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Please recommend good alt-country/roots CD's!

Old 07-18-04, 03:20 AM
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Please recommend good alt-country/roots CD's!

Any recommendations for solid, consistent roots/alt groups/artists along the lines of Son Volt, Wilco, Whiskeytown, Volebeats, Uncle Tupelo, Alejandro Escovedo, Slobberbone, Old 97's, Bottle Rockets, Cracker, etc.?? Can be currently together or demised (Sidewinders, Cruzados)...rawer-edged or more long as the performances are sincere & the songs memorable. Have been using Amazon to sample CD's and to get "similar artist" recommendations, but would like your opinions...thanks!
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Old 07-18-04, 06:52 AM
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I'm a big fan of Kasey Chambers, Chris Knight, BR5-49, Scud Mountain Boys and especially Jim Curry. I downloaded a Curry song once thinking it was a Tweedy song and fell instantly in love with his style. Also, if you are a Wilco fan, you might want to check out Jay Bennett's work since he left the band if you haven't gotten a chance yet. I love the album he put out with Burch called the Palace at 3 a.m. Part I or something like that. There are so many more i like that are slipping my mind right now.

Tift Merritt, Southern Culture on the Skids, Mark Erelli, Gillian Welch (if you can find the live version she does of Pancho and Lefty you will not regret searching for it).
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Old 07-18-04, 08:47 AM
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Bottle Rockets first couple of albums are pretty good. That's Brian Henneman's band, the non-Tweedy, non-Farrar member of Uncle Tupelo. Since you mention Volt and Whiskeytown I'm sure you've heard Farrar, Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary's solo stuff, but if not all are worth persuing. If you like Slobberbone (everybody should like Slobberbone) then check out Drive-By Truckers. V-Roys are pretty great, too. You didn't mention them so I have to say the Jayhawks, who are goddamn Americana Gods. There is a pretty obscure group out of Chicago called Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel who I am in love with. Honestly I think they are the best female-fronted alt-country band I've ever heard. Another obscure one is a band called Glossary out of Tennessee. They've put out three amazing albums. I caught them opening for Slobberbone a couple of times, and Slobberbone didn't blow them out of the water, which is saying something. Bellwether is pretty great, Cowboy Junkies are worth a look, Golden Smog is the definitive alt-country supergroup. Check out the solo and Victoria Williams-collaborated stuff from former Jayhawk Mark Olsen. Very folky, but great. Backsliders are cool, as are Robert Earl Keen, the Autumn Defense, Gear Dadies, Waco Brothers, Maria McKee, Hazeldine, Freakwater, and Blue Mountain. If you are into older stuff, try any Byrds albums, or pretty much any project Gram Parson ever walked within fifteen feet of. Also Charlie Rich has really grown on me lately.

Oh, and start trading live CD's with traders online. Almost all of these No Depression/Americana/Alt-Country bands allow show taping, and almost all of them are amazing live.
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Old 07-18-04, 11:09 AM
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I'm a big fan of Tim Easton. Back in the 90s, he had a band called the Haynes Boys that put out only one album (Guardian Angel), but it is excellent. It's out of print now, but definitely worth finding on ebay or elsewhere (heck, I'd make you a copy - it's that good). He's got three solo albums - Special 20, The Truth About Us (members of Wilco were in his backing band on this one), and Break Your Mother's Heart. Check out his website - he's got some MP3s on there.
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Old 07-18-04, 04:06 PM
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Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
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Old 07-18-04, 10:32 PM
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Here are a few suggestions with starter songs listed in parenthesis -

Derailers (Bar Exam - Dull Edge of the Blade - Raspberry Beret *Cover of the Prince song*)
Cheri Knight (All Blue - Rose in the Vine)
Kasey Chambers (Not Pretty Enough - The Captain - Don't Talk Back)
Gourds (Layin' Around The House - Gin and Juice)
Lucinda Williams (Drunken Angel - Those Three Days - Right In Time)
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Old 07-19-04, 10:10 AM
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I forgot to mention two other albums that I enjoy:

Paul Thorn - Hammer + Nail
The Bottle Rockets - 24 Hours a Day (try to get the chorus of "Indianapolis" out of your head)

Edit: whoops - I see you already like the Bottle Rockets
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Old 07-19-04, 10:19 AM
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I like all that alt stuff as well, but try these two "normal" country discs...

