|Blue Highway Festival March 10th, 2001
Buddy & Julie Miller, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men,
Mary Gauthier, Robbie Fulks, Slaid Cleaves, Larry John McNally, The Hollisters,
Hazeldine, The Cash Brothers, Kristi Rose & Pulp Country, Chris Gaffney,
David Onlney, Jon Dee Graham, Two Dollar Pistols, Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love
McDermott – Last Chance Lounge
by Markus Rill
I hate to admit it but I needed a good kick in the butt. The records that had moved me most last year were acoustic records by Todd Snider, John Hiatt & Johnny Cash. Good rock’n’roll just did not seem to exist. Well, Michael McDermott came to my rescue. He is able to R-O-C-K in capital letters without resorting to cliches and worn out poses. Wordy, poetic rock if you can imagine such a thing in the new millennium. His lyrics are epic tales, big on wordplay and simple faith in the power of storytelling. You can tell he’s firmly rooted in folk music but at the same time, he just loves the thrill of loud electric guitars and big drums. It’s no surprise he gets compared to Dylan and Springsteen a whole lot. Think “Blonde On Blonde”-storytelling meets “Greeting From Asbury Park”-kind of energy. But for all the respect McDermott holds for his elders, he’s still his own man. The exuberance of “Unemployed” is not a result of imitation, the insight he gains by reflecting on “Annie And The Aztec Cross” is personal and original. If we lived in better times, “Murder On Her Lips” would move millions just like “Just Like A woman” once did.. And sound-wise, McDermott’s fifth outing manages to surprise. Most rock records these days sound either tired & dated or too-too gimmicky-modern. “Last Chance Lounge” is an intelligent, moving, exciting, and thoughtful rock’n’roll record for the new century.
it’s not. But just because there are no steel guitars doesn’t mean it
get to you. After all, you get all that’s drawn you to alt.country in
first place: top-quality songs and performances and real storytelling.
Jeff Krebs – Keep An Eye Out
by Markus Rill
This record takes you to unknown territory. You can tell from the first few seconds of minor-key banjo-picking that there’s a special atmosphere to Jeff Krebs’s music. The arrangements are so full of unusual ideas, listening to this record would seriously screw up a middle-of-the-road radio listener. The title song “Keep An Eye Out” is downright scary with its hypnotic rumbling beat, “Tango Delle Rose” is a – surprise – klezmer tango and other songs are just impossible to describe. Still, “Keep An Eye Out” is not just an assortment of weird ideas. Krebs isn’t out to impress but to present his songs. And fine songs they are. The Wurlitzer-driven “Emily Take It Back” and the laid-back “Another Piece Of Me” are undeniably catchy; the title song and “Up In The Old Hotel” provide you with haunting melodies for your next walk alone through the woods. But Krebs’s voice is something to hold onto, your soothing and comforting guide through his world. And he does throw in warm acoustic guitars, dobros, and lilting harmonicas, too. Even if the album as a whole isn’t quite as mesmerizing as the first bunch of songs promise it to be, “Keep An Eye Out” is a real remarkable record, and Jeff Krebs a highly original artist.
Johnny Cash - American Recordings III: Solitary Man
by Markus Rill
Johnny Cash is an old man. He is also a sick man. Too sick, in fact, to still be a live performer. Still, though, he seems to be the epitome of dignity.
A lesser man than Johnny Cash would probably falter or look stupid under the metaphorical burden placed on his shoulders by an album title like "Solitary Man" and song titles like "I Won't Back Down." Cash, however, rises to the occasion and sings these songs so matter-of-factly that their lyrics sound like the truth and nothing but. It's amazing how songs grow when they're presented by Johnny Cash. And it's not instrumental brilliance that makes them shine (although Marty Stuart, Norman Blake, Tom Petty and Sheryl Crow guest on the album) and it's not spectacular production work, either. Rick Rubin knows well enough that simplicity works for Johnny Cash. So for his third album with Johnny Cash, he went for something in-between the stark nakedness of American Recordings and the jaunty lushness of Unchained, on which Cash was backed by Tom Petty & The Heartbrekers).
If you hear the Man In Black sing "One", you are so mesmerized by the performance's breathtaking beauty that you forget the song was written by Irish wannabe-avantgardists U2.
songs would be more forgettable if it weren't for Johnny Cash's voice
the power it has to perk your ears and hang onto every word it sings.
Leaving Now", Cash and fellow outlaw Merle Haggard proclaim...let's
it ain't so.
Sonny Landreth - Levee Town
by Markus Rill
Sonny Landreth is a slide guitarist like no other in the world. David Lindley and Ry Cooder will no doubt acknowledge that Sonny has catapulted slide guitar playing onto a new level with his virtuoso technique and passionate playing. Instrumental mastery alone does not always make an album worth buying, though. What makes Levee Town one of the year's best is not only Sonny's amazing and often stupefying guitar playing, it's also his songwriting and the top-level musicianship of everyone on the record.
delves deeply into the rhythms and musical textures of his home state
Lousiana, incorporating elements of Zydeco and Cajun music into almost
all of the album's twelve
His lyrics are also very heavily influenced by Southern mythology, Voodoo and the like. So much so that a friend of mine remarked "the moon sure is busy in Louisiana" since there seems not a single event on the whole record going unnoticed or undisturbed by the Earth's trabant.
exactly discover new territory on here. Although "Soul Salvation" (w/
Raitt) is a fine attempt at soul music and horns are prominently
on the two final tracks, "Levee Town" is pretty much a logical
to the phenomenal "South Of I-10" album. And it's quite simply to good
to be missed.
Dave Alvin - Public Domain
by Markus Rill
it right up front: Dave Alvin is just about my favorite
The musicianship of Dave & the boys is astounding. You can just hear how much fun they had with the rollicking "What Did The Deep Sea Say" and "Walk Right In" (on which drummer Bobby Lloyd Hicks turns in an inspired duet vocal performance). Then they approach "Shenandoah" and "Sign Of Judgment" cautiously, gingerly and create convincing folksy interpretations.
to pay homage to a song and reinvent it at the same
John Hiatt - Crossing Muddy Waters
by Markus Rill
is such a pleasant surprise. Sure, Hiatt has
The concept is intriguing. It's just Hiatt on acoustic guitar, Davey Faragher on bass, foot-stomping and vocals, and wild man Dave Immerglück on mandolins and guitars. So it's a stripped-down affair but not an overly melancholy or somber one. Hiatt's gravelly voice has never sounded better and the new songs are a far cry from the lame bunch he shared with us last time around.
a thing to miss on this infectiously energetic album.
There are at least five instant classics on this record. "Crossing Muddy Waters" "What Do We Do Now", "Take It Down", and "Gone" are just beautiful, lyrically and musically. Actually, they're perfect pop nuggets, delivered all raw and tasty. And - as the album title promises - Hiatt also knows his blues. "Mr Stanley" features an absolutely heart-wrenching story and vocal performance.
great songs, a top vocalist - this album's got all anyone could ask
Less is more.
Tim Carroll - Not for sale
by Steve Schmidt
While I was shopping at Miles of Music, the woman on the other end of line suggested "Not For Sale", based on other purchases I was making. It proved to be an impulse buy I wouldn't regret.
"Not For Sale" is ostensibly a re-release of Carroll's 1997 album "Rock N' Roll Band". (A dispute with Sire Records kept "R&R Band" from seeing the commercial light of day). Rolling from the country lament "When She Wants To Cry" to flat out rockers like "After The Hurricane" and "Good Rock From Bad", Carroll proves he can successfully straddle both sides of the alt. country line. However, make no mistake about it, "Not for Sale" is a rock n roll record and a good one at that.
Track 1 kicks things off in strong fashion with a mid-tempo stomp "The House That Ruth Tore Down" that features some of Carroll's strongest vocals. "Five Year Town" refers to Nashville & the challenges of making it big with hundreds of 10-cent cowboys & lap dancing cowgirls around every corner. In contrast to Robbie Fulks' "Fuck This Town" (in which Carroll is mentioned by name), Carroll offers a hint of optimism despite those odds.
Carroll sings of therapeutic powers in a country song in "A Good Cry". "I'm not really gonna need a shrink/When I've got George Jones to help me think/Now I know why/ It's called a good cry/It's helping me to get by". Who needs Freud when you've got country music?
The only mis-step is "Find A Way To Win" which rings of an early 70's pop tune and doesn't quite fit comfortably with the rest of the tracks.
The disc rebounds and ends strongly with "In Memory's Arms" and "You Call This A Song". "Song" is an intimate tale of a fractured relationship. Carroll finds refuge in the tune and takes the listener with him: "You call this a song/I call it my only hope/A little way/That I can cope". With a sparse, stripped down sound, it is a beautiful way to close the album.
is filled with so many first-rate songs that one can't help but wonder
what Sire Records was thinking. On second thought, this is
the kind of record that most major labels screw up by insisting the
change their sound to find a hit single. Do yourself a favor and
buy "Not For Sale". You won't be disappointed.
Jimmy Smith "Clocker Redbury/Dusty Slosinger"
by Jan van Doorn
This record is not easy to get but when you are lucky like me you have a copy and he is out now in Austin Texas. But when you like Gourds music than is this a perfect album. The first song Loveseat is make you laugh a great opening for an album, After this one there comes I Can Smell It On You and this is the first highlight and then the album is going on and you can feel the songs and the there is the Niple Form with a Rolling stones feel but this is real the song of the album. I think this is a colectors Item for roots music lovers and I hope Mr Smith is still writing and give us more of this. I love this kinda albums it give you the feeling I want more of this and the Gourds are coming soon a good year of rootsmusic.
Rill & the Gunslingers - Nowhere begins
The magic of the road and the lonesome cowboy can be found in the songs of Markus Rill, a singer/songwriter from Wuerzburg/Germany who paid his dues in Austin, Tx. Where else could a German have gotten the confidence to be a kraut writing authentic road movie-esque songs?
a point of view not unlike Bruce Springsteen's. Often the storyteller
a not-so uninvolved bystander. Then there are songs that evoke the land
and its people by relating the stories of the "Ramblin' Man", "Lorna
and of Susan & Jack who keep hanging on to a dream of love. Rill's
stories and his matured guitar picking are supported by his backing
"The Gunslingers" and their good old-fashioned brand of
To state that "Nowhere Begins" is Rill's strongest work would not do
to its two excellent predecessors. One could however claim that his
record ist his most mature and powerful one so far.
Hangdogs - Beware of Dog
by Doug Waterman
If you're thinking that Americana music is only bred south of the Mason-Dixon line, you're dead wrong. Straight out of the Big Apple, the Hangdogs second release Beware of Dog captures the finer points of this genre with an invigorating performance aura and a mature display of songwriting.
Slightly more rock 'n roll oriented than their first album, East of Yesterday, Beware of Dog covers a broad range of musical styles which are penetrated by lead singer "Banger" Grimm's nasal-twang vocals.
The album cranks up with its first track, "The Gun Song," a cowpunk rant about the inevitable revenge of a victim of spousal abuse. The dogs tone down with two slower love tunes, "Angelita Turns" and "Somewhere Near Heaven," asserting a distinctive Tex-Mex flavor through melodic accordion drones and simple acoustic guitar progressions.
In "Waltz This Waltz Alone," we get the feeling of an oldschool Merle Haggard barroom drinking song. "Love in here (the bar) don't last forever, but it might until 4," moans Grimm over the high and lonesome whine of the steel guitar.
The Hangdogs kick it back up a notch with two gutty honky-tonk tracks, "Meet Me at Tommy's" and the album's title song, "Beware of Dog." Traces of musical contemporaries such as the Bottle Rockets and the Backsliders cannot be avoided in these two compelling country jams.
Beware of Dog would not be complete without a bit of politics pervading the air. American class struggle and inequalities, as well as governmental negligence toward the common citizen, seem to be themes that run bitterly throughout a few songs on the album, including "The World is Yours" and "Out There." The band responds to a historic post-World War I incident in "Anacostia," where a group of protesting veterans were turned upon by the US Government, who ultimately set fire to their campsite along the Potomac River.
This new release from the Hangdogs is a highly commendable collection of mature roots rock and Americana music. It represents the best elements of this progressive, rapidly expanding genre of music. Do yourself a good deed and invest in the dog pound.
Steve Wynn - Here come the miracles
2001 Blue Rose Records
Are our beloved US guitar rockers going crazy? After Rich Hopkins called his last album "my Sgt. Pepper" and labelled it 'Devolver' in a very daring way, his buddy Steve Wynn is appearing with new material. It's a double-album, and he puts it in a row with 'Exile on Main Street' and 'London calling'.
