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Monday, June 19, 2017

ROUTES & BRANCHES
a home for the americana diaspora
June 19, 2017
Scott Foley, purveyor of dust

What's so great about the first half of 2017?!!

To quote the early 80s British new wave band Talk Talk (which I don't do often enough), Baby life's what you make it / Celebrate it.  Even when we're having to try harder to avoid negativity and reasons for despair, great music surrounds us like angel wings.  Or like water wings.  Music can keep us afloat, can give us the energy to keep going or even to fight back.  Like god, it's there when you want it and when you need it.  Which makes me an evangelist, shining the light and showing the way to music that matters.  And if it works for you, it's yours.  Let it lift you up, let it drive you forward, let it embolden and comfort and calm you.  Or just ignore it because you don't like twangy stuff ...

But if you're part of our congregation, let's celebrate.  Let's open the hymnal of the first half of 2017 and bellow like wounded calves or sing like angels, ranting against all that worries and angers us or whooping foolishly about the fact that we're still here, against all odds.

Don't like to show my hand this early in the season, but here are my five favorite records to date, listed in order of appearance:

Ryan Adams, Prisoner  (PaxAm, Feb 17)
Will Johnson, Hatteras Night a Good Luck Charm  (Undertow, Mar 24)
John Moreland, Big Bad Luv  (4AD, May 5)
Matthew Ryan, Hustle Up Starlings  (Ryan, May 12)
Justin Townes Earle, Kids in the Street  (New West, May 26)

I've already posted reviews of these, so find those if you'd like a deeper glimpse into my feelings.  Now, here are fifteen others that have also caught my ear, listed again in order of appearance:

Band of Heathens, Duende  (New West, Jan 13)
Dead Man Winter, Furnace  (GNDWire, Jan 27)
Ags Connolly, Nothin' Unexpected  (At the Helm, Feb 3)
Chuck Prophet, Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins  (YepRoc, Feb 10)
Romantica, Shadowlands  (Last Chance, Feb 10)
Son Volt, Notes of Blue  (Transmit Sound, Feb 17)
Leif Vollebekk, Twin Solitude  (Secret City, Feb 24)
Old 97s, Graveyard Whistling  (ATO, Feb 24)
William Matheny, Strange Constellations  (Misra, Feb 24)
Mic Harrison & High Score, Vanishing South  (Mic, Mar 10)
Cory Branan, Adios  (Bloodshot, Apr 7)
Jason Eady, Jason Eady  (Old Guitar, Apr 21)
Chris Stapleton, From A Room: Vol. 1  (Mercury, May 5)
Colter Wall, Colter Wall  (Young Marys, May 12)
Joseph Huber, Suffering Stage  (Huber, Apr 21)

Next time you see a list like this from me will likely be towards the end of the year.  Please notice that there is a lot of room here for stuff I've just received like Jason Isbell or Amanda Anne Platt or Will Hoge.  And let's not overlook the fact that the table is set for Lee Bains III, Tyler Childers and Yawpers.  I when I kneel by my wee bed at night and say my prayers to the sky, I always ask for that new or lesser known artist to appear at my door to throw it all to the wild wind.  Amen.

---------------

If you're going to tell me all my faults
I'll tell you the ones I'm gonna keep  --  Bash + Pop



- Barrence Whitfield, "Whiskey Wagon" Barrence Whitfield & the Savages  (Mamou, 84)
- Vandoliers, "Rain Dance" The Native  (State Fair, 17)
- Bohannons, "Run the Roads" Luminary Angels  (Cornelius Chapel, 17)  D
- Bash & Pop, "Anybody Else" Anything Could Happen  (Fat Possum, 17)
- Banditos, "Strange Heart" Visionland  (Bloodshot, 17)
- Reckless Kelly, "Crazy Eddy's Last Hurrah" The Day  (Valley, 00)
- Steel Woods, "Wild and Blue" Straw in the Wind  (Woods, 17)
- Jason Isbell, "Tupelo" Nashville Sound  (Southeastern, 17)
- Will Hoge, "Little Bit of Rust" Anchors  (Edlo, 17)
- Chris Knight, "Miles to Memphis" Heart of Stone  (Drifter's Church, 08)
- GospelbeacH, "You're Already Home" Another Summer of Love  (Alive Naturalsound, 17)
- Jeremy Pinnell, "Ballad of 1892" Ties of Blood and Affection  (Sofaburn, 17)  D
- Secret Sisters, "King Cotton" You Don't Own Me Anymore  (New West, 17)
- Micah Schnabel, "Cincinnati, Ohio" Your New Norman Rockwell  (Last Chance, 17)  D
- Avett Brothers, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" Music From the American Epic Sessions  (Legacy, 17)
- House and Land, "False True Lover" House and Land  (Thrill Jockey, 17)
- Sam Baker, "Same Kind of Blue" Land of Doubt  (Baker, 17)  D
- David Ramirez, "Dancing and Vodka" Apologies  (Sweetworld, 12)
- Deslondes, "One of These Lonesome Mornings" Hurry Home  (New West, 17)
- Cale Tyson, "Easy" Careless Soul  (Tyson, 17)
- Margo Price, "Downpour" Cover Stories  (Looking Out, 17)
- Drew Holcomb, "Tip Of My Tongue" Treasure of the Broken Land  (Storm Weathered, 17)
- Zephaniah Ohora, "Way Down in My Soul" This Highway  (Ohora, 17)  D
- Amanda Anne Platt & Honeycutters, "Birthday Song" Amanda Anne Platt & Honeycutters  (Organic, 17)
- Slaid Cleaves, "Already Gone" Ghost on the Car Radio  (Candy House, 17)
- Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer, "Not Dark Yet" Not Dark Yet  (Silver Cross, 17)  D
- Hiss Golden Messenger, "Mahogany Dread" Lateness of Dancers  (Merge, 14)
- Benjamin Booker, "Truth is Heavy" Witness  (ATO, 17)
- Lee Bains III & Glory Fires, "Whitewash" Youth Detention  (Don Giovanni, 17)
- Waxahatchee, "Never Been Wrong" Out in the Storm  (Merge, 17)  D




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