Buddy Miller "Poison Love"
Mavericks "What a Crying Shame"

And you can never ever never never never go wrong with Lucinda Williams.
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Old 07-19-04, 10:28 AM
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- Lambchop 'How I Quit Smoking'

- Willard Grant Conspiracy 'Mojave'

- Grand Drive - Alt-country British style. I just ordered their latest album which gets a UK release as of today (7/19) 'The Lights In This Town Are Too Many To Count', can't wait to hear it.

This album: Grand Drive culls songs from off their other albums and is essentially a 'best of' album and serves as a great introduction to the band. Highly recommended.

Also a great search engine/resource guide for online music research is:

Last edited by Giles; 07-19-04 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 07-19-04, 11:54 AM
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Let's see...

-- Damnations TX (they may have dropped the "TX" from their name) -- from Texas (natch); associated with the Gourds, rawer sound. Try "Half Mad Moon" CD (especially their song "Unholy Train")
-- Golden Smog is one of my favorites -- their albums (particularly "Weird Tales") sound like Jayhawks, Son Volt, Wilco, Soul Asylum songs that didn't make their respective bands' albums.
-- Nobody's mentioned the Jayhawks. I'm assuming that you know about them, but in case you didn't, I think "Hollywood Town Hall" ("Waiting for the Sun") and "Tomorrow the Green Grass" ("Blue") would be right in your wheelhouse. Polished and beautiful.
-- Kelly Willis is more country than alt, but in a very Texan way. Try "What I Deserve" for a more alt- experience.

Finally, go to the website. It's now defunct because the traffic was too high and cost its host too much money, but it's got plenty of reviews, year-end reader-compiled top 10 lists, and should have a pointer to wherever alt-country fans are hanging out now.
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Old 07-19-04, 12:26 PM
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Neko Case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She is a real treat...

Get either of these Neko discs:
Furnace Room Lullaby or Blacklisted

Also recommended:
Waco Brothers
Pine Valley Cosmonauts
Kelly Hogan
Jimmie Dale Gilmore
Edith Frost

Last edited by Pointyskull; 07-19-04 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 07-19-04, 12:48 PM
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I really love Richard Buckner. You can't go wrong with any of his records.
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Old 07-19-04, 12:51 PM
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Highly recommend the of my favorite bands. All of their albums are absolutely fantastic.

Some others to check out...
Jim White
Drive-By Truckers
My Morning Jacket
Split Lip Rayfield
The Be Good Tanyas
Robbie Fulks
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Old 07-19-04, 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by jay77
Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
This is exactly what I was going to say.

"Heartbreaker" is one of my favorite albums. Period. It breaks my heart everytime I hear it (not intended as a play on the album title). Really good. Better than "Gold" and way better than "Rock 'N" Roll." "Heartbreaker" is the only album you need by Ryan Adams. (Though if you like it, I would also recommend "Faithless Street" by Whiskeytown, but from your original post, it seems you might already be familiar with these albums.)
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Old 07-19-04, 05:46 PM
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Go back to the source:

Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding

The Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Gram Parsons - GP/Grevious Angel
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Old 07-19-04, 07:43 PM
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SheDaisy is good.
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Old 07-19-04, 07:56 PM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
Go back to the source:


The Byrds - Sweetheart of the Rodeo
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Old 07-19-04, 11:49 PM
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well you are certainly on your way due to some great names thrown out by yourself and some great suggestions given here

might I add a lot of great new stuff coming soon

Por Vida: A Tribute To The Songs Of Alejandro Escovedo
Old 97's "Drag It Up"

