Archive for July, 2005

Mark Erelli and the logging song "Mullikens Pitch"

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

It’s hard not to write about Mark Erelli every month. He’s one of the premier folk singers and storytellers in the US. He’s worked with Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis and Cliff Eberhardt. His website features a new and often unreleased MP3 each and every month.

He says he was feeling generous this month and put up an unreleased song called “Mullikens Pitch” that will be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary about Conneticut’s logging industry.

Mulliken’s Pitch [Download]

This is not the best logging song ever written. That honor goes to Slaid Cleaves’ “Breakfast In Hell”.

Breakfast In Hell [Download]

Swinging Steaks return in their Sunday’s Best (First National Records, Aug 2005)

Friday, July 29th, 2005

I’ve loved the alt-country of the Swinging Steaks for years. When I worked at Flying Fish Records I fantasized about signing them and making them the next Uncle Tupelo, Sun Volt, or Jayhawks. Course that didn’t happen but The Swinging Steaks are still out there and this time they have a new label and a new record. The band has allowed me to share a few songs off their upcoming release Sunday’s Best on First National Records.

Their second release, but their debut nationally for many people, was the Capricorn Records release Southside of the Sky. The sepia toned photo of the band in western wear was what initially cought my eye but it was the harmonius vocals over a bed of pristine folk-country that kept me coming back. Southside of the Sky went on to become their most successful record and landed the band on David Letterman, gave them top ten AAA singles as well as an appearance on the prestigeous NPR show Mountain Stage. Sunday’s Best will have distribution through Redeye so you should be able to find it in stores next week. Or preorder it now through Miles of Music here.

StupidLight of the Moon [Download]

Robert Deeble’s This Bar Has No One Left (Fractured Discs, July 26 2005)

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Robert Deeble’s has a new cd due out July 26th on Fractured discs. The mp3′s from this new disc are available through the paste music site.

So Support them with your purchases when you can. The new six song ep This Bar Has No One Left was recorded by Adam Selzer (Norfolk And Western) and features Rachel Blumburg (M. Ward, ex-Decemberists).

It’s a resonant and orchestrated folk record of the kind you might expect from one of the more celebrated, blogged about artists (you know who I mean?!).

Here’s “In A Cigarette Voice” from Robert Deeble’s new disc available here.

From This Bar Has No One Left

In A Cigarette Voice [Download]

From 13 Stories (2004)

The Secret Life of Emily DickensonChinese Fighter GirlPeter and the Lion [Download]

From Earthside Down (1999)

Earthside Down [Download]

Live KEXP and opening for Low

The Secret Life Of Emily DickensonWhich Will (Nick Crake cover)A Russian Murder Ballad [Download]

Kelly Jean Caldwell (member of Saturday Looks Good To Me, Showdown at the Equator)

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

We’re Twins Records has an interesting cdr coming out soon by Kelly Jean Caldwell of Saturday Looks Good To Me and Showdown At The Equator fame.

It’s a 5 song ep of music recorded before that of her present release Banner of a Hundred Hearts. It’s got a stripped down and sparse sound, the vocals sound like they’ve been through a reverb wash and the analog sound makes it seem like country music that has been long lost (i.e. just perfect).

Buy her stuff here and here.

From upcoming EP on We’re Twins Records

Reinventing Our First Kiss (And All The Parties We Missed) [Download]

From Banner Of A Hundred Hearts (2004)

O Do Not Be Afraid (courtesy of Uncommon Folk [Download]

Bonus tracks from Saturday Looks Good To Me

Lift Me UpThe Girls Distracted [Download]

Bonus track from Showdown at the Equator

Dear Friends [Download]

Kicker – Our Wild Mercury Years (Track and Field, May 2005)

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

It’s safe to say that any band compared to Felt or The Beautiful South will get a fair shake here on Songs:Illinois. Kicker is that band. Kicker is a UK band that records for the always excellent Track and Field Records. Their new record, their full-length debut Our Wild Mercury Years, is out now. It’s available through Darla here.

The one song you can preview is on the Kicker website it’s called “Blue”. Here it is along with a number of b-sides.

Blue [Download]

ParaguayGet Rid Of Him [Download]

Click here for other great music from Songs:Illinois including Ox, Darren Heyman, Rachel Ries, and Catfish Haven.

