amidon

It is some sort of travesty that I’ve never taken the time to get into Sam Amidon.

I’m rectifying that now. “My Old Friend”, the first single from Amidon’s upcoming Bright Sunny South (Nonesuch Records), is a treat. As far as I’m concerned, any man (nay! Human, even!) that can rework a Tim McGraw jam into something I will not only listen to but will, apparently, fall in love with is aces.

Listen below and head to Nonesuch to pre-order the album, releasing 14 May.

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PRE-ORDER Bright Sunny South :: SITE

[h/t to Yankee Calling for this stunner. Like, seriously, I'm wearing a Texas-sized hat with a huge brim and I'm tipping it as low as is possible.]

Journey once sang about life on the road and for years, sadly, that has been the mantra of love for a touring band. Now we have David Ramirez carrying that torch and I must say, he does a much finer job of it. Scootch over, Journey. There’s a new man singing about his lover spending days all alone while he’s chained to the open road. Sorry now defunct 80s band but this new man has just kicked your ass at your own game. An indie-folkster just won. Indie-folksters always win.

With a voice part Ryan Adams and a yell reminiscent of Nathaniel Rateliff, Ramirez will no doubt feature on all personal mixtapes I make for the next hundreds of days.

Head to Ramirez’s site and snag some free jams. Put this one on repeat while you download to your heart’s content. Hold on strong, y’all. Don’t let go.

{Ramirez will release The Rooster, the EP on which this beaut is contained, on 7 March. Keep an eye out for that. We promise to keep you updated.}

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SITE (with plenty of freely downloadable goodness) :: FACEBOOK

For a tiny concept album, this EP packs eleventy million punches.

“Love Is” is what Sheryl Crow could have been, had she aspired to reach her full potential instead of just pop success (for which, in my opinion, the bar is incredibly low). “Real” is a song that Patty Griffin ought to co-opt for her next album. Of “Try Again” I can say nothing other than it feels like it was written specifically for me. Specifically for my own fucked up relationships that I can’t seem to responsibly navigate no matter the high cost of failing to do so. Why can’t I get it right on the first or second time?

All three songs together are a book, short as it may be. A short story of the shadows of love, about how your heart breaks and heals, about believing when it’s so hard, leaping when the faith it requires to do so is failing, and trying again because of the belief that it’s worth it. It’s a beautiful story, this one, and masterfully written.

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BUY Love Is Real Try Again :: BANDCAMP

It’s no secret that we’re great followers of The River and The Road. I remember well the agony in removing their S/T album from last year’s Most Revered list. There just wasn’t the room, what with the Denver’s and Misty’s and Jurado’s gifting us with albums last year, but I was sad to see to see it gone. I might have cried. Don’t tell anyone…

In the beginning, it was the banjo that hooked me, something that happens often. I’m considering a tattoo that reads “your banjo is the way to my heart”. But in the end I stayed for the raucous stomp and folk-rock purity.

tratr{Photo by Christopher Edmonstone}

I don’t know the context of this song — when it was recorded, the how of it happening, or the story of the other band involved, Fields of Green. None of that is necessary. Sometimes, insane amounts of music blogger research just clouds the waters, anyway. I don’t need extraneous facts to know I love this jam.

Listen below and head to soundcloud for the free download, folks. Dig that banjo. Keenan, you are fucking slaying it. God bless your little heart, man.

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SOUNDCLOUD :: FACEBOOK

This blog might well just be called “OMFG HART OF DIXIE Y’ALL” from now on. I’m changing my twitter handle as we speak…

These gifs illustrate the moment that a stupid television show thought it would be just dandy to kick me right square in the ball sac. THIS IS WHY I DON’T WATCH THE MOVING PICTURES BOX!

There was a elf-themed weddin’ and the Hot Redneck (“Wade Kin-SELL OUT!”) cheated on the Adorable Sugar Glider girl. He got punched in the gut by his ex-wife at the reception and that made it a smidge better but my feels are still raw.

