Thursday, August 29, 2013

Album Review: The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

I generally associate old time string music with the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains, but sometime fail to realize the significance of music culture on the western side. Particularly the music emanating from the northwestern edge of Appalachian coal country. But after receiving a copy of The Tillers Hand on the Plow, no longer. These former punk rockers become historians, cover the coal mining history of the area, the loss of farmland, the unionization caused by abuses from the coal companies, even going back into the Indian wars and the conflicts with Tecumseh and the Shawnee in Ohio.

Brothers Sean and Aaron Geil, along with Michael Oberst deliver a moving compilation of songs, from Old Westside to Weary Soul - a powerful finale for the CD.  In between you will be captivated by the musicianship and the lyrics - all raw and recorded straight to tape. This trio nails it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion -> One Month Out and Counting

Here is your one month reminder that the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion is coming up quickly - September 20th-22nd in Bristol VA\TN to be precise. This is always our favorite music festival, well organized, great musicians, great venues, and quality beer. Want to see Lucinda Williams on the main street stage, check. Want to see Scotty Melton in a small bar, check. Want to see American Aquarium in a rockn' beer bar, check. Like to camp out at one stage for the entire day? Then checkout Scythian, Chatham County Line, Paul Thorn, Shovels and Rope, Hayes Carll, and Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis all on the State Street Stage. Like a historic venue? Then nothing beats Jim Lauderdale or Chris Smither  at The Paramount Center for the Arts. Got the idea? Plus, tickets are a complete bargain - a weekend pass is only $50; that's correct - $50 until September 1st. Then it rises to $70. Here is the total lineup but to help organize your schedule I would suggest the Bristol Mobile App - it makes festival life so much easier. And to make your road trip more enjoyable - theCompass mobile app will find wineries and breweries along your trip route. Cheers.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Big O and Dukes present A Night For Americans II: Sunny Ledfurd + Whitey Morgan and the 78's

 It's been a while since I've been able to sneak out and see a show, but I found one worth the effort. Last week, Big O and Dukes presented "A Night For Americans II: Sunny Ledfurd + Whitey Morgan and the 78's @ Jammin Java. And like A Night For Americans I with The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band + Whitey Morgan - this was an awesome night of music. With recent talk that steel guitar, and for that matter, anti-pop country music, are on the endangered species list, Whitey Morgan and the 78's are an example of a band doing it right. Although this band has a truckload of originals, this was a night of covers - because that was just what Morgan wanted to do. There was Waylon's Waltz Me to Heaven with the relate-able: It's been a long time. Since I've had a good time. And I think it's high time I did. They played Haggard's Working Man's Blues, Johhny Paycheck, 80's Bruce Springsteen, and even Thin Lizzy's Cowboy Song.And the finale, Dale Watson's South of Waco. What a playlist.

Ledfurd and his band arrived a little late from some transportation issues, but eventually the horns and percussion and guitars where set for their blend of funk, New Orleans Jazz, rock, and songs about " drinking, girls, and drinking." And unlike Morgan, Ledford stuck to mostly originals  like
I Don't Remember Last NightPontoon Boat, Adderral, Myrtle Beach, and many more. Ledford and his band have it - the stage presence, the persona, the brass and percussion, and entertaining songs. This is one live act that Big O and Dukes rightly chose. Cheers.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Music and Beer Through Leftover Salmon & Breckenridge Brewery

Here's a pairing that WineCompass and I can enjoy - Leftover Salmon Releases 2nd Single Through Breckenridge Brewery: “Thornpipe” Featuring Casey Dreissen.Now I just need to find a 12-pack Sampler Pack.

ASHEVILLE, NC--  Bringing new meaning to the practice of catch and release, Breckenridge Brewery of Colorado and bluegrass band Leftover Salmon have caught up with each other to launch the second release in a series of four original songs. The new music is being pre-released exclusively within Breckenridge Brewery’s 12-pack Sampler Packs through October. Each of four song download codes is provided on Artist Series coasters, specially created by four well-known artists from the “Rock Art” community and packaged inside the Sampler Packs.

The second song available is “Thornpipe,” which Andy Thorn wrote years ago, but he believed it was missing something. While attending the Old Settler’s Music Festival in Austin in April, the group hooked up with Casey Driessen who added the missing component – sounds from his fiddle. Sound engineer Mario Casillio was able to set up a makeshift studio in the back of the band’s bus, and as Thorn remembers, “Casey was kind enough to spend a bit of his afternoon laying down some hot fiddlin’.”

“In music you've got your hornpipes and your jigs, but this tune is a ‘Thornpipe,’” continued Thorn. “It’s a pretty simple banjo tune with a few twists and turns to have fun with.”
Renowned poster artist Jeff Wood of Zen Mystic Studio created the artwork for “Thornpipe.”
“My art is heavily steeped in psychedelia, so when approached about the LoS Breckenridge coaster project, swirling images started dancing through my head,” said Wood. “‘Thornpipe’ is a great bluegrass tune and I envisioned a group of salmon forming a mandala spinning inside a ring of thorns. Mandalas have been used through the ages as a meditation and contemplation tool for the artist and the viewer. My hopes were that when one looks at the coaster image they will become lost in the image and, with beer in hand, it will take them to a more peaceful Colorado state of mind.”