Completely driven mad? Keep calm: Steve Wynn is not so wrong. Certainly we have to wait if 'Here Come the Miracles' owns the permanent quality of the shining examples from the past, but I discovered that it is really a very special acoustic experience. Right away in the opener and title song you can hear Wynn rocking wild through the garage, not able to keep his hands away from the hallucinogenic mushrooms on his windowsill. I don't remember an album of the ex-Dream Syndicate frontman with so much fine psychedelia in it. Distorted, feedbacking guitars are blown through many different effects, and Chris Cacavas draws some magic sounds out of his organ. Of course the guest list is a fine one - not only Cacavas, but also the Calexico guys Burns and Convertino play a part. Though many experiments happen on this album, making it a very refreshing one, there is also a lot of classical Wynn. 'Shades of Blue' , Wynn says, is the song that is most typical for him, something like an intersection. And the first single 'Sustain' could have played a good role on 'Melting in the Dark" or 'Sweetness and Light'.
among others are 'Death Valley Rain', 'Southern California line', and
Canyon'. Well done, Mr. Wynn!
The Silos - Laser Beam Next Door
2001 Blue Rose Records
der mittlerweile zum Trio geschrumpften Band um den Charismatiker
Salas-Humara ist ein gutes, aber kein spektakuläres geworden.
nach vorne gerockt wird hier, meistens in Englisch, manchmal aber auch
in spanischer Sprache, was natürlich mittlerweile obligatorisch
Aber Salas-Humara war eigentlich schon weiter, er kehrt auf diesem
dem Neuland den Rücken, um wieder auf gewohnten Pfaden zu wandeln.
Und wenn er dies auf derart hohem Niveau tut, gibt es meinerseits
Einwände. Natürlich hat es Klasse, wenn er Geschichten von
Ford Fairlane fahrenden Frauen erzählt, die ihn unterm
zurücklassen und wenn er diese Geschichten dann noch in bekannte
kleidet, die in dieser Anordung doch nicht so bekannt sind, fühlt
man sich einfach wohl. Ein Schunkelalbum, fast.
Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker (Bloodshot)
by Rachel Leibrock
records under his belt and another already completed and waiting for a
label, Ryan Adams makes a move towards emancipation with his solo debut
Heartbreaker. Produced by Ethan Johns, son of the legendary Glenn Johns
who produced the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street, it possesses a
if not remorseful air. Johns, along with Adams' Nashville neighbors
Rawlings and Gillian Welch, make up Adams' backing band for the record;
also making guest appearances are Emmylou Harris and Kim Richey. The
record is brooding and reflective, hushed with occasional outbursts of
strident fury, sadness and aching. Adams has called it both his "Smiths
record" and a product of his "Dylan period." In fact the songs span the
scope of not just Dylan and Morrissey but the Stones, Neil Young, Dolly
Parton and Gram Parsons as well. The opening track "To Be Young (is to
be sad, is to be high)" rocks like a bluesy, garage-y early Stones
The Emmylou Harris duet "Oh My Sweet Carolina," has a honeyed
twang while the scathing "Come Pick Me Up" recalls the scorn of Johnny
Cash with lines such as "come pick me up, take me out, fuck me up,
my records, screw all my friends… ." Those expecting a follow-up to
Stranger's Almanac may be disappointed Heartbreaker isn't as polished
diamond-bright. Its strength, however, lies in its roughness; Adam's
vocals are like a stinging balm—painfully soothing.
The Barn Burners - Alibis
by Steve Schmidt
Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than to have a band shine on their debut, only to see them lose their focus or settle for lesser material for round number two. Rest assured that the Barn Burners not only avoid a sophomore slump, they take an impressive step forward.
Alibis builds on the solid foundation the Burners laid with their first album, Tobacco Sunburst. Led by singer /songwriter Bob Kannenberg, the Baltimore area quartet has put together a strong collection of 10 originals and one remake; T-Bone Burnette’s “Little Daughter”. Like the city of Baltimore itself, the Burners sound successfully straddles the line between North & South.
Kannenberg sings the blues of the workingman in the rocking “Dice Are Loaded”. The frustration continues with “Thinkin’ Hard and Drinkin’ Harder”, only this time it is country blues. “Thinkin” features deft pedal steel work against a 50’s rock n’ roll backbeat - a combination that definitely works.
In “Just Because”, a honky-tonk rave-up, Kannenberg pays homage to a fistful of country legends including George Jones, Hank Williams, Ray Price and Buck Owens.
The Burners get up and boogie with “Jenny Lee” which will have you two-stepping before you know it. “Hey Little Darling” and “Can’t Happen To Me” keep the heat turned up, while “Rebel Bop” chugs along with a CCR-inspired back beat.
The album’s standout song, the country-tinged “Big Tree”, paints a beautifully sad picture of a highway patrolman who earlier in life “felt like a big tree/watchin’ over you all”. Now at retirement, the feeling has become “like a big tree/waiting to fall”. The tree metaphor works perfectly and showcases Kannenberg’s best writing to date.
enough to show that the Barn Burners take their craft seriously while
it clear that they still believe rock n roll is supposed to be
And what could be more fun than listening to a band hit its stride?
Jeffrey Duke Patterson - Story Of A Rebel
by Markus Rill
Jeffrey Duke Patterson presents himself pretty much in the same fashion as the Hard Way-era Steve Earle did: as the Harley-riding, hard-rocking outlaw kind. Contrary to most contenders, though, Jeffrey doesn't suffer from the comparison because he has more to offer than just a rebel image.
he does show an undeniable Earle influence but he also ventures into
small towns and
him, Patterson has assembled a bunch of good,
may be convincing but not (yet) ingenious as a
Edge City - "Mystery Ride"
by Markus Rill
Only in Austin, Tx. can an unsigned, strictly local act assemble such a wealth of talent to help out in the making of an album. The husband-wife duo of Jim Patten and Sherry Brokus managed to recruit much in-demand pedal steel ace Lloyd Maines as producer and his fellow Joe Ely band veterans David Grissom (guitar) and Glenn Fukunaga (bass) along with other similarly experienced first-rate players for their new release "Mystery Ride". In other words, getting good instrumental parts was not a problem.
Needless to say that Maines's production provides a wonderfully rounded-out sound which allows the listener to enjoy these positively inspired performances.
And it's no wonder these great musicians have fun playing Jim Patton's songs. They are fine songs, indeed. Patton is a competent songwriter and his songs concentrate on life's hardships.
