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Just Some Jams…

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

I don’t watch television. We have 5 channels and that makes me happy. I do not know who the latest Bachelor is, I do not know of these Kardashians you speak, and the Oscars are as foreign to me as the foreign film nominees are to you. We get three PBS channels and like, something else. Weather, I don’t know. We watch a lot of Martha (a cartoon about a talking dog), okay. And that’s it. Aside from Happy Endings which I love but frequently (read: EVERY GODDAMN WEEK) forget to watch, it’s pretty much educational kid’s stuff and NOVA up in this piece.

Uh…mostly.

Confession time: I might be mildly obsessed with Hart of Dixie. I don’t know what my fucking problem is. It’s not like I watched The O.C and have some affinity for Rachel Bilson (though holy shit, you guys, she is as adorable as a sugar glider carrying around another little sugar glider doll and staring at you with tiny eyes whilst eating a bag of Skittles). It’s not like I was into Scott Porter on Friday Night Lights (although, it occurred to me not long ago that Shakey Graves used to be on that show and so was Porter (IN A WHEELCHAIR!) so basically, I’m friends with the latter now and also, he totally looks and acts like my son’s father in a way that’s so accurate it’s slightly creepy). And it’s not like I care about what goes on in fictional but charming small towns in Alabama. Do I? Oh wait, I do. They all have adorable accents! Everyone has a quirky name (Tansy, Lemon, Brick, Magnolia, Clora, and a dog named Dolly Parton)! And Zoe Hart does get herself into some antics. There’s a bar called the Rammer Jammer! There’s Lavon, the former NFL player turned mayor of Bluebell! There’s Wade, the resident hot redneck, and Lemon (left at the altar)  who wears the weirdest things that I kind of want to actually own, and fucking Carl Winslow. FUCKING CARL WINSLOW, you guys.

{I am over here objectifying these two men and I don’t feel even remotely bad about it.}

And then, there’s the music. I want to high five this show’s music supervisor and also ask s/he if they’re perusing my / my friends blog(s). In the last season they’ve featured Carolina Story, Blind Pilot, Whiskeytown, The Dirt Daubers, The Head and The Heart, Quiet Company, Michael Trent (of Shovels & Rope), and The Lone Bellow, just to name a few.

The other night I was watching and feeling all bad for Wade (the aforementioned hot redneck) because his life’s dream is to open his own bar and he’s got some deep rooted self esteem issues so it ain’t happening. His girlfriend, Dr. Zoe Hart, made him a neon sign for said bar before he went onstage at a Battle of the Bands thing and then he fucking sabotaged the whole thing by getting drunk and taking home some country skank (WHAT IN THE FUCK, WADE?!) and at the end of the show, I heard a song. And I was all tapping along with my toe and sort of rocking out and then holy shit, that’s Carolina Story! We wrote about them once, in August of year last.

Anyway. I’m rambling about a television show. The point is, Hart of Dixie has good music (and good lookin’ men and good clothes and good little jokes here and there). Case in point: Family Wagon, who I discovered via what is apparently my favorite show.

Family Wagon’s Last Drag EP is 4 tracks of stellar indie rock. We highly recommend this EP and a keen eye kept on this band.

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BUY Last Drag EP :: FACEBOOK

Cal Folger Day is a totally rad name and I want it. Cal Folger Day once played something called the Depresstival and clearly, that is my scene. Cal Folger Day seems like a lovely lady and I pretty much want to be friends with her. Like, in real life. I will buy a piano and a bass drum and she will come over and we will have wine (even though I don’t even like wine) and she will sing in my house and we will make adorable collages out of found objects and old maps. We will probably open an Etsy store and sell our wares there, along with a whole bunch of 7″ vinyl albums which she will inevitably record on a reel to reel I’m also going to buy to facilitate our friendship. We will make a ton of dollars and Pitchfork will review one of those albums and give it a 10.7 and we will drink more wine and just laugh in the living room because Pitchfork, we’re too cool for you, we don’t even care!

Anyway. I like this Cal Folger Day song. Maybe you will, too. Come to our wine party next Saturday.

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BANDCAMP :: FACEBOOK

Dude, look at us with all the ladies up on this here blog in the past week! We’re on a roll or rather, the girls are on a roll.

It is stereotypical thinking on my part to assume that perfect bluegrass tinged music cannot come out of Brooklyn. I should know better at this point.

Learning lessons over here daily, y’all: I do in fact like female lead singers and good Americana can indeed come from the big city.

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