Album Feature – Jason Hawk Harris – Love & the Dark

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Aug 232019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Love & the Dark is the debut album from Los Angeles based country singer Jason Hawk Harris.  This is his first full length solo record and also his first release on Bloodshot Records. This album has some amazing depth for a debut and there is some good sad country music to be had here.  Harris clearly takes some of his songwriting inspiration from the likes of Jason Isbell as he pulls at the heart strings in a similar manner.

Jason tackles themes ranging from death, alcoholism, success and failure, religion and more.  “Cussing at the Light” was one of the first tracks released from this album. It’s a toe tapper that tackles alcoholism.  In this song, Jason laments medicating a recent heartbreak. I really dig the piano throughout the track, it adds another layer to this great track. “Giving In” is another song about substance abuse and dealing with all the remorse that comes with it.  The line “I wish that where I am is where I’ve been” will stick with you. “Phantom Limb” strips things back to just Jason and a guitar to start. This is an amazingly written song about how the death of a loved one can affect you. I love how the sparse instrumentation ebbs and flows to a really awesome finale that must be heard.

“I’m Afraid” is one of the more rocking tracks on the album and draws from a more punk rock sound.  It tackles Jason’s experiences with religion throughout his life. I love the interplay between the piano and the guitar for the solo on this track.  “Grandfather” is a song about coping with the loss of loved ones and the feelings that come with that. The instrumental to this track is unique and somewhat spacey.  It certainly adds another layer to this album which keeps peeling back more and more as you go through it.

Jason Hawk Harris has impressed me with this debut released.  I was already a fan with the single “Cussing at the Light”, but this entire album is great.  I hope I’m able to see him live at some point in the near future. Love & the Dark is out Friday August 23rd, 2019 everywhere you can find good music on Bloodshot Records.

https://jasonhawkharris.com/

Favorite Tracks : Cussing at the Light, Giving In, Phantom Limb, Grandfather

Jason Hawk Harris – Love & the Dark (2019)

  1. The Smoke and the Stars
  2. Cussing at the Light
  3. Confused
  4. Giving In
  5. Phantom Limb
  6. I’m Afraid
  7. Blessed Interruption
  8. Red Room Blues
  9. Grandfather
Feb 092018
 

Album Feature : Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It

By Joshua Wallace

The Australian born singer Ruby Boots returns with her second release and Bloodshot label debut titled Don’t Talk About It.  This album carries a different sound from her first record, Solitude which was released in 2016.  Don’t Talk About It features more of an edgier sound with a lot of variety thanks to The Texas Gentlemen being the backing band for the entire record.  Ruby Boots has struck paydirt with this combination as she has created an album and sound that is unique and familiar at the same time.

You can hear the new sound right away in the album’s lead track and single “It’s So Cruel”.  It’s a rock fueled track that still carries as much twang as it does attitude.  That carries out through the whole album with The Texas Gentlemen providing an amazing soundscape for the record.  The title track “Don’t Talk About It” is a Nikki Lane co-write that also features her on guest vocals on one of the more twangy tracks.

A favorite of mine on the album is “Easy Way Out”.  I don’t know if the influence is intentional, but this song reminds me of something Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers might have done in their prime.  Another good rock track is “Somebody Else”.  This song has The Texas Gentlemen and Ruby Boots flexing their indie rock muscles with a bit of fuzzy guitar mixed in.

I love the A Capella track “I Am a Woman”.  It showcases Ruby’s talents without the trappings of The Texas Gentlemen.  This track also highlights the themes of social inequality that run throughout the record.  Finally, another favorite is “Infatuation” which brings back the pounding rock rhythms mixed with the twangy guitars and Ruby’s amazing voice.  It’s a great tune about how true love never comes from a one night stand.

If you were a fan of The Texas Gentlemen’s 2017 release TX Jelly, or a fan of Ruby Boots’s 2016 album Solitude, you will enjoy this record.  It’s a melding of both styles that works well.  The Texas Gentlemen shape the sound of the record and Ruby goes out of the comfort zone she found herself in on her debut record.  It creates a soundscape that will leave any listener in a fuzzy twangy haze.  I highly recommend this album for anyone looking for a new sound in the alt country genre.  Ruby Boot’s Don’t Talk About It is available everywhere from Bloodshot Records on February 9th, 2018.      

Favorite Tracks : Easy Way Out, Don’t Talk About it, Somebody Else, Infatuation

Ruby Boots – Don’t Talk About It (2018)

  1. It’s So Cruel

  2. Believe In Heaven

  3. Don’t Talk About It

  4. Easy Way Out

  5. Break My Heart Twice

  6. I’ll make It Through

  7. Somebody Else

  8. I Am A Woman

  9. Infatuation

  10. Don’t Give A Damn

 

Joshua Wallace
Chief Staff Writer

Gary Hayes County
Jan 072017
 

Bloodshot Records up there in Chicago is an iconic record label, hallowed immensely by fans of underground music like myself. Also, the bands that have paved the way for a lot of the Roots and Americana bands that inhabit the corner beer joints and major venues has been immortalized on the Bloodshot Records Label.  Old 97’s are one of those bands that blazed their way into the history books on the Bloodshot label alongside bands like Split Lip Rayfield, Wayne Hancock and the Bottle Rockets.

Now Bloodshot has re issued their classic 1995 album Wreck Your Life that brought them out to the masses before they moved onto Elektra Records and other labels. As far as I am concerned this album was one of the BIG cornerstones of Roots music that turned me onto whatever you want to call the music. You can pretty much label it whatever you want I just call it good music and my youth.

Rhett Miller, Ken Bethea, Murry Hammond, Philip Peeples who started out in Dallas Texas around 93-94 have been the staple members of this band ever since. You can see them perform this year on a festival I have yet to make an article about BUT WILL called Old Settler’s Music Festival in Texas this spring. Also they have a forthcoming album this Feb called Graveyard Whistling and they will be touring in support of their eleventh studio album as well in 2017. This from their website:

On vinyl, Graveyard Whistling will be released with four different cover color options – red, blue, green and silver – with four matching vinyl colors in translucent red, translucent blue, translucent green, and clear. You can pre-order the album physically or digitally now, and check out Old 97’s 2017 tour dates.

This band is one of the few bands that have twenty plus years together that have no lineup changes within their ranks and that makes them pretty high up on my love list of grandfather bands that many of today’s bands looks up to. if there was a museum for Roots music this band would be one of the forefronts on the list for sure. Their live shows are also equally regarded as some of the best the local venues have to offer, despite the fact that they boast no rehearsal of their performances nor do they claim having a set list as their 2005 offering Satellite Rides recorded live at Gruene Hall in Texas proves.

Finally their County Fair music festival that came to downtown Dallas Texas was well received by thousands of people and bands. They brought a big old Ferris wheel, carnival games and music the likes of Justin Townes Earle, Deer Tick and Robert Ellis.