Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Walkin' Down The Line

More twang, you say?  Okey Doke.

Andy Dale Petty, well, he's got an old soul.  And a banjo.  And he's looking at you through a rearview mirror tilted just so, making the lights from the passing cars pulse in slo-mo, a movie at midnight, with Jesus and Joe Hill starring as two drifters in Alabama, drinking corn whiskey and runnin' from the cops.

So, on travellin', Petty finds us some backwoods, and stringed and hiccuped, finds us some hay bale salvation, finds us some sepia-spritzed breakdown, finds us some kinda foggy mountain "round she goes". 

Oh, and his rekkid, "All God's Children Have Shoes" is on Voodoo Rhythm.  Go figger. 

Live Nude Women are not featured here.  Just thought we'd mention that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Warm Whiskey

Well, guldarnit, another Country music day.

Gonna pick yr bumpkin ear today about a feller we covered a few years ago.  But that was awhile ago, and we think Willie Heath Neal deserves yr continued attention.  So go back and read our previous post, and slink back thisaways for some more rebel Country done right.

Neal's got a new record out (well, it came out last year, but we missed it, somehow, in the jumble of vinyl lust).  It's called "Out Of Highway",  and it's pure Country gold, full of drinkin', fightin', lovin', and the open road.  It hearkens back to the classic records put out by Waylon, Willie, and their bastard kin in the late 60's/early 70's, bucking the homogenization of Country Music, and shit-kickin' and beer-tearin' their way down the long, lonesome highway. 

Along with other 'Mountain faves like Hayes Carll and James Hand, Willlie Heath Neal gives us continued hope that Country aint dead, it's right in front of us and taking no prisoners. 

Enjoy, and feel free to two-step.  Aint gonna hurt you one bit.

Please support yr local broken hearted beauty queen.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Clay Pigeons


Kickin' off Country week today (and isn't that what we're supposed to be doing anyway?).  

No one complained about our new style of posting last week, so we're gonna continue, and see how things sort out.

Gonna start our "good ol' boy" week with a feller who's pretty essential to any discussion of Outlaw Country, Texas Country, or any contemporary "alt-country" whatever.  

Blaze Foley counted among his contemporaries, friends, and interpreters, such folks as Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard,  and Lucinda Williams, amongst many others of that ilk.  Not too shabby a crowd to be associated with, we think.  And all of the above either covered Foley's songs, or paid tribute to him down the line ("Drunken Angel" by Lucinda, off her classic "Car Wheels on A Gravel Road" record, is reportedly a direct tribute to Foley).
An Austin, Tx. staple, Foley was fond of the drink, and followed trouble, rather than vice versa.  Foley died at the age of 39, shot to death in a strange dispute covered elsewhere.   

His life and lifestyle can be debated in other sectors, what we're concerned with here, of course, is his musical legacy, and it's a mighty one.
A songwriter on par with TownesFoley never quite found the cult and commercial success that his fellow travelers enjoyed.  Among his compositions, we can count "Clay Pigeons", "If I Could Only Fly", and "Election Day" as some of the better known records committed to wax by his more famous friends.  You probably know those songs already.

Foley was, at heart, a country/folk sentimentalist, his lyrics and vocal delivery betraying a heart of gold amidst the chaos of his personal life. All one has to do is look at his greatest song (in our humble opinion), "Clay Pigeons":

I'm going down to the greyhound station
Gonna get a ticket to ride
Gonna find that lady with 2 or 3 kids
And sit down by her side
And ride until the sun comes up and down around me about 2 or 3 times
smoking cigarettes in the last seat trying
to hide my sorrow from the people I meet
And get along with it all
Go down where people say ya'll
Sing a song with a friend
Change the shape that I'm in
And get back in the game
And start playing again

I'd like to stay but I might have to go to start over again
I might go back down to Texas I might go somewhere that I've never been
And get up in the morning and go out at night
And I won't have to go home
Get used to being alone
Change the words to this song
And start singing again

I'm tired of running round looking for answers to questions that I
already know
I could build me a castle of memories just to have somewhere to go
Count the days and the nights that it takes to get back in the saddle
Feed the pigeons some clay
Turn the night into day
Start talking again if I know what to say

I'm going down to the greyhound station
Gonna get a ticket to ride
Gonna find that lady with 2 or 3 kids
And sit down by her side
And Ride until the sun comes up and down around about 2 or 3 times
smoking cigarettes in the last seat
trying to hide my sorrow from the people I meet

And get along with it all
Go down where people say ya'll
Feed the pigeons some clay
Turn the night into day
Start talking again when I know what to say
That alone shoud give one an insight into the majestyof Blaze Foley.  Sure, he had some more "light-hearted" compositions, and plenty of good-time country boy tracks, all of them classic and great. Too soon gone, and tragic, yes, but leaving a wealth of recorded and written work (his catolouge is woefully under-represented, but there are a couple of good records available, Wanted More Dead Than Alive, and  Cold, Cold World.).

Blaze Foley is a Mountain favorite, a hall of famer, and a kindred soul to all we hold dear.


Please support yr local, independent troubadour.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Workin' Man's Soul

All right. After a full week of posts (and we might do it again next week), let's wrap things up with another Deep Blues Friday post. And not only is this a Deep Blues Friday post, but it features our Record Of The Year (to this point). How can you go wrong with that double-shot of love? You can't. You just can't. Let's hit it then.

Our pals up in Toronto, The Speaking Tongues (who we featured a little while ago) turned us on to today's guest, and boy are we glad. If you like music at all, yr gonna love catl.

catl comes from Toronto, also, and we're not sure what's in the water (or the bottle) up there, but we'd like to have a little sip ourselves.

catl's got some nasty voodoo in 'em, a trio of shakers and shimmy-down low. Swamp-bottom surge and cracked-wall shanty groove, a speakeasy stomp and lord let it rain cuz the devil's in the strings and there's fire in them there fields.

Got a hootenanny on wax, then, a band with a wail for a whisper and sour-mashed guts, preaching the circuit and electric mainline juice flowing the darkest veins. Singer/guitarist catl, himself, breaks down banks of mighty Mississippi, mudded and souled, dirt on the strings from the very crossroads, a voice that yowls and drives, swing low sweet Cadillac. Drummer Johnny LaRue is a tribal leader, pounding and fucking the kit like sex-mad demon, all rhythmic pagan-blues ritual. And Sarah Kirkpatrick rattles and cooks, greasy organ, moon-madness maracas on amphetamines, and called-out vocal response and chant.

It's a shimmy-she-wobble, then, amped and driving, straight to the end of times, baptized in the waters of Babylon, and the lord sayeth, repent.

The tune "Workin' Man's Soul", which you can find below, is quite possibly the best tune yr gonna hear all year.

catl main man, and catl namesake, Jamie Fleming, was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, and you should sit up straight and take yr elbows off the table for this.

The BRCM Interview With catl

Big Rock Candy Mountain: Who are catl. and what do you do?

catl: I play guitar and sing and I’ve gone by the name catl for a while now. I’ve played with Johnny Larue for a better part of 10 years so I guess together we make up catl. But it’s also whoever we play with. We’ve had other guest musicians and now that we have sarah she’s a part of catl as well.

BRCM: Who are your influences, and how did you discover them?

catl: I don’t really listen to contemporary music, and all I really listen to is old country blues or 50’s style rhythm and blues. I was in a record store here in Toronto when I was younger and I asked the owner if he could recommend a good country blues player. He gave me a Mississippi Fred Mcdowell record and it was the right thing for me to hear at the time. He’s still one of my favourites, and I loved the way he played outside of conventional blues structures and changed whenever he wanted. I also, love the early recordings of musicians like Charley Patton and Son House. I actually had the opportunity to play one of Son House’s guitars some years back which was a powerful experience for me.

