New Music Tuesday: Gerry Spehar – Anger Management [Album]

First and foremost, I have to be honest when I say that I was sadly uninformed when it came to the genius of the great Gerryy Spehar…..until now. Now, I am slightly informed, and feel as though I need to know so damn much more. This is because of the idea that if his amazing record Anger Management is any indication of what this man has been doing throughout his career, then I have definitely been missing out over the years. I now consider myself a HUGE fan of Gerry, based on the contents of the album I am here to talk to you all about today.

Anger Management is the modern equivalent to all of those old and beautiful Woody Guthrie-esque protest songs that are held dearly in the annals of history. And while those old folk songs are definitely special for very good reasons, Gerry Spehar has creating something uniquely different, and actually a bit more impressive in my own opinion. Gerry blends classic old timey folk songs with a brilliant seasoning of blues and rock & roll, and even a bit of a country ballad feel at times, that makes for an album that is not only important to our current political climate, but also sounds absolutely amazing! While I do appreciate a good protest song for its basic nature, it always has more of an impact when there is immense talent involved. And Spehar is definitely an extremely talented singer and musician, as well as a mesmerizing songwriter.

Whether it is a slow paced and gut-wrenching ballad like “A Soldier’s Spiritual”, the high-speed satirical folk ditty “Thank You Donald”, the 90’s alternative like cut “Except For the Bomb”, or the seriously funky, blues-driven “Bitch Heaven”, I am here to tell you that Gerry Spehar’s Anger Management is without a doubt one of the best albums you are going to hear in 2018. And even more so, this music is absolutely timeless and should be the catalyst for people to listen to 100 years in the future to truly understand what these days were like. This is a perfect album with a perfect message, and most importantly, it is an absolute joy to listen to!

Gerry Spehar’s Anger Management will be available on May 18th wherever you find music. Check out his WEBSITE for more details!

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New Music Tuesday: Justin Nozuka – Low Tide [EP]

It was almost 10 years ago when I was coerced into seeing a show at Berbati’s Pan in Portland, Oregon by my lovely wife during a short stint back in the Pacific Northwest after I had just spent an unprecedented amount of time in what will be an undisclosed region of the world (hint: it was very hot.) My lovely wife had somehow come to learn of this Justin Nozuka character, and his recently released album, Holly, that was apparently so good. So to appease the misses, I said sure, let’s do it.

Little did I know that almost a decade later I would still be thinking about this show, for so many different reasons. For one reason that has absolutely nothing to do with Justin Nozuka, who is literally the title character of this piece, it was his middle act of the program, a little group known as The Gabe Dixon Band. Long time readers of the TWS know that we love Gabe and everyone affiliated with the GDB at that time. We’ve interviewed Gabe, we’ve discussed The Wood Brothers (featuring Jano Rix on drums), and I am currently drinking a vodka tonic out of a Gabe Dixon Band novelty cup that I purchased at this very show I attended in PDX. Yes, that has nothing to do with Justin and his amazing work, but it felt right to mention that everything is circling around on this crazy earth, and so many things seem to consistently come circling back around in the most beautiful way possible.

So, getting back to the Mr. Nozuka, I also became a huge fan of this 18 year old kid that I was previously unaware of prior to that warm September night. He had such a presence. He was compelling. He wasn’t entirely charismatic, but he put on a hell of a show. I remember thinking that this guy will go on to do amazing things, and I should really stay in touch with what he is doing. I listened to and loved his debut album, Holly, for months, and just knew that he was going to matter to me for a very long time.

And then I lost it.

I honestly don’t know what happened. I just sort of fell off. The fault is all mine. I have since gone back and enjoyed everything he has done in the last ten years. But,  I will say, I have not enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed his last two EP’s, High Tide & Low Tide. Sweet mother of all that is holy, that young kid I saw a decade ago has grown and is now creating some of the most amazing work I have ever heard.

Low Tide specifically is a product of full blown excellence that has made me wonder what the hell I have been doing with my life. “Warm Under the Light” is just about as perfect a song can get. There is a subtle darkness amidst its light hearted direction. It is catchy, yet insanely personable and has that perfect mix of catchiness combined with very specific nuances that are just so damn appealing. And then we get a song like “Reverie”, which is just about the fasted 6 minutes I have ever experienced. It is an absolutely beautiful track that has the pop appeal of a 3 minute song, but packs so much life and beauty into a piece of music that I could listen to for the rest of my days.

It is truly a beautiful experience listening to Justin. And as much as I loved Holly back in the day, I have to say that I am genuinely pleased with the direction that he has gone. He has grown as musician, and as a person. And it only makes sense, really. The world has changed a lot his the summer of 2008. So many things have happened. And Justin’s growth as a human being is evident, and compelling. The kid that I saw perform around the corner from VooDoo Doughnut’s all of those years ago has grown into a full blown man with some experiences to share. And he is doing it absolutely perfect.

And should you find yourself on my side of the pond, Justin is doing a whole bunch of shows across Europe this spring. Find him in a city near you:

Justin Nozuka Tour Dates – Europe & UK

APR 4 – Ideal Bar, Copenhagen, Denmark
APR 5 – Ingensteds ,Oslo, Norway
APR 6 – Kägelbanan, Södermalm, Sweden
APR 8 – LantarenVenster, Rotterdam, Netherlands
APR 9 – Stadschouwburg, Groningen, Netherlands
APR 10 – 013 Poppodium, Tilburg, Netherlands
APR 11 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
APR 13 – Kulturclub Schon Schön, Mainz, Germany
APR 14 – Frannz Club, Berlin-Friedrichshain, Germany
APR 15 – Béi Chéz Heinz, Hanover, Germany
APR 17 – Papiersaal, Zurich, Switzerland
APR 18 – Konzerthaus Schuur, Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland
APR 21 – Backstage, Paris, France
APR 22 – Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, Brighton, United Kingdom
APR 23 – The Garage, London, United Kingdom
APR 25 – Thekla, Bristol, United Kingdom
APR 26 – The Castle & Falcon, Birmingham, United Kingdom
APR 27 – The Wardrobe, Leeds, United Kingdom
APR 28 – Northumbria Institute 2, Newcastle, United Kingdom
APR 30 – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, United Kingdom
MAY 1 – The Caves, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
MAY 2 – Night People, Manchester, United Kingdom
MAY 3 – The Sugar Club, Dublin, Ireland
MAY 5 – Ohibo, Milano, Italy
MAY 6 – Monk Club, Rome, Italy
MAY 8 – Razzmatazz 3, Barcelona, Spain
MAY 9 – Moby Dick Club, Madrid, Spain

 

High Tide, and Low Tide are both available now. Check out Justin’s WEBSITE now for details. Check out the official video for “Warm Under the Light” right here:

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.

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”: