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Pearl Jam Ten'
Pearl Jam originally released Ten on August 27, 1991. The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, sold over 12 million copies and became one of the cultural touchstones of the '90s. Songs such as Alive, Black, Even Flow and Jeremy became staples of rock radio, and still make frequent appearances on the bands ever-changing concert setlists. The album was produced by Rick Parasher. Pearl Jams 1991 lineup was Jeff Ament (bass), Stone Gossard (guitar), Dave Krusen (drums), Mike McCready (guitar) and Eddie Vedder (vocals).1. Once
2. Even Flow
4. Why Go
11. Release$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Let's Play Two2x Vinyl Housed In A Tip-On Style Gatefold Jacket
Featuring Photos And Director's Notes From Danny Clinch
In celebration of Pearl Jam's legendary sold out performances at Wrigley Field on August 20th & 22nd, 2016 during the Chicago Cubs historic World Series championship season, Pearl Jam is set to release the documentary film Let's Play Two and this accompanying soundtrack album.
With Chicago being a hometown to Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam has forged a relationship with the city, the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field that is unparalleled in the world of sports and music. From Ten to Lightning Bolt, this feature film shuffles through Pearl Jam's ever-growing catalog of originals and covers -- spanning the band's 25-year career. Through the eyes of Danny Clinch and the voice of Pearl Jam, Let's Play Two showcases the journey of that special relationship.LP 1
1. Low Light
2. Better Man
3. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town
4. Last Exit
5. Lightning Bolt
6. Black, Red, Yellow
9. Given To Fly
2. Inside Job
4. Crazy Mary
7. All The Way
8. I've Got A Feeling$35.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
TenRanked 207/500 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Ten, the debut album that sold 12 million copies and introduced the world to Pearl Jam in 1991, is now being reissued in four new and expanded editions. The reissue of Ten serves as the launch of a planned two-year catalog re-release campaign leading up to the bands 20th anniversary in 2011.
This edition of Ten is packaged on two vinyl LPs and includes two versions of the album: the remastered version of the original album plus an accompanying remixed version done by the bands long-time producer, Brendan OBrien (Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Audioslave).
The band loved the original mix of Ten, but were also interested in what it would sound like if I were to deconstruct and remix it, says producer Brendan OBrien. The original Ten sound is what millions of people bought, dug and loved, so I was initially hesitant to mess around with that. After years of persistent nudging from the band, I was able to wrap my head around the idea of offering it as a companion piece to the original, giving a fresh take on it, a more direct sound.
Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament, who served as the art director for the original Ten packaging, reprised his role for the reissues collaborating with designer, Andy Fischer, of Cameron Crowes Vinyl Films (Into the Wild soundtrack LP, Vanilla Sky soundtrack LP, Harold and Maude anniversary edition soundtrack LP). The goal was to assemble the ultimate fan-piece, explains Fischer. Something Pearl Jam lovers could pore over as they experience an indelible record all over again, in an entirely new way.
Pearl Jam originally released Ten on August 27, 1991. The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, sold over 12 million copies and became one of the cultural touchstones of the '90s. Songs such as Alive, Black, Even Flow and Jeremy became staples of rock radio, and still make frequent appearances on the bands ever-changing concert setlists. The album was produced by Rick Parasher. Pearl Jams 1991 lineup was Jeff Ament (bass), Stone Gossard (guitar), Dave Krusen (drums), Mike McCready (guitar) and Eddie Vedder (vocals).LP 1: Original Ten Tracklisting Remastered for Vinyl
2. Even Flow
4. Why Go
LP 2: Original Ten Tracklisting Remastered for Vinyl and Remixed by Brendan OBrien
2. Even Flow
4. Why Go
11. Release$34.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Blind Melon is the eponymous debut album by acclaimed Rock band Blind Melon, released in 1992, featuring breakthrough single "No Rain". Fronted by singer Shannon Hoon (who can be heard doing backing vocals on Guns N Roses' Use Your Illusion I and II)
Blind Melon had a distinctive sound, influenced by Southern Rock and Psychedelic Rock.
Songs like "Soak The Sin" and "Tones Of Home" evoke Hard Rock with a funky sound; "Time" resembles Grateful Dead-style improvisational music and acoustic songs like "Change" and "No Rain" hinted at Pop and Folk influences. The band recorded the bulk of the album with producer Rick Parashar (who had produced Pearl Jam's Ten) at London Bridge Studio in Seattle, Washington.
