Sight & Sound

VIDEO: Arliss Nancy – “Both Got Old”

Without doubt, one of my favorite records this year was Arliss Nancy’s Wild American Runners, a record I said “put the American in American Rock Music“. It’s the truth, and in support of the record the band have just unveiled the video for the track “Both Got Old”.

Simple, straight forward, a little rustic, but as American as can be without it becoming a John Mellencamp video. There’s a lot of beard action going in the video but don’t let that be a deterrent of any kind.

The song is from Wild American Runners but is also a cut from a split 7″ the band released with Those Crosstown Rivals which features a track from the band each, but if you purchase the record digitally, you get two bonus tracks to go along with it. The 7″ is available physically and digitally via Shit Starter Records.

Check out the video below:

[hr]

Advertisements
Standard
Album Reviews, Headlines

Review: Arliss Nancy – Wild American Runners

arlissTaking cues from Springsteen, The Hold Steady and a little Gaslight Anthem, Arliss Nancy put the American in American Rock Music. Poetic, blue-collared and soaked with the bourbon-tongued acidity of heartfelt songs written by the downtrodden, Wild American Runners is a terrific and absorbing journey through the mind of songwriter Cory Call.

6 years into their Arliss Nancy careers, Wild American Runners features songs that bounce and soar to an amalgamation to Southern flavored guitar riffs, piano accompaniments, sturdy percussion work and Call’s gruff vocals. “Nathaniel” is a terrific keys-strewn number; mid tempo, aching and beautifully, while “Hold It Together” is a good sampling of the band’s Gaslight Anthem-lean. In “Bloodletter”, the band carve an anthemic dusty highway number that goes in unison to proceeding melancholy grace of the title track. The latter being Call at his most Springsteen.

Much of the album is perfect for long night drives or times where one needs to be in their own mind. There is as much heartfelt in here as there is poise and honesty. While the style isn’t too distinguishable from their influences, the substance here is as profound as the bands and musicians they draw lineage from.

You may wait for the entire album to find that song that defines the ethos and sound of the band in a perfect way, but in the album closer “Vonnegut”, you find just that. It’s a beautiful song, and ends Wild American Runners on a great note. You may not have heard of Arliss Nancy yet but don’t wait too long before you do. This is American rock music at its best.

[rating=4]

 

Listen to “Vonnegut”:

[hr]

Arliss Nancy’s Wild American Runners is out now on Black Numbers.

Standard
Album Reviews, Music

Review: Gillian Welch – The Harrow And The Harvest

Some 8 years since her last album, Gillian Welch makes her long awaited return with The Harrow & The Harvest. Partnering up once again with collaborator David Rawlings, the new album is the culmination of all the songwriting frustration that has built up since 2003’s Soul Journey. This extended period has been labelled by Welch as a difficult time where “we made a few tentative steps at trying to record, but inevitably the heart would go out of it when we realised that we simply didn’t like the material enough to go on with it.”

It’s with absolute rejoice then, that The Harrow & The Harvest is easily one of the best pieces of music released this year, and an unconditional artistic success for both Welch and Rawlings. It’s amazing to hear and feel the emotional connection one can have to music primarily composed of an incredible voice, two or so instruments and the knowledge and thirst for traditional and historic American music.

From the beautiful opening of “Scarlet Town” to the gut wrenching introspection of “Tennessee” and the sullen tone of “Down Along The Dixie Line”, The Harrow & The Harvest is a triumph of everything Americana, blues, Appalachian and heartfelt. And as sparse as much of the album is, it has enough resonance to fill the great depths of the Grand Canyon. The twang of the banjo coupled by her drawl in “Hard Times” is a particularly terrific tune- both wry in its lyrical twists and futility- while the closing “The Way The Whole Thing Ends” boasts the beautiful fragility of spending a pretty Sunday morning at a funeral.

A truly rewarding listen from beginning to end, the album traverses the dusty plains of America’s endless landscapes and mountains, weaving in stories of sadness, anger, pain and humor the only way a whiskey-drenched Tennessee night can. The last time I felt this way about an album, it was written by Loretta Lynn. It seems the very best story telling in music comes from the amazing women of America’s southern lands. (Acony Records)

[xrr rating=4/5]

Standard
Album Reviews, Music

Review: Darius Rucker – Charleston, SC 1966

On Darius Rucker’s sophomore album, the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman does country music the best and most earnest way he can; by being himself. As the title suggests, much of Charleston, SC 1966 is personal; a collection of life and art intertwined within pop rock tinged country songs of love, loss, and reflection of the immediate world.

From the opening pull and comforting introspection of “This”, Rucker’s down home personality is the album’s shining quality. Whether he’s talking about good, honest Southern charm (in the terrific “Southern State of Mind”) or reflecting on the pain of love lost (“Whiskey And You”), one cannot escape the notion that Rucker really wants us all to stop and examine life wherever it may be at the moment.

An ample string of guest writers lend their hand to the songwriting; short but timely inclusions of work from members of New Grass Revival, ex-Idol judge and country songwriter Kara DioGuardi and Brad Paisley tints the album with elements of bluegrass and more traditional sounding country. The latter of which stars on the album’s only real clunker:  the rather juvenile sounding “I Don’t Care”. While much of Charleston, SC 1966 is buoyed by an honest-to-goodness charm, this track feels a little like two teenage boys standing on the corner street hooting and hollering at girls and their relative breast size (no joke). It’s distinctively out of place.

It may not revolutionize country music, but Rucker’s latest has a very firm grip on the genre’s more accessible appeal. You can’t help but tip your hat to his understanding of who he is and how to translate all the emotion into well-written verses. Charleston, SC 1966 traverses the pop landscape with enough grit and twang to remain a down to earth American country album, but has the requisite sheen to be Southern just about anywhere. (Capitol Nashville)

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

Standard