Considering that the year is 2006 and not 1959, I feel like I’ve been inundated with honky- tonk country of late. One of the people partially to blame is Jim Lauderdale. Jim’s pulling a Guns and Roses type thing by releasing two albums simultaneously. Also I finally caught up with the band South Austin Jug Band and also received Mike Stinson’s Boronda Records disc Last Fool At The Bar as well as being given permission to write about (and link to an mp3) from Signature Sound’s band Crooked Still.
First up is Mike Stinson. I was introduced to his music by the producer and label honcho over at Boronda after my write-up of Tracy Huffman. Mike has been called “the uncrowned king of the L.A. Neo-Honky Tonkers” and also been recognized by Dwight Yoakum and Billy Bob Thornton (both have covered his songs). Here’s the title track “Last Fool At The Bar”.
Next up in this little honky tonk roundup is Jim Lauderdale. Jim’s got the gall to release two separate records on September 19 on Yep Roc. The big country two stepper is called Country Super Hits Vol 1 (the other is simply titled Bluegrass). Since this is a post on the more electric, beer drinking, bar hopping and whisky soaked country I’ll focus on Super Hits for now. You can preorder both his new records from the Yep Rock home page here.
Finally and a little belatedly is South Austin Jug Band. This Austin band’s name is a misnomer in fact as they are far from a traditional jug band. From the looks (and of course the sound) of the band they’re out to mix a little of the jam scene with the acoustic country and bluegrass of say Hot Club of Cowtown. Their most recent record Dark and Weary World came out in 2005 but they caused a stir at this years SXSW so I knew I wanted to share them with you.
Crooked Still is a young band playing traditional mountain music. This is not the country music of Nashville but instead the music that sprung up in the hundreds of coal towns that were created in the Appalachian region in the early 1900′s. This music is like the blues in that it celebrates the bleakness of life through it’s lyrics but musically is a joyous combination of folk, gospel and bluegrass. Crooked Still’s new record, Shaken By A Low Sound, is out now on Signature Sounds and can be purchased here.