Patton is a sympathetic, insightful lyricist, he does sometimes resort
to cliches. Some opening lines give reason to
Unfortunately, the vocal deliveries are not quite up to the high standard of songwriting and musicianship. Don't get me wrong, Sherry Brokus is a good singer and she hits the right notes but her voice lacks character and her performances are rather unexciting.
Jim Patton has a Butch Hancock-meets-Peter Wolf-kind of voice but his singing style (if you can call it that) is closer to Lou Reed's.
However, with 13 good songs, truly fine playing and great production work by Lloyd Maines, "Mystery Ride" still stands head and shoulders above most independent productions.
Joe Ely - Live At Antone's
by Markus Rill
most of Joe's albums and he has released two live ones before, I wasn't
sure I really needed to add this one to my collection. There were two
reasons to think twice about
Anyway...I should not have doubted Joe Ely. The album is simply too good to be missed. Not only is Joe Ely is an energetic performer (equal only to Springsteen and maybe Todd Snider), he also has a terrific band aboard for the ride. Flamenco guitarist Teye and accordionist Joel Guzman add wonderful flourishes to the basic setup of drums, bass, two guitars and Lloyd Maines's pedal steel. The much in-demand producer's fiery pedal steel playing is quite different from the syrupy Nashville style.
though, the songs are just superb. It doesn't matter how many times
heard Robert Earl Keen's "The Road Goes On Forever" or Tom Russell's
del Cielo" before, in Ely and his excellent band's versions, they sound
all fresh and invigorating. The album also features the ultimate
of Ely's own tall Texas tale "Me And Billy The Kid".
A really fine album with truly great songs!
Earle - Transcendental Blues
by Markus Rill
I admit I was skeptic. Though I've been an ardent admirer of Steve Earle for years, I must say that I was disappointed by "El Corazon" and unenthusiastic about "The Mountain", his last two releases prior to "Transcendental Blues". Then, just two days before the official release date, I witnessed a lackluster performance by Earle & The Dukes in Frutigen/Switzerland. And word of a "rock album" had me expecting the worst.
I'm glad to state that the new album is utterly convincing. As on "El Corazon", Earle demonstrates amazing stylistic variety but this time around, he manages to give the album a cohesive feel. There are joyful Irish jigs (Galway Girl, Steve's Last Ramble), bluegrassy numbers (Until The Day I Die), guitar-driven rockers (All Of My Life) and introspective folksy tunes (Lonelier Than This, Over Yonder). Yet, most of all, there are wonderful pop songs aplenty. "Everyone's In Love With You", Another Town", "I Can Wait", "Halo Round The Moon" and "I don't Wanna Lose You Yet" have an irresistible immediacy about them that really sets the atmosphere for the whole album. The "rock" elements may be found in Earle's gravelly voice, his fuck-me-attitude, in slapdash-sounding arrangements and the less than pristine sound quality. Fortunately, though, Earle refrained from writing along the lines of "West Nashville Boogie" and "Here I Am", his air-guitar-punkrock anthems. His new compositions are practically bursting with melodic beauty and brilliance. So much so that Mr Earle, who has never had an ego problem, cannot cease to talk about the "rubbery soul"-sound or "Jules-Shear-goes-fab"-quality of his new oeuvre. Oh well.
though, Earle's latest offering is surprisingly weak. Who would have
thought that the author of so many exceptional storysongs can be so
when it comes to writing verses for a true gem of a love song as "I
Want To Lose You Yet": "You know I love you and I know you love me/it's
everything that love's supposed to be." Aw, come on.
"Transcendental Blues" does not contain a single standout track that can stand alongside Earle's very best (or even the best songs from "El Corazon" or "The Mountain"), but as a whole, the album easily ranks among his top two or three outings.
by Markus Rill
band name the six-piece from Virginia favor rough edges over perfection
and songs full of despair, sorrow and, well, booze over smooth,
pop. In my book, that makes them an instantly likeable band.
And then there's singer Wes Freed who makes his band mates' compositions his very own by giving them a distinctly alt.country feel with his slow Southern drawl.
So in theory this should be one of my favorite albums. And I do like it. Good songs, competent picking and plaintive vocals - what's not to like? Then again - as with a bunch of other, much better known alt.country bands - I sometimes get the feeling that Dirtball care more for demonstrating their devil-may-care attitude than for communicating any actual substance. Most songs' lyrics seem not fully developed and some vocal phrasings are a just bit too careless or unoriginal. In the end, Dirtball deliver a good album with high points ("3am") but fall of short of realizing their full potential.
Slaid Cleaves is a truly wonderful person. He makes equally wonderful music. I saw him perform quite a few times while I lived in Austin, Tx. He was, in fact still is, friends with friends of mine and they played together a lot in juke joints and bars to small but captive audiences. Now that Slaid has toured with Fred Eaglesmith and Robert Earl Keen and plays with Ian McLagan (the man has been in the Faces and played with virtually everyone, including Springsteen!) and long-time Lucinda Williams-collaborator Gurf Morlix, he still invites his old friend Laura Nadeau to sing on his records.
And he covers a song by Karen Poston. Karen's song "Lydia" is so breathtakingly beautiful, it wouldn't be out of place on a Dave Alvin album (and that, boys, is the highest praise I can come up with). I used to embarrass Karen by asking her to sing with me at Open Mikes. So maybe this is not the most objective review so far.
Well, even if you don't know Slaid and you don't give a hoot what kind of a person he is, you'll still love the sparse folksy sound of his music, Slaid's warm, raspy voice, and his storytelling abilities. "Sandy Gray" not only tells a mighty moving true story but is also practically bursting with poetic brilliance. Haven't seen better internal rhyming since "Like A Rolling Stone." And I don't think the combined efforts of Wilco & Billy Bragg of putting Woody Guthrie's lyrics to music led to results as satisfying as "This Morning I Am Born Again." Slaid takes Woody's Walt Whitman-like poem and turns it into a song that could stand alongside Woody's best works, right up there with "I Ain't Got No Home". And there are plenty more fine songs to muse on ("One Good Year") or sing along to ("Key Chain") and tasty picking to enjoy. So much the better if it comes from a great guy.
by Markus Rill
Most of you probably don't know who Mary Cutrufello is and you'll find this hard to believe: The first time I saw Mary play, she was on stage of the great Continental Club in Austin, Tx. and she looked like Tracy Chapman with Bob Marley's hair and she played her Telecaster slung way down low Keith Richards-style, jumping round like a jumpin' jack flash and playing the rowdiest, rockingest, twangiest version of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" that I'd ever heard while getting some real mean licks from that ole Tele's fretboard. Hell, she even yodeled. She was too good to be true.
Obviously record companies had no clue what to do with her, so she released a fabulous tape and a self-produced CD entitled "Who To Love & When To Leave" that captured all the excitement of her live performance and features a beautiful song co-written with Steve Earle.
Now, she's released her first major label CD and Warner Brothers have tried their very best to falsify the old saying "you can take the boy (or girl) out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy (or girl)." They almost succeeded.
There's no two-stepping to this record and there's no waltzing. And no-one yodels. Instead you get Kenny Aronoff's powerhouse drumming and Rami Jaffee's beautiful organ playing (and it's good to see him get gigs outside of the Wallflowers) and Mary doing her very best to ignite some of the old fire into some new songs and some old ones. The best songs get real close to some good-time rock'n'roll, maybe comparable to Springsteen's "Sherry Darling". And, surely, Mary's capable hands still play them countrified licks.
In the long run, though, this record provides slightly stale roadhouse rock with the kind of lyrics that go in one ear and out the other. This is an ok record but it fails to present the real live Mary Cutrufello and I, for one, will lay the blame on major record companies who obviously lack the balls to let an African-American woman record a country record. And what a hell of a country rock record it could've been.
1998 byMarkus Rill
are a member of the endangered species known as
Hearing their record "Rubbertramp", you'll wonder why a band with
such a plentitude of talent is still unsigned but hearing that
Their press kit contains various comparisons to better-known bands such as the The Bo-Deans and Gin Blossoms and as far apart as those two bands may seem, Crowd Of One indeed manage to remind me of both.
Hook-laden power-pop songs, perfect vocal harmonies and good musicianship is what they all have in common. Add to that the energy and obvious enthusiasm unique to a debut album and you know the cornerstones of the "Rubbertramp"-sound. These songs are so infectious and the production is so authentic that there's no doubt that Dutch, Jon, Tod & Fred must be a real fun band to witness live on stage.
What's even better when you see them live is that some of the more simplistic lyrics will not quite spoil your fun as much as they do on the record. Here's an example of what I mean:
"Broken hearted" - Band: "What can I do?"
Too bad that I can't give you a sample of their truly enjoyable roots-rock with nice guitar-work, a steady backbeat and strong melodies; it's well-worth checking out even if the lyrics aren't of quite the same quality as the music is.
how to purchase the CD, send an email to
by Markus Rill
I know what you're thinking. The band name and album title scared me off at first too. Also the cover doesn't look like your average alt.country record and guess why - it simply ain't. But something silly or odd, it ain't either. In fact, this album has the freshest folkrock sound I've heard in a long while and what's more - it's got real lyrics. Most bands manage to write a bunch of ok three-chord songs - it's not all that hard. Very few songwriters, however, have Howard Iceberg's knack for writing lyrics that are both fun and stimulating to listen to.
He won me over by alluding to my favorite author (wanna know who it is? - buy the record) in the very first verse and by being able to constantly surprise the listener. Who would've thought that a song called "You're The One I Want" would go on with "but she's the one I need." And there's plenty more wordplay and irony in his songs ("you need more of me and less of him"). But don't be fooled, there's no lack of serious moments and introspection - these lyrics are just the most intelligent I've ever seen by an artist this side of Dylan and the songwriting Gods we've all come to know.
However, the quality of the lyrics doesn't burden the melodies. The Titanics expertly serve up flat-out rockers with a twist and lilting folk tunes. Needless to say that the arrangements are lovingly woven around the acoustic guitar without losing the bite and emergency that the more uptempo songs require. Harmonicas, slide guitars and accordions nicely complement these tunes.
Maybe a word about Iceberg's voice is in order here. So he's not exactly Aretha Franklin's male counterpart - so what? I bet you've gotten used to Dylan and maybe even Neil Young and Iceberg is much less eccentric. In fact, after a few listens, his nasal drawl becomes an integral part of these songs. It's hard to imagine words full of self-deprecating humor being belted out by, say, Michael Bolton.
Iceberg scores on all accounts and he deserves that you give him a listen.
Contact him at HIceberg@aol.com
by Markus Rill
This record took some time to make and then some years to be released. Foster who'd had major hits as part of "Foster & Lloyd" and as a solo artist had grown disenchanted. With life, first, and then with Nashville. The songs on this record are a reflection of the personal turmoil Foster has gone through. His marriage fell apart, a custody battle ensued when his ex-wife moved to Europe and took their son with her, and then Foster found a new love. These experiences made for songwriting that's closer to the bone than some of the poppier stuff Foster had churned out before. But the man is still crafty and witty and able to write instantly memorable lines like "the Mississippi moves a whole sadder than you think." With most of these songs concentrating on relationships, lyrically Foster hasn't strayed all that far from his past outings. Soundwise, "See What You Want To See" is a whole new world, though. There are loud drums and distorted electric guitars galore and Foster's smooth voice sounds surprisingly at home in this environment. The arrangements do wonders or these songs which could have been watered down by the usual Nashville array of pedal steels and sweet harmonies. Instead, with their edges rough and the performances rugged they shine and continue to excite. There's never a dull moment on the whole record which is why it was too risque for mainstream record companies. "I've Got A Picture" and "I'm In" start the album off just fine but the songs just keep getting better. "Angry Heart", "The Lucky Ones" and especially "God Knows When" are all killer tracks, beautiful songs, hits for a perfect world. A really unexpectedly beautiful album, definitely one for the year's best list.
copyright 1999 by Markus Rill
Snider - Happy To Be Here
by Markus Rill
appeared on the scene with a splash. His debut album "Songs for The
Planet", released in 1994, presented him as a humorous and
gifted young singer-songwriter. "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues" was
funny as hell and "You Think You Know Somebody" still stands as his
song, a brave tale about domestic violence and friendship broken. And
songs merely needed the acoustic guitar as accompaniment.
Apparently, a falling out with is band The Nervous Wrecks and ensuing solo gigs as well as losing his record deal with MCA led Todd to re-assess his true goals. "I'd ceased to be a folk singer in front of [The Nervous Wrecks]", he says. "So I wanted to get back to making a record that was all about playing [the songs] as a person with a guitar. [...] Rather than the usual Tele with organ, I really wanted something acoustic."