The second Artist Series song download coasters will begin shipping in specially marked Breckenridge Brewery 12-pack Sampler Packs in mid-August. Every download that is retrieved enters that person in a drawing. The grand prize is a trip for two to Colorado for a VIP experience at Leftover Salmon’s Thanksgiving shows, with a behind-the-scenes Breckenridge Brewery tour and a band meet-and-greet. Other prizes include a band-autographed acoustic guitar made by Andrew White Guitars, which builds Vince Herman his guitars; a set of four Artist Series coaster posters, framed and signed by the band; and weekly online poster giveaways.
Gary Houston, Jeff Wood, Nate Duval and Tyler Stout each crafted their artwork with inspiration from Leftover Salmon’s new music and Breckenridge Brewery’s beers. In addition to the coasters, each artist is printing a limited run of 100 screen print posters that are numbered and signed. The posters are available through weekly giveaways on both Breckenridge Brewery’s and Leftover Salmon’s Facebook and Instagram pages. They also will be given away at special events in select bars in cities where the band is touring.

About Breckenridge Brewery
Breckenridge Brewery was founded in 1990 in Breckenridge, Colorado. In the past two decades Breckenridge Brewery has grown from a small 3,000-barrels-a-year brewpub to one of the most successful craft beer and restaurant companies in the nation. It now handcrafts more than 52,000 barrels of fresh beer annually and owns and operates five brewpubs and ale houses in the state of Colorado. For more information visit
Leftover Salmon & Breckenridge Brewery are available for interviews. Digital downloads of the new music and high resolution versions of the Coaster Art Series are available upon request.
LoS Media Contact:
Erin Scholze, Dreamspider Publicity

Breckenridge Brewery Media Contact:
Matt Eldridge, Marketing

Dreamspider Publicity... These things just don't happen by themselves...
Representing diverse & unique roots music from the mountains to the swamps

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Drive-By Truckers Reissue ALABAMA ASS WHUPPIN’ on September 10th

I hope The Drive-By Truckers focus on this album during their upcoming tour - 18 Wheels of Love and Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus) are always a concert favorite.

Athens, GA – ATO Records will reissue the Drive-By Truckers’ Alabama Ass Whuppin’ on September 10, 2013. Alabama Ass Whuppin’ is the band’s third album. Originally released in 2000, the record has been out of print for years. The album has been re-mastered and includes updated artwork by Wes Freed. This will also be the first time the album has been available on vinyl.

Alabama Ass Whuppin’ documents a specific time for the band. Recorded from March 1999 through August of 2000 in clubs across the southeast including Tasty Word, The High Hat, The Star Bar, The Caledonia Lounge and the 40 Watt.

“This was our third album and the connecting thread between our earlier work and the band that we went on to become later. It’s a documentation of a period in time that I wouldn’t go back to for all the money in the world, but I’m proud of the shows that we played and the songs that we wrote, “ says Patterson Hood.

The band is currently in the studio in Athens, GA recording their 12th record. ATO Records will release the record early 2014.

Pre-orders for the record will be available later this week at: and itunes.

1. Why Henry Drinks
2. Lookout Mountain
3. The Living Bubba
4. Too Much Sex (Too Little Jesus)
5. Don't Be in Love Without Me
6. 18 Wheels of Love
7. The Avon Lady
8. Margo and Harold
9. (Alabama Ass Whuppin’) Banter
10. Buttholeville
11. People Who Died
12. Love Like This

For more information contact: Traci Thomas 615.664.1167 /

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CD Review: New Country Rehab - Ghost of Your Charms

Everyday this week, I've had Ghost of Your Charms, the latest from New Country Rehab, on a continuous loop - just can't get enough of this CD.  It starts with the first track, Empty Room Blues, some rockn' music, and continues all the way through Too Many Parties And Too Many Pals. Rollin' is a classic - this is country music and The Bank And The Army is classic rock. How did this band not pass through my radar before. Thanks Hearth Music.

You might not expect the Canadian city of Toronto to produce a hard-driving alt-country sound, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in New Country Rehab’s new album, Ghost of Your Charms. New Country Rehab’s dynamic sound and powerful songs throw light on the grittier side of Toronto, from the city’s working class history as Hogtown, an early 20th century center of meatpacking and industry. And just as Southern American folk traditions needed the urban landscapes of Chicago to become electric blues and R&B, Toronto turns simple country songs into the driving, electrifying Americana of New Country Rehab.

New Country Rehab’s lead singer John Showman is a frontman on fire, singing and fiddling with the swagger and verve of a guitar god. With his fiddle jammed on his shoulder or slung low at his side, Showman swings from a croon to a growl, throwing a powerful punch of energy and virtuosity into the band’s sound. Drummer Roman Tome rocks a hybrid kit including a saw-blade cymbal and goat hooves for shakers, among other surprises. Freewheeling bassist Ben Whiteley holds it all together with his acoustic bass grooves, energizing the band and audiences alike with joyful abandon. The band teams up on this album with producer Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Ohbijou) and the results are both polished and powerful.

The song’s lyrics treat classic country themes with a modern take on mortality, love, and the open road. The album’s single, “Home to You,” follows the narrator on a wandering journey that circles back again and again to the devoted optimism of the chorus – “it brings me home to you.” “Rollin’,” a Morricone-inspired western soundscape, follows the lonely ramblings of a mysterious highwayman. “Lizzy Dying of a Broken Heart” is about a Vietnam vet and career mercenary slowly losing his mind in post-war retirement, and “The Bank and the Army” puts a spin on the murder ballad genre, with a fictionalized story set against an imagined, but frighteningly plausible, backdrop of political conspiracy.

New Country Rehab fuses the sounds of country roots traditions to the urban grit of contemporary Toronto. Ghost of Your Charms is the sound of a band with feet firmly rooted in the city they call home, and their eyes on the road ahead.

NEW COUNTRY REHAB - Home to You (official video) from kelprecords on Vimeo.