Listen up! Amanda Shires Single Premier – “Bulletproof”

amanda shires

With her newly released single, Bulletproof, Amanda Shires continues to explore a variety of musical influences – folk, blues and jazz -she began in her last release “Carrying Lightening.

The song sets Shires warm-honey vibrato and fine fiddling against a Tom Waits-like junkyard orchestral accompaniment. The song details potential supernatural impenetrability against a litany of physical and emotional armaments. Like a whimsical protective talisman set to a cha-cha beat

No word on an upcoming album title or release date came with the press release. but when I know , you’ll know

Bulletproof was released to coincide with Shires showcases at South-By-Southwest. Catch her at one of the performances below:

St. David’s Episcopal Church
Historic Sanctuary
hosted by Utne and Thirty Tigers
official SXSW showcase!

Wyndam Garden Hotel
on the patio @ the bar area!
3401 IH 35 Austin, TX 78741
free! open to the public!!

Omni Austin Hotel Downtown
700 San Jacinto & 8th Street
lobby lounge located @ the atrium!
free! open to the public!!

Song Spotlight: Brett Detar – “A Soldier’s Burden”

A Soldiers Burden - Brett Detar2013 is fresh out of the oven and I’ve already got some great music for you kids!

L.A. based/Pennsylvania native Brett Detar has spent the time between his last album, 2010’s excellent Bird in the Tangle (Ravensong Records) in his words “…holed up like a hermit in the recording studio, emerging only occasionally for coffee or to walk my dog Waylon.”

What he really means is he has written the score for a #1 box office films (Paramount Picture’s The Devil Inside) has the makings for a new album as well as odds, sods and “b-sides and rarities that may or may not see the light of day.”

One gem mined from this self-imposed seclusion is the new cut “A Soldier’s Burden.” Detar’s gently picked guitar and drum and fiddle accompaniment gently ebbs toward a lush arrangement belying it’s dark message. That of a soldier confronting the harrowing and cold realities of battle. Fittingly the song’s finale echos strains of the Civil War era classic “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

“A Soldier’s Burden” shows us Detar’s time away has been reflective and fruitful. I look forward to the release of a full album later this year. Pick up the mp3 of “A Soldier’s Burden” for free over at and pick up a t-shirt while you’re over there.

Free MP3 Download: Daniel Romano – “Middle Child”

Don’t let the the cover of Daniel Romano’s Come Cry With Me fool you. Sure the digitally weathered album cover (what’s that?),  his  Nudie-style cosmic Americana getup and hipster ‘stache might lead you to dismiss Romano as peddler of glib irony. But judging album covers are a lot like judging book covers. When you listen to the songs you know this comes from a deeper place.

Born in 1987, during what Steve Earle called “Nashville’s great credibility scare of the mid ’80s,” this Canadian visual artist, producer (City and Colour)  and musician (with a history of punk and post-punk rock) uses his keening pitch to perfectly capture loneliness and heartbreak in “Middle Child, ” a tale of maternal abandonment.

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Twang Nation Podcast Episode 1

Yes friends, after all these years of talking (and posting the occasional clip) about great music I decided to just into the fray and get out a Twang Nation podcast. Why now? Two reasons. I came back from the Americana Music Association Conference with some great experiences and the technological opportunity fell into my lap. there you have it.

How does it stack up with excellent productions like Freight Train Boogie, 9 Bullets or Country Fried Rock ? I’ll leave that up to you dear listener.There’s a lot of great Americana and roots music out there and I hope I am able to cover just a bit more of it to bring you great music. The production is excellent thanks to my friend (and bartender) Franklyn, the “uh” and “um”marred patter between songs is less smooth (Sorry Brett Deter, at least I got you name in there after the song!)but I take the same license I do as a blogger, you get what you pay for. And it’s untimely not about my sterling delivery, it’s about the music. By chance this maiden episode happen to coincide with the 70th birthday of Guy Clark so I’ve included his classic Dublin Blues to end the program.

Best of all, this was fun and I look forward to doing it again soon. I hope you like it and find some great music , and if you like it please leave your comments below and forward it to friends. Most importantly go buy music and get out and see live shows. if you don’t our greatest fears might be realized,  great music will go away.

  1. Dale Watson – A Real Country Song
  2. Hymn For Her – Slips
  3. Hellbound Glory – Better Hope You Die Young
  4. Amanda Shires – Shake The Walls
  5. Austin Lucas – Sleep Well
  6. Wagons – I Blew It
  7. Sunday Valley  – Sometimes Wine
  8. Nikki Lane – Gone, Gone, Gone
  9. Brett Deter – The Devil’s Gotta’ Earn
  10. Lindi Ortega – Angels
  11. Scott H_ Biram –  Dontcha Lie To Me Baby
  12. Truckstop Dalrlin’ – Down
  13. Guy Clark – Dublin Blues

Twang Nation Podcast Episode 1

On iTunes

Music Review: Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes – $600. Boots

mm coverThe Internet not only allows this site to exist but it makes discovering bands (and my work) a lot easier. I discovered Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes after coming across a featured review of their new release $600. Boots over at the the No Depression site (are you a member? You should be)  written by the good folks over at The part of the review that caught my eye was the comparison with Ms. Mandy Marie and Ms. Wanda Jackson. After listening to $600. Boots and hearing Ms. Morris bet out her songs, rip her tele her and her Cool Hand Lukes (Morrison Foster – upright bass, Eric Grimmitt – Telecaster numero dos, Lewis Scott Jones – drums) I do believe that Ms. Jackson would be proud (and might jump on the stage with them.)

This is the wrong side of the Americana tracks. Evoking barrooms with chicken-wire caged stages, wood shavings on the dance floor, good-natured brawls, whiskey-fueled tears, Saturday nights with little thought to Sunday morning. Stories of sin, salvation, cheating, fighting, wayward youth, hot-roding, all-night trucking, doping and boozing spiked with an amped-up hillbilly Rockabilly/Bakersfield style that makes all that suffering sound like a grand old time.

Dresser Drawer Bible is a motel room honky-tonk Gospel-tinged number sang by a gal at the end of her rope and the title cut train-chugs Cash style road-weary tales that proclaims in the chorus “We’re too dumb for New York. Too ugly for L.A.”

Booze and broken heats are on fill display with This Old Tattoo, is a boot-skooting broken hearted tale of emotional and skin-art regret, and  (I’m Gonna) Drink You Out Of My Mind a high-gear jaunt on forgetting. For pure honky-tonk-girl-had-enough goodness you could do any better than Leave Me baby, Leave Me be, which sounds like a Loretta Lynn song written on meth.

Like a shot of good whiskey $600. Boots ends with a smooth burn, a blazing version of Jimmie Roger’s classic Mule Sinner Blues complete with Ms. Marie’s dead-on yelping yodel.


MySpace | Buy

(I’m Gonna) Drink You Out Of My Mind (mp3)

Rose Maddox

Rosanne Cash – Sea of Heartbreak (w/ Bruce Springsteen)

Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Don Gibson’s 1961 song was more syrupy pop that was the style in the Nashville Sound era of Music Row. Sea of Heartbreak has been gone on to be covered with anticipated schmaltz by Anne Murray and by Jimmy Buffett (complete with out of context steel drums) with George Strait backing vocals (yep, I would have reversed that one around) on the Live at Texas Stadium album, as well as Johhny Cash.

The story is that on her upcoming release, The List, Rosanne Cash is covering 12 classic songs taken from a list of country tunes given to her by her father, Johnny Cash, in 1973.

Rosanne’s version is much more subtle and refined then the versions I’ve heard, even Johnny’s own upbeat version of the song. The pop swing is still there but is now understated to allow the longing melancholy from the Sad Poet’s song to stand out. Roseanne uses her earnest voice as a fine counter to Springtseen’s classic croon. This is a fine start to what is sure to be a great release.

Sea Of Heartbreak (Feat. Bruce Springsteen) – Rosanne Cash Featuring Bruce Springsteen

Tom Russell – Santa Ana Wind mp3 Giveaway

tom_russellAnyone who regularly reads this blog knows that I’m a huge fan of Tom Russell. L.A. born with a  degree in criminology from the U of California, Russell also taught school in Nigeria during the Biafran War. He began his musical career in the early 70’s in Vancouver BC playing strip bars. He later drove a cab in New York and met guitarist Andrew Hardin and Robert Hunter of the Grateful Dead and both heard his songs and convinced him to pursue his craft. Rusell currently reside in El Paso, Texas where the border town culture influnces his work as a songwriter and painter.

An anticipated ’09 release here at Ranch Twang is Russell’s upcoming Blood and Candle Smoke (Sept 15.) The album was recorded in Tucson, AZ at Wave Lab Studios with members of Calexico providing a Southwest/world music accompaniment to the songs.

Southwest and Spanish textures are finely represented in the song Santa Ana Wind. The song features Nashville-based singer/songwriter Gretchen Peters, who Russell collaborated with on the excellent One To The Heart, One To The Head, on backing vocals. The backing band is Joey Burns (Spanish guitars, bass), John Convertino (drums), Barry Walsh (Wurlitzer, piano), Craig Schumacher (percussion), Jacob Valenzuela (trumpets), Nick Luka (steel Guitar.)

The song employs Russell’s trademark literary narrative blending spiritual mystery and the corporal grit resulting in a song as expansive as the great Southwest itself.