Posts Tagged ‘New West Records’

Lilly Hiatt’s new album Walking Proof may prove to one of 2020’s most universally relatable thanks to a single line on the chorus of “P-Town”: “Don’t you hate when people say it is what it is?” Unless you’re Joe Pesci in The Irishman and you’re adding in a contraction, there’s never a time when “it is what it is” benefits the person you’re saying it to: You’re better off with either a shrug. They’re useless gestures, but at least they’re transparently useless. Think about the last time you had a shitty day and an acquaintance told you that you were fated to have a shitty day, so you might as well accept the shit; you’ll find yourself wishing “P-Town” had existed at the time so you could shake off that flaccid old bromide with big, swaggering guitar riffs and swelling electric organ.

This is music to liberate yourself to-music that reminds listeners of Americana’s versatility as a genre and the palliative effects a good, expressive rock song can have on the soul. We’ve all taken a road trip that wound up going wrong, whether the kind of wrong where everything goes off the rails or the sort where everyone’s out of sync and nothing’s as fun as it’s supposed to be. That’s the heart of “P-Town” specifically, but the spiritual relief derived from rock ’n’ roll and Americana makes up Walking Proof’s whole. It’s baked into the record from start to finish: “I throw caution to the wind, and don’t give a damn,” Hiatt chimes on the record’s opener “Rae,” a twangy tune about the dual pleasures of pretending to be someone other than who you are and having someone in your life who knows you on a molecular level. There’s a caution to “Rae” in its first 45 or so seconds that belies Walking Proof’s prevailing confidence: Hiatt’s voice rings so quietly, so meekly, that for but a moment it feels like she’s tricking her audience. Walking Proof is, after all, neither quiet nor meek, though it does have its share of hushed tracks.

P-Town released on New West Records, 2020-01-31
Composer: Lilly Hiatt

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The impossibly talented 19-year old Utah musician Sammy Brue has just shared the latest song from his forthcoming album, “Crash Test Kid”. “Megawatt” is the fourth track to be released from the already critically lauded young artist’s sophomore album, Crash Test Kid. (June 12 via New West Records) . Having just completed tours opening for Michael Kiwanuka and Marcus King before the Covid-19 crisis, Sammy was forced to cancel his trip to SXSW, and has spent the past several weeks at home in Utah, where he’s been performing live on his Instagram Stories and recently took part in Consequence Of Sound’s livestream tribute to one of his musical heroes, John Prine.

Since writing his first song (a fingerpicked, autobiographical tune titled “The Woody Guthrie Song”) at the age of 11, Brue has released three homespun EPs, his New West full-length debut, I Am Nice and a 2018 EP, Down with Desperation . In the process, the Ogden, Utah native has been hailed as an “Americana prodigy” by Rolling Stone , a “wunderkind” by American Songwriter and one of the “teenagers shaping pop” by The New Yorker . Alongside this, Brue has performed at the Newport Folk Festival and played shows with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Lukas Nelson and Hayes Carll; and toured alongside Justin Townes Earle, who has become a mentor of sorts.

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Brue recorded his debut full-length, I Am Nice , in Muscle Shoals with Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of The Civil Wars producing. But for his new album he took a different approach, collaborating with Irish producer, singer-songwriter Iain Archer , who has worked with the likes of Jake Bugg and Snow Patrol.

released June 12th, 2020
All songs written by Sammy Brue and Iain Archer

Steve Earle examines the physical strength and life-risking bravery of Appalachian miners in “Devil Put the Coal in the Ground,” the first preview of the singer’s new album, “Ghosts of West Virginia”. The follow-up to the Texas-born singer-songwriter’s 2019 Guy Clark tribute album, Guy, Earle and his band the Dukes’ Ghosts of West Virginia has roots in the New York theater community.

Earle was approached by playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, with whom he’d worked on The Exonerated, to collaborate on a play about the 2010 Upper Big Branch disaster in West Virginia, which killed 29 men. The finished work, Coal Country, features Earle as a kind of Greek chorus and opens March 3rd, with shows running through March 29th, at the Public Theater in New York. During a production of Coal Country, Earle sings seven of the songs that have been recorded for Ghosts of West Virginia, which also centers on the Upper Big Branch disaster. For composing around this theme, the famously liberal Earle challenged himself to write songs that would embrace and sympathize with people who may not align with him politically.

Steve Earle’s latest release — “Union, God and Country” — from his forthcoming album, Ghosts of West Virginia,

“One of the dangers that we’re in is if people like me keep thinking that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist or an asshole, then we’re fucked, because it’s simply not true,” he says in a release. “So this is one move toward something that might take a generation to change. I wanted to do something where that dialogue could begin.”

