March 2012 - It Rock And Roll

Month: March 2012

The collaboration between the New Orleans legend and the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is inspired, with the younger garage-bluesman placing the 71-year-old’s blues and fire in a perfectly retro-modern frame. No differently to the Black Keys, 21st-century production techniques make sounds as old as the hills seem box-fresh. But no one makes music like this: the Night Tripper rampages inimitably through swamp blues, voodoo funk and Afrobeat, with his trademark piano. Vocals veer from soulful cries of “Can I get a witness?” to narratives about crack houses, but this is more than just a retro retool. The slow response to Hurricane Katrina is assaulted with fury on Revolution, which surveys a landscape of homeless children, raped women and “religious delusions”, and concludes that “rebellion, revolution, is the final solution”. It all powers along on tunes from his top drawer, from the instantly funky title track to the irresistible grooves of Ice Age and redemptive soul of God’s Sure Good. Terrific stuff.

Flac | 264 MB | DF | TB

A literate and impassioned songwriter whose song characters are often caught barely hanging on at the edges of American life, Grayson Capps is a bit like a New Orleans version of Tom Waits, albeit more of a roots rocker in actual musical execution. Capps was born April 17, 1967, in Opelika, Alabama, the son of a Baptist preacher and an Auburn University student. After his birth, both of his parents ended up being teachers in Brewton, Alabama. They moved to Fairhope, Alabama when Capps was in the seventh grade, and it was there that he developed a lifelong fascination with theater, eventually earning a partial scholarship to Tulane University in New Orleans to study acting, graduating with a B.F.A. in 1989. But acting wasn’t the only thing Capps studied at Tulane.

mp3 320 kbps | 171 MB | DF

Ray Wylie Hubbard‘s got a bad case of Richard Thompson syndrome: uniformly excellent recordings that make the craft of songwriting appear so effortless as to fool the average poet-strummer into thinking that a conversation with a silver-tongued devil is all it takes. Hubbard knows that’s not true, but he’s willing to play along. At a time when Hubbard needs to prove nothing, The Grifter’s Hymnal deals a wicked hand – an ace of spades on “Red Badge of Courage” and diamonds and hearts for “Lazarus,” in which Hubbard concludes slyly, “At least we ain’t Lazarus and had to think twice about dying.” Hubbard keeps slamming the good stuff on “Coricidin Bottle” while recruiting Ringo Starr on “Coochy and blowing 78704 a kiss on “South of the River.” All that and “Mother Blues” is still the track, an autobiographical, tell-on-himself valentine to his now-wife (“that Mother Blues door girl”), a stripper ex-girlfriend, and a gold-top Les Paul now in the hands of his son. It’s Ray Wylie Hubbard at his best, candid, shrugging, unapologetic, and dispensing rock & roll philosophy in words that matter: “And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.”

mp3 320 kbps | 105 MB | DF

A collaboration featuring acclaimed singer-songwriters Jon Dee Graham, Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill. Freedy Johnston is a New York City-based singer-songwriter. Having scored several minor hits since the early 1990s, Johnston’s songs are often about troubled loners, and cover topics like heartbreak, alienation and disappointment. Known for the craftsmanship of his songs, he has been described as a ‘songwriter’s songwriter.Susan began her musical career with The Cowsills in 1967. Her contribution to the Cowsills’ backing vocals made her, upon her ninth birthday, the youngest person to be directly involved in a hit record when Indian Lake made the Top 10 in the early summer of 1968. In 1969 she contributed to the vocals in what would become the Cowsills’ biggest hit, Hair.Jon Dee Graham is a musician, guitarist and songwriter from Austin, Texas. Graham was named the Austin Musician of the Year during the SXSW music conference in 2006. He was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame three times: as a solo artist in 2000, again in 2008 as a member of The Skunks, and again in 2009 as a member of the True Believers.

mp3 160 kbps | 47 MB | DF

No less than 5 generations of Wainwrights make contributions to this new album with duets with Rufus, Martha, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Lexie Kelly Wainwright, Suzzy Roche, along with other esteemed guests John Scofield, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Dame Edna Everage.As his new album’s title relates, Loudon Wainwright III is Older Than My Old Man Now – his old man being the late Loudon Wainwright Jr., the esteemed Life Magazine columnist and senior editor.“Singer-songwriter contemporaries of mine have recently taken to writing memoirs and autobiographies,” notes Wainwright. “I decided I would try to tell the story of my swinging life in a three and one-half minute song.”

mp3 VBR~210 kbps | 85 MB | DF | UL

Change is good. Sometimes, you just need a little shake-up to get things to how they always ought to have been. With Heat Sin Water Skin, BettySoo adds some welcome edge and grit to the heartbreaker ballads and bell-pure vocals she’s come to be known for.Teamed with seasoned producer Gurf Morlix (Lucinda Williams, Mary Gauthier, Slaid Cleaves), BettySoo has made a record worth sitting up and paying attention to. Her vocals are striking, the players strong, the sound gripping, and the lyrics compelling.Joining her on Heat Sin Water Skin are Todd Wilson on organ, Gene Elders on fiddle, and Dave Terry on drums. BettySoo and Gurf handled the guitar and vocal parts themselves. As for genre, she’s still nestled in the folk-rock world, but she is bringing something new to her listeners. “There’s a little gospel, some straight-ahead folk, a bit of twang, and maybe even a familiar oldie with a new twist. Be ready for a surprise.”

mp3 192 kbps | 57 MB | DF | UL

When it comes to serving up what the public craves, Raul Malo of the Mavericks knows it better than most. His wonderful, hugely distinctive baritone voice is able at a heartbeat, to stop you in your tracks. His ability to transform a song and shape it to suit himself has long made him a favourite of the connoisseur of song. Aided by his Cuban linage and bilingual singing he not only colours a song but makes an indelible impression as people can’t it seem get enough of his work. Aided by the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra and Spanish horns at a show they performed, to a sell-out audience at the Sage Gateshead July last year as part of their annual SummerTyne Americana Festival music a broad spectrum of material is covered.

mp3 320 kbps | 140 MB | UL | DF

Life Finds a Way implies a journey. From multiple IBMA Entertainer of the Year awards to multiple Grammy® nominations, the Grascals have had an epic one.Now they are back with the highly anticipated signature release that will remind fans why they love this group. From the classic “Sweet Baby James,” to the instrumental “Eleven Eleven,” and the inspirational “The Road to Surrender,” Life Finds a Way is a selection of familiar and new songs with significantly deeper themes.This diverse collection benefits from every Grascal’s songwriting talents, as well as those of Dierks Bentley, Ronnie Bowman, Harley Allen, James Taylor, Jerry Salley and more.As Country legend Tom T. Hall said in the liner notes, “Mere words can’t do this first project for Mountain Home Records justice. You have to play it and FEEL!!”

mp3 192 kbps | 63 MB | UL | DF

Holly Golightly has been around the music scene for nearly 20 years, releasing numerous albums as a solo artist, collaborating with others and more recently with her band The Brokeoffs. Off the radar of the major labels, she has managed to plough a furrow with a dedicated fanbase and a work rate that would put most other musicians to shame. ‘Long Distance’ is a new album only in name, as it contains re-recordings of songs from her solo output including covers of some of her favourite artists by popular request from her fans. Holly herself stated “I have picked some of my original band favourites and recorded this collection for old and new fans alike.

mp3 320 kbps | 79 MB | DF | UL

Kicking up a ruckus on the more garage-oriented side of the 1980s’ roots rock boom, the Del Fuegos were a four-piece band from Boston who (at least for a time) won critical favor and a loyal cult following at home and on the road for their passionate, no-frills style. Formed in 1980, the Del Fuegos consisted of guitarist and singer Dan Zanes, his brother Warren Zanes on guitar, bassist Tom Lloyd, and drummer Steve Morrell. Steady gigging on the Boston club circuit won the band a potent local reputation, which began to spread along the East Coast with the band’s first few low-budget tours. While the Del Fuegos began recording an album for legendary local label Ace of Hearts Records, in 1984 the famed Los Angeles indie Slash Records stepped in and signed them, releasing their first album, The Longest Day, in the fall of that year. (By this time, Steve Morrell had parted ways with the band, and former Embarrassment percussionist Woody Giessmann had taken over the drum kit.) One of the first albums produced by former Ronnie Montrose keyboard man Mitchell Froom, The Longest Day’s mixture of attitude, guitar firepower, and heart-on-the-sleeve emotion clicked with both critics and fans, and the Del Fuegos seemed poised for a commercial breakthrough with their second album, 1985’s Boston, Mass.

mp3 160 kbps | 29 MB | UL |DF

The first thing that hits you is the voice. Samantha Martin‘s is a force of nature, one of those voices that grabs you by the throat while causing the hairs on the back of your neck to tingle. The likes of her friend Serena Ryder and Janis Joplin come to mind as reference points. Martin has a refreshing disregard for genre pigeonholing and the numbers here cover blues, gospel, country and early rock’n’roll territory. She is very ably assisted by her versatile and tight band, the Haggard, featuring one former (Greg Sweetland) and two current members (Pete Lambert and Mikey McCallum) of the Kensington Hillbillies.

mp3 320 kbps | 98 MB | DF | UL

Eastbound Jesus is a phenomenal new band. Holy Smokes! displays some fantastic talent both in the instrumentation and the lyrics. They have drawn from all corners of the musical landscape, at times that aforementioned bluegrass influence shines through right alongside some garage rock, jamband and straightforward country sounds.Present on the album are a guitar, bass, banjo, drums and a lap steel guitar. These guys have a great handle on the traditional forms of writing songs and do not forget to let you know that they are young and what generation they come from. The arrangements are tight and the songs all have their share of harmonies.These vocal harmonies are far from perfect, which in my opinion makes them infinitely better. Instead of the choral feel you get from some harmonies, you get the feeling of a bunch of guys in a kick ass bar band singing their hearts out together.

