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Friday, January 24, 2014

ROUTES & BRANCHES
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
January 18, 2014
Scott Foley

Anybody up for a debut ... or eleven?  From Supersuckers gettin' their Social D' on, to Drive-by Truckers on a song inspired by Willy Vlautin's new novel (The Free, by the frontman for Richmond Fontaine).  You have the very first Les Claypool sighting on R&B, and a curious but satisfying Portland-centric tribute to George Jones.  Hardly a comfy jaunt thru your americana hits.

Back in October, I paid some praise to Possessed By Paul James' excellent There Will Be Nights, noting that it marked somewhat of an evolution in sound for Konrad Wert.  Now another "Dirty Old One Man Band" has taken some impressive strides.  To be honest, Scott H. Biram's last couple albums have pointed in this direction, moving from actual lo-fi recordings of an actual one man band to a studio recording designed to sound like a lo-fi recording of an actual one man band.  Biram has also grown into a more consistent writer over the years.  While listeners might fear that a less dangerous Biram is a less genuine Biram, one listen to Nothin' But Blood's take on Mance Lipscomb's firey "Alcohol Blues" may put those fears to rest.  As Shooter Jennings and Hank III have taught us, all naughtiness all the time will eventually come across as disingenuous.  That's why it's good to see Biram varying his palette a bit, adding some nuance on songs like "Never Comin' Home" or "Nam Weed".  While he's regularly flirted with elements of gospel, Nothin' But Blood is largely a document of a full fledged battle for Biram's dirty old soul.  The record actually closes with a trio of "gospel bonus tracks", including an acapella rendering of "Amazing Grace".  The album lives in the balance between Saturday night and Sunday morning, with the former having the upper hand. 


*  Lucinda Williams, "Side of the Road"  Lucinda Williams (Anniversary Ed.)  (Self, 14)
*  Drag the River, "Here's To the Losers"  Drag the River  (XL, 13) C
*  Jim Dalton, "Time To Ride"  single  (Self, 14)  D, C
*  Handsome Family, "Far From Any Road"  Singing Bones  (Carrot Top, 03)
^  Scott H Biram, "Gotta Get To Heaven"  Nothin' But Blood  (Bloodshot, 14)
*  Lori McKenna, "Better With Time"  Massachusetts  (Self, 13)
*  Supersuckers, "Pushin' Thru"  Get the Hell  (Acetate, 14)  D
*  Will Kimbrough, "Let the Big World Spin"  Sideshow Love  (Daphne, 14)
*  Water Liars, "I Want Blood"  Water Liars  (Far Possum ,14)  D
*  Kasey Chambers, "Cry Like a Baby"  Captain  (Virgin, 00)
*  Matt Skinner, "One In the Chamber"  Native Stranger  (Tapadero, 13)  C
*  Doug Paisley, "Song My Love Can Sing"  Strong Feelings  (No Quarter, 14)
*  Drive-by Truckers, "Pauline Hawkins"  English Oceans  (New West, 14)  D
*  Lone Justice, "Working Man's Blues"  Vaught Sessions  (Omnivore, 13)
*  Les Claypool's Duo de Twang, "D's Diner"  Four Foot Shack  (ATO, 14)  D
*  Railroad Earth, "Monkey"  Last of the Outlaws  (SCI Fidelity, 14)
*  Jay Farrar, "Feel Free"  Sebastopol  (Artemis, 01)
*  Robert Ellis, "Good Intentions"  Lights From the Chemical Plant  (New West, 14)
*  Laura Cantrell, "All Girls Are Complicated"  No Way There From Here  (Thrift Shop, 14)  D
*  Lewi Longmire, "Still Doing Time"  Deer Lodge - George Jones  (Deer Lodge, 13)  D
*  Fred Eaglesmith, "Sally Green"  Tambourine  (Self, 13)
*  Johnny Cash, "She Used To Love Me a Lot"  Out Among the Stars  (Columbia, 14)  D
*  Ryan Bingham, "Direction Of the Wind"  Junky Star  (Lost Hwy, 10)
*  Honey Don't, "Stand Up"  Heart Like a Wheel  (2Dolla Reccas, 13)  C
*  Phosphorescent, "Tomorrow Is a Long Time"  Sweetheart 2014  (Hear, 14)  D
*  Bobby Bare Jr, "Shame On Me"  Shame On Me  (Bad Legal Mess, 14)  D
*  Whiskey Myers, "Early Morning Shakes"  Early Morning Shakes  (Thirty Tigers, 14)  D
*  William Clark Green, "Dead or In Jail"  Rose Queen  (Self, 13)
*  Iris Dement, "Easy's Gettin' Harder Every Day"  My Life  (Warner, 93)

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