ALBUM OF THE MONTH:
A strong Southern accent imbues Muscle Shouls musician Doc Dailey’s voice and music. His songs continue a rich Southern storytelling tradition, filled with characters struggling with the hands that they’ve been dealt. In album opener “Prove Me Wrong” Dailey strives to make a relationship work, only to confess “if a pictures worth a thousand words, how come I keep burnin’ hers.” The musical accompaniment – acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle – only adds to the melancholy feel.
It is Dailey’s descriptive attention to detail that captivates on “Let Me Down,” the tale of a woman flying into the Huntsville, Alabama airport expecting to find her lover there to pick her up. The tension builds as she eventually catches a cab home to find him in his truck with another woman. “She said, ‘Driver, turn this car around, take me to any old bar downtown, I need one more round of let me down.”
I’ve always been a sucker for horns, and Dailey hits the spot with “Seven Points.” The song starts as a solo acoustic gem but gets jolted to life when the horns announce their presence with eight sharp blasts. The upbeat tempo belies a sorrowful tale of broken love, with Dailey and Amber Murray harmonizing beautifully as they declare, “Scars don’t leave the wounds you can’t see, hurt so bad and last so long (never seem to heal up right).”
Dailey and the Devil bring show their rock edge on “The Only Reason That I Know.” Pounding drums set the tone, soon joined by a heavy bass line. A jangly electric guitar and banjo soon join in for a raucous good time. Meanwhile, “Alabama Daydream” is anything but, a rollicking ramble that finds Dailey confessing, “I never claimed to know it all ‘cept slow sad songs and alcohol.”
In the end, it’s the album’s honesty and simplicity that make it so enjoyable. The songs have a special sweetness, even when bittersweet. They overflow with sincerity and spirit, exactly the way that music was intended to be.
Audio Download: Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil, “The Only Reason That I Know”
Steve Earle, Lydia Loveless (unreleased)
I’ve never thought of Columbus, Ohio as a hot-bed of alternative country. That just changed. Local songstress Lydia Loveless is the heir apparent of Loretta Lynn, a firecracker whose musical confidence and bravado belies her 19 years. Don’t believe me? Check out this track about being stalked by legendary singer-songwriter Steve Earle. (Check out her most recent release The Only Man.)
Audio Download: Lydia Loveless, “Steve Earle”
Last Page of the Book, Tim Lee 3
I don’t recall the first time that I heard Tim Lee but I lost track of him over the past few years. He re-emerged on the radar with a free weekly download, of which this song was a selection. It’s straight-forward rock and roll at its finest – electric guitar, bass and drums in all their glory. Now I need to work my way through the Tim Lee 3’s new double album Raucous Americanus.
Audio Download: Tim Lee 3, “Last Page of the Book”
Comeback, Teddy Goldstein and the Goldsteins (from the self-released Alright Is the New Fantastic)
Although Goldstein often gets billed as a folk singer, its gems like this song that demonstrate his pop mastery. He uses lyrical self-depreciation and humor to perfection, giving his songs an endearing quality. An electric piano glides around a slow groove to give this song a retro 1970’s feel; the perfect song for daydreaming on a rainy afternoon.
Audio Download: Teddy Goldstein, “Comeback”
New Radio, Mikey Jukebox (from the self-released Mikey Jukebox)
After spending the last decade playing in a variety of bands, Rochester musician decided that he wanted to do it all himself. He plays all the instruments on his self-titled debut, a release chock full of edgy power-pop blasts. I’m partial to this track, snarling yet infectious.
Too Late Too Soon, Will Hoge (from the Rykodisc release The Living Room Sessions)
Any guess where Hoge recorded his latest release? Apparently he and the band camped out in his living room for two days to record stripped down versions of tracks mostly from his most recent release. Although this version doesn’t differ dramatically from the studio version, it does showcase the raw emotion Hoge can convey in song.
Audio Stream: Will Hoge, “Too Late Too Soon”
Woodpile, Mooncussers (from the self-released ep Demo)
The Lydia Loveless show was apparently a two-for-one discovery — I later learned that her guitarist has his own band. Not surprisingly, crunchy alt-country guitars anchor the track but it’s the organ that gives the song a Kentucky bourbon edge. (Note, you can download the full 6 song ep for free here)
Audio Download: The Mooncussers, “Woodpile”
Ain’t Good Enough For You, Bruce Springsteen (from the Columbia Records release The Promise)
It’s easy to see why this track didn’t make the Darkness cut, but that doesn’t diminish its might. Winter may be arriving in Boston and many other locales, but this song will bring you back to the summer beach days of Springsteen’s youth.
How To Be Mean, Palmdale (from the Oglio Records ep How to Be Mean)
You gotta love a song about being mean that features a bright melody, infectious harmonies and even a round of hand-claps. Really Kay Hanley and Linus of Hollywood, do you really expect us to believe that you are mean?
NYC, Teddy Goldstein and the Goldsteins (from the self-released Alright Is the New Fantastic)
New York resident Goldstein pens an ode to his hometown that could be the next big sing-along in Boston’s Fenway Park… “It’s an over-priced, over-rated money machine that is jaded, smells like piss mixed with rain and everyone has gone insane.”
Audio Download: Teddy Goldstein, “NYC”
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Anywhere, Todd Thibaud
This is one of those songs that never fails to command my attention. Maybe it’s the musical longing that builds to the cathartic solo or perhaps it’s the lyrics that are as thoughtful as they are thought-provoking. Though the song is filled with resignation and regret, I always feel a glimmer of hope lurking beneath the surface.
Somewhere between suicide and total bliss, I called for Providence and I asked her for a ride. She found me on the interstate and with a final twist of fate I watched her drive right by.
I said I’m sorry more than twice, I kept the conversation nice but it never got me anywhere. You do the best to wait your turn, ‘til the day you finally learn that never gets you anywhere, not anywhere.
You can find a live version of this song — plus many others from Thibaud’s impressive catalog — here. Here is the studio version.
Audio Download: Todd Thibaud, “Anywhere”
View Part 1 of the October/November 2010 playlist here.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.