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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

ROUTES & BRANCHES
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 alt.country 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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