Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children Macnuggits: Trainwreck To Narnia [Album]

Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children Macnuggits - Trainwreck To NarniaCorbett Redford and Dan Abbott are a duo that obviously understand the power behind the laughter.  But even more so, they may be the finest songsmiths out today to understand the power of analogy and finding humor in the dereliction of human decency.  In a world that seems to be at times deprived of decency and filled with shit at its core, it’s good to know that there a fine folks like Bobby Joe Ebola & The Children Macnuggits who will be there to exploit indecency and the modern warfare against the common man in a beautifully light-hearted way.  Which is what I feel their latest, and possibly most personal, album Trainwreck To Narnia does all to well.  This is an album that is bright and beautiful, yet tells it just like it is.  You will feel love.  You will feel inspired.  Because if you don’t, you might have a whole lot of soul-searching and/or therapy in your very near future.

As the guys themselves always say, “Just because we’re laughing, doesn’t mean we’re joking.”  And these truths seem to continue to be self-evident throughout Trainwreck To Narnia, just as they did back in 2010 with their stellar comeback album that I have never stopped listening to known as F , and just as they have been proving through the last three decades.  From the hilarious goof on Ice-T known as “Cop Kisser”, to the lovely little Louden Wainwright-like ditty “My Darling Boo”, and all the way back to the analogical look at the downer parts of life known as “Blues Turn Brown”, Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children Macnuggits have created another absolutely stellar addition to their already extremely impressive catalog.  And thee shall be damned of “The Last Child Soldier” doesn’t blow thy mind with its brilliance and sass.  This is an album that will make you laugh, cry, and more importantly, simply make you feel good about yourself through the power of lyric and expressionism.  This is definitely not an album to be missed.

Trainwreck To Narnia is available now from Roof Top Comedy Productions.  Buy it.  Now!

Trainwreck’d Society’s Person of 2012: Anna-Lynne Williams [Exclusive]

Anna-Lynne1In 2011, Anna-Lynne Williams started to shake things up a bit in the independent music world, yet again.  Announcing the start up of her very own label, Saint Loup Records, meant a whole new beginning for one of the greatest voices and musicians in the business.  Sadly this would mean the demise of the well received and praised duo of Anna-Lynne and Matt Brown known as Trespassers William.  But where TW left off, Anna-Lynne did not fail to continue on sharing your amazing vocals and guitar playing, and now label running, gifts with the world.  Even before the TW break up, she released two amazing albums on Saint Loup Records, both of which landed in the top ten of our very own Top 37 1/2 Albums of 2011.  2011 say the release of Sergius Gregory’s Sounds Like People, and Lotte Kestner (Anna-Lynne’s solo efforts) collection of incredibly reworked cover songs aptly titled Stolen.  And it was with this intensity, despite the loss of a classic indie duo, that Anna-Lynne Williams would see another year filled with a multitude of success, despite what could have been some serious set backs.
Anna-Lynne Williams suffered, and continues to suffer, from a very serious wrist injury.  As you could rightfully guess, a wrist injury can very well be one of the most damaging injuries a musician could ever encounter.  So what does one do?  Simply give up?  Never.  Not if you are Anna-Lynne Williams.  If you are anything like her, you fight back.  Although her guitar playing abilities were fractured (pun intended), she still managed to thrive.  She continued to record.  A lot!  Loading up her Bandcamp page and website with an abundance of even more cover tracks beyond what we heard on Stolen.  Another batch of solo versions of great Trespassers William tunes.  Saint Marie Records also dropped a nice little gem for TW fans with the release of a collection of b-sides and unreleased tracks on an album entitled, Cast, leaving us with one last glimpse of The Anna-Lynne and Matt duo that was.  All of this without mentioning the abundance of guest appearances she has made with the likes of Ghosts I’ve Met, Minotaur Shock, indie hip hop sensations like Sadistik and Bodi, and many many more.  And then we have…..Ormonde.
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When I heard that Anna-Lynne Williams would be teaming up with the boy from Denton Texas, Robert Gomez, who I had been listening to for years, I knew there was no way this could go wrong.  And with busted up hand and all, Anna-Lynne took herself down to Texas, recorded an amazing record, showcased it at SXSW, took the show on the European trail throughout the summer of 2012, and released the number one album of 2012.  Her amazing sultry vocals tag teamed with Gomez’s singularly special guitar work is definitely one of the finest duos since, well, Trespassers William.  So, while a simpler being would have given up, Anna-Lynne was out there making friends, and making things happen.
2012 was indeed a great year for Anna-Lynne Williams, but it was definitely an even better year for her fans.  And isn’t that what being an entertainer is all about?  Sure it is a personal vendetta to create exactly what you need to say, to free your soul or even to enlighten it.  But, c’mon, you need an audience.  And she definitely has that.  Case in point, after announcing that fans will be lucky enough to hear her new album in the first couple months of 2013 via Saint Marie Records, Anna-Lynne sidelined that announcement with a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a companion EP on her very own label.  What was thought to be a campaign spanning weeks to fully fund, took less than 24 hours.  Fans went crazy, and Anna-Lynne left the campaign running as a means of pre-ordering the EP, and also getting some great extra goodies along the way that were mostly handcrafted by her herself, and nearly tripled the original amount of the campaign.  A sincere gesture from those who love Lotte Kestner, Ormonde, and whatever this goddess of the indie world would like to sing to them.  That being said, it appears as though the sky is the limit for whatever Anna-Lynne Williams shall do in the upcoming year.  Her third Lotte Kestner album is set to drop in a couple of weeks, and it promises to be her best work to date.
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But as we did for last year’s list, we thought it was better to get in touch with a few of Anna-Lynne’s friends to ask them the simple question:  Why do you believe Anna-Lynne Williams deserves this nomination?  Most of the responses were obvious, which can only be considered a good thing.  So check out what some of those closest to Anna-Lynne had to say, and please join me in re-welcoming Anna-Lynne Williams to the Trainwreck’d family once again, as the Trainwreck’d Society’s Person of 2012.

