America: A land with summers so great, we even named a sausage after them.
It is true that the music beloved here is most typically of the country variety. Unfortunately, large swaths of this very small population lap up what’s fed to them via country radio with no idea that there is real country still out there. Music that harkens back to the old days of the genre when it was still good and calling it country meant something. I’m not knocking Jason Aldean but…fuck it, YES I AM.
On that same note, the people of this fair region don’t seem to be privy to the knowledge that musicians are still making bluegrass music. Or that bands are still cranking out pert near perfect rock jams, things you could have heard on the FM radio circa 1976.
To wit, an educational primer for the folks of this fine county and one that can double as a sweet fucking summer playlist for those of you already in the know. A couple (real) country tracks and a bluegrass jam or two. And most importantly, a mighty helping of rock numbers, both new and classic. Why? Because we’re on a summer weather-induced “Jesus Christ, WHY DOES NO ONE LOVE MELLENCAMP ENOUGH?!” kick, that’s why.
We suggest you find a river. CB radio all your friends to meet you there, pack up the cooler, and throw this in. 10-4, good buddy.
(You there! Hi! There’s a .zip file for all these jams at the end. And click those BUY links. Purchase yourself some good music. You’re all good people. You deserve it.) Dude(ettes), FUCK THAT .ZIP FILE. A. It’s huge. B. No way. No way am I sitting here to upload that. Ballz. Still, jams below!
Zeus :: Anything You Want Dear [mp3]
I get really fucking jazzed when I think about Zeus (band; not child of Cronus and Rhea). If one listens to just radio, its easy to get the impression that rock just doesn’t exist anymore. No one makes it and if a band even attempts to pull it off, well. They sound like Maroon 5. Which is a serious fucking travesty. It takes some digging but the good rock is out there. Zeus’ album, Busting Visions, is a treat and it’s obviously highly recommended.
Otis Gibbs :: Made to Break
How Gibbs’ Harder Than Hammered Hell slipped past me in February, I’ve no idea. I blame the beer. But it’s in my life now and I’m better for it. The odds of it ending up on our year end list are high for the album is full of americana gems, the likes of which I’ve yet to hear on any other album this year. It’s been great to watch Gibbs progress from the guy that put out One Day Our Whispers in 2004 to the dude that made this killer album…
Stealer’s Wheel :: Stuck In The Middle With You [mp3]
For the unknowing, Stealer’s Wheel is the shit. Of Scottish origin and composed of just two dudes, Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty (Jesus Lord, why does my brain know these things?!), they made small waves back in the early 70s with this song but honestly, their catalog is stellar for anyone that calls themselves a fan of classic jams (for reference, please see ‘Let It Ride’). Beyond my love for Stealer’s is my love for Rafferty. Jesus, I love Rafferty.
Shovels & Rope :: Gasoline [mp3]
Given freely via a Noisetrade sampler, the selections there could basically double as one of the best road cruise mixes ever. DOWNLOAD THIS, Y’ALL. I don’t know if it’s my geographical location or my musical listening background but when that harmonica enters the scene, my urge to stand up, stomp, and clap is too much to resist.
Bob Seger :: Fire Lake
Seger: “It’s about taking risks. About risking love, chucking it all and just heading off with a bunch of wild people, whatever.” Yes, Bob. YES.
I’ve put this on a mix before, begging you, dear reader, to love it as much as I. JUST FALL IN LOVE WITH IT ALREADY. Interesting sidenote: Hear those sweet, sweet oooohhhhhs? Hear those extra dudes chiming in there at the end? Yeah, that’s Don Henley and Glenn Fry. If you don’t know who that is then we shall fist fight. On another note, if you too believe that Seger probably has the best voice found in any old classic rock jam, we’re best friends forever.
Hiss Golden Messenger :: Drummer Down [mp3]
How it is that Hiss Golden Messenger, now four albums in, hasn’t gotten the play that they should is beyond me. And it’s a load of bullshit if there ever was one as well. Blending folk and country oh so well is a tough job but Hiss pulls it off and always has. Released at the ass end of 2011, Poor Moon is now in its second pressing. Get it.
Cowboy :: Please Be With Me
We said this was a primer of sorts, right? Be prepared to get primed then, bitches. Cowboy was a group in the 70s consisting of various dudes that were intertwined with bands The 31st of February, The Bitter Ind., and the Allman Joys, amongst others. Scott Boyer, originally of The 31st of February along with David Brown and Butch Trucks, founded Cowboy. Most will recognize Trucks as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band but most will not know that Cowboy was eventually signed to Macon, Georgia-based Capricorn Records, the label of none other than friends, The Allman Brothers. Cowboy is the backing band heard in Gregg Allman’s 1974 On Tour album. WHOA.
