Wednesday, May 20, 2009

People Are Known to Fall in Love Anyway

Artists: Rupert Hine and David MacIver

Album: Pick Up a Bone

Song: "More Than One, Less Than Five"

Imagine that Cat Stevens at the last minute pulled his songs from the Harold and Maude soundtrack. With little time to score the movie and even less money to record new material, Hal Ashby is somehow put in touch with Bill Fay, who happens to be recording his debut album. Upon hearing the movie's premise, Fay agrees to write a song and record it during his sessions. Such circumstantial alchemy would have borne "More Than One, Less Than Five."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nothing Less Than Love Complete

Artist: Donnie Fritts

Album: Prone to Lean

Song: "Winner Take All"

Donnie Fritts got knocked in the 1979 The Rolling Stone Record Guide for "not [being] a lead singer, or any kind of vocalist at all." I want to offer a decades-late rebuttal to that accusation. Whether you hear fierce pride or sweet ignorance in his wounded voice, Fritts sounds like Cool Hand Luke picking himself off the dirt in his yard fight against Dragline. Tired but determined. Could a big, slick Nashville voice have infused these lyrics with that semblance of weary authenticity?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pine Wood Box and It's Got You Inside

Artists: Frummox

Album: Here to There

Song: "There You Go"

My friend Jeremy once asked if there was such a niche as psychedelic country. Stuck following the epic (and perhaps tiring) "Texas Trilogy" on Frummox's debut album, "There You Go" is a prime example of a cheating song getting lost in Topanga Canyon. The cuckolding wife and the self-loathing husband are forever bound together by a haunting guitar lick and piercing fiddle. This is a lysergic murder ballad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wheels Gotta Roll Again

Artists: Rock Killough & Dan Eckley

Album: Killough & Eckley

Song: "Back on the Road Again"

The early morning sky begins to fill with a vivid spectrum of violets, reds, yellows, and oranges. A ribbon of darkness snakes into the distance. This world is at rest when two glowing eyes break over the still horizon. Few trucker songs seem to capture the speed and momentum of the chugging rig the way "Back on the Road Again" does. The mandolin leans into the curves, the bass shifts gears, and that flatpicked guitar puts the hammer down.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beyond the Stars and Flaming Sun

Artist: Dennis Linde

Album: Dennis Linde

Song: "DR-31"

"DR-31" unfolds like a feverish hallucination. Every image in the song is fantastic and each becomes more incredible as events unfold. The year: "9005." The immense size of the "best spaceship man had ever built." A "zillion" people screaming. Then the DR-31 launches. And, well, I'm not sure if Dennis Linde made up what happens next, but I'd recommend looking to the night sky to see if his words come to pass. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Making Dreams Reality

Artists: Batdorf & Rodney

Album: Batdorf & Rodney

Song: "Under Five"

There's soft rock. There's hard rock. Might there be a middle-ground genre called "firm rock?" Such a phrase would describe "Under Five" by Batdorf & Rodney. This song unleashes a scalding riff that would have jolted any arena or roadhouse to attention in 1972. Those sweet soft-rock harmonies still soar, but this song pummels like a pile driver.