(Editors Note: Well, it’s almost time for SXSW and for once I’m going. So, over the next two or three weeks I’ll be previewing the shows I hope to see. This list will be unlike anyone else’s, which is one of the cool things about SXSW.)
If you love the Mountain Goats, think Jeff Tweedy is godlike, and kill for Richmond Fontaine then you’ve got to hear The Strugglers (here, here). B.R. Bickford and friends make up The Strugglers. The new album features violin from Daniel Hart and contributions from multi-instrumentalist Alex Lazara. The Latest Rights is out March 18 on Acuarela and The Strugglers will be playing SXSW at the Acuarela showcase at the Habana Canne Annex on March 14.
“Morningside Heights” has all of the elements of earlier recordings by The Strugglers, but this may be their best work to date. The use of the violin is perfect, Bickford’s vocals are rich and front and center in the mix and the lyrics are dripping with emotion and compelling imagery (“you moved to the city with the oldest daughter of a Western director”).