Blind Melon's production is marked by the use of outdated amplifiers and other antiquated studio technology. Modern studio effects were not used in its production as the band wanted to create a pure and intimate sounding record.1. Soak The Sin
2. Tones Of Home
3. I Wonder
4. Paper Scratcher
5. Dear Ol' Dad
7. No Rain
11. Seed To A Tree
13. Time$37.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years Of The Story (An Album To Benefit War Child) Quick ViewSONM-COL-0012xVarious Artists
Cover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years Of The Story (An Album To Benefit War Child)This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Brandi Carlile's breakthrough album The Story. To celebrate she recruited artists like Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Pearl Jam, The Avett Brothers, Adele and many more for this Cover Stories album to benefit the charity War Child.
Brandi describes this project as ...a David and Goliath story. Since becoming a mother, the reality of a child s beautiful little life being torn apart by war felt like too big of a problem for me. So I asked my heroes and friends to help me launch a rock at the giant that is our refugee crisis and help in the only way we know how, through the power of music.LP 1
1. Late Morning Lullaby - Shovels & Rope
2. The Story - Dolly Parton
3. Turpentine - Kris Kristofferson
4. My Song - Old Crow Medicine Show
5. Wasted - Jim James
6. Have You Ever - The Avett Brothers
7. Josephine - Anderson East
1. Losing Heart - The Secret Sisters
2. Cannonball - Indigo Girls
3. Until I Die - TORRES
4. Downpour - Margo Price
5. Shadow On the Wall - Ruby Amanfu
6. Again Today - Pearl Jam
7. Hiding My Heart - Adele$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
StiffThree years on from their critically acclaimed "barbeque" record Corsicana Lemonade, White Denim are back with more than just a new album to commemorate. Their sixth record, Stiff - out 25 March 2016 via Downtown/Sony Red - is a return to the Austin quartet's frenetic rock band roots, and is both a jubilant thrill ride and joyous celebration of their past ten years. Heading into the studio with an external producer to oversee a whole album for the first time - and even writing a tune with Cass McCombs ('Thank You') - the band teamed up with the legendary Ethan Johns (Paul McCartney, Laura Marling, The Staves) to produce their first truly live record, one teeming with a cool '70s undertow, tumultuous riffs and a feverish energy that's resulted in arguably some of their biggest and brawniest songs to date.
With drummer Joshua Block and guitarist Austin Jenkins now pursuing other production ventures, vocalist/guitarist James Petralli and bassist Steve Terebecki spent a long time reassessing exactly what White Denim meant to them. "The big thing for Steve and I was trying to define what made us want to keep going," Petralli explains of the album's early days. "What's our partnership about? What's cool about this? We learnt a lot making D and Corsicana Lemonade. We wanted to take some of those lessons and apply it back to our original mission statement. We were trying to get back to some of the things that made us excited about the band in the first place."
Opener 'Had 2 Know (Personal)' is the embodiment of that mission statement. Described by Petralli as "a reassertion of our initial intent to make songs that satisfy our urge to play fast", it sets the tone brilliantly for the bulk of Stiff, right from its idiosyncratic, Red Krayola-sampling beginning to its huge, golden era chorus. While it remains distinctively White Denim, there's a reinvigoration permeating through its riffs via new guitarist Jonathan Horne and a beefed-up rhythm section thanks to the work of new drummer Jeffrey Olson. Every single high octane turn - from the tremendously fun 'Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)' to the outrageously shredding 'Holda You (I'm Psycho)' - sounds like a band re-energised and revitalised, resulting in what Petralli describes as a "high heat, high energy, good times record". Having previously sold out Shepherd's Bush Empire and having toured with Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, Stiff is full to the brim with songs that sound ready to now lift White Denim to similar heights.
For the most part, Stiff is an album crammed with adrenaline-fuelled sing-alongs that show off the band's staple technical abilities. But it's also one that sees some new shades that they've developed along the way, too. Citing new wave and the razor-sharp pop punk of Buzzcocks as influences this time round, there's an addictive Elvis Costello circa This Year's Model quality to 'Real Deal Momma', a tune that highlights the band's love for hummable synthesisers and curious, affecting oddities. Then there's the cow bell calm and backing vocals laden brilliance of 'I'm The One (Big Big Fun)', that along with 'Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)' (a song Petralli says "wants to be on a collection of doo wop songs written in 2016") shows a softer and more intricate side to the band while fully emphasising Petralli's vocal excellence.
Of the artwork - which was created by collagist Eugenia Loli - was inspired and worked from the band's previous album covers and videos as a visual template. Ultimately, it's a fleeting visit to a place the band have been before, with the covers of Workout Holiday and D being collages too. Stiff was even originally stylised 'Stif', which when spelt backwards spells out the title of their second full-length Fits. Then there's 'Mirrored In Reverse', a nod to the Fits track 'Mirrored And Reverse'. "I mean, we're ten!" Petralli says in disbelief while explaining all of the record's throwbacks. "We did think about naming this record Ten and referencing the Pearl Jam cover!"
Recorded with nothing but equipment that Petralli describes as being "past a certain point in the '70s", he explains that Stiff is an album made "entirely the old way". "It was tracked live to 16-track tape with very little overdubs," he says. "It was very hardcore record making - traditional in every aspect." Recorded with Ethan Johns in Asheville, North Carolina over a twenty-day period, Petralli and the band had an intense but deeply educational time with Johns. "It was really cool. The guy had these stories that were just unbelievable. He started talking about playing with Jimmy Page when he was a kid, and he lived in the studio where The Rolling Stones and The Faces would just hang out. Having Ethan in the room pushing us really made it more of an 'in the moment' and a visual thing. Capturing live performances is what he does really well."
To make things even more celebratory, there was an extra ten day stint spent with go-to White Denim man Jim Vollentine, who Petralli describes as "my guy, man". He continues: "we've made a lot of records together now. When we left the studio in Asheville with Ethan, we thought we gotta work on this record some more, you know? Though it was really just mixing, which we did with respect to Ethan's arrangements and his recording. I feel like I really haven't made anything like this before."
Ultimately, Stiff is the sound of a band finding their feet again and having the time of their lives. It's a record that refuses to buckle under the pressures of life, instead offering up a soundtrack to sing, dance, shout and scream along to. As a White Denim album, it's a joyride through the past ten years of the band's idiosyncratic catalogue while simultaneously pushing things further forward into new territories. "It's similar to our first record [Workout Holiday] in that we found the initial energy and just went with that," Petralli says of the initial studio spark that started it all. "We thought, what's the fundamental thing that made us want to get into a van and quit our terrible jobs and start this whole thing in the first place? And it was loud, fast-playing, rock and roll."1. Had 2 Know (Personal)
2. Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)
3. Holda You (I'm Psycho)
4. There's a Brain in My Head
5. Take It Easy (Ever After Lasting Love)
6. (I'm the One) Big Big Fun
7. Real Deal Momma
8. Mirrored in Reverse
9. Thank You$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
MotherFans have been waiting patiently for new music
from the always provocative, multi-platinum, Grammy®
Award winning, Natalie Maines. And now, after much
anticipation, Natalie Maines of The Dixie Chicks,
will release her debut solo album, MOTHER. On MOTHER, people will hear a new direction
from the singer. Heavily inuenced by the more
rock-based, edgy and intense sound of title track,
and Pink Floyd cover, "Mother," Maines teamed up
with friend and Grammy-winning singer, songwriter,
and guitar wizard Ben Harper, who co-produced
the record with Maines.
As a member of the Dixie Chicks -the best-selling
female group of all time-Natalie Maines has sold
over 30 million albums and won 13 Grammy®
The ten songs on MOTHER reveal different sides of
one of the most acclaimed voices of our time.
The album is produced by Ben Harper and
mixed by Michael Brauer, includes songs written
by Natalie, Ben and Grammy®
Wilson. Additional highlights of the album include
her renditions of songs by Pink Floyd ("Mother"),
Jeff Buckley ("Lover, You Should Have Come Over"),
The Jayhawks ("I'd Run Away") and Eddie Vedder
("Without You").1. Without You
3. Free Life
4. Silver Bell
5. Lover You Should've Come Over
6. Vein in Vain
8. Come Cryin To Me
9. I'd Run Away
10. Take It On Faith$34.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Slang (Deluxe Edition) (Awaiting Repress)
Remastered Double Vinyl Deluxe Edition
Includes Bonus Material With 2 New Songs
First Time On Vinyl In The U.S.