And now some words from……..

Kevin Long

Kevin Long

Anna-Lynne is a great conversationalist, very knowledgable and passionate about music, having been in the industry for quite some time, worked at record stores, etc. She is well-read and well versed in film and art of all sorts. Despite the adoration of fans around the globe she remains a very humble, modest and friendly person in real life. She is rather unassuming in the Seattle music scene despite having been around here for quite some time, but people are getting to know her a lot more recently from what I gather. I’ve had the pleasure of playing an Elliott Smith tribute (we played Pitseleh together), as well as a few house shows in the greater Seattle-ish area, and she is supposed to accompany me for at least one song this friday at my person biggest show ever, opening for Damien Jurado at Cathedral here in Seattle, projected to be sold out with 800 seats. You are probably aware of her many collaborations with various artists (chemical brothers, delirium, the list goes on). All I can say is.. there are more of those kinds of things in the works .. I think I may be privy to tidbits which I cannot share, but indeed people are still reaching out her to lend her talents, which is no surprise!

Sam Watts (Ghost I’ve Met)

Sam Watts

Anna-Lynne and I sing in a band together called Ghosts I’ve Met. We recently recorded a new Ep. Together that will be out next month which is called “The Leveling Storm” Anna-Lynne sang multiple vocal tracks on the Ep.I believe Anna-Lynne deserves this honor for numerous reasons but what I admire most about her is her work ethic. I have never met any one who has released so much quality music. I am constantly impressed by her ability to change and grow as a songwriter and as a singer. She has been a serious inspiration to me as an artist and as a friend.

 

Daniel Blue

Daniel BlueAnna Lynne and I worked together for the first time on my first record. she sang harmonies on a track called “Wait For me” by Motopony. from there we began to write songs together and in cahoots, I’ve been on one of her records as well, and she comes out to sing with me now and again when I perform “Wait For Me” live.  She is worthy of the nomination because despite her wrist issues, she remains one of the hardest working self-produced artists that i know in seattle. she is tenacious and dedicated to pure and beautiful expression.

 

Matthew Brown (The Soft Hills, Trespassers William)

Matthew BrownI’ve worked for over 15 years with Anna-Lynne as a founding member of Trespassers William. She is worthy of the nomination for many reasons: she’s a talented songwriter with a one of a kind, gorgeous voice, she’s one of the hardest working musicians I’ve ever known and a generous, humble and thoughtful person on top of all that.

