one. The Low Anthem is a band you need to hear.

The Low Anthem – To The Ghosts Who Write History Books
The Low Anthem – Don’t Let Nobody Turn You Around

The Low Anthem’s Official Site, The Low Anthem on myspace, Buy Oh My God, Charles Darwin


I’d been hearing about this album for a while before I was actually able to get my hands on it. Knowing that the album had been available overseas for a month plus before arriving here in the states, I was pretty excited about getting it by the time it was available on Jan. 20. While Grandpa Walked A Picket Line is Otis’s fifth album, it’s my first exposure to the man from Wanamaker, Indiana. I was totally loving his weathered vocals from the moment he started singing, but it was the song “Preacher Steve” that sealed the deal for me. It wasn’t 30 seconds into that song when I was adding it to my “need to write about this” list, and by the time “Long Black Thunder” came through the speakers Mr. Gibbs had already earned himself a new fan.

Following the path that the Drive-By Trucker’s have forged, Otis writes of the normal man’s America, or as he puts it on his website “of an America that you don’t see on the evening news, but it is the America most of us see at our doorsteps.” It’s an America Otis has come to know honestly. Shunning the 9-5 life most of us begrudgingly suffer through, Otis has spent years of his life living on as little as $3000 per year. However, his strife (if you could call it that) is our gain, as it’s resulted in stacks of songs born of honest experience with the real blood of this country. Fuck, maybe that’s all hyperbole, I dunno. I do know this though, Grandpa Walked A Picket Line is most definitely Essential Listening. And while we’re flirting with hyperbole, lemme say that if Todd Snider and Otis Gibbs could make a baby it would be the Woody Guthrie, Hunter S. Thompson and the Jack Kerouac of it’s generation…you know, if we’re gonna get hyperbolic about it.

Otis Gibbs – Long Black Thunder
Otis Gibbs – Preacher Steve
Otis Gibbs – Caroline

Otis Gibbs’s Official Site , Otis Gibbs on myspace , Buy Grandpa Walked A Picket Line