BRCM: What does "catl." stand for? You've been quoted as saying it's a "nonsense" acronym. When I try to say it out loud, it naturally sounds like "cattle". Was that intentional, or are you holding the line at "means nothing"?

catl: Everyone pronounces it like ‘cattle’ and people make up acronyms for it like ‘caustic agoraphobic totalitarian lovers (my friend leslie came up with that one) but whatever people want to think is probably the right thing. It’s easy to sign records that way.

BRCM: You recorded your latest album ("With The Lord For Cowards You Will Find No Place") with Jim Diamond, who's known for his work with a slew of great artists, including Andre Williams, The Compulsive Gamblers (Oblivians), Left Lane Cruiser, and The Dirtbombs/Gories. What was that experience like? Did it add anything to your aesthetic, or was it "business as usual"?

catl: We liked those records as well and that’s why we went to him. Detroit is real close to us and a lot of those bands would play up here on a weekend so it seemed like a natural fit. He was really easy to work with and worked real fast. We like to get things done with as little hassle as possible as well. His studio is a mess of old amps/organs/guitars and other gear and it’s right downtown across the street from tiger stadium. He made it real comfortable and I think the tracks we got from that place are amazing. I really liked the idea of john lee hooker recording and playing in Detroit, so the city holds a special place in my heart.

BRCM: Heard a rumour that one of y'all got to play a guitar once owned by Son House. How was that for ya?

catl: Oh, I mentioned that earlier. That was pretty special. I always play on old guitars and i truly believe they carry the spirit of the people that played them before.

BRCM: Have you ever found yrselves rollin' and tumblin'?

catl: Every fri., sat., and most parts of sun.

BRCM: Is there a devil? Or just god when he's drunk?

catl: There’s no good with with no bad so it’s impossible to think of one without the other.

BRCM: You've added a third member, Sarah Kirkpatrick. Going from a two-person combo to a third, how did that transition work in terms of band dynamics?

catl: It gave me more of a rest. Seriously, she brings another vocal element that I always love about groups like the Carter Family or when a blues guy has a woman singing over his shoulder. The organ for me is the harmonica (an instrument that is always a tragedy when I try and play it).

BRCM: Y'all come from a punk/hardcore background. How did the transition from loud'nfast to the swampier bilge-groove of the (punk) Blues come to be? Did you keep some of your core followers, or do you find yourself with a whole new set of fans (or somewhere in-between)?

catl: It a lot different now. The audience is different but I think the music is the same. To me Charley Patton is a punk rocker from the 20’s.

BRCM: Have you ever put double nickels on the dime?

catl: It’s the metric system up here you know.

BRCM: Why is vinyl better than digital? Or is it? What's the optimal way to listen to catl., other than live?(personal note: as a vinyl junkie, I'm thrilled to get yr records in lp format)

catl: I buy records so for us the vinyl thing is a bit of selfish motivation. As long as people listen to music, I guess that’s the main thing. For me personally, I could give a shit about the cd.

BRCM: What's yr best live experience? Worst?

catl: Every one is different and if it was bad I’d quit.

BRCM: You've said in the past that you'll play for a bottle of vodka. I've got a bottle of vodka with yr name on it (we can add more to the stash if necessary), what will it take to get y'all into the States for a few shows? Do you have any plans for a tour, or are you satisfied with being a "regional band with a scene"?

catl: We can come and play anywhere.

BRCM: Other than vodka, what is the drink of choice for catl.? Does booze make the blooze?

catl: Tequila. Yes.

BRCM: Have you come from the land of the ice and snow? Has the hammer of gods ever led you to Valhalla?

catl: Never heard of it.

BRCM: You recently won the 2009 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search. You're quoted as saying "I think a lot of people wer really pissed off about us winning that...". First, how did you feel about winning that competition? And second, do you see the Blues community as still being a "tad" conservative in its approach to the Blues? We've seen the "trad" element already getting cranky with Fat Possum's "remix" projects . Does this project further into the realm that you occupy?

catl: It made people take notice of us that are caught up in a certain interpretation of the blues. I always think that the more people we contact the better. I don’t feel it necessary to compete with other musicians, but I always play like it’s my last show.

