Friday, September 28, 2012

Song of the Week: Queen of the Minor Key

Queen of the Minor Key by Ellen Jewell is a great rockabilly rave up to get you started on your weekend. Sounding a little like Patsy Cline sings Gene Vincent, Queen of the Minor Key will take you back to music's unscripted past where the lines between rock and country were easily blurred. Ellen Jewell is a time-warping, genre-bending siren who defies description. Like Southern Culture on the Skids, Ellen combines elements of rockabilly, surf music, jazz and traditional country to create a whole that's larger than the sum of the parts. This song is from her album of the same name which was released over a year ago. It was brought to our attention by Brite Revolution Records, who have just released a killer Americana sampler. The best part is that it's free! So check out Ellen Jewell, Darrell Scott, The Trishas and a host of other great bands - I gurantee you'll find something you like! Then do yourself a favor and go buy one of their albums. As for us, we're starting with Queen of the Minor Key by Ellen Jewell!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Album of the Week(ish) Sooner by Liz Frame and the Kickers

Liz Frame and the Kickers deliver that authentic, rootsy Americana sound that we love so much. Sounding a bit like Gram Parsons meets Cowboy Junkies, Liz and the Kickers (Liz Frame: vocals and guitar,Kristine Malpica: percussion and vocals,Lynne Taylor: bass and vocals,Chuck Melchin: guitars, mandolin and vocals) create an earthy, soothing sound that rocks the body and soul like a swimging hammock on a warm June afternoon. Their new album, Sooner, is packed with irresistable licks and insightful lyrics. Liz and company set the tone with the first song, Win. Liz sings "Johnny's just a junkie with a monkey on his back...He's gonna fight every last demon that brought him down - and he's gonna win." Right away they let you know their take on life, which they elaborate on throughout the album: life isn't always fair, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it all depends on the timing. This is especially true when it comes to love. In Girl Of Little Faith, Liz sings "when I leave I don't look back." But in Come Back To Me she yearns for her lover's return. Apparently he arrives too late as in the song Sooner, Liz sings "you should've come to me sooner than today, back when I would have done just about anything to make you stay." The toll of love's near misses makes Liz feel like "The Devil Put A Bullseye On My Back" in the song of the same name. She wails that "he ain't ever gonna be happy till I'm broken as a girl can be." Yet despite the pain, Liz is (and indeed all of us are) somehow drawn back to love like the junkie is drawn back to his addiction in the album's first song. After love's ups and downs in the previous songs, Liz still feels compelled to sing in, I Wanna Be Your Baby, that "I wanna be the blood running through your veins, I wanna be the joy that you can't contain... I wanna be your baby." Liz makes you feel the depth of her lyrics with her emotional and sensual vocals. The Kickers provide subtle yet gorgeous background harmonies. And the gentle wailing of steel guitars adds further resonance to the music's impact. A wonderful album from start to finish. They only way they could have made it better would have been to release it "Sooner."