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Sunday, November 29, 2015


ROUTES & BRANCHES  
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
November 22, 2015
Scott Foley

JeezI'mbehindonthis!  You'd think that less incoming new music during the holidays might lead to more prompt postings.  On the contrary, I spent the entirety of this week intending to blog in praise of Noah Gundersen's tremendous Carry the Ghost.  Unlike last week's records that I whiffed on, I've been quietly spinning the album since its August release, though its excellence has only gradually dawned on me.  I'd planned to compare its frank, poetic lyrics to John Murry's criminally overlooked Graceless Age from 2014.  Instead, I ate Thanksgiving dinner with my family and played an offbrand sort of online Pictionary for two straight days.  Since I've already broadcast my next Episode, however, I'm thinking it's best to just launch this post without much further massaging. 

I'm the squirrel that falls for the shiny, new thing (or is that the raccoon?).  When good new music lands in my lap, I'm in a hurry to float it onto the airwaves and see what sticks.  I take stuff like Son Volt's seminal Trace record for granted.  I got around to previewing the entirety of Jay Farrar's 20th Anniversary Edition of the album this week, from the remastered originals to the demos and the 1996 live set.  In terms of the founding documents of Routes & Branches, Trace stands among the most essential.  While I would argue that neither the demos nor the live show necessarily strengthen the appeal of the original, it's been quite some time since I've just enjoyed Trace from front to back as intended.  "Windfall" to "Live Free" and "Tear Stained Eye".  "Loose String" and the sole cover of Ron Wood's deliciously loose "Mystifies Me".  Damn.  New stuff is cool, but almost nothing approaches the purity and perfection of the stuff that hooked me way long ago.

Also this week, Tim Easton, Aaron Lee Tasjan and the McCrarys give us the perfect Thanksgiving opportunity to support Nashville Rescue Mission.  The Pines float us our first glimpse into their new atmospheric americana record.  Noah Gundersen makes a case for his inclusion into my year end albums list.  And Shovels & Rope release a loose, edgy collection of collaborations and covers.  

* Robert Plant, "Harm's Swift Way" Band of Joy  (Rounder, 10)
* Dave & Phil Alvin, "Feeling Happy" Lost Time  (YepRoc, 15)
* Los Lobos, "I Believed You So" Gates Of Gold  (429, 15)
* Phil Lee, "Wake Up Crying" Some Gotta Lose  (Palookaville, 15)
* Rod Picott, "Until I'm Satisfied" Fortune  (Welding Rod, 15)
* Valerie June, "Workin' Woman Blues" Pushin' Against a Stone  (Concord, 13)
* Jeffrey Foucault, "Left This Town" Salt As Wolves  (Blueblade, 15)
* Campfire Propaganda, "What'cha Gonna Do" single  (Nashville Rescue Mission, 15)  D
* Willy Tea Taylor, "The Very Best" Knuckleball Prime  (Blackwing, 15)
* Danny Barnes, "Wasted Mind" Got Myself Together (Ten Years Later)  (Eight 30, 15)
* Otis Gibbs, "Detroit Steel" Harder Than Hammered Hell  (Wanamaker, 12)
* Jeremy Pinnell, "Rodeo" OH/KY  (Sofaburn, 15)
* Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez, "Red Dog Tracks (alternate take)" Red Dog Tracks: 10th Anniversary  (Train Wreck, 15)  D
* Shovels & Rope w/Shakey Graves, "Unknown Legend" Busted Jukebox Vol. 1  (Dualtone, 15)  D
* Joan Shelley, "Not Over By Half" Over and Even  (No Quarter, 15)
* Fred Eaglesmith, "Cigarette Machine" 6 Volts (Eaglesmith, 11)
^ Son Volt, "Cemetery Savior (live)" Trace: 20th Anniversary  (Warner, 15)
* Pines, "Aerial Ocean" Above the Prairie  (Red House, 16)  D
* Noah Gundersen, "Halo (Disappear/Reappear)" Carry the Ghost  (Dualtone, 15)
* Lori McKenna, "American Revolver" Lorraine  (UMPG, 11)
* Joey Kneiser, "To My Younger Self" The Wildness  (This Is American Music, 15)
* Au Pair, "One-Armed Candy Bear" OneArmedCandyBear  (Thirty Tigers, 15)
* Lake Street Dive, "Call Off Your Dogs" Side Pony  (Nonesuch, 16)  D
* Freakwater, "Asp & the Albatross" Sheherazade  (Bloodshot, 16)
* Peter Case, "Waiting On a Plane" Hwy 62  (Omnivore, 15)
* Plimsouls, "Lie Beg Borrow and Steal" Everywhere At Once  (Geffen, 83)
* Alone At 3am, "Story On 6th" Show the Blood  (Sofaburn, 15)

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