Ah, my favorite genre, the mishmash that is folk/alt-country/alt-folk/americana, whatever you want to call it. Whatever the moniker you choose, it’s the heartsbloody, dirty-handed songs of the people, and excluding blues & blues rock, there isn’t anything better to listen to. Lately there’s been a slew of good stuff coming down the pike like the train rolling past Folsom Prison. Let’s take a listen, shall we? *beep* [advance filmstrip]
01. The Felice Brothers — Yonder Is the Clock
Though the album is (on the whole) rather lugubrious, all the Felice Brothers elements are there — death, brawling, the mob, you know, stuff like that. I’m not a person that throws around the word “authentic,” thanks to a lot of theory training, but the Felice Brothers strike me as a deeply human band. Entry track is “Run Chicken Run,” a romping singalong about how chickens don’t get no life after death. (Unless you read that one Shalom Auslander story.)
02. Justin Townes Earle — Midnight At the Movies
I have not heard the entire JTE album yet, but I love the juxtaposition between the two songs I do have. “Midnight At the Movies” is kind of this micro-study of humanity, this guy who’s reaching out for anything but who mostly ends up with his flicks. And then “Mama’s Eyes” is this really warm, human introspection about parents and where a person gets his physical and mental traits. I love them both! And probably whatever else happens to be on an album between them.
03. Scott H Biram — Something’s Wrong / Lost Forever
This one I haven’t heard either, but I’m a Biram fan and from the two tracks that Bloodshot released, I’m thinking it is standard Biram fare, all hellfire and brimstone. Woot! Smells like sulfur up in here.
04. Roadside Graves — My Son’s Home
Straddling the pointy pointy fence between alt-country and folk, these guys come from New Jersey, of all places. But there is no Bon Jovi in these stark, deceptively simple songs. The harmony is a little shaky in “Far and Wide,” but that’s practically a bonus. The album is not out yet, but enjoy these previews.