Category: country

Album Review: Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Dereconstructed

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Nowadays, it seems pretty easy to reduce Southern culture to a few reality TV stars with beards and a duck call business. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires are here to remind the world about the complexity and vitality of this

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On their previous album, There Is a Bomb In Gilead, the band cautiously belted out a fine mix of country, southern rock, and soul music. Dereconstructed is their first album for the venerable Sub Pop label,and builds on the successes of their first record while backing them up with increased confidence and volume.

Lead off single and album opener, “The Company Man” serves as a statement of intent and an introduction to the current, road-tested lineup of The Glory Fires. The ragged opening riff propels the song forward into an onslaught of guitars pushed into the red by Bains and new addition, Eric Wallace. It’s a classic Southern Rock anthem that’s built to be catchy, but offers surprising

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lyrical depth. Lee has a knack for examining social issue particular to the South. The title track turns the fire and brimstone of a Southern Baptist preacher on its head and begins to spell out a new way of thinking for a generation of Southerners that are smart, tolerant, and equal.

The thematically related, “The Kudzu and The Concrete” and “The Weeds Downtown” take a

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look at living in the a post white flight Birmingham. Both songs touch on the realities of growing up at the foot of a bustling Southern city, but also identifying with your country roots. “The Weeds Downtown” in particular is an anthem for the revitalization and rebranding of downtown Birmingham. Where our parents generation saw danger, Bains and the rest of us see opportunity.

The second side of the record sees the band continuing in the politically minded vein of the first side with the one-two punch of “We Dare Defend Our Rights!”, and “Flags”. In previous generations, Alabama’s state motto was used as a symbol for defending the racist status quo, but Baines takes a look at the motto and turns it around by making it a rallying cry for a new generation of proud, progressive citizens.

To finish up the record, Bains delivers what I think is the best song of the album. “Dirt Track”, like all great southern food and art, works on several levels. The song relates Alabama’s history in stock car racing to DIY punk rock; the dirt track of the music business. The song’s late break and triumphant finish offers a capstone for the record, bringing everything full circle.

Bains and Co. offer the next logical step beyond the storytelling of bands like the Drive By Truckers, by getting down into the nitty gritty of living in a rapidly evolving South. There’s a sense of wrestling and reckoning with our shared past, but an unending faith and hope in our shared future. Dereconstructed offers an alternative to the duck call Disney World South that’s presented on TV and gives an authentic look into being an intelligent, proud southerner.

Album Review: Lydia Loveless – “Boy Crazy”

LL3If American Aquarium and Lucinda Williams had a baby, her name would be Lydia Loveless. Loveless’ new album “Boy Crazy” already won me over with the cover art; reflections of baseball players in the sunglasses!? Yes ma’am! The cover isn’t the only thing great about this album though, the tracks are pretty spectacular even without pictures. All the tracks on this album are heavily saturated with pedal steel, alt-country riffs, and plenty of attitude. To an extent, most of these songs have to do with relationships: good ones, bad ones, and late night ones. How does Loveless describe this album:

“We rehearsed for about a week and then went into the studio with a couple thirty packs and knocked it out. It’s my rock and roll tribute to baseball pants and youth.”

Loveless’ songwriting (she writes all her own Mr Green Casino er en trygg spilleside som handler bare om Casino uten noen distraksjoner fra sider og annonser som er ikke Casino relaterte. material) is honest, heartfelt, non-apologetic, and real. This new album “Boy Crazy” is less cow-punk and more pop then her first couple of albums but don’t get it twisted, this ain’t Gaga or Britney Spears pop; the Americana sweetheart from Ohio, Lydia Loveless, will whoop their asses. Literally. The album contains 5 tracks. One of those tracks, “Lover’s Spat”, should be one of the top 10 alt-country tracks of 2013 (it is on my “best of” list); plus it’s about Jeffrey Dahmer; Lydia wins. I sincerely hope the 23 year old Loveless is ready for 2014 because if this album is any indication of ‘what’s to come’ she may have just accidentally set herself up to become a household name and an alt-country star.

Release date: 12/3/13