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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

a home for the americana diaspora
May 21, 2016
Scott Foley

"I've gotta warn ya babe / This may change everything"  It's a suitable caveat dropped by Bonnie Bishop on Ain't Who I Was, her first new collection in about five years.  Word has it that after years of road dust, Bishop had decided to leave the grind of touring and enroll in a creative writing program.  A call from uber-producer Dave Cobb lured her from semi-retirement, resulting in one of the year's most satisfyingly soulful gestures.  Songs such as "Be With You" or "You Will Be Loved" aren't simply soul-ish, but arrive with the kind of deep and abiding stuff you'll only find on classics like I Am Shelby Lynne or Dusty In Memphis.  Cobb and co. provide Bishop with a tastefully restrained framework to weave her voice through, but the wonder is the fabric she creates in the space.  "Looking for You" is one of the more upbeat tracks, settling into a loose groove with an indelible guitar hook and an organ line direct from 70s a.m. radio (see also the fabulously retro touches to "Too Late").  There's more of a Memphis country vibe to "Poor Man's Melody", a gem that also shines with its share of salvation show gospel.  Let it be known that Bonnie Bishop gives good altar call. The masterpiece of Ain't Who I Was is the heartrending title cut, a bittersweet confessional that allows Bishop to shine as a writer and singer:  These days I'm good and I'm broke / And I'm wrong most of the time / Forgive or forget me / If my reasons don't rhyme / Don't take it too hard / It's all part of living the dream / I pick and I sing  /  And I'm finally proud of who I am now / Cause I ain't who I was.  Bonnie Bishop has created a sweet and slow simmering Southern soul classic that's genuine to the core.

Also on this Episode, we celebrate the life and music of Guy Clark.  We also stray from the beaten path a bit with more rock-leaning tracks from Daniel Markham and Steve Gunn.  And we stir in some extra grease for good measure, courtesy of Black Keys and Jon Spencer.  Like I say, not your average americana broadcast ...

- Guy Clark, "Stuff That Works" Dublin Blues  (Elektra, 95)
- Highwaymen, "Desperados Waiting For a Train" Highwaymen Live: American Outlaws  (Sony, 16)  D
- Honeycutters, "500 Pieces" On the Ropes  (Organic, 16)
- Austin Lucas, "Wrong Side of the Dream" Between the Moon & the Midwest  (Last Chance, 16)
- Adia Victoria, "Stuck In the South" Beyond the Bloodhounds  (Atlantic, 16)
- Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, "Love Ain't On the Run" Dirty Shirt Rock 'n' Roll: First Ten Years  (Majordomo, 14)
- Jeremy Nail, "Dreams" My Mountain  (Open Nine, 16)
- Mastersons, "Closer To You" Good Luck Charm  (New West, 14)
- Alejandro Escovedo, "Fall Apart With You" Street Songs of Love  (Fantasy, 10)
- Daniel Markham, "Disintegrator" Disintegrator  (Markham, 16)  D
- McDougall, "Stranger On the Prairie" Reaching For Some Light  (McDougall, 16)
- Hayes Carll, "Good While It Lasted" Lovers & Leavers  (Thirty Tigers, 16)
- Left Arm Tan, "Take Me Out" Lorene  (LAT, 16)
- Felice Brothers, "Triumph '73"  Life In the Dark  (Yep Roc, 16)
- Jayhawks, "Dust of Long Dead Stars" Paging Mr Proust  (Thirty Tigers, 16)
- Steve Gunn, "Ancient Jules" Eyes On the Lines  (Merge, 16)  D
- William Tyler, "Sunken Garden" Modern Country  (Merge, 16)
- Rob Baird, "Ain't Nobody Got a Hold On Me" Wrong Side of the River  (Hard Luck, 16)
- Fruit Bats, "My Sweet Midwest" Absolute Loser  (Easy Sound, 16)  D
- Yarn, "This Is the Year" This Is the Year  (Redbush, 16)
- Yawpers, "At Last" Capon Crusade  (Yawpers, 12)  C
- Arliss Nancy, "Dufresne" Greater Divides  (Arliss Nancy, 16)  C
- Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, "Midnight Special" Shine a Light: Field Recordings From the Great American Railroad  (Cooking Vinyl, 16)  D
- Colvin & Earle, "Tell Moses" Colvin & Earle  (Concord, 16)
- Cory Branan, "Tall Green Grass (edit)" 12 Songs  (Madjack, 06)
- Hiss Golden Messenger, "Brown-Eyed Women" Day of the Dead  (4AD, 16)
^ Bonnie Bishop, "Poor Man's Melody" Ain't Who I Was  (Plan BB, 16)
- Black Keys, "10am Automatic" Rubber Factory  (Nonesuch, 04)

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