Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
Tyler Childers – Country Squire – 9 tracks / 35 minutes
The up and coming songwriter delivers an eclectic set of songs about love, longing, regret, distress, and self-pleasure.
Named after what he affectionately calls his camp trailer, Tyler’s third album is an unabashedly twangy mix of country and folk influences. Anyone looking for another renegade/outlaw stomp a la “Whitehouse Road” will be disappointed, but there is plenty of goodness here. The album has a more polished and introspective feel, and finds Tyler in a mood to reflect. Themes of hard work, regret, and despair are abound here, as is the feeling of longing for either what could have been, or what is left behind at home while out on the road.
The title track leads things off with him pining for the light at the end of his tunnel, which is just he and his lady rolling around the backwoods in his trailer. “Creeker” tells the tale of a disgruntled and angry young man who instead of raging or protesting, simply gets drunk in the corner of a run-down bar. And, to be fair, it is five minutes of beautiful music. “House Fire” is a clever play on the tried and true heartsick and longing for a woman cliché, and invites her to set his house ablaze – he doesn’t care, it’s too damn cold there without her anyway.
“All Your’n” is some of the twangiest and heart on sleeve pledges of love you’ll hear this year, and although it drips with sap, it fucking works. There are low points on the album, but they’re few and far between, and this is probably the highlight of the record. However, for my money, I’ll take the ode to taking care of your own business while on the road away from your lady ballad “Ever Lovin’ Hand”. Yes, this is a fine song musically – even if you don’t understand that he is singing one of the finest masturbation songs I’ve heard in some time.
No, this is not his finest work, but Purgatory is a pretty rough bar to compare his next work to. All in all, this is another solid release from one of the few genuinely talented and sincere musicians in modern “country-western music”. Oh, and if you get a chance to see him and his band perform live, I recommend it.
Key Tracks: “Creeker”, “All Your’n”, “House Fire”
Spotify album links: https://open.spotify.com/album/2T9P5dSm786uuxA5tkI1Xb?si=5Lldy_CCTZWLd2RsMK1DzA
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Live at Woodstock (1969) – 11 tracks / 55 minutes
Southern rock heads up north as the Fogertys kick upstate New York’s ass for just under an hour.
To say that 1969 was a big year for CCR is like saying that 2016 was a bad year for Hillary. Ya, it’s true, but it really doesn’t tell the extent of the incredible high (or low) the subject in question experienced. Recorded at the festival that begat all festivals in August 1969, this album captures one of rock and roll’s finest groups of all time in their prime. Weeks after releasing Green River, the second of three (yes, 3) albums they would drop that year, they were on top of the world.
The sound quality is suspect – as you should expect, duh – but you can hear the greatness. “Ladies and gentlemen, to continue… please warmly welcome with us, Creedence Clearwater Revival” – so says the MC as the opening notes of “Born on the Bayou” commence. What follows is a terrific mix of short and sweet foot tappers (“Commotion”, “Green River”, “Bad Moon Rising”) and longer songs that allow John, Tim, and crew to stretch out and jam their tails off (“Keep On Chooglin’”, “Susie Q”). Oh, and when John tells the crowd that he “would like to do an old Screamin’ Jay Hawkins song for ya”, they probably didn’t know what madness and beauty they were in for – “I Put a Spell on You” is as marvelous as ever here.
Look, if you don’t know CCR, shame on you. Or shame on your parents. Like Tom Petty, The Beatles, or Johnny Cash, they are one of those artists that all but the most picky, horrible fools enjoy. Given that, there is no need to dive into detail of songs we all know. However, even if you’ve heard most of these songs hundreds of times, the energy of the set and the significance of that evening make this a very worthwhile (and borderline essential) recording.
Key Tracks: “Green River”, “I Put a Spell on You”, “Bad Moon Rising”
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/56jhCxU4IQs54Od4ariSaY?si=KIZ5gC0pTgyX4lwVAqDOWg
Ty Segall – First Taste
The ultra-ultra-prolific rocker is back with yet another collection of rough around the edges but ever-interesting compositions. My highlights are the sing-along droning of “Radio” and the autobiographical “I Sing Them”.
Russian Circles – Blood Year
These prog-metal instrumentalists are always good for long songs that take you on a journey. I may not have enjoyed the trip as much as I did on their last effort, but “Arluck” is quite a piece of work.