Oh Boy, we can all be glad he came to that conclusion and he found Ray Kennedy to produce "Happy To Be Here", easily Todd's best post-debut release. The song takes center stage on this album. "Happy To Be Here" is undeniably funny, "All Of My Life" wonderfully tender and "Long Year" is both and then some. And as a whole, the album is anything but sparse, even though none of the tracks feel overproduced. Horns and mandolins and tap dancing and Tom Littlefield's singing garner Snider's songs, and, yes, that might even be a Telecaster playing those bluesy licks on "45 Miles".
This album is all you expected but never quite got from Todd after the "Daily Planet" album. There are caustic observations about twelve-step programs and pre-nuptial agreements, celebratory singalongs ("Keep Off The Grass") and moving moments of introspection. No wonder Todd's "Happy To Be Here" these days. He's gotten married, his friendship with Will Kimbrough seems intact and he's released the best record of the year so far.
The interview quotes are courtesy of http://www.ohboy.com
by Markus Rill
Confession time: Hats and tight jeans (on a guy) don't work for me. I had never been quite able to really dig Dwight Yoakam and his neo-Bakersfield sound, no matter how hard I tried.
On this new album, Yoakam gets rid of all gimmicks and tricks, of the band and even a CD booklet. It's just the man and his guitar and to my ears he's sounding better than ever. Funny, but in this context his countrier-than-thou singing seems less put on. In fact, his vocal abilities - sighs and hickups included - hold up the whole record. There's not much else to hold it up, anyway. Songs, of course, and Yoakam's beautifully effective guitar playing. It's a relief to these songs to not be cluttered by Yoakam's longtime guitarist and producer Pete Anderson's very forced arrangements. To me, Anderson's attempts to be original and radio-friendly at the same time never sounded very successful. Of course, millions of buyers are in disagreement with me on this.
Now, however, Yoakam's songwriting can be assessed on its own merits. It's good stuff. "A 1,000 Miles From Nowhere", "Please Please Baby", "Bury Me", "Fast As You" - the list of originals that have never never been closer to their country, blues, folk and honkytonk roots goes and on. It's terribly hard to make an interesting record with just one guy and his songs. Yoakam's pulled it off.
by Markus Rill
If Son Volt and Whiskeytown really do split up (I'm sure you heard the rumors too), don't fret. Frog Holler are more than ready to fill in their footsteps. This six-piece band from Philadelphia manages to incorporate all the essential alt. country ingredients into their sound without sounding the least bit contrived. They combine sad songs and rowdy ones as well as fine musicianship with a naturally rough-edged production. Yet, contrary to the bulk of new bands joining the alt.country movement, Frog Holler sound original and familiar at the same time.
They started out as a bluegrass band, they say, so it's not surprising that most of Frog Holler's songs are driven by acoustic instruments, namely, guitars, mandolins, and a pluckering banjo. But they must've been a mighty slow bluegrass band because Frog Holler's main singer/songwriter Darren Schlappich prefers midtempo melancholia. And, oh boy, what a wonderfully world-weary voice Schlappich has to add to the songs. And humor too. "I'm the least most wanted everyday", Frog Holler's frontman complains in the lead-off track to Adams Hotel Road, his band's second outing. "Couldn't Get Along" is further proof of Schlappich's ability to be honestly sad without being boring.
Further along the road, Frog Holler rock out and then wander on, the whole disc flows effortlessly along. So maybe the CD is a little too long to keep up the high standard set by the aforementioned standout tracks and rhythmically it doesn't offer too much in the way of variety but, really, what the hell...it's still a wonderful ride down Adams Hotel Road.
by Markus Rill
Ok, folks, to start off this reviews thing, I figured we might as well start off good and, believe me, this is as good as it gets. Maybe you already know Dave Alvin, maybe not. Those who do can skip to the next paragraph. In the 80ies, Dave played guitar and wrote all the songs for the fabulous rockabilly band, The Blasters. But he's a musicologist of all American roots music today. So far, he's released five solo albums, this is his sixth and, believe it or not, his best.
Dave is undeniably a great guitar player and, man, he's even turned into a highly emotional singer over the years. There's also some terrific playing on this record by Greg Leisz, master producer and player of all stringed instruments, especially lapsteel and slide guitars, and the other musicians. What this is all about, though, is songs. Dave is both a craftsman and a poet. He can skillfully arrange an old folk tune (the title song), refresh blues patterns (Hate The Way You Say Goodbye) and he can even come up with a veritable pop hit for a perfect world (Abilene), most of all, though, the man knows how to tell stories. The story songs on BLACKJACK DAVID will come back to haunt you. There's a song co-written with Tom Russell about a border patrol guy that would've fit right in on Springsteen's "Ghost Of Tom Joad" (it's called "California Snow"), there's a morality tale about a murderer and an unfaithful wife ("Mary Brown") that equals Steve Earle's best outlaw ditties and there's two songs uniquely Dave Alvin. "1968" & "From A Kitchen Table" are about longing and isolation and (as James McMurtry put it) "just life, Mom" and I get goosebumps right now just thinking of these amazing story songs.
Dave Alvin needs no "alt. country"-hype to come up with the best American roots music album of the year. Buy this album right away and then start saving up for its only contender, Springsteen's six-CD box scheduled for November.
by Markus Rill
I'm sure you've read your share of raving reviews about LucindaWilliams' long-awaited new album. And, frankly, it's a damn good album.
It's got the best ingredients:
1) Great players galore. Buddy Miller, Steve Earle, Roy Bittan of the E-Street-Band, that ever-amazing Charlie Sexton, Johnny Lee Schell, Jim Lauderdale, and Lucinda's long-time cohorts, bassist John Ciambotti , drummer, Donald Lindley and guitarist Gurf Morlix (you've probably all heard about the unfortunate rift between Lucinda & Gurf but he's a real trooper).
2) Fine production. Despite all the endless work on the record and the change of producers from Gurf to the Twang Trust to Roy Bittan, everything is in place here. There's at least three guitarists on each song, often more, but players like that don't step on each other, they complement one another and, boy, it's well worth listening to.
3) Good songs. Lucinda is capable of writing real life-songs about real life-situations using real life-language. They're all very emotional, very direct and there's a spirituality that shines through in her lyrics as well as her singing that's all her own.
