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Dwight Yoakam’s been playing country so long he qualifies as a statesmen, but Second Hand Heart, his fourteenth album, doesn’t sound like he’s settling into a mid-career lull. With jangly guitars, bracing tempos, and rowdy vocals, Yoakam’s songs are as wild as they were in 1986, when he released his debut Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. The record follows 3 Pears, his 2012 album produced with Beck, and more than that record echoes the cowpunk of his past, when as a young songwriter he found a home for his Bakersfield-styled songs in the Los Angeles punk scene, alongside bands like X, the Blasters, Los Lobos, and Cruzados, who incorporated roots influences. Drawn out west from his youth in Kentucky and Ohio by the call of Emmylou Harris, his country music hero, Yoakam’s hardcore twang fit in among former punkers who “decided they wanted to explore country music as an expression,” Yoakam says, but it also drew on a long lineage of West Coast pop, Appalachian hillbilly music, and English skiffle. A potent blend he continues to explore with Second Hand Heart.

Aquarium Drunkard: There’s a lot of “California music” in the DNA of Second Hand Heart. Stuff like the Byrds, the Beach Boys, and of course, Buck Owens. Did you have that in mind as a template when you started working on this record?

Dwight Yoakam: Well, there was not a conscious concept of “California,” but by osmosis it’s going to be there. I’ve spent the greatest part of my life in California. I dropped out of Ohio State back in the ‘70s and headed west, as the admonition stated, you know: Go west. I was born in Kentucky, raised in Ohio, but “grew up” in California. I was 20 years old when I got here, and it’s part and parcel of me. California music itself is part of the American musical canon. It certainly was an influence to all of us listening to car radio in the ‘60s and ‘70s. From the Beach Boys, through the explosion of country rock, the commercial California pop rock of the ‘70s, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, and ultimately Fleetwood Mac…exponents of California music, if you will. I was curating some music the other day for a TV idea and the California thing came up. It’s Route 66. From the Dust Bowl to now it’s shaped culturally the larger part of the American 20th century. So it wasn’t anything conscious, it wasn’t like a concept. I think it’s an outgrowth of who I am as a Californian.

AD: Did you first settle in Los Angeles when you got to California in the ‘70s?

Dwight Yoakam: It was actually Long Beach for a couple years. [I came out with a buddy who] was coming out for a summer — or he wasn’t sure how long. He had family in Orange County and he wanted to possibly make a move. So as fate would have it he said, “You’re coming with me,” so I sold my car to my brother and took what little cash I had and jumped in a ’74 Volkswagen with him and we headed west. After a few months, he left and went home. I got a job at a loading dock at a department store and started working there, got a car, started driving up into L.A. proper, going to the Palomino and meeting musicians. I put a band together by late ’79, and was playing a five- sets-a-night gig at a place in the valley called the Corral, which was a classic kind of country nightclub in a working class area of the valley.

I began to meet other like-minded musicians and putting a band together. Bob “Boo” Bernstein was playing steel for me, and he said, “You have to meet this guy, [producer] Pete Anderson. He’s playing another club in the west valley.” He had me come over and sit in with that band one night. That’s where Pete and I met. We began talking and responded very immediately to each other’s playing and singing. I started showing him my original material and we then formed the basis of the new unit…[which] evolved into that first band that was on Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. [Yoakam’s 1986 debut]. And, along the way I did a play or two [laughs].

matthewWhite

Lagniappe (la·gniappe) noun ˈlan-ˌyap,’ – 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

Matthew E. White presents Tape-estry featuring Bedouine – a digital 45 of Carole King songs recorded on a 4-track in motels across America. This is White’s second Lagniappe Session for AD. Listen to the 2012 session, here.

