RickShide

May 292017
 

Patrick Blackman – May 29, 2017 at 08:45AM
Tags:_AMERICANA

Arlington, Va. - A firing party from Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., renders a 21-gun salute during a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Va., Jan. 21. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Christian Varney/Released)

A firing party from Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., renders a 21-gun salute during a funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christian Varney/Released)

Introduction – “Dearly Departed Friend”

For the past five years, we here at MBM have managed to bring you a new post on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day 2017 is no exception. As with those posts, today’s featured song honors the men and women that fall in the service of our nation. It reflects on the humanity of the passing of one soldier from the point of view of a surviving comrade. In that sense, “Dearly Departed Friend” by Old Crow Medicine Show is appropriate for Veteran’s Day as well. Actually, it’s worth a listen any day of the year as far as I’m concerned.

“Dearly Departed Friend” appears on the Grammy-winning 2014 album Remedy. The imagery belongs clearly in 21st-century America. The deeper sentiment, though, is timeless. One imagines warriors through the ages in different societies with similar feelings at the graves or pyres of their brothers and sisters in arms. Ketch Secor achieves this remarkable balance by eschewing politics in his lyrics and dwelling instead in the heart of the survivor. When it comes to war, there is neither glory nor blame in this song. There is simply a soldier’s pained voice spilling into the infinite absence created by his friend’s death.

Listen for yourself.

Lyrics for “Dearly Departed Friend” by Old Crow Medicine Show

“Twenty-one guns for twenty-one years …”

The first two lines of the song show the initial setting as a funeral. We know the narrator is a combat veteran by the end of the first verse. The chorus then makes clear that the intended listener, the ‘dearly departed friend’, died in service. “Twenty-one guns for twenty-one years and American flags in the wind” depicts a military funeral with an honor guard and a three-volley salute by a seven-member firing party. In combination with all of this, the soldier’s age leaves us sure he died in combat and that he, the narrator, and ‘the boys’ around him are all comrades-in-arms.

The song evokes martial camaraderie at the same time as it refuses to employ the language of heroism or sacrifice. Indeed, we might read our own political perspectives into Secor’s lyrics insofar as he artfully leaves much to our imagination. Fortunately, he provides insight into the origins of the song in at least two interviews available online, one for the Wall Street Journal’s arts blog “Speakeasy” and one for Hrishikesh Hirway’s podcast Song Exploder.

What I gather from both sources is that Secor wanted the song to come off exactly the way it does – as genuinely valuing the lives and experiences of America’s fighting men and women without falling into patriotism for its own sake. From the WSJ in 2014:

The song “is a tribute to those small town servicemen and women, the ones from Defuniak Springs and Elmira, from Sevierville and Garden City, who, amid unimaginable scenes of destruction, somehow found true friendship, somehow found true love,” bandleader, fiddle player and singer Ketch Secor tells Speakeasy.

He continues, “We figured by now you’d heard enough of those banner waving, ticker tape songs about how high the eagle flies and all that, so instead we wrote you one about a real life American homecoming, with real life American soldiers, and a real life funeral far from Arlington where the dead aren’t called heroes, just friends, and up and down the main drag, life goes on.”

Secor begins Hirway’s 2016 podcast with a story. At twelve years old he refused to participate in a school event inspired by the start of Operation Desert Shield. “Captivated” by the military action depicted in the media, he also felt it was wrong; so he sat out the school’s patriotic display. His principal later gently admonished young Ketch, saying that he thought pride in America was a simple thing – you either ‘love it or leave it.’

“That sentiment,” Secor says, “is something that I’ve been wrestling with as a songwriter ever since.”

“There’s only one road leads out of this town and it comes right back …”

Hirway’s podcast with Secor is well worth the eighteen minutes it takes to listen, as he goes into much more depth about the song – its lyrics, instrumentation, harmonies, and production – than I will here. However, I’ve transcribed pieces of it to give you a snapshot of what Secor was after in “Dearly Departed Friend,” and to demonstrate why it belongs in a Memorial Day post.

