Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Post-Country, Post-Rock Country Rock Extravaganza

...And a good afternoon to you, faithful Red Blondehead readers. Today is a little like a mini-festival at RB: an alt-country mini-festival, that is. Here's a bit of fun trivia for all you out there; it's like opening a Laffy Taffy and reading the jokes on the wrapper, only not as funny and... you don't get to eat any candy. Look on the bright side, though: no sticky hands!

Here we go:

What do all alt-country musicians (bands, artists, whatevers) have in common? NO PEEKING BELOW; try to come up with the answer for yourself before doing the ole inch scrolldown!

ANSWER: They all hate being called alt-country.

But why should they? Too confining? Not fancy-schmancy enough? These musicians, they bark at you during interviews when you pull out the ole "How do you feel about being labeled alt-country?" question. Maybe before long the geniuses over at Pitchfork will crown alt-country musicians with a new title, one that they can be proud of. One like "post post country" or even "post-country country" or even "post-country, post-rock country rock." The more words the better, eh? Sounds smarter. Give me cred because I think I just coined that one myself.

OKAY, getting on with the bands now...

First in our mini-festival alt-country extrav-ganza are the Saturdays, led by Birmingham's Bo Butler. Their new album Go Slow is quite short but is packed full of several talented and accomplished musicians. We like the Saturdays because their music is warm and familiar--and frankly because the guys couldn't be more humble. The packaging under the CD reads, "For All Who'll Listen," and by best we can tell (since there are no lyrics published in the liner notes), some of the lyrics lament performing before unattentive audiences.

We're listening, we promise! See:

Right Through You

This one is one of my live favorites. When Bo plays it at shows solo, he is often accompanied by the lovely Ms. Claire Cormany of Kiss Me at the Gate: True Non-Believer

Moving on to the next and last, I'll have to apologize. Although I've been trying to keep up with them for months, I apparently missed the release date of Chicago-turned-Albequerque's best alt-country duo, the Handsome Family.

The Handsome Family, if you're not familiar, consists of married couple Brett and Rennie Sparks. Their live shows feature a lot of onstage banter during which Rennie picks on her husband for his bi-polar tendencies. Hey, they've even written songs about it! Catch one of these tourdates for one of the most enjoyable live sets you'll ever witness:

7.13.06 - Chicago - Abbey Pub
7.14.06 - Detroit - Magic Stick
7.15.06 - Toronto - Horseshoe Tavern
7.18.06 - Boston - TT the Bear
7.20.06 - New York - Mercury Lounge
7.21.06 - Philadelphia - World Cafe Live
7.22.06 - Arlington - Iota
7.23.06 - Charlottesville - Star Hill Music Hall
7.24.06 - Carrborro - Local 506
7.26.06 - Atlanta - The Earl

These songs are from the Handsome Family's newest record, Last Days of Wonder:

Your Great Journey
Flapping Your Broken Wings

Finally, here's an old favorite from their 1997 release Through the Trees. Note Jeff Tweedy singing backup on this one. The Handsome Family has toured with Wilco quite a bit in the past, and the Tweedster lent his equipment and his trademark voice for several of the recordings on this record.


Pick up Last Days of Wonder at You can find out more about The Saturdays' Go Slow by checking out their page.


Anonymous Nacho Khakipants said...

Is "No Depression" ever used anymore in place of "alt-country"? Or did that die with the release of Summerteeth?

3:13 PM  
Blogger Team Clermont Lucas said...

I love the Saturdays. Probably the nicest band we've ever played with. And one of the best, too!

1:36 PM  

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