Drive By Truckers "The Dirty South"
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Old 07-20-04, 02:40 AM
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A really big 'Thanks y'all' to everyone who has posted. Really enjoy reading your recommendations (please post more) & now have leads on lots of bands/artists I've never heard of. Also thanks for the music resource sites (they have been bookmarked on favorites list). I concur with lots of your selections (Ryan Adams, Richard Buckner, Freakwater, Jayhawks, etc.) among others. Also the early Parsons/Dylan/Byrds stuff...ironically, I hated a lot of that when it came out (I was into Cream/Hendrix at the time), although I loved 'Chestnut Mare', etc. but really didn't care for "Sweetheart" album, countrified Dylan, Flying Burrito Bros., etc. It was probably THE BAND that steered me more in the "Americana" direction than anything. Now I love those early groundbreaking releases & can't get enough of the newer stuff. For some harder-edged "rootsy" music, I'll recommend Jason & the Scorchers (especially 1st 3 full albums) and the defunct band The Cruzados (have a Los Lobos feel). Live notes: If you get a chance to see Gillian Welch & David Rawlings live, jump at the chance...incredible value for the money! Interesting live note...saw Richard Buckner opening for Dar Williams in Asheville a few years back...crowd was really rude, ignoring him and talking loudly, walking back & forth in front of the club stage, etc. It was a surreal scene...Buckner just soldiered on with almost no commentary as if he were playing to himself. He finished his short but brilliantly- performed set & disappeared to almost no applause. Saw him in a booth sipping a drink during the Dar set (crowd had changed to immensely enthusiastic, respectful, responsive)...always wondered what he was thinking. Guess Nick Drake would have had the same problem...suppose talent isn't enough, got to get that crowd rapport thing going. It was odd because I had been in the same club when some pretty awful openers were playing and the crowd was incredibly polite & supportive. BTW, heard an advance copy of the new Drive-by Truckers CD ("Dirty South") being played in a CATS cd store and it is fantastic!! Thanks again for all the great recommendations...I'll add John Stohm & the Hello Strangers (Strohm was the male member of the Blake Babies) to the list of lesser-known alt-country CD picks. Also, not really alt-country but have a similar alternative rootsy feel: Vigilantes of Love (kind of a hard-edged folky sound similar to Bruce Cockburn).

Once again, thanks...have made a list of the unfamiliar artists & will start checking them out. The great thing is that some of the local used stores don't know a lot of these groups (Damnations TX comes to mind) and sell them at ridiculously low prices. That's how I first stumbled upon Slobberbone (with a great name like that, had to give them a listen!). Of course, the low pricing on this great music is not all due to ignorance on the part of the sellers, but sometimes is simply a realistic response to market demand. Let's face it, alt-country doesn't set the charts on fire...but it does stick to your (musical) ribs!

Last edited by creekdipper; 07-20-04 at 02:58 AM.
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Old 07-20-04, 09:08 AM
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Interestingly, Lucinda Williams' name hasn't yet shown up in this thread. Car Wheels On a Gravel Road is an absolute 'must-have'. Essence is great, too, and her latest is also very good. I'm less familiar with her earlier work.
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Old 07-23-04, 05:26 AM
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Originally posted by wendersfan
Interestingly, Lucinda Williams' name hasn't yet shown up in this thread. Car Wheels On a Gravel Road is an absolute 'must-have'. Essence is great, too, and her latest is also very good. I'm less familiar with her earlier work.
Actually, Annoyumous did mention Lucinda in an earlier post. But you're right...she's something else! Her earlier stuff is excellent (the song "Sweet Old World" still chokes me up...maybe because I was going through a rough spell when it came out).
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Old 07-23-04, 10:21 AM
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For something a little harder-edged, be sure to check out cowpunk pioneers (and local heros) Jason and the Scorchers.

The founder of the band, Jason Ringenberg, is solo now and is doing some great work too. He has a new album, "Empire Builders, coming out in early September. I have a demo and it's pretty damned good.
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Old 07-24-04, 06:32 PM
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anything by Steve Earle gets 5 stars in my book.

Check out for 3 songs from his new cd due out next month
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Old 07-24-04, 07:27 PM
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Forgot another favorite band--JOLENE. Highly recommend both "Hell's Half Acre" & "In the Gloaming". The tragedy is that I have seen both of these great CD's repeatedly in bargain bins (for as little as 50 cents!!)...bad news for the band but great for the fans. I have picked up multiple copies to give to friends & they're always amazed at the quality.
As far as recommendations go, has anybody heard of Bap Kennedy (an Irish musician with a penchant for producing music with a pronounced "Americana" leaning...for instance, doing an album covering Hank Williams tunes). I've only read Amazon reviews...haven't sampled clips yet...but wondered if anybody on the board has thoughts about him.
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Old 07-24-04, 10:42 PM
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Another friend of mine today asked me to recommend some alt-country albums and songs to him to check out. I figured I may as well post the list I sent to him on here. I listed albums that I think are good, and songs that he may want to sample to see if he digs the band.