Now, that we've established the fact that this is indeed a good album and I enjoy listening to it, may I take a second to mention some of its flaws. Somehow you get the feeling that the greatness of this album is mostly due to the participating players and the tasty production. Lucinda's songwriting tends to focus on the mundane and while that is not a bad thing per se, it would probably help if there were a song or two about something other than boy-girl relationships (ok, I give ya "Car Wheels" and "2 Kool 2 Be 4Gotten" but that's two outta thirteen).
Musically, the songs are a bit repetitive, too. The beautiful playing and the tasty arrangements help disguise the fact that too many songs are too damn long. In the end, however, you grow weary of the songs with umpteen verses and no choruses and no bridges. I dunno if there's just one bridge on the whole record.
What I'm trying to say is, I like the record but the whole hype makes it sound like a true masterpiece along the lines of "Blood On The Tracks" or "Born To Run" or "--" (insert your favorite all-time-record here) and I don't think it's quite up there.
by Markus Rill
Let's get a few things straight right away: This album does not dig deep. The production is a bit polished and Kelly Willis is not a songwriter and storyteller like Townes Van Zandt or Steve Earle. She doesn't tell us much about her demons and darkest fears and she doesn't provide us with any new Texas outlaw yarns.
But, man, you gotta love this album for what it is. It's simply a record full of beautiful songs - pop songs, to be sure -, fine singing and wonderfully subdued musical performances. To me, Chuck Prophet's guitar playing is worth the price of admission alone. I love that guy and Kelly Willis's album makes him shine in a way that his own records have lately been failing to. And, really, players like Prophet, Michael Ramos (organ), Jon Dee Graham (lap, steel & slide guitars) and Rafael Gayol (drums) are what set this album apart from a Nashville recording. The material, though well-crafted, might not be spectacularly different from what's on, say, Allison Moorer's debut but the playing is just so much more soulful.
And, of course, Kelly Willis is able to deliver too. The way she's crooning her way through these songs like she does make her utterly loveable. And, trust me, it's not her looks that make me go weak in the knees, it's how her voice seems to melt like chocolate when she sings "Heavenbound" or how she's surprisingly seductive on "Got A Feeling For You."
Willis achieved exactly what she set out to do. If you co-write with Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, you're not aiming to write about existential pain. If you recruit session players, you're not shooting for an eccentric rough-and-tumble rock sound. She wanted to make a record that is listenable without being all gloss and no content. She wanted to write and record songs that have a real chance of being played on the radio and still avoid the cliche-ridden Nashville machinery while. And she succeeded in doing just that. You might say, it's all a very calculated affair but I still find these performances utterly irresistible.
by Markus Rill
The word is that Steve Earle made a bluegrass record. Those who still see him as the bike-riding outlaw might be surprised, some even alienated. But those who've been listening closely know that Earle has always been a songwriter who writes most of his stuff on acoustic guitar or mandolin. He even collaborated with the McCourys on his last rock album, "El Corazon." So this new album isn't such a giant leap, after all. He's made a brilliant acoustic record before ("Train A-Comin'") and this seems like a logical next step. (However, Warner Brothers didn't quite see it that way, they released Earle from his contract.)
What's unexpected, though, is that Earle who used to rebel and break the rules in the best Waylon, Willie & Johnny-tradition is suddenly confining himself to staying in well-trod territory. There's a train song, a murder ballad, mining songs, songs of heartbreak - what's new? Well, maybe not so much is new but this record is still very enjoyable.
One reason is that great storytelling songs by Earle like "The Mountain" & "Dixieland" are always welcome. And the man even sings much better than lately (although he's still outclassed by Iris DeMent on their duet "Still In Love With You"). What's best, though, is that the Del McCoury-band manages to perform Earle's more by-the-numbers-efforts like "Graveyard Shift" and "Lonesome Highway Blues" with a spontaneity and energy that makes one glad they're included on the record. There are really no letdowns on this album which works as one cohesive unit of good songs and superb performances and has a lot of heart - which is more than can be said of Earle's last much-praised release, "El Corazon."
by Markus Rill
& Stückle - Leave The Blues Behind
Finally, the first German band to be reviewed here. They are a mostly acoustic duo with Dennis Schütze handling guitar and vocal duties and Hans Stückle on harmonica. This is their second CD and - as the title indicates - it leads them away from the more traditional Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee-approach of their debut.
That is not to say they shun the blues entirely but they spice it up in their original compositions and they bring in different roots musical flavors such as country and folk and a taste of rockabilly. In order to do so, bluesman Hans Stückle gets cast in a supporting role, not too different from upright bassist Thomas Prisching and various hired hands providing accordion, saxophone and drums. Dennis Schütze really takes over the steering wheel on this record. He is a versatile guitarist, an insightful songwriter and this album presents him as a fine singer. Anyone who can deliver the "Lovesick Blues" and hold his ground in comparison with Hank Williams must indeed be good. He also shines on his original compositions, such as the title track, the bluesy "I've Been Down" and the haunting "Devil's On My Trail".
Hans Stückle blows up a storm on "The Train That Carried My Girl From Town", finds a niche for his blues harp on the folksy "Leave The Blues Behind" and takes over the vocal mic on Doc Watson's "Walk On Boy" and thus proves that he's an integral part of the duo.
The whole disc is wonderfully cohesive even though it combines Hank Williams and Nancy Sinatra ("These Boots Are Made For Walking"), Markus Rill ("West Texas Moon") and Johnny Winter ("Sugaree"). It's really only great musicianship that enables a band to pull off a feat like this effortlessly and utterly convincingly.
Copyright 2000 by Smithie
you find this page at all interesting, maybe you'd like to know Markus
Rill's ten favourite records:
My personal top ten, make that eleven, for the year 2000:
- Happy To Be Here
I missed out on Kasey Chambers - The Captain and Damon Bramblett. If there's a kind soul out there who would like to send me a tape of these two albums... or if you'd just like to comment and get in touch, email me to Rill@bigfoot.com
and don't forget to check out
Markus Rill's ten favourite records of 1998:
- Blackjack David
Some other records well worth checking out (in my humble opinion):
- Walk Between The Raindrops
I've missed some good ones ...As always, feel free to contact me if you
want info on any of those records or if you want to make a
Rill's favorite records of 1999:
that I don't think last year brought us albums quite as good as the
of '98 but maybe I just missed out on some of the more out-of-the-way
because I was very busy throughout the year, first recording my own new
album "The Devil & The Open Road" and then touring in France, Spain
and Germany. So, as usual, I'd love to hear your comments and input.
