Tallahassee – Old Ways (2013)

TALLBefore he formed the roots-rock band Tallahassee, Brian Barthelmes was an offensive lineman for the New England Patriots, using his 300-pound frame to strike down players from the other team. Nowadays, he’s throwing his weight behind his band’s second album, which mixes down-tempo Americana with sweeping, guitar-based rockers.
Don’t be confused by the group’s name. Barthelmes formed the four-piece band in Providence, RI — roughly 1,280 miles away from Tallahassee, Florida — but in this case, Tallahassee refers to an old Muskogean Indian word meaning “old fields.” Barthelmes’ music fits that bill well, rustling up memories of forgotten landscapes and rural, open-ended horizons. To keep the vintage theme going, the band even named its new album Old Ways.
“To me, this album is a kind of declaration of our evolution both as a band and as people,” says lead guitarist Scott Thompson. “It’s filled with songs about trying to find a way forward. From this perspective, the title, Old Ways, might be perceived as ironic, but I think it’s just right. We’re the kind of band who would never want our own ideas about these songs or even the album title to overshadow that of the audience. Hopefully, the album title comes across as a sort of invitation to potential listeners, hinting at one meaning while the lyrics articulate something unexpected.”

mp3 320 kbps | 82 MB | UL | CL

The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder (2006)

the handsome family - last days of wonder - front“There was mystery singing from everything,” says Brett Sparks on “White Lights”.  It’s a tender love song from the Handsome Family’s seventh studio album, Last Days of Wonder, that’s set, characteristically enough, within a graveyard beside a stripmall– a theme and place that should be recognizable to anyone familiar with the Handsome Family and their fractured, gothic Americana. The husband/wife duo of Brett and Rennie Sparks have always sought to wrest as much mystery and romance as possible from their seemingly mundane modern surroundings, crafting an impressive, finely attuned catalog of urban ghost stories, death ballads, and fatalistic country narratives.
Steeped in Appalachian folk tradition, the Handsome Family’s songs are forever shadowed by nature’s hidden uncontrollable forces. Perhaps it’s this deep-seated sense of impending doom that has lately discouraged the duo from making any far-reaching updates to their musical attack. Last Days of Wonder is the Handsome Family’s first album since 2003’s Singing Bones, and like the rest of their work its success depends entirely upon two assets: Rennie’s keenly observed, fantasist lyrics and Brett’s rich, oaken baritone. With a formula the duo settled upon somewhere around 1998’s Through the Trees, Brett supplies nearly all of the music as well, digitally recording layers of guitar, banjo, autoharp, and electronic percussion. But while Last Days of Wonder does contain some typically absorbing performances, one can’t help but feel that they’ve begun to repeat themselves, sounding at times like some talkative old-timer who can’t always recall which of his crazy stories he’s already told.

mp3 VBR~ 197 kbps | 64 MB | UL | CL

Joe Sun – Storms Of Life (1981)

joeJames Joseph Paulsen (born September 25, 1943, Rochester, Minnesota) is an American country music singer, songwriter of Danish descent, known rofessionally as Joe Sun.


1.Folsom Prison Blues
2.Ella B
3.Break My Mind
4.Endless Sleep
5.Little Old Winde Drinker Me
6.What’s Left Of Me Will Never Be Right
7.Rock Salt And Nails
8.Kansas City
9.Storms Of Life
10.I Ain’t Nothin’ Buddy But Drunk

mp3 320 kbps | 66 MB | UL | CL

Old Bear Mountain – Northwest Hymnal (2013)

oldNorthwest Hymnal, the latest album by Spokane, Washington’s Old Bear Mountain, is the gorgeous follow-up to the band’s 2011 debut On The Run. The quartet of Wade Muncey (vocals, banjo), Derek McFaul (guitar, harmonica, kick drum), Mackie Hockett (vocals, piano), and Brett Didier (bass, tambourine) return with their magnificent patchwork of banjo-driven bluegrass interwoven with Irish folk.
For many of their songs, Old Bear Mountain draws inspiration from their surrounding geography–“Mount St. Helens,” “British Columbia,” and “Idaho” are just a few of Hymnal’s track titles–with lyrics that often incorporate sepia-toned imagery of gullies and groves, ferries and forests. In fact, the record as a whole serves as an homage to nature, a callback to a time when the trees were yet to be timbered and the roads yet to be paved. The album’s opening number, “All Weary Travelers for the Last Frontier,” showcases the unique voice of Wade Muncey, who conjures up those memories of days past and love lost, and functions to set the scene for an album packed as tightly as a bindle with nostalgia for the Old Pacific Northwest. On “British Columbia,” the additional vocals of Mackie Hockett are highlighted in a beautiful but remorseful chorus, exemplifying the way the record, despite its simplicity, is still capable of dimension and depth. Hockett takes the reigns on “Mountain to Sound,” a song about the evolving feelings one has when rambling around with someone from place to place for the sake of love: “I follow you across the country, or all the places you call home / I thought that you and I had something, but that was then, now I don’t know,” she sings. It’s a song that captures the essence of Northwest Hymnal–a journey through the Pacific countryside that expresses both the thrill of exploration as well as the longing for a life that’s a little more settled. But no matter which leg of Old Bear Mountain’s travels you find yourself drawn to, it’s almost certain you’ll be tapping your foot along the way.

mp3 128 kbps | 40 MB | UL | CL

Scud Mountain Boys – Do You Love the Sun [Special Edition] (2013)

scDo You Love the Sun, the first new collection of songs to appear from Massachusetts-based alt-country/Northern gothic folk quartet Scud Mountain Boys since 1996, pretty much picks up where things left off. Warm, weary, and congenially intimate, Joe Pernice, Stephen Desaulniers, Bruce Tull, and Tim Shea have crafted a fine new set of understated anthems for the terminally wistful and forlorn, all of which strut and fret their hour upon the stage in that elusive grey area between melancholic, bottle-strewn, front-porch country and resigned, Sunday afternoon, post-pot roast AM pop. The album boasts its fair share of last-call, midtempo juke joint laments (“Crown of Thorns,” “Drew Got Shot,” “You’re Mine”), but Pernice’s pop pedigree, which has been honed over the years through a steady stream of solo and full band (The Pernice Brothers, Chappaquiddick Skyline) releases, muscles its way to the surface on some of the record’s better moments, like the lush and languid “Theme from Midnight Cowboy,” the weepy “Double Bed,” and the cleverly subversive, suburban blues tale “The Mendicant,” the latter of which deftly and comically, albeit darkly, provides a rusty bridge between the boys of old and the men they have since become.

mp3 320 kbps | 115 MB | UL | CL