Patty Griffin To Release New Album ‘Servant Of Love” This Fall. Hear The New Song “Rider Of Days”


A great year of roots and Americana music just got a whole lot better with the announcement of a new Patty Griffin release.

On September 11 in Europe and September 25th in the US (and the rest of the world) Patty Griffin will release ‘Servant Of Love.” This will be her tenth album, and her first to be released on her new self-owned imprint in conjunction with Thirty Tigers. It marks the third time she has collaborated with producer Craig Ross.

From the release:

In Servant of Love, Patty Griffin digs deep into folk and roots tradition with its grounding in the experience and rhythms of the everyday, but she also writes in the vein of another tradition, less often mined: the transcendentalism of writers like Emerson and Whitman. Grounding itself in the natural world and finding patterns there which speak both to human experience and to the call of the spirit, Griffin’s new album weaves an elemental spell out of the stuff of life.

Griffin suggests that there are twin mysteries at work: the Love that underpins all our human movements-our passions, our desires, our mistakes, our neuroses; and the symmetry in nature that we don’t understand, yet shows up repeatedly, as in the mathematical structure of a seashell or a sunflower. In the vernacular of folk tales, blues cants, and jazz exploration, Servant of Love creates of these seemingly disparate notions a larger narrative of the human place in nature, in society, and in time. Griffin brings her genius for character-driven storytelling to bear on this overarching narrative of mystery. The same transmigrated soul seems to inhabit the characters in these songs, all different, yet all speaking from the same source: the storyteller herself, of course, but also, the album suggests, a greater source, a mysterious source.

Hear the new song “Rider Of Days” below.

Griffin also announces the first leg of her North American tour, starting on September 22 and running through October 17. Featuring great openers like John Moreland and Sam Lee and more dates will be announced soon. The confirmed dates are below, for more information and tickets please go to her tour page.

North American Tour Dates
Sept 22 – Waco, TX – Common Grounds*
Sept 23 – Austin, TX – Paramount Theater*
Sept 25 – Louisville, KY – Headliners#
Sept 26 – Indianapolis, IN – Egyptian Room at Old National Centre#
Sept 27 – Pittsburgh, PA – Byham Theater#
Sept 29 – Alexandria, VA – The Birchmere
Oct 1 – New York, NY – Town Hall
Oct 2 – Boston, MA – Somerville Theater
Oct 3 – Orono, ME – Collins Center#
Oct 4 – Montreal, QUE – L’Astral
Oct 6 – Northampton, MA – Academy of Music
Oct 7 – Philadelphia, PA – Keswick Theater^
Oct 9 – Ithaca, NY – State Theater^
Oct 10 – Ann Arbor, MI – Power Center^
Oct 11 – Columbus, OH – Lincoln Theater^
Oct 13 – Chicago, IL – The Vic^
Oct 14 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium^
Oct 15 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse^
Oct 17 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel^

* – John Moreland opens
# – Sam Lee opens
^ – Darlingside opens

Watch Out! Kacey Musgraves – “The Trailer Song” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon [VIDEO]


Ladies and Gents great country music is alive and well and, yes, sometimes it still comes from Music Row.

GRAMMY-award winning singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves has a response to self-rightous neighbors and it’s “The Trailer Song,” and it’s a honky-tonk delight (with an “awww haaawww’ for bonus points)

The song was written by Musgraves, and her usual partners in crime Brandy Clark and Shane McAnnally

Last week Musgraves performed “The Trailer Song” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (see below.)

Purchase “The Trailer Song.” at Musgraves’ website.

Musgraves is currently on tour this summer with Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss as well as Katy Perry on her Prismatic World Tour.

Watch Out! Matt Woods – “Deadman’s Blues” [VIDEO]

Matt Woods - Deadman's Blues

Recently some benefactors of music row/ country music row have decided to chime in that contemporary country music is, well, less than good.

Knoxville, TN.’s Matt Woods soulful vocals have been saying that for years, Not formally but by putting out great self-penned, independent country and roots albums that draw a line in the proverbial sand. Every song just suggests “See, this is what country music is.”

With his newest video Woods’ is still teaching that lesson. The video is an intimate look at life on the road for the independent musician. Here’s hint, less luxury buses and champaign and more vans, long-necks and sleepless nights.

Deadman’s Blues” can be found on Woods’ upcoming album of the same name, out this spring.

Official Site

The Civil Wars’ Joy Williams on Nashville’s Lightning 100

Joy Williams - Lightening 100

Joy Williams helps out Lightning 100’s Wells Adams morning show on Nashville
Lightning 100 morning show and discusses her new baby, covering the Smashing Pumpkins, living in Nashville, displays decent skill in a lightening round.

She also talks about, and plays some cuts from, her band’s new chart-topping self-titled Civil Wars album.

There are a few references to the “not the most comfortable time” that she and John Paul White are currently going trough. She says “John Paul and I are in a season where it’s a little bit to be determined.” and “People don’t choose to go into those phases” and “I’m desperate to play these songs. I want to be out on the read” and “I hold out hope.”

Music Review: Blackberry Smoke – The Whippoorwill [Southern Ground]

My first encounter with Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke – Charlie Starr on Lead Vocals, Guitar, Richard Turner on Bass, Vocals, Brit Turner on Drums, Paul Jackson on Guitar, Vocals and Brandon Still on Keyboards – was seeing them open two shows for ZZ Top at the Beacon theater. The neo-Grecian Beacon was originally a deluxe movie place designed Chicago architect Walter W. Ahlschlager of Chicago and , since 1989, most famously the home for the Allman Brothers yearly New York City spring residency.

Both shows were great,as a Texan I am obligated to see all ZZ Top shows in a 50 mile radius, and Blackberry Smoke easily won over a crowd in the unenviable spot opening for a legendary band. The band won the crowd by performing their no-frills brand of Southern rock, that rowdier sibling to the Progressive Country movement. The blend of blues, country rock, r&b, rock, southern soul and gospel forged by pioneers like The Allmans, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Black Oak Arkansas and others provided a rich terrain for the band to work.

Newly released The Whippoorwill, their third studio album and first for Zac Brown’s independent label Southern Ground, proves the quintet has 12 years of road-honed musical contributions to the cause. This is made clear by the brash opener “Six Ways To Sunday” continues that tradition. Fueled by a Still ‘s barrell house piano, and fuzz guitar boogie and blue-collar come-ons like “I’m chasing my tail, and a couple other ones too” cements the song as a staple of their live performance from years to come.

“Pretty Little Lie” and “Everybody Knows She’s Mine” are excellent romps on romantic denial and celebration respectfully. Both songs deftly fuse country and rock so organically and soulfully that they stand, not only as great songs, but as sharp contrasts to Music City’s recent pathetic attempts to create the same sound.

“One Horse Town” leans toward folk before kicking into a rock groove detailing the isolation of rural living. The same quiet opening lures you into Ain’t Much Left Of Me” as the big rock sound sweeps you up. The title cut is a choice slice of Southern soul that stretches out like a country road baking in the Summer sun.

“Leave A Scar” is a pure piss. vinegar and whiskey rave-up offering a less than PC refrain of “When I die put my bones in the Dixie dirt” and “I may not change the word but I’m gonna leave a scar.” Kinder and gentler this aint’.

Southern rock continues to be maligned in the current genteel musical landscape. More for, I feel, cultural baggage rather than musical merit. The celebration of Southern history, culture celebrated sincerely without a a wink and a smirk pitiable strikes some as fodder for knuckle-draggers. In the end Blackberry Smoke makes great, well played, music loyal to tradition, to to thier fans. They’d sure prefer you to enjoy it, but if you don’t I’m sure they give a good goddamn.

While other contemporary bands, Like the Drive-By Truckers, use Southern rock as an element of expression; at the first whiff of commercial acceptance they jettison the style like an old pair of overalls to court their new-found demographic thus losing their soul and much of their base.

It’s great to hear this level of love and joy Blackberry Smoke brings to their music, a style that is obviously not a marketing contrivance. The album has just been officially released but has been available at their live shows for some time as a reward to their long-time fans. As Starr says “There is no way on God’s green earth that we are not going to put this in the hands of people who have spent their money night in and night out when we’re out doing shows. If we’ve got it, they are going to get it. I’d give them away, I don’t care. I didn’t want to make them wait another six months. They’ve been there for us, and we wanted them to have the music first.”

This, ladies and gentleman, is the real deal.