Over the course of the album, Earle examines hardship and loss, but also sets his sights on the mining company whose safety violations doomed the miners and the union-busting politicians who eroded their bargaining power. But in “Devil Put the Coal in the Ground,” Earle employs a heave-ho work-song rhythm to conjure the pride of working men as they descend into the mines. With a bluesy, hypnotic musical backdrop of banjo, droning fiddle, and pounding percussion, Earle drawls his lyrics in a way that almost sounds like a taunt: “The good lord gimme two hands/Says is you an animal or is you a man.” It transforms into a psychedelic guitar odyssey, thrilling and anxiety-ridden all at once.

Steve Earle’s latest release his forthcoming album, Ghosts of West Virginia, available May 22nd, 2020

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Lilly Hiatt’s excellent new album? Well, she is just so consistent in her approach. While the songs aren’t repetitive by any stretch, they are all built on a tasty guitar lick before Lilly’s voice hooks me like a marlin as she paints these vignettes of good times and bad. Overall, this album is a little less personal than Trinity Lane and has a sound that leans a little more to the rock side than the Americana side.

The album has a few timely tracks for our self-isolation. P-Town tackles a shitty day with humor and exasperation. Candy Lunch wants you to be able to deal with the shit we can’t control; make the best of the situation. Drawl wants us to find the beauty in the simple things; something I have been trying to do these last couple of weeks. Hiatt continues to cement her place at the table of the best songwriters around these days. She is as consistent as they come.

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Released March 27th, 2020
Musicians:
Lilly Hiatt: vocals, guitar
John Condit: guitar
Robert Hudson: bass, mandolin
Kate Haldrup: drums
Lincoln Parish: guitar, keys
Travis Goodwin: keys

Guests:
Aaron Lee Tasjan: guitar on “Little Believer,” vocals on “Never Play Guitar”
John Hiatt: vocals on “Some Kind of Drug”
Amanda Shires: vocals and fiddle on “Walking Proof,” vocals on “Drawl”
Luke Schneider: pedal steel on “Move”

All songs written by Lilly Hiatt

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Caroline Rose’s “Loner” is a masterstroke of an album, and the three singles that proceeded it give you insights to the vast array of soundscapes and moods that encompass this career defining album. I found these songs on constant repeat all last year long. If you’re not familiar, now’s your chance to change that! Don’t let it pass you by without warming up to this stellar collection of songs.

With her all-red wardrobe and wild dance moves, you may feel an urge to assign Caroline Rose the description “quirky.” Resist it. The Austin, Texas-based indie pop artist isn’t an oddity—she’s a hungry artist on a quest for constant evolution. Beginning in the Americana scene back in 2014 with her debut album I Will Not Be Afraid, Rose later abandoned her country pursuits for a chance at making something much more unique: satirical, endlessly catchy synth-pop. That was the crux of her 2018 record Loner. Now, she’s back with something new: an underdog’s odyssey set to music. Lead single “Feel The Way I Want” is a lose-yourself dance track, but “Freak Like Me” is a classy piano ballad. There’s no telling what the entirety of Superstar will sound like. What can’t this girl do?

Band Members:
Caroline Rose, Abbie Morin, Josh Speers, Willoughby Morse<

“It’s amazing. Twenty years. We packed a lot in, musically speaking.” John Hiatt reflects on his career over the last two decades as he prepares to celebrate the release of Only the Song Survives, a massive vinyl box set that honors his career from 2000’s Crossing Muddy Waters through 2018’s The Eclipse Sessions — 11 albums in total. “That means I started out with the records in this box set when I was about 47 years old,” Hiatt says with a chuckle in his voice, somewhat shocked at what he just said.

Only the Song Survives highlights Hiatt’s tenacious work ethic. “I was busy,” he admits. “I was busy, and I really got going in 2000.” Each of the box set’s records (listed below) is pressed on high-quality, 180-gram wax, and they’re all housed in a gorgeous leatherette briefcase, complete with gold stamping, buckle and handle.

“I was completely kept in the dark. My manager, Ken Levitan, and the folks at New West Records put it together,” Hiatt says of the curation and creation of Only the Song Survives. “It’s really flattering. I’m excited to see it. Hell, I might buy one!”

New West is not only involved with the release of the box set, but they, too, are being celebrated, as all but two of the set’s LPs were originally released on the label; in fact, the relationship Hiatt has with New West Records is the longest he’s had with any record label. On top of that, four of the albums in the set have never been pressed on vinyl, making this release much more than a greatest hits collection: Only the Song Survives is the definitive collection of Hiatt’s career over the last 20 years, 11 LPs spread out over 15 vinyl discs.

