Once again, lead singer Ethan Miller of Howlin’ Rain blew my mind with his wailin’ and shreddin’ on both the guitar and vocals. Seriously, this guy is amazing. Lucky for you, Howlin’ Rain are currently on tour and will be hitting up much of the US and England so you might just get a chance to see them! In the meantime, check out photos and a video of the evening below. Photos by India Brookover.
After my friend Brandon sent me a Steve Young record with the track ‘Magnolias’, I was so inspired by the song that I knew my next mixtape had to be on the subject of trees. From the sad, lonesome songs about Weeping Willows to the memories of growing up in the south surrounded by the Oaks and Magnolias, trees are quite prevalent in country music and through the use of the different species, can provide some very beautiful, yet contrasting emotions and imagery. Did I miss any good tree songs? Let me know after the jump!
Tammy Wynette- Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad
“I’ll even learn to like the taste of Whiskey”. Your sweetheart sure will when you whip them up a jar of Whiskey Cherries! Mix them into your favorite drink or even try baking them into an apple pie or atop some ice cream and you will be singing the praises of these sweet little things (with a kick of course). They are supposed to sit for at least 6 months to fully achieve that perfert whiskey-enhanced flavor, but what a delightful treat come winter! And who said that March is too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts?
Bassman extraordinaire, Matt Stoulil, gave us a musical tour of his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Matt plays bass for two of my favorite NYC bands, The Morning Pages and Alana Amram and the Rough Gems. You can catch him laying the beat at a number of upcoming shows, including the Mercury Lounge tonight with Alana.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have had 3 different people mentioned this movie, Heartworn Highways (1981), and tell me that I basically need to drop everything else in my life and go out and buy it immediately or else I don’t really love country music. With such a recommendation, how could I refuse? So I started looking into and I think they may be right. This might just become one of my favorite music movies/documentaries of all time.
Townes Van Zandt- Poncho and Lefty (from Heartworn Highways)
Director James Szalapski sought to make a film about country music, but instead of going to the big flashy names in country at the time, he decided to focus on a small group of songwriters/ musicians that were inspired by the creative energy of the 60s and 70s, yet who were still deeply rooted in traditional country, folk and blues. The resulting documentary features the likes of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, David Allan Coe, Steve Young, Steve Earle and Charlie Daniels among others, who (for the most part) were virtually unknown at the time and rejected the completely formulaic and commercialized nature of Nashville/Music Row-based country music.
Billy Callery and Steve Young (from Heartworn Higways)
Steve Young, who was filmed when he just about to record his solo debut for RCA said “It was very casual, as everything was at the time. Somebody just announced to Guy [Clark], ‘You know these guys from Europe…they just want to shoot some film while we sit around and do what we usually do. We’re going to invite some people over, so why don’t you come over? It just sort of got started that way and took its own life and gained some momentum.” He added that “… it was truly an artistic bohemian kind of thing.” Well, I for one am eagerly awaiting its arrival in the mail. In the meantime, I will just have to keep myself occupied with these videos from the movie (check out more after the jump).
This week’s mixtape focuses on Honky Tonk Women. We hear from both the women themselves and the men who are effected by their women’s wild ways. Just listen to Hank Thompson’s ‘The Wild Side of Life’ and the song that Kitty Wells famously recorded as a response, ‘It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,’ for a little insight into the different approaches that these two genders take on the subject. Do these women go out to spite their husbands, drink a lot and party? Or are they just lonely and nursing a broken heart and drinking their sorrows away? Anyways, check it out and let me know what you think!
I saw Phosphorescent and Bon Iver last night at the Echo. While I had previously seen Bon Iver live, Phosphorescent was a complete mystery to me. Phosphorescent is actually a one man band (like Bon Iver) consisting of Matthew Houck, whose album, Pride, had been one of my favorites records of 2007. But how well could he translate that full, harmony-ladden and heavy sound to a live show?
Answer: invite some of the most engaging backup musicians that I have seen in a very long time to join you on tour. Seriously, when was the last time that you couldn’t keep your eyes off of the the keyboardist or bass player (no offense to you musicians out there. I do love all of the instruments equally)? The keyboardist reminded me of Linus from the Peanuts with his crazed, yet studied approach to the keys. The bassist grooved all around the stage, barely keeping still long enough for me to snap a picture of him without it being completely blurred out. And let’s not forget the drummer, who actually played most of the set with his eyes closed.
Check out these boots that I spotted last night at the Echo! Do you have a favorite pair of cowboy boots/fringe vest/other country styled pieces in your wardrobe? Send a picture of them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to see them!
This week’s mixtape comes from Los Angeles’ own Parson Redheads. They did the Top 10 Songs To Drive To While On The I-5, On Tour, During The Sunrise. With the Beachwood Sparks, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, America, and more, this is the perfect dreamy sunshine-filled mixtape! If you are in LA, be sure to check out the Parson Redheads Friday night at the Echoplex (right below the Echo).
The top two photos were taken at the Spiderhouse Coffeeshop. The last picture was at the GZA show.