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It all started when we wikipedia-d Carole King’s writing credits in Austin, then I met an completely magnetic artist called Bedouine in LA, the band had an off day in Pasadena and we drank Sailor Jerry’s in our motel room and laid down “You’ve Got a Friend” on my Tascam 4-track my parents got me for Christmas when I was 15. Somewhere in the thousands of high hills between Boise and Minneapolis we tracked “No Easy Way Down” and on our last day off I crawled into an attic and sang these loosey-goosey vocals. After our fortuitous meeting in LA I had asked Bedouine if she would sing on these tracks, good god almighty she can sing. The final step was to send the music back to her and she laid down some transcendent backgrounds that perfectly match the tape drenched outer space that the band had found ourselves in. I should say a note about Carole King. She is magnificent, a giant of our time, maybe the finest all around songwriter to walk the earth, there is no one like her, she is an American icon. I’d like dedicate all these memories and the music they produced to her.

Matthew E. White :: You’ve Got a Friend (Carole King)
Matthew E. White :: No Easy Way Down (Carole King )

Lagniappe Sessions Archives / imagery via d norsen.

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 10.40.09 PMNot many bands stick it out for three decades — and even those who do usually end up as shadows of their former selves. Not so with Eleventh Dream Day. The action-packed Works For Tomorrow isn’t just one of the veteran Chicago group’s best efforts, it’s also one of the best guitar records in recent memory, as Rick Rizzo and James Elkington find the sweet spot between Television’s precise/pristine interplay and Crazy Horse’s wild abandon.

Dig the opener, “Vanishing Point,” with drummer/vocalist Janet Beveridge Bean and bassist Doug McCombs laying down a propulsive, krautrockin’ rhythm as Rizzo coughs up a cluster of righteous fuzz that’d make Neil Young himself stop in his tracks. Or the bracing, Mission of Burma-esque “The People’s History,” a tightly wound number that stutters and spits before launching into a glorious, feedback-laced anti-solo. In short, Works For Tomorrow is the work of a band still inspired by its own powerful noise — a Dream come true, really. words / t wilcox
Eleventh Dream Day :: The People’s History

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This Tuesday night, Aquarium Drunkard presents an evening with Kevin Morby and Rodrigo Amarante at The Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles. Tickets are still available, here, and we have several pairs saved for AD readers. To enter, leave a comment below. Winners notified by Monday afternoon.

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Dig that leather ‘jacket’ up there ^. Last year we partnered with our pals Tanner Goods to release a free 7″ featuring two two tracks from Foxygen’s 2014 Pickathon performance, which found the group working out material from their (then) forthcoming lp, …And Star Power. This weekend it is available.

The 45s will be available first come, first serve on Saturday July 25th (beginning at 11am) via Tanner’s Los Angeles and Portland stores. The first 20 records we’re giving away this weekend come with a very limited embossed leather sleeve (shown above.)

And if you’re not in PDX or LA, we’re giving a handful of copies away to AD readers via the comment section below. To enter, leave a comment with you favorite record from 1975 and/or ’85.

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Some recent, recommended archival releases of (mostly) unreleased material from some jazz giants. 

It’d take a whole lot more than four discs to sum up what Miles Davis was up to onstage from 1955-1975. But the trumpeter’s latest Bootleg Series manages to give a solid overview, collecting performances given under the auspices of the Newport Jazz Festival (some of which take place at the actual festival, some of which take place in Europe and New York City). The names of the players are recommendation enough: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Hancock. Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Keith Jarrett and many more all contribute to the diverse array of sounds here. Fans will already be familiar with most of the 50s material on disc one — it’s in the 60s and 70s when things start getting more interesting. There are two astonishing sets from Miles’ Second Great Quintet (Hancock, Shorter, Williams and bassist Ron Carter), featuring feisty, free-bop excursions. There’s a pre-Bitches Brew blowout, with powerhouse drummer Jack DeJohnette egging Davis onto some of the wildest playing of his career. There’s an electrifying 70+ minutes from 1971, Keith Jarrett digging deep into unknown zones and bassist Michael Henderson providing an unbelievably rock steady groove. Best of all are the positively tectonic shifts and drifts of the Dark Magus band, captured in full flight in 1973, with guitarists Pete Cosey and Reggie Lucas blazing away. While there’s a seemingly endless amount of Miles Davis live action already extant, the Bootleg Series proves once again that the bottom of the barrel hasn’t been scraped yet — not by a long shot.

