Twang Nation Podcast Episode 17 – Amy Black, Jimbo Mathus , Jason Eady and Lucinda Williams

Twang Nation Podcast

Step right up ladies and gents. What you have before you is the latest Twang Nation podcast with the latest and best of Americana and roots cuts.

It’s also the last podcast of 2013 and the last to be done exclusively in San Francisco. Number 18 will be a cross-country effort.

This episode has some gems from the ending year by an unlikely and excellent collaboration of Norah Jones and Billy Joe Armstrong doing Everly Brothers covers. There is also new cuts from Doug Balmain and Ocean Carolina.

There are also some choice cuts from upcoming releases by Jason Eady, Jimbo Mathus and a new live cut from the upcoming reissue of Lucinda Williams’ self-titled 1988 album.

I hope you like this episode of the Twang Nation Podcast. if you do tell a friend and let me know here at my site, Google+, Twitter or my Facebook.

Happy holidays and thanks to all of you for supporting great music! Remember band shirts and show tickets to shows make great gifts.

Dale Watson – A Real Country Song

1. Norah Jones and Billie Joe Armstrong – Song: “Long Time Gone ” – album: “Foreverly” Out now on Reprise Records
2. Doug Balmain – Song: “I’ll Lay Down in the Rain ” – album: “Troubled Mind” Out now Released Independently
3. Amy Black – Song: “Layin It Down ” – album: “This Is Home” Out now Released Independently
4. Grace & Tony – Song: “Layin It Down ” – album: “November ” Out now via Rock Ridge Music
5. Jason Eady – Song: “OK Whiskey” – album: ‘Daylight And Dark’ Out Jan 21
6. Lori McKenna – Song: “Take Me With You When You Go” – album: Massachusetts on 1-2-3-4-go records – out now
7. Ocean Carolina – Song: “Women and Wine” – album: “All The Way Home” Old Hand Records 1/14/14
8. Star Anna – Song: “Mean Kind of Love ” – album: “Go To Hell” Spark & Shine out now
9. Jimbo Mathus – Song: “Hawkeye Jordan” – album: “Dark Night of the Soul” Fat Possum Records out February 15.
10. Lucinda Williams – Song: “Something About What Happens When We Talk (Live at KCRW) ” – album: “Lucinda Williams,” to be released on January 14

Watch Out! Star Anna – “For Anyone” [Spark & Shine Records]

Star Anna - "For Anyone"

Seattle-based Star Anna’s fourth record, “Go To Hell,” was made without her band The Laughing Dogs. If the new single”For Anyone” is indicative of the rest of the record it’s a good move. This is bone deep music. the kind that sticks to your soul.

“For Anyone,” (video below) sounds like a song PJ Harvey would write is she’d been reared on Patsy Cline. It brandishes a wicked junk-yard stomp and some of the best singing and lyrics of Annas’ career. And the video makes remembrances of past love kind of like a night-sweats virus.

“For Anyone” can be found on Star Anna’s upcoming Go To Hell (Spark & Shine Records) It’s by co-produced Ty Bailie (keyboards/organ/piano) and features Julian McDonough (drums), Jacques Willis (vibraphones), Will Moore (bass), and Jeff Fielder (guitars)


“Go To Hell” track list:

1. For Anyone
2. Go To Hell
3. Electric Lights
4. Let Me Be
5. Mean Kind of Love
6. Younger Than
7. Power of My Love
8. Everything You Know
9. Come On Up To The House
10. Smoke Signals

Americana Music Conference & Festival Picks

Below you’ll find my picks for the 2012 Americana Music Conference showcases. This was one of the the toughest  years to winnow down the performances I’m going to attend. And I still did a poor job! There is too many great acts playing at the same time. Such an embarrassment of riches!

But there is hope! Unlike the misery of traversing the stages at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass where you’re lucky to catch parts of shows at more than one stage, and or even to make it alive in some cases, the Americana Festival has buses to get us to the venues.

Of course I can’t make all the shows unless am able top perfect that time bending and beer making contraption I’ve been working on (SOON!) but you van catch any of these performances and not go wrong.








Tuesday, September 11

The 5 Spot
$2 TUESDAYS /Twang Nation Social Club -  Hosted by Derek Hoke : feat.Melody WalkerAlanna ,
Royale Joshua Black Wilkins, Marsha & The Martians (Angel Snow & Robby Hecht) Late Night with Los Colones9pm
$2 cover/$2 Yazoo pints #UnofficialAMA

Mercy Lounge
Somebody’s Darling w/ Buffalo Clover – The High Watt #UnofficialAMA
The Billy Block Show featuring Yo Ma Ma, Erica Nicole, Chelle Rose, Allie Farris, Caroline Rose and The Cumberland Collective  #UnofficialAMA

Two Old Hippies 401 12th Ave. South
The Alternate Root Presents a Pre-AMA Triple-Play of Music with Amelia White, Julie Christensen and Tommy  Womack & The Rush To Judgment #UnofficialAMA
Showtime: 6:00-8:00 pm
No Cover ~ Special Treats

Wednesday, September 12

Puckett’sGrocery, 5th & Church

5pm & 7pm Allen Thompson Band CD Release Party,
Dinner & show before the AMA Awards at 5 . Later show 7 #UnofficialAMA

The Basement
11:00 Blue Mountain
12:00 Shovels and Rope

The Station Inn
11:30 Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson

The Rutledge
10:00 Gretchen Peters
12:00 Delta Rae

Mercy Lounge
10:00 Corb Lund
11:00 This Wheel’s On Fire: A Tribute to Levon Helm

The High Watt
10:30 Whitehorse

Cannery Ballroom
10:00 Star Anna
Thursday, September 13

The Basement
8:00 Lydia Loveless
9:00 Angel Snow
10:00 Sons of Fathers
11:00 The Deep Dark Woods
12:00 Black Lillies

The Station Inn
10:00 Mary Gauthier
11:00 Richard Thompson

Mercy Lounge
8:00 Turnpike Troubadours
9:00 Billy Joe Shaver
10:00 Steve Forbert
11:00 John Fullbright
12:00 Jason Boland & The Stragglers

The High Watt
10:30 Eilen Jewell
11:30 Julie Lee
Cannery Ballroom
8:00 Blue Highway
9:00 Sara Watkins
10:00 Paul Thorn
11:00 Punch Brothers (with a Sara Watkins cameo?)

Friday, September 14

Sheraton Hotel lobby – 623 Union St.
Wanda Jackson

Amy Black,  Susan Cattaneo, Rose Cousins and Rod Picott
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

The Basement
9:00 American Aquarium
11:00 Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys

The Station Inn
8:00 Red June
9:00 Della Mae
10:00 McCrary Sisters
11:00 Steep Canyon Rangers
12:00 Humming House

The Rutledge
8:00 Mandolin Orange
9:00 Mindy Smith
11:00 Belle Starr

Mercy Lounge
8:00 Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition
9:00 Holy Ghost Tent Revival
10:00 Dylan LeBlanc
11:00 Darrell Scott
12:00 Reckless Kelly

The High Watt
9:30 Two Gallants

Cannery Ballroom
9:00  Amanda Shires
10:00 Robert Ellis
11:00 John Hiatt

Saturday, September 15

The Basement
9:00 Chastity Brown
11:00 The Pines
12:00 Chris Scruggs

The Station Inn
8:00 Brennen Leigh
9:00 Phoebe Hunt
10:00 Marvin Etzioni
11:00 Rodney Crowell

The Rutledge
8:00 Felicity Urquhart
9:00 The Wood Brothers
10:00 Kevin Gordon
12:00 The Trishas

Mercy Lounge
8:00 Lera Lynn
9:00 honeyhoney
10:00 Tift Merritt
11:00 Buddy Miller & Lee Ann Womack

The High Watt
8:00 Jill Andrews
9:00 Derek Hoke

MUSIC REVIEW – Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs – The Only Thing That Matters (self-released)

Remember that girl you met at the bowling alley? The one that chews gum, drinks several pitchers of beer, wears painted on jeans and tells you about French philosophy then winks at you as she gets strike after strike? She later on she goes and breaks your heart but you don’t care, you’re just glade to have been there to enjoy the time you had with her. No? Well Star Anna reminds me of that girl.

Well maybe not Star Anna personally but her music. It’s equal parts trashy Americana-laced rock mixed with sophisticated storytelling and charm that raises Anna and her  band, The Laughing Dogs, to the a gritty level of greatness. It’s a gazing at the starts from the gutter kind of thing…

All the above qualities are on display in the opener Sleep My Darling. A woman sings to her lover to leave the world behind and to take refuge in her arms. The gentle solo guitar gives way to full band and then all comes head before calm returns and is then is again ditched. With this aural bi-polarism I’m left wondering if the woman’s arms are a sanctuary or a prison, but the song is so good you know you’re going to stay either way.

Through the Winter slinks along with vibrant 70’s Byrds/Stones swagger. Anna’s delivery of personal lyrics make her at once confessional and defiant, vulnerable and brave. Hawks on a Pole booms like a Lone Justice or Melissa Etheridge rollicking rocker and Justin Davis’ guitar especially cooks here. Where I Come From is a lovely, yearning number that takes us back to a more honky-tonk feel that defined much of Anna’s first CD Crooked Path.

In this world of many drinking songs you can now add as one of the best Spinning My Wheels which features the great line “I’m just sitting here spinning my wheels, but I’m not drunk enough to feel like I’m free” Though more rocking like the great Country drinking songs it’s one part pining and three parts I don’t give a shit. Burn is a Pretenders style pop-punk gem, For Now and the dark tale of a serial killer Restless Water, show what Anna can do with a slow moving ballad, her singular voice breaks and swells with aching.

Aside from longing and lost love (or at least the opportunity thereof) if there is a theme to be picked up on The Only Thing That Matters it’s leaving. Nowhere is that more apparent on the Running Man. The languidly jazz tempo thrown down by Frank Johnson’s slinky bass and Travis Yost’s syncopated drums slowly builds and erupts into a declaration of dereliction.

The closer Tripping Wire was a 2AM solo guitar cut and Anna really shines on it. This is the voice that cut through all the previous rockers all but standing on it’s own and shining like a dusty, dark jewel.

As heartbreaking as many of the songs are this is not a sad album, and though there is an element of moving on it’s not a chick therapy album.
It’s a cathartic jubulation that stands as another exceptional release from a master crafter of songs and her great band.

Official Site | MySpace | Buy


Star Anna Readies The Only Thing That Matters (Apr. 14)

Star Anna has been a favorite here at Ranch Twang for some time and I’m happy to announce that her new CD The Only Thing That Matters will be independently released online and in stores on Tuesday, Apr. 14. The album was created with her spectacular band, The Laughing Dogs, and recorded at Death Cab for Cutie drummer Jason McGerr’s Two Sticks studio  in Seattle.

No Depression’s Kim Ruehl has posted a great Q&A on the Seattle Sound website with Star Anna as she prepares for the new release and a Spring tour that kicks off with a free performance at Easy Street Records this Tuesday night at 7 p.m., and a release party at the Tractor on Saturday (Apr. 18) with Kristen Ward and Hurricane Chaser.

MySpace |  Official Site

“Sweet Dreams” Celibrates Patsy Cline

  • Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member Ray Price will visit Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum this Saturday, March 7. The velvet voiced balladeer is leaving his Texas home to share personal recollections of his close friend and mentor, Hank Williams, as part of an intimate interview that will get under way at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s 213-seat Ford Theater.
  • Speaking of Nashville, Justin Townes Earle stopped by Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music on Thursday (Feb. 26) to preview songs from his sophomore release Midnight at the Movies which was released Tuesday (March 3.)  Check out cuts from Midnight at the Movies on Justin Townes Earle’s MySpace page.
  • Washington State female artists  Rachel Flotard, Kim Virant, Star Anna, Kristen Ward and Victoria Wimer Contreras will pay tribute to Patsy Cline with a “Sweet Dreams” concert at Seattle’s  Columbia City Theater tonight on this 46th anniversary of her death. “Sweet Dreams” concert at 8 p.m. tonight at the Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave. S. (Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at Information: 206-723-0088 and legendary Nashville print shop, Hatch Show Prints, that made original concert posters for Cline, Johnny Cash and others, has created a poster for the show using the original block from a poster made for Cline’s 1973 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Copies, available at the concert, are $10 each.

Patsy Cline – Walkin’ After Midnight


The Best of 2008 (For Reals)

Propaganda has been honed to a fine art in the last half century. Americans have been convinced to fight wars, hand over civil and employee rights and consume ever crappier beer, food and, alas, music.

Mainstream Country Music is one of the few genres in the 21st century that tolerates no real deviation from certified Music Row and mainstream radio product. Sure there are exceptions, the Outlaw Movement cooped a largely ignored youth movement, Garth tweaked the business model and stage production and Big and Rich and their “MuzikMafia” was a painfully lame attempt to emulate Hip Hop’s concept of crews. But when it comes to altering the DNA of the music the image driven slickness and paint-by-numers narritives seem as tightly mandated as the McDonald’s Big Mac cooking process. If you don’t fit the hat act mold you are cast into the slums of Americana, folk, roots, or, if the sins were severe enough, rock!

Into this unyielding environment stepped artists that discovered that Cash, Willie and Hank were speaking to them in ways larger then the flavor of the week bands being crammed down their throats. That’s where the wild hillbilly muse dances. That way real beauty and art lay waiting.

Americana/roots/ is attracting new talent that bravely straddles the cultural divide between trad sepia-toned country circa Jimmie Rogers and Carter Family and the current attitudes, sounds and stories of our times. New artists like O’Death, The Felice Bothers, Justin Townes Earle and Star Anna and road-tested warriors like Dale Watson, Eleven Hundred Springs and Tom Russell have Inject new blood, whiskey and adrenaline into a largely lifeless form of music that refuses to be embalmed.

And then there are the genre-crossing big-wigs like  Elvis Costello, Ray Davies, Chrissie Hynde and Robert Plant (who is currently nominated for 6 grammys and forgoing a Led Zeppelin reunion to continue Raising Sand with Bluegrass chanteuse Alison Krauss) that are moving toward a the wildser lands attracted by its proclivity for authenticity and celebration of  experimentation. The only sin is mediocrity, the only transgression is bovine conformity.

There’s no reward for compiling a “best of” list. People will quibble with the selections, the order of said selections will displease many and whether the writer is at all qualified to compile such as list will be questioned. Ridicule and contempt is sure to follow.

I do this to celebrate those that are willing to look past the wanna-be-celebrity choked road paved with pyrite. The Great Ones bent Nashville to their ways or took refuge in other regions far from the industry, Bakersfield California,  Austin Texas, to ply their wares. The Music Row road is not an easy one, it’s just crowded with sheep and the destination is less interesting.

Here’s to the on’ry, ragged, dusty dreamers.


10) Hank Williams III – “Damn Right, Rebel Proud” (Sidewalk Records) -The man with a country music royalty pedigree, and an arguable entitlement to the moniker “Man In Blacker,” burns the middle-of-the-road with another custom hot-rod release. Amazon | MySpace | Official Site

9) Jamey Johnson – “That Lonesome Song” (Mercury Nashville) -  Jamey Johnson does more than redeem himself for helping to pen Trace Adkins maga-seller Honky Tonk Badonkadonk with this brilliant release born of hard living and a love of Waylon Jennings and George Jones.  Amazon | MySpace | Official Site

8)  Sara Cahoone – “Only As The Day Is Long” (Sub-Pop) – Former rock drummer Cahoone has created a melancholy-shoegaze-Americana masterpiece with her rainy-day ready debut release.  Amazon | MySpace | Sub-Pop

7)  Star Anna – “Crooked Path” (Malamute Records) -  On this smoldering debut of Americana-noir Ellensburg, Washington’s Star Anna Krogstie proves she can hold her own with Lucinda Williams and Neko Case. Her voice seems to be the shear definition of longing and heartache.  Amazon |  MySpace | Official Site

6) Hang Jones – “The Ballad of Carlsbad County” (Self Released) – Hang Jones is the alias for Stephen Grillos and his concept album, set in 1887 New Mexico, takes the typical elements – lust, jealousy, whiskey, gunpowder and blood – and works his gritty magic to deliver a great album.  Amazon |  MySpace | Official Site

5) Luke Powers – “Texasee” (Phoebe Claire) – Powers stated in an interview that Texasee is a study of a mythical place that lies between Nashville and Austin and is done in a style reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah. Sign me up! Writers in the Western genre celebrate a few that are seen as more “literary.”  Powers like Tom Russell, James McMurty, John Prine and Joe Ely, occupies the mirror space in music.  CD Baby | MySpace | Pheobe Claire Site

4) Felice Brothers (Team Love) -From from the Catskill Mountains to the subways of New York city these actual brothers (and a bass player named Christmas) channel the Basement Tapes and spin  magnificently dark tales of desperation and violence. Amazon | MySpace | Official Site

3) O’Death -  “Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin” (Kemado) – New York’s O’Death is a concoction of parts that if mixed any other way would result into a noxious mess.  Appalachian Mountain music,  Gypsy music, Gothic punk, funk and metal, it all just shouldn’t play nice together. On Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin the sounds meld magnificently in a dark and volatile masterpiece.  Amazon | MySpace | Official Site

2) Justin Townes Earle – “The Good Life”  (Bloodshot) -Before technology allowed us to cheat, musicians were the source of musical synthesis, or what is referred to by the hipsters today as mash-ups. Justin Townes Earle harkens back to these aural alchemists and has created a potent blend of 19th century folk, country swing and hillbilly boogie. Overcoming his Daddy’s long musical shadow (and his inclination towards illicit substances) Justin Townes Earle’s first full length release rejoices in heritage while transcending its creators youth.  Amazon | MySpace | Bloodshot Records

1) Eleven Hundred Springs – “Country Jam” (Palo Duro Records) – If you want a crash course in the best Texas country music over the last half-century the 2008 release from Dallas’ ESL would be a great place to start. From the hillbilly poetry of Mickey Newbury and Joe Ely to the Western Swing of Bob Wills to the pop and rock of  Doug Sahm and Buddy Holly all the influences are there.  And though the sounds are reflective of the Texas greats  ESL makes it distinctly their own on this superior homage to the Lone Star State. Amazon | MySpace | Official Site

Honorable Mention:

Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creations Dark
The Whipsaws – 60 Watt Avenue
Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Cipher
Caitlin Rose -  Dead Flowers
The Power of County  – See You In Rock and Roll Heaven
Lucinda Williams – Little Honey
Kathy Mattea – Coal
The Wildes – Ballad of a Young Married Man
Hayes Carll – Trouble In Mind
Joey + Rory – The Life Of A Song
Kasey Chambers and Shane – Rattlin’ Bones
Ashton Shepherd – Sounds So Good
The Steeldrivers – Self-Titled
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s – Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels

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.

Marty Stuart To Debut “The Marty Stuart Show” on RFD-TV in November

  • Ellensburg, Washington based artist Star Anna is already a Twang Nation favorite and has tickled our fancy even further by offering an excellent ‘Crooked Path Live EP‘ available for download at Amazon. The digital four track EP release includes live versions of Crooked Path, Bed That I’ve Made, Five Minutes To Midnight and a never before released track, Push It Through. Star Anna will be appearing at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music festival.
  • Texas Yoda and Country Music legend Willie Nelson’s debut novel “A Tale Out Of Luck” (Center Street Books) should not to be confused with Willie’s album “A Tale Out of Luck” which features the excellent song “Home Motel.” The book is the story of Retired Texas Ranger Captain Hank Tomlinson who must attempt to keep his sons safe from vengeful Comanche warriors while trying to catch a murderer who he knows will soon strike again. The name of the book and the album are a play off the name of Luck Texas which is an old western town built in 1986 on Willie Nelson’s ranch for the filming of “Red Headed Stranger.
  • Four-time GRAMMY winner and Country Music Icon Marty Stuart will premiere his new television series The Marty Stuart Show this November starting with the first 26 episodes airing Sunday nights on RFD-TV.  The Marty Stuart Show will begin production in September at Nashville’s NorthStar Studios, home of RFD-TV. The 30-minute episodes, hosted and produced by Stuart, will be a part of RFD-TV’s new Sunday night prime time lineup with HEE HAW, Postcards From Nebraska, and Music & Motors.  Each show will feature music by Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, as well as his wife Country Queen Connie Smith and performance segments from the best that country music and American music has to offer.  Radio personality Eddie Stubbs will serve as the show’s announcer and Stuart’s sidekick on every episode.
  • Stuart  will also release his second photography book Country Music: The Masters on Nov. 11.   Chicago’s Source Books will publish the 342 page collection that includes Stuart’s personal photos of friends including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Ray Charles and more.   The book’s forward is written by long-time pal and country music fan Billy Bob Thornton.

Review – Star Anna – Crooked Path (Malamute Records)

Now this is how it’s done. Ellensburg, Washington based Star Anna Krogstie‘s debut release, “Crooked Path” (the English translation of her Norwegian surname) delivers some of the finest work in alternative country today.

Echoing the folky remoteness of Cat Power (Chan Marshall), the rustic revivalism of Gillian Welch, and just a grain of Neko Case style Southern-gothic smoldering, Star Anna wears her influences proudly but makes her own mark on the material here.

Her band the Laughing Dogs lay down adept and solid sounds that moves from the of “If Wishes Were Horses” , “Black Cat Blues” to the Appalachian-style raved-up title song. “Places We Exist” takes page from the Van Morrison book of swinging pop-folk and “Space Beneath The Door” grooves along with a soft blues-funk that belies the love don’t live here no more message of the song. One of the finest songs in a whole line of fine songs is the slow-burning “No Surprise” featuring a weeping bottle-neck accompaniment is as haunting as anything done by the great Patsy Cline and is guaranteed to break your heart and make you reach for the bottle.

Sure the sound moves across a sonic landscape, but Star Anna pulls it all together with her lilting passionate voice. This is one of the finest debut releases it has been my pleasure to hear.

Star Anna – “If WIshes Were Horses”