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Wednesday, August 28, 2013


ROUTES & BRANCHES   
August 24, 2013
Scott Foley

Band of Heathens are a band best heard live, as evidenced by the fact that 3/7 of their albums to date are concert documents.  Last year's fine double CD/DVD package, Double Down, was recorded live in Denver and featured extended jams and soulful musical departures. Following that release, three Heathens departed the band, including founding member Colin Brooks.  This left writers Gordy Quist and Ed Juri to assemble a smaller edition of Band of Heathens for their fourth studio album, Sunday Morning Record.  Writing as a duo rather than a collective lends the record a more intimate spirit.  Always celebrated for their group harmonies, the new songs narrow that focus to the interplay between Quist and Juri, who sometimes come across as a contemporary version of the Olson/Louris days of the Jayhawks.  The writing has tightened as well, reeling in the jams and sharpening the stories told in the songs for more of an americana and country record. 

Way back in 1992, bluegrass titan Ralph Stanley issued an excellent double cassette (remember them?) entitled Saturday Night & Sunday Morning.  As you might expect, one tape features more rowdy and upbeat material while the second offers a more reverent take on hymns and spirituals.  While Sunday Morning Record won't be mistaken for a hymnal, in spirit it represents that more hushed, expectant side of Band of Heathens. 

*  Patti Fiasco, ,"Bless My Heart"  Small Town Lights  (Self, 13)  C
*  Court Yard Hounds, "Watch Your Step"  Amelita  (Columbia, 13)
*  Kasey Anderson, "Like Teenage Gravity"  Let the Bloody Moon Rise  (Self, 12)
*  Moondoggies, "Red Eye"  Adios I'm a Ghost  (Hardly Art, 13)  D
*  Chris Shiflett & the Dead Peasants, "Good Time Charlies"  All Hat & No Cattle  (SideOneDummy, 13)
*  Robbie Fulks, "Sometimes the Grass is Really Greener"  Gone Away Backward  (Bloodshot, 13) 
*  Carly Ritter, "Oh Farmer"  Carly Ritter  (Vanguard, 13)  D
*  Mile Markers, "Walking Through the Valley"  For the Madness  (Self, 13) C
*  Austin Lucas, "Gift and a Gamble"  Stay Reckless  (New West, 13)
*  Stephen Simmons, "I'll Be Your Johnny Cash"  Hearsay  (Locke Creek, 13)  D
*  First Aid Kit, "Emmylou"  Lion's Roar  (Wichita, 12)
*  Willie Sugarcapps, "Oh Colorado"  Willie Sugarcapps  (Royal Potato Family, 13)  D
*  Reckless Kelly, "Last Goodbye"  Long Night Moon  (No Big Deal, 13)  D
*  Walt Wilkins & the Mystiqueros, "Trains I Missed"  Diamonds In the Sun  (Palo Duro, 07)
*  Left Arm Tan, "69 Reasons"  Alticana  (Self, 13)
*  Elephant Revival, "Satisfied"  These Changing Skies  (Evolving, 13)  C
*  Mando Saenz, "Hard Time Tennessee"  Studebaker  (Carnival, 13)
*  The O's, "Outlaw"  Thunderdog  (Self, 13)
^  Band of Heathens, "Shotgun"  Sunday Morning Record  (BoH, 13)  D
*  Carper Family, "My Old Chevy Van"  Old-Fashioned Gal  (Self, 13)
*  Vince Gill & Paul Franklin, "Nobody's Fool But Yours"  Bakersfield  (MCA, 13)
*  Rick Shea, "Mexicali Train"  Sweet Bernardine  (Tres Pescaderos, 13)  D
*  Belle Jar, "Doctors & Specialists"  Union Station  (Self, 13)  C
*  Over the Rhine, "Wildflower Bouquet"  Meet Me At the Edge of the World  (Self, 13)
*  Sam Baker, "Isn't Love Great"  Say Grace  (Self, 13)
*  Jason Isbell, "Cover Me Up"  Southeastern  (12th St, 13)
*  White Buffalo, "Don't You Want It"  Shadows Greys & Evil Ways  (Unison, 13)  D

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