ALBUM OF THE MONTH:
The Bottom of the Sky, by Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck
After listening to this release, it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Thayer has played with Levon Helm (although it was really the reverse – Helm played drums on Thayer’s 2006 release). They are kindred spirits, men whose music is as much about feel as it is about melody.
“Buffalo Joe” opens the album with a wallop. Chugging guitars and a smoldering organ set a potent base as Thayer decries the harsher side of life and appeals for greater humanity. “A little more truth make a little more clear,” sings Thayer, “a lot more hope a lot less fear.”
Thayer and Trainwreck strike a more relaxed groove with “Epitome,” an inviting ode to a lover, “your history is a masterpiece, the epitome of everything that is real to me.” The Beatles-esque “Dark Night,” particularly the ambling chorus, strikes me as the kind of rootsy track that Paul McCartney has been trying to write for the past few years.
The Band references return on “Gilead’s Roses” with some swampy organ reminiscent of the Band’s “Chest Fever.” The moving ballad “Slow Blossom” gently builds from a solo piano intro to a full band performance, all while maintaining a magical wistfulness.
From start to finish, Bow Thayer & Perfect Trainwreck demonstrate an impressive blend of confidence and musicianship. And did I mention that this album was recorded at Levon Helm’s Barn in Woodstock New York. There must be something in the water up there.
Audio Download: Bow Thayer and Perfect Trainwreck, “Buffalo Joe”
I Believe In You, Black Dub (from the Jive release Black Dub)
Producer Daniel Lanois is well known for his work with artists ranging from U2 to Neil Young. Lesser known, perhaps, is his own musical output. Black Dub is his latest creation, a collaboration with Dixie Whitley (son of the late Chris Whitley), jazz drummer Brian Blade and Louisiana bass player Daryl Johnson. The group mixes a blend of rock and jazz, informed by Jamaican dub culture and encompassed in Lanois’s trademark ethereal production. Dark and soulful.
Audio Download: Black Dub, “I Believe In You”
Back of My Mind, The Autumn Defense (from the Yep Roc release Once Around)
Taking a break from their day-jobs as members of Wilco, John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone hit the mark with their latest release as Autumn Defense. Classic-sounding 1970’s harmonies and a George Harrison inspired guitar solo anchor help give this track a daydreaming feel.
Audio Download: The Autumn Defense, “Back of my Mind”
Stand Up for Love, My Radio (from the self-released ep Stand Up)
This Roanoke, Virginia quartet deliver rock anthems in every sense of the word. From music to lyrics, their songs are adrenaline-infused and beg to be played loud. Rumor online casino canada has it that the band is opening a bar in Roanoke. Can someone tell me when the house band is playing?
Audio Download: My Radio, “Stand Up for Love”
Once, Anthony D’Amato (from the self-released Down Wires)
Sometimes simplicity outshines complexity. Exhibit A is this song. A succession of instruments – from acoustic guitar to piano to banjo – give extra depth to the song’s repeated melody. D’Amato is definitely one to watch.
Audio Download: Anthony D”Amato, “Once”
When You Were Young, Benjamin Francis Leftwich
Leftwich is D’Amato’s English counterpart. The 21-year-old acoustic guitar player tends towards the minor keys, giving his music a quiet intensity. His evocative take on the Killers’ classic is representative of the originals that fill A Million Miles Out, his recently released ep.
Audio Download: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “When You Were Young (Killers cover)”
A Change Is Gonna Come, John Boutte (from the self-released Jambalaya)
Most will now know Boutte for his rousing theme song to the HBO series Treme. Dig a bit deeper into his catalogue and you’ll soon realize that he has one of the most captivating voices in music today. Don’t believe me? Look no further than Boutte’s powerful take on the Sam Cooke classic.
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.