Showerhead, Rachelle Van Zanten (from the RZV Records release Where Your Garden Grows)
Canada’s Van Zanten sure can play a mean guitar. What really caught my ear, however, was the confidence and brawn in this track. Mix the rawness of a Lucinda Williams tune with the slide guitar chops of Bonnie Raitt and a touch of Chrissie Hynde attitude and you’ll end up with something like “Showerhead.”
Audio Download: Rachelle Van Zanten, “Showerhead”
Flowers, Ian Hunter (from the New West Records release Man Overboard)
Amidst all the excitement surrounding the upcoming Mott the Hoople reunion, Ian Hunter’s recently released solo album gently reminds us why he is a rock legend. His songwriting is honest and direct; his voice steeped with experience. “Hunger, anger, propaganda, ain’t it time we all grew up? We all got dreams but nobody’s listening, sometimes flowers ain’t enough.”
Smack You Back, Porterdavis (from the self-released Porterdavis)
The Austin acoustic blues trio hit stride on their latest release. This track is bruising with a killer hook and lyrics that hit like a left uppercut. Simon Wallace wails on his harmonica as singer-guitarist Dan Barrett declares, “Smack me and I’ll smack you back, I’m running away, ain’t never comin’ back.” Although some may disagree, I hear certain elements of the late, great Morphine in their sound. (See Kelly’s full review here.)
Audio Download: Porterdavis, “Smack You Back”
When the Well Runs Dry, Drive-By Truckers (from the New West Records release The Fine Print, A Collection Of Oddities And Rarities 2003-2008)
A hold-over from former Trucker Jason Isbell, one can almost see the darkness setting in around the singer and the song.
Something About What Happens When We Talk, KaiserCartel (from the Rock Island EP)
Brooklyn’s Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel bridge the time until their next release with a five-song ep that includes this Lucinda Williams cover. The duo’s simple guitar and drum accompaniment keeps the focus on the combination of Kaiser’s vocals and Williams lyrics. Kaiser’s voice is smoother than Williams voice but no less potent.
Let There Be Rock, Drive-By Truckers (from the New West Records cd/dvd release Live From Austin Texas)
The Truckers homage to the rock bands of their youth is a testament to the power of rock and roll yesterday and today. Don’t believe me? Check out this song on DVD or, better yet, see the band live. As Patterson Hood likes to say, “I’ll see you at the rock show.”
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.