Miles Davis :: Directions

Resonance Records has made a name for itself in recent years as a jazz label adept at digging up some true treasures, many of which have never even been bootlegged. Their new Wes Montgomery collection, In The Beginning, is another winner. The two absorbing discs are made up mostly of previously unheard, mid-50s live material recorded in Indianapolis before the pioneering guitarist hit the big time (along with some newly discovered studio cuts, including a 1955 session produced by none other than Quincy Jones). These are amateur recordings, but they’re surprisingly clear for 60-year-old tapes, and the after hours vibe is just perfect — “you can almost taste the smoke in the air,” writes Pete Townshend in the liners. And the music here is far from juvenilia: Montgomery’s unmistakeable technique and cool approach is firmly in place. No matter how casual the setting of these gigs may have been, he always seems to firing on all cylinders, playing dazzling runs that probably made other guitarists want to hang up their axes for good. An invaluable addition to the Montgomery canon.

Wes Montgomery :: After You’re Gone

In The Beginning gives us a look at a musical genius in his pre-fame days. Duke Ellington’s Conny Plank Session, recorded in 1970, gives us a look at a musical genius in his twilight. You read that name right: this is the same Conny Plank who would go on to become one of the primary architects of the 1970s Krautrock/Kosmische sound, producing groundbreaking albums by Neu!, Kraftwerk and Cluster, to name just a few. Don’t let your imagination run too wild, though; if you’re hoping for a “Take the A Train” / “HalloGallo” blend, you should look elsewhere (perhaps in some other galaxy). But The Conny Plank Session is still fantastic. What we’ve got here is a beautifully recorded, all-too-brief example of the Ellington Orchestra in its latter days, with Duke sounding fit and fiery, leading his band through several takes of two tunes. By the end of the session, they seem just about ready for blastoff. Maybe that other galaxy wasn’t too far off…  words / t wilcox

Duke Ellington :: Afrique (take 3 vocal)

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Our weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can now be heard twice, every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 397: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Kevin Morby – Harlem River ++ Destroyer – Chinatown ++ David Bowie – Win ++ Jullian Lynch – Terra ++ Atlas Sound – Another Bedroom ++ Atlas Sound – Recent Bedroom ++ David Bowie – TVC 15 ++ Talking Heads – I Get Wild/Wild Gravity ++ Blur – Blue Jeans ++ The Clash – The Call Up (AD edit) ++ Pylon – Cool ++ Deerhunter – Fluorescent Grey ++ Lower Dens – Tea Lights ++ Deerhunter – Dr. Glass ++ Lower Dens – Holy Water ++ Deerhunter – Leather Jacket II ++ Disappears – Gone Completely ++ Viet Cong – Static Wall ++ Women – Eyesore ++ No Age – Neck Escaper ++ Fugazi – Cassavetes ++ Rodrigo Amarante – Hourglass ++ Little Joy – Don’t Watch Me Dancing ++ Sandro Perri – Everybody’s Talkin’ ++ Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision ++ Benoit Pioulard – Shouting Distance ++ Little Wings – Eyes Without A Face ++ Julee Crusie – Floating

*Listen for free, online, with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.
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Though she retired from regular public performance decades ago, Shirley Collins’ influence on today’s musical landscape seems to grow with every year. That’s a very good thing. Her classic LPs, either alone, or with Davy Graham, her sister Dolly, and Ashley Hutchings, among others, are master classes in traditional English folk forms (with plenty of trips into other folk forms as well). They’re also just fantastic records, with Collins’ unmistakeable vocals and pristine delivery bringing age-old songs to miraculous life. She’s one of our great voices.

That voice and legacy is paid well-deserved tribute to on two worth-your-time recent releases. First up we’ve got For Shirley Collins, with visual artist Emily Sundblad playing Collins to Matt Sweeney’s Davy Graham on an LP of spare and lovely tunes drawn from Shirley’s repertoire. It’s a melancholy beauty of a record, as Sweeney’s fingerpicked acoustic sensitively complements Sundblad’s high, fluttering vocals. Sweeney is certainly one of the most versatile musicians out there; it’s kind of hard to believe this is the same dude who plays with Endless Boogie and Chavez. Covers of Michael Hurley and the Everly Brothers round out For Shirley Collins — they don’t fit the concept, but they fit the vibe.

Next, there’s the sprawling Shirley Inspired from Earth Recordings — three LPs worth of Collins-derived English trad-folk tunes interpreted by the likes of Lee Ranaldo, Angel Olsen, Josephine Foster, Graham Coxon, Meg Baird and many others. As might be expected from its sheer size, Shirley Inspired is a mixed bag, with some of the performers nailing their chosen songs, and others missing the mark slightly. But there’s more than enough quality material here, including Baird’s unbelievably good “Locks and Bolts,” Will Oldham and Bitchin Bajas’ haunting “Pretty Saro,” and Sharron Kraus’ hypnotic “Gilderoy (Heart’s Delight).” Good to know: proceeds from the album go towards the production of an in-the-works documentary about Collins. words / t wilcox

Will Oldham / Bitchin Bajas :: Pretty Saro
Emily Sundblad / Matt Sweeney :: Dearest Dear

GRRD26_cover_smallThe music of Tucson’s Ohioan, led by songwriter O Ryne Warner, is about many things, but chiefly, it is music about the concept of “place.”

“From Roscoe Holcomb and the ‘mountain minor’ players to the Berber banjoists of Marrakech, Tinariwen’s Tuareg guitar tradition, and the electric reverberation of country music throughout the Sonoran desert: we are bringing these far-flung influences together to reconcile where we come from, where are, and where we’re headed,” Warner writes of his upcoming album, Empty/Every MT, out early next year via Gold Robot Records. Following 2014’s American Spirit Blues, the album is sun-worn and faded, featuring contributions from deep underground heroes Susan Alcorn, Arrington De Dionyso, and Tara Jane Oneil, aiding in expanding Warner’s droning compositions.

“You’ll never know where you’re going unless you know where you’re at,” Warner says. “Any place you are living in, should be engaged with, touched and bled upon and cursed on occasion, but regardless felt as an entity available for dialog. You breathe its air, in and out.” A Midwestern transplant “dusting up” in Tucson since Dia de los Muertos in 2011, Warner says the desert has informed his songwriting, but it’s done so, “Indirectly, via the people around me that are changed by it. Just living here and talking to them, listening. Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a conference on water rights for the Hopi & Diné tribes, and that put a whole lot into perspective.” Environmental themes weave throughout the songs of Ohioan — parallels between the mines of his native Ohio and in Arizona, the clear cut forests he saw in Oregon, the onset of climate change.

The sounds of Empty/Every MT are as connected to the soil as Warner’s ecological themes. “…I grew up on hardcore and ‘90s NYC hip-hop,” Warner says. “I remember specifically talking with Jef Brown of Jackie-O Motherfucker, who was giving me some theory lessons, and saying ‘I think I really like modal music’…. which was just something i had read about in a description of a jazz record. And he took the time to really explain modal music to me and help me make these connections and then it was just the skies parted you know…. all the Sabbath riffs I like, the certain kinds of banjo tunes, the African trance grooves…. all modal.”

With Ohioan, Warner draws lines from hillbilly folk songs to the desert blues of the North African nomads, from banjo players in Kentucky to banjo players in Morocco, separated by geography but spiritual connected by musical approach. “So this is all going on with me musically, combining Appalachian banjo music with African desert guitar music, as I’m simultaneously thinking about these environmental and mining concepts over the years, living in the desert and being from Appalachia….and it all just sort of starts cookin’ into a bigger idea.” words / j woodbury

Ohioan :: Pissing At Will
Ohioan :: Easy Company