Tag Archives: Album Review

Americana Rock Mix Review: Matt Woods – “With Love From Brushy Mountain”

coverMost of you (if not all of you) already know about Matt’s music. If you’ve not heard it repeatedly on my show, or if you’ve not seen him at a venue near you, then you must be living under a rock. Every Americana blog has sang the praises of Matt’s work. And more than likely, he was put on your radar because those praises were in review of his last album “Matt Wood’s Manifesto“.

Undoubtedly, it’s a self-defeating task to constantly try to improve upon yourself as a singer/songwriter especially when you spend most of your time traveling in a solitary fashion. And it would be one, seemingly, impossible mission to top the album that blew your name out of the water in the first place.

There are only two aspects that one would need to make this happen.

1.) Be Matt Woods

2.) Unabashedly spill out all of your guts for all to see.

With Love From Brushy Mountain” runs the full catalogue of the tools every troubadour should have in his utility belt, Matt begins with the Autobiographical anthem of “Ain’t No Living“, moving onto storytelling of “Snack Bar Mary & The Ten Pin Priest“, and ending out the album with the experiential ballad of “Liberty Bell“. And, of course, in between all of that, are tracks that won’t be forgotten soon either, like “Deadman’s Blues” and “Tiny Anchors“.

The album is an emotional mountain range. The highs are steep and lofty summits, and the valleys are self disparaging contempt. With a few plateau’s in between.

Well done, Matt Woods. It’s currently 10AM on a Tuesday, and I feel the need to go win a 26K marathon, then go cry into a beer.

Pre-order is available now at his official website (see below), and the album is released on May 13, 2014.

For more info on Matt Woods, check out:

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Americana Rock Mix Review: The End Men – “Odds & Ends”

Odds & Ends CoverI first head The End Men from our friend and proprietor of PopaTunes.Blogspot.com, David Horton. He sent me their album “Play With Your Toys” and I was instantly hooked. The gritty voice, the grungy-almost-percussive guitar sound, and a solid drummer. I’ve compared them, in the past, to The White Stripes. I’m sure that comparison is overly played out, and so I’ll refrain. But the obvious comparison is there. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, so I’ll digress…

The End Men’s newest album doesn’t come out until May, and I was going to hold this review until a closer time to the release, but I can’t hold back on playing a couple of tracks in this week’s episode on Thursday.

On the latest album, Odds & Ends, the duo experiments with their sound a bit more with the help of extra musicians. Collaborations that emphasize the diversity that makes up The End Men’s defining sound…

Defining sound? That’s a wrong choice of words. It’s hard to define their sound. But yet there is a sound that is unexampled to anyone but them. That’s it. The End Men’s music is, even though based on already defined sounds, a previously unexampled sound.

The album almost comes off as a well produced jam session. The collaborations seem almost free flowing and structured at it’s base. Almost like an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. The stage is set for the players, but what comes out is unscripted.

I have to give credit where it’s due, though. They have expanded past the sound of guitar and drums. They heavily utilize their fellow conspirators of sound. There is a spotlight on the fact that the duo’s stage is being shared as opposed to just being accompanied.

Normally when a band releases albums a year-or-so apart, the music doesn’t change much. The albums are practically an extension of each other. BUT, in such a short period of time since their last release, The End Men have advanced their *ahem* unexampled sound, making sure that they can’t be placed in a box and labeled.

For more info on The End Men, check out

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Americana Rock Mix Review: Kent Eugene Goolsby – “Trophies Of Youth”

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I have repeated myself many, many times that This Is American Music is THE place for the best new music. On a monthly, sometimes even weekly basis, I can count on these guys to shine a spotlight on amazing content that would have sat under the radar of small media like myself.

I wouldn’t know about Kent Goolsby if it were not for these guys. One of the nicest and hard working musicians I have ever met. In fact, his hard working mentality about his music career is in no small account a reason for this new album to exist.

