Apr 062018


By Joshua Wallace

Western Centuries is a band like no other that I know of currently out there.  They have 3 songwriters and with 3 voices they often switch around between who is playing drums, lead and rhythm guitar on different tracks.  You don’t see that very often these days. You might get two singers in a band, but 3 with 3 distinct songwriting styles and voices? Cahalen Morrison (Country Hammer), Ethan Lawton (Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers) and Jim Miller (Donna The Buffalo) take full advantage of having 3 songwriters on the record and split the duties evenly across 12 tracks.  The country supergroup is back with their second full length album and they are masters of their craft.

One of the first singles from the album was “Earthly Justice” which was written by Cahalen Morrison.  It’s a song kind of about how no matter how bad things get, there is always another page to turn. It uses the failures of the justice system as a vehicle to relay that message.   I also love the pedal steel work by Leo Grassl on this track. He can be heard throughout the album and it really does add to the record. Another favorite is Ethan Lawton’s “Own Private Honky Tonk.”  It starts off with some good honky tonk piano by Eric Adcock and it has a killer honky tonk vibe throughout the track.

Jim Miller contributes the slower track “Rocks and Flame” to the album.  It has kind of a slow dance vibe to it. I love the B-3 organ here played once again by Eric Adcock.  “Wild You Run” is another Ethan Lawton track about straying from the path. Jim Miller contributes one of the more rocking tracks on the album “Time Does Not Rest”.  It’s still a slower number but features heavier guitars and a great solo.

The three songwriters of Western Centuries bring their various influences to the table here in a great way.  Each songwriter contributes 4 tracks to the album and they all have a distinct quality about them while sounding like the same band.  By using 3 songwriters as successfully as they have across this record, Western Centuries have accomplish something that Drive-By Truckers once did with Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Jason Isbell.  Songs From The Deluge is highly recommended if you love traditional country with big time singer-songwriter sensibilities. This album is out everywhere on April 6th, 2018.

Favorite Tracks : Earthy Justice, Own Private Honky Tonk, Rocks and Flame, Wild You Run, Wild Birds, Time Does Not Rest

Western Centuries – Songs From The Deluge (2018)

  1. Far From Home

  2. Earthly Justice

  3. Wild Birds

  4. Wild You Run

  5. Rocks and Flame

  6. Own Private Honky Tonk

  7. Cloud Of Woes

  8. Borrowed Time

  9. How Many More Miles To Babylon

  10. Time Does Not Rest

  11. Three Swallows

  12. Warm Guns

Apr 062018


By Joshua Wallace

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers have come a long way since the 2015 original release of their first album Sidelong.  The album was re-released in 2017 on Bloodshot records and found a much larger fanbase ready to embrace a country singer with a punk rock attitude and classic country sound.  Sarah Shook’s 2018 release Years features an even more traditional country sound but still carries the same fuck you attitude that Sidelong had.

The album’s lead single “Good As Gold” gives you a good idea of what this record is all about.  It’s a good traditional country sound bolstered by Sarah’s songwriting and some amazing pedal steel guitar by Phil Sullivan.  Another early release track that is actually receiving good reactions at live shows is “New Ways To Fail”. It features a catchy hook that has the line “I need this shit like I need another hole in my head” which goes over well with live audiences.

“The Bottle Never Lets Me Down” is another favorite track.  It is not a cover of the Merle Haggard tune with a similar title.  This is Sarah bemoaning the fact that a bottle of liquor is more trustworthy a lover.  Sarah’s southern drawl was made for drinking songs and it shows here. Another track that was received well when I recently saw Sarah Shook live was “Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t”.  It’s a more rocking number that is a pure foot stomper. Another great track is the short but rocking “Lesson” which features some killer guitar work from Eric Peterson.

Sarah Shook is proving to be the female version of the country side of Hank 3 with this album.  Years has traditional country sounds, but at the same time the album carries a punk rock attitude and sneer that many fans liked about the early Hank 3 records.  The lyrics are both revealing and defiant. It all just feels real. Sarah Shook is currently out on tour playing many of these songs live. If you’re at Muddy Roots this year I highly recommend checking out her set.  Years is out everywhere on Bloodshot Records on April 6, 2018.

Favorite Tracks : “Good As Gold”, “New Ways To Fail”, “The Bottle Never Lets Me Down”, “Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t”, “Whatever It Takes”

Sarah Shook – Years (2018)

  1. Good As Gold

  2. New Ways To Fail

  3. Over You

  4. The Bottle Never Lets Me Down

  5. Parting Words

  6. What It Takes

  7. Lesson

  8. Damned If I Do, Damned If I Don’t

  9. Heartache In Hell

  10. Years

Apr 062018


By Joshua Wallace

The modern kings of southern rock are back with a new record called Find A Light. This album is another great addition to what is turning into an amazing record catalog for Blackberry Smoke.  It has everything you have come to expect from a Blackberry Smoke record including some great guest artists like Robert Randolph, Amanda Shires and The Wood Brothers.  Let’s take a deeper look at some of the tracks featured on this album.

One of my favorite album tracks features Robert Randolph of Robert Randolph & The Family Band.  “I’ll Keep Ramblin” is a true rocker that opens with a riff that will grab you and take you on through the entire track nodding your head and tapping your feet.  To change the pace a bit, “Medicate My Mind” is a slower acoustic track about the need to just slow down the world and medicate your mind, however you choose to do so.

“The Crooked Kind” is a straight rock track with some of the killer riffs good southern rock is known for.  “Nobody Gives a Damn” goes more into alt country territory on a track that is about those folks who let little accomplishments go to their head too much.  The album closes with a rootsy acoustic track featuring The Wood Brothers called “Mother Mountain” about redemption always being close at hand. It closes the album out on a smoother more rootsy note with help from The Wood Brothers on vocals.

This album is another high point in the career of Blackberry Smoke.  For many fans this has the potential to be a favorite album. While I like to hit the high points, there just isn’t a bad song on the album. It’s just that good.  Blackberry Smoke continue to stay well within the realm of southern rock proving themselves to be gods of the riff while at the same time stretching out their soundscape and exploring more acoustic and alt country sounds.  Find A Light is available everywhere music is sold on April 6th, 2018.

Favorite Tracks : The Crooked Kind, Medicate My Mind, Nobody Gives A Damn, I’ll Keep Ramblin’, Lord Strike Me Dead, Mother Mountain

Blackberry Smoke – Find A Light (2018)

  1. Flesh And Bone

  2. Run Away From It All

  3. The Crooked Kind

  4. Medicate My Mind

  5. I’ve Got This Song

  6. Best Seat In The House

  7. I’ll Keep Ramblin’ (feat. Robert Randolph)

  8. Seems So Far

  9. Lord Strike Me Dead

  10. Let Me Down Easy (feat. Amanda Shires)

  11. Nobody Gives A Damn

  12. Till The Wheels Fall Off

  13. Mother Mountain (feat. The Wood Brothers)