Posts Tagged ‘Brian Kotzur’

Bill Callahan & Bonnie Prince Billy - credit: Photos by Hanly Banks Callahan / Mabel Cooper

Bill Callahan and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy have continued their collaborative covers series, and this new one is a very special one. It’s of “The Wild Kindness” by the late singer songwriter David Berman‘s band Silver Jews, and guests on this one include none other than David’s wife and Silver Jews bandmate Cassie Berman on bass, along with David Pajo on guitar, Tony Crow on keyboards, and Brian Kotzur on drums, with additional vocals by Haley Fohr (Circuit des Yeux), Meg Baird, and Matt Sweeney. The Bills and Cassie sound great together, and they really do justice to the song while making it their own. Flags flying at full mast (forever!), Silver Jews are paraded through the party on the back of Cassie Berman’s reverent version of one of the late David Berman’s finest songs. Everybody sings — everybody! — and that includes you. And it’s you crying, not us! OK maybe us too…

Featuring: Bill Callahan, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Cassie Berman, Boneman the dog, David Grubbs, Bill MacKay, George Xylouris, Shelagh Hannan, Apollonia Xylouris, Fred Somsen, Sue Ng-Espada, Matt Kinsey, Tony Crow, Azita Youssefi, Caitlin Rose Mahoney, Cory Hanson, Brett Sova, David Pajo.

“The Wild Kindness” (feat. Cassie Berman) · Bill Callahan · Bonnie “Prince” Billy  Drag City Records Released on: 2021-02-19

Country Westerns is a three-piece rock band from Nashville that sounds nothing like its name. Drummer Brian Kotzur (Trash Humpers, Silver Jews) and singer-songwriter-guitarist Joseph Plunket (The Weight, Gentleman Jesse) began working on songs together in 2016, after bonding over the shared desire to be in a band in a town full of solo artists and guns-for-hire. Following a couple of years writing and playing shows with varying lineups, Sabrina Rush (State Champion) joined the band as bassist. The now complete Country Westerns recorded their debut album in New York and Nashville, encouraged by friend and producer Matt Sweeney. Plunket’s raspy bravado and subtle twang, his insistent 12-string guitar riffs, Kotzur’s dynamic and metronomic drumming, and Rush’s harmonic bass playing create hyper catchy rock songs, with lyrics that bend towards poetry and punk rock sneer in equal measure. Their self-titled debut is slated for release in 2020 on Fat Possum Records. 

Released June 26th, 2020

Matt Sweeney, produced this Country Westerns album. Singer-guitarist Joey Plunkett left NYC for Nashville after making a name for himself in legends The Weight & hustling bass in Gentleman Jesse. In 2019, Sabrina Rush joined on bass. Nashville drummer Brian Kotzur was a member of Silver Jews and David Berman encouraged them to record with me and Fat Possum Records gave them a record deal.

http://

Country Westerns is a three-piece rock band from Nashville that sounds nothing like its name. Drummer Brian Kotzur (Trash Humpers, Silver Jews) and singer-songwriter-guitarist Joseph Plunket (The Weight, Gentleman Jesse) began working on songs together in 2016, after bonding over the shared desire to be in a band in a town full of solo artists and guns-for-hire. Following a couple of years writing and playing shows with varying lineups, Sabrina Rush (State Champion) joined the band as bassist. The now complete Country Westerns recorded their debut album in New York and Nashville, encouraged by friend and producer Matt Sweeney. Plunket’s raspy bravado and subtle twang, his insistent 12-string guitar riffs, Kotzur’s dynamic and metronomic drumming, and Rush’s harmonic bass playing create hyper catchy rock songs, with lyrics that bend towards poetry and punk rock sneer in equal measure. Their self-titled debut is slated for release in 2020 on Fat Possum Record. This is guitar-driven garagey americana that doesn’t sound like anything else out there right now.
Released June 26th, 2020

Country Westerns played a private set at Grimey’s Music in Nashville to celebrate the release of their self titled debut album on Fat Possum Records. Love everything about this. It’s got the primo vocal gravel with an infectious rhythm and upbeat tone. Great mix of punky twang polished and mixed like a modern Manhattan in the calloused hands of an urban cowboy gone rogue.
Slow Nights 00:14 It’s Not Easy 3:32 TV Light 6:47 Gentle Soul 10:17 I’m Not Ready 13:19 Close To Me 17:35 Guest Checks 20:16 Times To Tunnels 23:48 At Anytime 26:51 Margaritas At The Mall (Purple Mountains) 30:15

Image may contain: text

Rock ‘n’ roll lifers Sabrina Rush, Joseph Plunket and Brian Kotzur have played with State Champion, Gentleman Jesse and Silver Jews to name a few great bands. Now like Voltron, they have taken their skills to make a big giant rock ‘n’ roll robot and I am here for it.

Big guitars and a ripping rhythm section is like a belt-high fastball on a 3-0 count. From beginning to end, this album delivers the goods. I’ve tried to put a label on them but I always just wind up going with straight up rocking, sort of like a great Reigning Sound album. Plunkett’s vocals are raspy with hints of twang; again belt-high fastball for my tastes.

If you don’t like this album, you don’t like rock ‘n’ roll. This album literally pulled me out of funk and I’m grateful for its existence. It’s Not Easy, Gentle Soul and Two Characters are among my favourites.

Don’t go into Country Westerns’ self-titled debut expecting twangy back-porch music. Calling the group Country Westerns is a misnomer. The three-piece band from Nashville delivers riotous rock ‘n’ roll leaning more towards the Replacements than Dwight Yoakam. Drummer Brian Kotzur (Trash Humpers, Silver Jews) and singer-songwriter-guitarist Joey Plunkett (The Weight, Gentleman Jesse) began collaborating in 2016. Writing and performing music was meant to be an outlet for the two musicians, a method to release pressure, write songs, and hit-up Nashville’s DIY party scene. Shortly thereafter, Sabrina Rush (State Champion) joined as a bassist, although she was inexperienced with the instrument. Despite the blasé beginnings, Country Westerns delivers a musically rousting album that is at once catchy and gritty.

If not listening closely, the fierce musicality can obscure the sensitive and affecting lyrics. “Gentle Soul” is wistful, especially when Plunkett laments, “I don’t want to fight with you anymore.” Whereas the vulnerability is short-lived, the righteous indignation is palpable throughout the track. “Gentle Soul” is as angry as it is sad, an accurate portrayal of heartache. Country Westerns are decidedly self-aware. The band know they are blurring vulnerability and rage as exhibited in “Times to Tunnels”. The lyrics, “It ain’t a boast in the least / It’s just a plea for grace / Full of honesty, this rage and me”, provokes authentic self-consciousness.

On top of the engrossing lyrics, Country Westerns uses the album to showcase their musical alacrity. Kotzur’s drums on “Guest Checks” is rough and shrewd, the ideal counterpoint to Rush’s melodic bass. Plunkett’s guitar accentuates their stability with a rawness that melds into while deflecting Kotzur and Rush. Their musical charisma is extenuated on “It’s on Me” and “Anytime”. Whereas the former is comparatively understated in its rock ‘n’ roll energy, the latter roars.

“I’m Not Ready” off upcoming Country Westerns “S/T” album, out June 26, 2020, on Fat Possum Records.