New Music Tuesday: Andrew Sheppard: Steady Your Aim [Album]

Well, it feels like this is going to the year of the amazing country infused singer/songwriter. We kicked off the year featuring The Wood Brothers, and now we have something insanely special to share with you all. Today we are featuring an amazing album from a guy who instantly stole my musical heart. His name is Andrew Sheppard, and his album Steady Your Aim is a prime example of a truly soulful cat who can, to put it bluntly, write the fuck out of a song!

I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Steady Your Aim, I was just looking to give it a chance. And god dammit if I didn’t give a little gasp of fear when the playlist ran through to competition without even realizing. So, I ran through another listen. And then another. And then another. And….you get the point. While some may wish to strip down Sheppard’s work as a collection of Country melodies, I feel very strongly that this is a wrong assumption. There is an essence of rockabilly and old school guitar screeching business that is undeniably strong throughout Steady Your Aim. And the songwriting! Sheppard writes songs that are deliberate, thoughtful, and quick (every song is under 4 minutes!). And he does it flawlessly!

The title track, “Steady Your Aim”, is an obvious hit single. But, to ignore a more hardcore track like “Lies As Cheap As Whiskey” or twangy “Here at the Bottom” would simply be irresponsible. Steady Your Aim is an album loaded with perfectly written melodies for every mood imaginable. Whether your filled with booze and joy, or dealing with darkness (with booze?) there is something here for you. It’s early in the year, but I have to call it…..Steady Your Aim will be known as one of the best albums of 2018. No arguments.

Steady Your Aim will be available for download or however you listen to music on March 23rd. Check out andrewsheppardmusic.com for details.

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New Music Tuesday: The Wood Brothers: One Drop of Truth [Album]


“What I really love about this record is that each one of these songs has its own little world. There are diverse sounds and vibes from one track to the next.” – Oliver Wood

The Wood Brothers has always been a band that has fascinated me for some of the most obvious reasons. In a world wrapped in obscurity and absurdity, sometimes it is nice to return to some good old fashioned blues-laced rock and roll. And when it comes to putting out solid old school meets new age blues, there simply is no other group out there doing it as well as The Wood Brothers. I will always remember being absolutely floored by their performance at Pickathon in 2012, and was obsessed with their 2015 album Paradise. But, I have to say here and now, I truly believe that One Drop of Truth finds The Wood Brothers at their absolute best. This album is so perfectly varied in sound and style, yet continues with the same brilliant sound that their fans have come to expect.

Whether they are getting just a little bit funky on “Sparkling Wine”, or bringing on the heavy hearted blues on “Laughin’ or Crying”, there is something on One Drop of Truth for just about everyone. There is a “just a little bit country” feel to this playlist that is undeniably appealing. “River Takes the Town” is an amazing display of the songwriter ability of The Wood Brothers, and should likely hit a soft spot for anybody who has found themselves in a relatable incident. As Oliver Wood said himself, these tracks are very diverse. But, I would argue that there is a sensibility about them that makes them absolutely specific to their own. Which is a damn good thing. If I were hard pressed to choose a “favorite track” on the album, it would probably have to be “Happiness Jones”, but this is from the viewpoint of a lyric loving guy. I love the idea of wisdom through hard times, and I haven’t heard a song so brilliantly describe something of this nature so well, in so damn long.

I know it is very early in the year, but I can safely say that  One Drop of Truth is the best thing I have heard this year, and I am certain that this sentiment will ring through all the way into the upcoming winter, and well beyond.


One Drop of Truth will be available on February 2nd wherever you find music. Check out the band’s website for more details.Wanna see the Wood Brothers’ magic live and in person? You can find them at a city near you:

Jan. 25Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre
Jan. 26Washington, DC – Lincoln Theatre
Jan. 28Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Jan. 30Albany, NY – The Egg
Jan. 31New York, NY – Irving Plaza
Feb. 2 – Portland, ME – State Theatre
Feb. 3Boston, MA – House of Blues
Feb. 9Miami Beach, FL – Groundup Music Festival
Feb. 21Phoenix, AZ – MIM Music Theater
Feb. 22Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up
Feb. 23Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
Feb. 24San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb. 25San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb. 27Arcata, CA – Kate Buchanan Room
Feb. 28Ashland, OR – Southern Oregon University
Mar. 1Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
Mar. 2Seattle, WA – Neptune
Apr. 11Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Apr. 12Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
Apr. 13Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
Apr. 14Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
Apr. 15St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Apr. 17Cincinnati, OH – Taft Ballroom
Apr. 18Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
Apr. 19Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue
Apr. 20Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theater

 

Check out the lead off single for the One Drop of Truth, right here:

New Music Tuesday: Blitzen Trapper: Wild and Reckless [Album]

It will come to no surprise to regular readers of Trainwreck’d Society, but the album I am going to talk about today comes from the band that I consider to be the greatest assembly of recording artists who are making music today. I will always remember when I completed my first listen to a Sub Pop promo of Blitzen Trapper’s then forthcoming EP The Black River Killer EP, and I actually stated this question out loud: “Did I just discover my favorite band?” On that day, and now a decade later, the answer was/is an absolute YES.

