I want to both berate nature for having inflicted all those cold, hellish months on me and thank it profusely for having whisked them away with chirping birds and blooming iris’ and sunshine. This is the conundrum of the Midwest clime and it is one that baffles me every damn year, despite 30 of them here. Here, when it turns cold, you grit your goddamn teeth and steal yourself against the wind and you pray it’s one of those seasons that ends sooner than the Farmer’s Almanac says it will. You promise things you cannot give to the Gods in exchange for a single blade of green grass and you convince yourself that last year’s winter taught you to survive this. The last 30 winter’s taught you to survive this.
For some reason, this winter was rougher to weather. It was not the worst I’ve seen and yet for some reason, it felt as if any day now I would just wither into steam.
While the Midwest might be the greatest of assholes for punishing the innocent with its wintertide grip, it is also a kind of savior for rescuing us with spring. It makes that first warm light seem so much greater than it probably is. To call it an awakening is restrained.
I’m so goddamn glad winter finally heeded my calls to fuck off. Here’s a mixtape to commemorate that.
So, let’s just be honest: This jam doesn’t necessary fit the mood of this here tape. However, I am right obsessed with Hayden and as such, will include one of his jams on every tape I make until that obsession subsides. Deal with it.
This song has soundtracked every hard thing I’ve endured for the past year. Turns out, the live version is just as stellar as the album version but in such a different way. It’s muted and the swells of the original are corked with calm. The song and it’s lyrics (which can easily stand next to some of the best ever written, I SHIT YOU NOT) are both nearly overshadowed and bolstered by the weeping violin. The original is an all seasons song; this version was made just for spring and the awakening that comes along with it.
If this song was released more than a week ago I’m gonna be really pissed because I could have been using it to usher in the sun. This jam feels like when you’re in your kitchen at 9 am in the morning trying to finish that last batch of jello shots as quickly as you can before you get on a boat on the lake.
Let’s slow it down right quick how about. I cannot place what it is about this song that feels like my home. Is it the name Carla, which is also the moniker of a woman I can see playing this in her kitchen while she fries chicken for Sunday’s family dinner? Is it that guitar, carrying on as if it were raised in a barn? Is it the words: Momma said what’s done is done?
I can not say but there need not be an explanation for this kind of love. Over the past two weeks I have turned this song up to maximum volume and sang my country guts out on at least 49 separate occasions. That’s some praise right there…
Because there will always be an Avetts’ song on every mixtape I ever make. Because this one happens to be a Jason Molina cover. Because I saw the light is a lyric that perfectly describes what happens when Spring arrives.
To say that Whetherman’s Streams and Pastures has overtaken my ears and hearts is a vast understatement. I was driving the other day, the varied songs playing over the speakers and so very positively influencing my mood, and thinking that there should be a piece here about how glorious easy listening albums are. Not easy listening as in your mom’s favorite Richard Marx jams; easy listening as in albums that cover great and excessive stretches of ground in just 12 songs but manage to hold your attention entirely. Last year’s self-titled album from Denver did that for me and thus far this year, Whetherman’s jams have perfectly fit that bill. I’d like to say something really elegant and nuanced about this album because it deserves it but I can’t. I just love it. I love it real hard.
The music of Keith Whitley is a certain sort of sacred here in the Midwest. Like John Denver and Bob Seger and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. You don’t touch it, you don’t cover it, you don’t shit talk it.
That said, I like this. I don’t know how my mother, who still cries when she hears a Whitley song, would feel about it but this ain’t her blog so fuck it.
And here, a special treat to top it all off. Shakey played our house last summer. Ryan taped the whole thing because Ryan is a God among mere men and the result is a disc called Live at Folk Hive. The thing’s got a beautiful cover, complete with a photo courtesy of the ever-awesome Jarred. On the back it lists my tiny town’s name.
Let this be a lesson to all: Old porches have great acoustics. At the end of the album it is fully night and everyone is covered in sweat and the cicadas are so incredibly loud that they almost drown out the music. It was perfect. That is Missouri. That is Folk Hive.
There is no better reminder that summer exists and is a thing that is coming to fix your life all up than a jam from an album that was recorded live on your street in your tiny town of 1200. You should all get one of those, I say. One of the greatest antidepressants ever concocted.
And with that, a jam from the last house show we hosted last summer, we usher in the warmth. Here’s to so many more of those shows and summers, too…
Absent for a month and indeed, sorry for that. But here we are now: the fall has descended upon the Ozarks and year 30 has dropped into my lap.
