Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

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.

Allison Crutchfield is a Philadelphia-based indie rock/punk singer/songwriter. You probably know her twin sister Katie as the frontwoman of the amazing band Waxahatchee. The recent Waxahatchee record Ivy Tripp was among my favourite albums of 2015. You might also remember that the Alabama native twin sisters were in a band called P.S. Eliot. Both Crutchfield girls played  on the Waxahatchee tour of the UK promoting the Ivy Tripp album.

You may also remember that Allison was the front of a band called Swearin. She’s stepped away from that band, at least for a moment. She’s now on Merge Records (same as her sister), and she’s set to release her solo debut early next year.  It’s a little punky, a little poppy, and even a little gothy. And it has enormous hooks. After the drum-heavy, fuzzy intro, the particular way the keyboards mix with the guitars and bass . The chorus is big and bright with vocals way up front.

I don’t know how the rest of the album sounds, but this is big and fun. Allison says that she went through a lot of life changes in the last two years. She says that big changes will often trigger a panic button, but that in the end, most people will emerge triumphant on the other side. That, apparently, is what her record is about.

Personnel:
Allison Crutchfield: synthesizer, piano, guitars, vocals
Sam Cook-Parrott: bass, additional guitars on tracks 2, 3, 4, and 6, additional vocals on track 8
Joey Doubek: drums, percussion
Katie Crutchfield: additional vocals on (prologue) and tracks 2, 6, and 10
Jeff Zeigler: modular synth, drum machine programming

Tourist in This Town will come out on January 27th, 2017 via Merge Records. In case you’re wondering, Katie did some vocals on three songs from this album, .

St. Paul & The Broken Bones.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones roared onto the soul-revival scene in 2014 on the strength of frontman Paul Janeway, whose earth-shaking vocals are matched only by his irrepressible energy as a performer. After a whirlwind couple years since the band’s debut, “Half The City” a time that included a few dates as The Rolling Stones’ opening act — the Birmingham, Alabama., outfit has shored up its sound and turned to weighty lyrical themes for its second full-length record, “Sea Of Noise”.

“Flow With It (You Got Me Feeling Like)” is the second single from “Sea Of Noise”, and it’s a fine example of the band’s maturation. Having grown to an eight-piece, the group fuels its fire with an expanded horn section and percussion that evokes the Motown sound. (Elsewhere on Sea Of Noise, its members call on the string charts of veteran Memphis arranger Lester Snell — not to mention the skyscraping voices of the Tennessee Mass Choir, recorded in Studio A at what was once Stax Records.)

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Sea Of Noise
More elaborate orchestration aside, the gritty burr of the Southern soul that informs St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ music is undeniable. In “Flow With It,” that’s most evident in the heavily grooving breakdown after the second chorus. Janeway lets the band bubble up and simmer over as he riffs on the curiously ambiguous line, “I wanna feel.” It’s hard not to feel something — release, maybe, or a cleansing of sorts — when everything comes to a heart-stopping pause, then whooshes back in at a rapid boil a beat later.

On one level, “Flow With It” seems to deal with a bedroom argument and the strain felt within an intimate relationship that’s fraying at the seams. But considered in light of contentious times, politically and socially, the song takes on another layer of meaning. “We ain’t gotta fight,” Janeway pleads, sounding like he could be addressing a partner or a society in need of the salve that soul music offers. “Let’s just flow with it.”

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Verbena was a rock band from Birmingham, Alabama, founded in the early 1990s by Scott Bondy, and Daniel Duquette Johnston who would become mainstays for the entirety of the band’s career, despite undergoing several line-up changes. They released three albums,  Bondy and Nuby each started their own respective solo projects. Bondy probaly the most succesful released his solo debut, American Hearts under the name A.A Bondy , Bondy also released his several solo efforts,  Duquette Johnson toured as Cutgrass for years and played bass on tour with a reunted Blake Babies. Duquette Johnson and the Rebel Kings have released several albums

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Hannah Aldridge has her debut album ‘Razor Wire’ is a slice of Dark Americana born from the real life experiences and music influences of her upbringing in Nashville, Tennessee and Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Hannah Aldridge is an Americana/ Folk artist originally from Muscle Shoals, Al. She is the daughter of the #1 hit songwriter and Alabama Music Hall of Fame inductee, Walt Aldridge, who has written and produced for such artist as Lou Reed, Reba McEntire, and Conway Twitty and has been named songwriter of the year twice by Billboard. Early in Hannah’s writing career, she was recognized for her astounding ability to capture emotion and ability to stun with her sultry vocals.
“I think people have forgotten what real drums and real voices sound like. We have been so overexposed to these pre-packaged “#1 hits” that when there is anything that has any glimpse of truth or rawness to it, it is like a fresh breath of air. Americana music really is lyrically driven and is meant to make people think, which is the total opposite of most of the stuff out there on the radio, so I think that naturally people are being drawn towards it.” says Aldridge.