The kind of music that I play has found appeal among a number of veterans my age and younger, and older too, so I knew I wanted to write a song, and write many songs, from their perspective.

This is a story about somebody from a place much like a lot of the places that I’ve lived before, these sort-of crossroads … the story of “Dearly Departed Friend” really is centered in this town called Elizabethton … where Tennessee meets Virginia and North Carolina…

There’s pretty limited economic opportunity… So when I was living there, I would see other eighteen year old young men, like me, and there were no jobs, so they’d just join the military. The military was the best option going.

I’ve been dealing with this idea of a kid from the hills who goes over. And “Dearly Departed Friend” is about him coming home … [He’s] a guy who has seen a lot of things that a typical guy his age, unless he’s been in combat, has not seen … He’s not the same boy who left. But it’s not negative and it’s not somber, it’s just sort of plain. “This is how it is. You’re dead, and we’ve buried you, and I live in this town now, and I drive circles around it.”

What strikes me about the song is that plainness – the way in which Secor seamlessly combines four-wheelers, ice cream trucks, college football, barbecues, hackberry trees, lonely roads, hopeless girls, flags, yellow ribbons, and death. It’s all one. That’s a world I recognize deeply and, though I’ve never served in uniform, the voice of Secor’s narrator strikes home like truth.

Coda – “I wish it was, him I mean …”

I don’t want pick the song apart for this sort of post. However, I’m struck particularly by the character of the dead soldier’s “mama’s new boyfriend.” From the narrator’s point of view, the boyfriend talks and cries too much at the funeral. He drinks too much at the bar after the service and goes on uselessly about how “it should’ve been me.” The narrator says, without being nasty, “I wish it was, him I mean.”

A Marine Staff Sergeant presents the American flag to the daughter of the deceased during a funeral at the Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson/Released)

A Marine Staff Sergeant presents the American flag to the daughter of the deceased during a funeral at the Miramar National Cemetery, San Diego. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Harley Robinson/Released)

Something about that line tells me that Secor sees a deep value in a good soldier’s life. It all means much more than the patriotic prattle of those that make no sacrifice of their own. It may seem a small point, but I find it particularly poignant on Memorial Day.

Maybe I’m the one prattling now. I’m not a veteran, so it will take someone else to decide if the song makes genuine depth. It’s not that it isn’t meant for me as a listener. It’s just that I think Secor is more concerned with how someone else might hear it – someone who’s given more than I have.

As he told Hirway:

This song has broken the ice in a conversation that I’ve really wanted to have with the men and women in the United States armed services. I really want to talk to them. I want to know what they’re doing. I want to know what they’re up to right now and how they feel about it. And I want them to feel my love and gratitude.

I offer this post with the same love and gratitude for those that serve with honor. As well, I thank you all for reading and listening.

“The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

The post “Dearly Departed Friend” appeared first on Sing Out!.


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May 292017
 

Maurice Hope – May 29, 2017 at 03:42AM
Tags:_AMERICANA

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Made up of top UK female folk, jazz and blues recording acts Christine Collister, Melanie Harold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While Daphne’s Flight are an incredible collection of talent. Aided by deft instrumentation provided by their good selves it ensures the songs are delivered, with guile and the focal point is the wondrous singing of the ladies (lead and harmony) throughout. Knows Time, Knows Change is the ensemble’s second recording, following, two decades later their self-titled debut, Daphne’s Flight (1996), and memorable stage debut in 1995, at the Cambridge Folk Festival.  