Let me admit some things. I will admit that I have not written since early October. I will admit that I have not listened to music — not a mixtape in my car, not a snuck secular jam in my office, not a handcrafted playlist in my home — in more than a month.
I will admit that it’s likely due to a combination of the weather and mood. I now possess a 30 year old disposition and I am finding it unbecoming. It is anxious and frail and it has left me at a loss for words. It has left me drained and without the want or will to find the energy to even just listen. It is a sad state. Those things I will admit.
I will also admit that today I spent no less than 8 hours in front of a computer with no other goal than to reacquaint myself with my medicine, that which has healed me in the past. I forget occasionally how that works and I lose track of the glorious seconds where I encounter a song that moves me and I have to physically remove my hands from the keyboard so that I can place them on my chest and feel along with the person singing. It is their story, their lyrics, but they’ve released them into the ether and the beautiful thing about it (and music in general) is that I can take those songs and use them as my very own ladders. They are helpmates out of holes in which I’ve dug myself into. These songs are friends that talk me down.
Last weekend, I ventured out to a country show. I packed up my travel anxiety and I left town on a last minute whim. I was with a hastily obtained press pass and without a hotel reservation. I packed myself into a tiny bar with 600 others, 300 or so of which I’m sure were most likely breaking some sort of fire code regulations with their attendance, and I danced my ass off to a genre of music that I have not two-stepped to since my childhood. There were two beers in each of my hands and there were great friends to my left and right. At times, I sang so loud and with such gusto that I felt it breaking my heart free from the locked cage in which it had decided it would spend the winter. I attempted to take video of a raucous sing along, “Long Hot Summer Day” so I could remember the minute it happened later — I grounded my camera on the thick hewn log railing that bordered the area where we danced upstairs in the bar but the crowd was stomping so hard that there was just no stability to be found, even among the timber. Fucking music. It saves the day always and apparently not just for me but for hundreds of others crowded in a bar for the country show. Fucking music, man. It’s so perfect.
This is a literal fall and there is the fall which drops the leaves from the tree branches. And then there is this song by The Avett Brothers that reminds me of springs and summers during which I opened wide all the windows in the house and turned the speakers up to 11 so that I could hear these words while I planted flowers in the front garden. There was a beer beside me and there was sun on my tank-topped back. Those were the days, man.
Those days shall return, yes, but in the meantime there is old school Avetts to mind that gap.
(If you’ve yet to meet your awesomeness quota for the month, might I suggest a purchase of The Avett Brothers Four Thieves Gone that was just released in the most badass of vinyl packages? Get that here.)
My history with Faucett is both non-existent and storied. We have never met, will never meet. But if Six Degrees of Separation is a real thing then by God, we’re best friends. I once met two of his pals at a bar, musicians both, and saw his face in a facebook photo of those boys. My musical blogger instincts said that man too, with his beard rivaling that of his friends that I’d once encountered, probably had a band too. Indeed, he did. That bearded, legally blind man was Faucett and now that I am fully comfortable with his wail and his words, I am devoted.
We have never met, never we shall. But his music will ring through this house all fall and all winter. I assume that on the river next year even, I will hum this song in my head as I round bends to long, deep eddy’s.
This is most likely the best 2:39 of song I’ve heard in the past…forever. A song of lament and hope with a country-folk bent that’s right up our alley. This song has been played over 500 times in this house and will likely be played over 500 more. What with that lament of age and displacement of one’s youth and it’s summery, sunny sound, how could it not?
There is a thing I like about this song. That thing looms large and that thing is a personal comfort and a knowing that lurks within these words. This, to me, is a gloriously written alt-country jam with a full on, lyrical country bent.
Sometimes a mantra is needed, something to repeat as the warmth leaves this Midwestern state, something that will convince my heart that one day the sun will return. The chorus of this Passenger jam work just fine in that capacity: We’ve all got million of little lights shining in our hearts and they show us the way. The sun isn’t always necessary, not when you have all those little lights.
At the ass end of 2011 The Oh Hellos put out a stellar album that I dug into just a few months ago. As it usual, I quickly fell in love.
Sometimes though, when one loves an album and a band so much, there is cause to worry. When an album reaches that pinnacle within your heart, one might be cincerned that the greatness of the second can never match the wonder of the first. But awesomely, in regards to The Oh Hellos just released second effort, Through the Deep, Dark Valley, one needn’t have ever concerned themselves with thoughts like that to begin with.