This jam is not the one officially released on Cowboy’s 5’ll Get You Ten but instead the one released on Duane Allman, An Anthology — it was on outtake from the Cowboy session. It’s fucking stellar, one of my favoritest of jams from the 91970s and something most don’t know even exists. Perhaps you thought it was a Clapton jam. Look at that. KNOWLEDGE. You guys needed to know that, you just didn’t know you needed to know it.
Heartless Bastards :: Parted Ways [mp3]
Two things: I missed Heartless Bastards at Wakarusa which, in retrospect, is upsetting. And 2. HOLY SHIT, CHICK ROCKER. Is this year the Year Of The Rock Lady? What with Erika Wennerstrom, Grace Potter tossing out a new album, and Brittany Howard floating around, I think so.
Sidebar. Over here. Listen: When I was at a festival a month or so back, I saw a dude in a Rollo & Grady tee. He looked like he could party and I wanted to befriend that dude but I had not enough liquor in me. No nerve juice, as they say. So I didn’t verbally accost him as I’m known to do. I regret it. Rollo & Grady introduced me to Heartless Bastards.
Spirit Family Reunion :: I Want To Be Relieved [mp3]
Speaking of best albums of 2012, this right here. I cannot put my devotion to this band into words. In short, their latest, No Separation, kicks so much ass you’ll probably go blind. Their sound and apparently who they are (if their music is any indication) is exemplary of what it is to live where I live and to love those that I love. It is a sound anchored in places like this, rural areas in the middle of the country, untouched and pristine, and gorgeous beyond belief.
In other news, ‘On My Mind’ is probably the prettiest g’damn song I’ve heard this year. Raw and honest, it sounds like love.
BUY No Separation
Glossary :: Flood [mp3]
In retrospect, Glossary’s Long Live All Of Us should have made our Most Revered of 2011 list. For shame! But we take full responsibility for this oversight (but really, it’s the beer’s fault). A band that’s been a band this long should be tight as fuck by now and Glossary meets that qualification. “Rock and roll won’t save you from yourself but if you’re lucky it’ll save your soul.” Maybe the best line in a rock jam from last year? All signs point to yes. reminiscent of the throw back sound of Blitzen Trapper’s latest except this is a sound Glossary has owned for a long time.
Ozark Mountain Daredevils :: It’ll Shine When It Shines
It’s quite possible that there is no band closer to my heart than the Daredevils. I’ve probably uttered that before. You’ve heard it, yes. But it bears repeating. From a small town just down the road from me, located in a state from which nothing great usually springs forth, they are yet another band who earned my love through listening to them in my youth through the speakers of a record player. Known mostly for the 70s radio hit ‘Jackie Blue’ which is, oddly, not at all indicative of their true sound, any fan of folk / folk rock will love the Daredevils back catalog. Dig into it, please, for the love of all that is sacred. Just look it up and listen.
Dr Dog :: Lonesome [mp3]
If you don’t own Dr Dog’s latest, Be The Void, why are you here? Like, on this website and on Earth? Seriously, just go buy it.
(Also of note, Dr Dog is touring this summer with Cotton Jones. Fucking Cotton Jones! That’s awesome.)
Black Oak Arkansas :: Jim Dandy
Dudes, Black Oak Arkansas is a nasty band. My mother, now in her 50s, encouraged me to dig into their catalog further past what’s most likely their biggest hit, ‘Jim Dandy’, and good Lord, I was ashamed of my mom. But this recommendation came from a woman who’s first concert was Black Sabbath when she was 15. Can’t take her seriously. If I’d have went to a Black Sabbath show when I was 15? Well, I’d be a rotting corpse writing right now.
It’s a little known fact that ‘Jim Dandy’ was not an original Black Oak Arkansas jam. The song occasionally played on classic rock stations and featured in the movie Overboard (“I CAN’T STOP ITCHING!”) was actually recorded first by LaVern Baker. Probably in the 50s. Which is insane if it’s anything like this version. Oddly enough, the lead singer of Black Oak has a first name of Jim. Of course, it stands to reason that he’d add a Dandy to his name.
BUY High On The Hog
Black Girls :: Broadway [mp3]
This band is making the blog rounds — I first stumbled upon it on a songsfortheday mix and just this week it made an appearance on the Fuel/Friends summer mix. But honestly, listen to it. A crowd-shouted ‘GODDAMN!’. Check. Sufficient beats to which to stomp a foot? Yeah, that too.
