Archive for July, 2010

For Jack Tymon

Posted in Scott Miller on July 29, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

I get to take my new daughter home from the hospital today… and this song has been running through my mind repeatedly in the two days since she arrived. Scott Miller wrote it for a friend on the occasion of his son’s birth, and it’s full of heartfelt well wishes for a newborn child.

Random Weekend Post: "Anchor" on Letterman

Posted in Alejandro Escovedo on July 24, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

I’m going to try to keep up with my YouTube posts while on my little sabbatical. Thanks to Sally for sending me the link to Alejandro Escovedo on the David Letterman show earlier this week.

ReviewShine Wednesday: The Redemption Center & Time for a Break…

Posted in The Redemption Center on July 21, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

As you’ve probably noticed, things have slowed down a bit around here lately. I’ve mentioned that my wife and I are expecting our first child next week, and I’ve spent a lot of time recently preparing for her arrival. With that in mind, this will likely be my final post here for the next few weeks. I plan to take a couple of weeks off from work getting to know my daughter, and I think it best to take some time off here as well.

I’ll keep listening to new stuff, and I may pop in with a short post or a weekend YouTube posting every now and then… but it will be pretty quiet here for most of August. Keep me bookmarked, though. I’ll be back.

With that…

Every Wednesday, I feature a brief review of at least one album that has been submitted to me through the ReviewShine website. I have cleverly titled this recurring segment “ReviewShine Wednesday.”

Today, we feature The Redemption Center from Rochester, NY. The band is the product of a collaboration between songwriters J. Stephen Smith and Jesse Sprinkle. The two have worked together for over a decade with the New York based record label, Blind Records. Sprinkle was a recording artist signed to Blind, and Smith worked directly for the label. The new album Land of Plenty marks their first attempt at working together in a creative capacity with Smith providing the majority of the lyrics and Sprinkle serving as producer. The result is a punchy collection of Americana tunes that is simply a lot of fun to listen to. Smith and Sprinkle have assembled a fine collection of musicians around them and sound perfectly comfortable singing and playing together.

This is the song that popped up on my random iPod playlist Monday and inspired me to go back and listen to the rest of this album. The song features original music from The Redemption Center with lyrics from the late songwriter Mark Heard.
The Redemption Center: I’m Afraid of You (Buy Album)

Random Weekend Post: The Velvet Underground

Posted in The Velvet Underground on July 17, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

I’m not sure where it came from, but I really got on a Velvet Underground kick Friday night…

ReviewShine Wednesday: Anchor in the Valley & The Back Row Baptists

Posted in Anchor in the Valley, The Back Row Baptists on July 14, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Every Wednesday, I feature a brief review of at least one album that has been submitted to me through the ReviewShine website. I have cleverly titled this recurring segment “ReviewShine Wednesday.”

We’ll start today with 22-year-old singer/songwriter Kelsey Waldon. Waldon hails from Western Kentucky and records under the name Anchor in the Valley. Waldon’s newest effort as Anchor in the Valley is a self-titled release that inhabits some fairly mellow territory. Waldon’s sound is built on easy folk melodies and fleshed out with various indie elements that add a fullness to her sound. Although she claims influences from the past such as Emmylou Harris and Neil Young, it’s not hard to hear a bit present day artists such as She & Him mixed in as well. I can really hear the latter’s influence in the album opening “It Takes Three Words.”

Anchor in the Valley: It Takes Three Words (Buy Album)

Our second band today is a self-proclaimed “Outlaw Gospel” outfit from Birmingham called The Back Row Baptists. Having been raised in a southern Freewill Baptist church myself, I am well aware of the connotation that their name brings. It’s harder for the preacher (and maybe God himself) to see what you’re doing (or what you’ve done) if you aren’t up front and center.

It was with that in mind that I first listened to the Baptists’ new CD Broken Hearts & Bad Decisions. What I heard was a disc full of rollicking, southern gospel inspired tunes with a hard worn edge that drags a little bit of Saturday night into Sunday morning. Front man Chris Porter says the band’s music is gospel without being religious, but I think the band’s persona is best described by the lyrics to their song “By & By.” In it they sing, “Don’t be scared to raise some Hell, and don’t be scared to cry.” I don’t think they’re afraid to do either.

Drunk on Crutches on WDVX Blue Plate Special

Posted in Drunk on Crutches on July 12, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Back in March, I introduced you to a really cool roots/rock band out of L.A. called Drunk on Crutches.

