Thursday, April 19, 2018

Album Review: Joshua Hedley - Mr. Jukebox

Joshua Hedley
Mr. Jukebox
**** out of *****

The newest release from Third Man Records is Nashville's own Joshua Hedley whose love for classic country played in saw dust on the floor saloons, seeps onto this record. Mr. Jukebox is a stunning collection of songs that seem like they have been played in smokey juke joints for fifty years or more, showing off the craft and skill of Hedley.

The title of the album also happens to be Joshua's nickname as he is a staple on the Nashville live music scene and has an impressive knowledge of the genre, he describes this all gamely in the title track which laments the declining popularity of live performance. Before arriving at that one though the opening number really catapults Hedley forward, "Counting All My Tears" is a brokenhearted lament that cuts to the bone with Hedley's amazing lyrics and vocal delivery; the man knows how to construct a weeper from a bygone generation. 

That said the schmaltz and strings that colored (and polluted) lots of 60's and 70's Nashville records show up as well. "Weird Thought Thinker" waltzes and sashays around the bar stools with a twinkle but the overly dramatic "Let's Take A Vacation" piles it on thickly with background "ohhs" and "ahhs". While things can go overboard, the production is always pristine sounding rich and deep with lots of layers throughout.   

The quick "These Walls" is a winner closing with low end brass blows while "I Never (Shed A Tear)" contains gorgeous backing vocals all before the dynamite slow build of "Don't Waste Your Tears" which finds Hedley channeling Elvis Presley vocally and manages to incorporate the strings in knockout fashion.

The backing band are Nashville's players as steel guitarist Eddie Lange, guitarist Jeremy Fetzer, bassist Michael Rinne, percussionist Jon Radford and pianist/organist Micah Hulscher all contribute. The album is a quick listen and the finale is a soft jazz shuffle through "When You Wish Upon A Star", allowing the tears to stop flowing into beer mugs and finish on a positive lighthearted jaunt. 

Third Man Records introduced Margo Price to a larger audience and now Joshua Hedley continues the streak of true classic country successes for the label. Current country fans can skip this, but for fans who love the foundation and heyday of the genre Mr. Jukebox will be a refreshing ride. 
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Support the artist, buy the record, peep some video below:


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Album Review: The Dean Ween Group - rock2

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!

It is of the newest release from the The Dean Ween Group, rock2.

From the penthouse to the outhouse that is the gamut Dean Ween runs, actually he doesn't ever really spend much time in-between those extremes. He can be majestic and gross from track to track, and while the humor wears thin quickly, his guitar work is constantly soothing.

Support the artist, buy the record, read the review and peep some video below:




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Album Review: John Prine - The Tree of Forgiveness

John Prine
The Tree of Forgiveness 
**** out of *****

The first collection of new material from John Prine in over 13 years comes leafing out as The Tree of Forgiveness, a collection of folk/country tunes that musically are straight ahead but lyrically showcase Prine's wit charm and depth.

Excellently produced by the fantastic David Cobb, this laid back collection matches Prine's restrained vocals as he sings softer following his second confrontation with cancer. Coming out on the wining end of that battle allows him to put forth this set of tunes that glide by as easily as a southern summers sunset.

Opening with perhaps the strongest track on the record "Knockin' on Your Screen Door" strums with confidence and country flair. The call out to high cotton, George Jones, cans of pork & beans along with sweat potato wine places it directly in the wheelhouse of Nashville pickers as increasing instrumentation adds small flourishes to the music.

Co-songwriter Pat McLaughlin helps out Prine on numerous tracks including the whimsical "Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)". The funniest track, it has help from Jason Isbell (who is a presence throughout), a killer piano phrase and tons of silly smirking lines and backup vocals. While Prine is a consummate songwriter, his ability to make it all feel tossed off is what is keep fans coming back for more and more. 

The albums first single "Summer's End" fits this motif as it is simple, yet lingers long after it has dissipated; a direct statement calling out to everyone personally as an honest plea. While the ominous "Caravan of Fools" is an outlier in this collection, co-written with Dan Auerbach and McLaughlin it slowly marches along with building dread, strings and deep bass. The tone and wit of Townes Van Zandt becomes channeled for the "Lonesome Friends of Science" while "No Ordinary Blue" has a Tom Petty Wildflowers musical ease breezing through it. 

Brandi Carlile helps out on the pretty "I Have Met My Love Today" while "Boundless Love" also pours on the charm with typical Prine touches, like the charming washing machine stanza. The nod to Phil Spector and the Beach Boys, yet his own spin of "God Only Knows" (supported by Isbell and Amanda Shires) confronts spirituality before the album addresses mortality closing with "When I Get To Heaven".

Prine knows he is much closer to the end than the beginning however, he approaches it with humor and grace as always. Prine lists of to-do's once he enters the pearly gates is laid out with a babies laughter behind him adding a dynamic touch to the song. The track turns into a party with barrel-house piano and ends the successful The Tree of Forgiveness on a joyous note.
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Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:




Monday, April 16, 2018

Dylan Cover #321 Anders Osborne "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" Live

In this ongoing Monday Series we will be exploring various artists versions of Bob Dylan song's. Today's artists, Anders Osborne performing a live cover of "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" 


This month we have a special focus on Artists who will be playing the 2018 Jazzfest in New Orleans. Today we highlight New Orleans own Anders Osborne who opens the Acrua Stage Sunday, May 6th.

Thoughts on Original:
From the first time we tackled a cover of this tune:
The first song on the iconic Blonde on Blonde "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" is an anthem for a generation...to do what with, is up for debate. Stoned in the head or stoned by the masses up to you to decide. Whatever your thoughts on the lyrics and meaning it can't be argued that Bob is having fun which doesn't always come across on his studio releases. The "salvation Army" style horns and marching is a hoot...once in a long while but not made for everyday consumption. Truth be told, the song is normally skipped when I am listening to the album, I like opening Blonde on Blonde better with "Pledging My Time".

Cover:


Thoughts on Cover Artist:
We covered Anders a bunch on this site, reviewing a few of his not so great albums and yet great live shows, featuring him on Full Show Friday's and even once before in this Monday Dylan series. We enjoy him and when festival time rolls around it is always a pleasure seeing him rip on electric guitar.

Thoughts on Cover:
A fun cover with added harmonica and slide power guitar. This song should be a rambling rollicking good time and this version clearly is just that. Maybe we will catch him performing this fun cover under the blue skies in just a few short weeks!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Full Show Friday: Beck - Live at The Rehearsal Hall, Toronto 10/17/06

We search the murky back waters of youtube to find full concerts and post them to the site weekly, come back every seven days to help us celebrate Full Show Friday's. These shows are of varying quality and may not be here for long so enjoy them while you can...As always, please support the artist every which way, but especially by seeing them live (if they are still playing)...This week...Beck!
Every April we have a special showcase for bands who are playing this years Jazzfest in NOLA. Today we will focus on Beck who will be headlining the Acura Stage, Friday May 4th

Today we showcase Beck who will be bringing his Colors tour to the Fairgrounds this year. RtBE reviewed that album (and dug it) as well as having showcased Beck in this series before. We have caught the artist live more than once and will be happy to give him some loving down south when he rocks out.

Today's show is from 2006 and The Information Tour. Pro shot, Pro Sound, Full Set List below, Enjoy:


Black Tambourine Think I'm in Love Lost Cause No Complaints Strange Apparition End of the Day Where It's At Nausea Guess I'm Doing Fine We Dance Alone Cellphone's Dead The Golden Age Clap Hands / One Foot in the Grave / Emergency Exit

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Album Review: The Shacks - Haze

The Shacks
Haze
***and1/2 out of *****

The debut full length from The Shacks focuses on front women/bassist Shannon Wise's breathy vocals and guitarist/producer Max Shrager's use of dream pop that is clearly inspired from 60's soul filtered through a modern scope.

Starting off with the title track the group eases the listener in with the easy flowing sound and Wise's confessional delivery. Less singing than whispering through your headphones, Wise's vocal style is not going to be for everyone but Shrager knows this using layering and and background effects on tracks like "Sand Song" and "Nobody, Nobody" which pumps up both the wah-wah and clean fluttering strings.

Shrager's ear for catchy is undeniable and evident everywhere on this album. Most prominently it arrives on the standout number and first single "Follow Me" with it's clean guitars, crisp snares both set against buzzing feedback reminiscent of Chicano Batman's standout "Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm) from 2017.  Also exhilarating is the grooving bass work and excellent drumming from Homer Steinweiss on the upbeat "Birds" which moves with a spring time ease in glorious fashion. "So Good" contains an easy breezy British 60's pop buzzing vibe that will be the floating soundtrack for brief teen love in 2018. 

Some less successful efforts are "Sleeping" which yearns to be a soulful burner that never reaches those passionate heights while "Texas" also is an odd mix. Musically it uses organs drifting by with kaleidoscope eyes before dealing lyrically with racial profiling and violence; the juxtaposition of tripped out sounds around Americas bloody problems causes an odd tension that doesn't hold up. Wise's vocal delivery is unique but also limited and whether it is going for burning passion or addressing society's ills  literally, there may be a finite amount of ground The Shacks can cover.

The good clearly outweighs the bad though as "Blue and Grey" also speaks towards our differences, but in more of a poetic matter using hand drums and a cutting electric guitar outro before tracks like the dance ready bumping and grooving "All Day Long" make the duos sounds feel effortless. "Cryin'" loads up the strings putting Shrager's voice upfront as Wise adds "oooo's" while "All Day Long" leaves space between the chimes and horns for some of the best pairing of Wise's laid back vocals and Shragers excellent production.

A very strong debut from The Shacks that shows a deft touch of psychedelic dream pop can still be inventive especially when mixed with a soulful base. Haze is the start of something good.
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Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Album Review: Ministry - AmeriKKKant

Hey all, got a new review up @glidemag which you can read Right C'here!!!

It is of Ministry's newest release AmeriKKKant.

Safe to say this was a let down for us. RtBE loves old Ministry. Even mid career Ministry. This Ministry just feels superfluous and lame; it's kind of sad really, this album could have been so much more.

Anyways....

Support the band, read the review, buy the album and peep some video below: