Album at a glance: Jeff Caudill – Reset the Sun

Jeff Caudill - Reset The Sun

On this EP Jeff Caudill shows off his shiny feathers as a songwriter putting his own spin on familiar themes. There’s nostalgia and love littered throughout on this mostly pop record with strong country roots. Caudill’s vocals are reminiscent of Robb Thomas from Matchbox 20 (make fun if you want, I stand behind the band) but also at times hit an Uncle Tupelo vibe. There is a strong yearning for pop songs like “Around We Go” but on a few tracks like “Bruised Ribs, Broken Heart” Caudill dials up the twang and delves head first into alt-country. Both are good but switching leaves the EP a slight lack of identity but the good thing is that the songs hold up decent enough to make it a good listen.

Key Track: “Bruised Ribs, Broken Heart”

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250 word album review: Cory Branan – Adios

Cory Branan - Adios

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Cory Branan is an outlaw in pedestrian clothes. He shows more versatility than ever before on his new record “Adios” as he navigates through his past trying to figure out how he got where he is now. In the end it’s clear he stands alone, confident and never showing weakness.

On “Imogene” Branan throttles through the most accessible song of his career. It’s well produced and radio-worthy and with Branan’s natural ability to throw great hooks effortlessly it is easy to see how it can be a clear favorite here. He shifts gears with the weird ZZ Top (the most intriguing version of the band) sounding “Walls, MS.” He goes for a straight up anthem with “Yeah, So What” where he shows his ability to mindless rock out. On the “Another Nightmare In America” he shows his teeth in a song that is so shap it sounds like it could have came from Against Me’s catalog. Songs like this just prove Branan is made up of more Replacements than Johnny Cash and that is just fine. On the closing “My Father Was An Accordion Player” you’ll find Branan wandering like he’s in a drunken circus with dark lyrics and sloppy horns to navigate his journey. This being the only song not by Branan on the record but by Memphis songwriter Andy Grooms yet it fits with the madness of this record nicely.

Cory Branan has found a way to carve out his niche among the alt-country world by never sacrificing himself to preconceived notions. His music is unique and it’s clear he calls plays from his own playbook. “Adios” is that much better for its versatility and shows he will be making interesting records for years to come.

Key Tracks: “Imogene” “Yeah So What” “My Father Was An Accordion Player”

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250 word album review: Old 97’s – Graveyard Whistling

Old 97's - Graveyard Whistling

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The Old 97’s are a model of consistency. How does a band achieve this? How about rattling through 11 studio albums over 23 years with the same lineup. For a band that has been around so long they are still remarkably interesting.

On this album “Graveyard Whistling” they show sincerity and humor as they always have. You’ll see lead singer Rhett Miller dive head-first into self loathing on “All Who Wander” where the band keeps the song upbeat enough to trick a casual listener into thinking it’s not depressing as hell. That being said it might be the strongest track on the record. They touch interestingly on religion a couple times here as well. First with the witty “Jesus Loves You” where you a slightly different take as in Hayes Carll’s “She Left Me For Jesus” as the instigator competes with Jesus for a girl. Then the darker and more serious “Good With God” where the band creates their sure lock single of this group of songs with the help of Brandi Carlile. They use the same dark vibe to make “I Don’t Wanna Die In This Town” and can’t miss track as well. On “Drinkin’ Song” the band plays fast and sloppy matching the barroom mystique of the song. Only the outgoing charm of Rhett Miller could pull off the chorus of “Hell yes, hell yes, hell yes, right on, right on, right on” on the track.

Again, the Old 97’s fully deliver. This isn’t a surprise. If they have a new record just buy it because it will be good.

Key Tracks: “Good With God” “All Who Wander” “I Don’t Wanna Die In This Town”

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COMING SOON: Cory Branan to The Riot Room in Kansas City, MO 3/23/17

WHO’S PLAYING?  Cory Brenan (Memphis, TN) also featuring Dead Ven and Tommy Donoho of Dollar Fox

Cory Branan plays The Riot Room in Kansas City on 3/23/17

 

WHAT TO EXPECT?  One man commandeering your evening with stories of heartbreak, regret and the occasional triumph. All set to the tune of a guitar.

Cory Branan is an outlaw in pedestrian clothes. He shows more versatility than ever before on his new record “Adios” as he navigates through his past trying to figure out how he got where he is now. In the end it’s clear he stands alone, confident and never showing weakness.

On “Imogene” Branan throttles through the most accessible song of his career. It’s well produced and radio-worthy and with Branan’s natural ability to throw great hooks effortlessly it is easy to see how it can be a clear favorite here. He shifts gears with the weird ZZ Top (the most intriguing version of the band) sounding “Walls, MS.” He goes for a straight up anthem with “Yeah, So What” where he shows his ability to mindless rock out. On the “Another Nightmare In America” he shows his teeth in a song that is so shap it sounds like it could have came from Against Me’s catalog. Songs like this just prove Branan is made up of more Replacements than Johnny Cash and that is just fine. On the closing “My Father Was An Accordion Player” you’ll find Branan wandering like he’s in a drunken circus with dark lyrics and sloppy horns to navigate his journey. This being the only song not by Branan on the record but by Memphis songwriter Andy Grooms yet it fits with the madness of this record nicely.

Cory Branan has found a way to carve out his niche among the alt-country world by never sacrificing himself to preconceived notions. His music is unique and it’s clear he calls plays from his own playbook. “Adios” is that much better for its versatility and shows he will be making interesting records for years to come.

“Adios” is available April 7th, 2007. You can preorder here.

Cory Branan - Adios

 

WHERE IS IT?  The Riot Room (4048 Broadway, Kansas City MO 64111)

WHEN IS IT?  Thursday March 23rd, 2017; 8:00 PM, $12

Here is a link to buy your tickets right NOW.

WHY SHOULD I GO?

  • Tickets are $12… so that’s pretty affordable
  • You’ll get a preview of Branan’s great new record, “Adios”
  • You can start your weekend early with an alt-country barn burner of a show
  • The Riot Room is a cool venue, very intimate to see a great songwriter.
  • You can pick up Branan’s hard to find albums at the show
  • The weather is good, get out of the house enjoy it

You should RSVP on facebook to the event so you don’t forget, here is the link: FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE

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250 word album review: Esmé Patterson – We Were Wild

Esmé Patterson - We Were Wild

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Esmé Patterson takes you a little off guard at first. Her music is mellow but there is plenty of interesting guitar play throughout her album “We Were Wild” and the songs  consistently settle into good rocking grooves.

On the album opener “Feel Right” you’ll find Esmé rattling along with a rockabilly style that sounds like it could have been a cover of a lost Buddy Holly tune. On the next track, “No River” you see how powerful Patterson can be. She follows her steady electric guitar strums with a bouncy beat and a big chorus. The message of the chorus on the song of “I’m human” can be taken politically as empowerment or as a submission of everyday life. The sound of a pedal steel opens the most delicate song on the record, “Wantin Ain’t Gettin” and Patterson’s subtly sweet vocal delivery guides you through the song like a sailor being guided to jagged rocks. Emotionally vulnerable moments are in abundance throughout, like on the softly strummed “Yours and Mine” right down to the least softly strummed song here, “Feel Right.”

Many moments on this album are easily relatable only increasing the songs’ accessibility. Patterson certainly has a way with words as she smoothly manipulates them and packs an emotional punch without using too many typewriter keys. This is the kind of album that will likely get looked over by the masses but there is a ton of good material here that is more than worth checking out.

Key Tracks: “No River” “Feel Right” “Wantin Ain’t Gettin”

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Mosh Poets- A Talk with poets Jay Claywell & Lory Lacy

Mosh Poets with Lory Lacy and Jay Claywell Cafe Acoustic poster. Poster by Bret Yager.

“Mosh Poets” Thursday March 9th at The Café Acoustic Concert Hall

By Danny R. Phillips

Author’s note: I wrote this while listening to the MC5

I first met the poet Jay Claywell within the confines of what would become our adopted home base, Paper Moone Books. He was an angry young man, in those early days, with an affinity for Henry Rollins, Hubert Selby, Jr. and the patron saint of angry drunks, Charles Bukowski.

My weapons of choice in those days were Kerouac, black coffee and punk rock. That still rings true to some degree but I have given up poetry for the critic’s squinting eye, while Jay’s approach and practice of poetry has only grown stronger, resolute, and clearer. Journaling at least 250 words a day, every day since his teens, Jay has taken something he enjoyed and turned it into something he must do to survive, a joyful, addictive habit, passing the time in ingenious ways. Getting at the marrow of life, throwing life in your face, showing the perfection and iniquity of men. Jay’s poetry is now and allows has been in your face, fiercely introspective and above all else, nothing but the truth.

Born with Cerebral Palsy (as was I), Jay seems to survive or thrive creatively on the frustration given by CP, taking the limitations of body and expanding his mind, pooling with the colossal stupidity that runs the world today. Nothing is off limits to Claywell as he releases the pressure of his time. In doing so he has managed to create some of the finest poetry I have read anywhere; using his mind and the view of a world that has lost itself. Never afraid, Claywell steps back and takes a good, long hard look at what we have before us and tells all who will listen how he sees it. Jay looks at the world with eyes wide open; seeing everything, all the beauty, all the slime, all the honesty and treachery, wading through the muck, crutches in hand, challenging life to a debate.

I’ve only just met Lory Lacy but her reputation preceded her. Lacy’s deep history in music, along with an impressive vocabulary, made for an interesting and lively conversation. The lead singer of The Royal Absinthe Company says she has nearly seen everything, the joy and absurdity of it all. “I was on The Gong Show once, playing a piccolo in a bikini. California is weird.” Lory’s style and use of a mammoth knowledge of the English language, spreads her all over the musical and literary maps. Taking inspiration from Wagner or Led Zeppelin, opera to heavy metal, arias or “Over the Hills and Far Away,” her words are nearly psychedelic in scope, bees and envy intertwine, strong, vulnerable, spaced out and on the groove. Lacy’s love of the word, the song, every note, every phrase makes for a formative linguistic adversary; goddamn, she would be a great partner in Scrabble.

These two wonderful writers have decided to join forces for “Mosh Poets” at the Café Acoustic Concert Hall located inside the historic D&G (1918 Frederick). It will be a night to empty their souls through words and music, in the process giving something to St. Joseph, unique in its delivery and voice. “We met at the Café Pony Espresso readings I believe,” says Claywell, the host of the monthly Thunderbird Sessions at Unplugged, “Sometimes Lory will get on a roll, really go into outer space and that just knocks me out. It’s just phenomenal.”

“My idea for this is to take my rock and classical backgrounds and use them as a way to deliver my poetry,” said Lacy with a shy look. “I really just want to talk to people and see the impact the poetry has on people whether it be positive or negative; I think we should do things like this, keep taking shots until people have no choice but the say, Hey, there’s something going on here.” Claywell expanded, “I want people to know that there are good writers here, there is a good scene here. I absolutely want to see it grow, for people to join in and use their words to create something impactful, something solid and real.”

Feeding this scene are The Thunderbird Sessions at Unplugged and The First Saturdays Readings at Café Pony Espresso. “Those two groups, those two scenes are cross-pollinating. Going into either one of those readings, you can almost tell who wants to be there and who NEEDS to be there.” While Lacy and Claywell are both lovers of the written word, warriors in the artistic world, kings in the battle to try something different, in one way, they diverge: “Lory likes to watch people, to report on what she sees,” Claywell says, “I just want them to get the hell out of the way.”

Join Jay Claywell and Lory Lacy aka The Mosh Poets

Thursday March 9 2017 @ The Café Acoustic Concert Hall

This is also a book signing for Lacy’s “Virgo Logic,” and Claywell’s “Grey Spaces: Demolitions and Other St. Joe Uprisings”

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Album at a glance: Like Rabbits – The Devil In Your Eyes

Like Rabbits - The Devil in Your Eyes

Like Rabbits doesn’t pull any punches on their debut album. It’s straight forward bar bluegrass. The rustic music (stand-up bass, banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar) is fronted with raspy, whiskey soaked vocals with lyrics to match. Songs like “Keep On Drinking” and “Turpentine Wine” sound as true to life as possible as Like Rabbits is a great drinking band. They get some boogie going on “Kansas City Girl” with some hot Tennessee Three style lead guitar licks but that doesn’t tell the whole story. They shift into a mellow gear a couple times like on “I Want To” showing they are no one trick pony. All in all, it’s great drinking music and that is the true endearing part of “The Devil In Your Eyes.”

Key Track: “Kansas City Girl”

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