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Autobiographical Music Blogging

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

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On the 2nd anniversary of Shakey Graves Day (there’s a fucking proclamation, man), we have been graced with a little album of perfect perfection from the man himself in honor of the occasion. You have three days to snag it. DO NOT LIE IN WAIT.

Last year and this, lovers of jams of the Shakey type were asked to upload (somewhere in the vastness of the internet) a photo of what they were doing to commemorate that day. I have no fucking clue what I did last year but this year, I am at home.

My child is away. I have beer and I am in my work space, a 50 square foot home office that occupies a small corner in the living room of our tiny, 850 square foot house. My desk is an old sewing machine table (from which the mechanical bits have been removed) and my chair was stolen from an abandoned house and repainted. Above me are concert photos I’ve taken and a bulletin board of my favorite things (my best friend’s wedding, my child, my friends, vintage trucker patches, and concert wristbands). There are hand-lettered song quotes. And up there to the left is a set of photos taken by Jarred (of Show Me Shows) from the night Shakey Graves played on my neighbor’s old porch. This is what I’m doing on Shakey Graves Day this year. I am writing for you. I am writing for me…

shakey graves day, y'all

I was sad earlier. Life is tough sometimes and love is tougher. I did not get and have not gotten what I wanted, things I never realized I wanted and things that I have, at times, actively turned down. I am full of regret and dejected. I fucked it up again, love, because that is what I do and I cannot fix it because that is not what I do.

I was feeling all these feels and it’s been a week long battle set off by family outings and talk of the past. It’s been a seven day fight with what could have been.

And then. THEN. Then there was “Willow Garden”, with its rolling banjo and its stomp and I was in my seat and there was love. Who gives a shit about love that isn’t musically grounded for really, there is nothing more powerful and perfect than that. Who cares for that foolhardy enterprise that sets one to their bed with tears over what cannot be changed when there is a singalong waiting for you, if you’ll just dare venture to your old “office” chair to hear it?

Music is and always has been my love. I forget it sometimes. Leave it to Shakey Graves, on his very own day, to remind me.

For three days, in honor of the day that gifted me the song that currently has me pumping fists in the air and yelling “Holy shit, YESSSSSSSSSSS!”, Shakey’s albums are available for whatever you can give via Bandcamp.

The banjo is back, y’all. All is right with the world and now, nothing hurts.

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BANDCAMP :: FACEBOOK

Y’all need to get some friends more like mine. Case in point, my best bud directed me to this Gospel Whiskey Runners album, Hold On, apparently released in September 2011 (HOLY SHIT, WHA?!) and let me tell you, it’s a sort of perfection that’s hard to articulate.

Insert 6 panel.eps

The fact that this album was originally released years ago (from what I can tell) lets me know that this band is one that operates ahead of its time. To compare it to one of our favorites, Hoots and Hellmouth’s Salt, would be fair, I suppose, given that lead singer Jerrod Turner’s voice is so incredibly similar to Hoots’ singer, but to do that would imply that this album had not come first. It would imply that the same stompability and sing along spree present in Salt was a pre-cursor to this beauty here and that’s just not the case.

“Hold On” takes standout honors here (there is some seriously fucking righteous lyricism in that jam) but the rest of the album possesses the same beauty and is just as deserving of your time. “The Wound” is a breathtaking and sadly reminiscent take on what happens when relationships fall apart and “The Ticket” takes on both folk and Americana superbly and in a way that is rarely heard.

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I spent my weekend with friends that I love so hard and when I was home alone, thinking of my luck regarding the lot I’ve been gifted as my pals, this album soundtracked those thoughts and those videos of us acting like teenagers, making dirty jokes around a kitchen table, letting out all that grown up shit we can’t when we’re with our kids nearly every day. But we’re still fun and we’re still awesome! Coming home (and coming down) Sunday, this album played all day in the background and life felt grand.

You can’t ask much more from an album than that: To soundtrack your best and worst times perfectly on both fronts. It’s a fine line and a tough road to hoe but Hold On manages it swimmingly and seemingly without effort.

Amazingly, Hold On is available over at NoiseTrade. It is ever so highly suggested that you get this album in your life.

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Gospel Whiskey Runners :: Hold On [mp3]

Gospel Whiskey Runners :: The Wound [mp3]

GET Hold On via NoiseTrade :: FACEBOOK

I have quit nothing but quitting something is on my mind. All my friends work their dreams with their hands…

I am of the population that is faking it. As fall moves it’s way into life here in the Midwest, so goes all the joy I get from the sun and I move inward and hibernate like a bear inside my head. I should be doing what I want. I should be doing what makes me happy, guaranteed poverty be damned. Take your heart’s candle and re-light it…

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This is an Old Man Luedecke song from his album Hinterland. This opening gig, taped at The Great Hall in Toronto is wonderful and you should listen to it. Luedecke will release Tender is the Night on 13 November. Obviously we recommend you buy that album. Be takin’ it easy but be takin’ it…

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Old Man Luedecke :: I Quit My Job [mp3]

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