The last lines of this song utterly slay my heart. I was tired of giving more than you gave to me. And I desired a truth I wouldn’t have to see. A-fucking-men.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe with all your heart that autumn is perfectly soundtracked with foot stomps, a violin and a dobro, and words about some form of booze then we were probably not meant to be friends.
Aidan Knight is a songwriter and a damn fine one at that but not just one man (as the moniker would imply) but instead a quintet of folkies from Canada. I think. In other news, Aidan Knight is awesome.
Also, dudes. Here is a video of Aidan Knight and Dan (fucking) Mangan singing “Jasper” in the snowy wilderness. It is glorious and you should watch it.
I fucking love this song (and this band) and on the aforementioned roadtrip with my moms, she fell in love with it, too. I learned, after wondering all these years, from who it must have been that I inherited a need to play certain songs on repeat, over and over for days and days. My mother took over the stereo, hitting back again and again, until we realized that she had played this song approximately 32 times in a row as we passed over state borders and county lines.
Wake Owl’s “Wild Country” has, without a mathematical doubt, been played more in this house this year than any other song I’ve come across within the past 365 days. FACT. Want another fact? “Gold” is in the running for being the second most listened to jam. For an EP release of just a few songs, that’s quite a fucking feat.
Something about some dudes harmonizing a capella about the troubles that those of us in this land seem to innately understand from birth gets me every damn time.
Tumbling Bones’ Selections: 2011-2012 is a stunningly gorgeous collection of jams. I stumbled upon it a week ago and have had it on repeat since, all 8 bits of it. Highly (no seriously, bro, HIGHLY) suggest you snag it.
FRabbit is releasing a new album, Pedestrian Verse, in some months and I, for one, with my penchant for slightly depressing yet awesome indie rock, am jazzed for its arrival. To keep my whistle whet until then, I’ve dug out The Midnight Organ Fight and put it on repeat because it is good and I fucking love it.
Remember when I told you about the time that I saw a band that had a crowd of 600 stomping so solidly that a building made of some seriously large logs actually shook so hard that it was impossible to even anchor a camera? This is that band that I spoke of and this is that song.
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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Ozark Mountains, and all its rivers and streams, are beyond the ideal setting for music played in real time. In real life. 10 miles from me one way there is a quaint little smattering of primitive cabins on the river. 10 miles the other way is the old, restored mill, with its own little happy gathering of dwellings.
It would seem to me that land such as this would breed such beautiful music but in terms of those making it around here, there are no terms. It’s not happening. The only strumming of a guitar the trees that quietly line the gravel road hear is that of Eric Church as an ol’ Chevy makes its way along the winding path, an occasional Natural Light thrown from the window. The flowers and birds of our woods never hear a banjo, as they damn well should. The hawthorn’s buds have never encountered a mandolin, as I believe they deserve.
What a glorious thing it would be to remedy that. How happy it would make me to gift the inanimate objects of the woods that surround us here with something as beautiful as the gifts they give to me on the days that I’m willing to take the time to see them.
I often imagine Pickering Pick on an old cabin porch. I dream about Shakey Graves sandwiched between two hundred year old oaks in a field. I pray for all 13 members of Typhoon on the side of a gravel road, serenading the unsuspecting passer-by as they hit a road cruise on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
If I were to curate a festival, up here in our woods, alongside a drearily moving river, my favorite place of all on Earth, these are some of those I’d invite. I’d pay them in exceeding gratitude, cheap American beer in cans, barbecue barbecued the best way (slowly, in case you’re wondering), and other morsels derived from the recipes of my mother and great-grandmother. I’d float them down the waterway in a canoe my father’s long-time employer made and show them the way to properly put a worm on a hook, if they aren’t already aware. I’d show them what’s left of the untouched country in America.
If I were to curate a festival up here in our woods and someone said, “Seriously dude, no Avetts or Bon Ivers. They are fucking expensive and Pitchfork likes them and we’re poor folk.”, these are the bands I’d invite…
This is a given. If I’m being honest, I’d reserve the sweetest cabin for these men. Simonett and Co. would get the bestest canoe. They would be the headliners.
There’d be a set in the morning, as biscuits are fried over an open fire and we’d rejuvenate ourselves and the band with sun and river shell hunting all day, before we asked them to play again after the sun has descended and the mosquitos and they’re much more bearable cousins, the fireflies, venture out for the music with us.
