Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

Waxahatchee - <em>Ivy Tripp</em> (Merge)

Home-recorded DIY punk rock does not have to sound like aural dogshit. Case in point: Katie Crutchfield and a couple of friends rented a house in Long Island, played around with the acoustics in different rooms, and knocked out a handful of songs about longing and frustration. They walked away with a huge, gleaming song-cycle, a towering heap of melodies and feelings. And if they can make something they did on their own sound this amazing,

Waxahatchee, the solo musical project of Katie Crutchfield, is named after a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going. Ivy Tripp drifts confidently from its predecessors and brings forth a more informed and powerful recognition of where Crutchfield has currently found herself. The lament and grieving for her youth seem to have been replaced with control and sheer self-honesty. “My life has changed a lot in the last two years, and it’s been hard for me to process my feelings other than by writing songs,” says Crutchfield. “I think a running theme [of Ivy Tripp] is steadying yourself on shaky ground and reminding yourself that you have control in situations that seem overwhelming, or just being cognizant in moments of deep confusion or sadness, and learning to really feel emotions and to grow from that.”

Over the years, Katie Crutchfield has proven herself a master of the form: ’90s-inflected, nasally, home-recorded punk. Ivy Tripp is yet another subtle but meaningful step forward from what she’s been doing in various iterations for a decade now. It’s the perfect fall record: the crunch of leaves, the crisp morning air can be felt in every note. It’s the sound of stumbling and brushing the dirt off, feeling like shit, not knowing where to go or what to do next. It’s a record for wanderers, for those of us who are unable to or refuse to settle down

Recorded and engineered by Kyle Gilbride of Wherever Audio at Crutchfield’s home on New York’s Long Island—with drums recorded in the gym of a local elementary school—Ivy Tripp presents a more developed and aged version of Waxahatchee. “The title Ivy Tripp is really just a term I made up for directionless-ness, specifically of the 20-something, 30-something, 40-something of today, lacking regard for the complaisant life path of our parents and grandparents. I have thought of it like this: [Waxahatchee’s last album] Cerulean Salt is a solid and Ivy Tripp is a gas.”

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Out in the Storm, Katie Crutchfield’s fourth album as Waxahatchee and the follow-up to her Merge debut Ivy Tripp, is the blazing result of a woman reawakened. Her most autobiographical and honest album to date, Out in the Storm is a self-reflective anchor in the story of both her song writing and her life. Katie Crutchfield’s southern roots are undeniable. The name of her solo musical project Waxahatchee comes from a creek not far from her childhood home in Alabama and seems to represent both where she came from and where she’s going.

The album was tracked at Miner Street Recordings in Philadelphia with John Agnello, a producer, recording engineer, and mixer known for working with some of the most iconic musicians of the last 25 years, including Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Agnello and Crutchfield worked together for most of December 2016, along with the band: sister Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and percussion, Katherine Simonetti on bass, and Ashley Arnwine on drums; Katie Harkin, touring guitarist with Sleater-Kinney, also contributed lead guitar.

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At Agnello’s suggestion, the group recorded most of the music live to enhance their unity in a way that gives the album a fuller sound compared to past releases, resulting in one of Waxahatchee’s most guitar-driven releases to date.

Katie Crutchfield: vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, additional percussion
Katie Harkin: vocals, guitars, keyboards, piano, additional percussion
Allison Crutchfield: keyboards, additional percussion
Ashley Arnwine: drums
Katherine Simonetti: bass
Joey Doubek: additional percussion

All songs written by Katie Crutchfield 

“Out In The Storm” – Released July 14, 2017

After two albums on Universal Republic, The Secret Sisters (aka real-life sisters Laura Rogers and Lydia Slagle) were dropped by their major label which put the fate of the band in question, but then Brandi Carlile took them under her wing. She had them open for her and produced their third album “You Don’t Own Me Anymore”, which came out in 2017 on alt-country label New West Records, and this year the sisters and Brandi teamed up again for another record on New West, the gorgeous “Saturn Return”. The album is named after the astrological phenomenon that represents reaching full adulthood, and it followed some monumental life changes for the sisters; both became pregnant during the making of the album and they lost both of their grandmothers around that same time. “We were still just trying to figure out how you go forward in life without the strong matriarch,” Laura told The Boot. You can hear how these life changes impacted these personal songs — which, unlike their previous albums, were written without co-writers — though Saturn Return also finds the sisters looking outside of themselves, like on the powerful “Cabin,” which was written from the perspective of a woman who has been assaulted, and was written around the time of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. “This song was our way of saying, ‘We hear you, and we know it hurts…we know you’re not over it and that’s okay,'” said Laura. The power in the lyrics is matched by that of the music – warm, timeless Americana that would fit nicely next to anything from late ’70s Fleetwood Mac to the new Jason Isbell album. Brandi’s production is the perfect match, and she also encouraged the sisters to break from their trademark close harmony style and each sing some songs on their own, which very much worked to their benefit. Fans of their harmonies need not worry though — there are still plenty of those, and they’re as lush as you’d hope.

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Laura Rogers – vocals
Lydia Rogers – vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Brandi Carlile – acoustic guitar, piano, backing and featured vocals on “Water Witch”
Tim Hanseroth – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel
Phil Hanseroth – electric bass
Chris Powell – percussion
Jacob Hoffman – piano
Cheyenne Medders – electric guitar
Josh Neumann – cello
Sam Rae – cello
Kyleen King – violin

Released February 28th, 2020

All songs written by Laura Rogers and Lydia Rogers

 

jason isbell, jason isbell patterson hood, patterson hood, mike cooley, drive by truckers, jason isbell drive by truckrers, dbt, the dirty south dbt, cover me up, jason isbell cover me up, jason isbell 6/15/14

Jason Isbell dug into the vaults to pull out a special 2014 concert alongside his former Drive-By Truckers bandmates Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley . The concert, which took place at the Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL on June 15th, 2014, is available now on Bandcamp.

The show came together as a benefit concert for Terry Pace, a fixture in the local Shoals artistic scene. Pace—an actor, director, producer, lecturer and music historian—suffered a pair of “debilitating” strokes in March of that year, and faced a long and expensive road to recovery. Together these former bandmates, who hadn’t shared the stage in years, came together to perform in-the-round on this special evening.

The setlist for the evening saw a vibrant mix of the Drive-By Truckers songbook alongside some choice covers including a selection from Isbell’s then-budding solo career. Starting off the show with “Tornadoes” from Drive-By-Truckers’ 2004 record The Dirty South, the trio explored the band’s output during Isbell’s tenure of 2001—2007. Given Isbell’s seemingly-sudden departure from the group seven years prior, which in no small part led to the lasting sobriety he enjoys to this day, this concert served as an important statement to fans that there were no hard feelings.

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Over the course of the 25-song performance, the trio mined much of The Dirty South as well as 2003’s Decoration Day. It was toward the end of the evening, however, that Isbell showed everyone what he had been up to with a take on his solo single “Cover Me Up”. In the end, the show came to a raucous close with a 12-minute cover of AC/DC‘s “Let There Be Rock”.

Live at Shoals Theatre from Jason Isbell, Patterson Hood, and Mike Cooley is available to purchase on Bandcamp.

Recorded live at the Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL on 6/15/14
Released November 6th, 2020
The Band:
Mike Cooley – Vocals, Guitar
Patterson Hood – Vocals, Guitar
Jason Isbell – Vocals, Guitar

I’ve always been interested in hearing Jason’s original demo version of “Maybe It’s Time”. In 2018, Jason Isbell contributed the song “Maybe It’s Time” to the soundtrack of A Star Is Born, where it was performed by Bradley Cooper. The song earned Cooper his first solo Billboard chart placement and was later covered by Eddie Vedder. Now, Isbell has shared his own demo of the track. It’s out on Bandcamp today, along with an unreleased song called “Alabama Sky.” Listen below.

Back in May, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit released the new album “Reunions”.

