Listen Up – Randy Travis – “Where That Came From” (video)

At this point in country music history Randy Travis has been cast along with some of the greatest voices in the genre. Even now, as this track shows, Travis’ voice can still melt butter on a January morning. In 2013 Travis experienced a stroke in that left him unable to speak or move without assistance. He spent over 2 years in daily therapy to regain the abilities. As this song, first song in a decade, proves the man is back in fine form.

“You’ll hear much more about the special team of folks who came together to help make this magical moment in my career possible in the coming week.In the meantime, just know that when it comes to singing songs for you, there’s always more where that came from.” Travis posted on his Instagram.

The song is a bittersweet recollection of a love that has now gone, delivered in Travis’ signature baritone.

There appears to be some hoopla via AI filling in for much of Travis’ vocal issues. But not from me. As I type this on my laptop, who am I to point a finger and judge a legend. It sounds good and that’s enough for me.

Pokey LaFarge To Release New Album ‘Rock Bottom Rhapsody’ This Spring

Rejoice neo-trqd fans, Pokey LaFarge will release eighth studio LP ‘Rock Bottom Rhapsody’ on April 10th of this year. The 13-song set is his New West Records debut and was produced by Chris Seefried (Fitz and the Tantrums).

The album was recorded at Reliable Recorders on Chicago’s Northwest Side during the polar vortex of 2019 and features the guitarist Joel Paterson, keyboardist Scott Ligon, upright/electric bassist Jimmy Sutton, and drummer Alex Hall. ‘Rock Bottom Rhapsody’ is LaFarge’s first album in over three years and follows 2017’s ‘Manic Revelations.’

The first cut released is the radio unfriendly “Fuck Me Up” which you can hear in the surreal video directed by Keene McRae and Brandon Bernath. (below)

The song’s rollicking saloon-house piano and Dixieland tempo contrast with the darkly amusing imagery of LaFarge participating in and around his own funeral procession.

“The writer and directors and I decided to take a surrealist, absurdist point of view to the video for ‘Fuck Me Up,’” LaFarge says. “We rented a ghost town in the Mojave desert of California — a timeless, placeless location — to present past and present forms of ‘Me,’ as well as outside forces, clashing for control.” LaFarge says.

“This song was a prophetic vision of the self-destruction yet to come, instead of what I now know that I need — peace!” LaFarge says. “I imagined the music to be what I thought it would be like to write with Willie Dixon, perhaps in the Sixties.”

Preorder ‘Rock Bottom Rhapsody’

Rock Bottom Rhapsody track list:
1. “Rock Bottom Rhapsody”
2. “End of My Rope”
3. “Fuck Me Up”
4. “Bluebird”
5. “Rock Bottom Reprise”
6. “Lucky Sometimes”
7. “Carry On”
8. “Just the Same”
9. “Fallen Angel”
10. “Storm-A-Comin’”
11. “Ain’t Comin’ Home”
12. “Lost In The Crowd”
13. “Rock Bottom Finale”

Pokey LaFarge tour dates:
April 24 — Rotterdam, Netherlands @ Maasilo
April 25 — Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Paradiso
April 26 — Berlin, Germany @ Roadrunners Paradise
April 29 — Paris, France @ La Maroquinerie
April 30 — Antwerp, Belgium @ De Roma
May 1 — Lessines, Belgium @ Roots & Roses Festival
May 2 — London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
May 8 — Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
May 9 — Mt. Airy, NC @ The Earle
May 10 — Charleston, WV @ NPR’s Mountain Stage
May 13 — Lexington, KY @ The Burl
May 15 — St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
May 16 — St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
May 17 — Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley
June 2 — Maquoqueta, IA @ Codfish Hollow
June 3 — Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
June 4 —Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
June 5 — Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
June 6 — Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi
June 9 — Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
June 10 — Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird
June 11 — Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
June 12 — Annapolis, MD @ Rams Head Live
June 13 — Jersey City, NJ @ White Eagle Hall
June 16 — Fairfield, CT @ The Warehouse
June 17 — New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
June 18 — Boston, MA @ Sinclair
June 19 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
June 20 — Albany, NY @ The Egg
June 23 — Rockport, MA @ Shalin Liu
June 24 — Portsmouth, NH @ Prescott Park
June 26 — Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
June 27 — Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern

Watch Out! Kelsey Waldon – “Sunday’s Children”

Kelsey Waldon

Kelsey Waldon has released a lyric video for “Sunday’s Children,” he second single from her upcoming Oh Boy! Records release “White Noise/White Lines.”

The song is a Southern-fried soul-song urging awareness, unity, and understanding and to accept each other’s differences and look for “universal truth.”

It’s a cool song and Waldon pulls it off without beating the listener over the head with an overt partisan sermon. That’s a rare thing in these times.

The first single from the album, “Anyhow,” was released in early July.

Pre-order “White Noise/White Lines.”

Watch Out! The Blood Moon Howlers – “Drunk N’ Cold” [VIDEO PREMIERE]

The Blood Moon Howlers - Drunk N' Cold

If you like your music greasy then, folks, do we have a treat for you!

L.A.’s The Blood Moon Howlers’ newest single “Drunk N’ Cold,” slithers to life with grinding electric guitar and smokey saxophone (how many roots music dare to feature saxophone?!) Guitarist/vocalist Matt Wayne then growls, with harmony provided by bassist JuJu, this ode to swamp water and booze-drenched love would slot perfectly as a track from a particularly menacing David Lynch scene.

Of the song the band says “It’s the first song we wrote for the LP and it really set the whole writing process for the LP into motion. This is a song written about stories Matt has of hangin’ out with his friends partying outside in the cold when they were younger and there was no other place to go. Although people have interpreted it other ways which is fun to hear.”

“Drunk N’ Cold” is from the upcoming full-length album, “Mad Man’s Ruse, out April 6th.

Official Site:

Watch Out! Hayes Carll – Times Like These

Hayes Carll - Times Like These

It seems these days people are going out of their way to find reasons to divide themselves. Like somehow looking for the common humanity in your neighbor that binds us together is out of style, and choosing identity can only happen in opposition against…well, anything! is the new rule.

Chips on the shoulder are all the rage (oftentimes with actual rage.)

Hayes Carll has the tonic for what ails our wounded soul! His new album ‘What It Is’ is pure Carll – that is heart, wit, a wry smile and brimming with hospitality.

The video starts with Carll laying on a longneck littered dance floor as he’s helped to his feet by a random two-stepper. As an excellent study on contrast Carll wonders the bar singing about division and strife as the camera cuts to joyful couples dancing to the fiddle-fueled boogie blissfully oblivious to the message.

Carll is both onstage and in the crowd trading lyrical duties with various bar patrons as they embody the simple beauty of a Saturday night distraction away from work, bills, life.

In this Age of Outrage, we need a reminder that things, and people, are generally good as long as we take the time away from our grievance fetish to celebrate that fact. ‘Times Like These’ brings perspective and brings us together.

And reminds us to dance.

Buy ‘What It Is’ here.

Let’s all sing along…

In times like these everyone could use a hand
Instead, we stand around losing ground
Fighting for the promised land
It’s so hard to tell if this is heaven or hell
And I could never measure by degrees
But it’s sure gettin’ warm ’round here in times like these
In times like these do I really need a billionaire
Just takin’ all my time tryin’ to tell me I was treated unfair?
Well then I got to pay, it’s the home of the brave
Gets divided into them and the weak
Oh I find I’m a-losing my mind in times like these

Yeah they come and they go
They’re in and then out
Every day I’m getting better at losing something I haven’t got
I just wanna do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor
While I keep a little hope for my dreams
But it’s sure getting hard, brother, in times like these

In times like these I wish someone was on my side
Instead of bringing it together we’re just widening the great divide
I hope and I pray at the end of the day
I can somehow get my troubles to ease
But I gotta say, it’s not looking good, not in times like these

Yeah they come and they go
They’re cold then they’re hot
I just try to keep the world from turning me to something I’m not
I’m gonna try to run until the whole thing’s done
And I just hope I don’t end up on my knees
But it’s sure getting hard to stand up in times like these

I just wanna do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor
While I’m keeping all my joie de vivre
But it’s sure getting hard, brother, in times like these
I could use just a little bit of help in times like these

Video Premiere – Grain Thief – “Colorado Freeze”

Today Twang Nation is proud to exclusively premiere the video for Grain Thief’s “Colorado Freeze” from their full-length debut “Stardust Lodge.” (out now – order below) The song is perfect road song and the video fitfully follows the band as they perform on their tour bus on the way to visit a Colorado amusement park. The VHS camcorder gives the whole thing a nice washed-out grainy aesthetic.

