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Monday, May 13, 2013

ROUTES & BRANCHES   
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
May 11, 2013
Scott Foley

Firstly, please make sure to tip a little less at the restaurant this week to save up your dollars for KRFC's pending Spring Membership DriveThe station's 10-day-long-self-pat-on-the-back begins this Friday, May 17.  This give R&B listeners two opportunities to support our favorite radio program:  May 18 and May 25.  I'll be joined by Andy from Tarnation! on the 18th, and by Nine Bullets' Charles Hale (aka Fast Eddie) on the 25th.  Plus, there will be departing gifts for folks who pledge their support.  

Fresh off an Americana Music Award for his "Alabama Pines" song, Jason Isbell returns with the album of his career.  In addition to the award recognition, Southeastern arrives in the wake of a newfound sobriety and a marriage to Amanda Shires.  None of which means that these new songs are necessarily more upbeat and positive than anything else he has ever written.  Matter of fact, Isbell's victories have seemingly prompted a bout of artistic self-reflection.  Only "Super 8" demonstrates the raucous, devil may care spirit that might have permeated Isbell's earlier work with the Drive-by Truckers.  "Elephant", for instance, is a brutally, beautifully honest portrayal of a man in love with a woman ravaged by cancer:  
But I'd sing her classic country songs and she'd get high and sing along / She don't have a voice to sing with now / We burn these joints in effigy and cry about what we used to be. / And try to ignore the elephant somehow, somehow
Lyrically and vocally, Isbell is burning on Southeastern.  The intimacy and candor throughout the collection likely made this a difficult project to complete with his band of late, the 400 Unit.  Guests include Kim Richey, Will Johnson and Mrs Isbell, Amanda Shires, with whom he shares a duet on the confessional "Traveling Alone".  Elsewhere on an album that seemingly addresses Isbell's struggles with candor and grace, he sings, "Jesus Loves a sinner / But the highway loves a sin". 

 

*  Flatlanders, "Blue Wind Blew"  Poet: Tribute to Townes Van Zandt  (TVZ, 09)
*  Townes Van Zandt, "Dead Flowers"  Sunshine Boy  (Omnivore, 13)
*  Fifth on the Floor, "Whiskey"  Ashes & Angels  (Self, 13)
*  Jason Boland & the Stragglers, "Electric Bill"  Dark & Dirty Mile  (Proud Souls, 13)
*  Shooter Jennings, "The Outsider"  Other Life  (eOne, 13)
*  Rachel Harrington, "Shoeless Joe"  Bootlegger's Daughter  (Skinny Dennis, 07)
*  Lori McKenna, "Better With Time"  Massachusetts  (Self, 13)
*  Del Lords, "Silverlake"  Elvis Club  (Gb/MRI, 13)   D
*  Sheryl Crow, "JukinGhost Brothers of Darkland County  (Hear, 13)
*  Lucero, "Breathless Love"  Texas & Tennessee  (ATO, 13)
*  Cracker, "Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room"  Countrysides  (IM, 03)
*  Kinky Friedman, "Sold American"  Sold American  (Vanguard, 73)
*  Jesse Dayton, "Rapid City South Dakota"  Jesse Sings Kinky  (Stag, 12)
*  Caitlin Rose, "I Was Cruel"  Stand-In  (ATO, 13)
*  I Can Lick Any SOB In the House, "Mayberry"  Mayberry  (Last Chance, 13)  D
*  Ryan Adams, "Shakedown on 9th Street"  Heartbreaker  (Bloodshot, 00)
*  BR5-49, "Hey Honey I'm Home"  Unsung Hero: Tribute to Ron Davies  (Little Chickadee, 13)
*  Lizzie Huffman, "Columbus OH"  single  (Self, 13)  C
*  David Ramirez, "Bad Days"  The Rooster  (Self, 13)
*  Southern Culture On the Skids, "Life's a Gas"  Countrypolitan Favorites  (Yep Roc, 07)
*  Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy, "Linda Please"  Tell All  (Self, 13)  D
^  Jason Isbell, "Traveling Alone"  Southeastern  (12th Street, 13)
*  Statesboro Revue, "Hands On the Sun"  Ramble On Privilege Creek  (30 Tigers, 13)   D
*  Shouting Matches, "Mother When"  Grownass Men  (BDC/Middle West, 13)
*  Pistol Annies, "Damn Thing"  Annie Up  (RCA, 13)  D
*  Graham Linsdey, "Come Gather Round the Mine"  Mine EP  (Spacebar, 08)
*  Deadstring Brothers, "Oh Me Oh My"  Cannery Row  (Bloodshot, 13)
*  Handsome Family, "Lizard"  Wilderness  (Carrot Top, 13)
*  Chip Taylor, "Last Video"  Block Out the Sirens of This Lonely World  (Train Wreck, 13)  D
                     

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