New this week on Texas Exile Radio.

By , 29 June 2010 12:03

Lots of new stuff on Texas Exile Radio this week.  Hard to pick a favourite from the current crop but, in the end, I think it’s gotta be Si Kahn’s Courage (Strictly Country Records).  How I’ve missed this guy before, I’ll never quite know — he’s a veteran recorder with a dozen or so albums under his belt since (I think) 1974 — but there’s not a bad track on the whole danged album.  Si Kahn is also a veteran campaigner for civil rights and liberties, so the lyrics are definitely right up TExR’s alley (YMMV).  Meanwhile, the music is clean, catchy, and light — it’s got a lot of traditional Appalachian instrumentation and a notably celtic feel.  Kahn’s playing seems fairly effortless; which, of course, actually means he’s put a great deal of effort into making this a damn good album.  It’s effort that has paid off.  If this guy ever does a gig near me, I wanna be there.

Meanwhile, Larkin Poe — the younger 2/3 of the erstwhile Lovell Sisters — have released Spring (European distribution by Edvin Records).  They call this an EP, but actually it has 9 solid tracks.  These young ladies are gonna make it big, I reckon; they’re probably well on their way already.  As the 3-piece Lovell Sisers, they released their first CD when they were barely into their teens — that one still gets airplay on TExR, actually — but, since then, they have grown and matured, as has their music with them.  Now a 2-piece, what with one sister off to study (and, I believe, to get married), their latest effort is traditional, yet experimental, nuanced and thoughtful; this is a solid offering that builds nicely on what’s gone before.

We first encountered Ben Bedford with last year’s excellent Lincoln’s Man. Now he sends us a worthy successor in Land of the Shadows (Hopeful Sky Records).  Stand out track:  ”Mother Jones on the Line.”

From Mars Arizona (a band, not a place), we’ve got High Desert (Big Barn Records).  Originating indeed from Arizona, this duo seems to have relocated more than once — first from Tempe to Chicago, and then on to San Francisco — so their sound is an interesting mix of country-rock influences.  Their sound’s foundations still hearken to the desert Southwest — they haven’t forgotten those roots — but this is then overlaid with a California feel that, thankfully, doesn’t overwhelm the roots, but instead feeds in.  I’d like to hear more from these guys.

Wilson’s Resevoir sends us an eponymous, self-released album of alt-country music with hints of Appalachian flavour.  The liner notes speak of lead guy Ben Wilson’s homeschool upbringing, which would normally set off a few alarm bells in my head, owing to the homeschool types I encountered back in Texas.  But, here, if nowhere else, I’d have got things wrong.  The album is, in fact, it is a very thoughtful (and darkly intense) piece of work which speaks from a Georgia background that I certainly recognise.  Coolest track: “Lemons in the Water”.

By contrast, Annie Dinerman’s Broken Cookies (Blue Bird Records) is filled with clever, light-hearted (but not flippant), sweet, and sometimes poignant observations of regular people’s real life and love.  Native to Ohio, her sound seems like fairly straightforward New York folk — which, apparently, make sense, as she hails from a family of transplanted New Yorkers.  Worth hearing, this one.

I’m a little late with Eliza Lynn’s Haven (Civility Records), which she released late last year.  It’s a really solid-sounding, soulful bluesy-twangy hybrid that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I usually have a Big Pile of CDs on my desk that I’m catching up with, and sometimes it’s a chore; but there are definitely albums that make it worth it, and here’s one I definitely wish I’d heard earlier.

We’ve also got some new tracks on from the Drive-by Truckers’ The Big To-Do (PIAS).  It’s all right; I don’t happen to think there’s much here that’s wildly new.  But it does what the Truckers do well.

2 Responses to “New this week on Texas Exile Radio.”

  1. Found your site on another blog post, great content, but the site looks awkward in linux browsers, but works fine in IE. Go figure.

  2. padre.will says:

    Howdy … thanks for the heads up. I’ll check into that. I use Safari, myself.

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