Grain Thief is a 5-piece americana string band from Boston, MA. The group comprises Patrick Mulroy (guitar, vocals), Zach Meyer (mandolin, vocals), Michael Harmon (bass, vocals), Tom Farrell (lead guitar), and Alex Barstow (fiddle).

Prior to the formation of the band, Grain Thief was used as a moniker for Mulroy’s solo project from 2011-2014. Mulroy toured the East Coast sporadically after recording two EPs and moving back to Boston from Washington, DC where he had worked in a Korean Restaurant and played bass in a heavy metal jam band called Thundertyts.

In Boston, he continued to use the name Grain Thief and brought in a revolving group of drummers, percussionists, guitarists, and bass players. Rhode Island born Tom Farrell joined the coalition early on as a lead guitar player–he and Mulroy met in a dark basement in Brighton somewhere around 2008. For a time, the band featured 2 drummers, with Farrell on bass allowing Mulroy to play his newly purchased blonde telecaster.

After much prodding, saxophonist, Zach Meyer reluctantly joined the band on mandolin. The two had met through a mutual friend in the Cambridge competitive beer-drinking scene and vaguely knew that the other could play an instrument. However, this quartet (Mulroy, Meyer, Farrell, and South Shore Joe Angellis on drums) would not last. Dissatisfied with the project’s direction, Mulroy dissolved it.

The new Grain Thief reformed almost immediately at Meyer’s apartment in Lower Allston, where the 3 former members (Mulroy, Meyer, and Farrell) worked on acoustic arrangements of some new and old songs to prepare for a one-off show in a converted Brooklyn warehouse.

Meyer’s then roommate was future fiddle-player Alex Barstow. Barstow was trained as a classical violist, but was soon dragged into jamming on old time tunes by Meyer who grew up in the old-time fiddle community in Washington state. Barstow never made it to that show in Brooklyn, but he did wind up at the band’s next rehearsal and first two shows at the Rosebud Diner in Davis Square.

Meanwhile, acquaintance of the band and recording engineer Mike Harmon was building a studio out by Wachusett Mountain in Central Massachusetts. Mulroy, a carpenter, seeing the opportunity to score some free recording time for his fledgling band, spent countless hours with Mike building out the studio. However, the free recording time would never come to pass, as Mike would soon join the band. With Mike’s bass, third vocal harmony, and Trident series 65 console, the band was now complete. Their union was solidified after Mulroy accidentally dropped Harmon’s 1939 Kay Bass down the stairs, snapping the headstock clean off, resulting in a costly repair and lifelong friendship.

Their debut EP Animal was recorded and released in November 2015. The record showcases the band’s roots in folk, bluegrass, and old time music. In 2017, the band began a residency at the Burren pub in Somerville and continues to entertain the Wednesday crowds to this day. From their perch in Massachusetts, the band has toured heavily in New England and made forays in the West, South, and East Coast.

The recording of Animal’s follow up Stardust Lodge began in April 2016 and finished a year and a half later. Mulroy’s lyrical approach to the album is met equally with songs of loss and regret, and the struggles of the everyday working man with a satirical twist. The arrangements and instrumentation represent a departure from Animal’s bleak simplicity with the band showing a bit more leg. With a new record out and shows booked throughout the country, the band has a long road ahead to cruise.

Reflecting on the inspiration behind the song, Mulroy has this to say:

“The song was co-written by myself (Patrick Mulroy) and a good friend, Connor McGinnis, a Nashville songwriter, formerly of the Zuni Mountain Boys, who is currently working on a new record down there.

He started the song, and I finished it is the short answer. It’s sourced from both of our memories of old flames and cold mornings. It deals with looking back on mistakes or memories from far into the future after the dust has settled.”

The song is the first single off of our record Stardust Lodge, which came out on August 24th.

In preparation for the release, the band did a 7 date tour of Colorado, hitting all four corners. They filmed the video on the road, and at various stops along the way– our bass player Mike handled the editing duties.

Buy “Stardust Lodge” here.

