Mickey Lamantia – Every Bad Habit

Nobody really wants to be an Outlaw. They just think they do. All that black leather and badass attitude, booze and women, it looks like the essence of cool from afar. But whether the term is engraved for the type of country music you’re making, or the mess you’ve made of your personal life by stringing together bad decisions, it’s a lot easier to admire the Outlaw life from a distance than it is to actually live it yourself.

Outlaw country was born out of necessity, not style. In an ideal world, there would be no need for Outlaws, because the creative freedom of artists wouldn’t be under constant assault. Similarly, the Outlaws of life often don’t mean to engage in the self-destructive behaviors they find themselves amidst, it’s the demons that pursue them that make them attempt to drown life out with drugs and alcohol and danger.

Too often the fight for creative freedom in country music and the “Outlaw” way of life are conflated, and the legacies of artists such as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Paycheck, and David Allan Coe don’t do that issue any favors. But the Outlaw way, whether in life or music, is never as glamours as the songs or stories make it out to be.

Mickey Lamantia, who also goes by “ML750” for the drams contained in a fifth of alcohol, resides in a scene of new underground Outlaws in music operating outside of the industry on Music Row, steadfast in their independent streak, quick to speak the names of their heroes, and time their music to the slow plodding pentameter of a Waylon half time beat.

For the right segment of country music listeners, this is exactly what they’re looking for. They want to raise their beer or shot glass high when the names of Haggard and Jones are mentioned in a song. They want songs that mention “Outlaw” right there in the verses, and veer towards a bellicose, and sometimes belligerent attitude about today’s country. There’s a dedication and a loyalty to the music like no other, and a lifestyle that surrounds it.

Frankly, sometimes it can be a bit much with all the name dropping and the chest puffing, especially when many of these Outlaw artists seem to be a bit lost in time, and not always in a good way. But with Mickey Lamantia’s new album Every Bad Habit, he surprises with the quality of the production and songwriting, while still serving up the red meat his dedicated Outlaw fans expect.

Every Bad Habit tells both sides of the Outlaw story, not just the one where the bad guys get away. Songs like “Every Bad Habit” and “When I Get on a Roll” initially seem to glorify the out-of-control aspect of life as an Outlaw, but don’t stop the story with the party. Lamantia also does what every good Outlaw should do, which is show his vulnerable side, especially in the song “How Do I Say Good By” about losing his mother. Because a lot of times when you see someone presenting a leathery exterior, it’s because they are emotionally soft inside. It’s often the presence of self-doubt and fear that gives rise to aggressive countenance. Waylon wasn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side either, and that’s often lost in the shallow observances of Outlaw music by some.

Every Bad Habit also has moments when the hawkish themes may get to be a bit much, like on “Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms,” or “Take Our Country Back” where Lamantia combines the frustrations with what has happened in country music with the worry for the direction of America. Of course this is what Mickey ML750 fans want, but for others who just want to hear a good ol’ traditional country song, it may be too strong a pull. This is hard and heavy music, not afraid to make references to drugs and danger, and not for everyone.

It can also be off-putting to some how much name dropping occurs here. But what you begin to understand listening to Every Bad Habit is these name checks aren’t positioning statements by Lamantia, or attempt to prove his country cred. Mickey Lamantia knows his place in the music, which is at the tail end of the legacy of the country heroes who came before him, and that it’s the obligation of those Outlaws left to keep the names, songs, and memories of those past greats alive, especially since they’ve been so forgotten by popular music.

Most impressive with Every Bad Habit is how Lamantia resists the temptation to drench his songs in steel guitar, monotonous half-time beat, over-emphasized accents trying to sound like Jamey Johnson, and Waylon-esque phaser, which is often the bane of bad modern Outlaw country. Instead Every Bad Habit is refreshingly tasteful, and at times outright sedated. Many of the tracks are stripped down and acoustic, though there is still plenty of full band songs here, body to the compositions, and Robby Turner steel guitar to not make it feel like a half effort.

