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Friday, October 18, 2013

ROUTES & BRANCHES
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
 October 12, 2013
Scott Foley

Week 1 of KRFC's Fall 2013 Membership Drive won't go down in the record books as Best Ever, but at least Jake Smith/White Buffalo was able to step in the cushion the blow.  Rather than resting on our laurels, we'll celebrate the final day of the Drive with an acoustic, instudio visit from Two Cow Garage.  Tune in around 5pm Mountain Time for a visit that's been on my radio bucket list for years (then ask yourself if it might be worth your while to make a contribution).

I've actually been spinning Two Cow Garage's Death of the Self Preservation Society for several weeks now, though I admit my initial reaction to the record was somewhat restrained.  I actually wondered if my digital copy was somehow compromised, the unfinished sound seemed muddy and amateur.  The roots element of the trio's musical formula had been progressively downplayed from one album to the next, until it all but disappeared on Self Preservation.  Nevertheless, I could never give up on the band that gave me some of my favorite musical moments over the past several years, so I kept returning to the album until it began to click.  Curiously, that secret was unlocked after returning to their most polished record, III, during a recent ride home.  Following it up with a return to the new tunes, I came to see the cloudy rattle and buzz as a band's attempt to recapture the garage rock and punk that likely characterized their younger days.  The lyrics sometimes buried beneath this mess revealed themselves to be some of Micah Schnabel's strongest to date.  Much of Self Preservation addresses the question, "Are you growing up / Or are you just growing old?"  How can a band like TCG justify the desperation and romanticism of their early recordings while heading towards the far end of their 30s?  Can the reckless abandon of our early years even make sense half a lifetime later, or does it just make us look desperate?  The irony is that the band is largely able to strip away the trappings and production of a veteran band for their most raw sound ever, while also embracing the most adult-themed songs of their career. 

Frankly, I can't wait.

*  Sara Hickman, "Listen To the Radio"  Trouble In the Fields: An Artist's Tribute to Nanci Griffith  (Paradiddle, 12)
*  Southern Culture On the Skids, "Ditch Diggin"  Dig This: Ditch Diggin' V2  (Kudzu, 13)
*  Charlie Robison, "Brand New Me"  High Life  (30 Tigers, 13)
*  Kimmie Rhodes, "Shame Shame Shame"  Covers  (Self, 13)  D
*  White Buffalo, "Don't You Want It"
*  White Buffalo, "Joe & Jolene"
*  White Buffalo, "Set My Body Free"  Shadows Greys & Evil Ways  (Unison, 13)
*  Lucero, "Sweet Little Thing"  Tennessee  (Mad Jack, 02)
*  Shonna Tucker & Eye Candy, "Austin Side"  A Tell All  (Sweet Nectar, 13)
*  Casey James Prestwood, "Ain't So Bad"  Honky Tonk Bastard World  (Self, 13)  C
*  Belle Jar, "Sault Ste Marie"  Union Station  (Self, 13)  C
*  Arliss Nancy, "GB Shuffle"  Wild American Runners  (Black Numbers, 13)  C
*  Uncle Tupelo, "Grindstone"  March 16-20  (Columbia, 92)
*  Patty Griffin, "Silver Bell"  Silver Bell  (A&M, 13)
*  Brett Detar, "Satan's Foot On My Neck"  Too Free To Live  (Self, 13)  D
*  Devil Makes Three, "Dead Body Moving"  I'm a Stranger Here  (New West, 13)
*  Possessed By Paul James, "There Will Be Nights"  There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely  (Hillgrass Bluebilly, 13)
*  Band of Heathens, "Texas"  Sunday Morning Record  (BoH, 13)
^  Two Cow Garage, "Been So Long"  Please Turn the Gas Back On  (Suburban Home, 03)
*  Dwight Yoakam, "Blame the Vain"  21st Century Hits  (New West, 13)
*  Fratellis, "Shotgun Shoes"  We Need Medicine  (BMG, 13)

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