The March installment of the Feel Bad For You Mixtape is up and streaming. The FBFY mixtape has entered a new segment of it’s life moving from a message board tape curated by Ms. Rockstar Aimz, of My Aimz Is True, to a mixtape put together by a collection of (mostly) like minded bloggers now curated by @BoogieStudio22. For a complete track listing, who submitted each song and why….click the more link.
Have Gun, Will Travel is an Americana band based out of Bradenton, FL that combines folk, pop, rock, and classic country influences. They’re new album, Fiction, Fact or Folktale?, is out now, and they’re performing at Crowbar in Tampa TONIGHT, Thursday, February 27th. I talked to Matt Burke about their current tour, their Daytrotter session, and his writing process.
Can you tell me abut the making of the album cover?
Yeah. My sister, Alex, is a local artist. She makes handmade, original art from salvaged materials. She made the piece and photographed it for the album cover. And her partner, Riley, helped us with the layout and design. We’re all stoked with how it turned out. And now I have the actual piece displayed proudly in my living room.
What was the writing process like for Fiction, Fact or Folktale?
The writing process for this record really wasn’t any different from our other records. I usually bring songs to the band one at a time. Then, we hash them out together and work on the arrangements, and when we have a batch of songs piled up, we start recording. Most of the writing happens at home. I don’t do a lot of writing on the road. There are too many distractions. I need to be in a quiet, comfortable environment, where I can focus and concentrate on what I’m doing.
What was your motivation as you were writing the songs?
Every song has its own story. For example, I wrote the song “Finer Things” as a surprise for my fiance, since I was going to be out of town on Valentine’s Day. So, I recorded a demo version of it at home before I left and left it hidden in the house, then sent her a text on Valentine’s Day telling her where to look for it. Some songs, like “Standing at the End of the World” or “Silver and the Age of Opulence,” are observational. Other songs, like “Trouble” or “High Road,” are born out of feelings of frustration or desperation. Then, some songs are just narrative fiction, like “The Show Must Go On,” “Another Fine Mess,” and “Take Me Home, Alice.” Straight-up storytelling.
Well, it’s working. I think y’all are definitely garnering some more attention with this album, like from Daytrotter, for instance. How did that come together?
I was definitely stoked when we scheduled a Daytrotter session. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while. We knew we were gonna be touring through that part of the country, and our booking agent submitted us. They were able to fit us in on a day that worked into our tour schedule.
That day was pretty rough, though. The temperature outside was, like, 7 below. Once we got all of our gear loaded into the building and up the three flights of stairs, it took a while for our instruments to warm up. But once we got going, it was awesome. We had a good time.
It turned out well. Sounds like it was worth it. You’re on a Big Ass Tour right now. Is this the biggest one you’ve ever been on?
Yeah, the shows on this tour have been bigger than most of the stuff we’ve done up ’til now. It’s been awesome. Aside from the snow storms that have been chasing us around, it’s been great.
That couldn’t have been fun.
No, but we opened up for Shooter Jennings in Marietta, GA which was a blast. Then we headed out toward the midwest and hooked up with Railroad Earth for a bunch of shows. Those guys are amazing musicians, and they run a pretty tight ship. It’s really impressive to watch. So, we’ve had to step up our game and act like we been there before. Playing the role of professional musicians and shit.
[laughs] What’s it been like to play some of these places and with some of these people?
We’ve been lucky to play some beautiful, historic theaters and ballrooms on this tour. We’ve had the fortune of performing on stages that a lot of our heroes have performed on. That has definitely been a highlight for me.
I would think so.
Yeah, and the shenanigans have been relatively minimal this time out, mostly due to the weather. It’s been too damn cold to really get into trouble. It’s been a lot of sipping hot, green tea and bundling up like little old ladies.
[laughs] That ain’t too bad, though.
Trying to make up for last week’s dud of a show. Hope you enjoy.
Glossary “Little Caney” from How We Handle Our Midnights
Delaney & Bonnie “It’s Been A Long Time Coming” from Home
Crow’s Share “Mistlebone” from Crow’s Share
Brothers Of The Last Watch “Frank T. James” from Brothers Of The Last Watch
John Moreland “Christian Rock” from Everything The Hard Way
Drag the River “A Way With Women” from A Way With Women 7″
Valerie June “Twined & Twisted” from Pushin’ Against a Stone
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “King’s Road” from Hard Promises
Party Dolls “Sweetheart Moon” from Love Wars Baby
Drive-by Truckers “The Part Of Him” from English Oceans
Flat Duo Jets “You Belong To Me” from Go Go Harlem Baby
Doc Feldman & the LD50 “Cold Tile Floor” from Sundowning At the Station
Kris Kristofferson “Sunday Morning Coming Down” from Kristofferson
Hard Working Americans “Wrecking Ball” from Hard Working Americans
Kevn Kinney “Down And Out Law” from Down Out Law
Steve Earle “Mercenary Song” from Train A Comin’
Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook “Tecumsah Valley” from RSD13
Slobberbone “Whiskey Glass Eye” from Crow Pot Pie
Those Crosstown Rivals are a high-energy, high-emotion, straight-up ballsy band out of one of my favorite towns, Lexington, KY. I was stoked for a chance to talk to Bryan Minks about the making of their new album, Hell and Back (on pre-order now), and what it means to them to share their music with fans and friends. Be sure to check back tomorrow, too, for a Ninebullets review.
It was painful. The lyrics were written by my wife, Erica, and I during a year where I feel like we’d literally been drug to hell and managed to crawl back out. Erica was suffering from unbearable pain due to a rare neurological condition. She’d spent weeks in the hospital, been through three brain surgeries, and too many nights in the ER. We really didn’t know what tomorrow held, and it felt like there was no light waiting at the end of the tunnel. So we just started putting those feelings into the songs. The first four tracks of the record really deal with the feelings felt during these dark times (hell) and the idea of uncertainty. Not knowing what tomorrow holds, not knowing if there will be a tomorrow, and learning how to deal with that. The second half of the record focuses more on the idea of acceptance and hope. I developed an understanding that even though some paths within life may be forced on you, it doesn’t dictate your destination. You may just have to take the long way, or you may have to put up a fight, and I’m ok with that. I guess we all have to be. But, those ideas drive the second half of the record. Living the moment, appreciating the uncertainty, and finding hope and content in whatever path you take.
Wow, thank you for sharing that, and thank you for making a record out of it. I’m sorry y’all went through that, and I’m glad you were able to keep hope.
Sure. Well, I’d like to know some background on the band. How and when did y’all form?
Back in 2010, we were just a group friends who’d get together to drink and play music. We all came from musical backgrounds but hadn’t been in bands for years. We’d get together as often as possible, and stay in the basement for hours writing/playing music. We were really raw, and, at the time, there wasn’t really a vision for TCR. It was just a mish-mash of influences. We started playing live in the fall of 2010, and shortly after that, put out our first recording. In 2011, when we started writing Kentucky Gentlemen, we started to fall into our style. Energy and emotion is something we always put a lot of emphasis on with our live shows. But it is difficult to translate to record, and we’ve admittedly failed at this before. I finally believe with Hell and Back, the energy and the emotion has translated through, and we’ve fallen into who we are.
I would say I have to agree with you. It’s definitely an energetic and emotional record, which I personally appreciate. Well, hey, tell us what’s going on right now, and what’s coming up?
We finished out 2013 with a tour through the midwest to Colorado, then came back home and played a show with Lucero and Titus Andronicus. Since then, we’ve been on break for the winter, but get going again here in a few weeks. I’m pretty excited about the show’s coming up. We’re doing most of March with either Ned Van Go (Nashville) or Jeremy Porter and the Tucos (Detroit). Both bands are good friends of ours, and we always have a blast with them. Our record release show is going to be on 3/15 in Lexington, KY with good friends Ned Van Go, Doc Feldman, and the Vibrolas.
Any highlights or anecdotes?
All of tour is really a highlight, even the shitty nights. Most people don’t understand what its like to tour, or they think its just a good time. Tour is tough. You’re crammed in a van with everyone for hours on end, you play more shit shows than you’d like to admit, you have fights, you get robbed, but it’s all worth it, because, at the end of the day, you get to play your music for new fans and old friends. And that’s a damn good feeling, and it’s the only feeling that matters.
I’ve been privileged (or crazy) enough to spend a lot of time going on road trips, and I’ve spent time with musicians on tour on some of those, and you’re right. It’s hard, and I’m only with them, like, a few days at a time. [laughs]
Anyway, I was told I should ask you what “like men do” means?
It’s really just a play on pop culture and the diminishing idea of male masculinity. Or maybe its more about us not giving a shit and just being a bunch of self proclaimed bad asses. Boys used to be taught that its okay to be masculine, tough, and aggressive when appropriate. Now you rarely see that portrayed in our culture. Everyone’s too worried about offending someone or setting the wrong example. We really just don’t give a shit. We’re men, we’re southern, and we do manly things. Whether it be playing so hard you throw-up, drinking too much whiskey, wearing leather, 4:00 a.m. party in a cheap hotel’s hot tub, or just being a miserable hungover mess in the back of a van, we do shit like men do.
Wellllll, being a woman and someone who does all of those things, I can’t say I agree with a single thing you just said, but, since y’all don’t give a shit, we’ll just leave it at that.