It seems that independent record labels are popping up all over the place these days, like the cookie cutter strip malls and fast food joints that litter most communities. You can’t go anywhere on the internet without running into another record label that has spurned the big music companies to change the face of music and show the world how it should be done. This is nothing new it has been going on for years but seems more prevalent these days. The key to fledgling labels succeeding is not only finding a niche but to not fall in line with the “Joneses”. That is where Cornelius Chapel Records comes in.
Slicing through the humidity, mosquitos and bad stereotypes of the South Cornelius Chapel Records has already made a stamp on the music community during its short time in existence. The Alabama record label is taking a different approach to distributing music. The brain trust see mp3 downloads as a commodity that should not only be free to the user but utilized as a massive marketing piece to sell the tangible items such as vinyl, cds, cassettes, 8-tracks, or any other physical element that holds songs.
Cornelius Chapel Records has hit the ground running letting music fans know they mean business. They opened shop a few weeks ago immediately offering a free download for an Uncle Tupelo tribute EP – We’re All Criminals Here. Uncle Tupelo’s significance in music today is undeniable and Cornelius Chapel Records has assembled four bands that all have built their sound around Uncle Tupelo’s influences. Each band picked a song that meant something to them then recorded their own arrangement of the tune.
First up is a band out of Flint, Michigan – Empty Orchestra. These guys make music that jumps all over the place incorporating basic elements of rock, pop, country and soul. When they put it all together you get a unique sound layered with a plethora of musical goodness. Their approach to Uncle Tupelo’s “Wait Up” was spot on as they stayed true to the source material while staying true to Empty Orchestra. Sparse vocal harmonies flow through a stripped down arrangement built around acoustic guitars. Empty Orchestra pieces in other instruments for texture letting them aid in the flow of the song. It is a beautiful song and there version captures that beauty.
Have Gun, Will Travel is riding high on one of the best releases of 2015, Science From an Easy Chair. With each of their albums the Uncle Tupelo influences ooze from the pores of their music. Pop melodies are infused with folk, country and rock creating an original brand of American music. Have Gun, Will Travel adds their flavor to a song that is one of Uncle Tupelo’s best. Jangly guitars, a steady beat and Matt Burke’s distinctive vocals give ownership of this song to Have gun Will Travel leaving listeners to question whether it is a cover or not.
Drag the River joins the EP with the somber “Shaky Ground”. The veteran band is no stranger to songs of sadness, as they dish out folk tunes with a punk rock flavor. This track fits perfectly into the band’s repertoire. The brooding song trudges along almost as if it is in slow motion keeping the listener waiting for it to pick up pace only to be glad it didn’t. This is a song that showcases the writing abilities of Uncle Tupelo. The song is simple but says so much and Drag the River’s version is just as effective as the original.
Rockers Two Cow Garage closeout the EP in true Two Cow Garage fashion. With guitars cranked the cow punk band turn things up a notch on “We’ve Been Had”. They tear through this classic song with the fervor of a band trying to impress a hero, loved one or someone else they admire. Keeping the foundation of the original Two Cow Garage increases the intensity of the song making for a more aggressive rendition. It is the perfect homage to Uncle Tupelo.
Uncle Tupelo’s music has meant a lot to a huge number of musicians. Their sound started a movement of American music built around country folk and rock. While no one has been able to duplicate the magic of Uncle Tupelo a wealth of great music has been created due to their influences. This EP not only gives listeners a glimpse at the brilliance of Uncle Tupelo but introduces them to bands that are carrying on what they started. With this release Cornelius Chapel Records shows that they mean business when it comes to music and We’re All Criminals Here sets high standards for which the label will have to follow. Hop on board folks because it is going to be one hell of a ride.
You can go download your free copy of We’re All Criminals Here at the Cornelius Chapel Records website. Just click right here.