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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ROUTES & BRANCHES   
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music   
June 22, 2013
Scott Foley

Seem just yesterday I was singing the praises of the lil' This Is American Music label on these pages.  Well, apparently they do these things in batches, because we're about to be gifted with another couple gems.  With a promising covers release from Hurray For the Riff Raff in the wings, TIAM also sends Bonnie Whitmore our way.  

There's been a good deal of talk lately about how 2013 will be remembered as the year of the female country artist.  Folks will generally mention Kacey Musgraves and Ashley Monroe, generally throwing in some combo of Caitlin Rose, Holly Williams, a couple Pistol Annies and maybe Kim Richey or Patty Griffin for good measure.  In truth, I think it's all a matter of our short musical attention span.  Women have always held a strong place in the worlds of country and americana.  We just might not be paying good attention ...

Anyhow, please add to your list of Excellent Country Women Bonnie Whitmore from Denton, TX.  Her 2nd album, released on This Is American Music, is a remarkably consistent batch of tough but tuneful songs.  Wielding a voice as strong as any of the aforementioned singers, there are several tracks on There I Go Again that might find a foothold on mainstream country radio, if mainstream country radio actually played country music.  Produced by Chris Masterson (of Mastersons fame), the album boasts a solid and mature sound that migrates effortlessly from more folky to "alt" and edgy. Whitmore wrote or cowrote every song on There I Go Again, achieving Kim Richey or Patty Griffin-esque moments at her best.  While there is a good chance Bonnie Whitmore won't appear on the radar of some of these "year of the country woman" pieces, her new work certainly deserves the accolades. 

*  Scud Mt Boys, "Holy Ghost"  Massachusetts  (Sub Pop, 96)
*  Hiss Golden Messenger, "Sweet As John Hurt"  Haw  (Paradise of Bachelors, 13)
*  Shannon McNally, "I Don't Want To Know"  Small Town Talk  (Sacred Sumac, 13)
*  Kent Goolsby, "Jesus Is My Landlord"  Trophies of Youth  (This is Amer Music, 13)
*  Mavis Staples, "Sow Good Seeds"  One True Vine  (Anti, 13)   D
*  I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In the House, "Break All Your Strings"  Mayberry  (Last Chance, 13)
*  Whiskey Bottles, "Fell In Love With a Stranger"  Grandville  (Self, 13)  C, D
*  Tommy Malone, "Mississippi Bootlegger"  Natural Born Days  (MC, 13)   D
*  Richard Buckner, "Lil Wallet Picture"  Devotion + Doubt  (MCA, 97)
*  Ashleigh Flynn, "Dirty Hands & Dirty Feet"  Million Stars  (Home Perm, 13)
*  John Moreland, "Gospel"  In the Throes  (Last Chance, 13)
*  Bobby Bare Jr, "Make the World Go Away"  You Don't Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold  (Plowboy, 13)
*  Jason Boland & the Stragglers, "Dark & Dirty Mile"  Dark & Dirty Mile  (Proud Souls, 13)
^  Bonnie Whitmore, "Cryin' Out For Me"  There I Go Again  (This is Amer Music, 13)   D
*  Charlie Robison, "Barlight (live)"  Live At Billy Bob's Texas  (Smith, 13)
*  Guy Clark, "Rain In Durango"  My Favorite Picture of You  (Dualtone, 13)   D
*  Shinyribs, "Song of Lime Juice and Despair"  Gulf Coast Museum  (Nine Mile, 13)
*  JKutchma & the Five Fifths, "February Is My Finish Line"  Sundown USA  (Last Chance, 13)  D
*  Cracker, "Trials & Tribulations"  Gentleman's Blues  (Virgin, 98)
*  Mile Markers, "Whiskey For the Madness"  For the Madness  (Self, 13)  C
*  John Murry, "Southern Sky"  Graceless Age  (Evangeline, 13)
*  Emily Barker & Red Clay Halo, "Ghost Narrative"  Dear River  (Linn, 13)   D
*  Townes Van Zandt, "Pancho & Lefty (alt mix)"  Sunshine Boy  (Omnivore, 13)
*  Jason Isbell, "Live Oak"  Southeastern  (12th St, 13)
*  Leo Rondeau, "Far Away"  Take It and Break It  (Self, 13)   D

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