Official Site | Buy

Twang Nation Podcast Episode 7 – Corb Lund and Hayes Carll, Turnpike Troubadours, The Driftwood Singers and The Trishas

Podcast number is in the can and it might be the best one yet.

Here you’ll find great cuts from upcoming albums like Corb Lund’s swamp-guitar laced road buddy number featuring Hayes Carll “Bible On The Dash” and The Trishas bring sweet, sweet harmony in Little Sweet Cigars.

Blackberry Smoke channels 70’s era Allman Brothers in the soulful The Whippoorwill. There’s also some great cuts from newcomers Angela Perley, Shovels & Rope and The Driftwood Singers.

Finally I use the last slot to say goodbye to another legend. Susanna Clark’s “Easy From Now On,” a song she penned for Emmylou Harris’ album “Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town,” and album she also painted the cover for.

I hope you all enjoy the great Americana and roots music featured in this and all the podcasts, and hope you seek out the musicians and buy their music, merch and , most importantly, take all your friends and see them live. Remember you can leave requests or feedback below or email me at baron(at)twangnation(dot)com. All you feedback , good and bad, is appreciated.

1. Corb Lund – Song: “Bible On The Dash” – Album: Cabin Fever (New West Records)
2. Polecat – Song: “Fire On The Hill” – Album: Fire On The Hill (Independently released)
3. Shovels & Rope – Song: O’ Be Joyful – Album: Song: O’ Be Joyful (Dualtone Records)
4. Catherine Irwin – Song: Mockingbird – Album: Little Heater (Thrill Jockey Records )
Removed by request of Thrill Jockey Records
5. The Trishas – Song: Little Sweet Cigars – Album: High Wide & Handsome (Trisha Records)
6. Blackberry Smoke – Song: The Whippoorwill – Album: The Whippoorwill (Southern Ground Records.
7. The Driftwood Singers – Song: If I Take That Notion – Album: The Driftwood Singers (Trailer Fire Records)
8. Angela Perley and The Howlin’ Moons – Song: 18 Feet Under- Album: Nowhere is Now Here. (Vital Music USA)
9. Whitey Morgan and the 78’s – Song: I Ain’t Drunk – Album: Whitey Morgan and the 78’s (Bloodshot Records)
10. Turnpike Troubadours – Song: “Before the Devil Knows We’re Dead” – Album: Goodbye Normal Street (Bossier City Records)
11. Emmylou Harris – Song: “Easy From Now On” – Album: Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town (Warner Bros)

Music Review – Delta Rae – Carry the Fire [Sire]

Pop music has gotten a bad rap. Pop has gone from being “popular” to engineered mass appeal and style over all especially substance blotting out all pretension of song-craft or, HA! , longevity

Great songs by such luminaries as Elton John and Fleetwood Mac in the 70s and Squeeze and XTC in the 80s, took the music around them and refined it into a polished work of studio perfection. With hooks big enough to hang the moon on and wry lyrics that hinted at bigger things without mired in the ponderous, these musicians proved you could be popular and create music for the ages.

Seymour Stein knows a thing or two about this. As the cultural chaos of punks ripped through the fabric of music Stein saw pop beauty by The Ramones , Talking Heads and the Pretenders and others who he signed as  co-founder of Sire Records.

Stein signed the six-piece band from North Carolina Delta Rae after a mutual friend set them up for an acoustic performance at his office. He must have been impressed as he called more people into his office to hear the band play for 45 minute audition.

Like the other bands Stein has signed, Delta Rae resonates the trends around them, in this case Americana, and amke it appealing to a larger ausince that might wince at a claw-hammer style banjo.

On “Holding On To Good” acoustic guitar and piano burst “Carry The Fire” open with such assurance it’s surprising this is a debut album. Brittany Holljes is a woman who can belt out or sing delicately as she does here with harmonies in response “In the morning…” along with her like a tide rolling in an back out. In this opening the bar is set high. “Is There Anyone Out There” follows with Brittany’s brother Ian Hölljes handling vocals (half the band are siblings with brother Eric Hölljes on vocals, guitar, piano and keys.) Like the former this song also mixes bombast with lovely hushed melody.

