Sometimes a particular song simply doesn’t fit on a mixtape. This playlist was originally intended as a showcase for two songs—Jason Isbell’s “Palmetto Rose” and Sons of Bill’s “Broken Bottles (live)”. Palmetto Rose just never seemed to work on this one, so I gave it the title spot as a nod to the inspiration.
Sons of Bill- “Broken Bottles (live)” from With Kerosene Instead
I lost touch with Sons of Bill in the last couple of years, though I really liked their record Sirens, released back in 2012. This track is from their live record, released the following year in 2013. Originally appearing on their debut album One Town Away as a jaunty, harmonica laced number, this rendition is raw, beautiful and minimalist, a gut punch that fits the lyric.
Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment- “Sunday Candy” from Surf
This post represents my first contribution to Twangville in over two years (since the birth of my first son Will). My tastes have change
a lot moderately during that time. Most strikingly my brother has finally gotten me to listen to hip-hop records. Surf was my favorite record of 2015 and this is the catchiest song from that record. Even hardened country fans should crack a smile at lines like “your grandma ain’t my grandma! / mine is hand-made, pan-fried, sun-dried / Southside, and beat the devil by a landslide / praying with her hands tied, president of my fan club”. If that doesn’t do it, the sensual chorus should.
Josh Ritter- “Getting Ready to Get Down” from Sermon on the Rocks
Another artist I lost track of over the years. Sermon on the Rocks is a revelation and certainly my favorite Josh Ritter record since Animal Years. Playful and infectious, this one reminds me of why I fell in love with Josh Ritter in the first place.
Ryan Adams- “Wildest Dreams” from 1989
Best Ryan Adams record since Heartbreaker? Ok, probably not, but I love this record (full disclosure: I like the Taylor Swift original as well).
Sleater-Kinney- “Good Things” from Call the Doctor
Late in 2014, I was listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered Podcast, which was doing a 90’s retrospective. I discovered/rediscovered a number of records from the podcast, but Sleater-Kinney was the biggest revelation. A band I was only notionally aware of a year ago has become one of, if not my absolute, favorite bands. I’m a big fan of their entire catalogue, including this year’s No Cities to Love, but there is nothing quite like the raw power of their first classic record—1996’s Call the Doctor.
Patty Griffin- “House of Gold” from Downtown Church
Legitimately like going to church, thanks Hank for writing it; thanks Patty for owning it.
“I’d rather be in a deep, dark grave/ and know that my poor soul was saved / than to live in this world in a house of gold / and deny my God and doom my soul”
Sara Watkins- “You and Me” from Sun Midnight Sun
I had the pleasure of seeing Sara Watkins this summer as part of the ‘I’m With Her’ tour with Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan. It was a beautiful night—the concert was held outdoors in a Spanish-style courtyard in update New York. Watkins, O’Donovan, and Jarosz were all wonderful and hearing them sing together was a unique pleasure, but it was Watkins solo turn on this song that concert goers were humming as we were leaving the venue.
Superchunk- “Watery Hands” from Indoor Living
Another 90’s band that’s been an obsession of mine in 2015, Superchunk is indie guitar rock heaven. Indoor Living is not universally beloved amongst ‘Chunk fans, as it arrived at the end of an unprecedented run of beloved records such as No Pocky for Kitty, On the Mouth, Foolish, and Here’s Where the Strings Come In. However, I’ve always had a weak spot for it with “Watery Hands” in particular being a highlight.
Lucero- “My Girl & Me In ‘93” from All A Man Should Do
Ben Nichols has reached a state of true ‘Springsteen’. He can get away with anything lyrics wise and I’ll still love him.
Courtney Barnett- “Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party” from Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
Courtney Barnett is saving rock and roll. Thanks Courtney.
Ashley Monroe- “Bombshell” from The Blade
For anyone who realizes that the 1970s were actually a great country music era (or have a soft spot for the country music coming out of ABC’s Nashville) will love Ashley Monroe. This song is a burner and one of my favorites of 2015.
Frank Turner- “Song For Josh” from Positive Songs for Negative People
“This song is for Josh…” begins the closing track to Frank Turner’s Positive Songs for Negative People. What follows is a song that finds Turner grappling with the suicide of a close friend. The songs acoustic arrangement and emotional resonance recalls Turner’s earliest, and best, work.
Aoife O’Donovan- “Oh, Mama” from Fossils
“Oh Mama, sing me a love song / pour me some bourbon and lay me down low”
Closing Ms. O’Donovan’s solo debut, this track is a perfect closing credits number.
About the author: Specializes in Dead, Drunk, and Nakedness..... Former College Radio DJ and Current Craft Beer Nerd