Most importantly Every Bad Habit lets you see both sides of the Outlaw coin, instead of just the one most country music fans want to believe. Being an Outlaw is big times and badass stories. But it’s also can be a precipitous fall when it all gets to be too much, and the reason we lost so many of our heroes too early.

Winter Wilson new album out 25th January

Two years ago Kip and Dave released  Ashes to Dust  by far the best folk album of 2016,  13 excellent songs which highlighted the couples skills.

This year they have disappointed  us  with their new release “Far Off on the Horizon”.

Only 12 gorgeous,luscious,timeless songs. If they spent less time strolling on the beach we could have had 13 or even 14, you can never have to much of a good thing.

Once again we have a variety of songs that people can actually relate to, emigration with “The Ship it Rocked” made even more special with the fiddle of  Marion Fleetwood who appears on the title track too and what a title track it is. Poetry as good as Mr Cohen gave us.

“Another night and sleep won’t come;
I’m staring at the ceiling.
Just my thoughts for company
And the sound of my own breathing.
There’s a battle raging in my head,
The saints against the sinners.
Oh restless night, oh restless night,
The ghost of you still lingers.”

 

Love makes an appearance with the song Grateful for the Rain (Billy Boy), I thought I had put an Avett Brothers track on until Kips voice finally joined in. A track to play again and again.

I Cannot Remain sends out a message about the 21st century that every MP should listen to very carefully, Kips  accordion adding just the right touch to the words.

I could go on describing all the songs but why bother you can listen them on TME.FM Radio.

“Far Off on the Horizon” will be our ALBUM of the MONTH for February so you will get plenty of chances to catch the 12 songs.

The reaction of the listeners around the world has been excellent,with almost all at a loss how Winter Wilson are not “famous” are almost unknown “outside the UK” and “Lacking the recognition they fully deserve for the musical skills and songwriting brilliance”.

I would personally like to thank Kip and Dave for sending the album for airplay and reviewing before the 25th January release.

Oh and they are over the moon to be going on tour with the legendary Fairport Convention. They have been invited along as their special guests to play twenty eight shows across England between January 25th and February 25th 2018.

The tour will coincide with the release of “Far Off on the Horizon”. See the dates here.

For me “Another night and sleep won’t come;” because I want to listen to more Winter Wilson.

Gary Hunn & The Wayward Angels – Dust and Gin

Traditional country music in the style of George, Merle, Hank and Lefty.

Yee Haw! Country music doesn’t get any Countrier than this!!
With the exception of Dale Watson and; perhaps a handful of others; fans of traditional Country music in the style of George, Hank, Lefty and the rest have been pretty short changed in recent years; but that’s all about to change with the arrival of this album.

Various: Farewell, Alligator Man: A Tribute to the Music of Jimmy C. Newman

Various: Farewell, Alligator Man: A Tribute to the Music of Jimmy C. Newman

Featuring: Joel Savoy, Kelli Jones, Caleb Klauder and Reeb Williams.

There was a time in south Louisiana that the name Jimmy C Newman was spoken with an almost god-like reverence- a young singer from Mamou had made it to the big time and the locals could not have been more proud to tell folks that the C stood for Cajun. Jimmy’s career endured a lifetime, performing on the Grand Ole Opry for 58 years until just before his death in 2014, but what you will hear on this record is not a slick star-studded tribute to a Nashville legend.

Instead it’s a small group of friends from very different regions of the United States that discovered this music individually and built a relationship on a mutual affection for these early country songs. We feel fortunate to have had the wonderful experience of getting to know Jimmy and sharing the stage with him a few times in the later years of his life.

We are also truly honored to have Jimmy’s son Gary join us on this record playing upright bass. Listening to the original recordings of these songs, it’s hard to believe that the majority of them were considered “unsuccessful” in their time. We like to think of them as “hidden treasures” and we hope that you will feel the same. Lâche pas la patate les amis!