Bottle Rockets-
Albums: Bottle Rockets, Brooklyn Side, 24 Hours A Day, Leftovers, Songs Of Sahm, Brand New Year
Songs: Get Down River, Radar Gun

Uncle Tupelo-
Albums: No Depression, Still Feel Gone, March 16-20, Anodyne, 89/93 An Anthology
Songs: That Year, Screen Door, Gun, New Madrid, John Hardy, Give Me Back The Keys To My Heart

Albums: Pneumonia, Stranger's Almanac, Rural Free Delivery, Faithful Street, In Your Wildest Dreams
Songs: The Battle And The War, Matrimony, Top Dollar Blues, Avenues, Houses On The Hill

Son Volt-
Albums: Trace, Straightaways, Wide Swing Tremolo
Songs: Picking Up The Signal, Drown, Medicine Hat, Mystifies Me,

Albums: AM, Being There, Summerteeth, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost Is Born, Mermaid Avenue Vol 1 & 2
Songs: Candyfloss, Misunderstood, War On War, Passenger Side, Radio Cure, Dreamer In My Dreams

Jay Farrar-
Albums: Sebastapol, Thirdshiftgrottoslack, Terroir Blues, Stone Steel and Bright Lights
Songs: Barstow, Voodoo Candle

Old 97's-
Albums: Hitchhike To Rhome, Wreck Your Life, Too Far To Care, Satelite Rides, Fight Songs
Songs: Nightclub, Four Leaf Clover, Oppenheimer, Won't Be Home No More, Timebomb, W. Texas Teardrops

Ryan Adams-
Albums: Heartbreaker, Gold, Demolition, Leve Is Hell, Rock And Roll
Songs: Winding Wheel, Answering Bell, Rescue Blues

Caitlin Carey-
Albums: While You Weren't Looking, I'm Staying Out, Waltzie
Songs: The Battle, Rosemary Moore, Please Take The Devil Outta Me

Albums: Barrel Chested, Crow Pot
Pie, Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong, Slippage
Songs: Placemat Blues, That Is All, Bright Eyes Darkened, Some New Town, Write Me Off, Your Excuse, Front Porch, I'll Be Damned

Drive-By Truckers-
Albums: The Dirty South, Decoration Day, Southern Rock Opera
Songs: Bulldozers And Dirt, Let There Be Rock, Steve McQueen

Albums: Just Add Ice, All About Town, Are you Through Yet
Songs: Over The Mountain, Pounding Heart, Fade Away, Goodnight Loser

Albums: The Bunkhouse LP, Blue Earth, Hollywood Town Hall, Tomorrow The Green Grass, Sound Of Lies, Smile, Rainy Day Music
Songs: Blue, Ain't No End, Broken Harpoon, Crowded In The Wings, Sixteen Down

Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel
Albums: Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel, Things To Come, Live Music Volume One, Oh The Stories We Hold
Songs: My Town, Northern Lights

Albums: Southern By The Grace Of Location, This Is All We've Learned About Living, How We handle Our Midnights, Dear Friends And Gentle Hearts
Songs: The Stars Are Alive

Albums: Turnstiles, Bellwether, Home Late
Songs- Dimlight, Afterthoughts

Golden Smog-
Albums: Down By The Old Mainstream, Wierd Tales, On Golden Smog
Songs: V, Radio King, Making Waves, Until You Came Along

Albums: Throwin' Rocks At The Moon, Southern Lines, From Raleigh North Carolina
Songs: Throwin' Rocks At The Moon, Last Train, Crazy Wind, Abe Lincoln

Robert Earl Keen-
Albums: Walking Distance, No 2 Live Dinner
Songs: Corpus Christi Bay, The Road Goes On Forever

Maria McKee-
Albums: Maria McKee, Life Is Sweet, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved
Songs: Absolutely Barking Stars, You Gotta Sin To Get Saved, My Girlhood Among The Outlaws

Albums: Double Back, Orphans
Songs: Unforgiven

Albums: Feels Like The Third Time, Old Paint, Dancing Under Water, Springtime, End Time
Songs: Good For Nothing

Last edited by Son-volt; 07-24-04 at 10:45 PM.
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