mp3 160 kbps | 60 MB | UL | DF

Minnesota quintet Trampled By Turtles is what happens when members of various punk and rock bands get together to start a bluegrass group. Originally forming in 2003, the band channeled their punk-inspired energy into acoustic instrumentation—including acoustic guitar, banjo and fiddle—which resulted in 2010’s widely praised Palomino and a devoted live following.
On April 10, Trampled By Turtles will release their forthcoming album, Stars and Satellites via Thirty Tigers/RED. Recording the album live in such a unique atmosphere—a log home called “Soleil Pines” outside of Duluth, Minnesota—helped capture the band’s dynamics.

mp3 VBR~264 kbps | 84 MB | DF | UL

The proud son of country legends Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, Shooter says, “This album was really the first time that I took the creative process entirely in my own hands. I had formed a new band, The Triple Crown, after reuniting with an old friend Erik Deutsch, who plays keys in the band, and went into the studio, producing the album myself.” The band also includes guitarist Chris Masterson, drummer Tony Leone, bassist Jeff Hill, pedal steel player John Graboff, and Eleanor Whitmore on harmony vocals, mandolin and fiddle. Album guests include Tom Morello, Patty Griffin, Scott H. Biram and the one and only Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas.

mp3 234 kbps | 68 MB | DF | UL

On The Wilderness, Cowboy Junkies bring their four-album Nomad Series to a stunning end with one of their finest records to date. The band has always been at their best when the music and songwriting dance together like two lost souls clinging to a shadow of hope. Lay It Down (1996) and At The End of Paths Taken (2007) are two Cowboy Junkies albums that strike that perfect balance. The Wilderness delivers an equally powerful experience with a distinct tone and sound that only Cowboy Junkies can conjure up.The Wilderness opens with “Unanswered Letter”; a song written in the wake of Canadian singer-songwriter John Bottomley’s suicide last April. The voice of Margo Timmins sings above a swirling mix of bowed bass amidst a splash of cymbals.

Flac | 258 MB | UL | DF

Singer/songwriter Martin Zellar is marking the 25th anniversary of Minneapolis alt-country pioneers Gear Daddies, for whom he sang lead on country-tinged portraits of life, love, and regret. He’s doing this with Roosters Crow, which follows up his 2002 solo effort Scattered.Recorded at the (awesome-sounding town name of) Dripping Springs, Texas by engineer/producer Pat Manske, the album features Zellar’s long-time band, The Hardways (bass guitarist Nick Ciola and drummer Scott Wenum). Among the Austin, Texas-based talent also recruited is neotraditional country musician Kelly Willis and Lloyd Maines, father of Natalie Maines, idle lead singer of the Dixie Chicks.“Letting go of my more personal songs has always been hard for me,” said Zellar. “Sending some of these songs out into the world was especially difficult.”

mp3 VBR~197 kbps | 52 MB | DF | UL

Drifting pleasantly through the US charts and branches of Starbucks, 2009’s Noble Beast was a deserved commercial breakthrough for Andrew Bird – a record whose strangeness and complexity you could easily miss. Much the same is true of its successor. A deeper current of sadness runs through tracks such as “Desperation Breeds” and “Lazy Projector” and Bird’s husky tenor is, at times, only incidental to the album’s carefully assembled collages of sound – swirls of violin, acoustic guitar, gently brushed drums, his high, fluting whistle. But Bird conducts his experiments with the lightest of touches: his ingenuity matched by a gift for simple, lilting melodies.

Flac | 349 MB | DF

Red House Records is pleased to announce the February 14, 2012 release of Tilt-A-Whirl, the label debut of  Michigan songwriter Drew Nelson. An artist with an  international reputation and several critically acclaimed albums under his belt, the folk/Americana artist writes as a  witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way.b Mixing Sprinsgteen’s roots-rock sounds with the folk storytelling sensibility of Nanci Griffith, Drew introduces us to an eclectic cast of everyday characters that  includes out of work war vets, forsaken lovers, migrant workers and other directionless lost souls.Recorded in his home state of Michigan, Drew’s new album sprung out of a series of serendipitous events that started with a chance encounter with a friend in 2011.

mp3 256 kbps | 83 MB | DF | UL

Woody Guthrie’s muse lives on. Just ask Wilco and Billy Bragg, who collaborated on a Grammy-nominated album built around Guthrie’s leftover lyrics. Now comes a group of friends who’ve borrowed more unused lyrics from Guthrie’s daughter-archivist, Nora, to create this enticing mix of spare, emotive folk-rock. It marks the centennial of Guthrie’s birth and is a fitting tribute. The cast meshes smoothly – Jay Farrar (Son Volt), Anders Parker (Varnaline), Will Johnson (Centro-matic), and Yim Yames (Jim James of My Morning Jacket) all have their moments. Farrar’s reverb-filled “Hoping Machine’’ kicks it off on a high. Yames adds the piquant “My Revolutionary Mind,’’ while Parker’s “Angel’s Blues’’ is steeped in slide guitar. Some of the best songs use Guthrie’s lyrics from Southern California in the late ’40s and early ’50s; the best, “No Fear,’’ references his last days in New York: “I got no fear of life / I got no fear of death.’’’ A beautiful notion.

mp3 VBR~235 kbps | 138 MB | DF | UL

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