The Bottle Rockets proudly call themselves ‘The Best Band On The Planet!’…..OK…obvious hyperbole…but I was in the mood for a bit of rockabilly grunginess and it just so happened that Bloodshot Records is giving away ‘Nothin’ But A Driver’ on one of their famous sampler albums on Amazon and y’all know I’m willing to listen to anything for free! The Bottle Rockets have been kickin’ it since 1992 and were one of the reasons the term ‘alt-country’ got a Wiki page! They even had a major label deal with Atlantic Records until the whole record business went into the shitter…since then they’ve been doin’ what all indie bands do…touring and releasing great music that few people ever get to hear! Along the way they put out ten albums…the most recent being Lean Forward, where ‘Nothin’ But A Driver’ originally appeared. And since I haven’t exactly been spittin’ out the tunes on a regular basis, I’ve included a second track, ‘Hard Times’, that I found on the Bloodshot website.
You should head on over to Amazon and download the entire Bloodshot Sampler, then check out the boys at their website
It often surprises me just how much stuff I pass on to The List that fits into the Alt Country category…God knows it’s been kinda folky in hererecently…but even though I spent a lotta time growing up on the farm in Saskatchewan, I never really had much use for all the twang and slide guitars. Now for some reason I find myself listening to much more down-home, country-fried tunes than I used to. Maybe it’s an aging thing…or just me bein’ a bit more open-minded…or just maybe, the music has gotten so much better over time and the line between Folk Rock, Art Rock and Country Rock just gets fuzzier and fuzzier! Anyway, a couple of hours ago, Matt Ellis…an Australian Singer/Songwriter who’s living in the Country Music capital of Venice, California…sent me his latest album, Births, Deaths & Marriages, a collection of the above mentioned Alt Country warblers, soulful ballads and Delta roadhouse jams. I’ve listened through the entire thing twice already and Goddamn it if it ain’t shuffle-steppin’ it’s way into my heart. Matt’s lonesome lyrics and Sad Bastard vocals and a parade of guest musicians have crafted a tight little hoedown with haunting Pedal Steel work from Greg Leisz (who’s played with Joni Mitchell, Sheryl Crow and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss) and guitars from Tim Young (Beck) and Nick Luca (Calexico). Go on and give him a look on MySpace or over on his Web Site
And for all you dog lovers, this video is gonna put a tear in your eye…..
Vancouver’s Parlour Steps gets all kinda press up North, but I can pretty much guarantee they’ll be new to everybody reading this South of the 49th parallel. But if you’re a fan of that hard to define music category affectionately known as alt-country, then you should give ’em a listen…..front man Caleb Stull can really spin a catchy pop song, filled with brainy lyrics, toe-tapping arrangements and wonderfully layered harmonies. Their new album, The Hidden Names, comes out next month, but in the meantime, head on over to their MySpace Page and check ’em out.