Johnny Rowlett – Reflections

Do you like your Country Music with an acoustic/Americana Chill factor? Your gonna have a relaxing encounter with this sweet sounding music with an Inspirational message.

Album Notes
Gale and I wanted to say thank you all of the friends and partners of JRM that made this album possible. This project was over two years in the making. It represents me as an artist looking back over my shoulder at the journey through the restoration and mercy of God in my life. I wanted to take a moment and provide a place for resting in His grace and just be grateful. You will notice this album is purposely slow and melodic. It is my intention to bring you into my space and provide an acoustic/americana/country music setting to share in this moment of just being happy and content. I hope you enjoy this album as much we enjoyed creating it for you.”
Johnny and Gale Rowlett

Roxie Watson – Try a Little Kindness

 

Pristine harmonies, layers of guitar, bass, mandolin and steel, stirring songs, old school country and honky tonk with a hint of Appalachian tradition – a little bit Keith Richards, a little bit Bill Monroe.

Album Notes
Roxie Watson comes out of the studio leaner and more firmly tapped into their old country roots with this, their 4th record, “Try A Little Kindness.” In line with their previous albums, all four members contribute new original songs here, with a fresh Roxie Watson take on a couple of old country songs you know and love. On stage, “the band marries their unique mixture of bluegrass, classic country and rockabilly with good-natured, folksy storytelling” (Bret Love, GeorgiaMusic.org), and that feel they create in a live setting comes right through your stereo speakers in this studio recording.

There is laughter on this record, but in the tradition of classic American Country music it is balanced with themes of struggle, loss, longing … the push & pull of the human experience. As Richard Winham wrote, Roxie Watson’s songs “have strong melodies and buoyant harmonies that leaven even their darkest songs. Their music isn’t lightweight, but it is joyously lighthearted.” (The Pulse, Chattanooga) The title track, “Try A Little Kindness,” is the band’s rendition of Glen Campbell’s 1969 hit song, written by Curt Sapaugh and Bobby Austin. Almost 50 years later, it is a song that is just as meaningful and hopeful today, and it sets the tone for the whole record.

Roxie Watson is a four-piece string band made up of Lenny Lasater (bass), Beth “BeeWee” Wheeler (mandolin), Linda Bolley (guitars & banjo), and Becky Shaw (guitar, lap steel, button accordion, harmonica & spoons). What started out as a cover-song-playing kitchen duo in 2007 has evolved organically over the years into one of the finest original bands in the Southeast. Garnering the word-of-mouth support of an ever-growing group of loyal fans, the band regularly sells out storied songwriting venues from the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville to Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA. Each band member takes turns with the lead vocal and contributes to both song writing and arrangement ideas. From the firecracker guitar playing of Bolley to the delicate mandolin of Wheeler, the propulsive bass of Lasater, to the lap steel and button box swells & harp and guitar rhythms of Shaw, Roxie Watson weaves a rich tapestry of sound.

Urban Pioneers – Hillbilly Swing Music

Banjo Player Jared McGovern, fiddler Liz Sloan, and upright bassist Martin Sargent make up the fun-loving, lighthearted, yet hard-charging string band trio the Urban Pioneers out of north Texas. First meeting as bandmates for the backing band of Bob Wayne, and later becoming a big part of Jayke Orvis’s Broken Band, Jared McGovern and Liz Sloan are underground roots music survivors and dedicated lifers if there ever were any, resigned happily to the road life in smelly vans and sleeping on couches with a smile and simple goals, and entertaining fans with a by-gone sense of earnest showmanship delivering an arm full of witty original songs.

Their new album Hillbilly Swing Music is true to the title, filled with fun ditties and infectious reels that reawaken the simple joy of primitive American string music in a way that is invigorating and fun, yet still enriching with intelligent turns and deceptively-smart songwriting. By leaving some of the pretentiousness and the genteel perfectitudes of much of modern string music behind, the Urban Pioneers are able to set themselves apart from the stuffy reenactments of the profession to make something that feels more authentic to the true traditions of back porch hillbilly bands.