Slang was first released in May 1996 and is considered the band's most underrated album. At the time of its release, the music industry was at the height of the 90s grunge scene and Def Leppard with bands like Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam were dominating the airwaves. Despite this musical shift, Slang charted on the Top Five UK Official Chart and the Top 15 in the US on Billboard's Top 200 Chart, plus the UK rock magazine Q named the project as one of the Top 10 Albums of the Year. As a testament to their music transcending through time, Slang was recognized for its musical departure from the band's signature sound. The collection incorporated new sonic elements that gave the album a slightly darker introspective mood than their previous releases. As Phil Collen stated in an interview with Metal Hammer UK, "We've all got personal things that have happened during the recording of Slang, and we've just ploughed on and some of it has come out on the record."1. Truth?
2. Turn To Dust
4. All I Want Is Everything
5. Work It Out
6. Breathe A Sigh
7. Deliver Me
8. Gift Of Flesh
9. Blood Runs Cold
10. Where Does Love Go When It Dies
11. Pearl Of Euphoria
12. Move With Me Slowly
13. Truth? (Original Version)
14. Burn Out
15. Worlds Collide
16. Can't Keep Away That Flame
17. All On Your Touch (2012 revisit) (previously unreleased)
18. Black Train (previously unreleased)$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
Handwritten (Awaiting Repress)
Blue Colored Vinyl
The late Nashville songwriter Harlan Howard famously defined the ingredients of a great song as three chords and the truth. Every songwriter knows three chords, but laying bare the truth? Now that can be an altogether trickier affair. In January of 2012, The Gaslight Anthem piled into their old tour van and headed across the New Jersey state line for a 14 hour road trip to Nashville on their own quest for the truth. Their destination was 2806 Azalea Place, Nashville, Blackbird Studio, where the New Brunswick quartet had booked five weeks recording time with producer Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, AC/DC). Their mission: to reconnect with rock 'n' roll in its most feral, pure, stripped-raw form.
Brian Fallon was thirteen years old when he discovered The Clash's self-titled debut album in the racks of Sound Effects Records in Hackettstown, New Jersey: the owner of the store promised the young teenager that the record would change his life. He wasn't wrong. But there was a time, not so very long ago, when The Gaslight's Anthem frontman had grown weary of the sound of electric guitars. After three albums of soulful, impassioned, hearts-on-fire punk rock, Sink Or Swim (2007), The '59 Sound (2008) and American Slang (2010), Fallon needed a change of pace, a change of scenery.
And so, in January of 2011, together with TGA guitar tech Ian Perkins, he formed The Horrible Crowes, a darkly melancholic side-project inspired by his love of The Afghan Whigs, Tom Waits and PJ Harvey. After the band's acclaimed debut album Elsie dropped in September, Fallon joined fellow punk rock troubadours Chuck Ragan, Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio) and Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) on the acoustic Revival Tour, airing stripped-down versions of Gaslight Anthem and Horrible Crowes songs to packed rooms across Europe. And then he returned home to New Jersey and Gaslight, re-energized, renewed and ready to make a full-tilt rock 'n' roll record again.
After six weeks of that there's nothing you want to hear more than a Marshall stack turned all the way up, he says with a laugh. The result is Handwritten, the most committed, affecting and compelling album of The Gaslight Anthem's career to date. Introduced by muscular lead-off single 45, which received it's world premiere on BBC Radio 1 as Zane Lowe's Hottest Record In The World on April 30, it finds the Jersey boys in inspired form, decanting '60's soul, '70's stadium rock, '80s hardcore and '90's grunge into eleven white-knuckle, blue-collar everyman anthems. Fallon likens its incandescent electrical storms to Tom Petty songs (being) played by Pearl Jam. Put more simply, it's a supercharged American rock 'n' roll classic.
We've taken everything we do and gone to 10 with it, explains Fallon. This is definitely the Gaslight Anthem record I would want next, if I were a fan. American Slang was cool, but this sounds like a band who has plugged back into the electric socket again. I think these songs are the closest thing to what we should have always sounded like, adds guitarist Alex Rosamilia. We just hadn't figured out yet how to play it right.
Fallon credits Brendan O'Brien for capturing the raw, live-off-the-floor feel of Handwritten. Fine-tuned in the living room of the small rental house the band shared in Nashville, its eleven tracks were recorded with the whole band eyeball-to-eyeball in one room at Blackbird, vibing off one another's energy. The electricity in the recordings is tangible. Brendan taught us a ton about songwriting and recording as a band, Fallon notes. The whole experience was amazing. That's the guy that recorded Pearl Jam, that's the guy that recorded Bruce Springsteen, that's the guy that did Rage Against The Machine; and that's the guy you want to say 'It's good', because when he says it's good, that's when it's good.
The purity of O'Brien's stark, unadorned recording process served to inspire Fallon's approach to the lyrical themes on Handwritten too. Where previous Gaslight Anthem albums evoked deathless images of Americana, all Cadillacs, jukeboxes, Ferris wheels and wistful, romanticized vignettes of star-struck lovers disappearing into the great wide open, Handwritten is rooted in Fallon's own experiences, lending the record a more immediate, emotional edge. Now I am no angel but I got nothing to hide, the singer rasps on the brooding grunge-noir of Too Much Blood. Can you say the same thing for yourself tonight?
It's supposed to be a letter to whoever is listening, says Fallon. Like, this is what we got beat up by and maybe you did too. There's so many things that I just never wrote about, real personal stuff that I just wasn't ready to talk about yet. Now I think being an adult I have some reflection on it. We wanted to look back on the music that we first found when we were in high school. The truth is, if you're my age, you were listening to Peal Jam and Nirvana and Soundgarden. When that music came out these were guys that we could relate to. They weren't the biggest bands in the world by accident.
And it's no accident either that with Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem themselves sound built to take on the world. After years paying their dues in the punk rock underground, their major label debut is assuredly the work of a young band who know their time is now. And their laidback, charismatic frontman is ready. I've always been ready for arenas, Fallon smiles. I've just been waiting for them to catch up to me. I want to play Giant Stadium, I always wanted to be a major label, major league band. If I can be the kid that's on the cover of Time magazine, I'll take it. And I'll buy you a drink while I'm at it.1. 45
3. Here Comes My Man
4. Mulholland Drive
6. Too Much Blood
8. Biloxi Parish
11. National Anthem$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
WARB-NON-9381xThe Black Keys
BrothersW/ CD version of the album included.
The maturation of the Black Keys as record makers and performers has been both subtle and startling. With their 2008 Nonesuch release Attack & Release, the fifth album of their eight-year career which doubled the sales of their previous album and Nonesuch debut Magic Potion, guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney illustrated the durability of their few-frills sound, a mysterious and heavy brew of '70s-vintage rock, classic R&B and timeless, downhearted blues. Producer and pal Danger Mouse, their first outside collaborator, didn't try to reinvent their sound but further isolated its essence with the help of a few carefully chosen guest players and some retro-modern electronic gear. It didn't need to get slicker to get better, or, as the Boston Globe put it, Attack & Release proves that cleaning up the boys still won't stop them from tracking mud all over the house.
Danger Mouse returned to co-produce Tighten Up on Brothers, but for the most part, the duo was on its own, spending ten days at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and coming up with the an even more intensely focused, deeply soulful set that includes a cover of Jerry Butler's Never Gonna Give You Up. The performances are inventive and impassioned: Auerbach extends his vocal range to falsetto on lead-off track Everlasting Light and The Only One; Howlin' For You opens with a Gary Glitter-style drum riff and the chorus practically invites singing along. The tunes offer a surprising amount of lyrical candor and more than a little dark humor; the grooves alternate between ballsy swagger and bluesy rumination. The album reflects where Auerbach and Carney have been lately, most recently collaborating with a who's who of New York City MC's, including RZA, Q Tip, Mos Def and Raekwon on the 2009 BlakRocBlack Keys fan Damon Dash. They've also pursued projects on their own, Auerbach with his solo Keep It Hid album and tour, Carney with his band Drummer and its debut disc, Feels Good Together. Their maturation didn't happen just in the studio, though. Carney admits, Dan and I grew up a lot as individuals and musicians prior to making this album. Our relationship was tested in many ways but at the end of the day, we're brothers, and I think these songs reflect that. super-session organized by hip-hop impresario and
Brothers was primarily cut in Muscle Shoals, a setting that turned out to have more in common with the Akron, Ohio factories where the Black Keys used to record. The place was desolate, the town depressed, so once again the duo slipped into a world all its own. They did additional recording at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound System in Akron and The Bunker in Brooklyn. The album was mixed by engineer Tchad Blake, a veteran of sessions with Los Lobos, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel. Says Carney, The way he approaches mixing is the same way we approach making music. Respecting the past while being in the present..1. Everlasting Light
2. Next Girl
3. Tighten Up
4. Howlin' For You
5. She's Long Gone
6. Black Mud
7. The Only One
8. Too Afraid To Love
9. Ten Cent Pistol
10. Sinister Kid
11. The Go Getter
12. I'm Not The One
13. Unknown Brother
14. Never Gonna Give You Up
15. These Days$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
30th Anniversary Celebration ConcertImport
On October 16, 1992, New York City's hottest concert ticket was the live gathering of musical giants who'd come to Madison Square Garden to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan's first Columbia Records album.
The four hour show, performed for a sold-out audience of more than 18,000 fans and live-cast around the world, brought together an unprecedented roster of artists and icons including Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Lou Reed, The Clancy Brothers, Richie Havens, Johnny Winter, Roger McGuinn, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Chrissie Hynde, The O'Jays, Eddie Vedder, SinÉad O'Connor, Tracy Chapman,
George Harrison (then making his first US concert appearance in 18 years) and more.Like A Rolling Stone - John Mellencamp
Blowin' In The Wind - Stevie Wonder
Foot Of Pride - Lou Reed
Masters Of War - Eddie Vedder/Mike McCready
The Times They Are A-Changin' - Tracy Chapman
It Ain't Me Babe - June Carter Cash/Johnny Cash
What Was It You Wanted - Willie Nelson
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight - Kris Kristofferson
Highway 61 Revisited - Johnny Winter
Seven Days - Ron Wood
Just Like A Woman - Richie Havens
When The Ship Comes in - The Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell with special guest Tommy Makem
War - Sinead O'Connor
Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Neil Young
All Along The Watchtower - Neil Young
I Shall Be Released - Chrissie Hynde
Don't Think Twice, It's Alright - Eric Clapton
Emotionally Yours - The O'Jays
When I Paint My Masterpiece - The Band
You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Mary Chapin Carpenter/Rosanne Cash/Shawn Colvin
Absolutely Sweet Marie - George Harrison
License To Kill - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Mr Tambourine Man - Roger McGuinn
It's Alright, Ma - Bob Dylan
My Back Pages - Bob Dylan/Roger McGuinn/Tom Petty/Neil Young/Eric Clapton/George Harrison
Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Everyone
Girl Of The North Country - Bob Dylan$129.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 4 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Hard Times Are RelativeOur favorite songs are like one-night stands: passionate or sad, capable of recalling moments with Proustian power. Our favorite artists are lifelong companions: fixtures we turn to for comfort and highs.
Over the last two decades, Jason Boland and the Stragglers have delivered and become both.
"We've always just wanted to entertain ourselves and put out music that would be a part of people's lives, not just something passing to them," says Boland. "We want to be something more monolithic." He pauses and grins as he adds, "We're just a social experiment at this point."
Boland is talking about the deep body of work he's created with his band of jangly honky-tonk aces, the Stragglers--Grant Tracy on bass; drummer and background vocalist Brad Rice; Nick Worley on fiddle, mandolin, and harmonies; and Cody Angel on guitar and pedal steel. Fronted and co-founded by Boland with Tracy and Rice, the band has featured only a handful of other members over the last 20 years, all of whom--whether they're currently Stragglers or not--are like brothers. As they've independently sold more than half a million albums, the outfit has packed iconic dancehalls, theaters, and other big rooms across the country.
With their new record Hard Times are Relative, Boland and the Stragglers stack the smart, road-ready outlaw country longtime fans have come to expect alongside creative risks that flirt with punk and psychedelic sounds. The 10-song collection is a rare blend of instantly gratifying and rewarding of closer listens--a definitively Stragglers accomplishment. "It's an upbeat album--a lot of fast songs, but it doesn't try to be fast," Boland says with characteristic insight. "It just sits in the pocket."
No one has combined Woody Guthrie's conscience with Waylon Jenning's panache quite like Boland and the Stragglers. Since debuting in 1999 with the Lloyd Maines-produced Pearl Snaps, the band has matured without taming their refreshing irreverence. "We always joke that we try to take as much as we can from Lloyd and apply it to producing our own records," Boland says. "We've worked with him so many times. The most obvious thing he taught us is: just be musical. Don't hammer through the songs like a garage band all the time."
That mix of subtle musical sophistication and unruly Oklahoma junkyard pedigree has resulted in some of the best independent honky tonk in recent memory. "You just have to be where you are--keep plugging away and doing the best you can at any moment," Boland says, reflecting on their career thus far. "For a bunch of slackers [like us], that's not too terribly tough."
Co-produced by the Stragglers, David Percefull, and Adam Odor, Hard Times are Relative is the band's ninth studio record. All songs were recorded live to tape and without the use of any computers--now a Stragglers' hallmark. Upbeat steel guitar kicks off album opener "I Don't Deserve You" before Boland's signature baritone thunders in, smooth and stronger than ever. When fellow sly honky-tonk champ Sunny Sweeney joins him in out-front harmonies, the two become the rootsy dream team you never knew you always wanted.
The album's title track is a masterpiece: an epic story song about a young orphaned brother and sister depending on the land and one another. Rich details layered over strings paint a scene that's compelling and lush. The song has become one of Boland's favorites. "Folk music is hard to write. Country music is hard to write," he says, reflecting on the difficulty of spinning a long tale while keeping it simple and engaging. "When you hit your own little tuning fork in your head, that one is a hard sell, even to me. But I enjoy that song."
"Right Where I Began" sounds like vintage Stragglers: clever wordplay and muscly guitars ready for two-steppers. Fiddle and vocal showcase "Searching for You" shows off Rice's and Worley's harmonies that are downright divine. Crunchy guitars drive "Dee Dee OD'd" as Boland offers another round of wry observations. Easy gem "Going Going Gone" makes a solid argument for fiddle in rock-and-roll as Boland deftly turns a baseball metaphor into a classic leaving song.
Gorgeous waltz "Do You Remember When" bemoans some of modern life's emphasis on disposability and the dismissal of heritage. Rollicking "Tattoo of a Bruise" picks up the same idea, and is tongue-in-cheek country doo-wop, fueled by fiddle, steel, and drums. "I'm not judging anybody," Boland clarifies. "Our music has always called it like we see it, right or wrong, smarter or dumber."
Praise for the past but acknowledgement of nostalgia's limitations is a career-long theme for Boland, and one that this record continues to carry. "We don't want to lose the chili recipes and the Schroeder Halls because people are moving on to faster, louder, and newer," he says. "But instead of just hemming and hawing, remembering what's old and gone, we want to have new experiences within those frameworks--make memories with what's left of the good stuff."
With lines like "Empty pockets don't mean you need money / It's just another place to put your hands / And focus on that rock you've been kicking / One day it's going to be a grain of sand," "Predestined" challenges listeners as it soothes. The song is a lyrical victory for Boland, who's long-since become a master of distilling heady ideas into digestible nuggets.
Penned by Oklahoma music godfather Randy Crouch, "Grandfather's Theme" serves as the album's climactic closer. Attacked with psychedelic ferocity by the band, the song picks up the record's recurring concepts of the ground's insistence on shifting, inevitability, and our complex relationship with the past. Stripped down as Boland sings, the song soars off into a trippy, robust jam-band send-off--a serious triumph especially considering it's a defiantly analog recording. "We're fighting the digital world because they can make it so huge," Boland says, discussing the balancing act of filling out songs while letting them breathe. "I'm really proud if what we did."
As he mulls over where the Stragglers have been and where they're headed, Boland comes back to one idea over and over again: he and his band are who they are, and with that genuineness comes grit, beauty, and staying power. "We're fortunate that we're not trying to fool anybody," he says. "That's what it comes down to. We're all loners but somehow a team. Now that I can look at it all, I can see: it's been fun."
Here's to the next 20 years.1. I Don't Deserve You
2. Hard Times Are Relative
3. Right Where I Began
4. Searching For You
5. Do You Remember When
6. Dee Dee OD'd
7. Going Going Gone
8. Tattoo of a Bruise
10. Grandfather's Theme$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now