BRCM: What's on the current schedule for catl.? You just released a new record, "With The Lord For Cowards You Will Find No Place". Anything coming up that we should know about?

catl: We have Canadian music week. We have our monthly at the Dakota. And we’ll go whever people want to hear us play……

Thanks, catl. If that aint enough for ya, check out the tunes below. And the video. Their latest record, "With the Lord for cowards you will find no place" can be purchased at Electro_Fi Records. Did we mention it's our Record Of The Year, so far? And a very limited amount of copies of their debut record "¿Adónde vas? A ningún lado", from which the following tune, "Hey! Hey!" can be purchased by emailing folkbrandrecords AT Hotmail d.o.t com. Do yourself a favor, and get 'em both. It's worth it.

catl: Working Man's Soul (mp3)

catl: Hey! Hey! (mp3)

CATL - Working Man's Soul from NOW Magazine on Vimeo.

Country week, next week! In the meantime, hit the record stores and the indpendent label sites!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Static Scars

Finally got the new rekkid City of Rotten Eyes, by the Overnight Lows a couple of weeks ago (On Goner! Clear Vinyl!). Damn and hallelujah.

Boy/girl snot shit vocals over a bed of seedy guitar scrawl trash and primal pounding. Jump around yr room and smash stuff, cuz yr mom's gonna hate it, and that's why you listen. Bust yr speakers out, cuz that's what they're there for, and the Overnight Lows give you every reason rip yr shit up. Motherfuck a man, this is great shit.

Overnight Lows: Low Road (mp3)

Overnight Lows: Static Scars (mp3)

Local, independent record stores are your friend. They really are.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Smokestacks and Silos

We miss the days of "Cow Punk".

So, goddamn, indeed.

The Goddamn Gallows swing wildly around a churning shit-kicker riff, replete with accordion and washboard, by cracky, and bring the cow patties to the proverbial pasture. Loud like a sheared sheep, and full of drunken piss'n'vinegar, punk never sounded so pickup-truck ready. Or hobo-ready, flung pack on flat bed, hand reaching up with wheels chug-a-lugging underneath. The Goddamn Gallows are the bee's knees and a righteous holler.

The Goddamn Gallows: Pass The Bottle (mp3)

The Goddamn Gallows: Smokestacks and Silos (mp3)

Please support something local and independent. Really, at this point, anything will do. Local businesses are falling all around us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Get A Grip

Wanna draw yr attention to a swell little record label today.

ColdRice Records specializes in the type of scuzzy trash'n'country'n'blues that serves the beating heart of our libido. One-man, two-man, full-on beat and bashers, wailing filthy shit over primitive groove and soggy bottom.

Here's the shtick with pay what you think they deserve for a download. None of this $20 an album nonsense. Nope, it's all up to you. Pretty keen, huh?

Their whole catalog is pretty groovy, but we've got three artists in particular that we think are super-duper.

Black Mekon is our favorite. A two-piece making sleaze-soaked Blues like Elvis fucking the corpse of Hasil Adkins in a graveyard littered with the bones of holiness tent revival preachers. Yep.

Swampmeat has a more Country take on the devil's music, but are still fishing from the same blown-out tire stewn pond as Black Mekon, grimy with the floating detritus left from a night visiting porn shop video booths.

And The Solid Soul Disciples features Uncle (Marco) Butcher , backed up by the Black Mekon boys, plus guests. A super-group of soulful dirt-bags, clanging and battering at the tropes of rope-a-dope, Gloria in Excelsis fuck-off.
ColdRice is the label. Check it out.

Better than yr mom, then.

Black Mekon: Get A Grip (mp3)

SwampMeat: I'm A Fucker Not A Fighter (mp3)

Solid Soul Disciples: Roam And Wander (mp3)

Black Mekon: Lo'r My Dying Hed (mp3)

SwampMeat: Tell The Devil (mp3)

Please support any kind of independent retailer you can.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Suicide Blues

Hey, hey, and RIP Alex Chilton.

We're gonna try something different this week, culminating in a Deep Blues Friday post about one of the best damn bands around, and our early entry for album of the year. We'll see if anyone notices the change, or complains. Honestly, we have no idea who our audience is anymore.

Brimstone Howl is a band outta Omaha, Nebraska. But they don't sound one damn bit like most of the whiny, turgid, emo shit that normally one associates with that city.

A sludgy, yowling blues-punk mess of sonic nastiness, Brimstone Howl lives up to it's name, collecting yr two-bit penance on the way to eternal damnation. Fuck, yeah, this is fist pumping devil-rock shit, sold at the crossroads for a bottle of Old Grand-Dad Whiskey.

You can get their rekkids from Alive, an essential label in any form.

Brimstone Howl: Suicide Blues (mp3)

Brimstone Howl: End Of The Summer (mp3)

Brimstone Howl: Obliterator (mp3)

Thanks for stopping by. Please buy records. They're good for you.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Jerry Jeff Walker

We can't believe we've made it this far (and our anniversary is comin' up, so stay tuned) without havin' a little somethin' to say about Mr. Jerry Jeff Walker.  Sheesh.  Let's fix that right now.

Some generic stuff you should know first, which you can probably find elsewhere, but what the hell.
Walker was actually born and raised in New York.  We won't hold that against him, as his move to Austin, TX, and subsequent friendships with the likes of Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, and the mighty Townes Van Zandt  begins the period of his musical career we're most concerned with. 

Early 70's, then, and some might call it the heyday of of Outlaw Country, and Austin musicians in particular (though we're still waiting on Blaze Foley to make his true mark).  'Course, earlier Walker made his mark with Mr. Bojangles, but the less said about that the better (yes, he wrote that song, but don't hold it against him).  In a ten year period Walker produced some of the finest records to be found in the Texas Country (whatever that is) canon.  We're talkin' records like "Driftin' Way Of Life", "Jerry Jeff Walker", "Viva Terlingua", "Walker's Collectibles", "Five Years Gone", and "Ridin' High"  (our time frame's a littled skewed, but deal with it, it's all of a "piece" if you know what we mean). You're well served huntin' those records down.

Now, again, Walker got a bit of the "outlaw" tag pinned on his well-soaked liver, and tunes like "Pissing In The Wind" and "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother", big favorites of the 'Mountain, certainly contributed to this status, but his catalog suggests a more intimate reading of the Americana (which definer certainly did not exist at the time) oeuvre.
One need only look to his cover of Guy Clark's essential tune, "L.A. Freeway", and Walker's own "Hill Country Rain" to see a songwriter and interpreter of keen insight and profundity.  Yeah, we still like his more racuous hill-stompin' stuff (see below), but we like Walker in his more singularly introspective moments as well.

With a voice weathered and weary, taking equal parts East Coast cynicism and Texas drawl (inherited?) humour and situational sincerity, Jerry Jeff Walker is Mountain approved, and very much part of the aesthetic we try so hard to achieve 'round these parts.  We think y'all would approve.  

"I Like to Sleep Late In The Morning" is the quintessential Big Rock Candy Mountain song (along with our eponymous title, Little Feat's "Willin'", and Townes' "Rex's Blues", plus a hundred others too numerous to count).  "Pissing In The Wind" comes damn close (and a shout out to "lost friends" (Brent, we're talking to you)).  "Hill Country Rain" is simply the beauty in the heart of sadness.  And "Sangria Wine" is a typical, yet revelatory, drinking song in the 'Mountain tradition.  There are so many more great Jerry Jeff Walker tunes and records that are well worth yr time.  Collect 'em all!  You won't be disappointed!

As ever, please support yr local Independent whatever.  Once the corporate structure starts telling us what we like, we're pretty much fucked.  So, there's that to consider.