- See What You Want To See
Mills - Kiss it goodbye
by Nobby Knape
Is there a return in the 40 minutes lp format? Some of my latest cds seem to indicate exactly this: the new Neil Young, Bad Livers and now: Chris Mills newest cd: Kiss it goodbye.
Looking back to almost the bulk of last years musical output I must confess that there were quite a lot of them that were way to long. 3 cds in 2 years and each was 74 minutes long: Either you have to be Leonard McLennon-Dylan as a never ending source of new songs - or a mighty percentage is just unnecessary.
I knew until now as accompanist to my musical herros from the Mekons:
Timms and Jon Langford did gigs / tours with him. So when I got his new
effort, I was not expecting such a mature collection of full grown song
You may well wish to, but it's gonna take a lot more than mere wishing
to be not just another alt-country clon. 2 songs later I was confronted
with a little Buckner reminiscence in resignation and despair. So far
expected. All you ever do is the first really great tune: poppish in
structure, great riff and nice guitar break. Then we're into a deep
ballad. There's no more talk of a brand new day, but my mind's getting
better with each song. Napkin in a wine glass (very Son Volt like in
has one of the most impressive lyrics I heard lately. The woman with
scar who sees p.c. as weak-ass wants to raise her kids with guns - to
them from having her fate. This turns out all the macho power in the
listening: Politically absolutely incorrect he does what's ever been
to her: and
It will be released on June 19 on Loose Recordings in the UK and a month later by Sugar Free in the USA. Lyrics and more information can be found on: http://www.chris-mills.com
call new music? Is it new sounds, newly released, new to me?
Coming from Detroit the band consists of guitarist/vocalist Jeff Oakes, guitarists Bob McCreedy and Matthew Smith, bassist Russell Ledford and drummer Scott Michalski. Still having day jobs They're far away from being the next big thing, in fact I hope they will stay the way they are and I will definetly look out for their next one, write a review and call it record of the year.
Info about the band: http://www.thirdgear.com/press_kits/vole_kit.html
by Nobby (Norbert.Knape@t-online.de)
Harper: The dream society ( Science Friction)
by Nobby Knape
As Markus said, some folk, some rock, some blues and plenty of country. So I won't start with country and go one step further, it ain't US either.
I've been listening to Americana for a while now, so I was glad to hear that one of my old Brit favs was going to release a new one (his first after six years). I'm talking of Roy Harper, noted lunatic and friend of the stars. Members of the Nice, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd played on his records and some of them onstage too. Led Zeppeling wrote 'Hats off to Harper' for him and you could se him sitting somewehere in the Outer Hebrids jamming with Jimmy Page high on a mountain top.
What could I suspect: Another 18-minutes-of-ranting-song, sarcastic songs about crap food in motorway restaurants or this strange kind of selfconfidence of a man talking to nobody else but god?
is a collection af all his trademarks from the last 30 years: rocking
like 'Angle of the night' (starting with that Eductaion riff from Pink
Floyd) or simple but wonderful ballads as 'Broke Wings'.
I kew the sky
An eagle on a thermal high.'
He never was shy, and again he sounds like the singer who walked upon the water just like Jesus (HQ LP-cover), but again he's crashed down, hiding his broken wing. Effective violin by Ric Sanders. One of my favourites is 'Dancing all the night', which starts as 'Cottonfields' only that he talks about the 'killing fields' of central Manchester, when they were burned by 'Adoplh Schizomania'. After a minute the Cottonfields riff is followed by a bridge which changes the song to a very emotional mood: theme is his mother who died shortly after Roy's birth. When in earlier works Harper often was full of hate and anger, this time he is reconciled with evrybody:
'I forgive you for leaving me.'
the stormer, the personal statement, now how's the long one? The suite
is there: 14 minutes may be short compared to the one song-LP 'Burn the
world', but 'These Fifty Years' ... well does capture fifty years.
is about a dream featuring Roy, God and a 19th century biologist named
Tom Huxley. Huxley was a rationalist who laid groud for a secular
based upon 'evolutionary humanism'. This discussion gives Harper the
to look back on fifty years of girls, drugs and rock'n roll and standig
up against religion:
Similar to the other songs he has a new resolve: In the last verse he sings: Tome is gone and god is gone ... my other life begins this morning.' (Just for the record: this song has Ian Anderson on a nice flute.)
Aaah, there's one country flavoured song at last and what's it called: Psychopath. This jolly little songs displays the new Harper:
world to find
been to Knoxville TN? So you've never read Cormac McCarthy's book
Don't bother, so havn't I. But I got the chance to visit that lonely
to drink with Suttree in his fav bar, till everybody fell down to the
Thanks to Roland Kopp and Michael Ströll, I have pictures in my
of Knoxville and that lousy looser named Suttree.
My first impression was Ry Cooder playing the Paris/Texas soundtrack, my second was Philip Glass, then there was the blues. When I heard dark elegic cellos flowing like a majestic river, I took the booklet to my hand: to read that this song was called River IV (and let's the listener experience the river's elegiac and dignified aspects). River and Suttree are Leitmotivs, which occur 4 times each and show us the various facets of persons and places. And this really is the wonder of this extraordinary record: The pictures are so strong, you don't need a movie, you don't need the book, they live on their own. Some are easy to get, like the river or the party at the Huddle, others quite absurd. Like that song Bat Rain, where the strange Gene Harrogate shoots poisoned bits of liver in the air to kill those rabid bats: his slingshots brings masses of dead bats raining down. Another story: Ode to Leonard. Leonard's father has died a while ago but this has been kept secret to everybody in order to keep those welfare cheques coming. But now he starts to smell - what to do? - A fingersnippin tune!
Describing the music is easy - or hard to do! The music has to explain those situations and places and moods. So it's quite a mixture of styles: blues, electronic, minimal, rockabilly etc. This description kept me away from the record for some months. Until I read some remarkable reviews I had thought this might be the usual soundtrack with mixtures of styles and no feeling for the right order of songs etc. But the record doesn't fall into any trap. The sound really put a spell on me, sounds and songs are full of Southern melancholy, some loud and noisy, some like filigree. A German critic called it a multidimenional experience, which is the best way to say it.
The record had been released in 2 steps on vinyl and was put together for a cd by Glitterhouse. This was a labour of love and must be the most exceptional record for this year - but I still think the name of the band is silly and lousy.
by Nobby (Norbert.Knape@t-online.de)
More to come!