Contest: This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes – Omnivore Recordings

Lone Justice

Lone Justice was the gateway band for much of the music that I have loved and written about over the years.

Maria McKee, Ryan Hedgecock, Marvin Etzioni, and Don Heffington helped define the term “Cowpunk in 80’s L.A. and were famous for their blistering live shows (which, alas, I never got a chance to see) The “Ways to Be Wicked” video entered the synth-gelled hair-florescent fray with unabashed roots-rock with McKee sporting her sultry sneer, garbed in vintage dress, and belting out the song of a jilted lover.

After only two excellent albums the band folded under label and internal pressures. McKee embarked on a successful solo career and Lone Justice helped shape the musical landscape forever.

Before it all LJ went into Suite 16 Studios in December of 1983 and recorded much of the set list they were packing Los Angeles area clubs with.

Recorded direct to 2-track tape by engineer David Vaught and with no overdubs, those twelve tracks can finally be heard in their entirety on “This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983.” As Billboard’s Chris Morris writes in his thoughtful liner notes, the release “offers the best representation of the band in its infancy—hot, full of piss and vinegar, and ready to take on the world.”

Nine of these twelve tracks are previously unissued, and include originals (including “Soap, Soup And Salvation”, which would appear on their Geffen debut two years later) to the covers they made their own in concert (Johnny Cash and June Carter (Cash)’s “Jackson” and “Nothing Can Stop My Loving You,” written by George Jones and Roger Miller.)

Available on CD and LP (with the first pressing on translucent red vinyl) by Omnivore Recordings, in addition to Morris’ liners, the package contains an essay from the band’s Ryan Hedgecock, as well as a remembrance of David Vaught from Marvin Etzioni and an loving endorsement from Dolly Parton. With unseen photos and memorabilia, this collection is what Lone Justice fans have been waiting for. This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes, 1983 takes us back to a time when music had an energy that was hard to contain.

For a chance to win a copy of red vinyl + digital download card just leave a comment below describing your favorite Lone Justice song and why or a memory from a show.

A winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Sunday 2/23 at 12 Noon Central time.

Good luck pilgrim.


Video Feature: Wanda Jackson & Justin Townes Earle – “Am I Even a Memory? ”

Melancholy doesn’t even begin to describe this new video of  Greg Garing’s  “Am I Even a Memory? ” This barroom weeper comes from the legendary rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson’s newest Justin Townes Earle produced full length LP, “Unfinished Business.”  The video is the second released from the album and follows the excellently retro video for the Freddie King cover “Tore Down,”

The video was shot in wonderfully moody black-and-white in Nashville hip dive Santa’s Pub by Cream contributor Seth Graves, who also directed “Tore Down.” The video shows Jackson singing a karaoke version of “Memory” to indifferent patrons. JTE shooting is pool and then visits the head to be haunted by a past love. The lanky Earle and gloriously aging Jackson partaking in a forlorn croon is beautiful as well a s haunting.

Ms. Jackson will appear on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Nov. 20, and she’ll play 3rd & Lindsley on Dec. 7.

Music Review: Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears [Warner Bros.]

It’s been seven long years since Dwight Yoakam’s last proper release, 2005’s Blame the Vain. Since then he of painted-on jeans and low-hanging Stetson has done some acting – most notably the opening scene in  The Wedding Crashers and as the manic Doc Miles in the hilariously over-the-top Crank films. Yoakam has done some music producing an an excellent tribute to his mentor Buck Owens, but for the most part, for a man you couldn’t escape in his heyday, Yoakam’s been MIA.

His newly released album 3 Pears neatly connects a path of trajectory Yoakam’s career. The road he’s been traveling since the early 80’s L.A. cow-punk scene where he was perfected his craft in clubs like Club Lingerie and The Roxy opening for local bands like The Blasters and Los Lobos. Almost as soon as he set foot on SoCal soil Yoakam became part actor – taking the cowboys imagery from 60s films like Paul Newman’s Hud and Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, and part honk-tonk disciple – taking his sound from the 50s Bakersfield sound of Merle Haggard and his mentor Buck Owens. Yoakam always appeared assured and to be a man embodying s place he had planned to be all along.

3 Pears has all the trademarks you’d expect of a Yoakam work. Skillful performances within taught arrangements The hillbilly vocals topped-off with a hiccup finish. The swagger that won him legions of fans. All here without a skip or a a thought to ape modern trends. Even where on paper you’d think he might be a buckling toward commercial pressures -  like inviting Kid Rock to co-write the album opener Take Hold of My Hand – with it’s brash bass moving toward a spirited sock-hop snap resulting in no discernible trace of Rock’s Southern /classic rock regurgitation influence at all.

Waterfall is a lingeringly paced cut skirting between whimsey and DaDa showing Yoakam’s not afraid to throw out the classic handbook of country music themes. The song achieves a level of absurd imagery that would make Roger Miller smile. ” If I had a waterfall, It might not make no sense at all, But that won’t matter much to you and me.’

Yoakam shows his Guitars, Cadillacs Etc. Etc. roots with Joe Maphis’ honky-tonk take on the Honky-Tonk angel theme  Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, which was also extensively covered by The Flying Burrito Brothers. Yoakam’s Trying moves into sweet Memphis soul territory with a “Dock of the Bay” vibe and a lovely Wurlitzer accompaniment.