 

Alexander Hallett (hip hop artist, Bodi)

Alexander HalletAnna-Lynne and I are friends, artistic collaborators, and share books and music with one another. We worked together on my upcoming album, The Fall of Atlas. She is on the intro track, “Prologue”, which is one of my favorite tracks I’ve ever made (and also some of my favorite work I’ve heard from her), as well as singing with me on the chorus of “Anagnorisis”, one of the album’s interludes.  She’s most definitely worthy of the nomination, largely due to the fact she is passionate about her work, incredibly talented, caring, giving, professional, prolific, and humble.

 

Sergius Gregory

Sergius GregoryI have worked with Anna-Lynne since 2007 when I was living in Alaska and we were mutual fans of one another. She became so convinced that my songs needed to be released that she started a record label (Saint-Loup) to released them. We’ve performed together in Seattle numerous times and she has become a great friend. I am eternally grateful for all of her support and will support her any way I can.  She is absolutely worthy of this nomination. She is a brilliant artist and has a uniquely beautiful voice. She works hard and supports other artists and is a warm, sweet person.

Anomie Belle

Anomie BelleAnna-Lynne is a friend, and we have collaborated many times over the past five years. She sang guest vocals on both of my first two LPs and toured my first album with me. I’ve contributed strings and piano to both her solo recordings, and to those of Trespassers William as well.  Anna-Lynne is always busy with new projects and collaborations, to which she brings her beautifully haunting and unique vocal style, and her delicately honed abilities as a songwriter. She is kind, honest, knowledgeable, professional and generous. The number of collaborators she’s had over the past decade speaks to both her talents and to what a pleasure she is to work with.

Minotaur Shock

Minotaur ShockA few years ago, I contacted Anna-Lynne on Myspace after reading that she was a fan of my music. Coincidentally, I was a fan of Trespassers William, so I just sent a message saying hi. We had an email exchange and ended up collaborating (well, collaborating via the internet!). I remixed a Trespassers William track and she sang on one of my tracks.

Although I’ve never met Anna-Lynne in person, or even spoken to her, she is one of the most inspiring musicians I’m in contact with. Being a musician is tough these days – I have a full time day job, 2 kids and ageing bones, and there never seems to be time for music. Anna-Lynne seems to be constantly creative, taking the bull by the horns and ‘getting on with it’ in a way that just spurs me on. Even with her hand injury, which must be terrible considering her obvious love of playing the guitar, she managed to stay positive and creative. Although she probably doesn’t even realise – I’ve never thought to tell her – her attitude towards creating and performing is a constant inspiration to me (and probably a lot of people who she’s connected with). Whenever I hit a creative block, or feel that there are not enough hours in the day, I will have a look at what Anna-Lynne’s been up to and it forces me to stop moaning about my problems and just get on with it. So I’d like to thank her, and totally think she deserves this award.

Robert Gomez

Robet GomezI met Anna-Lynne during a recording session with John Grant (Bella Union). We hung out briefly. Eventually, I found myself in Seattle a few months later and by that point I had become familiar with her solo work and was really taken with it. Her album, China Mountain, literally brought me to tears. While in Seattle we met up to watch a band I had gone up there to see and she invited me to Portland to see her show. After some road trip bonding I asked her if she might want to make a record with me in the west Texas dessert, she accepted, and we started Ormonde.

Robert Deeble

Robert DeebleAnna-Lynne and I shared the same stomping grounds in Southern California, I can’t remember how we were originally introduced but she, TW and I all shared gigs a lot around Long Beach, LA and Orange County in our younger years.

We both eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest and have stayed in touch. Most recently Anna lent her haunting vocals to one of the singles off my latest record. Despite knowing each other for 12 years it was the first time we had worked together on a record .  One of the most frightening things an artist may ever go through is developing a physical limitation that threatens to undermine the sense of who they are. Anna’s struggle with her hands is something I can identify with as I mysteriously lost function in both of mine that forced me to stop playing guitar or even writing letters for over a year. Its times like this that can cause a lot of panic in your own identity. I have appreciated how Anna, the “mop top firl from Trespassers who strums a guitar in her lap, has managed to adjust in order to remain artistically keene to who she is. Adaptation has become an honorable quality in Anna… I hope her hands will heal as mine did but I am impressed at how she has made good use of her talent in the mean time.

Cody Foster (hip hop artist, Sadistik)

Cody FosterAnna-Lynne and I have been good friends for a couple of years now, and we’ve collaborated on a handful of songs. She’s on my upcoming album a few times and we’ve shot some music videos and played shows together. We’ve also collaborated on Mexican food and cocktails on the side.

It’s no secret that Anna-Lynne is one of my favorite singers in the world. I was a fan before I was a friend, and for my two cents, I can’t name a female’s voice that I listen to more often than hers. She has a calming fragility to her music that I love. Besides her talents, I think this year would be especially suiting for her to receive an award since it’s been such a trying year for her. I’ve witnessed some of her struggles with her health first hand and how frustrated it made her, but I also got to see her stay productive and inspired. When she couldn’t physically play guitar anymore, she wrote and released a poetry book instead. Even after a year of health setbacks, the breakup of her band Trespassers William, and other obstacles, she’s stayed very diligent and made an album that I’m in love with (which you’ll hear in a few months). I think that’s really impressive, personally.

Cody Foster2

She has had a prolific year and indeed has over come so many difficulties, both physically and emotionally. She has undoubtedly shown she can bring the midas touch to anything she does; a cover song or a collaboration or a solo effort or even a book poetry. And she does all this mostly on her own. She is a true independent, tireless and inspired artist of the highest order whom, in 2012, gave us her best work to date.

Scott Adsit [Interview]

Scott Adsit

30 Rock was obviously one of the greatest comedy shows on the air in the last few years, and will more than likely go down as one of the top shows in the history of television.  What is that made this show so damn great?  Well, it’s obviously the great writing, which can only be hailed properly by superior acting abilities.  Antics, oafs, and stress are three almost essential elements in creating a good, long lasting comedy show.  It’s all about character.  And 30 Rock had so many brilliant characters assembled into one hilarious setting.

One of my personal favorite characters from the show was without a doubt the whimsical man who seems to take life one day at a time, because thinking about his future might just make his head explode.  I am talking about Pete Hornberger. The lovely saddened bald man who seems to be on an entire different plain than his wacky co-workers.  Better known to the real world as Scott Adsit, this is an actor who has mastered the art of of portraying the lovable oaf that you just can’t say a bad word about. As recognizable as he is charming, Adsit is a character in himself, and one that we are surely going to be fortunate enough to see even more of as his career progresses with each passing day.  We were fortunate enough to be able to steal a few words form one of televisions finest jewels to ask him about the show, why he loves what he does, and….is he a raging alcoholic?  So, enjoy!

Within your extremely impressive career, you have mastered the art of on-screen acting, as well as improv theatre.  Tell us, if you were only able to do one of these performances, which would it be?  

Well, I wish improv paid what on camera pays. But I keep doing improv, and theater in general, for next to nothing. So I guess if I had to choose, I’d go with the one that benefits my visceral, artistic, guerrilla mojo, but dooms me financially because the stage is the Actor’s medium. Unlike on film, we’re in charge of what’s going on, how we react, move and deliver lines. On screen, we’re subject to a committee of opinions that control the final product: editors and producers and sponsors and studio heads. And in my experience, they generally do a great job (maybe I’ve been lucky). But on stage, it’s just me, my cast and the crowd. Also, there’s obviously a high you get from finding your rhythm with an audience. It’s a symbiotic relationship; you delight each other.

How much of Pete Hornberger is there in Scott Adsit? 

Pete and I started out closer to each other than we ended up. The more we learned about Pete, the more we found out about his bizarre, off-screen life. He kind of stood out as the normal one among eccentrics and oddballs, but eventually, we come to realize that for every Micky Roarke encounter Jenna has had, Pete has a Bum Fight Club or Olympic disaster. So in that way, we differ. I’ve made better choices. I’ve also never had a wife or kids, which are a big part of Pete’s definition. I don’t avoid my family nor live my life as a coiled spring of panic, like Pete. His life is a list of regrets and missed opportunities, I’m a little luckier than Pete. The ways we’re alike would be our affection for Liz/Tina. We’re both very close with those women. Often, when you see the whole room dissing Liz or ridiculing her for some reason, if you look at Pete, he’s usually empathetic toward her. And when she triumphs, no one is prouder than Pete.

Scott Adsit2Aside from the obvious oddball antics of the show, as  seasoned veteran in the television world, how close does 30 Rock hit to the actual production of a television show?

