Just Some Jams…

If you’re the type of person that doesn’t keep Fuel/Friends, songsfortheday, or Yankee Calling on your radar, I’m gonna need you to do a couple things for me right quick:


2. Listen to this jam from Nathaniel Rateliff’s new project, NR and the Night Sweats.

If you follow the musings of those three (awesome and) aforementioned blogs, you’ve already heard this. We’ve all four been raving over and singing the praises of this perfect insanity for the past few days. If you’ve missed it, your life has been lacking. Adam says it is “like a profane gospel song” and frankly, I don’t think there’s a better description. Unless we’re going with Heather’s: “The best band in Denver. Boom.” In-fucking-deed.

For real:


I am disgustingly in love with Rateliff’s previous work which makes it so very unlikely that I’d be able to love a side project of his at all. It just seemed there would not be enough love left.

And then Rateliff set in with the dancing and the big band cut in with a sax and a piano and I was proven wrong…




I’m just popping in for a minute. I have something to say about this…


I have listened to Donovan Woods’ “Sask” over and over for the past three days. I regret leaving the house because I cannot take it with me, so to speak. I mourn the departure soccer games bring because it’s inappropriate for a mother to sit on the sidelines with headphones on. I feel this song so hard that I actually miss it when I don’t have it on me.

There is an amazing simplicity in the lyrics, nothing more than a few sentences really, and I’m still struck, after hundreds and hundreds of listens, at how perfectly and efficiently Woods is able to tell a story with so few words.

I was planning to go somewhere warm with the money.

I was planning to go somewhere warm with the money.

No offense Saskatchewan, you live a lie, live a lie, live a lie.

I ain’t one to talk, dear. So did I, so did I, so did I.

So did I.

Goddamn. I never realized it until encountering this song but it’s so rare that we take responsibility for our part in breakdowns and bad things. I’ve realized it in others perhaps, but less so in myself, I guess. There is blame and there is occasionally guilt but full on acceptance of our own parts in it nearly never come. It might happen in song more than I’ve noticed — perhaps I’m willfully blind to it for whatever reason — but it seems even more rarefied in that medium.

I’ve spent a few days trying to reason with this song. I’ve spent more than a couple of hours trying to understand what it is about Woods’ words here that absolutely refuse to let me tear myself away from them. I can come up with no other apologia for my mad obsession other than to say that hearing someone sing that it wasn’t Saskatchewan’s fault at all but his own too has pulled one or two of the strings surrounding my heart. There he is singing, angrily vulnerable. Apologetic. Full of blame. It was you, it was me. This song is both killing and saving me, I swear it.

Woods’ Don’t Get Too Grand was released 26 March via Aporia Records. It is wonderful and it will turn you inside out, exposing your heart and all your fragile inside bits. If you’re anything at all like me, that is.

We highly recommend.


BUY Don’t Get Too Grand :: FACEBOOK

I’ll admit, I waffled about this particular jam. I went back and forth emotionally in such a way that there was significant potential for whiplash.

And then I was hit with that :40 second mark and it was over. It was love. There was no more being unsure; the string on that yo-yo broke. IT WAS LOVE.

This album from Smoke Signals was released mid-2011. Where the hell was I? Did you guys know about this?!



BUY Smoke Signals :: FACEBOOK

Well, here’s a treat, kids! Download a little collection of Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors awesomeness for 0 dollars. Because the universe loves us all, apparently.

[PS – I really, really, really love Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors, y’all. Like, really.]

[PS – I think world hunger might be cured if The Turnpike Troubadours were to cover ‘Good Light’. Just sayin’.]




The quiet roll of the harmonica and fiddle here have caught my attention and slayed me. In the early morning weekend hours, I listened to this album on repeat and thought about how it might be that those two instruments might never have been used so perfectly as background accompaniment in a jam, specifically “Finder’s Keepers”, before. They do not own this song — they are not loud or overpowering — but like a chorus of mere voices in the background. I can’t be the only one that thinks this fiddle and this harmonica is telling a story as great as these lyrics…

Do not let anyone tell you any different: This album, Streams and Pastures, is roots perfection.

Sunday morning the sun made its first appearance here in months. The grass seemed to turn green overnight and that night, I stood in the middle of the road and listened to bugs makes noises I have not heard in many moons. I awoke and turned off the albums I’d been using to soothe my winter depression (Phosphorescent’s Muchacho and the latest Frightened Rabbit) and put this on instead. I closed my eyes and imagined everything blooming again. This album was the soundtrack to that…

Don’t let anyone tell you any different: This album, Streams and Pastures, is the best on a morning when the sun has appeared and brought with it growth. It is perfect for ushering out winter sadness and carrying in, on its mighty shoulders, Spring’s delight and happiness.

I played this album and nothing but all day Sunday. I put it on as soon as I woke this morning. I’m tempted to let it become the only thing I listen to in the near future.




PAY WHAT YOU CAN for Streams and Pastures :: FACEBOOK

wildlife control

It is 80 degrees outside. SUMMER IS COMING. I survived. I took my sweater off (for the first time in 6 months) while standing in the sun today and thought to myself, “I survived”. I screamed it in my head and I let the sun burn my closed eyelids and I wondered how I’d ever made it through…

In honor of making it through yet another harsh winter, here is this righteous undeniably warm weather jam from Wildlife Control.





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.



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.}



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