“Morning Comes” has a gospel soul as an acapella start and hand clap accompaniment give Eric Holljes lot of room to soar. Though nowhere near as nimble the style brings to mind Freddy Mercury and the sound of the song overall makes me think the band has been had Queen’s greatest hits on heavy play for some time.

Gospel is also the influence in my favorite track “Bottom of the River.” I like things dark and gritty and, even though the production is crisp, there’s a Southern Gothic quality in the song that  is brought out in the video for the song. Big vocals of of Brittany and the band and percussion is a central instrument of the number that is accentuated in the a mid-song interlude. The darkness is also reflected in “Fire” with it’s controlled cacophony of sound and forgoing the pop elements momentarily to drive toward pure passion.

The infusion of pop in Americana is not new. Delta Rae join their contemporaries The Civil Wars, Mumford and Sons, the Avett Brothers in bringing a folk, country and soul hybrid to the masses. Carry the Fire joins there ranks as a great example of how pop music can also be excellently crafted and and not seemingly focused on hits.  I applaud Delta Rae for this fine first release and for bringing a larger audience into the Americana fold.

Here’s to success without compromise.

Official Site | Buy


Music Review: Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon [Tompkins Square Records]

Poor Moon could have easily been lost to obscurity. After it’s initial label shuttered the album was left without production, distribution, and chief singer/ songwriter MC Taylor was left near bankruptcy. Thankfully the album was seen to be worthy of rescue by the small North Carolina label Paradise of Bachelors and was set to be their second in-house release. If you snatched up one of those quickly sold-out, 500 hand-numbered vinyl editions you were in possession of 13 songs of spare,  skewed country soul.

The next step in the Poor Moon saga is Tompkins Square Records. The The California/New York label  is no stranger to uncovering and promoting great-but obscure performances and must have seen a kindered spirit in the beleaguered album as they have reissued it on CD and online, giving the album a deserved wider distribution and an opportunity to gain a wider audience.

We are all luckier for the opportunity. Durham North Carolina-based MC Taylor and Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Scott Hirsch, make up the core of Hiss Golden Messenger. The duo are joined by an impressive list of guests including members of D. Charles Speer and The Helix, Black Twig Pickers, Brightblack Morning Light, and member’s of their old band The Court and Spark.

Salvation is rarely as ecstatic as depicted in fiction and mythology. Dark and light work within the mundane boundaries of the everyday and M.C. Taylor’s songs well chronicles these illusive interiors. The poet William Cowper wrote “God moves in a mysterious way” in his Hymn “”Light Shining out of Darkness” and the holy ghost certainly takes enigmatic forms in Poor Moon. Whether an agent of abdication as assassin (Jesus Shot Me in the Head) or as a devoted companion in hardship’s throes (Balthazar’s Song) the forms are elusive and not always certain, like faith itself.

Taylor is a believer that question’s his belief existence (or more precisely, his ability to recognize real-world manifestations of his faith.)  He metaphorically skirts heathen’s path while keeping just within the confines of the apostle. He appears to be aman with no clear answers and takes comfort, reveling even, in the ambiguity.

“Poor Moon” is a deceptively straightforward album that surrenders it’s subtle beauty through repeated listening (preferably with headphones.)  Hiss Golden Messenger travels the road forged by the recently departed, Levon Helm and The Band by melding country, folk and soul and creating approachable music that sound timeless as well as surprising. the road is well traveled and in this case, golden.

Twang Nation Top Picks of 2011

Tis’ the season for “Best of…” “Top picks…”Depending on your point of view it’s either as welcome as a gift under the tree on Christmas morning or fruit cake. This subjective separation of musical wheat from chafe, truth be told, it’s my least favorite part of doing this blog. I prefer visit each work on an individual basis. And though I do bring a wider view of music, only in rare instances would weigh a work in contrast to something I heard just the week before. This 12-month capsule is constraining, bit with constraints come opportunity to focus the mind.

First- ground rules. No albums of cover songs. So, no Gurf Morlix or Carrie Rodriguez. But ya’ll should still buy the excellent Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream and We Still Love Our Country respectively. No albums where an artist revisits earlier work, or live albums of already recorded work. Sorry Levon Helm, Ramble At The Ryman might get you that Grammy for Americana Album of the Year but you won’t make the TN 2011 list.

