Saturday, October 23, 2010

The National - Terrible Love

By law, I am required as a music blogger to post this new video of The National's alternate version of "Terrible Love." It's funny how back in May, critics were announcing a gloom and doom of how the National's High Violet was a huge letdown and that their ability to become the biggest band in the universe was now in question.

Turns out now that after High Violet had some time to soak in, folks seem to be back in the mode of talking about how The National are the coolest band ever. They are having some serious difficulty finding a place to play where they don't sell out.

To throw in a bit of West Texas relevance to this whole story, the band even spent some down time hanging out in Marfa recently. Check out the pictures posted to their Twitter here and here and here.

As a NYC by way of Cincinnati success story, I feel like the National is the band that so many people who move to New York want to be. In the last 4 or 5 years, I'd be willing to bet that possibly hundreds of aspiring artists have moved to the city with the expressed intent of becoming the next National. Amazing how that works, and probably how so few are willing to to put in the years that they have to get to that point.

Bummer that I wasn't even close to being able to catch any of the band's recent tour dates. You can bet I would have been at the recent Denver show if I was still living in Boulder, but alas, some things weren't meant to be. At least I can rest assured knowing every other Colorado blogger was there.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Lusitania - Your Style

I hope you've taken the time to check out The Lusitania's new record Rain and Rivers. It's definitely worth your time and money, so if you haven't, maybe this great song and music video will persuade you. (Lyrics are very slightly NSFW, especially if you work in a church)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

West Texas area music calendar

Lots of great shows coming up around West Texas the next few weeks. Here are a few good ones I know about. Send West Texas area music listings to windfarmblog(at)gmail(dot)com if you want your show listed on Windfarm.

Go see Lucero in Lubbock this Sunday if you can. They are one of the better touring bands who regularly visits the Hub City, and even better, The Lusitania will be opening.

Oct. 8 - Hayes Carll - Blue Light
Oct. 10 - Lucero, The Lusitania - Bash Riprocks
Oct. 12 - Thrift Store Cowboys - Blue Light (CD Release)
Oct. 15 - Wovenhand - Bash Riprocks

Oct. 14 - Eli Young Band - Dos Amigos
Oct. 21 - The Deftones - Dos Amigos

San Angelo

Oct. 15 - The Derailers - Steel Penny Pub

Oct. 16 - Rodney Parker & 50 Peso Reward - Lucky Mule Saloon

Oct. 7 - Dale Watson - Padre's
Oct. 8 - Jon Langford - Railroad Blues
Oct. 8 - The Gourds - Padre's
Oct. 9 - Jon Langford - Padre's
Oct. 15 - The Derailers - Railroad Blues
Nov. 3 - Monotonix - Padre's
Nov. 19 - Ray Wylie Hubbard - Railroad Blues
Dec. 3 - Black Joe Lewis - Padre's

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Lusitania - Rain and Rivers

El Paso-based The Lusitania have been making the rounds touring across Texas and the Southwest for the past few years, steadily making a name for themselves with great songs and high energy performances. Their quality is apparent in the fact that they have found the support of fellow El Pasoan Jim Ward, known for his work with At The Drive-In, Sparta, and Sleepercar.

The Lusitania are yet another promising band in the canon of West Texas music. Out of a seemingly sparse landscape, great music continues to emerge, and not just run-of-the-mill music, but that which could hold its own in any major music market in the U.S. right now.

Rain and Rivers, produced by Ward and Gabe Gonzalez, was recorded at Clap of Thunder Studios in El Paso and is being released on Civil Defense League Records. You can download or buy a physical copy of the record here. The record finds the band re-recording some previously released material as well as putting a good deal of new material to tape as well.

Rain and Rivers offers new versions of Lusitania staples such as "Wolves," "Bottle Neck Blues," and the Bukowski-esque "Spoils of War," as well as the previously vinyl-only songs "Down the Tracks" and "Tributaries." Beyond that, however, you'll find a number of great new songs. "Your Style" far and away stands out as my early favorite, and I find myself either playing it on my ipod or singing it aloud in not always appropriate places. However, this new song doesn't stand alone, as the growling rocker "'Til My Heart Gives Out" fits perfectly in the Lusitania's catalog, adding some great vocal harmonies into the mix for depth. Alternatively, the album's second song, "A Line in the Sand" is more uptempo and should be a fantastic song for the live show.

The Lusitania have put in a lot of dues touring the last few years, and the release of R & R will only bolster their efforts. The album is a solid full-length effort that should be appreciated by fans both old and new. These guys are deserving of a great deal of success, and this album is a good step toward getting their names out. Spread the word.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hayes Carll - The Blue Light Lubbock, 10/08/10

Live singer/songwriter music in West Texas tends to be in the Texas Country/Red Dirt vein and rarely includes artists with a broader Americana appeal. However, if you're patient, some great acts will come through the region eventually.

In this case, one of the best up-and-coming roots rockers on the circuit, Austin-based Hayes Carll will be at the Blue Light in Lubbock this Friday, Oct. 8th, 2010. I've seen Hayes a number of times, and his shows are always well worth the money. Not only is he a great songwriter, but perhaps even better, he is a great storyteller between songs. Who knows how much of that he'll be doing given the sometimes loud Blue Light environment, but I suspect you'll get a great show nonetheless.

Last I heard, Carll was in the process of working on a new record, although I've heard no details about that release. Hear "Drunken Poet's Dream" by Carll and cowriter Ray Wylie Hubbard in the video below. And please check him out at the Blue Light this Friday.

Cory Morrow - Brand New Me

Living back in West Texas, it's inevitable I'll end up covering a bit more music that would roughly be defined as "Texas Country," although I still consider it essential to cover only those that I consider to be truly solid artists.

Cory Morrow is an elder statesman of the current Texas Country scene, so to speak, although he never quite saw the fame that others in the genre have seen. Regardless, he has continued to make good records, in spite of dealing with some very tough personal times along the way. As the press release for his new album Brand New Me notes, Morrow says this "the first sober album I've ever made."

Part of the reason I have long respected Morrow's music are his vocal melodies. In a musical landscape where many new songwriters think anyone who can write about beer and Texas is a songwriter, Morrow understands that true song craft revolves around a lot more. Brand New Me is introspective in many respects, all the while maintaining a very positive energy and a strong redemption theme. His melodies remain strong and his songwriting more refined than ever - as good or better than 2002's Outside the Lines, a record I have long considered his best.

Morrow may not necessarily be out to break down musical boundaries, as the record is a fairly straightforward mix of country and rock, but it is solid throughout on account of the always top-notch production abilities of Lloyd Maines. Rather, Brand New Me is more about personal development and the transition to a new existence, a narrative that Morrow no doubt adds to each day.

The theme of redemption that runs throughout the album provides a picture of a Cory Morrow who is thrilled to still be making music after the trials and tribulations of past years. "Second Chance" and the album's title track are upbeat songs that exemplify that theme best on the record, although one needs to listen to the entire album to understand the more complete story. The slower and more introspective "The Way I Do" and "Never Made it to My Lips" may be the best examples of Morrow's strengths as a songwriter, standing out among the 14-song album with their strong arrangement and production.

While sometimes improperly classified as being run-of-the-mill Texas Country music, Morrow continues to write good songs that likely deserve more attention than they receive. The story of Brand New Me is not one of completion, but rather one of new beginnings, and as such, I suspect you'll hear plenty more great music from Cory Morrow.