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Tuesday, July 09, 2013



ROUTES & BRANCHES   
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music   
July 6, 2013
Scott Foley

In another life, Joe Pernice might’ve been Jeff Tweedy.  A great but vastly underappreciated writer of smart pop songs, Pernice has labored since 1998 under the Pernice Brothers moniker.  While his music has pushed the envelope at times, it never approached the levels of experimentation achieved by Tweedy.  Like the Wilco frontman, Pernice also came to prominence as the force behind a seminal alt.country act, though the Scud Mountain Boys have largely been forgotten by all but their hardiest fans. 

Of course, it would be a monumental moment if Uncle Tupelo ever chose to reunite.  The fact that the Scud Mountain Boys have released their first album in more than 17 years is stopping few presses.  The band’s excellent new Do You Love the Sun hardly sounds groundbreaking in the way 1996’s Massachusetts did, with pretentions of bridging alt.country and indie pop.  This isn’t “pop” as in Hansen or Paul McCartney, but rather “pop” as in Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, Nick Lowe or … well, Jeff Tweedy.  The new music actually seems more comfortable in its alt.country skin than did the earlier LPs, with little need for self-conscious irony.  Pernice is in good vocal form, with at least a couple moments of pedal-steel-dripping beauty.  Reportedly reassembled almost by chance, here’s hoping the notoriously dour songwriter is actually enjoying the band’s sweet second act.  

While I haven't received final confirmation as of this posting, I'm hoping that the man known as Possessed By Paul James will happen by Routes & Branches next Episode.  He'll be sharing a bill with Delaney Davidson at Surfside 7 in Fort Collins.  Sadly, his Facebook posts of late have largely dealt with the dysfunctions of his touring van ...  

*  Jayhawks, "I'd Run Away"  Tomorrow the Green Grass  (American, 95)
*  Kimberly M'Carver, "Another Goodbye"  Hard Waltz  (Kocker, 13)
*  Watermelon Slim & the Workers, "Tomorrow Night"  Bull Goose Rooster  (Northern Blues, 13)  D
*  Teddy Thompson, "Let Me Roll It"  Let Us In Americana  (Reviver, 13)
*  Maria McKee, "Has He Got a Friend For Me"  Maria McKee  (Geffen, 96)
*  Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams, "Zombies!"  Rocky Mt Honky Tonk  (Self,13)  C
*  John Moreland, "Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore"  In the Throes  (Last Chance, 13)
*  Bonnie Whitmore, "Cryin' Out For Me"  There I Go Again  (TIAM, 13)
*  AJ Roach, "Devil May Dance"  Revelation  (Waterbug, 06)
*  Lucinda Williams, "Everything But the Truth"  Lone Ranger: Wanted  (Disney, 13)  D
*  King of the Tramps, "Get Me To the Church"  Wicked Mountain  (Old School, 13)  D
*  Ashley Monroe, "Monroe Suede"  Like a Rose  (Warner, 13)  d
*  Jason Isbell, "Elephant (edit)"  Southeastern  (12th St, 13)  
*  Beautiful Loser Society, "Long Lost Friend"  Desperate Promenade  (Self, 13)  C
*  Wailin' Jennys, "Some Good Thing"  Firecracker  (Red House, 06)
*  Greta Gaines, "Willie's Song #3"  Lighthouse & the Impossible Love  (Self, 13)
^  Scud Mt Boys, "Double Bed"  Do You Love the Sun  (Ashmont, 13)  D
*  New Country Rehab, "Too Many Parties"  Ghost of Your Charms  (Self, 13)
*  Lori McKenna, "Shake"  Massachusetts  (Self, 13)
*  John Doe, "Just For the Hell of It"  Songs For Slim  (New West, 13)
*  Carmelita's Lovers, "Nothing"  Ghosts of Our Former Selves  (Nething, 13)  C
*  Trampled By Turtles, "Alone"  Stars & Satellites  (30 Tigers, 12)
*  Sturgill Simpson, "Life Ain't Fair"  High Top Mountain  (30 Tigers, 13)
*  David Ramirez, "Glory"  The Rooster  (Self, 13)
*  Guy Clark, "My Favorite Picture of You"  My Favorite Picture of You  (Dualtone, 13)
*  Mile Markers, "Walking Thru the Valley"  For the Madness  (Self, 13)  C
*  Larry & His Flask, "Battle For Clear Sight"  By the Lamplight  (Xtra Mile, 13)

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