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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 23, 2012
Scott Foley

An entire recurring radio program could be built around contemporary variations on the traditional string band.  In some neighborhoods, you can't walk into a coffee shop without running into one. San Francisco's Brothers Comatose is one of the more promising young purveyors of the crowded sub-genre.  Of course, the brothers Morrison began their foray into music as a punk-flavored band, but over the years have decidedly evolved into a more acoustic direction, while maintaining some of the attitude.  Lots of energy pervades these cuts, as well as just the right amount of grit, avoiding the overly polished production which can hinder a young string band.  The Bros Comatose will be touring through beautiful, burning Colorado next week, including a July 3 date at Avo's.

*  Rhett Miller, "Swimmin' In Sunshine"  Dreamer  (Maximum Sunshine, 12)
*  Patti Fiasco, "Nobody's Girl"  Patti Fiasco  (Self, 11)
Brothers Comatose, "Modern Day Sinners"  Respect the Van  (Self, 12)  D
*  Kelly Hogan, "Golden"  I Like To Keep Myself In Pain  (Anti, 12)
*  Magnolia Mt w/Lydia Loveless, "Shotgun Divorce"  Town & Country  (Self, 12)
*  Old Crow Medicine Show, "Tell It To Me"  OCMS  (Nettwerk, 04)
*  Billy Bragg & Wilco, "I'm Out To Get"  Mermaid Ave Vol 3  (Nonesuch, 12)
*  New Ben Franklins, "Miserable"  peter gabriel  (Dingo's Kidney, 12)
*  Jerry Douglas w/Mumford & Sons, "Boxer"  Traveler  (eOne, 12)  D
*  Rachel Harrington, "Nothin' To Do But You"  Makin' Our House a Honkytonk  (SkinnyDennis, 12)
*  Deep Dark Woods, "Back Alley Blues"  Place I Left Behind  (Sugar Hill, 11)
*  Robert Ellis, "All Men Are Liars"  Lowe Country  (Fiesta Red, 12)
*  Robert Cline Jr, "Gypsy King"  All the Right Reasons  (Mockingbird, 12)
*  Seth Walker, "Rosalie"  Time Can Change  (Self, 12) 
*  Shovels & Rope, "O' Be Joyful"  O' Be Joyful  (Dualtone, 12)
*  Son Volt, "Down To the Wire"  American Central Dust  (Rounder, 09)
*  Langhorne Slim, "Bad Luck"  Way We Move  (Ramseur, 12)
*  Elizabeth Cook, "If I Had My Way"  Gospel Plow  (31 Tigers, 12)
*  Lee Bains III & Glory Fires, "Ain't No Stranger"  There Is a Bomb In Gilead  (Alive Ntl Sound, 12)
*  Joe Sampson, "Kill Our Friends"  Kill Our Friends  (Fellow Creature, 12)
*  Don Williams, "Better Than Today"  And So It Goes  (Sugar Hill, 12)  D
*  Mary Karr &  Rodney Crowell, "I'm a Mess"  Kin  (Vanguard, 12)
*  Pete Krebs & Danny Barnes, "C&W"  Duet For Clarinet & Goat  (Cavity Search, 01)
*  Johnny Hickman, "Resurrection Train"  Tilting  (Self, 12)
*  Leeroy Stagger, "Dirty Windshields"  Radiant Land  (Rebeltone, 12)
*  Vespers, "Close My Eyes"  Fourth Wall  (Black Suit, 12)  D
 *  String Cheese Incident, "Can't Wait Another Day"  internet single  (SCI Fidelity, 12)  D
*  Lyle Lovett, "Bears"  Step Inside This House  (MCA, 98)
*  Keller Williams & Travelin' McCourys, "I'm Amazed"  Pick  (SCI Fidelity, 12)  D

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 16, 2012
Scott Foley

Judging by the ol' calendar on the wall, it's just about mid-year - halfway through the year 2012.  While I typically assemble favorites lists at year's end, this year I intend to at least pull together an alphabetical list of my mid-year faves, most likely by the first post of July.  Now there's something to look forward to in this summer of monumental fires, absurd heat and insufficient employment. 

