I wanted to share both a great song and a great moment with 1146 readers. This video is a few years old but my drummer showed it to me yesterday and now I can’t stop watching it. About 1:25 into the song he realizes the whole room knows it and is singing along- and it almost literally knocks lead singer John McCauley back off his feet, like a strong gust of wind. It’s the moment the song became bigger than himself.
Deer Tick is an alt country band from Providence, RI. Their newest EP, Tim, is out this year on Partisan Records.
In the world of music where the more falsetto a guy’s voice gets, the more popular his music is, Bill Callahan is a deep breath of fresh, manly air. Actually, I don’t think manly air could ever also be fresh, but maybe a little musky–and that’s fine, too. What instantly caught my attention with Bill Callahan is his very non-falsetto voice, sort of reminiscent of Johnny Cash and other equally manly men.
Overuse of the word “manly” aside, Callahan’s alt-country music and Western-inspired lyrics give a girl a hankerin’ to be on a horse (or at least in a van) somewhere in that really good, clean part of the country. Living a simple life. Bonding with nature. Being sung to. But then, he’s got some edgy stuff, too. Callahan’s latest release Apocalypse also features tongue-in-cheek songs like “America!” which I assume intends for the exclamation point to be sarcastic. Some inspiring lyrics: “America! America! // I watch David Letterman in Australia // Oh America!”
“Drover,” featured here, is one that I believe should be featured in a modern-day Western. I haven’t gotten tired of it yet, and I’ve been listening to it a lot the past couple of days. It’s probably the manliness.
Last night, I went to a free show featuring local Denver opener Bare Bones and headliner Alberta Cross. I went at the urging of Jessie, who has good tastes and is friends with Bare Bones. It turned out to be a good show; one which I could be inspired to write about both bands. For now, I’ll highlight Bare Bones.
This was actually my second time seeing the local band. They played a set at UMS that I caught and they were good there as well. It’s time to give them their due here on the blog.
Bare Bones is an alt-country five-piece composed of Blake Brown, Frieda Stalheim, James Yardley, Jordan Wyatt, and Ben Desoto. Several of the members play in other notable Denver bands when they don’t come together as Bare Bones. When they’re together, they form a sonic equivalent of whiskey and tears. I like the Gothic Americana description the band self-ascribes because it captures the sadness, the solemn and empty feelings, that their music itself captures. It’s a fitting aesthetic descriptor. If you get the chance to see them, I encourage you to do so.
Their next show will be a release party on September 9th at Larimer Lounger for their self-titled EP. They will be playing with Land Lines.
Be sure to like them on Facebook and enjoy Stop Shakin!
I will continue to feature bands that I enjoyed from this past weekend. One such band was the Beaten Sea. They come from Dallas and the collective, Dallas Family Band. I happened to catch a number of the collective, with a number of members playing in multiple bands. For example, I think I saw Daniel Hall four times, with his contributions ranging from vocals on one project to percussion for the Beaten Sea. Jamie Wilson, Benj Pocta, and Ashley Myrick join Daniel to complete the lineup and they all perform as vocalists.
I have to say this recording pales in comparison to hearing them in a church as I offer up the photo above as proof. Yet, it’s still damn good. I feel fortunate to have seen them.
You should check out their self-titled debut, which is available at Bandcamp.
Matt Maguire took a 15 year hiatus from music and returned with the new musical project Larabee. The Philadelphia band sees Matt joined by Ken Buono, Becky Horner, Topher Horner, Joe Miralles, and Isaac Stanford in melding power pop and alt-country together. They recently released their debut EP, Expose A Little Wire, via Journeyman Records in March. Little Liar is the lead song off of that EP and the song I’m featuring.
Little Liar is a song that Vocal Nerd Rodeo calls an “alt-countryish gem” and I agree. As someone that grew up on country, Little Liar is one of those songs where I can’t help but tap my foot along with. Throw in the harmonica and I’m hooked.
You can stream and purchase it at Bandcamp. You can also purchase it on iTunes.
I’m on quite a binge right now–a binge of alt-country. The British folk band Circus Envy debuted the first single, Regret, off of their forthcoming album, Secrets, and it’s what I’m listening to.
Regret is much more of a country pop song than alt-country I grant you but the East Yorkshire band of Leigh Hirst, James Paddison, Mike Richmond, Andy Clark, and Mick Harding isn’t afraid of the alternative. For example, they dive into the use of alternative instruments like the bouzouki, the mandolin, and the cajon. Suffice to say, it’s an enjoyable little ditty.
Circus Envy is looking to perform festivals in UK this spring, so be on the lookout for them. Check out Regret here and also their Facebook.
Part of me wishes that I was moving to Austin instead of Denver. I think it would be awesome to live in a place known for live music and the talented musicians that play it. It would allow me to go see artists like Ariel Abshire.
Ariel is an eighteen year old singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas. But don’t let her youth fool you, she’s been singing at honky-tonks and dance halls since she was eleven. Plus, Ariel has been exposed to the great aforementioned Austin scene. To get to know her even better, go to her Facebook page (where she’s pretty active)–you probably should like her while you’re there. And here’s her website.
She’s working on the follow up to her highly regarded debut, Exclamation Love. Songs to check out off of that record include Goddamn New Mexico and Exclamation Love. Heck, just go buy that album from Darla Records. Her sophomore album will feature She’s On Your Mind among others.
I connected with She’s Own Your Mind instantly. I’m on record as to really enjoying Taylor Swift and this song reminds me of a Taylor Swift song, lyrically and in its arrangement. But honestly, I prefer Ariel’s voice. It’s got a mature depth to it that can trick us about her age. I think that’s why I’m crushing so hard on Ariel’s music. I kind of suggested that Ariel upload She’s Own Your Mind to Soundcloud and I was honestly surprised to see that it was unmastered version. Could have fooled me.