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Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 12, 2010
Scott Foley

Too many bands attempt to parrot the hybrid of honky-tonk played so well by Colorado's Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams, but end up sounding like a stereotype. Instead of the nuance and shade on Wofford & Co's new Sinners & Saints, other bands might come across as hayseed punks or tongue-in-cheek Hee Haw cartoons. Sinners & Saints shows smart aggression on the title track, but can pull back for something requiring a more subtle approach like the album-opener, "Invocation." The more straightforward honky-tonkers (including the handful of instrumentals like "Hey Bub") toe the traditionalist line while managing to sound fresh. It won't be easy to pry my vote for Best Colorado Album of 2010 from Nathaniel Rateliff's In Memory of Loss, but Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams have at least entered the proverbial arena.

I didn't want to let this Episode pass without giving some space to Sons of Bill's new EP, Take a Shower Call Your Mother Your Life Is In Shambles. The Sons' previous release, the full-length One Town Away, showed glimpses of songwriting greatness ("Broken Bottles" most notably). The strong new cut, "Lost Love and Indie Rockers," cries out for TMM play, but also features enough prominent profanity to get me off the radio and back home on Thursdays.

* Ana Egge, "Farmer's Daughter" Road To My Love (Parkinsong, 09)
* Otis Gibbs, "Kansas City" Joe Hill's Ashes (Wanamaker, 10)
* Stone River Boys, "Think I'm Gonna Make It" Love On the Dial (Cow Island, 10)
* Max Stalling, "6x9 Speakers" Home To You (Self, 10)
^ Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams, "Sinners & Saints" Sinners & Saints (Self, 10)
* Mike Stinson, "Jukebox in Your Heart" Jukebox in Your Heart (Stag, 10)
* Gillian Welch, "Caleb Meyer" Hell Among the Yearlings (Acony, 98)
* Chase Fifty Six, "Mary Jane" Allatoona Rising (Dirt Leg, 10)
* Sons of Bill, "Life in Shambles" Take a Shower Call Your Mother ... (Self, 10)
* Bobby Bare Jr, "Your Goat Is On Fire" A Storm A Tree My Mother's Head (Naked Albino, 10)
* Elizabeth Cook, "El Camino" Welder (31 Tigers, 10)
* Jimmy Lafave, "Desperate Men Do Desperate Things" Favorites 1992-2001 (Music Rd, 10)
* Jon Langford & Skull Orchard, "Getting Used to Uselessness" Old Devils (Bloodshot, 10)
* Sahara Smith, "Thousand Secrets" Myth of the Heart (Playing in Traffic, 10)
* Mark Olson, "Little Bird of Freedom" Many Colored Kite (Ryko, 10)
* Legendary Shack Shakers, "Hellwater" Swampblood (Yep Roc, 07)
* Mike Farris, "Night the Cumberland Came Alive" Night the Cumberland ... (Self, 10)
* Shinyribs, "Shores of Galilee" Well After Awhile (Nine Mile, 10)
* Robert Plant & Band of Joy, "Angel Dance" Band of Joy (Rounder, 10)
* Black Prairie, "Turn it Into Gold" internet single (Sugar Hill, 10)
* Robert Earl Keen, "My Home Aint in the Hall of Fame" Gravitational Forces (Lost Hwy, 01)
* Bruce Robison, "Heartaches to Houston" From the Top (Self, 10)
* Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, "Low Road" Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (Hollywood, 10)
* Marty Stuart, "Branded" Ghost Train (Sugar Hill, 10)
* Acorn, "Restoration" No Ghost (Bella Union, 10)
* Larkin Poe, "Sea Song" Summer an EP (Self, 10)
* Susan Cowsill, "Sweet Bitter End" Lighthouse (Threadhead, 10)

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