The Urban Pioneers are something much more akin to the Foghorn Stringband or Old Crow Medicine Show as opposed to the precise modes of straightforward bluegrass, or the morose moods of dark Appalachian old time. This is music to get up and move around to as the album title implies. They create music that many people can enjoy, regardless of age. Play the Urban Pioneers for your grandparents and you’re liable to get a rise out of them. Small kids will prance around almost uncontrollably to the music, succumbing to the timeless appeal of authentic roots rhythms. Yet go to an Urban Pioneers show, and most of who you might see are punk rock coverts who are drawn to the Urban Pioneers approach from the attitude underpinning the music, the DIY spirit, and the adept technique at breakneck speed the trio is able to accomplish.

Their fourth overall record, Hillbilly Swing Music really is a step up in quality across the board from the trio, from the songwriting, to the production, to simply the audio grade of the recordings. It’s probably worthy of naming as their best record yet. The songwriting is more finely tuned, and they took the time to bring in steel guitar, a few horns on a few songs, some piano, and to utilize twin fiddle harmonies here and there to create diverse textures for these 13 songs to thrive in.

When you can play as fast as they can, it can get easy to fall back on sheer speed to entertain crowds. But songs like “Fast Money,” or even a simple one like “Kitty’s Favorite Day” show an understanding of how to use observation and insight in songwriting in a way that is accessible, and can turn even mundane subjects into entertaining poetry.

Jared McGovern and Liz Sloan don’t have conventionally perfect singing voices because they’re pickers first, and if you understand what the Urban Pioneers are all about, that isn’t what holds them back, it’s what makes them endearing. In the old times when country was a primitive art form, and opportunities to play were earned through hard work and the only resort for entertainment in rural regions. It wasn’t about being perfect, it was about having a good time, and finding fellowship through the shared joy of music. Though many other bands and artists get the musical modes right, the attitude is often too dark, and spoils the joy old time and primitive country can have.

A former classically trained violinist and an enlisted man in the Navy take time from trapping feral hogs on their property in North Texas to play a few songs for you to help spin the troubles away. This is what old time primitive country is all about.

Kate Rusby – Angels & Men

The music of the festive season can be a selection box for the ears. It’s basically a mass-produced aural pig-out that’s remarkably similar to last year’s, when you swore you wouldn’t be suckered into over-indulgence again, and you were convinced that you meant it. Kate Rusby’s festive albums have always broken that anodyne, saccharine mould with their gorgeously indulgent qualities. Jon Kean asks Father Christmas for a copy of his very own.

Dear Father Christmas

It’s been a while since I wrote to you: probably about 35 years. Sorry for the years when I doubted you, especially after you sorted me out with that Action Man tank and The Youth Of Today by Musical Youth on cassette. I thought you were cool in that film where you played Richard Attenborough too. Anyhow, to cut to the chase, apart from a polite request not to bring my toddler any toys that bloody sing this year, I felt compelled to write to you, because I would really, really like a copy of Angels And Men by Kate Rusby.

If you’ve fixed the sub-woofer on your sleigh’s soundsystem after blowing it playing It’s A Goldie Lookin’ Christmas last December, get yourself a copy for the delivery run. There are the more traditional tracks, like See Amid The Winter’s Snow and Deck The Halls, but they’re given something much more than just an outing. Deck The Halls has a brass section that is meatier than the average Christmas dinner, whilst See Amid The Winter’s Snow is densely atmospheric. There’s a bit of Village Green Preservation Society to the opener Hark, Hark, whilst Paradise will give you a few Dire Straits, Love Over Gold moments. Considering you’ll spend ages at the reins in the forthcoming weeks, essentially staring out at Rudolph’s hind quarters, you could surely do with a bit of the humour in The Ivy And The Holly to see you through.