Kate Campbell’s got the blues (w/Guy Clark, Maura O’Connell and Dr. John)

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

A blues record from a folk artist? Why not, Willie Nelson’s doing reggae! Kate Campbell’s new record is called Blues And Lamentations. This is blues in feeling only, there’s not a Chicago electric guitar solo to be heard nor is there any over amplified growls or moans. But Kate’s no stanger to the blues from growing up in New Orleans, Missippi and Tennessee she’s probably seen and heard it all at least twice.

This new record is due out on Sept. 6th but you can pre-order it now signed by Kate (and get a free bandana) by visiting her webstore here. Guests include Gut Clark, Maura O’Connell and Mac McAnally (aka Dr. John). Here’s two:

Miles Of Blues Mining Camp Blues [Download]

Secretly Canadian continues on march toward world domination (Catfish Haven, Jan. 2006)

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Lots of activity over at Secretly Canadian as they announce the signing of I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness and Richard Swift. One band who they have not announced joining the stable but who apparently has is Catfish Haven.

Catfish Haven is the name of the trailor park where George Hunter grew up. The band describes themselves as “soulful howling over an acoustic guitar turned way up”.

They’ve got the earnest sound of your typical midwestern roots band with an edge and a hint of something more lurking below the surface. You can buy their debut ep from the band’s website. Here’s two demo’s that are listed as coming from their f0rthcoming record, Please Come Back, on Secretly Canadian January 2006.

Please Come BackMadeline [Download]

Darrell Scott’s Live In N.C. (August 2, Full Light)

Monday, July 25th, 2005

Darrell Scott is a Nashville Legend (capitalization intended) and a country song writing juggernaut. He’s penned hits for The Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans, Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt (and many many others). But while the above list may not be the cream of the crop in our eyes; I imagine writing that many hits pays the bills quite nicely, thank you very much.

I actually prefer Darrell’s playing (he’s an in demand multi-instrumentalist) and his gruff singing over the slick sounds of the acts listed above and I’m guessing you will too. He’ll never break into the charts on his own and I’m guessing that’s ok with him but his recorded legacy will be substantial when all is said and done. His newest record set with an August 2nd release date is Live In N.C. Click here to purchase from the artist’s page.

You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Patty Loveless did a great version of this on her Mountain Soul record)I Still Miss Someone [Download]

Darren Hayman – Lost track from Caravan Songs

Monday, July 25th, 2005

I love surfing the net late at night looking for musical discoveries. What’s amazing is that it’s all out there somewhere you just gotta look.

I heard of Darren Hayman on one of the mailorder sites either Darla or Tonevender (check em out if you have time). Something about the description made me think it’d be just perfect and I was right.

Apparently Darren was in some protracted contract dispute with Too Pure over his previous band The French, when he recorded these songs in his wife’s dad’s caravan, literally in the caravan (for the non europeans out there that would be a trailor).

Caravan Songs is a 4 song ep available now on Static Caravan Records. If you’ve got a fast connection here’s a link to the video Darren shot for the song “Caravan”. There was a fifth song left off the 7″ ep because of space limitations it was “Victim Song”.

Victim Song [Download]

Bonus songs from The French

Wu-Tang ClanA Better Man [Download]
video (real)

Leave me alone, it’s Sunday for Christ’s sake!

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

Go and visit Kofi’s Hat instead. There you’ll find an amazing Big Star history with downloads. Including a new song off a forthcoming Big Star release

Also go visit the Oak Room who’s got a new song up by the DB’s.

Don’t forget The Big Ticket, he’s posting irregularly but when one shows up like this past Friday it’s a beut. This time music from the gypsy circus act Gogol Bordello and current blogger favs Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah pls a ton of pop culture hyperlinks.

The always excellent and guilt free (i.e. legal) mp3 blog 3Hive has some songs from Stereo Total a belgium band singing in French that I was going to write about soon (Damn you 3hive)

Swedesplease has some cool Swedish punk

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez’s Red Dog Tracks (Back Porch, May 2005)

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez are an interesting combination and by that I mean it’s a little stange to have an older man paired with such a young woman (at least when it comes to music). Their vocals intertwine young with the old, low with the high, grizzled with the fresh. Througout they are accompanied by Bill Frissell on electric guitar. Carrie plays the fiddle and sings while Chip is on guitar and vocals.

I like it though, as do many others, as Red Dog Tracks (their first on a major label Back Porch/Virgin) is at the top of the Americana charts. Here’s a couple old timey/folk songs from Chip and Carrie and if you’ve got the scoop on this couple leave it in the comments section. Buy it now through the bands site.

Must Be The WhiskeyMy Buckets Got A Hole In It [Download]

Hello Saferide holds court on Said The Gramaphone

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

Well I had a post all lined up for today until Sean from Said The Gramaphone emailed with his special news about his inaugaural guest blog post. His plan is for biweekly guest posts from the finest performers in arts, music and culture. The first guest post is from Anika of Hello Saferide and that’s why I’m all a twitter.
Hello Saferide was a blogging sensation (with her song “High School Stalker”) a few months ago and is now recording songs in Stockholm with the leader of Niccokick to put on her debut. Her label in Sweden, Razzia Records, has finely put up an honest to goodness website with sound samples and all. They have a preview of her present single “My Best Friend”; this is the first non full-length mp3 I’ve posted but it’s a special occasion so sue me.

My Best Friend [Download]

Here’s her two other songs that she has up on her site. They’ve been kicking around for awhile but just in case you missed it, here they are.

High School StalkerValentine’s Day [Download]

Visit Said The Gramaphone to hear her take on the band The Galactic Heroes.

Monster Mash – Songs by, of, for and about monsters (real, imagined and metaphorical) **Updated**

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

The song “Monster” by The Boy Least Likely To popped into rotation on the ipod today sparking my sudden interest in songs about monsters, real or imagined; metaphorical or made of flesh and bone.

I’m sure there are lots of novelty songs from the 50′s that would fit the bill and I welcome those but I’m primarily interested in something with a real emotional core. Antony and the Johnstons’ “Frankenstein” and particularly Vince Bell’s version of a different song titled “Frankenstein” come to mind.

So email me your contributions and I’ll add them to the list. I need the mp3 file or a link to it. If you are sending me the file send it to

Martin Sexton –

The Beast In MeAntony and the Johnstons – FrankensteinMonster – CharlatanThe Boy Least Likely To – MonstersVince Bell – FrankensteinImpossible Shapes – The BeastSuperwolf – The Beast For TheeSpoon – The Beast and The Dragon, AdoredThe King of France – The Beast [Download]

Hallie lightened and sped things up considerably with these stellar “monster” tracks

They Might Be Giants –

Monsters of Mud The Misfits – Astro ZombiesAquabats – Cat With Two HeadsCookie Monster - Lost Me Cookie at the DiscoShark Quest – Monsters [Download]

Marty Stuart’s Soul Chapel (Phantom Records, Aug 30. 2005)

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Marty Stuart’s new record is a homage to the sounds of his youth and those sounds were gospel. Gordan Gano, Iris Dement and others have turned to Gospel music as a way to answer the deepest questions and greatest mysteries. Now Marty Stuart has done the same with Soul’s Chapel.

He is joined by ace session guitarist Kenny Vaughan and Harry Stinson (yes the actor). The most prominent guest is the current reigning queen of gospel inflected blues Mavis Staples who joins Marty on the Staples song “Move Along Train”. Here’s that one and another tradional gospel tune. Preorder this August release now with Amazon.

Lord, Give Me Just A Little More Time Right click/save as and replace what pops up with song title and .mp3Move Along Train [Download]
(W/Mavis Staples)

Erin McKeown – We Will Become Like Birds (Nettwerk, June 28, 2005)

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

I’m a late comer to Erin Mckeown. As such I have no past history with her or expectations of what her new disc “should” sound like. From her one song available online I like what I hear. The song is “To The Stars” from her new disc We Will Become Like Birds June 28 (Nettwerk).

For this record the 27 year old Mckeown enlisted the help of Tucker Martine as producer. He’s worked with Jim White, Laura Veirs and Bill Frissell. She also signed up two guests in Peter Mulvy and Argentine Elctronic artist Juana Molina.

Here’s the track “To The Stars”. This is poppier and a little mainstream for Songs:Illinois but the song is incredibly catchy and beautiful. You can buy the disc here.

To The Stars [Download]

I’m not a pervert but I like "Kiss You Down There" by The Hackensaw Boys (Nettwerk, Fall `05)

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

Of course with a name like Hackensaw Boys you probably already have a grasp on their style of music…that’s right bastard bluegrass or newgrass or punkgrass. They could play it straight but these guys (12 originally now a sixpiece) clearly prefer to filter old timey music through a punk rock asthetic.

Nettwerk (one of the most inconsistent of labels labels) has signed these guys and set a fall 2005 release date for their “major label” debut Love What You Do. So check `em out and see if you too “Love What They Do” and if you’re in the market for one very well used touring bus then visit their website they’ve got one for sale, really!

Kiss You Down ThereFiddle My Blues Away [Download]

Songs:Illinois Housekeeping (Special offer from Yer Bird Records and an appeal to bands for a Gene Clark tribute record)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

****We created a little bit of a commotion or an outcry over at YerBird Records and with the band Sounds Like Fall. Lots of downloads (3gigs) and interest in the bands 3 posted songs from their debut The Wolf Is A The Door. Label owner Morgan King has entered the fray and states in the comment section of the original post that he is now offerring a free cd compilation from the label with every purchase through Songs:Illinois. From the three songs offered the record is a no brainer. Getting a cd compilation of upcoming releases from the label and b-sides from SLF is a huge bonus and you know poor Morgan is going to be burning and labeling and doing the artwork on these puppies. So here’s the deal: order the disc through his label site and then email him ( after you’ve ordered and say you ordered because of Songs:Illinois and he’ll get one out to you. Btw tell him to send me one too, thanks!

Here’s a demo of

Will The Circle Be Unbroken [Download]

****The Sweden label Groover Records is responsible for a lot of great music being on the planet. Aside from their releases by individual artists they also have a cover compilation project ongoing. The first was Jeans & Covers, then came Jeans & Summer 1 and 2. Now they’re working on Gene & Cover – A Tribute to Gene Clark. They’re actively looking for bands and requested that I get the word out. So email Christian here if you are interested –

Gene Clark –

Ain’t Living Long Like This [Download]

Don Nino – On the Bright Scale (Prohibited Records, March `05)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

Don Nino is a frenchman performing music in English along the lines of Palace, Devendra, Sufjan et al. His new album On The Bright Scale came out in Europe on Prohibited Records in March of `05. Not sure when it’ll be picked up and released in the states. The song availible online is “A Thousand Lights”. Here’s that one new song and some rarities and demos.

A Thousand Lights [Download]

Out Of My Mind (Demo/Outake)Xmas [Download]

Laura Veirs – Year of the Meteors (Electra Nonesuch, August 23)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2005

Laura Veirs is someone I stumbled upon a few years ago and haven’t yet decided how to think of her or her music. She’s signed to the prestigious label Electra Nonesuch and that means a lot in my book. This is the label that scooped up Wilco after they were dropped by their label and home to Bill Frisell, Brian Wilson, The Magnetic Fields and The Kronos Quartet. In fact it’s the only major label that I give any credence at all to.

Her next record for Electra Nonesuch is called Year of Meteors and is due out on August 23. It fits in nicely with the current trend in female singer songwriters like Polly Paulusma, Emiliana Torrinini and Audra Kubat. She’s added electronic and elctropop sounds to her poems as songs sound. I still need to listen more to fully grasp this record and that’s really the best compliment an artist can receive. Here’s three of the diverse songs you’ll find on Year Of The Meteors. Preorder now from Amazon.

Fire SnakesSpelunkingBlack Gold Blues [Download]

New West Records Get’s It – Free And Legal Exclusive Downloads For Bloggers from John Hiatt and Dwight Yoakum

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Chris from New West emailed me tonight with news that he got the powers that be to release exclusive mp3 for bloggers from the new releases by Dwight Yoakum and John Hiatt. I have already written pretty extensively about Dwight (here) and linked to two other songs from Blame The Vain but one more song can’t hurt.

John Hiatt is someone who hasn’t graced these virtual pages yet and it’s a darn shame. He’ll go down as one of the legendary music makers of the 20th century and he just keeps crankin’ em out. This time with pruducer Jim Dickinson and 2/3 of the band The North Mississippi Allstars (Jim’s sons Cody and Luther). The album is called Master of Disaster and the recent press is proclaiming it one of John’s best (love the cover art).

Thank New West by buying these here and here from amazon.

Just Passin Time by Dwight YoakumLove’s Not Where we Left It [Download]
by John Hiatt