While it would most certainly be a sacrilege of some type, I want to load this band in the back of an old beat up pick up truck and drive them to an unkempt cemeteries languishing in a far off field. We certainly have plenty of them here and if they were not to protest too much, I’d have them play this song for those people who would most appreciate — those who heard this kind of music way back when it was the best thing you could hear and when your grandpa was the fiddler in that band.
I suspect that we could, with are immeasurable alcohol procuring skills in this county, come up with a super special, limited edition blend of Punch Brothers Rye Whiskey. It would kick the ass of whatever Jim Beam is calling rye whiskey these days, guaranteed.
Open Scene: Ext. Gently Flowing River Bank In The Middle Of Slow Moving Eddy – Day. Scene begins with footage of water and we get all hipster about that shit and fuck with the focus now and then, keeping it interesting. A canoe approaches. A cooler of cheap American beer is unloaded. Cut to multiple scenes of said beer being drank on said river bank, close up of a few laughing and/or smiling faces (my friends and family will play the extras in this movie, FYI). At some point Sam (not I; also hates green eggs and ham, I imagine) plays this jam. Everyone shuts up. Then we all laugh some more and float away. I’ve not figured out how we’re gonna get a goddamned guitar down the river in a canoe yet but I’ll get there.
I suspect that The Beaten Sea would be the band to bring the class to this supposed, imaginary festival, what with their penchant for hats and suspenders. Which is good because with the amount of moonshine we’d drink at this shindig, we’re gonna need a bit of class.
Being that this band is from a city very close to us, one that I used to inhabit myself, and being that this band is named after a state park just a few minutes down the road from me, they’re in.Plus, we’re gonna need some indie rock up in this bitch.
Amongst the piles of folk music I’ve listened to in the past two years, this band still holds a spot atop that stack. There is a place I envision, just down by the river and around the bend, and this band is resting on the rocks there, instruments in hand, playing this song.
I’m really only inviting this band because I want to convince them that they should be my neighbors. There’s a vacant house next door, I will wax on to them about the possibilities of squatting, and maybe they’ll pack a van and move here. And then I can wake up to bluegrass instead of an alarm clock. I think I can make it happen.
If you’re not in the boat with Typhoon, you’re a slacker and you should really rent a canoe for yourself and catch up with us as we ’round this fast eddy. 13 members strong, perfection live. A set by this band in the woods would call out to the animals and in addition to the humans jamming out, the band would no doubt be playing for the squirrels and baby deer that would head out the woods to hear what was being putting down.
There is far too little talk of just how awesome Joe Purdy is on folk/indie blogs and there is far too little Joe Purdy on my g’damn mixtapes. We insert him into this festival and all is forgiven. I feel better about myself already. (As a sidenote, one year, not too long ago, I listened to this song EVERY F’ING DAY. Deal with that.)
When the day winds down and the sun begins to set out over our hills, it’s ray sprinkling in still through the mess of trees outside our cabin’s doors, this band will play. They will provide the second wind, the one we blame the next day for our skinny dipping in the pool up the hill and our hangovers.
After a couple of days of music and camaraderie, with a smidge of debauchery tossed in for good country measure, we’d ask our hometown heroes to close out our time together. I’ve spoken at length before about what the Daredevils mean to me and what they mean to my family, but a highlight of my life would undoubtedly be this little band that was once famous among the likes of Dylan and Young to playing for just us. While this is clearly one of the craziest songs to venture forth from the 1970s and while there are better songs I could feature, nothing captures the Daredevils like ‘Chicken Train’.
In the next few days, when I gather up too many $100 dollar bills, I will spend them all on a fucking ticket. A ticket, my friends, to a motherfucking festival. Pardon the language but I tell you what, my ass is jazzed.
After a 2011 spent purchasing tickets (Cotton Jones, The Sheepdogs, Iron & Wine, and GAYNGS) and then realizing as dates approached that holy shit dude, I’m a single mom with a job, there’s NO WAY I’m making that gig, I had to bail. All that money down the drain, all those good times enjoyed by people that were not me. What a bogus load of utter bullshit. But it is what it is.
This year Folk Hive is heading to Wakarusa. Let me tell you something about this here festival, ya’ll. There are hippies (presumably), there is a goddamn river, and there are about 20 bands I adore. And to top it all off, this shit takes place in the Ozark Mountains, my home. A short jaunt down the highway and I’ll be camping (which I have a PhD in, by the way), lounging, and drinking a metric fuckton of shitty American beer, distributed and manufactured by foreigners. YES TO ALL THIS.
