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Sunday, July 14, 2013

featuring the very best of americana, and roots music   
July 13, 2013
Scott Foley

I could fill this post with bands who have been cursed with a comparison to Mumford & Sons.  This isn’t to say that I’m a Mumford detractor; I was actually playing Sigh No More when it was just an import  (automatic hipster cred).  The O’s not only have one of the least searchable names in all of music, they’ve been tromping the Mumford thing even before the Mumfords were a thing.  Their debut release, We Are the O’s, landed in my mailbox back in 2009, and the duo’s music has sharpened with each subsequent album.  If I had any criticism of that debut release, it was that their sound was perhaps too polished, too clean.  A couple years of touring have served to both make Taylor Young (acoustic guitar, kick drum) and John Pedigo (banjo) more mature writers and looser players.  The rewards are reaped on their wonderfully titled third album, Thunderdog.  The collection was named after Young’s much-abused kick drum, which gets a  nice workout on the new songs. While there are banjos and kickdrums throughout, you'll also find gritty electric guitars, ringing harmonies and a song about a levee (a folk essential).  It goes without saying that the recording rises above the initial comparison, proving to be just the most recent worthy sound coming out of Dallas lately.  Besides, the fact that the O's have been likened to the Lumineers and the Avetts only means that they deserve to be considered as peers of those phenomenally successful acts. 

That's just one of the quality debuts about which I could write for this Episode.  Mark Seliger's debut as Rusty Truck back in 2008 was one of my favorite albums that year, and our first taste of the 2nd Rusty Truck offering is a promising one.  I believe I announced that Two Trucks of Steel had broken up last year.  Apparently, that's not quite the case, given the arrival of their strong Unraveled disc.  Finally, Thriftstore Masterpiece is a project helmed by Charles Normal, who has gathered folks like Frank Black, Pete Yorn, Isaac Brock and more to re-record Lee Hazelwood's forgotted 1963 classic countrypolitan Trouble Is a Lonesome Town.  

*  Randy Travis ft. Avett Brothers, "3 Wooden Crosses (live)"  Crossroads  (CMT broadcast, 12)
*  Whitey Morgan, "Meanest Jukebox In Town"  Whitey Morgan & the 78s  (Bloodshot, 10)
*  Bonnie Whitmore, "Reckless and Young"  There I Go Again  (This is Amer Music, 13)
*  Will Callers, "Roll the Dice"  What Else Is Left?  (Mystery Egg, 13)  D
*  Bluerunners, "Ghost of a Girl"  Honey Slides  (Bayou Vista, 04)
*  Mercy Brothers, "Devil's Food Tastes Like Cake"  Holy Ghost Power!  (Sockmo, 13)  D
*  Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, "Chairman Meow"  Wassaic Way  (Rte 8, 13)  D
*  Whiskey Bottles, "Fell In Love With a Stranger"  Grandville  (Self, 13)  C
*  Chuck Mead, "Anytime"  You Don't Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold  (Plowboy, 13)
*  Scud Mt Boys, "Crown of Thorns"  Do You Love the Sun  (Ashmont, 13)
*  Two Tons of Steel, "Crazy Heart"  Unraveled  (Smith, 13)  D
*  Tin Horn Prayer, "Call a Priest"  Grapple the Rails  (Paper + Plastick, 12)  C
*  Possessed By Paul James, "4 Men From the Row"  Feed the Family  (Hillgrass Bluebilly, 10)
*  Thriftstore Masterpiece ft Pete Yorn, "6 Feet of Chain"  Trouble Is a Lonesome Town  (SideOneDummy, 13)  D
*  David Dondero, "Not Everybody Loves Your Doggie Like You Do"  Pre-Existing Condition  (Ghostmeat, 10)
*  Jason Isbell & Elizabeth Cook, "Pancho & Lefty"  Record Store Day  (30 Tigers, 13)
*  Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams, "White Freightliner Blues"  Rocky Mt Honky Tonk  (Self, 13)  C
*  Larry & His Flask, "Log Hearth & Ash"  By the Lamplight  (Xtra Mile, 13)
^  The O's, "Dallas"  Thunderdog  (Punch 5, 13)  D
*  Rusty Truck, "Buildings"  Kicker Town  (Crosseyed, 13)  D
*  Will Kimbrough, "Piece of Work"  Home Away  (Waxy Silver, 02)
*  Emily Barker & Red Clay Halo, "Ghost Narrative"  Dear River  (Linn, 13)
*  Kent Goolsby, "Living Proof"  Troubles of Youth  (This is Amer Music, 13)
*  Mando Saenz, "The Road I'm On"  Studebaker  (Carnival, 13)
*  Marshall Chapman w/Todd Snider, "Love In the Wind"  Blaze of Glory  (Tall Girl, 13)
*  Sara Watkins, "Central and Union"  Lone Ranger: Wanted  (Disney, 13)
*  Son Volt, "Angel of the Blues"  Honky Tonk  (Rounder, 13)
*  Paul Burch, "Drifting Texas Sand"  Wire to Wire  (Spit & Polish, 98)
*  Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, "Country Sky"  Year of the Dragon  (Fin, 13)  D

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