MUSIC

Album Review: Justin Townes Earle – Kids in the Street

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

Artist: Justin Townes Earl

Album: Kids in the Street

Label: New West

Rating: 4.4/5.0

Justin Townes Earle despite recording now for over a decade is not quite the household name that his famous father (Steve Earle) is. His new album Kids in the Street could just be the point of reckoning.

Earle has gotten a lot of publicity on this album, probably more than he ever has and with good reason.

Kids in the Street is a multi-level music smorgasbord of sound, emotions, and comic relief. Earle knows how to put perspective on the sometimes difficult situations of our lives with prophetic poetic prose.

The music itself is nothing that you haven’t heard in the almost 70 year collection of rock music. We have heard this blend of rock/folk/country/blues before, but not in the way that Earle opens up this can of down home black-eyed peas.

The most idiosyncratic part of this great body of work is the distinctive words and timbre of Earle.

The opening song on this album says it all. This is Earle’s answer to the dated “Pink Cadillac” as his object of lust rides by in an epic champagne colored Toyota Corolla in the appropriately titled, “Champagne Corolla.”

The song has that solid rock-n-roll beat accompanied by a horn section and an old school thump that your foot just can’t help but move to.

The fourth track “15-25” isn’t exactly what you might think. Earle cleverly points out those years with the idea of jail time while hitting you with a New Orleans blues sound that again forces you to jump up and shuffle.

The song is not about doing time in prison, it is about those crazy years. We all know them. When I was 15, I thought I knew exactly what the world was and how everything was going to work. Then I started learning just how life really was.

I lived a lot of life in those years, then 25 hit and I realized the party had to stop at some point and as Earle points out in the end of the song, “25 to life.”

There is a something for everyone on this great body of work. Earle explores his folk roots, old rock music, New Orleans swing blues, and even down home delta on the track “If I was the Devil.”

Kids in the Street is not just a country or folk album. This effort is what art should be and shows what music can really do for a persons’ soul. It has those great party songs, but is also the kind of album you take with you on a night drive after a huge argument with your significant other to just escape from it all.

Justin Townes Earle knows how to touch your heart and keep it dancing all through the night with a great bottle of wine.

Kids in the Street comes out May 26, 2017.

Chris Harford – The Gonzo Today Interview

CHRIS HARFORD
The Doc Jeffurious Interview

Many words come to mind when talking about Chris Harford. His music has been described as “dark and rocking”, but always brilliant and widely dynamic. There is no denying his reputation in many circles as sort of a singer-songwriter’s, singer-songwriter.

His first major record release occurred back in the early 1990s, predates Nirvana’s first hit record and included an impressive plethora of guest musicians. A veteran performer in every sense of the term. He has since released several acclaimed albums, one of which ‘Looking Out For Number 6’ was produced by Dean Ween, who also contributed some guitar and percussion work to the record.

A true renaissance man, Chris Harford has many things going on and you can bet than they are all terrific. I had the pleasure of sharing a bit of time with him recently and faithfully submit the following — Doc Jeffurious

Doc Jeffurious: Where did you get your start? What artists influenced your music?

Chris Harford: I was weaned on The Beatles. They kickstarted everything for me. I’m the youngest of four. My brother’s and sister’s record collection was key…vital. From The Beatles I moved on to Neil Young and the Rolling Stones. Then through middle school and high school it was the whole Southern rock thing, Allman Brother’s and Lynyrd Skynyrd. And then I got into Elvis Costello, The Specials and English Beat, ska music…XTC in my later teens.

DJH: Where were you when the alternative music and grunge thing took off in the early 1990s?

CH: I got signed to Elektra Records in 1992, right when grunge was hitting. I had an album out (Be Headed) on a major label which they let me produce. I had Ween guys on it and some guys from high school. But also Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright, The Proclaimers and Toshi Reagon. I had a bunch of people on that record. I was right there when grunge was happening. It think Nirvana‘s “Nevermind” came out a month after my record.

DJH: You are a very well known artist, but have a sort of underground, word of mouth fame. I think that a lot of artists that achieve that kind of success have this unique perspective of being on the outside of the traditional business of music looking in. How do you think music has changed over the years since you began as far as people getting into it? Is it less organic in many corners because it has become more digital? Is that the future of music?

CH: That’s a good question. It seems to be a lot about word of mouth. Like how you heard about my music through Adam Egert, even though it was through social media, it’s still word of mouth. It’s all about a person turning another person onto new music. You know? I still think that it’s best way to know about new music. Word of mouth is the most key way to learn.

DJH: You travel with The Band of Changes, which is an ever evolving and revolving sort of music project. How many shows a year do you perform with The Band Of Changes?

CH: It varies and probably slowed down as I age into an ancient human being but I’d say as much as possible. Lately it averages out to once a month now. But it can vary if take mini tours. In 2008, I took off on a 12 or 14 day tour around Europe which was really cool. I’ve opened up for Ween around the country way back in the day too.

DJH: How do you think your performances over the years have changed?

CH: Something that has happened over the years is how busy everyone has gotten. Unless it was some special occasion, we stopped rehearsing and often musicians would meet each other for the first time on stage. It’s been really interesting to see how it’s evolved spontaneously in the live setting. Almost like jazz musicians and improvisational jam bands. So there is a lot of just give and take. Depending on personalities of the band that evening and what they are bringing to it. And I’d say that has evolved over time because once you’ve played with the same people for two or three decades and the newer players come in and meet them, it becomes this sort of mix which is really fun for me. It keeps it fresh and the songs alive and different arrangements from the record keeps it fun.

DJH: Ok. Finally, I have heard that you maybe have a new release coming out?

CH: I am working on a couple different things. There are no dates set yet but I have been in the studio working on several different projects with several different people. So, there are things in the works. I finally got to invest in a home recording situation. I’m excited about that, too.

DJH: Well, Chris, I appreciate the time you have taken to spend with me today, man. I will keep my ear out for any new projects to be released.

CH: Fantastic! Well, thanks for helping to spread the music. And if you haven’t already heard it, ‘Horn of Plenty’ would have been my last record that I did. Check it out and several of my others at the website and we’ll be in touch. Thanks for reaching out, Doc.

www.chrisharford.com

Thurston Moore – Rock N Roll Consciousness

 

By: Doc Jeffurious Higgason

Artist: Thurston Moore
Album: Rock N Roll Consciousness
Label: Caroline
Rating: 4.5/5.0

There exists a universe in which music stills flows organically from the hands of the creator into the waiting ears of fans. A place where music is still intrinsically a language that can not only be spoken but also unspoken by all and more or less universally understood. There is a place where music is ingested not only through a pair of ears, but also through the heart and soul. Occasionally “messages” will escape from this realm and will punch through the encircling mundane boundaries of our own as a reminder that music in essence is a cosmic magic and not some sort of frivolous novelty. I am very happy to tell you that Thurston Moore’s Rock N Roll Consciousness has arrived from that place.

On Rock N Roll Consciousness, Moore once again confirms his place within the pool of talent that made up the NYC “No Wave” art and indie rock scene of the early 1980s alongside Kim Gordon, Lee Renaldo and Steve Shelley as the seminal indie darlings Sonic Youth. It also demonstrates why exactly he is one of the forebears of the grunge and alternative music scenes of the 1990s. While Sonic Youth is still officially on hiatus, Thurston Moore has still been writing and recording.

Guitarist James Sedwards, My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe, and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley return from 2014’s The Best Day to provide a brilliant supporting foundation for Moore’s passive-aggressive trippy bliss on Rock N Roll Consciousness. The opening track “Exalted” spreads out the light of the entire album in a sort of Genesis-type (Genesis as in,”In the beginning, not the band) sunrise; the guitars join in arpeggio and then unfold into a stoner rock Raga out of the fifth-dimension as Moore sings in his trademark single tonal voice.

“She is the future and a prophetess…”

The song “Cusp” feels like a rapid rover ride across an dusty alien landscape to leave to you in the capable embrace of fluctuating and dynamic “Turn On”, where Moore tunes in upon your particular frequency and tells you about it.

“I come believing in your light. A sweet receiver in your mind. I turn it up all the way. To hear you come and save the day.”

“Turn On” recalls a taste of Sonic Youth but maintains itself as it’s own engine inside this machine, it is also my favorite track, as it exudes so many of the flavors in music that I love to lick on. A simple, steady, yet expansive jam. Insightful and mellow lyrics and a hint of Lou Reed! “Turn On” is the point in the album by which the listener is yanked across the transom into the pining love letter to New York City in the song “Smoke of Dreams”.

The concentrated power of Rock N Roll Consciousness concludes with the song “Aphrodite”, it closes the album as a wonderful example of how Moore and Sedwards explore parallel tonal dimensions on guitar respectfully as pilot and co-pilot; the final measures of the song playfully dance themselves away from you to the end, leaving the impression firmly intact. Rock N Roll Consciousness is an essential astral journey across Thurston Moore’s multifaceted musical universe.

World Premiere of Billy Momo’s NEW MUSIC VIDEO

 

by: Kidman J. Williams

This is the world premiere of Billy Momo’s newest video and song, “Following Me Following You,” off of their third album “Seven Rivers Run Wild.” They may not be a household name, yet, but you may have heard their song “Wishing Ain’t No Sin,” that was featured in the trailer of the hit TV show “Better Call Saul” on AMC.

This seven piece out of Sweden has a unique sound that you will find hard to pinpoint. You can’t say that it is just rock music or folk. You can’t say it is blues or pop. The music of Billy Momo blurs the line of rock and vaudevillian slant.

This new offering from the Swedish seven is just as filled with talent, fun quirkiness, and a catchy and hypnotic beat.

The band said that “The song is our comment on the current state of the world, where increasing polarization makes people stop listening to one another. All different fractions cling to their own views of the world, never question themselves, but everyone else. Even a voice of reason will be misinterpreted and twisted into different meanings by different people. This is a very serioius matter, but in this video we have tried to illustrate the point with a sense of humor. Hope you enjoy it!”

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.