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“Isn’t that great?” Hiatt says when he thinks about listening to Crossing Muddy Waters, The Tiki Bar Is Open, Beneath This Gruff ExteriorandMaster of Disaster on vinyl, all for the first time. “I’ve got a turntable and a pair of powered speakers. It’s nothing fancy, but it feels great to plunk that needle down and hear that crackle and pop when the song kicks in. It’s going to be great to hear some of these records on that turntable.”

As Hiatt considers his love for the musical medium, he’s excited that others will be joining him in experiencing albums as they are intended to be heard: in whole, with no skipping around from one track to the next.

“We’re such a song-oriented world now,” he reflects. “It’s all about one tune, you know? But people are listening to vinyl and getting back into that experience. It’s kind of like a lost thing, but people are dialing back into it.”

When he thinks about those early ’00s records, Hiatt impresses with his signature optimism and cheer. “I remember how much fun we had making Crossing Muddy Waters,” he says with the utmost pride and gratitude. “Like most of my records, it was serendipitous. It was all about getting Davey Faragher and David Immerglück together, and then deciding that it’d be fun to make an acoustic record. It just kind of came together like that, and next thing you know we’re over at Justin Niebank’s little home studio in his basement, out in the country, and we’re recording it. I think it took us four or five days.”

He turns to 2001’s The Tiki Bar Is Open, noting that he actually started working on the LP prior to Crossing Muddy Waters. “I had started recording it for Capitol Records,” Hiatt recalls, “and we played them some stuff, and they were less than enthusiastic. So we basically got them to give us that record, and we put it out after Crossing Muddy Waters.”

“Working with Jay Joyce on that was a thrill,” he adds. “And you know, that band was the Goners. We had played together, at that point, for about 15 years. That was a fun record to make.”

Hiatt’s New West Records debut, 2003’s Beneath This Gruff Exterior, carries with it similar memories: “That album was all about saying, ‘Hey, fellas, let’s make a real band record,'” he says. “And that kind of just came about. I worked with the great Don Smith, a great engineer and producer, and that was a thrill, too. I got to work at Blackbird Studio for the first time, and that’s just a great studio.”

Hiatt then released Master of Disaster in 2005. For him, the album brings up recollections of heading to Memphis to work with his old friend Jim Dickinson and Jim’s boys Luther and Cody, of the North Mississippi Allstars.

“Oh, and Patterson Hood’s [dad], David, was on bass,” Hiatt remembers with a laugh.

Among so many other musicians and friends, Drive-By Truckers member Hood plays a significant role in Only the Song Survives, sharing his own memories of Hiatt and his influence in a beautiful 48-page book that is also housed in the record suitcase. Alongside Hood — who calls Master of Disaster an “often overlooked gem in Hiatt’s vast catalog” — other contributions to the book come from James McMurtry, Steve Earle, Bob Seger, Rodney Crowell, Suzy Bogguss and even Hiatt’s daughter and fellow New West labelmate, Lilly Hiatt. When he hears the ongoing list of friends and family who pay tribute to him, Hiatt appears speechless for a moment.

“It’s surprising,” he confesses. “I’m honored. When you line all of these people up like this, and you see it in this book … it’s overwhelming.”

As Hiatt examines his past body of work — reflection is not something he’s particularly fond of, although he admits that “there’s a lot more behind me than there is ahead of me” — he is quick to assure fans that Only the Song Survives is far from a farewell box set. “I’ve been doing a little bit of writing and been talking to some people, kicking around some ideas for a project,” he shares.

“We’ll see. I think I’ve got some more in me,” Hiatt continues. “It’s sort of been my habit since, well, since 1974. I like writing songs, I like singing them, and I like recording them and putting them out.”

As Randy Lewis of the Los Angeles Times shares in the set’s book, Only the Song Survives is a celebration and commemoration of the “third act” of Hiatt’s storied career. Hiatt considers the idea that the dawn of the 21st century marks the start of his third act, pausing for a brief moment as he does so.

“I might have a fourth act in me,” he says. “It might be brief … but who knows.”

Only the Song Survives is available via New West Records. The limited-edition box set will be released on December. 6th. The vast box set includes eleven albums, spread across fifteen long play records, all pressed on high quality 180g vinyl. Four releases – Crossing Muddy Waters (2000), The Tiki Bar Is Open (2001), Beneath This Gruff Exterior (2003) and Master Of Disaster (2005) – have been remastered for vinyl and pressed on wax for the very first time. The box set’s 48-page book is autographed by John Hiatt and features rare photos, testimonials, essays and insights from many of Hiatt’s co-conspirators throughout his career.