They’re soothed only by the jam that played at the end of that ass kicking, while Adorable Sugar Glider danced with NFL Player Turned Mayor (while he was wearing a velvet jacket, if I remember right, AWESOME) as they both tried to forget that heartbreak exists.

(For the record, late last year some PR someone or other sent me this album and I ignored that email because, as my insane love for fictional Bluebell illustrates, I’m a dumbass.)

Sara Watkins (formerly of Nickel Creek, whose “Out of the Woods” is my jam, y’all!) released Sun Midnight Sun early last year and it’s a shame I missed it. I’ve spent a good majority of my Wednesday getting familiar with its lovely tales and I’m now thoroughly in enamored. I got my balls stomped on by a sap show and then said show went and healed ‘em right up with this song. All is good now, all is right.

Fuck you though, Kinsella. You made me weep despite using the phrase “sex Yoda”.

(But seriously, guys. Buy that Sara Watkins album. I mean, I’m over here watching this show just for the jams (JUST FOR THE JAMS, I SWEAR!) and in the process I got sad so it’s the least you can do for me…)

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Sara Watkins :: You And Me [mp3]

BUY Sun Midnight Sun :: SITE

You know what is delightful? Stories seemingly of your hometown, your love life, and your people, told so beautifully against the backdrop of Appalachian musical perfection by people who live in Los Angeles.

Granted, having grown up in Arkansas and Texas (as members of this band did) will give one the proper background to sing and play and write this way so that likely accounts for the understanding of country life. But as good as this is, this band could have been reared in Norway for all I care. They’ve got this neo-bluegrass thing figured out.

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BANDCAMP :: FACEBOOK

There was a piece I read via The Wild Honey Pie last week, a piece about the writer having revisited Fleetwood Mac’s perfect Rumours album. The writer talked about how falling in love with that album gave her a greater understanding of her mother, who had once fallen in love with it, too. It reminded me of my own relationship with my mother, of riding to the grocery store with her as she blasted it and as I whined about it. As she vacuumed the house with those songs (the ones you never hear on the radio) blasting out of a record player hid behind the front door. She used to mom dance to those songs; she’d snap her fingers and bob weirdly in the living room, fully immersed in Fleetwood Mac. It was a weird mom thing to me then.

And then I grew up and realized my musical shit (New Kids on the Block, I’m looking at you) could never come close to competing with the awesomeness of her musical shit. I remember when Fleetwood Mac did a reunion tour when I was in the last throes of high school and my sister and I both started to get it, falling in love with the band as my mother looked on at us with face that said, “I fucking told you so”.

Obviously, I love Fleetwood Mac. To me, it is sacrilege to cover their songs, just because it’s so damn near impossible to do them justice. Songs like “Second Hand News”, “I Don’t Wanna Know”, and the following are too perfect to me to allow a covered version of the original into my ears.

That said. The Salt Flats have accomplished the near impossible. It takes a certain kind of voice to cover Fleetwood and a certain cadence and unique quality of a musical arrangement to make it work.

After reading that Wild Honey Pie piece, I took a minute to peruse the “Fleetwood Mac” tag at bandcamp. In four pages of utter shit was this buried gem. It is perfect and I love it and I don’t want to slay this band for having covered “Never Going Back Again” because it’s obvious they’d loved it enough to do it proper justice.

The Salts Fleetwood Mac Songs EP is available as a free download via Bandcamp. WHOA.

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DOWNLOAD The Fleetwood Mac Songs EP :: FACEBOOK

When one who hates winter and all its trappings awakens at 5 am to mounds of snow on the ground, it’s gonna be a bad time.

Unless, of course, the first thing one finds after gazing out upon all that white powder is a previously unreleased jam from a favorite band. Has Snowy Tuesday been saved?!

Siskiyou is now on Bandcamp, their full discography up for grabs at that one url. Even better, they’re giving away their cover of Lee Hazelwood’s “We All Make The Flowers Grow” and of course, it’s a beauty. Thanks to the Canadians, those who know snow and more cold more intimately than I ever will, for this treat so early on a wretched morn’.

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DOWNLOAD “We All Make The Flowers Grow” :: BANDCAMP

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