True Detective Season Two – Top 10 Music Recommendations

True Detective

After 8 all-too-brief spellbinding and perplexingly metaphysical episodes the first season of HBO’s True Detective has finally reached its conclusion. The ending was such a hit that the millions hitting HBO GO service crashed the system for much of the show.

It’s no wonder it’s a hit.

The spirit of the show is reflected in the taunt writing of creator Nic Pizzolatto. Then there’s the stellar performances by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson as the dysfunctional Det. Rustin Spencer “Rust” Cohle and Det. Martin Eric “Marty” Hart bound together to catch a dark killer.

Another star of the series was the music selection that provided atmosphere and texture in a way that you hardly realized you were hearing songs by Wu-Tang Clan , Bob Dylan and Austin’s 13th Floor Elevators.

The soundtrack also included a great selection of Americana, country, gospel, and blues. John Lee Hooker and Slim Harpo sit aside Steve Earle , Buddy Miller , Lucinda Williams and Father John Misty.

And then there’s that stunning opening segment backed by The Handsome Family excellent performance of the T Bone Burnett-penned “Far From Any Road.” (below)

I reached out on twitter to ask folks what bands they most would like to hear on True Detective season two. Some of the choices were obvious, some surprising. All great and would fit nicely.

If Nic Pizzolatto stops by (‘sup Nic) I hope he considers some these great artists and allows them to set a tone and allow the greater exposure.

Enjoy and leave you choices in the comments.

Lincoln Durham is a consummate stage performer and brings grit, soul and blood to his craft. Perfect for end credits or a bar fight.

Elephant Revival’s warm and inviting sound could lull in a audience in just before a particularly gruesome bit of work.

The Ben Miller Band kicked my butt in Nashville and their performance has stuck with me. Bar scene or panning a rugged landscape.

Valerie June. Who am I kidding. Put Valerie June in any segment and she’ll steal the scene.

Lee Harvey Osmond is a master of atmosphere. He’d fit right into a scene needing a slow simmer. Love scene, hands down.

Lindi Ortega is as good as it gets. Her sound is a great fit for an opening credits or as a a pan of the killers quarters.

Slim Cessna’s Auto Club oozes chaos and menace. Add to something violent.

16 Horsepower sounds as old as the hills and as deep as a grave. Opening credits or main character reflective moment.

Hiss Golden Messenger’s darkness is always bolstered by a joyful reverence. Perfect for a moment of hoe or resolution.

Rachel Brooke was born to back a show like True Detective. Her sound is of the ages and has a playful darkness and perfect for a late-night rainy drive away from something unspeakable.

Watch Out! 10 Murder Ballads for Halloween

Johnny Cash - Delia's Gone

Hello ghouls and goblins! Halloween celebrations in some form has a long and rich tradition in 16th century European and Scandinavia. At roughly the same time the murder ballad evolved right along with it. Both washed up on these US shores with the pilgrims and were shaped, over time, with our own uniques cultural influences and musical styles.

Gallons of blood, and scores of lifeless bodies, have been detailed in many harrowing ditties. The genres of folk, bluegrass and country music count more death and malice
than in metal and gangster rap combined (to be fair, they have had centuries to stack up bodies.)

I bring to you this spooky season some contemporary versions and variations of the murder ballad. From the Wilburn Brothers’ version of “The Knoxville Girl,” an Appalachian murder ballad, derived from the 19th-century Irish ballad The Wexford Girl. There also modern takes like Lindi Ortega’s menacing “Murder Of Crows.”

Enjoy these dark treats and leave your favorites in the comments.

Wilburn Brothers – Knoxville Girl

Rachel Brooke – The Black Bird

Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Where’s the Devil?

Lera Lynn – Bobby, Baby

O’Death – Lowtide – Video

Stab – The Pine Box Boys

Lindi Ortega – Murder Of Crows

Porter Wagoner – Cold Hard Facts Of Life

Bobbie Gentry – Ode To Billie Joe

Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone

Video Feature: Rachel Brooke – The Black Bird

A leading voice in of an oft neglected branch of Americana , Gothic and  insurgent country, the beautiful and  talented Rachel Brooke inhabits the forlorn and high lonesome like few contemporary artists can. Brooke has a way of stylistically casting the modern world in sepia and playing with shadows, and her latest cut The Black Bird from the upcoming 3rd full-length album A Killer’s Dream  is no exception.

The animated video for “Black Bird,” directed and animated by Matt Rasch, follows our female protagonist radiates paranoia as she flees across a washed out landscape haunted, Poe-style, by a black bird that might either be temptation, guilt or both.

A Killer’s Dream will be released in time for stocking stuffing, December 4th. Brooke is backed by on the album by Florida’s fine junkyard roots-jazz band Viva Le Vox as her backing band, and featuring a duet with her long-tome accessory in murder ballads Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. The release recorded at Brooke’s brother’s Halohorn Studio in Traverse City, MI, and will be available in limited edition 100 red vinyl copies, black vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital form.

Look for Brooke this Spring at Muddy Roots Europe and check her site for more upcoming dates.

Official Site | Pre-order

Twang Nation South-By-Southwest Americana Mix

Circumstances conspired to keep me from attending the music (and tech/film) madness that is South-By-Southwest taking place March 13-18  in  my home state of Texas. In lieu of standing toe-to-toe with strangers an having beer spilled on me I will soldier on from my couch here in the Bay Area to shed light on the Americana and Roots artists tha will be sprinkled in with the indie-darling of the week bands that dominate the scene. Here’s a list of bands/musicians that I’ve collected that are playing the event. Have a listen and check them out live. Then help them out and buy a CD or t-shirt. Guitar strings and gas don’t grown on trees bud!

Twang Nation #SXSW Americana Mix on Spotify

SXSW Americana/Roots list:

Alabama Shakes

Justin Townes Earle
Anais Mitchell
Nikki Lane
Carrie Rodriguez
Hellbound Glory
Rachel Brooke
Ana Egge
Sons Of Fathers
The Trishas
Izzy Cox
Lost and Nameless Orchestra
Warren Hood and The Goods
Treetop Flyers
The Brothers Comatose
Brown Bird
Ghosts Along the Brazos
Joe Pug
Alejandro Escovedo and The Sensitive Boys
The Lumineers
Henry Wagons
Jack Wilson
Have Gun Will Travel
The White Horse
Jon Dee Graham
Shannon McNally
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Greensky Bluegrass
Guns of Navarone
Brett Detar
Owen Temple
Star & Micey
Andra Suchy
Sugar & the Hi Lows
Seth Walker
Carrie Elkin
Lydia Loveless
The Pines
East Cameron Folkcore
the Little Willies
Punch Brothers
Jonny Corndawg
the Gourds
Chuck Meadand His Grassy Knoll Boys
Fallon & The Bandits
Mickey & The Motorcars

Twang Nation Halloween Mix 2011

Ah October. When the freshly fallen snow and turned leaves fall to cover your tracks by the river bottom where you lured your dear heart with the promise of warm cider and sweet kisses. I guess she didn’t realize you knew she could not be true. This list of contemporaneity and classic murder ballads and general Southern-Gothic debauchery and misery is just the thing for carving pumpkins and ex-lovers. You can hear this at Twang Nation Halloween Mix 2011 mix on Spotify.

Got a favorite grim ditty? Post it below.


    1. Tenderloud – Shadow Red Hand
    2. Those Poor Bastards – Nightmare World
    3. The Handsome Family – The Lost Soul
    4. Reverend Glasseye – Blood O’ Lambs
    5. Nina Nastasia/Jim White – The Day I Would Bury You
    6. Jay Munly – Old Service Road
    7. Strawfoot – The Lord’s Wrath
    8. Neko Case – Things That Scare Me
    9. Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Blood on the Bluegrass
    10. The Pine Box Boys – Arkansas Killing Time
    11. Sons of Perdition – Blood In The Valley
    12. Rachel Brooke – This Painful Summer
    13. Willie Nelson – I Just Can’t Let You Say Good-Bye
    14. The Walkabouts – Lover’s Crime
    15. Those Poor Bastards – Family Graveyard
    16. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Cranston
    17. Trailer Bride – Graveyard
    18. Midnight Choir – Poisoned Veins
    19. C. Gibbs – Devil’s Water
    20. Christian Williams – You Ain’t Exempt
    21. Slackeye Slim – Judgment Day
    22. Muleskinner Jones – Come Inside, Stranger
    23. O’Death – Ghost Head
    24. Steve Von Till – A Grave Is A Grim Horse

    Scott H. Biram Breaks His Damn Leg!

    • Chris Knight has posted a MySpace bulletin that he and his band will be playing a show to benefit the 8th grade class at Slaughters Elementary in his hometown of Slaughters, Kentucky.The show will take place this Saturday, March 7, 2009 @ Webster County High- 1922 US HWY 41 A South, Dixon, KY 7:00 PM — $20.00 – For tickets call (270) 635-5519 or (270) 871-2507
    • Rachel Brooke has a posted a new demo on her MySpace page entitled City Of Shame. Brook writes that the song will most likely be on her upcoming new album.
    • Our thoughts go out to Texas’ own ‘Dirty Old One Man Band’ Scott H Biram who after his last show in Europe suffered a compound fracture in the leg he uses on the his stomp board during performance. He is currently in a French hospital after surgery to implant yet another titanium rod in his leg (where another already exists due to a run in with a Semi a few years back.) It looks like he will be put on a plane home Saturday and can then heal in the good ole USA where its home but where insurance and reasonably priced medical care aren’t available to musicians. Go help the boy out and but some of his CDs and swag!

    Neko Case to Stream Concert from Amsterdam

    • Neko Case has posted a bulletin on her MySpace page that she will be featured on for a live streamed concert from Amsterdam. The concert will be broadcast live on that website this Sunday morning, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. Eastern / 7 a.m. Pacific. According to the bulletin, “If you aren’t able to catch the live stream, keep checking back to FabChannel as they’ll be posting the entire performance for streaming next week!” Case will also be playing 2009’s  Bonnaroo Festival in in Manchester, Tennessee.
    • Rachel Brooke has been working with Mr. Lonesome Wyatt from Those Poor Bastards on a full length album called it “A Bitter Harvest”.  It has a May release date and will be available on CD and Viny.

    Until then Rachel has these tour dates coming up:
    Mar 6 2009
    Metrotimes Blowout! @ Carbon Lounge. Rachel and Junk, Switchblade Justice, Mantons, and Jason Croff Hamtramck, Michigan

    Mar 26 2009
    The Painted Lady, with Junk and Switchblade Justice Hamtramck, Michigan

    Mar 27 2009
    CS3 (Calhoun St.) with the Sour Mash Kats, the B-Sharps, and Paul Kuhlhorst Ft. Wayne, Indiana

    Mar 28 2009
    Shady Nook with Blue Collar Bastards Saybrook, Illinois

    Mar 29 2009
    TBA Kirksville, Missouri

    Mar 31 2009
    Players 5th Street Pub and Jon Jackson, TBA Quincy, Illinois

    Apr 1 2009
    Scagnoli’s Cajun and BBQ Lafayette, Indiana

    Apr 3 2009
    Annabell’s with the Misery Jackals! Akron, Ohio

    Apr 4 2009
    Molly Malone’s with The Misery Jackals, Wonky Tonk, Frontier Folk Nebraska Cincinnati, Ohio

    Apr 5 2009
    FooBar with the Misery Jackals and Dave Smith and the Country Rebels Nashville, Tennessee

    Rachel Brooke and Lonesome Wyatt to Release A Bitter Harvest

    • According to a post on her MySpace page Rachel Brooke will be collaborating with  Lonesome Wyatt from Those Lonely Bastards. The release is entitled A Bitter Harvest, and will be released around May, and will be available on CD and vinyl.
    • Daytrotter has three new Joe Pug cuts; Bury Me Far From My Uniform, Unsophisticated Heart, The Door Was Always Open.  Seriously,  Joe’s Pub tonight!
    • Washington Post staff writer J. Freedom du Lac reviews Willie and the Wheel. A new collaberation by Willie Nelson and Western swing preservationists Asleep at the Wheel, and he like what he hears.
    • Alejandro Escovedo’s Real Animal comes out the big winner in No Depression’s Readers Poll.

    It Burns When I Pee Episode 18 – Twang Aint Just A Guy Thang

    You like girls? You like Country Music? Well sure you do…hell you got a pulse don’t you?!

    The always incorrigible Blake Clayton at the REAL country podcast “It Burns When I Pee” features Episode 18 – “Twang Aint Just A Guy Thang” and features some talented (and beautiful) ladies that are out there putting their own THANG in TWANG.

    Rachel Brooke is the featured interview. She’s got an amazing voice and a style all her own. There is also featured music from Star Anna, Elizabeth Cook, Carmen Lee, and Little Lisa Dixie.

    It wouldn’t be an episode of IBWIP without another great, morally questionable comedy skit. Because of the state of our litigious culture they can’t mention the title of the skit, but it doesn’t stop the brilliant legal minds at IBWIP from doing it anyway.

    There is a great giveaway featuring a Rachel Brooke Giveaway Pack and the cast talks about it’s up coming road trip to Cincinnati, OH. for the Metal Farm Magazine Release Party.

    Oh and by the way, the official “It Burns When I Pee” web site is up and running (still looking for those Norma Jean nudie pics)…the Net will never be the same! Go show Blake some love and get his podcast and buy a damn shirt or two.