Whilst listening and enjoying each and every album that Blitzen Trapper has released over the last decade, which have been  motherfucking APLENTY, I have attempted to recognize some sort of adaptive theme that has been occurring over time. I always feel like I am just about onto what Eric & company are doing, but much like many characters in beautiful songs, I am just left wondering. I know there is something there, I just can’t quite figure it out. I know that Wild and Reckless is very similar to there latests album, All Across This Land, in some ways or another, yet there are obvious advancements. It has been occurring since Furr, honestly. It’s as though Eric Early writes 2 albums worths of songs, but knows how to make them just a little bit different with each release.

And then I realize, I should just shut my fucking mind down, and remember why I love these cats in the first place. No matter the forum, I love Blitzen Trapper. And with each album they put out on an extremely regular basis, I am only more solidified in the idea that I have found the most perfect band currently performing on this planet, or the next. And I can say with no hesitation that Wild and Reckless has successfully kept my mind on track in recognizing just how god damned wonderful Blitzen Trapper can be.

Wild and Reckless is deeply infused with the Americana & Country roots that have made Blitzen Trapper so special to so many out there. It is another brilliant batch of songs that continue to prove why I have and will always consider frontman Eric Early to be “the son that Bob Dylan wishes he would have had.” I have listened to each track at least a couple of dozen times now, and it is hard to single out a track to showcase. But, if I were hard pressed, I have to call out “Baby, Won’t You Turn Me On” to be as poignant and on par with some of my favorite tracks like “Every Loved Once” or ” Love the Way You Walk Away” from previous releases. But I will be damned if “Wind Don’t Always Blow” doesn’t just blow (pun intended) my damned mind.

It’s almost helpless and hapless at this point that I even continue to cover the work of Blitzen Trapper. I mean, I’m not going to stop, I’m just saying that there is nothing that these cats can’t do right. I am always going to love their work, and I am certain that there will never come a day that I am not impressed with the brilliance that they continuously give to the world. I have witnessed their live performances more times than any other band around, and each and every time, in every scenario, I am beyond impressed more and more each time. I’ve seen them on a small and intimate outdoor stage, a grandiose and headlining outdoor stage, an oversized night club in the middle of nowhere, and in a Portland, Oregon basement. And each time, I am beyond impressed. They are just that fucking GOOD!

Wild and Reckless is available now wherever you get music. So get your Google on and get a bit more Blitzen Trapper in your life. Also check out this brilliant, and even hilarious, official video for the single “Wild and Reckless”:

New Music Tuesday: Grayson Capps: Scarlett Roses [Album]

I have long since considered myself a Grayson Capps fan. We had an amazing interview with him a few years ago that absolutely filled my heart with pride to have featured here at Trainwreck’d Society. But, I will admit, I sort of lost touch with what this mastermind has been up to. But then I saw his name appear in my inbox with some sort of subject announcing he was back after 6 years, and I was beyond intrigued, to say the least.

Grayson Capps has been a staple in my life for quite sometimes. His father penned the novel for film in which he would contribute some amazing tracks to, that would eventually be A Love Song For Bobby Long, a film that I would consider one of the greatest of all time. So let’s just get that out there.

To learn that Grayson hasn’t put out an album in 6 years almost made me sad to realize that I hadn’t been involved enough to notice. But, to learn that it was his own choice to let the material for a full length album just come to him was absolutely enlightening, and down right inspiring. And if it takes six years for a brilliant album like Scarlett Roses, well fucking so be it!

Scarlett Roses is a brilliant combination of Grayson’s amazing attributions towards the world of folk music and country rock. One of the most obviously lovable tracks, and the one I tend to go back to, is the amazing “Bag of Weed”. It is a simply melody that seems to poke fun at the bullshit world of modern country that is absolutely disgusting and intolerable. It is a playful, fun, and catchy track that manages to still toy with our emotions, all the while having a bit of fun. Which is a concept that many modern country artists simply can not seem to understand.

