New Column, New Music for Sept. 11
Welcome to the first No Depression new release column. I’ve already been adding new and upcoming albums for the past year or so, which I will continue to do, but this weekly column will give me a chance to go a little deeper and focus on some of the albums that I think are worthy of your ears.
My hope is for this column to be informational and not too objective, but I will also share my opinions and insights where I feel it’s appropriate. If I like the music or artist, there’s a better chance I’ll write more about it. Look for new posting on Fridays, which is now the new release day.
So, because of the Labor Day holiday, there’s not a lot of interesting new stuff, but let’s touch on a couple.
First, we have the debut CD from North Carolina’s Phil Cook called Southland Mission. He’s a rootsy Southern rock guitarist with some great slide guitar chops. He co-produced the album with his brother, bassist Brad Cook. They’re both also in the roots-jam band Megafaun. In addition, Phil has roots in Wisconsin and musical connections to Justin Vernon, otherwise known as Bon Iver, who sings on one of the songs here. Frazey Ford lends support vocals to a song as well. What I like about Southland Mission is that he’s all over the map stylistically. He starts from a blues-rock base but also touches on gospel, jam, bluegrass, and more.
Secondly we have the Legendary Shack Shakers led by wildman J.D Wilkes, who have a new one called The Southern Surreal. They’ve been refining their unique take on Southern Gothic music for over 20 years. If we’re using adjectives like wine descriptions, we could start with “swamp blues punk with hints of country and rockabilly.” The album is being released on the Alternative Tentacles label, which is owned by Jello Biafra, who called Wilkes “the last great rock and roll frontman.” One song features actor and singer Billy Bob Thornton telling a slightly gruesome story called “The Dog Is Dead.”
A few other borderline roots-type albums include The Story of Sonny Boy Slim by Austin’s Gary Clark Jr., which sounds less bluesy than his first one. Also, after a long absence, Jewel has a new one called Picking up the Pieces, recorded in Nashville.
That’s all for now, the next few weeks look for new music from Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin, Randall Bramblett, Joe Ely, Lucero, Dave Rawlings Machine, Patty Griffin and more. Till then, take care of each other.