Indy rocker Beck co-produces two tracks; the bittersweet Missing Heart is great rendition of a classic pedal steel weeper but Mr Hanson’s pastiche sensibilities are most apparent on A Heart Like Mine with it’s guitar lick echoing I’m a Believer from one of Yoakam’s stylistic influences, the Monkees.  ” The slow rocking Rock It All Away cribs a bit close the melody of The Who’s  Baba O’Riley for me to just enjoy the song on it’s own merits.

Yoakam is nothing if not the American ideal of the self-made man and 3 Pears proves that  we are all, ultimately,  a product of his influences. Yaokam has taken those influences and composed one of the best albums of his career.

Choice cuts – Dim Lights, Thick Smoke , Wateerfall , Trying

Official Site | Buy


The Devil Makes Three Readies “Do Right Wrong.”

  • Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will hold its quarterly series, Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Session Players on Saturday, Feb. 21, with a salute to drummer Jerry Carrigan. Among his many sessions, Carrigan played drums on Jerry Reed’s “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” and Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie.” Carrigan also played on sessions with Johnny Cash, John Denver, George Jones, Don McLean, Dolly Parton, Johnny Paycheck, Elvis Presley, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette and many more.
  • Speaking of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; country music legend Ray Price will visit the Museum on Saturday, March 7, to share memories of his close friend and mentor, Hank Williams. The intimate interview, which is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy, will begin at 1:30 p.m. also in the Museum’s Ford Theater.
  • The 9413 celebrates the greatness that was Lecil Travis “Boxcar Willie” Martin as part of their excellent and enlightening  Forgotten Artists series.
  • HearYa – Indie Music Blog posts that San Francisco roots trio The Devil Makes Three will release Do Right Wrong on May 5th via Milan Records.

The Devil Makes Three – Old Number 7


JD Wilkes Side Project – The Dirt Daubers

Jessica Cassyle Carr at holds a Q&A with Denver based former 16 Horsepower frontman and current Gothic Americana singer/songwriter David Eugene (aka Wovenhand.)

The Arizona Daily Star gives us a peak at the A-list artist packed tribute album for the Hacienda Brothers leader Chris Gaffney. Joe Ely, Los Lobos, Dave Alvin, Tom Russell, James McMurtry, Robbie Fulks, John Doe, Dave Gonzales and members Calexico and more  appear. The Hacienda Brothers‘ final album, “Arizona Motel,” came out last June, two months after Gaffney’s death.

I’m a huge fan of the Psychobilly/Gothic sideshow that is Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers so I was pleased that LeighAbsinthia over at the Hank III cussin’ board brought to my attention JD Wilkes roots music side project, along with his wife Layne Hendrickson. Ladies and gentleman I bring you The Dirt Daubers.

The Dirt Daubers – “Sugar Baby”


Steve Earle Working on Townes Van Zandt Covers Release

  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced that rockabilly angel Wanda Jackson will be  inducted as the only 2009 recipient in the Early Influence Category. On April 4, 2009, the Induction Ceremony will take place in Cleveland for the first time since 1997. The 2009 Induction Ceremony will be broadcast live on Fuse TV.
  • Speaking of Steve Earle, the country-rock legend has also been featured in the latest Rolling Stone magazine. Earle discuses his upcoming album covering his musical mentor and Texas music lend Townes Van Zandt that he’s currently recording in New York City and Nashville (where he says the selection of musicaians is much better.)  The album will feature Rage Aagainst The Machine guitar-master Tom Morello on the Van Zandt song Lungs.
  • The first single from Neko Case’s new album, Middle Cyclone, is “People Got A Lotta Nerve.” To promote the single, Neko and her record label, Anti-, will donate five dollars to Best Friends Animal Society for every blog that reposts the song and one dollar for every iLike user that adds the song to his/her profile. So here it is: People Got A Lotta Nerve(mp3)
  • And another death knell for the recording industry as it once was has been tolled as the Times Square Virgin Megastore announces that it will close. I bought No Depression magazine there when I was working a gig near the Square. Times, they are a’changing…

Colonel JD Wilkes in Stay Thirsty Media

Stay Thirsty Media has a great interview with the Legendary Shack Shakers front man Colonel JD Wilkes. It it the Colonel dicusses his new movie Seven Signs, and the latest LSS release “Swamp Blood.” A sample:

Do you feel like you are becoming more popular in the mainstream media?

JD: Yeah, I feel like we’re sort of maintaining. We’re sort of a staple on the scene that people can rely on. You know we never got a major label deal, so we couldn’t really coast on that momentum. We had to build our own momentum by creating the legend that’s in our name. We have to toot out own horn more. We have to work harder, tour harder, scream louder because we don’t have big bucks behind us. We just have a lot of road miles and blood and guts and sweat invested in this , that’s what drives us. That’s what makes us more authentic . That’s what gives us more credibility than some flash in the pan, you know, emo band that here today gone tomorrow . We plan to age with this thing as we go and it will morph into who knows what the next record, cause it’s a living, breathing thing, like the Constitution of the United States. It’s a living document. It’s alive!