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Sunday, July 06, 2014

featuring the very best of americana, and roots music
July 5, 2014
Scott Foley

So so many quality songs on this Episode:  Old, new and otherwise.  Here's a classic line from last year's "Coley", by Left Lane Cruiser (if I'm hearing them correctly ... ):  Remember the time we took a ride in my long 1987 Chevy / Free Fallin' playin' on the radio got you talkin' 'bout how much you hate Tom Petty / I said girl now look right here you know that's some goddamn classic american rock 'n roll / There's just certain kinda things you need to understand before we can move on ...  We also gave some radio love to a fantastic single by Cory Branan, and heard Mr and Mrs Isbell give Springsteen's "Born In the USA" the treatment it's always merited.  The proverbial cherry topper happened when Jeremy Grant stopped by unannounced with a copy of Deadwood Saints' excellent full length debut.  To quote Natalie Merchant for not the first time in my life, "These are the days you'll remember ..." 

I'd like to finish by focusing on another surprise from the week.  Namely, the arrival of the Loudermilks' debut CD.  Fronted by brothers Alan and Chad Edwards, the North Carolina band takes their name from another renowned pair of sibs, Charlie and Ira Louvin (nee Charlie and Ira Loudermilk).  Nobody here is new to the scene.  For years, the Brothers Edwards dispensed attitude under the name Lou Ford.  While not so edgy as that previous band, the Loudermilks' musical reach proves to be more generous, encompassing rural pop moments as well as darker, moodier elements and pure country, too.  The band itself stakes claim to the sprawling musical acreage between the Louvins and Big Star.  This allows the Loudermilks to embrace the best of both worlds, the spirit and structure of early trad country, gospel and grass and the pure pop and punk roots of the latter.  Free of stereotypes, their talent appeals as equally to the heart and the head (as evidenced by their CD jacket, a flat black field encompassing a stark white heart on one side and a brain on the reverse).  Like the best brother songs, Alan and Chad thrive equally on harmony and dis-harmony.  This barbed spirit is especially evident in tunes like "The Plan":  You always said we were gonna get what we deserve / But you never meant a word ... / What about the plan / Could've been us instead of them.  The bitterness that might have been off-putting is tempered by the sweetness of the brothers' pop harmonies.  For me, it's the Loudermilks' most endearing quality, the pervasive darkness flawed just enough to allow for the possibility of redemptive light.  After years of near misses and sabotaged opportunities with Lou Ford, perhaps this new project will garner the Edwards their long deserved attention. 

*  Giant Sand, "Every Grain of Sand"  Swerve  (Fire, 90)
*  John Hiatt, "Long Time Comin'"  Terms of My Surrender  (New West, 14)
*  Corb Lund, "Counterfeiters' Blues"  Counterfeiters' Blues  (New West, 14)
*  Hard Pans, "Ain't Gonna Have It"  Budget Cuts  (High Plains Films, 14)
*  Left Lane Cruiser, "Coley"  Rock Them Back To Hell  (Alive NaturalSound, 13)
*  Cory Branan, "No Hit Wonder"  No Hit Wonder  (Bloodshot, 14)  D
*  Sarah Borges, "Waiting and the Worry"  Radio Sweetheart  (Lonesome Day, 14)
*  Old 97s, "Let's Get Drunk and Get It On"  Most Messed Up  (ATO, 14)
*  Caleb Caudle, "Come On October"  Paint Another Layer On My Heart  (This is Amer Music, 14)
*  Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, "Born In the USA"  Dead Man's Town  (Lightning Rod, 14)  D
*  Drag the River, "Hey Tonight"  Bother Me Tomorrow: Indie Tribute to CCR  (Tan & Blue, 14)  D, C
*  Fire Mountain, "Wired and Dying"  All Dies Down  (This is Amer Music, 14)
*  Blue Mountain, "Special Rider Blues"  Dog Days  (Roadrunner, 95)
*  Mastersons, "Anywhere But Here"  Good Luck Charm  (New West, 14)
^  Loudermilks, "Quite Honestly"  Loudermilks  (You Know What ... 14)  D
*  First Aid Kit, "Heaven Knows"  Stay Gold  (Columbia, 14)
*  Jonah Tolchin, "Hybrid Automobile"  Clover Lane  (Yep Roc, 14)
*  Goodnight Texas, "Bank Robber's Nursery Rhyme"  Uncle John Farquhar  (Self, 14)  D
*  Puss N Boots, "GTO"  No Fools No Fun  (Blue Note, 14)
*  Hurray For the Riff Raff, "Just a Heart"  My Dearest Darkest Neighbor  (This is Amer Music, 13)
*  Denver, "Carry On"  Rowdy Love  (Mama Bird, 14)  D
*  Son Volt, "Back Into Your World"  Straightaways  (Warner, 97)
*  NQ Arbuckle, "Sleepy Wife"  Future Happens Anyway  (Six Shooter, 14)
*  Deadwood Saints, "6th Street and Trinity"  6th Street and Trinity  (Self, 14)  D, C
*  Jayhawks, "Waiting For Salvation"  Rainy Day Music (reissue)  (American, 14)  D

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