My pick for number one spot came to me in April and I pegged it early as the one to beat. Nobody even came close. Austin Lucas’ New Home In The Old World is a fine mix of country, folk and rock delivered in such a seamless and extraordinary way that ibelieveit advances th genre in it’s existence. Same with To the Wind and On To Heaven by Sunday Valley. The Kentucky band captured my attention early in the year with their brand of high-octane honky-tonk/gospel boogie and seeing them live sealed their spot at #2.

Jason Isbell may not care for end-of-year lists but he made mine by creating his most inspired and solid solo record with Here We Rest. A chance encounter at the Grimey’s Americanarama showcase at the Americana Music Association led me to the #9 quirky duo of Hymn for Her.

Canadian Laura Repo’s debut Get Yourself Home landed in my in-box the week I was putting this list together. Repo’s plaintive voice of simple, timeless themes and and the sparse arrangements reach back to country music’s roots and secured her a slot at number 10.

Last year was a great year for Americana/roots music and I reflected this bumper crop by overindulging and creating a top 25 list. On retrospect, this was excessive. this year I’ve focused on the abloute top 10 that I love to listen to from start to finish.  Here’s no an even better 2012!
  1. Austin Lucas – New Home In The Old World
  2. Sunday Valley – To the Wind and On To Heaven
  3. Jason Isbell – Here We Rest
  4. Zoe Muth & The Lost High Rollers – Starlight Hotel
  5. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & The Harvest
  6. Hayes Carll – KMAG YO YO
  7. Lindi Ortega – Little Red Boots
  8. Hellbound Glory – Damaged Goods
  9. Hymn for Her – Lucy & Wayne and The Amairican Stream
  10. Laura Repo – Get Yourself Home

Music Review: Grayson Capps – The Lost Cause Minstrels [Royal Potato Family]

On his 5th studio album Grayson Capps engages a new band, The Lost Cause Minstrels, consisting mostly of former members of the now defunct Mobile, Alabama band Kung Fu Mama – Guitarist Corky Hughes, keyboardist Chris Spies, drummer John Milham and bassist Christian Grizzard  – captures the greatness of classic rock, country as well as folk, blues and Dixieland resulting in a blend of great Americana music.

The main protagonist in The Lost Cause Minstrels is the asphalt ribbon, both as a means of escape and as a means anguish. Sometimes, as in the country rock ramble Highway 42, both in the same song to Tao-like results “Let go of the future, let go of the past, put gasoline on the present, and have yourself a blast.”

Other characters emerge on the travels. Capp’s aging rocker rasp, reminiscent of Shooter Jennings, opens the album with Coconut Moonshine is a Jazzy Cab Calloway-style tale of the character Mr. Jim who dispenses tropical bootleg hooch from his Ocean Springs, Mississippi barbecue joint. Taj Mahal’s country shuffle Annie’s Lover gets a loving rendition of palatial proportions and features a bit of hillbilly scat for good measure.

Capps reflects both his Alabama birth and, until recently, New Orleans residence in a horn and drum fueled Dixieland romp on Ol’ Slac. the name derives from the fictional character created by Joseph Stillwell Cain, Jr. (Joe Cain. in the song) Chickasaw Chief Slacabamorinico. Cain was a Confederate veteran that revived the tradition of Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama after it was halted by the occupying Union Army. Cain and six other Confederate veterans paraded in a decorated coal wagon playing drums and horns were dubbed The Lost Cause Minstrels.

The road takes it’s own toll in Rock N Roll, a Turn the Page-like lament of empty gas tanks, full whiskey glasses and long nights and Yes You Are has an aging, battle-worn musician confessing the futility of his chosen career to his lover who tenderly assures and  and encourages from afar.

A couple of classic-rock styled torchers pick things up as  No Definitions (in which the title defines the album overall) highlights guitarist Corky Hughes chops and manages to sound new and channel Hendrix’s Foxy Lady. John the Daggar rocks by digging out the blues is a retelling of the John Lee Hooker crossroads fable.

The albums taunt sound is a credit to Capps, who co-produced the effort with his longtime partner and Grammy Award-winning engineer/producer Trina Shoemaker (Queens of the Stone Age, Dylan Leblanc, Sheryl Crow). Capps has taken on a considerable undertaking of styles and personal, heartfelt confession and made it into a great album.

Official Site | Buy