According to her song, Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo, you’ve been a bit mean, which I’m finding slightly hard to stomach. I’m a bit concerned about the lyric, “Every Christmas Eve, I see it in my dreams/ And then in the morning, I cry.” What’s she ever done to you? According to Big Brave Bill Saves Christmas, at the end of the album, her superhero mate saved your backside and allowed your bearded bonhomie to thrive by digging you out of a snowdrift. Give her some thanks, eh? If she wasn’t such a lovely and warm person, even when it’s nesh outside, you could easily have another Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson, Hey, Santa Claus situation on your hands.

Anyway – when you’ve had your fill of chimney sliding and glasses of sherry from bottles that were last prised open 365 days ago, come round to ours for a post-Yuletide sharpener, and we can crank up Let The Bells Ring, and “send the old year out on the rolling tide” of Kate Rusby’s majestic vocals. I’ve got the booze; it doesn’t work if you don’t sort me the CD. I promise I’ve been good.

Honest.

Love from Little Jonny

The music of the festive season can be a selection box for the ears. It’s basically a mass-produced aural pig-out that’s remarkably similar to last year’s, when you swore you wouldn’t be suckered into over-indulgence again, and you were convinced that you meant it. Kate Rusby’s festive albums have always broken that anodyne, saccharine mould with their gorgeously indulgent qualities. Jon Kean asks Father Christmas for a copy of his very own.

Dear Father Christmas

It’s been a while since I wrote to you: probably about 35 years. Sorry for the years when I doubted you, especially after you sorted me out with that Action Man tank and The Youth Of Today by Musical Youth on cassette. I thought you were cool in that film where you played Richard Attenborough too. Anyhow, to cut to the chase, apart from a polite request not to bring my toddler any toys that bloody sing this year, I felt compelled to write to you, because I would really, really like a copy of Angels And Men by Kate Rusby.

If you’ve fixed the sub-woofer on your sleigh’s soundsystem after blowing it playing It’s A Goldie Lookin’ Christmas last December, get yourself a copy for the delivery run. There are the more traditional tracks, like See Amid The Winter’s Snow and Deck The Halls, but they’re given something much more than just an outing. Deck The Halls has a brass section that is meatier than the average Christmas dinner, whilst See Amid The Winter’s Snow is densely atmospheric. There’s a bit of Village Green Preservation Society to the opener Hark, Hark, whilst Paradise will give you a few Dire Straits, Love Over Gold moments. Considering you’ll spend ages at the reins in the forthcoming weeks, essentially staring out at Rudolph’s hind quarters, you could surely do with a bit of the humour in The Ivy And The Holly to see you through.

According to her song, Santa Never Brings Me A Banjo, you’ve been a bit mean, which I’m finding slightly hard to stomach. I’m a bit concerned about the lyric, “Every Christmas Eve, I see it in my dreams/ And then in the morning, I cry.” What’s she ever done to you? According to Big Brave Bill Saves Christmas, at the end of the album, her superhero mate saved your backside and allowed your bearded bonhomie to thrive by digging you out of a snowdrift. Give her some thanks, eh? If she wasn’t such a lovely and warm person, even when it’s nesh outside, you could easily have another Kevin ‘Bloody’ Wilson, Hey, Santa Claus situation on your hands.

Anyway – when you’ve had your fill of chimney sliding and glasses of sherry from bottles that were last prised open 365 days ago, come round to ours for a post-Yuletide sharpener, and we can crank up Let The Bells Ring, and “send the old year out on the rolling tide” of Kate Rusby’s majestic vocals. I’ve got the booze; it doesn’t work if you don’t sort me the CD. I promise I’ve been good.

Honest.

Love from Little Jonny

Last Nickel – Sod and Stubble

Blending traditional musical themes with original twists, Last Nickel’s music paints pictures of the timeless relating of people and places, and the mess and majesty therein.

Dan Beaver – Just Right

Album Notes

This is harmonica player Dan Beaver’s 6th album. It features Jesse Lee and other guest musicians as they serve up a mix of rock and roll, country, blues and more. The former member of John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band’s earlier albums include: Ain’t No Shame, The Goods and Last Call. Learn more about this artist and his upcoming projects at: danbeaverblues.com