Lydia Loveless :: Learn To Say No
This chick is 21, apparently. There’s some things about that fact that I’d like to discuss. 1. Good Lord, I’m nearly friggin’ thirty and this is what this chick is singing about?! Basically, if I’d have had her around when I was 21…well. I was gonna say that I’d probably have dealt with life and shit better but in all honesty, we’d have probably just went down to Dennis’ Place, the bar that opens at 5 am on the sketchiest street in town and had beers. Who knows, maybe we would have had something fancy pants drink, like a Bloody Mary. And then we’d have probably went to the mall and made fun of stupid chicks and maybe had some Taco Bell and then maybe we’d crank up the jams (’cause YOU KNOW she made a mixtape for this trip) and just ride around. On a dirt road. I bet she likes The Toadies as much as I do.
Well. That wasn’t really a list, eh? Just one thing there. I wanna be friends with Lydia.
Tom Petty :: Learning to Fly (Live)
Typically I say that Springsteen has been my most favorite show. Ever. But then I hear Petty, live with The Heartbreakers, and I fall in love with it all over again and then, I remember how great it was to see them all live. Yes, it is true that Springsteen puts on the most rock show a human could possibly muster but Petty? There’s a nostalgia at those shows, coupled with the large old hippy population (Hi, Mom and Dad!), that makes it a family experience. It is grounded in shared memories: babies born, addictions overcome, marriages dissolved, and perfect happiness in the end. Petty is the penultimate storyteller, not to mention the consummate lead singer.
I’ve heard this song, this version, nearly 300 times in the past 6 months, according to my music player, and every single fucking time, I get tears at 3:20 on. That crowd, so in love with the music, joining voices and no doubt swaying with arms around strangers. Petty backing them with improvised lyrics and The Heartbreakers soundtracking it all. Perfection.
Drive By Truckers w. Megafaun! :: The Weight (live) [mp3]
When DBT performed this jam recently in Chapel Hill with Megafaun, it was remarked from onstage, “If my daughter had been a boy, we were gonna name him Levon.” If my son had been a daughter, I was gonna name her Anna Lee.
Is your brain ready for some more rock knowledge? Anna Lee is real and Anna Lee was only Anna Lee until she grew up and dropped the double name, given as a tribute to her grandparents. And even though Robbie Robertson is credited as writing the song, Anna Lee never met him. But she did meet Levon Helm. She was lifelong friends with him and as such, is probably the most awesome chick ever dropped on the face of this damn planet.
Rayland Baxter :: Driveway Melody [mp3]
A while back my hetero-life partner (or best friend, whatever) saw Baxter play in her town on a night that I’d encouraged her to go see The Giving Tree Band instead. Her text to me was most likely something inappropriate so I shall not repeat it here but it reminded me that I’d heard of Baxter before and needed to re-investigate this business. I mean, this girl loves The Avetts and Ed Sharpe as much as I and continually accompanies me to shows (despite the fact that I’ve literally been carried out of at least one BEFORE the show started). She’s got stellar recommendations, y’all.
Also, bitch gave the dude my card so obviously, BFF.
Dwight Yoakam :: Bury Me (demo)
You guys, we’ve totally had this discussion before. Do not fuck with the Dwight. At the age of 12 or some shit, my mother forced me and my even younger siblings to brave the elements — namely, a damn tornado, I AIN’T EVEN KIDDIN’ — to catch a Dwight show. It was my first live show. It sucked then and I considered, even at that fragile year, punching my mother in the uterus because seriously, tornadoes are uncool bastards, but now all those years later, I treasure any and all Dwight bits. ANY AND ALL.
Whiskey Shivers :: Gimme All Your Lovin’
Because no Folk Hive mix would be complete without some dirty banjo pickin’. Duh.
Huron :: King and Country [mp3]
I stumbled upon Huron’s self-titled album a year or so back and have returned to it over and over as the season’s have changed. If this doesn’t get you out of your seat — in your home, in your car, or otherwise — well, shit. Man, you’re a heartless bastard (see above for that band). It’s obvious I’ve got a geographical bias that breeds the thinking that Canadians can’t pull off some sweet ass throwback rock and perhaps 2012 is the year that prejudice finally gets its ass kicked. Thanks goes to Huron and their 2009 — Jesus, 2009?! — self-titled album for finally killing my music-based hatred of Canada. Now we can finally forgive them for Bieber.
John Mellencamp :: Check It Out
Shit. I’m sorry. This bitch of a ‘tape’ is classic rock heavy. Except I ain’t sorry. Fuck it, it’s summer.
‘Check It Out’ is where I live. It’s my mother vacuuming with a record on. It’s the river in 99% humidity. It’s that cold beer from your vintage Coleman cooler you just cracked open. It’s your neighbor, it’s scorching asphalt in the country, it’s riding your big wheel down a hill when you were 10 years old. It’s a float trip, everyone gathering first in the parking lot of the truck stop by the interstate to remind ourselves that we’re all still friends, before departing with canoes shoved in the back of a pick up truck. It is home.
Happy summer, y’all.