You guys need a mixtape, full of headliners and not-headliners. Full of sweet jams. I want you to be jealous. And then I want you to be motivated to get off your balls and head down to Arkansas with me. Just do it. I’ll share my booze.
There are a bunch of people complaining about this headliner. They don’t play electronica!, they say. They wail, we need more reggae on this bill! How about this, brah? SHUT THE FUCK UP. Brothers got a banjo. They’re cool enough that my very own beloved mother wants one of their lyrics on her headstone. Fuck yeah. Keep calm and Avett on, as they say.
You guys know these people are like, modern-day god-like hippie creatures to the sect of the population that I’m a part of, yes? I will jam to these jams and when I’m over that I will hug the shit out of a tree. LONGHAIRS UNITE!
Way back in college one of my dear friends introduced me to G Love. At the time I was obsessed with Dave Matthews so basically I owe that rad bitch my life. I might actually dance at this set. At the very least, my doing so will thin the crowd and give me the band all to myself.
Holy God, this one. Occasionally there are bands that make me want to drive thousands of miles to see live (ref: GAYNGS) and this year, that band would have been Isbell and The Unit. Fortunately, these dudes have decided to come camp with the masses in a clearing on top of a mountain in Arkansas. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. (All those S’s were necessary).
If I cannot have a bill that includes Trampled by Turtles, I’ll take a lesser known substitute. Banjos. I know very little about this band, admittedly, but I’m stoked to sit in the sun and get to know them.
Over the past couple of years, despite only having one record by this man in my possession, it has endured constant rotation. My sister and I have pined to see him since I stumbled upon this music whenever the fuck that was, and I suspect that she and I will sit in the grass, a blanket stitched by my great-granny under our happy asses, while we listen blissfully to Rateliff yell at us. It’s going to be so goddamn awesome. Note that this is the one set where I might just throw my tiny bra onstage…in hopes that it’ll make it to Julie, the bassist. I MEAN THAT IN THE MOST HETERO WAY.
Speaking of my great-granny, this is the show to which I will carry her spirit with me. That woman loved a good old-timey jam and was a square dancing master. I’ll gaze up, let the sun obscure my vision, and imagine her kicking up her heels. This is seriously the kind of music that instantly sets my heart flying.
Of note: This band sings a song called ‘Keep On Truckin’. And thus, I love them. I’m taking a Colt 45 to this one and if I don’t get to hear that jam, I will fucking riot.
I’m guessing this is the mandatory indie (not bluegrass or country-tinged or rock or electronic or reggae) band on the bill but I could not be more pleased they’ve chosen this band to fill that slot. Every since a solid recommendation by Fuel/Friends, I’ve had this band in rotation consistently and was hopeful I’d get to catch them — their live shows look to be a fucking blast. In all honesty, if they’d have came close I probably wouldn’t have made a giant effort to see them though, so the fact that they’re being placed in my lap for this show is sweet.
Now clearly kids, I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of music, this genre if you will. But any dude that can remix my beloved John Denver and not make me want to stab his balls completely off is okay in my book. And I’m excited about getting the chance to ignorantly dance around in circles under the stars with a bunch of folks that are into this bit. Broadening the horizons and such…
As if it weren’t obvious by the hundreds of words I’ve already written about it and by the fact that I only now have a subscription to Rolling Stone after 15 years of not because they put these bearded bastards on the cover, I’m on The Sheepdogs bandwagon. As if the weekend were not going to be perfect enough, we’re topping it off with some beers, Allman-esque jams, and undoubtedly, one too many Almost Famous quotes. All is right with the world, my friends. All is right.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was summer in Missouri. The sweltering humidity, the races at a 3/8 mile high banked asphalt oval. The river and the bruises and scraps from the time you dared utilize the rope swing whilst a little too inebriated. The city pool, the concrete so hot it scars the pads of your feet. And the road cruise.
The art of the road cruise is something wholly Midwestern to me. There is no need for speed and the use of your car’s air conditioner is forbidden when you’ve got windows, a sunroof, and the breeze we were blessed with to cool down. A road cruise requires little planning and passengers above the 4th are just gonna have to wait for the next go ’round, unless they’re fine with riding in the pickup bed. The perfect road cruise mix is a concoction of tunes, both old and new. You intersperse and weave them into each other, just as you wind from this patch of gravel to that, avoiding major highways and bi-ways as much as possible. Your goal here is to groove while getting a respectable buzz on before judging that it’s time to stop on that creek bank just around the bend up there for the night. Leave the mix blasting out the truck windows while you build a fire and restock the cooler. Await the crowd. Don’t worry, they’ll hear the tunes and they’ll see the burning embers rising into the dark sky above the night trees. They’ll show up.
