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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 18, 2012
Scott Foley

I was wading through my desk this week, in an attempt to catch up on a couple (tall) stacks of CDs.  When I preview new albums, I'll give them each a quick once-over and distribute them into one of three piles:   1) This is a good one that I'll add to the KRFC library; 2) This one doesn't quite pass muster and I'll pass on it; or, 3) This one merits further listening.  Of course, pile 3 quickly becomes more of a mountain, and after a time these new CDs are no longer too new.  You might be surprised with how many pretty good albums there are out there. This week, I chose to give mountain #3 much more of my attention than usual, and I did come across at least a couple really good albums - I'll introduce at least a few of them on next week's Episode.

For this week, a couple gospel-influenced releases have grabbed my attention lately.  While I think the gospel tradition has had a great influence over our kind of music, over the past few months there have been a handful of CDs that pay a more direct homage.  Think Elizabeth Cook's excellent Gospel Plow EP, the consistently fine Mercyland compilation or even Driftwood Singers' debut.  Spirit Family Reunion doesn't make a deliberate effort to proselytize or preach, but borrows liberally from the traditional gospel song structures.  A recent NPR piece called it "music for church basements", revival music.  One bandmember calls it "open door gospel".  Like the very best of spirit-driven music, Spirit Family Reunion make a decidedly unholy racket, a sound just this side of lo-fi, driven by rattly drums, scratchy banjo and enthusiastically shouted vocals.  The Brooklyn band's humble No Separation arrives with little fanfare, packaged in a seemingly hand-stamped sleeve and a folded sheet of typed lyrics.  Unlike my growing mountain of possible passes, I knew from a first listen that this was one of my favorites for the year. 

Also this week, a tremendous introduction (for  me) to Sofie Reed, a Denver artist by way of Sweden who plays her blues on a dulcimer and sings not unlike Lucinda Williams' early recordings.  Also, the newly prolific John Hiatt's best album in years, and some prime from that hotbed of the genre, Ohio ... 

*  Lydia Loveless, "Alison"  internet single  (Bloodshot, 11)
*  Sonny & the Sunsets, "Pretend You  Love Me"  Longtime Companion  (Polyvinyl, 12)
*  Trishas, "Little Sweet Cigars"  High Wide & Handsome  (Self, 12)
*  Lyle Lovett, "Brand New Tennessee Waltz"  Quiet About It  (Mailboat, 12)  D
*  Bonnie & the Clydes, "Take Me Home"  Wrong Side Up  (Self, 12)
*  Langhorne Slim, "Way We Move"  Way We Move  (Ramseur, 12)
*  Ryan Bingham, "Heart of Rhythm"  Tomorrowland  (Axster Bingham, 12)
*  Tift Merritt, "In the Way"  Traveling Alone  (Yep Roc, 12)
*  Flatlanders, "Number Sixteen"  Odessa Tapes  (New West, 12)  D
*  Corb Lund, "Mein Deutsches Motorrad"  Cabin Fever  (New West, 12)
*  Black Prairie, "How Do You Ruin Me"  Tear In the Eye Is a Wound ...  (Sugar Hill, 12)  D
^  Spirit Family Reunion, "100 Greenback Dollar Bills"  No Separation  (Self, 12)
*  Sofie Reed, "Simplicity Chased Trouble Away"  Simplicity Chased Trouble Away  (Self, 12)  D
*  Lindi Ortega, "Day You Die"  Cigarettes & Truckstops  (Last Gang, 12)  D
*  Radney Foster, "Just Call Me Lonesome"  Del Rio TX Revisited  (Devil's River, 12)
*  Rhett Miller, "Wreck Of the Old 97 (live)"  We Walk the Line  (Legacy, 12)
*  Alone at 3am, "Another Round"  Midwest Mess  (Suburban Home, 12)  D
*  4H Royalty, "Itchy Blood"  Where UFOs Go To Die  (Self, 12)
*  Elizabeth Cook, "If I Had My Way"  Gospel Plow  (Thirty One Tigers, 12)
*  Kasey Chambers, "Return of the Grievous Angel"  Storybook  (Sugar Hill, 12)
*  John Hiatt, "It All Comes Back Someday"  Mystic Pinball  (New West, 12)  D
*  Derek Hoke, "Lonely Street"  Waiting All Night  (Electric Western, 12)
*  Gun Street Ghost, "Block of Stone"  One Home  (Self, 12)
*  Mavericks, "Come Unto Me"  Suited Up and Ready  (Valory, 12)
*  Driftwood Singers, "Come Across the Tracks"  Driftwood Singers  (Trailer Fire, 12)
*  Hayes Carll, "(I'm Gonna Start) Living Again If It Kills Me"  Lowe Country  (Fiesta Red, 12)
*  Jimmy LaFave, "It Just Is Not Right"  Depending On the Distance  (Music Road, 12)  D
*  Denver, "I'm Going Home"  Denver  (Self, 12)

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