Obviously, it all comes from real encounters and situations.  Mostly.  I don’t recall a story from SNL’s history where Kelsey Grammer formulates a plan to make the producer look like a self-asphyxiating masturbator, but maybe I should talk to Lorne more often.

Can you tell us a bit about Reflections From the Heart of A Child?  Are you often recognized for this video, and if so, how awkward is that?

It’s mentioned on my Wikipedia, as you may have discovered, so it comes up occasionally. It’s an educational film for the families of physical and alcohol abuse. It was one of my first on camera jobs, years and years ago and I played an abusive father who drank and took his frustrations out on his family. I was a nasty, violent guy. I know it’s still used as an educational tool and I imagine it’s helped a lot of people after all this time, so I’m proud of that. As a matter of fact, just this week Cecily Strong of SNL (whom I know from Second City) informed me that we’re actually castmates in that film. We never met during production, but we’re both in there, mending hearts and fixing families. It’s still out in the world, on school shelves and in recovery center dayrooms, but I’ve never actually been approached by anyone thanking me for changing their situations at home. I have, though, had a few drunks punch me and put their cigarettes out on my face for exposing them, so there’s that.

What would you say his your most prized performance in your career on a personal level?  

Early in my days at Second City, I was in the touring company and we would perform on the Mainstage every Monday, when the resident cast had the night off. Now, in those days, I was 21, living check to check and facing a career that quite often never faces you back, so my future was hopeful and bleak. My mother, Genny, never doubted me or my prospects as an actor, however my father, Andy, was a lawyer, like his father and grandfather, and he always felt a little worried that I was embarking on something with no stability nor guarantees as a means of living. And certainly, he had no ins in show business like he had in law business, so he worried that he couldn’t ever give me a leg up or a healthy dose of nepotism. And while he supported every amateur play or show I ever did, he was a bit suspect of whether I had the talent to make it a career; the one thing he did know about acting was that it was brutal. But then, one Monday night on that Second City stage, I had the crowd of over three hundred laughing really pretty uproariously, acting in some scene, I don’t remember which. And rising above that wall of laughter, I heard my dad laughing harder than anyone. And I actually caught a quick look at him sitting at that tiny, cabaret table, just crying with laughter, trying to adjust himself so that he didn’t fall over. And I knew that he knew I was going to be alright. He never worried again. That was my favorite performance.

Scott Adsit3

If you could portray any renowned corrupt politician in history, who would it be?  Why?

Reagan. Because he got away with it.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I just attended the SAG Awards recently and they gave Dick Van Dyke a Lifetime Achievement trophy and I’ll tell you he’s one of my all time heroes. He’s on a very short list. And there I was in the same room with him. The guy is 87 hear old and when Baldwin called him to the podium, he nearly danced up the steps to the stage. Flawless, weightless, joyful. He’s still today the man I loved since I could turn on a TV.

Bike Thief: Ghost of Providence [Album]

coverIt’s good to hear quality, organic instrumentation on a record these days, as the world becomes more saturated with electronic music such as “dub step” and “trap”. Bike Thief has released their first EP, and it’s just what you need if you love songwriting and you’re looking for a break from bass and glitches.

The six song EP, Ghost of Providence, begins by drawing you in with “Battles” as the steady acoustic guitar vamp ushers in the backing vocals, eventually giving way to the string section. It crescendos with the strings and builds some tension before letting you back down easy as it returns to the vamp. This is a great song. Febian Perez’s voice reminds you a lot of Nathan Willett from Cold War Kids. Great voice.

The most impressive thing on this record is probably the use of the string section. I can’t imagine what this album would have been without the strings. Actually, I can. Before Febian came to Portland from Austin, TX we had begun to correspond via email. I heard “Battles” and fell in love. It wasn’t what it is now, but it was more than enough to make me want to make music with Mr. Perez. And now that he and his band mates are here in Portland, Bike Thief is taking off. The band has only been in Portland for about 5 months now, and already has opened for Cherry Poppin’ Daddies at Dante’s, and you definitely get the sense that these guys are really going somewhere.

Ghost of Providence was engineered and mixed by Jim Cuda, mastered by Nick Moon, and recorded at Big Red Studios in Corbett, OR (where Pearl Jam recorded the drums for TEN) and is available now at

http://riverjonesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-of-providence