Feast your eyes and ears on this. With a very satisfying chord progression (for this choosy Texan country music fan), and a beautiful extended lead-in to the chorus, which then erupts with so much emotional intensity and vocal variation, we’ve got a serious winner. One of those instant-listen-fandom songs. Other tracks off the record like its opener “Backwoods Company” – a blistering outside-the-law moonshine-swilling story romp – do the same. All of their voices blend exceptionally well, but have a slight edginess like if the Eagles walk into Nashville bar and meet up with the Black Crowes for an epic supergroup.
They do seem to know how to play the game, with a super-produced video and massive social media presence, but the music just rocks. They are opening for ZZ Ward in P-town here in a couple weeks – at the Aladdin Theater. Most acts this small would start at much smaller venues. So notwithstanding whatever shenanigans by which they’re promoted, the music, again, just rocks. Evocative and rootsy in a really happy way, I would love to see them share a stage with the Lone Bellow or Ivan & Alyosha. They’ve already opened for Dylan and the Possum, if that tells you anything about the crowd they’re running in.
First, Pete Townshend is amazing, and One Direction is off the hook. For their new single “Best Song Ever” (not the best song ever) One Direction pretty much shamelessly ripped off the famous “Dun! Dun-dun!!” three-chord riff from Baba O’ Reilly (which admittedly has been licensed a million ways to Sunday on ads and movies). There was much media buzz about how Townshend was taking legal action against One Direction. Instead, Townshend issued this most inspiring and refreshing response:
“No! I like the single. I like One Direction.” “The chords I used and the chords they used are the same three chords we’ve all been using in basic pop music since Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran and Chuck Berry made it clear that fancy chords don’t mean great music – not always. I’m still writing songs that sound like ‘Baba O’Riley’ – or I’m trying to!” (Courtesy of the Huffington Post)
This is so excellent in its honesty, nonchalance and humility toward new artists trying to keep it real. If only more billionaire rockers and record execs would follow suit, the world may be safe for creativity and new ideas again.
Second, this line. I thought they sounded stupid and hokey and derivative, but The Front Bottoms just got me with this line from “Twin Size Mattress”
“I wanna contribute to the chaos, I don’t wanna watch and then complain
‘Cause I am through finding blame. That is the decision that I have made”
I love the simplicity of that, and the novelty of it. I pretty much never live this way. I hate conflict, but I also recognize how much more satisfied I could be in my interactions if I could engage more, contribute to the chaos, power through, and just see what happens. And no more sideline finger pointing! Wise words, Front Bottoms. Wise words.
Saw Todd Snider for the first time this past weekend at the Oregon Zoo. He was at the end of an impressive bill – Sarah Jarosz, Hayes Carll, and Shawn Mullins came before. Snider was a legend in my mind up to now, and I must see him again. Only fitting that he would open the show with his tale of this real-life local legend from the 70’s.
Spirit Family Reunion Live at Newport
Sunday morning set with slow gospel harmonies, a weaving fiddle, bouncing banjos, and incredible sound quality from NPR.
Alright people, this was amazing. A free Lone Bellow in-store performance at Music Millenium as a warm-up for Pickathon. Only about 25 people were really there to see them (which totally surprised me). More surprising was how they filled that record store to the rafters with their warm harmonies and intense delivery. I said about 25 people came, but really originally there were about 8 people until they started singing. Then everyone got REALLY interested. Something serious was happening. My baby boy slept through it and my toddler clapped right along. And yes I bought their vinyl with free poster and got them both signed. Really gentle people too. They were super happy to see kids there (and we weren’t the only family). Rock on!