 

Mellow, gentle and caressing they take turns in singing lead, and with seamless harmonies a given the listener is served ten wonderful compositions. It is like the ladies were siblings, and with each act possessing, a long and outstanding history the record oozes class. Each artiste sings lead on two tracks, and with the group’s own material supplemented by a cover of Elvis Costello – Clive Langer’s “Shipbuilding”, Michael Kennedy’s “Lay Fallow” and “How Glad I Am” (a song that’s also been covered as (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” by Maria Mckee, Bonnie Bramlett etc; and as the former by a wide range of artists ranging from Nancy Wilson to Olivia Newton-John by way of Fontella Bass, Brenda Lee and Aretha Franklin. You are talking some big shoes to fill, and with Watson at her mercurial best, and the accompaniment from Matthews and While world class the track is a hard one to follow!  

 

With a continual flow of quality fare, and a thread intact connecting the material as Collister’s “Goodness Of Mann” and Harrold’s spare (lead, harmony vocals and piano) styled version of “Shipbuilding” is followed by Matthews (joined by While) on the spirited “Count Me In”. If this song doesn’t grab your attention and make you sit up nothing will. “Let My Ship Come In” (Watson, Mark Creswell) is an intricate and beautifully affair, as you have more graceful work from Matthews and While accompany Watson as she generates a feel of open waters. “Heart Of Stone” (While) has all the beauty and more of something you might hear from Beth Neilsen Chapman. With the songs awash in beautiful harmonies and sensitive lyrics, interpretations I am sure many will find comfort and peace in their music.

 

Of a more urgent and infectious, demanding feel Harrold’s “My Heart 2” is one of the album’s more engaging tracks, and with hints of a familiar melody dynamic and to a degree complex tracks! I love the keyboards (Matthews) and hearty harmony vocals from the other acts; it is also one of those songs that grow on one.  

 

                                                             Maurice Hope     


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May 292017
 

Maurice Hope – May 29, 2017 at 02:42AM
Tags:_AMERICANA

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www.jonstickley.com

 

 

Maybe Believe is the third full-length recording by the Jon Stickley Trio. Like before, the music is hugely innovative as Jon Stickley (flat-pick guitar) and fellow instrumental wizards, Lyndsay Pruett (violin) and Patrick Armitage (drums) do the business. Music’s boundaries are prised, and occasionally breeched as the Trio have bluegrass, jazz, folk, bop and avant-garde meet head on.

 

Recorded in their North Carolina hometown of Asheville, Maybe Believe like with their last record Lost At Last (2015) was produced by Dave King. It has them run riot. Not only when it comes to tunes from Stickley and Pruett (“The Price Of Being Nice” and “Lady Time”) but the Bill Monroe classic “Jerusalem Ridge”, Richard James’ “Avril 14th” and John Reischman’s “Birdland Breakdown”. Busy and ever probing the music is played at a healthy lick. As you have “Almost With You” get to share space with the funky “Slow Burn”; that possesses some wonderful guitar licks plus “Playpeople” as subtle Celtic strains appear among the jazz hues via the fiddle of Pruett. Talking of Pruett she plays staggering bluegrass fiddle on “Jerusalem Ridge”, this remarkable and oft covered tune has rarely sounded better. It has everything, slick guitar and percussion that dovetails with her exquisite tones. How I would love to hear them pick on a bunch of the golden oldies and, place their own spin on them. Now that would be really something. 

 

As for the remainder, the music is to say the least, eclectic. And artful and totally unpredictable. On the flip side albeit the playing is exceptional the occasions I am left hanging on to every note isn’t as many as it could be. While “The Price Of Being Nice” and bustling “MT. Sandia Swing” plus busy as they come (excellent guitar!) “Birdland Breakdown” and hugely innovative “Lady Time” all have their moments there is no getting away from the fact the album is more for followers of contemporary, and experimental music than your everyday bluegrass devotee.

 

                                                                  Maurice Hope     


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May 292017
 

Maurice Hope – May 29, 2017 at 02:42AM
Tags:_AMERICANA

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www.huxrecords.com

 

I wasn’t too sure what to expect from this collection. For some reason I hadn’t heard in depth, the early country releases from Dickey Lee other than a little later in his career. It was at the time of his biggest country hit (late 1970s) and “9, 999, 999 Tears” as he has always done, cleverly combine country with pop. If not on my essential list Dickey Lee knew a good song when he heard it and loved to record them! His ability to select a good a song should not be a surprise because over the years he’s written his share; and had them recorded by everyone from Emmylou Harris to George Strait by way of Joe Cocker, Don Williams, Tracy Byrd, Doug Stone, Reba McEntire and George Jones (who had a hit with arguably his best ever creation “She Thinks I Still Care”, a co-write with Steve Duffy it figures among the songs included).  

 

Back to this collection, released in 1971 – 1972, respectively Lee’s songwriting is supplemented by superb material from Tom T. Hall “The Year Clayton Delaney Died”, “Take Me Home Country Roads” (I don’t think I’ve heard many better versions), Johnny Russell hit “Catfish John”. Written by two of my favourite songwriters of the time, Bob McDill and Allen Reynolds it enjoys tasty banjo, pedal steel and a general stylish production) and with his heart pinned to the mast “Got Leavin’ On Her Mind”, and for good measure he eases, seamlessly through “It’s Four In The Morning” (a hit for Faron Young).  

 

As for his own songs, “Weekends” it has to come close to being my favourite, but it has keen competition with others, which like it were co-writes with another famed songwriter Allen Reynolds. Not least among them you have wry ballad,  “Mahogany Pulpit” (hits of the song “Deck Of Cards”) and sad-eyed ode “(There’s) Nobody Home To Go Home To”, opening track “Never Ending Song Of Love” and the excellent piece of writing “Southbound”. By now I was starting to realize how much I have missing all these years! 

 

Back to the covers and what a fine job he does of Jimmie Rodger’s “Waiting For A Train”, Gove Scrivenor’s “I Saw My Lady” and with darting fiddle, pedal steel, harmonica and harmony vocals “Sparkling Brown Eyes” rounds off this totally enjoyable release. Well-spotted Hux Records in giving the music of Dickey Lee, who happened to start his career at Memphis’ famed Sun Studios as a rock’n’roll act added exposure. 

 

                                                Maurice Hope    


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May 292017
 

Rob Dickens – May 28, 2017 at 11:23PM
Tags:_AMERICANA

  Watch New Videos from The Mae Trio, Randall Bramblett and The Steel Wheels. The Mae Trio Melbourne, Australia’s The Mae Trio have just released (May 26) the impressive Take Care Take Cover which highlights soaring harmonies and sharp story-telling. The trio (Maggie Rigby, sister Elsie Rigby and Anita Hillman) traveled to Nashville Tennessee to […]

The post The Mae Trio, Randall Bramblett, The Steel Wheels – Neo Video appeared first on Listening Through The Lens.


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May 282017
 

Audio CD – May 28, 2017 at 05:16PM
Tags:_AMERICANA
Hav - Inver (2017)Format: FLAC (tracks)
Quality: lossless
Sample Rate: 44.1 kHz / 16 Bit
Source: Digital download
Artist: Hav
Title: Inver
Genre: Country, Folk, Traditional Celtic
Release Date: 2017
Scans: not included
Size .zip: ~ 234 mb

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May 282017
 

Calvin Powers – May 28, 2017 at 03:32PM
Tags:_AMERICANA

A southern rock traveling anthem song from one of my favorite rock & roll bands, The Plott Hounds. Everyone’s gonna wanna head south after hearing this one.

“Southbound” by The Plott Hounds” originated from Americana Music Show.


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May 282017
 

madmackerel – May 28, 2017 at 09:43AM
Tags:singles,_AMERICANA

  1. Guantanamo Baywatch – Video
  2. Slaid Cleaves – Drunken Barbers Hand
  3. The Districts – If Before I Wake
  4. Marika Hackman – Cigarette
  5. The Orielles – I Only Bought It For The Bottle
  6. TOPS – Further
  7. Muertos – Spin
  8. Tom Williams – Get High

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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