It’s hard to find fellow musicians who care as much about your labors of love as much as you do. And so Kent has struck out on his own, creating an introspective and heartfelt album with the assistance of Joey Kneiser (of Glossary)

Kent truly embodies his influences to the fullest extent. Citing a mix of John Prine, The Band, even Bob Dylan as a basis for his sound, Kent makes it his own with his trademark road-worn-and-weary voice that sounds like it fits at home with old spirits he is influenced by.

It almost seems that this album was recorded 40 years ago, then hidden away, and just resurfaced. It fully harnesses the sound that defined the 70’s era of Americana music.

It’s difficult to bring up Kent Gooslby’s name without mentioning The Only Sons. Actually, it would be a discredit to Kent to not mention his past endeavors. But, if only, to mention them for the sole reason to say that if you are looking for more of the same that you would find on an Only Sons album, you’d be looking in the wrong spot.

In fact, it seems safe to say that Kent has moved on from The Only Sons, finding solace in the sound of past times that still remains classic to this day.

The album won’t be released until August 6th , but you can listen to the first single off of the new album over at Kent’s official site right HERE.

To find out more about Kent Eugene Goolsby, check out:

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Americana Rock Mix Review: Big Kettle Drum – “Nantucket Circle”

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The last release from Big Kettle Drum made it into my top albums of 2012. So, when this EP popped up in my email inbox, it jumped to the top of my listening pile.

“Nantucket Circle” is a release of raw feelings and emotions that had built up during a very difficult time in the life of, front man, Brant Menswar. His son, Theo, was diagnosed with a rare form on cancer in his blood called Myleodysplastic Syndrome. Theo had to undergo a bone marrow transplant, and the effect of this was felt though out the band.

With the help of their close friend, Marty Dodson (who has chart-topping songs with George Strait, Dierks Bentley, Joe Cocker, & more), they were able to properly place these strong emotions on tape.

Despite the very unfortunate and heavy-hearted backstory prior to their recording sessions, the album is not a downer. Despite the fact that some of lyrics would definitely lead to a conception of defeat, the band still maintains their mostly upbeat sound and story driven lyrics without burdening the listener. Rather, there is a strong sense of endurance and promise.
This EP is somewhat contradictory in the fact that sometimes the music tells a different story than the lyrics.
So with that being said, listen with your headphones on, turn it up, and pay attention.
For more info on Big Kettle Drum, check out:
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Review – “I’m Dead, Serious” by Micah Schnabel

It’s undeniable that Micah is a master of the “lamenting-a-failed-relationship” song. The “what ifs”, “should haves”, and “wish I didn’t’s” of any failed relationship are all present in familiar form. From the opening line of the opening song, “Choir Boys”, the tone for the album is set by the line “You’ve got to be kidding me. Is this really how this is gonna end?“. The theme of heartbreak is run straight through to a line in the final track of the album, “This is My Headstone”, where he confesses “It takes a better man than me, I guess, to carry all this loneliness. If you want to know my one regret, well, I never really found her“.

The songs of heartbreak and spite are entwined with tales of a weary traveling musician, and Micah’s disenchantment with religion. All proving entertaining because of the slick lyrics used. At any point, on any song, without fail you can imagine vividly what is being said both upfront and in between the lines.

As for the production, it seems that this album is a little less gritty that it’s predecessor. The arrangements are more pop oriented, but it works in a weirdly positive way. The poppy uptempo bass and piano intro of “The Heavy Things” starts you off happily (and later uncomfortably) singing along about the unfortunate death of a friend.

Overall it’s the perfect album to listen to if you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend or feel like sulking over a loss in general. But in a catchy way that could possibly cheer you up. (?)

The digital download of this album made it into my top 24 albums of 2011 (even though it’s physical release isn’t until 2012).

For more info on Micah Schnabel go to:

www.TwoCowGarage.com

www.MicahSchnabel.blogspot.com

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