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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

ROUTES & BRANCHES    
A home for the americana diaspora
June 6, 2015
Scott Foley

My soul's a lion's den 
There ain't  no place to hide 
Heart's an engineer 
Out on his last ride

A couple years ago I made space on my radar for an act called the Tumbleweeds, fronted by Sam Doores.  Now beneath a far stronger marquee, the Deslondes drop their heralded self-titled debut on New West Records. Mr Doores is just one of the 5 writers and 4 vocalists who fuel the collective's New Orleans country-soul.  Along with bassman Dan Cutler, Doores has previously moonlighted with fellow N'Orleans artist Alynda Lee Segarra in Hurray For the Riff Raff.  As a patchwork woven of so many musical visions, the record jumps from early rock influences to honky tonk, Doug Sahm-inspired country and even gospel touches.  A degree of the Deslondes' charm comes from their loose, streetcorner spirit, like hobo buskers with an electric guitar who just happen to have de-trained for a quick trackside performance.  The record's retro compass also comes across in its consistently thin production, sounding at times like something harvested from the Woody Guthrie archives.  The Deslondes are at their best when they're under the influence of that Louisiana country-soul.  The lazy bar band opener "Fought the Blues and Won" is built upon a Fats Domino style piano roll, while "Real Deal" finds guidance under the star of Doug Sahm.  The backslider gospel of "Those Were (Could've Been) the Days" recalls sometimes touring partners Spirit Family Reunion:  "I ain't drunk darlin' / I just been drinking ".  The Deslondes comes to a close on a hidden gem, the piano ballad "Out On the Rise", whose bluesy Sunday morning groove and unexpected clarinet solo could've been overheard from a second story window in the band's Holy Cross neighborhood home.  

Lots of other strong material this Episode, including another glimpse into the Chuck Ragan /Rocky Votolato split EP, and some hard stuff at the hands of Left Lane Cruiser and Barrence Whitfield.  Onetime Gouger and Trisha, Jamie Lin Wilson brings us her debut solo record, and there's some deep down soulful material from Honey Honey and Danny & the Champions. 

Next Episode, you'll be kept company by Tarnation's Andy D, who will be sitting in for me.  Please treat him well, and I'm told he'll do the same for you. 

*  Porter, "Natural Disaster"  This Red Mountain  (Porter, 15)
*  John Moreland, "Heart's Too Heavy"  High On Tulsa Heat  (Old Omens, 15)
*  James McMurtry, "Copper Canteen"  Complicated Game  (Complicated Game, 15)
*  Leeroy Stagger, "Something Beautiful"  Dream It All Away  (Rebeltone, 15)
*  Chuck Ragan, "Before Dust"  Kindred Spirit  (SideOneDummy, 15)
*  Dwight Yoakam, "Liar"  Second Hand Heart  (Reprise, 15)
*  Lydia Loveless, "Bad Way To Go"  Indestructible Machine  (Bloodshot, 11)
*  Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Down By the River"  Ruffian's Misfortune  (Bordello, 15)
*  Left Lane Cruiser, "Tres Borrachos"  Dirty Spliff Blues  (Alive Naturalsound, 15)
*  Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, "Incarceration Casserole"  Under the Savage Sky  (Bloodshot, 15)  D
*  Chris Stapleton, "Parachute"  Traveller  (Mercury, 15)
*  Jimmie Dale Gilmore, "That Hardwood Floor"  Jimmie Dale Gilmore  (Hightone, 89)
*  Jamie Lin Wilson, "Just Like Heartache"  Holidays & Wedding Rings  (JLW, 15)  D
*  Yonder Mt String Band, "Ever Fallen In Love"  Black Sheep  (Frog Pad, 15)  C, D
*  Ben Miller Band, "Prettiest Girl"  Any Way Shape or Form  (New West, 14)
*  Chatham County Line, "Love I Found"  Tightrope  (Yep Roc, 14)
*  Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard, "It's Only Money"  Django and Jimmie  (Sony, 15)
*  Michael Dean Damron, "20,000 Miles"  When the Darkness Come  (MDD, 15)
*  Hollis Brown, "Sandy"  3 Shots  (Hollis Brown, 15)
*  Amy Black, "Please Don't Give Up On Me"  Muscle Shoals Sessions  (Reuben, 15)
*  Levon Helm, "You Better Move On"  Imus Ranch Record  (New West, 08)
*  Honey Honey, "Back to You"   3  (Rounder, 15)  D
*  Richard Thompson, "Broken Doll"  Still  (Beeswing, 15)
^  Deslondes, "Those Were (Could've Been) the Days"  the Deslondes  (New West, 15)
*  Old 97s, "Big Brown Eyes"  Too Far To Care  (Elektra, 97)
*  Danny & the Champions of the World, "This Is Not a Love Song"  What Kind of Love  (Loose, 15)  D
*  Ryan Adams, "New York New York (live)"  Live At Carnegie Hall  (PaxAm, 15)
*  Dawes, "Somewhere Along the Way"  All Your Favorite Bands  (HUB, 15)  D

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