And then there is a song like “Hold Me Darlin” that is like a blast from the past to the Bobby Long days, that I will absolutely never turn down. But, the song that truly needs to be showcased is the absolutely brilliant “New Again”, which is unlike anything I have heard from Grayson before, and almost unlike anything I have heard before in the world of music in general. I truly can not say enough how much I truly love this track. It mixes so many different elements of country, folk, soul, love, loss, and miracles, that you really have to hear it for yourself to truly understand. So do yourself a favor, and do that. Listen. Don’t just hear, truly fucking listen. Now.

Are you one of our many fine Italian readers? Well, I will be god damned if you aren’t in luck! Check out these dates with Grayson all across your amazing country:

November 16Cantu, Italy – All’Una E Trentacinque Circa
November 17Milano, Italy – Spazio Teatro 89
November 18 – Ravenna, Italy – Marlin
November 19Verona, Italy – Le Cantine dell’Arena
November 22Correzzola, Italy – Cockney London Pub
November 24 Dozza, Italy – Teatro Comunale
November 26Fiorenzuola, Italy – Teatro Verdi

And don’t forget to pick up your own copy of Scarlett Roses when it is release on December 1st, 2o17. Until then, check out this YouTube lyrical preview for “Hold Me Darlin”, right here:

New Music Tuesday: Robin Grey – From The Ground Up [Album]

 

Over the last decade, my love for the work of Robin Grey has been well documented, I would say. He is one of the finest songwriters we have out there these days. I dare to say that he is a damned genius in the world of songwriting. He can strum and sing around topics from politics to love to nostalgia with the greatest of easy, and brilliant flow that is both soothing and exciting.

And with his first full length album in 3 1/2 years, Robin has brought more of that same sort of magic to the world with From the Ground Up. This brilliant songsmith has brought to us another brilliant collection of thought-provoking and compelling tracks. And while Grey’s music has always had a bit of a politically driven force behind it, he really hits it hard on this one. And it so many different ways! He revels in the darkness on a track like “Underneath the Skin”, and then moves a bit more light hearted in the environment driven track “Woodman, Spare That Tree”.

Photo by Sunniva Taylor

Of course it isn’t all politics and uproar filling the time space continuum of From the Ground Up. To say that would avoid talking about the absolutely brilliant track that I have listened to on repeat for over a month now, the lovely “Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy”, which features vocals from one of my new favorite voices in the music world, the great Chance Kellner. Dammit does she have a lovely set of vocal chords! Chance unknowingly channels the tenderness of Lotte Kestner, and blends it with the a dash of Edie Brickell to create something timeless and original. While I don’t want to take away from the 10 other tracks that Robin Grey’s fantastic singing abilities are displayed, I simply felt compelled to let you all know that you NEED to hear this track with Chance Kellner, and then anything else you may be able to hear her on. She is that damned talented.

Overall, From the Ground Up is a brilliant display of the continuous abilities of Robin Grey. For the close to the last decade or so that I have been adoring his music, he never fails to impress. Time may be of the essence for us in so many different fragmentations of our life, but it is definitely not a hinderance for Robin Grey to continue sharing his passion for the world through music with us all. To know Robin Grey’s music is to know love, compassion, and strength through melody. And we could obviously use a bit more of that in the modern world.

Head on over to robingrey.com to purchase and stream From the Ground Up, right NOW!

And check out this lovely little music video for the very powerful track “Leave It in the Ground”:

 

New Music Tuesday: Lotte Kestner – Off White [Album]

Note: Welcome to our first edition of our upcoming irregular segment, “New Music Tuesday”. I know that music is now released on Fridays, and frankly I don’t care for it. We don’t have anything for Tuesdays now! So therefore, welcome to “New Music Tuesday”.

As many avid readers of Trainwreck’d Society can attest, I have been listening to and enjoying the work of Anna-Lynne Williams in different capacities for a very long time. She is a damned treasure for us here at TWS. She is one of those rare beings who has a beautiful soul, and is also conveniently talented as all hell and so very easy to appreciate as a delightful songwriter and the owner of one of the greatest voices of our generation. And with her latest full length Lotte Kestner album, Off White, she proves once again that she has definitely not lost her touch. In fact, the one thing that shines through the brightest in her work is her experience. After all the time and heartache that she has put into her craft, there is so much to love about her latest album, and absolutely nothing to despise. Yes, with each and every Lotte Kestner we have been blessed with, we are only just receiving more and more genius. And we should all be eternally grateful for the opportunity to hear it happen right in front of us.

