A Good Read, a Good Listen, and a Good Drink: Mudlow

photo credit: Nhung Dang

 

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss.

In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire.

Much like my appreciation for Skip James, my interest in Mudlow was originally piqued not by their music, but by a photo of the band. The photo … Continue reading

Giveaway: Scott Miller

That’s right: we haven’t even closed the Hayes Carll contest, and we already have another great giveaway. I’m pretty tickled by this one. Scott Miller, of V-Roys fame, is releasing a new solo album. Check out the charming video for the first single, “Lo Siento, Spanishburg, WVa — A Story of the Real Americana”.

 

 

How can you not love that closing chorus?

Now, the goodies. We have two prize packs to give away, one men’s and one women’s, that contains Scott’s CD, a T-shirt and a FREAKING KAZOO. A kazoo, y’all! How great is that? Each winner will get to choose the shirt style and size of his/her choice from Scott’s nifty shop.

All you have to do is drop a comment below with your favorite of the 50 United States of America – and your preference for men’s or women’s shirt. One man-style and one woman-style winner will be chosen at random. We’ll give y’all until August 3, 2011 at 5 PM EST to enter. Winners will be announced on August 4.

Scott Miller Official Website

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Giveaway: Hayes Carll

First, check out this video:

Freaking adorable, and a great pairing of vocals between Hayes Carll and Cary Ann Hearst. The song, “Another Like You”, is off of Carll’s latest album KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories).

Now here’s the really good part: You could win a copy of KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories) on warm, delicious vinyl. Just drop a comment below with your favorite opposites-attract pairing for a chance to win. Deadline is July 28, 2011 at 5 PM EST. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on July 29.

Hayes Carll Official Website

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The Dad Horse Experience: Dead Babies Singing in the Sky

 

“Like a dead dog on the highway…” sang an unmistakeably German voice. It was the kind of lisping German accent that my American ears associate with camp villains in bad movies. Then in came the banjo.

What?

“Like a dead dog, I’m hanging around,” the German voice continued singing over the quaint banjo melody. “Won’t you stop and pick me up? Dig me a deep hole in the ground.”

I was, to put it kindly, perplexed. What in the world was this? In my head, my conditioned American thoughts, banjo and heavy German accents did not belong together. But I kept listening, fascinated, compelled to find out what this was all about. And as unprepared as I was for the initial track, I was yet again thrown off balance by what the second track brought.

 

Kingdom It Will Come / THE DAD HORSE EXPERIENCE by dadhorse

 

Oh yes, there was definitely something worth investigating here. By the end of the album, I was smitten.

Dead Dog on a Highway is the second long player from the Dad Horse Experience, which consists mostly of a man who goes by the name … Continue reading

Whitey Morgan & the 78s in Cleveland

 

I don’t usually like to use PR blurbs, but I couldn’t get it better than Bloodshot’s PR already has it on Whitey Morgan.

Outlaw’s always been the rough-around-the-edges, tuff guy uncle at the country music family picnic. Denim and leather, not Stetson and Nudie. Hair by Pennzoil, not Pomade. But, in the right hands—Haggard, Paycheck, Junior, Willie and Waylon and now Whitey Morgan—Outlaw is more than beards and bandanas, ink and attitude, it’s goddamn folk music. It’s about doing the best you can, about getting by and about cold beer and colder women—everything that keeps the honky tonks full on a Saturday night. It’s about standing up when it’d just be easier to fall down.

Coming from Flint MI, the always forgotten civic little brother to Motown but no less a hard town with empty factories and emptier prospects, loaded Whitey Morgan & the 78’s with that survivors’ f.u. mentality. The self-titled debut Bloodshot album was recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock NY, and while their antecedents are pretty clear, Whitey and the boys play with a muscular attack and energy that makes us think they HAD to learn to play it that way to be … Continue reading

Austin Lucas: Constant Sound of Thundering Rails

 

As has likely become obvious to regular NTSIB readers, I’m a sucker for a good voice. A voice full of pathos and urgency – and especially one that has been roughened with whiskey and cigarettes – will get me every time. Austin Lucas has a classic bluegrass voice. “High lonesome” is a good phrase for it. And while this sort of voice would seem best paired with quiet instrumentation and pretty guitars, as Lucas has often used in the past, on his latest album A New Home in the Old World, Lucas shows that bringing up the intensity of the music to match the intensity of the voice benefits both the singer and the song. Check out a little of what I mean on my favorite song from the album, opening track “Run Around”.

 

Run Around by Austin Lucas

 

It’s a sharp smack in the face of an introduction to an album that pulls a taught thread of emotional intensity throughout. Later on in the album, such as on lead single “Thunder Rail”, electric guitar is pulled into the mix, recalling some of the best roots-minded alt.rock.

 

Thunder Rail by … Continue reading

Bits: The Imperial Rooster, Bang Bang Boogaloo, Modest Mouse & Big Boi, Craig Wedren, The Twilight Singers, Wolfgang’s Vault

  • The Imperial Rooster will be playing at El Farol in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on May 10 at 6 PM MST and the set will be broadcast live on Radio Free Santa Fe. Tune in locally at 98.1 or via the Radio Free Santa Fe website.
  • New York label Bang Bang Boogaloo has put together a killer compilation of unsigned New York bands called New York Rock & Roll 1. You can listen to and download it for free on their website.
  • Big Boi revealed, via Twitter, that he’s working on an album with Modest Mouse. “Been camped out in the Lab with Modest Mouse all week, workin on the new mouse LP, coolest cats ever. Long Live The Funk.” Cannot wait to hear the results of that collaboration.
  • Both Craig Wedren and the Twilight Singers are offering new songs for free download. Wedren’s “Cupid” is a Shudder to Think-era tune re-purposed for his upcoming solo album, WAND. The Twilight Singers’ “Don’t Call” is a non-album track, as well as being a Desire cover.
  • Wolfgang’s Vault has added a video section to their mammoth live … Continue reading

Pete David & the Payroll Union: Ghosts Came By and They Told Us to Go

 

Recently, while listening to a band whose genre was listed as “Americana” but who were not from any of the Americas, let alone the United States, I likened Americana music in the ’10s to Irish music in the ’90s – a genre named for a country, rapidly filling with non-native practitioners.

But that phenomenon is not necessarily a bad thing. Take Exhibit A: Pete David & the Payroll Union. Based in Sheffield, England, the group was formed by a couple of young Brits (vocalist/guitarist/harmonica player David and banjo player Joseph Field) who held an acute interest in the traditional music of the U.S. This makes a sort of sense since lines drawn from early American music (string bands, drum and fife bands) often lead back to the British Isles.

The lyrics of Pete David & the Payroll Union’s debut EP Underfed and Underpaid make this even more of a musical Möbius strip as David and company sing stories set during the French and Indian War, the Civil War, the Salem Witch Trials, etc. They even have the visage of America’s 7th president Andrew Jackson gracing their website. Not for the first time, the Brits have beat us … Continue reading

The Imperial Rooster: My Heart is Thawed

Couch by Couch West: it started out as a tongue-in-cheek backlash against the rising tide of babble that always inundates the online music community around South by South West time. But while the whole thing started out as a joke that masked the fact that many of us were envious of the people who were going out to Austin to take in some great live performances, CXCW turned into a viable entertainment option of its own, complete with exclusive performances from unknown and name acts alike (Neko Case didn’t play SXSW this year, but she and her dog Liza did serenade CXCWers). NTSIB found more than a couple of acts that made us sit up and say, “We’ve got to get them on the blog!”

One of those bands was the Imperial Rooster. Playing from a porch in Espanola, New Mexico, the Roosters showed up early and often at CXCW. Here they are in their CXCW performance of “The Ballad Of Lightning Bill Jasper”:

 

 

Their first album, Old Good Crazy Poor Dead, spans the spectrum from raucous novelty songs (“Pigfork”) to heart-tearing, Southern gothic ballad (“Uranium Mole”). Rooster music is loose … Continue reading

Notable Shows in the Greater Cleveland Area

Shows worth checking out this week in and around Cleveland:

The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

  • Sat, Apr 9| 8:30 PM (7:30 PM door)
    Hayes Carll
    Shovels & Rope
    Roger Hoover
    $10 adv / $12 dos
    Ballroom | All Ages
  • Sun, Apr 10| 8 PM (7 PM door)
    John Mark McMillan
    All The Bright Lights
    $10adv / $12 dos
    Ballroom | All Ages
  • Mon, Apr 11| 7 PM (6:30 PM door)
    Scott Hanson & The Champagnes
    Mary Mee
    $7
    Ballroom | All Ages
  • Wed, Apr 13| 8 PM (7 PM door)
    Ezra Furman & The Harpoons
    Tristen
    The Apache Relay
    $10 adv / $12 dos
    Tavern | All Ages

Grog Shop

  • Sat, Apr 9| 8 PM
    Subhumans
    MDC
    ODFX
    Masakari
    $12
  • Sun, Apr 10| 8 PM
    Starfucker
    Champagne Champagne
    Hot Cha Cha
    The Nude Acid American Revolution Band
    $10
  • Mon, Apr 11| 8 PM
    Mike Watt + The Missingmen
    The Lawton Brothers
    Restless Habs
    $10
  • Thu, Apr 14| … Continue reading