THRIFT STORE COWBOYS
Thrift Store Cowboys fourth studio album Light Fighter could be called their post-arson period, as the band wrote the record after a stranger torched a trailer filled with merchandise and parked next to lead singer Daniel Fluitt's bedroom, nearly taking his life. Produced by Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Neko Case, Iron and Wine) Light-Fighter's indie-rock shapeshifts through ambient and Gothic western music for songs that touch on death, loss, fear, redemption, the Spanish Civil War and West Texas ghost stories. All buoyed by soaring violin, draped against bottom-ended guitar and pedal steel sounds that the spaghetti western composed Ennio Morricone might envy.
The Lubbock based quintet, which includes Fluitt, Colt Miller, Clint Miller, Kris Killingsworth, Cory Ames and Amanda Shires on fiddle and vocals, have been touring together for over a decade after meeting at the musical South Plains College. They are neither of the typical Texas-based types of bands - a country-rock melange or strictly indie rock. As Buddy Magazine points out, "Thrift Store Cowboys' feel is more, for a lack of better description, gypsy desert music - the free sound of spacey, heat-induced delirium...a sure, confident sound backed by thoughtful vision." Schumacher produced their 2006 release Lay Low While Crawling or Creeping, of which Austin Sound said, "the album is to country music what Jim Jarmusch's film Deadman was to the western."
LIKE MANY OF HIS WEST TEXAS CONTEMPORARIES, DANIEL MARKHAM HAS OFTEN BEEN ABLE TO TAP INTO THE ISOLATING, YET CALM LONESOMENESS OF THE PANHANDLE.
Whether it be Thrift Store Cowboys and Amanda Shires of the last decade, Terry Allen and The Flatlanders of the late ’70s, or Buddy Holly and Wink-native Roy Orbison of the late ’50s, they all the ability to capture the parting winds of the flatlands and the blistering sun of the West Texas deserts. It was engrained in their sound–becoming signature for each in their own shades.
The now Denton-based Markham, a decade in as a songwriter and musician, presents his third solo full-length album, Disintegrator. Third. In ways, that’s a misleading description. In reality, it marks his 12th release–following Waiting to Derail’s self-titled, One Wolf’s One Wolf I and One Wolf II: Secret of the Wolf, Larry Legion and Forest of Swords under the Larry Legion persona, solo works Demonstrations, Hexagons, Ruined My Life, Pretty Bitchin’, and the collaborative efforts of Smoke Paint with Tony Ferraro and Harmony in Hell with Claire Morales.
Matt Woods is a product of Appalachia. You can hear his East Tennessee roots tangled in the lines of his songs and it is through this filter he distills the world, both external and internal, into his unique brand of songwriting. You can call it Americana, folk rock, even country music but no matter what it’s called it is, at it core, honest and heartfelt. Spending most of his time on the road, either engaging listeners as a solo artist or enrapturing them with his band, Matt Woods and the Natural Disasters, he would say, if asked, that he is “just trying to share some truth and get along.”
2019 brings the release of Woods’ 4th full length studio album, Natural Disasters, and an impressive touring schedule to support it with across the US and Europe, the latter of which having become a yearly endeavor since the release of How To Survive in 2016. Natural Disasters, produced by Joey Kneiser (Glossary and Austin Lucas), shares some insight to the realities of our place in time as perceived through Woods’ eyes and enriched by the talents of Adam Meisterhans on electric guitars, Jeremy Mackinder on bass guitar, PJ Schreiner on drums, and Mike Webb (Chris Stapleton, Poco) on keys with Lance Howell (Big Shoals) providing harmonies throughout.
Along the way, he has shared the stage with the likes of Chris Knight, Black Oak Arkansas, Bobby Bare, Frank Turner, Roger Alan Wade, Zac Brown, Drivin' n' Cryin', Will Hoge, Roger Clyne (of The Refreshments), CAKE, Robbie Fulks, The White Buffalo, The Black Lillies and others.
Doug Burr has a habit of mulling things over, kneading thoughts around until they yield something of value. Burr is soft-spoken, bespectacled and rangy. Yet his placid manner belies the storm of paranoia, longing and wonder agitating at his core. The singer-songwriter from Denton, Texas, is often lauded for his candor, a reputation earned through no small labor. Burr is a disciple of the hard way that weaves between easy answers, buffeted, always pressing toward the truth.
Four records in, Burr remains true to that code, digging into everything ugly and gorgeous that comprises humanity. You can hear it on the Gospel-inspired Sickle and the Sheaves (2003) and on Burr’s acclaimed sophomore follow-up On Promenade (2007). In 2009, he released an album of Biblical Psalms set to original music called The Shawl. His last work, O Ye Devastator(2012), is an album of both personal confession and ingenious storytelling, as grave in its estimation of human frailty as it is amazed at human loveliness reclaimed.
Now Doug Burr returns with a new album, Pale White Dove. While Devastator, dabbled with heavier sounds, Pale White Dove swings the sledgehammer with abandon. Burr sounds like a man whose noted patience is worn to a raw bundle of nerves.The album’s aggression is cut with beautiful country tunes “Never Gonna Be Young Again.” But the soul of Pale White Dove is the electrified “I See Satan Fall Like Lightning” which is soaked in Southern Gothic and delivered in a fevered prophecy. The song, and much of the rest of the album, recounts a world tangled in its own violent scapegoating, hopeless save for supernatural intervention. For this reason, Pale White Dove is apt for this age, marred as it is by violence in word and deed.
adeem the artist
Adeem Maria (they/them/theirs) is a seventh-generation Carolinian, a makeshift poet, singer-songwriter, storyteller, and blue-collar Artist. They began toiling at their instrument in 2002 when their family relocated to Syracuse, NY and used songwriting as a vehicle to process the ensuing culture shock, their faith, and later their journey through apostasy.
Blending a homegrown affection for Country Music with the emotional ballyhoo of alternative folk in the early aughts, they have created a unique brand of Americana that pays homage to John Prine and John Darnielle (of The Mountain Goats) in equal parts.
On Cast-Iron Pansexual, they weave a rich tapestry of words with humor and wit; exploring identity across coalescing subcultures. Traveling to Carolina to get their Tarot read while straddling the duality of being a "blue collar boy" who is a "complicated dame," Adeem excavates unwonted stories of the forgotten south.
Brian Paddock began writing lyrics long before he ever picked up a guitar.
In 2010, when he was 30 years old, Paddock’s wife encouraged him to take his writing more seriously. Paddock learned how to play guitar and started trying to sing all the things he’d been writing. Four years later, Paddock co-founded the rock ‘n’ roll band Shimmy and the Burns. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., the band earned a good reputation over the next few years, touring the Southeast and recording two critically-lauded full-length albums. Still, there was something missing. Paddock had a stack of songs that needed a quieter, more subtle musical home. To that end, he recorded the EP “Villains,” which Blank News praised as “a major introspective psychological whallop,” and began working on a full-length album. That disc, “Under New Management,” due for release later this summer, realizes the promise that the EP hinted at.
In his characteristically gruff voice, Paddock delivers 11 songs where the lyrics aren’t in such competition with the music to be heard. It’s sweet. It’s honest. And, featuring acoustic-heavy arrangements played by some of Knoxville’s A-list musicians, the music flows easy. The title cut name checks John Prine song characters in a thoughtful rumination on modern life.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of rockers. When Paddock sings “I drink poison, ‘cause I like the taste,” you know it’s not going to be a soundtrack to a church picnic.
“Under New Management” isn’t going to shock Paddock’s longtime fans. More likely, they’re going to love him even more. If you haven’t heard him, take a little extra time to let the songs sink in. You won’t regret it.
Rebecca Rego has been a Midwest singer-songwriter, recording artist, and producer for over 15 years. She has written and recorded eight albums and toured the country many times over, solo and with her Chicago-based band The Trainmen.
In 2014, a mysterious package arrived on her doorstep. In it was Lucia Berlin’s short story collection, “A Manual For Cleaning Women.” The note simply said: “I think you’ll love this.” As Rego began picking through the dark, witty, romantic prose, the stories slowly began to seep into her consciousness and affect her songwriting. After a few years, she realized she had created a unique set of songs based on Berlin’s book.
In the fall of 2019, Rego traveled to Northern California, where a handful of Berlin’s stories take place, and recorded six of these songs at Panoramic Studio in Stinson Beach with engineer Beau Sorenson (Death Cab For Cutie, tUnE-yArDs,) backed by multi-instrumentalist J. Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Ringo Starr,) and Alysia Kraft, Staci Foster, and Tobias Bank of Fort Collins, CO based band Whippoorwill. The resulting album “Songs For Cleaning Women Pt. 1” will be released November 11, 2020. The release will be celebrated with a livestreaming performance during Grammy Award-winning music ensemble Eighth Blackbird’s “Chicago Artists Workshop” series.
As an independent female artist, Rego is influenced by the unflinching, raw honesty found in Berlin’s art. Many of Berlin’s stories are semi-autobiographical accounts of her time working blue-collar jobs, raising four children as a single mother, and dealing with her own alcoholism. Berlin died in 2004, never receiving critical acclaim in her own lifetime. Rego’s goal with this release is to pay homage to Berlin’s stories and introduce new audiences to her work.
DAVID MAYFIELD PARADE
If you’ve seen David Mayfield perform with The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Jessica Lea Mayfield, or at Bonnaroo, you’ve caught the charisma, the heart, and the comedy, and it's likely you’ll come back for more.
This singer-songwriter, band leader, and Grammy nominated producer stepped out of the sideman shadows with his 2011 album "The David Mayfield Parade" his follow-up "Good Man Down" was self released and funded with a surprising succesful Kickstarter campaign that more than doubled its initial goal of $18,000. On the heels of that sucsess, Mayfield has partnered with Compass Records. A label that Playboy Magaizne calls "Nashville's hippest alternative label"
STRANGERS, Mayfield’s first album with Compass, is a tour de force, stretching from the avant-garde to Mayfield’s musical roots, which are buried deep in the bluegrass tradition from a childhood of touring with his family’s band. Tracks range from the Celtic-inspired opener “Caution,” which features Mayfield’s deft ability in orchestrating complex instrumentation, to “The Man I’m Trying to Be,” a sharply honest song that is as dark and it is tender. Mayfield is truly a wordsmith, forging the mundane into the evocative in each track, most notably with “Ohio (It’s Fake),” whose innovative lyrics are propelled from acoustic beginnings into a pure pop finish, Mayfield’s trembling tenor rising above the grooving band. With the release of Strangers, David Mayfield is clearly going places, fueled by a deadly combination of infectious energy and songwriting chops that only come around once in a blue moon