Now with that, I believe it is important to note that with Off White, it really feels as though an entire new world is opening up. It feels like, as far as songwriting goes, we are seeing a whole side of Lotte Kestner. And let me tell you folks, it is far from disappointing. While I can always go back and listen to basically every track off the other Lotte Kestner albums and feel perfectly content, I have to say that I am truly in awe of the new direction that Anna-Lynne has taken us with Off White. What makes it so cool and different, is actually just how hard it is to truly pin down what has changed. We still get to hear that same beautiful voice over a consistently delicate undertone, but there is something new. When I hear a track like “Ashland”, it is as though I am hearing the result of a new take on love. And when a track like “Go To Sleep Now” pulsates through my brain with it’s infectious drum beat, I know that I am feeling a bit lighter of a heart whilst being reminded of what can result from fear and the forgotten consciousness.

It’s not to say that Off White is better than previous Lotte Kestner work. And it’s not to say that its really that different. It’s just that when you find yourself so highly invested in an artist’s work, you can sense the subtle shift in attitude and performance. And more importantly, you can appreciate it.

I seriously can not express just how much I truly love this album. Seriously folks, I am going record by saying that Off White is nothing short of magical, and is hand’s down one of the best of 2017, if not the best. I know we still have a good bit of year left, but the idea that something can top this album frankly seems absurd. So check it out everyone!!

Off White will be available on Saint Marie Records on September 1st. Check out the amazing official video for “Ghosts” right here:

 

Carry Illinois: Garage Sale [Album]

In my attempts to simply create some background noise during the sometimes bore of editing a website, I wasn’t looking to be moved. I wasn’t looking to feel compelled to stop dead in my digital tracks, and start anew. But, I will be god damned if that didn’t happen when I threw on Garage Sale from the amazing Austin based group Cary Illinois. After only two tracks, just under 8 minutes, I was hooked. What was this gorgeous singer/songwriter led frontier-ship that my ears did hear? I was instantly hooked.

There is something absurdly whimsical about the 8 tracks that make up Garage Sale. It’s sad, but it’s uplifting. It’s catchy yet powerful at the same time. These are qualities that I am constantly searching for in music, but sadly just don’t hear enough of these days. But thankfully, a group like Carry Illinois can come along and make us all believe in the power of music once again. Reading up on the band, I learned that tragedy struck the band hard when their original bassists John Winsor took his own life in March 2016. And this is when I started to understand what was so brilliant with what I was hearing. It was one certain song transition that left me feeling something unexplainable. The beautiful ode to something truly dark entitled “Goodnight”, I would learn was a beautiful bit of poetry dedicated to Winsor’s memory, which made sense. But, then there is this amazing transition from this saddening tale into the uplifting perfectly choreographed track “Electric Charm”. And that is where it hit me. This is a rebirth of self. Garage Sale is a means of continuing on when the storm has passed. It is starting over. It is a proverbial garage sale of all the old memories that have been stewing and causing grief and hopelessness. By slapping a hypothetical price tag on this sadness, and presenting it to the world, front woman Lizzy Lehman and company are able to move on with their lives, yet never forgetting a man who obviously touched their lives so much.

It would behoove me to say that this is one of the greatest track lists I have heard this year. It becomes abundantly clear just how personal these songs are to Lehman, and how fortunate enough we are that she has continued on through her pain to share with us a bit of light even if it may have been extremely hard to do when you are “getting older, seeing darkness you don’t want to see”, to quote the woman herself. And while Lizzy’s brilliant vocals and songwriting are an obvious highlight, it must be pointed out that Darwin Smith shreds perfectly, and keyboardist Derek Morris shines brighter than the sun in his contributions, and is somebody I am definitely going to be keeping tabs on.

I seriously can not recommend Garage Sale enough. This album is 8 tracks of pain-soaked songs that somehow become uplifting in their brutal honesty and perfectly choreographed fortitude. If you’re looking for a bight of light in your darkest days, Carry Illinois is a force you should definitely turn to. I simply cannot say enough great things about this wonderful band that should rightfully be a mainstay in every true music lover’s heart and mind.

Carry Illinois will be officially releasing Garage Sale on May 12th at The Mohawk in Austin, Texas along with acts Star Parks and Lex Land. For more information and tour dates, check out the band’s website for all the details you need to know and love Carry Illinois.

And check out this amazingly produced music video for their track “Alabaster”, performed live at The Ball Farm in Dale Texas: