500 Miles To Memphis - Tired & Weak (from 500 Miles to Memphis)
This is one of those bands I read about on Miles of Music and took a huge ($12.99 + Shipping) gamble on. It was well worth it, as this is a great album. I can't help singing along with this, which for those of you who have heard me sing, is not a good thing.
Cash Monies & Jetsetter - 15 Years (from Thinkin' Out Loud)
The late, great Cash Monies. They brought in Dan Baird from The Georgia Satellites to produce this album, and he helped them morph from a honky tonk band into a rocking twangfest. Their first album was great, but this one was something else all together.
Dollar Store – Believe (from Dollar Store)
This band from Chicago is a spin-off from the Waco Brothers/John Langford mafia. Their bass player (Alan Doughty) is one of those players who make you sit up and pay attention. And yes, this is a cover of the really cheesy Cher song from a few years ago…
The Hollisters - East Texas Pines (from The Land of Rhythm & Pleasure)
I was introduced to this band by a former band mate – we used to cover this song. They're a classic Texas honky-tonk band, with a great vocalist (Mike Barfield) who always reminds me of Johnny Cash.
The Beat Farmers - Gun Sale At The Church (from Van Go)
I never saw them, but they have a history of being the greatest bar band ever (sorry GWML). I think this song is an appropriate one for our current political climate.
Kasey Chambers - Changed The Locks (from Austin City Limits)
I first heard of her when I saw her on this show, where she gave an incredible performance including this Lucinda Williams cover, which she continues to do in pretty much all her shows. She puts on a great live show, and it's too bad she's a huge star in her native Australia but not so much here. She also has her Dad in her band, which I think is awesome.
Lucero – Sixteen (from Dreaming In America)
This is from a bonus CD put out with a DVD Documentary that came out last year. It's a really interesting movie, which you should try to see if you like this kind of music at all. I love the guy's voice, but it does sound like he's in pain all the time. The drummer is extremely strange - he's got a notebook with what he claims are notations for every drum pattern possible. (It's a big book)
Diesel Doug & The Long Haul Truckers - I'd Like To Quit Drinking (But I Live Over A Bar) (from Mistakes Were Made)
Another great honky tonk band, but this time from Portland, Maine. This is from a collection they put out last year with such other classics as If I'd Shot Her When I Met Her (I'd Be Out Of Jail By Now) and Daddy's Drinking Up Our Christmas. Fun stuff.
Rank & File - Conductor Wore Black (from Rank & File)
This is one of my favorite songs, ever. These guys helped create the alt-country genre, which when they came out people usually referred to as "cow-punk". Besides the Kinman brothers, the band also included Alejandro Escovedo for this album. He left after this album, but their second record is almost as good.
Eric Stevenson - Never Meant To Be (from Dead Horse Town)
From a 1999 album that should have become wildly successful. It's one of those records that does an outstanding job of creating a mood, and a sense of place. Even more impressive is that he plays everything on the album – not bad for a guy who started out as a drummer in thrash and punk bands. He's active with the band Hank Crane locally, which I have yet to see but hope to in March.
Grant Lee Phillips - Calamity Jane (from Virginia Creeper)
I kinda liked Grant Lee Buffalo, and I'd heard his earlier solo stuff, but was unprepared for how good this album is. He's one of the best singers out there, and the songwriting on this record is spectacular. The album also has a cover of Hickory Wind, and it does complete justice to the original.
Drive By Truckers - Goddamn Lonely Love (from The Dirty South)
We cover this in Bean Pickers Union. (Show plug – March 2nd at O'Brien's) They do it better. This band is the complete package – awesome all around.
frog holler - Hole In The Ground (from Railings)
This is a band from Pennsylvania that I was turned on to by Eric Hurlock, who I played with for a number of months in a band that never got out of the basement. He moved away, and that band kind of faded away soon thereafter. Eric was friends with some of the guys in frog holler, and he wrote this song which ended up on this, their 3rd (4th ?) album.
Lori McKenna - Lone Star (from Bittertown)
Girl grows up in Stoughton and marries high school sweetheart. He is a plumber, they have a whole bunch of kids. She writes songs on the side, and performs on the local folk circuit. Puts out a couple of records that are well received but not big sellers. Country star hears her latest album and decides to record 3 of her songs. Girl appears with country star on Oprah. Roll credits.
The Quakes - I Don't Come From Nowhere (from Billy Vol. 1)
I know next to nothing about this band. I know they're considered a psycho-billy band, and I believe they're from NY state. I have never been much for the psycho billy stuff, but I love this song. It comes from a compilation I picked up a few years ago. Any one else have anything by them? Any good?
Head Hands & Feet - Safety In Numbers (from Tracks)
HH&F were supposed to be huge, and come from England to take America by storm in the early 1970s. They didn't, and broke up soon thereafter. I first heard them in college in 1977 (yes I'm an old bastid), and what immediately jumped out, as you'll hear on this song, is Albert Lee's guitar. He's easily the greatest country guitar player ever.
Neko Case - Honky Tonk Hiccups (from The Virginian)
Neko Case has become fairly well known for her work with The New Pornographers, as well as her solo stuff. The recent solo records have been kind of moody, torchy affairs, but this is song is from her first solo record when she seemed to be more into just having fun. She can do whatever she wants, as far as I'm concerned. It's all good.
Los Straitjackts w/ Exene - I'll Go Down Swinging (from Sing Along With Los Straitjackets!)
The Knitters do a version of this on their most recent album, but this preceded that by a number of years and, to my ears, is much better. This is a great album, by the way, with vocal guests Big Sandy, Dave Alvin, Raul Malo, and Mark Lindsey (Paul Revere & The Raiders). There's also an instrumental track with Nick Lowe on "Lead Bass". A really fun album.
The Blasters - No Other Girl (from The Blasters)
This is from their first "major label" album on Slash. The Blasters, along with Rank & File, did more to turn me on to this twangy type of music than any band. It's too bad the Alvin brothers hate each other so much, because it would be awesome if they'd put out some new music.
Wayne Hancock - Miller, Jack & Mad Dog (from A-Town Blues)
This is from the only album I have of Wayne Hancock. He's another guy that I need to get more from – just about everything I've heard from him is great. This song is kind of the flip side to the Diesel Doug song, and I probably should have put them next to each other on the mix…
Big Sandy & The Fly Rite Boys - Greatest Story Ever Told (from Feelin' Kind Of Lucky)
This band can do it all – rock & roll, western swing, rockabilly, country, doo-wop, etc. Sandy is also one of my favorite songwriters, and this song is a classic example of that. Clever lyrics, and it swings. One of my all time favorite bands.
The Hi-Risers - Wild Romance (from Lost Weekend)
I'd never heard of these guys until I saw them a number of months ago, opening for Los Straitjackets w/ Big Sandy (great, great show). Their drummer has taken over as the drummer for Los Straitjackets, which is a big chair to fill and he does a pretty good job. The Hi-Risers mix rockabilly, surf and British Invasion into a great mix. This album also contains the soon to be classic "You Made Me Look Like Keith". Hopefully the Stones will cover it someday….
Secret Bonus Track