John Hiatt, Only the Song Survives Box Set Album Listing:

Crossing Muddy Waters (2000) *
The Tiki Bar Is Open (2001) *
Beneath This Gruff Exterior (2003) *
Master of Disaster (2005) *
Live from Austin, TX (2005)
Same Old Man (2008)
The Open Road (2010)
Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns (2011)
Mystic Pinball (2012)
Terms of My Surrender (2014)
The Eclipse Sessions (2018)

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Despite coming up in a Georgia scene that also spawned R.E.M. and the Black Crowes, and spending time on the road touring with Neil Young and Soul Asylum following the release of their successful 1991 album Fly Me Courageous, Drivin N Cryin are generally overlooked in the discussions of Southern rock. As this new vinyl reissue makes clear, they certainly deserve to be part of the conversation. The LP is a sparklingly remastered and renamed version of the group’s 1997 self-titled album, originally released on the little-known Ichiban International label. And what it reveals is a band that is comfortable working in the vein of cowpunk (“Paid In Full,” a stomping cover of John Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane”), jangling power-pop and dreamy psychedelia as they are in muscular barroom rock. Beneath it all, front man Kevn Kinney’s bruised lyrical sensibilities prove to be the true heart of the group, capturing the desperation, thrills and weathered spirit of a born romantic.

Drivin N Cryin proved much more resilient than many of their peers as well, as the band is still going strong today and still releasing quality music. It’s well past time catch up with these rock lifers.

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released July 27th, 2018

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“Power,” the title track from Shreveport based rock group Seratones‘ upcoming record, is probably this week’s most aptly-named cut. After two-and-a-half minutes of driving, all-out performances from the entire group, almost everything drops out, leaving vocalist AJ Haynes alone with a tremolo string section, before suddenly diving back into the opening groove, fuller and more powerful than before. Power is out August 23rd on New West Records.

A super-compact jam at just over two minutes, “Gotta Get to Know Ya” is based around a fuzzed-out, punk-funk bassline and Haynes’ versatile vocals, which range from sultry purrs to siren wails. Building on the soul and garage-rock elements of their debut album, Haynes and the Seratones keep the pace by laying down a ridiculously tight groove, sprinkling in some spacey synth effects and live-wire guitar skronk along the way. But it’s clear this is Haynes’ show: “Feel the heat of my fire/I gotta gotta gotta gotta get to get to get to know ya,” she sings, switching from smooth, Lenny Kravitz-style layered harmonies

From the new album ‘POWER,’ available August 23rd

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Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz create candid music with deep emotional and personal resonance. The sisters, who record under the moniker Lily and Madeleine, boldly explore what it means to be women in the 21st century, and aren’t afraid to use their music to call out injustice or double standards. This fearless approach has permeated their three albums, which are full of insightful lyrics and thoughtful indie-pop. But with their fourth studio album, Canterbury Girls – named after Canterbury Park, located in their hometown of Indianapolis – the sisters are coming into their own as women and musicians.

Using an eclectic playlist of songs as sonic inspirations – soul tunes and waltzes, as well as cuts from Midlake, ABBA and Nancy Wilson – Lily and Madeleine worked quickly, recording Canterbury Girls in just 10 days. Although the record contains plenty of Lily and Madeleine’s usual ornate music—including the languid Analog Love, on which twangy guitars curl around like a kite twisting in the wind – the album also finds the siblings exploring new sonic vistas. Supernatural Sadness is an irresistible slice of bubbly, easy-going disco-pop; the urgent Pachinko Song hews toward interstellar synth-pop with driving rhythms, and Can’t Help The Way I Feel is an effervescent, Motown-inflected number. Vocally, the sisters also take giant leaps forward. The dreamy waltz Self Care is a rich, piano-heavy track on which their voices intertwine for soulful harmonies, while the meticulous Just Do It has a throwback, ‘70s R&B vibe.

From the new album ‘Canterbury Girls,’ available February 22nd, 2019:

Aaron Lee Tasjan is set to release his new album Karma For Cheap on August 31st via New West Records. This will be Tasjan’s second solo venture and signals a different sound for the artist, a change he described  as “… a little more rough and ready, more raw than anything I’ve done before.”

The 31-year-old from New Albany, Ohio has already enjoyed a varied music career, having played with Semi Precious Weapons and the New York Dolls, in addition to his work as a solo artist.

Of the new record, Tasjan says: “I needed this album to have a sense of adventure and mystery, to feel a little shaky and dangerous at times — something that wasn’t the obvious choice in terms of what people already like about what I do.  I’ve come to realize that I’m a searcher, which means I’m going to be searching forever.”

Tasjan says the new project is influenced by his childhood favorites the Beatles, David Bowie, and Badfinger, to name a few.