Stone City Stragglers - Little Misfortunes & Innocent Mistakes

The ghost of Gram Parsons often visits Little Misfortunes & Innocent Mistakes, the debut from Joliet, Illinois’ Stone City Stragglers. While the Stragglers proudly wear Parson’s influence, they still manage to craft songs with a sound all their own.

The opening track Love Is A Stranger tells the story of two lovers separated for the last 10 years by prison walls. While many others in country music have covered this subject matter, the Stragglers somehow deliver it without sounding cliché.

Nobody is a melancholy tale of loneliness and despair and features the haunting backing vocals of band mates Alison Moroni and Karen Moats. The chorus is gorgeously gloomy as they and lead vocalist Brent James sing “Do you know how it feels to be / A nobody just like me”. Songs as good as this simply don’t come around very often.

SCS shows that they can change gears and rock as they kick up their heels on Fire Of Your Own Flame.

The Parsons catalog is mined on a respectful rendering of Sin City. While this version doesn’t stretch the song’s original parameters, it works as tribute to a master.

Little Misfortunes… is filled with first-rate songs throughout. Innocent or not, it would be a mistake not to pick it up.

by Steve Schmidt

Buddy Miller - Midnight and Lonesome (Hightone records)

Buddy Miller is a wonderguy and he got something magical. When there is a new album or when you know he is playing on a sobody's project you want to hear it. His new album Midnight and Lonesome is that kinda special. The opener is the only thing I don't understand because The Price Of Love of the Everly Brothers is done before many times and maybe he had to put it at the end of the album. The most of the songs are from Buddy's wife Julie and I have to say they are realy good. The mucians on the this CD are top of te bill. Emmylou Harris, Brady Blade, Al Perkins and Lee Ann Womack are a few names on the list. The music is a trip into country music from the old days to this time. Wild Card is honky tonky from the saloon, Midnight and Lonesome got a Steve Earl feel, When it comes In got that swing of Sheryl Crow's All I wanna Do and Oh Fait Pitie D'Amour (Love and have Mercy On Me) got the sound of Louisiana. This album is more than only okay and I can tell you I want hear! more but I have to wait.

Jay Farrar - ThirdShiftGrottoSlack (Artemis records)
What can you tell about Jay Farrar. He is one of those guys who bring the country rock back on the map under the name Alt country. First off course with Uncle Tupelo and after that with Son Volt. His first solo record Sabastopol was a smasher and there is hope we get more. ThirdShiftGrottoSlack is an mini album of the alt country master. Only 5 songs and one of them is a remix. Dan Shame is from Sabastopol and the guy who worked with Beck and R.L Burnside took this song under his wings and it worked. Greenwich Time, Station to Station (not Bowie), Kind of Madness and Dues is what we wanna hear and the songs are fairytails on their own. A great mini from Mr Farrar. 

Songs for Bumpy Wagon Rides. The Bottle Let Me Down - various artist (Bloodshot Records)

The 6th compilation of Bloodshot records is one with songs for children. The whole bunch of big names are on this one and I have to say it is funny. Alejandro escovedo, Rosie Flores, Robbie fulks, Split lip Rayfield, Waco Brothers and many more are on this album. You can hear rockabilly, pure country and blue grass. The first thought I got this like the Land Of Yahoo the children's compilation from Rounder. Bloodshot record got those albums and they are always good. Those compilation are maybe the modern answer of the Harry Smith boxset.

Jan the Lazyman 


Kindred Spirits: A Tribute To the Music Of Johnny Cash - Variouse Artist

In the past few years you got a few realy good tributes to music from the past and there is a good celebration for those artist. Timeless (Hank Williams), Poor Little Knitter on the Road (the Knitters), For the Sake Of the Song (townes van Zandt) or the three tribute Albums for Blaze Foley said enough. Johnny Cash got his tribute with the creme the la creme of the music bizzenizz. The opening of this album is supurb. Dwight Yoakam doing a killer version of Understand Your Man. The big names come and go Bob Dylan, Steve Earl, Emmylou Harris, Little Richard, Hank Williams jr and many more are on the album. The muscal leader is Marty Stuard on most of the songs and the last song you can hear the man in black himself in the song Meet Me In Heaven with Janette Carter feat Johnny, June Carter, Earl Scruggs, Connie Smith and Darrin Vincent. It is a pleasure to hear this album.

Jan the Lazyman