Archive for the ‘Rosanne Cash’ Tag

Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots and Singer-Songwriter Albums of the Year 2018   1 comment

*the ones that weren’t bluegrass, blues, or ‘old stuff’ like compilations, reissues, and archival releases

This is the second run at my list. The first is lost somewhere on my hard drive, obliterated by the Blue Screen of Death. Reassembling the list wasn’t terribly difficult (although I did decide to cut back from thirty to twenty titles), but I do know some of the placings changed, which is natural: once past the ‘top five,’ albums could flip-and-flop a position or three all down the list. What was more difficult was recalling all my brilliance of opinion- so, that is lacking. Still, this is how I’m feeling today, and I think I am comfortable with this being representative of my Roots Music Opinion for 2018.  As always, these are my favourite albums of the year; it is not a ‘best of’…although, really it is!

  1. Mike Plume Band Born By The Radio– It took twenty-five years, but Mike Plume has emerged as the next great Canadian songwriter, a man who comfortably stands shoulder-to-shoulder with those who influenced him. It has been a long ride, filled with songs memorable and albums impactful, but full realization is achieved with Born By The Radio. The songs are comprised of images universal and personal. “Waste a Kiss on Me,” on which he again squeezes in Kerouac, “Mama’s Rolling Stone,” “Monroe’s Mandolin,” and “Western Wind” are as strong songs as Plume has created, and the instrumentation and energy from the MPB is the stuff of legend. An album without waver. One of two Steve Coffey album covers on the list! (purchased download) 
  2. Pharis & Jason Romero Sweet Old Religion– A pair of Canadian Folk Music Awards last month further embellished the repute of this  focused British Columbia duo, and well-deserved they were of the recognition. Pharis’ voice is a wonder, Jason is no slouch, and together their old-timey harmonies and instrumentation are things of wonder, while their songs are contemporary slices of the world past and present. A beautiful album replete with memorable performances. (serviced CD) 

3. John Wort Hannam Acres of Elbow Room– Alberta’s venerable folk songwriter went even deeper on his seventh album, sharing with listeners his innermost tribulations. Recent years appear to have (almost) got the best of Hannam, and he has poured his darkness and challenges into an expertly-crafted collection of songs that are inspiring and impactful while being just plain enjoyable. “Key of D Minor,” “The Quiet Life,” and “Ain’t Enough” are among the finest songs he has written and recorded, and the title track is a wonder: “where the dotted-lines turn to gravel” may become Fervor Coulee’s new tagline. John has long been a Fervor Coulee favourite, and that his album comes in #3 is testament to the strength of the Plume and Romero albums. (purchased download)


The new Word Press settings and features are turning what should be a twenty-minute copy and paste, insert the links, and publish activity into an hour of misery and wonky formats. Bear with me- I will try to fix upon publishing via editing. Sigh. 

4. Gretchen Peters Dancing With the Beast Reviewed here (serviced CD)

5. Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters Ashleigh Flynn & the Riveters Reviewed here (serviced CD)

6. Hadley McCall Thackston Hadley McCall Thackston Reviewed here (serviced CD)

7. Rosanne Cash She Remembers Everything From first listen, and as she has since Seven Year Ache and Somewhere In The Stars hit the turntable at Climax Records 35 years ago, Cash drew me into her current state of mind. As she has long done, Cash is reflecting on current circumstances- politics, division, gender inequality, complexity of relationships- encouraging engagement at higher levels while ensuring her songs are listenable, intriguing, and nuanced. Beautiful, as ever. That she can address weighty topics without sounding didactic is a bonus. (purchased CD and vinyl) 

8. Craig Moreau- A Different Kind of Train Reviewed here (serviced CD)

9. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore Downey to Lubbock– Albums like this are the reason I continue to listen to music with a passion that has only increased over forty+ years. Two Americana masters come together to create an album standing with everything they’ve produced across lengthy careers. Hearing Alvin sing John Stewart’s “July, You’re A Woman” gets Downey to Lubbck a place in the top thirty: the two originals (including the autobiographical, mood-establishing title track- “I’m an old Flatlander,” Gilmore sings) and the expertly executed covers sneak it into top ten territory. (purchased download) 

10. Mary Gauthier Rifles and Rosary Beads– An early favourite this year, the album dropped in regard simply because I lost the disc in June: sometimes I really regret my propensity toward clutter. Had I had it all year, Rifles and Rosary Beads may well have rated higher on this list. Still, I bought the vinyl last week and I was immediately reminded of the recording’s intensity. Gauthier and her songwriting collaborators have delved as deep into the experiences of America’s military service men and women (and their families) as likely anyone has before done. The effect is lasting, with lyrical detail capturing the full-impact of service experiences shared in songs far-reaching and memorable. Mary Gauthier has been quietly building her career and artistic vision for twenty years- it is terrific to see her ‘break-through’ (again!) in 2018. (purchased download; purchased vinyl)