 New product this Episode from the likes of Canadian import Corb Lund, as well as an excellent contribution by Robert Ellis to an americana tribute to Nick Lowe.  Colorado artists come through this week with new stuff from Johnny Hickman and Ashley Raines (understandably decided to play "More Of a Man" rather that his "Fuck Shit Up" song that opens the new EP).  2011's year end favorites list featured just one Colorado artist, but I'm thinking this year's list might prove a bit more representative.

Finally, Nashville songwriter Elizabeth Cook has already recorded tunes like "Heroin Addict Sister", "Yes To Booty" and "Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be a Woman", so it was just a matter of time before she released an EP of gospel standards.  With her husband Tim Carroll, Cook does a great job of respecting the tradition while putting her own stamp on cuts like "Hear Jerusalem Calling" and "If I Had My Way I'd Tear This Building Down".  She cemented the week with a stellar take on the former, on David Letterman's show.  And just to make sure she's not accused of being overly reverent, she includes a take on Velvet Underground's "Jesus". 

*  Turnpike Troubadors, "Gin Smoke & Lies"  Goodbye Normal Street  (Bossier City, 12)
*  Lindi Ortega, "Angels"  Little Red Boots  (Last Gang, 11)
*  Diamond Rugs, "Hightail"  Diamond Rugs  (Partisan, 12)
*  BR5-49, "There Goes My Love"  Big Backyard Beat Show  (Arista, 98)
*  Johnny Hickman, "Our Little Movie"  Tilting  (Self, 12)
*  Sons Of Bill, "Santa Ana Winds"  Sirens  (Thirty Tigers, 12)
^  Elizabeth Cook, "Hear Jerusalem Calling"  Gospel Plow  (Thirty Tigers, 12)  D
*  Ashley Raines & New West Revue, "More Of a Man"  Begin  (Idiom, 12)  D
*  Ryan Adams, "Born Into a Light"  Cardinology  (Lost Hwy, 08)
*  Joy Mills, "When the Arrow Leaves the Bow"  Trick Of the Eye  (Self, 12)
*  Two Gallants, "Broken Eyes"  Bloom & the Blight  (ATO, 12)  D
*  Grant Farm, "Tell Me Tell Me"  Grant Farm  (Self, 12)
*  4H Royalty, "Virtues Spices & Liquors"  Where UFOs Go To Die  (Self, 12)
*  Honeycutters, "Josephine"  When Bitter Met Sweet  (Buttons Down, 12)
*  Corb Lund, "September"  Cabin Fever  (New West, 12)  D
*  Grey DeLisle, "Beautiful Mistake"  Home Wrecker  (Hummin' Bird, 02)
*  Caitlin Rose, "Piledriver Waltz"  internet single  (Self, 12)  D
*  Shovels & Rope, "Birmingham"  O' Be Joyful  (Dualtone, 12)
*  Robert Ellis, "All Men Are Liars"  Lowe Country  (Fiesta Red, 12)  D
*  Civil Wars, "From the Valley"  Mercyland: Hymns For the Rest Of Us  (Mercyland, 12)
*  Patrick Dethlefs, "Will I Ever Find a Way"  Fall & Rise  (Self, 12)  D
*  Dexateens, "Down Low"  Singlewide  (Skybucket, 09)
*  Rachel Harrington, "Moonshine Boy"  Makin' Our House a Honkytonk  (Skinny Dennis, 12)
*  Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell, "My Father's Advice"  Kin  (Vanguard, 12)
*  Flatlanders, "Dallas"  More a Legend Than a Band  (Rounder, 72)
*  Bap Kennedy, "Please Return To Jesus"  Sailor's Revenge  (Lonely St, 12)  D
*  Walt Wilkins, "Like Strother Martin"  Plenty  (Ride, 12)
*  Leftover Salmon, "Kentucky Skies"  Aquatic Hitchhiker  (Self, 12)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 9, 2012
Scott Foley

Thanks to a recent tip from a fellow programmer, I recently began recording my broadcasts using an online service.  This gives me the opportunity to be hypercritical of my shows in the privacy of my own office.  Helpfully, the site also suggests other streaming programs I might be interested in, like "The Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot".  Per its webhome, the RBHH is "a great soundtrack for ... cleaning up around the ranch, a nekkid dip in the hot spring, driving out to your favorite fishin' hole, gathering with friends on the porch ... etc."  I mean no offense to host Don "Dondo" Darue or his loyal listeners, but I aim for a different haybale on R&B.  I know there are cuts on my own setlist that make you want to jam a long piece of wheat between your teeth and dig out the overalls, but I generally hope to work from a more urban setting.  I will also remind you of the ban I maintain against songs likening women or relationships to food (with the notable exception of Golden Smog's "Pecan Pie").  Plus, I tend to leave the propaganda about the glories of liquor and the evil weed to Andy's Roadhouse Radio program.  Which isn't to say that there's not a place for shows of that ilk.  There was a time when I would announce Routes & Branches as "The very best of americana, and roots music with an indie edge".  My hope is that that indie edge remains, that tunes like Langhorne Slim's manic "Way We Move", Arliss Nancy's tough-as-nails "Crease" or 4H Royalty's "Accordion Bus" still define the sound of R&B (despite the fact that my kids still refer to it all as "country music").

That said, please enjoy some Colorado music this week, in the form of Denver's 4H Royalty.  The band is fronted by Zach Boddicker, who has spent time with Drag the River and Railbenders as well.  The follow-up to their Colossalalia, Where UFOs Go To Die deals from a similar deck as Drag the River, though Boddicker injects more hope and more humor than DtR.  The band flirts with the "m" word, too (that would be "maturity"), demonstrating a promising ability to tell a story a'la Richmond Fontaine or even Drive-by Truckers.  While bands of their ilk might be tempted to floor the pedal from start to finish, 4H Royalty allows their songs to breathe a bit, which is refreshing.  Plus, they sent me a decal, which is the next best thing to a $20 bill to assure a quick write-up ...

*  Langhorne Slim, "Way We Move"  Way We Move  (Ramseur, 12)
*  Sadies, "Loved On Look"  Tremendous Efforts  (Bloodshot, 01)
*  Todd Snider, "Jaded Lover"  Time As We Know It  (Aimless, 12)
*  Joy Mills, "History Repeats"  Trick Of the Eye  (Self, 12)
^  4H Royalty, "Accordion Bus"  Where UFOs Go To Die  (Self, 12)
*  Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, "Let's Leave This Town"  Let's Leave This Town  (Texas Music, 02)
*  John Fullbright, "All the Time In the World"  From the Ground Up  (Blue Dirt, 12)
*  Fiction Is Fun, "Rain"  You Die Every Time Always  (Self, 12)
*  Shovels & Rope, "O' Be Joyful"  O' Be Joyful  (Dualtone, 12)
*  Scott Miller, "Only Road"  Citation  (Sugar Hill, 06)
*  Cory Branan, "Darken My Door"  Mutt  (Bloodshot, 12)
*  Brandi Carlile, "Hard Way Home"  Bear Creek  (Columbia, 12)
*  Trampled By Turtles, "Walt Whitman"  Stars & Satellites  (Thirty Tigers, 12)
*  Travel By Sea, "Let It All Lie Down"  Days Of My Escape  (Self, 08)
*  Mary Karr & Rodney Crowell, "Anything But Tame"  KIN  (Vanguard, 12)
*  Sara Watkins, "Impossible"  Sun Midnight Sun  (Nonesuch, 12)
*  Arliss Nancy, "Crease"  Simple Machines  (Suburban Home, 12)
*  Shawn Colvin, "All Fall Down"  All Fall Down  (Nonesuch, 12)
*  Kelly Hogan, "Plant White Roses"  I Like To Keep Myself In Pain  (Anti, 12)
*  Neil Young & Crazy Horse, "This Land Is Your Land"  Americana   (Reprise, 12)
*  Rachel Harrington, "Makin' Our House a Honkytonk"  Makin' Our House a Honkytonk  (Skinny Dennis, 12)
*  Emmylou Harris, "Going Back To Harlan"  Wrecking Ball  (Elektra, 95)
*  Johnny Hickman, "Measure Of a Man"  Tilting  (Self, 12)
*  Rhett Miller, "As Close As I Came To Being Right"  Dreamer  (Maximum Sunshine, 12)
*  Jon Dee Graham, "Just Like That"  Garage Sale  (Freedom, 12)
*  Tom Waits, "Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You"  Early Years Vol 2  (Fantasy, 92)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

June 2, 2012
Scott Foley

Announcements were made this week regarding the nominees for 2012's Americana Honors and Awards.  While they rarely coincide with my own year-end favorites, the American Awards do a far better job of approximating what a mainstream take on our kind of music might look like than do, say, the Grammys, which fail across the board.  Curious misstep of the year:  Hayes Carll is up for Artist Of the Year even though he hasn't released anything since last February's KMAG YOYO which was already nominated for a couple categories in 2011's awards.  Best step:  Either pegging the Guy Clark tribute This One's For Him for album of the year or the truly strong top-to-bottom lineup for New And Emerging Arist:  Alabama Shakes, Dawes, Deep Dark Woods and Robert Ellis.  For this Episode of R&B, we touch briefly on a couple of the more prominent nominees - it seems to be Jason Isbell's award to lose this year. 

We also enjoy a first peek into Colorado's own 4H Royalty as they unleash their sophomore album.  After dallying with a solo career, Raul Malo reunites with his Mavericks.  Rhett Miller steps outside of his Old 97s day job for his fifth solo effort, which early listens indicate just might be his best.  Whereas previous outings have perhaps tried to hard to put distance between the 97s and Rhett's solo sound, The Dreamer settles into a more natural groove, retaining much of the vibe while focusing on the perfect pop instincts that have always made him such a stellar songwriter. 

*  Lucinda Williams, "Sweet Side"  World Without Tears  (Lost Hwy, 03)
*  Dr Dog, "Get Away"  Be the Void  (Anti, 12)
*  BoDeans, "American"  American  Made  (Free & Alive, 12)
*  Haunted Windchimes, "Out With the Crow"  Out With the Crow  (Blank Tape, 12)
*  Honeycutters, "Penny"  When Bitter Met Sweet  (Buttons Down, 12)
*  Neil Young & Crazy Horse, "Travel On"  Americana  (Reprise, 12)
*  Townes Van Zandt, "No Lonesome Tune"  Late Great TVZ  (EMI, 72)
*  4H Royalty, "Virtues Spices & Liquors"  Where UFOs Go To Die  (Self, 12)  D
*  Chelle Rose, "Browder Holler Boy"  Ghost Of Browder Holler  (Lil Damsel, 12)
*  Langhorne Slim, "Bad Luck"  Way We Move  (Ramseur, 12)
*  Jayhawks, "Stumbling Through the Dark"  Rainy Day Music  (Lost Hwy, 03)
*  Shawn Colvin, "Neon Light Of the Thousand Days"  All Fall Down  (Nonesuch, 12)
*  Robert Cline Jr, "Another Day Another Dollar"  All the Right Reasons  (Mockingbird, 12)
*  Magnolia Mountain w/Lydia Loveless, "Shotgun Divorce"  Town & Country  (Self, 12)  D
*  Two Dollar Pistols, "You Cleared Every Hurdle"  Here Tomorrow Gone Today  (8th House, 07)
*  John Fullbright, "Gawd Above"  From the Ground Up  (Blue Dirt, 12)
*  Lukas Nelson, "Ain't No Answer"  Wasted  (Tone Tide, 12)
*  Jason Isbell, "Alabama Pines"  Here We Rest  (Lightning Rod, 11)
*  Mavericks, "Born To Be Blue"  Suited Up and Ready EP  (Valory, 12)  D
*  Joe Sampson, "Moon Up Above"  Kill Our Friends  (Fellow Creature, 12)
*  Gillian Welch, "Down Along the Dixie Line"  Harrow & the Harvest  (Acony, 11)
*  Turnpike Troubadours, "Good Lord Lorrie"  Goodbye Normal Street  (Bossier City, 12)
^  Rhett Miller, "Lost Without You"  Dreamer  (Maximum Sunshine, 12)
*  Rosie Flores, "Baby Took a Limo To Memphis"  This One's For Him  (Icehouse, 11)
*  Jason Ringenberg, "Pocket Of Soul"  Pocketful Of Soul  (Courageous Chicken, 00)
*  Steve Earle, "Waitin' On the Sky"  I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive  (New West, 11)
*  Robert Plant, "Angel Dance"  Band Of Joy  (Rounder, 10)