Official Site:


Listen Up! Steve Earle – “So You Wanne Be An Outlaw”

Being a Steve Earle fan can be a rough road. In the beginning there was no denying the neo-trad ferocity of 1986’s ‘Guitar Town.’ Standing near traditional frameworks while pushing the boundaries continued in spite of mega-success, an epic downfall, years of addiction. Sonic experimentation songs that took a more overt politically left turn and a move to New York City had the Texas hillbilly hellraiser heading more toward Woody Guthrie/Bob Dylan territory that resulted much of Earles spotty 2000-era releases.

Sure there have uneven , head-scratching, moan inducing patches in his work. But when you have as long a body of work, have as restless a soul, and a passionate determination to use your art as a soapbox as Earle has been you’re bound to hit a stinker now and again.

But recently Earle appears to have rediscovered his musical muse (the inspirational kind, he’s proved to be unlucky with the female human kind.) Starting with a heartfelt ode to his brilliant if troubled mentor, 2009’s “Townes,” to his latest return to the majors, “So You Wanne Be An Outlaw” Earle appears to have remembered that he shines brightest when he’s less Woody and more Eddie Cochran. 

The title track is a message to the next generation of troubadours. A tele-twang sits atop a classic 4/4 beat as Earle lays out a story of music and mythology he’s personally living in. Like Waylon’s “Don’t You Think This outlaw Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand” Earle exposes the bark underbelly of the romantic outlaw myth. The isolation of life on the road, broken relationshipsresulting in hard-learned wariness. Willie Nelson makes an appearance on the cut delivering original outlaw gravitas. As a pioneer that blazed the trail for Earle both men use the occasion to recount the landscape like a sonic Lewis and Clark warning other travelers sure to throw caution out the touring van window that these are trial and troubles ahead.
Earle is at his best when he’s peeling back his own story., this is never more true than “This Is How It Ends, ” a mid-tempo recount of the dissolution of a marriage. Earle recruits fellow divorcée , and accidental Earle plagiarist, Miranda Lambert as a duet partner. The bittersweet lyrics and the notable sadness left in the wake of each other’s absent partners makes the song that much more poignant.

‘Fixin’ To Die” is a sonic deluge of indedility, murder and resignation to ones demons with a melody snatched from “When The Levee Breaks” (the Led Zep bombast crunch version.) “Goodbye Michelangelo” is an elegant acoustic elegy to the legendary singer-songwriter, and early mentor of Earle’s, Guy Clark. The outlaw mojo runs even deeper on the deluxe version of “So You Wanna…” featuring a rousing boot-stomping version of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Ain’t No God In Mexico” which Waylon Jennings popularized as well as Earle’s versions of Willie Nelson’s “Sister’s Coming Home/Down At The Corner Beer Joint” and “The Local Memory.” The deluxe version is fittingly bookended by Waylon’s wryly defiant “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?”

This is the best Steve Earle album in over a decade, but he’s apparently not content to enjoy the piling accolades and resulting success. He also appears to want to settle scores and raise dust. This has included complimenting up-and-coming talent (yay!) while then trashing two other artists (granted one of the targets is Hayes Carll, who did end up with Allison Moore- Earle’s wife #6)

The question that comes to mind is why?

Earle has an undeniable musical legacy and has help shape an entire genre.He traveled the road blazed, stylistically and tactically, by the likes of Willie and Waylon that shook the establishment and drew an audience hungry for something real. Even his songs covered and receiving significant radio play by more mainstream artists, like Travis Tritt, still maintained a dignity and humanity.

Now that he’s found his way back to a sort of return to form, it might be wiser to focus on the music and enjoy his legacy with a bit more grace and dignity asefitting an elder statesman. 

But dignity and grace didn’t get Earle here he is. It was rebellion to the bone.

Some have suggested that Earle is crassly cashing in at a time that the young guns – Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Margo Price, Nikki Lane – are hitting their popular stride. I call bullshit. If anyone has a right to look back to move forward it’s Earle and his stellar body of work.

I’ll wager that Earle, in true Texan onryness, could give a damn what anyone expects of him. His next album could be a collaboration with a rapper or a Tejano band if that’s where his muse leads him. Like many artists with an ear to thier own drumbeat you must take the occasional codgy comment with brilliance that accompanies it.



Watch Out! Robert Ellis – “How I Love You” [VIDEO]

Robert Ellis - "How I Love You"

Texas folk/country singer travels the big lonely in his new video “How I Love You.”