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Jason Isbell – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar

“Maybe It’s Time (Demo)” was recorded by Dave Cobb RCA Studio A

“Alabama Sky” was recorded by Gena Johnson

released July 3rd, 2020

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We could all use a little Jason Isbell right now. Thankfully, the Alabama-bred/Nashville-based country singer and beloved songwriter is right on time with a new album. His next project with his ace country-rock band the 400 Unit, “Reunions”, arrives next month, the follow-up to 2017’s critically adored The Nashville Sound. That album garnered them new attention in corners where they may have been previously unknown, but Isbell’s longtime fans have been lapping up his music for the better part of 20 years.

He’s never really made a bad album, either with his band or solo, so the bar is high for Reunions. So far, the singles have been both thoughtful and delicate (“Dreamsicle” and “Only Children” are introspective and nostalgic) as well as powerful and politically forthcoming in the vein of “White Man’s World” (“What’ve I Done To Help” and “Be Afraid” both examine our current moment with criticism and bite). Isbell is one of the most consistent songwriters of his day, and his music always has a lot of heart. Indeed, the hopes are high for this new album, but I have faith in Jason Isbell. He knows his way around a country song.

Southeastern Records. Released on:  27th March 2020.

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Alabama-based Americana group Pond Diver are sharing their debut EP “Flashbacks”. A recent single, “Racecar,” features clean guitar work and a horn section from the University of North Alabama, not far away from the band’s native Muscle Shoals, the legendary music city. The record itself was mixed and mastered locally by Chris Bethea (Penny and Sparrow) at Muscle Shoals Mastering.

“Over the Hill”  Pond Diver Released on: 8th November.

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50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t be Wrong is the debut by Alabama-raised, now Austin-based Caroline Sallee, aka Caroline Says. After college Sallee took a job as a waitress in Yellowstone as an exercise in solitude and independence. With the money she saved there, she took a transformative journey via Greyhound to explore the West Coast before returning to Alabama where she would record her debut album in her parents’ basement. 50 Million puts us in the seat right next to Sallee where we can feel the warm West Coast light through the window, the bus route charting the lines between our youth, and our delayed future. These kinds of debuts can sometimes feel like an over-promise of what is to come, but in the case of Caroline Says there’s clearly plenty more thread to be unraveled. It’ll be a pleasure to see where the next bus ride takes us.

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More than anything, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires is a product of its place. Had Lee Bains, the group’s frontman and primary songwriter, grown up anywhere but Birmingham, Alabama, it’s unclear what his music would sound like. In the vein of explicitly local songwriters like John K. Samson and Greg Barnett, Bains’ relationship with his home is ambiguous, nuanced, complex. On the band’s third full-length record, “Youth Detention//Nail My Feet Down to the South Side of Town”, Bains applies a lacerating critical lens to his city and himself, dismantling the violently discriminatory socialization he experienced growing up. He rages against Americas prison complex , the criminalization and subjugation of black bodies, the objectification of women, and the moral dissonance of American rhetoric; these are all related in personal narratives, coloured by detail and reflection.

For Bains, progress is impossible without admission of this embedded prejudice: “Guilt is not a feeling, it’s a natural fact!” he shouts on “I Can Change!” Only once guilt and complicity is acknowledge can restitution or restorative justice be pursued. Like the work of Samson and Barnett, what resonates insistently on Youth Detention is that these stories and issues aren’t local; geography is just a tool for rooting the stories that exist across the globe.

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Tourist In This Town

Allison Crutchfield’s career began between the hours of after-school snack time and dinner, when she and her identical twin sister Katie started their first band in their parents’ basement in Birmingham, AL. The Crutchfields were 15-year-old freshmen, and they called themselves the Ackleys. In spite of (or maybe because of) their humble origins, the Ackleys became legends of the Birmingham music scene. You can still find a documentary about them on YouTube called Own It In An Instant.

Of these twin sisters from Alabama  Allison Crutchfield has immersed herself in music since her teenage years, forming notable bands such as P.S. Eliot and Bad Banana (both with her twin sister Katie of Waxahatchee). In 2012, she co-founded Swearin’—the band in which she would truly begin to formulate and understand her full potential as a songwriter. Tourist In This Town recorded with Jeff Zeigler, who is known for his work with Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn, and Mary Lattimore, among others. His synthesizer collection and related expertise proved an alluring draw for Crutchfield, who had started incorporating synths into her work when she branched off into a solo career.