I have to admit that I gave the band a first listen based mostly on their name. I just had to know what something called Drunk on Crutches would sound like. I don’t really know what I was expecting from their album People. Places. Things., but what I got was one of my favorite new discoveries of the year.
This is just a reminder that Drunk on Crutches will play the WDVX Blue Plate Special Monday at Noon (Eastern). It’s a live concert series that is broadcast live on WDVX and WDVX.com. Check it out if you get the chance.

Random Weekend Post: Crooked Still

Posted in Crooked Still on July 10, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

You can read my review of the new album from Crooked Still over at Country Standard Time. And while you’re doing that… here are a couple of YouTube videos of songs from the album.

ReviewShine Wednesday: Rose’s Pawn Shop

Posted in Rose's Pawn Shop on July 7, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Every Wednesday, I feature a brief review of at least one album that has been submitted to me through the ReviewShine website. I have cleverly titled this recurring segment “ReviewShine Wednesday.”

Today’s artist comes to us from Los Angeles, California in the form of the five piece band, Rose’s Pawn Shop. The name comes from the time the band had all their equipment stolen by vocalist/lead guitarist Paul Givant’s jilted ex-girlfriend and later found their gear in the hands of a local pawnbroker. Next month, the group will release their second album Dancing on the Gallows, and it’s a high energy mash of country, rock, and bluegrass that makes for an immediately inviting sound. Some songs rely more on electric guitars (“Ball of Flames”), some focus more on banjos and fiddles (“The Garden”), and others blend everything together perfectly (“Pine Box”).

Rose’s Pawn Shop will be in Knoxville July 14 for a show at Patrick Sullivan’s in the Old City.
Rose’s Pawn Shop: Pine Box (Buy Album)

Now Entering the Terrible Twos

Posted in Son Volt on July 6, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

This is the week A Fifty Cent Lighter & A Whiskey Buzz celebrates two years on the scene, and I honestly can’t believe I’ve kept it up for this long. I certainly didn’t know how much work it was going to be when I started it. If I had, I might not have done it. Writing was never something that I ever particularly enjoyed throughout my academic career, and I had no reason to think that would ever change. Somehow… something about this whole blog thing has turned me around.

Every now and then I go back and read some of the stuff I posted in the earlier days of the site to get a little taste of nostalgia. Doing that also helps to remind me of what music had me excited at a certain point of time.
A look back to the site’s first month in July of 2008, actually reminds me of a fairly exciting time in my musical life. I got to attend concerts by John Hiatt, Tift Merritt, and The Old 97’s. I saw my high school friend and his upstart bluegrass band play Late Night with Conan O’Brien. I shared my thoughts on a couple of Essential Albums and fell in love with a couple of new ones. I got my first music submission to the site directly from an artist. I even made a case for The Dixie Chicks to become the flag bearers for the Americana genre.
Mostly, I just fumbled around trying to find my voice and figure out what exactly it was I wanted to do with this site. It was a time before the IFPI and international copyright infringement threats. It was a lot of fun… and it still is.
Things may slow down a bit here over the next month or so as I deal with real life for a while. My wife and I are expecting our first child in a few short weeks, and I suspect it will take me some time to find a proper balance between my jobs (plural), my wife, my child, my dog, and this place. I’m also looking to move the blog to a new host… I’m sure that will eat up some time.
This post may seem a tad self-indulgent, but it’s really just to share how much I’ve enjoyed the last two years writing this site and how much I look forward to wherever it might be headed.
Today, I’d like to share a track from Son Volt’s 1995 album Trace. Trace was the first album I reviewed in this space and, in many ways, the inspiration for this site. I originally wanted to call this place Searching for a Truer Sound from the song “Windfall” until I realized that name was essentially already taken. This song was written by Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones, and appears as the album closing track on Trace.
Son Volt: Mystifies Me (Buy Album)

Random Weekend Post: Spirit Family Reunion

Posted in Spirit Family Reunion on July 3, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

I was all set to go with a different artist today, but I was so completely blown away by this group last night at Ferd’s Friday that I had to feature them here instead.

The Spirit Family Reunion hail from Brooklyn and finally made it to Knoxville Friday night after some van troubles left them unable to make their scheduled spot on the Blue Plate Special on Thursday. I’m sorry they broke down, but I’m glad I got to see them perform their blend of gospel/folk/punk.
What I saw was an incredibly energetic group of musicians who poured every ounce of themselves into their performance. There was stomping, shaking, swinging, and sweating on every corner of the stage… there was even some merchandise falling off the walls of the Knoxville Visitor’s Center where the show was held. They gained at least one fan last night… and had a few dollars tossed in to their van repair fund.
Here’s one video that I was able to embed…
Spirit Family Reunion – Cold, So Cold – SXSW 2010 from DUKE STREET on Vimeo.
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=10556846&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

…and a link to one more that I couldn’t.