A road cruise mixtape is a slightly delicate affair — if I’m going to be in the vehicle with my brother or my sister, if I’m going to pile in with resident’s of this fair town, the queued up jams are going to have to be just as much backwoods as they are indie rock or bluegrass or folk. Keep that in mind when listening folks and govern yourself accordingly when it comes to skipping that Kentucky Headhunters jam…
I’ve loved Seger since I was young, even considered gifting my child with that surname as his first. ‘Fire Lake’ epitomizes the sound of the road, the sound of our woods and our get togethers at creeks. To me, it is the Midwest.
Typically our road cruises involve family, either my younger sister or brother. And what better jam to remind us that, though we bicker and snipe at each other occasionally, though we overly involve ourselves in each other’s lives uneccesarily sometimes, that at the heart of it all we are family and that shit is forever. Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.
WHERE MY GERUNDS AT? Yes, this track seems out of place. But frankly, I do what I want. Also, cusswords are fun! You know what else is fun? Watching your redneck brother and boyfriend sing, “Cause I’m a ladies man.”
By far, Willie’s Red Headed Stranger is my favorite of his albums. In fact, that accompanying movie is so dear to my heart I’d say it would certainly make it onto a Top Five Favorite Western Movies list, where I ever to concoct one. It’s slow, yes, and while it might calm your passengers a little too much, mixtape moments like these are perfect for following up with the next jam…
Do you know why this jam wins a spot on this mix, despite the fact that it’s a KoL jam? In all honestly, it really is perfect for cruising down a gravel road. You know why else? Because it was the centerpiece of the Kramer Family DVD detailing my little brother’s racing season this year. Seriously.
When we were younger there was a handful of movies that played in constant rotation on like, TBS, that we kids watched EVERY GODDAMN TIME we caught them. ‘Overboard’ is one of those films. We still quote it (“I can’t stop itching!”), we still love it, and Dumas Walker was first introduced to us through that scene down at the bar where everyone’s gettin’ drunk and acting like they’re not grown-ups living in total poverty with too many annoying dogs. ‘Dumas Walker’ always brings back a good memory. Further, in our land, ‘Dumas Walker’ is a verb. You pull up next to a car, blast the jam, throw up a rock sign, and peel out. Do that to your friends.
I’ve not read much about this band but I bet The Black Crowes comparisons abound. Shit, I should have included more Black Crowes in this mix. Aw, hell. However, since I haven’t heard anything of real worth from that band in a while, Silver Creek will fill that void. Way to go, bros.
Let’s close this bitch out on a high note, shall we? The Daredevils are legend in my family — not just because they are a band that hails from the same Ozark Mountains as we, but also because they are one of the most underrated bands of the 70s and we still find them incredibly fucking awesome and relevant today. I grew up twirling to this music in the living room and it still makes frequent appearances on mixtapes I make for my mother and father. The fucking Daredevils, man.
I feel like I worked my balls off this week and yet, I got absolutely shit accomplished. THE MAN HAS GOT ME DOWN. I feel like I can only talk in very short sentences, which is not my style, man. So today, fuck sentences. Let’s listen to some jams. Cue up the playlist, fools. We’re calling this one “Beware The Dinosaurs: THEY WILL FUCK YOU UP.”
It’s official: Jude will be attending his second live show next month and we’ll be seeing Cotton Jones, one of his top five favorite bands. I made the mistake of mentioning that Mama was going and he insisted I check on the age requirements of the venue so it was done and tickets were purchased. His favorite line of this jam? ‘Cause I could never love anything like I love you. Seriously, I want to marry my own child, he’s so fucking rad.
Have we talked about this yet, this band calling themselves The Mural and The Mint? I meant to, if I haven’t, I really did. There’s probably a post somewhere around here in draft form about this shit. We listen to this all the time. We love this song. You should too. Sidenote: Mural/Mint give away all their jams…for free. +10 points for that shit. And Jude always swears this is The Beatles when I play it. + like, eleventy million points for that one.
Some kind soul emailed me a link to a free download of the new Ivan & Alyosha album the other day and then I proceeded to listen to ‘Glorify’ on repeat. I wish real life had more harmonicas and shit in it. If one ignores the lyrics of the song, it truly sounds like a song I remember hearing in church, back when I was a child, while my great-granny rubs my thumb and sang along. I like it. I like it a lot.