The MTV Hive gave their picks for "great twang* records for the springtime"
"With temperatures rising across this great land, outdoor activities such as driving with the window down and bocce ball will soon commence once again. And what goes well with warmth and cold suds? Twang! Here’s five great Americana-tinged records we’re excited to pair with some well-honed sunburns."
Read what they say about Ben's record HERE
*= Rob HATES the word "twang."
That's short for Ha Ha Tonka on the Huffington Post. It's just in this era of Twitter, we can no longer be bothered with full words. KWIM?*
Find out their appearance on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, Brian's shabby baseball trivia skills and their songwriting processes and thematic influences. There's also many tales of WILD times on the road featuring an alter ego "Cheesy B." Look out Motley Crue.
*="Know What I Mean?
Sometimes a record comes across our desks that, despite common sense business reasoning, we just HAVE to be a part of. This is one of those records. We hope you'll agree or perhaps give a try. Tracks can be heard on the New Releases playlist--just push that little red button to the left.
In this time of joy and fellowship, the blog Muzzle of Bees asked our resident lo-fi seemingly always bummed Ben Weaver about his favorite sad songs in a recurring feature of theirs called Sad Songs and Waltzes. Check out his thoughts on the Replacements, Randy Newman, Townes Van Zandt and more HERE
Perhaps you've heard us rail about it before, but the Interweb has made it possible for a lot of BAD writing to be seen by a lot of people on equal footing with GOOD writing. Thus, we're always giddy to see some thoughtful, interesting and, dare we say, informed critical responses to our releases, and endeavor to pass them along--and Ben Weaver's new record seems to have the scribes sharpening their pencils and putting some thought into their reviews.
From the Minneapolis City Pages is a lovely review and conversation with Ben about food, music, nature and how they relate to his creative process:
"Pure pastoral, a melodic and meditative acoustic collection that finds his gravelly, Tom-Waits-indebted croak now complemented by a heretofore hidden and lovely upper register on tracks like the album-opening "Grass Doe." Deftly mixing confessional balladry ("Drag the Hills") with acute character sketches ("City Girl") and impressionistic nature journal jottings ("The Rooster's Wife"), it's a new high-water mark." Read it all HERE.
Then there's the NPR station KCMP's webstream of an in studio performance. Listen to it HERE.
And the kicker...from the blog Minnpost.com, HERE'S a review that is rather effusive in its praise....even if we sheepishly agree.
"The temptation here is to compare it to Springsteen’s “Nebraska” or any of Greg Brown’s similarly stark beauties. But a more apt reference is Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” that epic break-up record that sounds fussy in comparison."
The new album is available on Tuesday, but you can pre-order now and get a free hand drawn hang tag from Ben, as well as our 2010 edition PROMO SAMPLER.
Whitey and the band are busy boys in the city of Chicago this weekend. A show at the Country Music Festival, Fitzgerald's, an in store at Laurie's Planet of Sound and a FREE show at Reggie's, all coming the week of the release of their self-titled ALBUM on Tuesday.
Top shelf Chicago writer and country music historian Dave Hoekstra profiled him in the Sun-Times today. Lots of stories about growing up in Flint MI, starting out in punk bands, recording at Levon Helms studio and how his grandpaw turned him on to country.
Read it HERE
Today's a big day 'round here, yessir. Justin released his new album Harlem River Blues today and the word is already rolling out: It rules!
From eMusic: "Earle swings for the fences on his latest album and delivers his finest collection yet."
From Yahoo!: "...capitalize on the promise Earle showed on his previous releases and push him to a new level...[he] shows an emotional depth and subtlety that makes him a unique artist."
From iTunes: "HRB delivers in spades what his two previous offerings hinted at...the songwriter drops 11 weighty originals steeped in American musical traditions yet bearing his own inimitable lyric and stylistic signature. Earle proves that he is a force to be reckoned with, in these grooves he embodies the history, mystery, and promise of American roots music."
From Maverick (UK): "Justin Townes Earle is Justin Townes Earle, so any comparison with other Americana singer-songwriters, old or young is futile. This album has a timeless grace to it and is a massive leap forward."
Loads more is on the way, but we just wanted to get you a little taste...
The Blacks return from a 10-year hiatus next week with the Digital-only EP, In Sickness and Health—and we've got the first review! The Assault Blog says of it, "In Sickness and Health’s core four songs all rise up from a certain swagger. They’re rhythm driven with hooks to keep you there. They make up an assured 'fuck yeah we’re back!' that’s hard to disagree with."
Right now, when you buy this limited-edition, screenprinted poster, you'll be sent a download code for the EP. You'll also be able to download the album via iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and Fina starting March 9 (but you want the pretty poster, don't you?)