The track is from Ellis’ forthcoming self-titled LP, drums shuffle over a swelling piano with condensed electric guitar squeezing out sadness that fills the abandoned city Ellis traverses with dread and glimpses of hope embodied by a woman from the past? The future?

Ellis tells Consequence Of Sound – “Cullen (Kelly – the video’s diector) came to me with the concept of shooting a video in a major metropolitan area and making it feel completely empty,” Ellis explains to Consequence of Sound. “I think the city is the third character in this video. The idea is that falling in love has the power to bring a whole world into existence that wasn’t there before.”

“How I Love You” was penned by Delta Spirit frontman, Matthew Logan Vasquez anad can be found on Robert Ellis’ eponymous new release, out June 3rd via New West Records. Pre-order here.

Watch Out! Willie Nelson – “Someone to Watch Over Me” [VIDEO]

Willie Nelson - Someone to Watch Over Me

On this beautifully filmed black-and-white video Willie Nelson revisits the classic “Someone to Watch Over Me,” the Gershwin standard he first recorded on the 1978 blockbuster album of pop standards ‘Stardust.’ the album that evolved Willie from country singer to American balladeer.

This version is from Willie Nelson’s upcoming ‘Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin.’ Produced by Willie’s friend and musical collaborator Buddy Cannon along with co-producer Matt Rollings, featuring Matt Rollings (piano, B-3 organ, Wurlitzer), Jay Bellerose (drums), David Piltch (bass), Dean Parks (electric guitar, acoustic guitar), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Kevin Smith (bass), Bobbie Nelson (B-3 organ, piano), Mickey Raphael (harmonica) and Willie Nelson (Trigger).

Pre-order ‘Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin’ here.

Watch Out! Dawn Landes and Piers Faccini – “Book Of Dreams” [VIDEO]

Dawn Landes And Piers Faccini

A sun-stippled leafy local contrasted against an urban backdrop is the setting for American Dawn Landes and the British Piers Faccini’s “Book Of Dreams” video. The song is torn from the Nick Drake handbook of forlorn beauty, with their guitars and voices swaying and dipping together in this recounting of passing years and shedding personas.

The two songwriters met in 2013 when they recorded a Lead Belly song for Faccini’s cover project, ‘Songs I Love.’ Later that year, Piers invited Dawn to France to perform in a 12th Century Romanesque Chapel in the remote Cevennes region of the south of France near Piers’ home and studio. Inspired by their first experience of performing together, they met up a few months later to write and record the intimate suite of songs that would become the EP, Desert Songs.

“Book Of Dreams” can be found on their new EP. From the presser covering that recording: “The bare autumnal skies and rugged mountainous landscapes provided the perfect backdrop for their collaboration. In between sessions, they walked the footpaths in the hills around the studio, swapping tales of the mystics and seekers that inspired the stories and lyrics in ‘Desert Songs.’ Where Dawn would quote the Desert Fathers or Thomas Merton, Piers would would cite Sufi poets Rumi and Hafez or the poems of St John of the Cross. Dawn and Piers wove the arrangements together using the rich collection of instruments in Piers’s studio, a Malian Kora, a 1930’s National resonator guitar, West African percussion and an Indian dulcimer and tampura. Back in her Brooklyn studio a month later, Dawn recorded drum parts with Ray Rizzo. ‘Desert Songs’ was then mixed in NYC by Pat Dillet.”

About the video’s location Landes says “Piers and I were playing a gig together in London and discovered this bandstand nearby. Turns out it’s built on the rubble of an old rookery called Friar’s Mount. That seemed to fit the themes of our EP Desert Songs, inspired by mystics and seekers.

Dawn Landes is from the Louisville, Kentucky area but has called Brooklyn, New York home for years. As a solo artist she has released five full-length albums and two EPs. She has toured throughout the US, Europe and around the world, and shared the stage with Ray Lamontagne, Feist, Andrew Bird, Suzanne Vega and others.

Faccini has collaborated over the years with many musicians and singers including Rokia Traore, Busi Mhlongo, Ben Harper, Ballake Sissoko, Vincent Segal, Camille, Francesca Beard, Ibrahim Maalouf and others. Piers Faccini’s most recent album Songs of Time Lost was in NPR’s top 10 world music albums of the year as well as in Songlines UK’s 10 best albums of 2014.

‘Desert Songs’ is out now in digital only format on Six Degrees Records.