11. Florent Vollant Mishta Meshkenu Long one of Canada’s finest and most influential roots musician, Vollant has been making time-stopping music since Kashtin’s first album. As far as I have heard, he never falters; Mishta Meshkenu is as anticipated- rhythmic, energetic, and memorable. I don’t need to know what he is singing about to appreciate this album. (purchased download)

12. Roscoe & Etta Roscoe & Etta– Maia Sharp and Anna Schulze are about as rock ‘n’ roll as this list is going to get. I ignored this album when it arrived- to be fair, it came without cover art or notes, a simple advance disc housed in a clear plastic sleeve. Once I listened, I was won over. Rewriting “You Oughta Know” as “Stupid Pretty Face” was fair brilliant, but the strength of the album is found across the entirety of eleven songs. “Play On” and “Broken Headlights” are among the strongest songs heard this year. Roscoe & Etta is a terrific album. (serviced CD)

13. John Prine The Tree of Forgiveness– A master who refuses to compromise. The Tree of Forgiveness is a concise album, all the more powerful for its intensity. Little lightness here, Prine is on a mission to expose his human condition. (purchased CD)

14. Kaia Kater- Grenades– Where our favourite female, biracial, Canadian, old-timey clawhammer banjo player reaches way out to grasp the flowers at the end of the branches. Kaia explores her heritage and family throughout Grenades, creating an album singularly engaging and insightful. More mainstream, even pop-oriented, than previous Kater albums, Grenades is a natural progression. (serviced download)

15. Ashley McBryde Girl Going NowhereYeah, there is no room for music this good on country radio. (That clip brings this cynical and grizzled old man to tears. Seriously- the emotion!) No filler, these eleven songs alternately create moods and describe experiences that everyone can relate with, for good or bad. This is what country music needs to once again become. Fingers crossed; breath not held. (purchased download)

16. Eliza Gilkyson SeculariaReviewed here (serviced download)

17. The Gibson Brothers Mockingbird– A significant departure for the perennial bluegrass powerhouse, but not a jarring one. The lead and harmony vocal signatures remain, and that they’ve broadened their approach for this album isn’t something anyone within the paranoid, protectionist bluegrass collective should fear. As always, excellent songs. (purchased download)

18. Pistol Annies- Interstate Gospel– A little bit irreverent (The album kicks off with, “Jesus is the bread of life without him, you’re toast”) and a whole lot brilliant (“I Got My Name Changed Back,” “5 Acres of Turnips,” “When I Was His Wife,” and “Masterpiece,” being but four) their third album is somehow even better than those which came before. The trio of dixie chicks- Lambert, Monroe, and Presley- mine fifty-plus years of songwriting history to craft a set of original, self-written songs that is smart, sassy, and certainly superior to that clogging country music airwaves.  (purchased CD)

19. Leslie Satcher & the Electric Honey Badgers 2 Days in Muscle Shoals– While previous albums were enjoyable but uneven, everything comes together for Satcher on 2 Days in Muscle Shoals. A venerable rockin’ southern country masterpiece that dares you to not dance. (purchased download)

20. Joe Nolan Cry Baby A moody, soulful album of finely-tuned roots music. Last time I heard Nolan, he was busking at a farmers’ market. While good practice to test-run his songs, I hope Cry Baby takes him further down his hillbilly highway. (serviced download)

Honourable mentions: D. B. Rielly Live From Chester (#21, and bumped by the late arrival of the Pistol Annies) reviewed here, Vivian Leva Time Is Everything (reviewed here), Steve Forbert The Magic Tree, Mandy Barnett Strange Conversation, J. P. Harris Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing (reviewed here), Edward David Anderson Chasing Butterflies (reviewed here), Kevin Gordon Tilt and Shine, Amos Lee My New Moon, Tim Easton Paco & the Melodic Polaroids, Mark Erelli Mixtape, Mariel Buckley Driving in the Dark, The LYNNes Heartbreak Song For the Radio (reviewed here)and Thomas Stajcer Will I Learn to Love Again? (reviewed here)

There you have it, my favourite singer-songwriter (-ish) albums if 2018. Hopefully my choices lead you in a direction you find satisfying; my list is likely different from others’ you’ve encountered. Later this month we will finalize my Top Ten albums of the year. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. 


Favourite Roots Albums of 2018, so far   2 comments

It’s July 1. The year is half over and during the past six months some terrific music has been released. While I have heard my share of the roots music that has come out, I haven’t heard it all. I do have my favourites and that is what I share today: Fervor Coulee’s Favourite Roots releases of 2018, so far. In no particular order…

GauthierMary Gauthier- Rifles & Rosary Beads An ambitious undertaking that has received its fair share of attention. Co-writing with American veterans and their families, Gauthier has created a piece of art greater than its parts. Of course, none of it would be as significant if the songs themselves were weak or if Gauthier faltered in their delivery. No worries. Gauthier’s indomitable performances bridge the gap between those of us who have never considered serving in the military, and those whose lives have inalterably changed because of their sacrifices. Key tracks: “Got Your Six” “The War After the War” “Brothers” (purchased download)

JohnnyCash-ForeverWordsVarious Artists- Johnny Cash Forever Words: The Music Excepting the typically overwrought Elvis Costello track (When he sang—prior to about 2000—there were few who had greater regard for him, but he lost me a long time ago—his voice is shot, he mistakes emoting for expression, and has completely lost the plot on what even sounds ‘good’) this collection provides an hour of entertainment and contemplation. Comprised of unrecorded Cash ‘songs’—lyrics, poems, or musings, depending—that were—for the most part—fleshed out by the various performers, one is transported into a series of ethereal collaborations that is very affecting. Again, like the Gauthier album, what matters is more than the process, it’s the music: this album enhances the Cash legacy, unlike some other more exploitive sets that have been released. Key tracks:    Alison Krauss & Union Station’s interpretation of Robert Lee Castleman’s “The Captain’s Daughter” Rosanne Cash’s “The Walking Wounded” Carlene Carter’s “June’s Sundown” Jamey Johnson “Spirit Rider” (purchased CD)

GebtryBobbie Gentry- Live At The BBC A Record Store Day release, this 12-track compilation of cuts from 1968 and 1969 are simply a fan’s greatest attainable wish. Performances—excepting “Ode to Billie Joe”—unheard since their original broadcast (so, brand new to most of us) that add to Gentry’s legacy. Her voice is huskier on these numbers, the arrangements sparser, the mood slightly playful: the effect is  even greater intimacy that that expressed through the album versions of the songs. Key tracks: “Papa Won’t You Let Me Go To Town With You” “Recollection” “Nikki Hokey” in a medley with Robert Parker’s “Barefootin'” name-checking Long John Baldry. (purchased vinyl)

Motel MirrorsMotel Mirrors- In The Meantime The second collaboration between Amy LaVere and John Paul Keith is every bit as satisfying as their first, with the added bonus of having folded Will Sexton and Shawn Zorn into the mix to become a genuine band. Americana with a heavy dose of Memphis heart, this is a country-rock album that owes much to the music that influenced it. Key tracks: “Things I Learned” “Do With Me What You Want” “The Man Who Comes Around” (purchased download)

MarielMariel Buckley- Driving In The Dark I would have felt bad had I not been able to include an Alberta artist on this list, and Mariel Buckley doesn’t place out of any obligation. I wasn’t familiar with her until late last year, but she has quickly become a Fervor Coulee favourite. Produced by Leeroy Stagger, these ten songs contain lyrical and instrumental nuances that make them individually appealing and collectively stout. There isn’t much polish herein, just as it should be. I avoid using the word ‘authentic,’ but that is what works here. Straight-forward, modern country (think Kelly Willis) for those of us who live in the past. Key tracks: “Rose Coloured Frames” “Heart Is On Fire” “Pride” (purchased download)

David DavisDavid Davis & the Warrior River Boys- Didn’t He Ramble: The Songs of Charlie Poole A welcome return for one of bluegrass music’s most consistently satisfying bands with a traditional bent (serviced with CD). My full review here. 

DuffeyVarious Artists- Epilogue: A Tribute to John Duffey A bluegrass legend and innovator gets his due, more than two decades after his passing (Serviced with download). My full review here.

JoyannJoyann Parker- Hard To Love Soulful and blue (serviced with CD). My full review here.

dancing500Gretchen Peters- Dancing With the Beast Americana/folk doesn’t get better than this, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member’s ninth album of original material (purchased CD). My full review here.

HMT-Cover-862x785Hadley McCall Thackston- Hadley McCall Thackston A beautiful, stunning debut: like Venus, she emerges fully realized (serviced with CD). My full review here.

marewakefieldnomad_largeMare Wakefield & Nomad- Time to Fly There is so much good music, we can only hope that the best of it finds its way to us. Sometimes it is up to us to do the work. Search out this Nashville-based duo: they are worth it (serviced with CD). My full review here.

smds-album-cover-768x767Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar- Run To Me Southern Ontario’s soul revue gift to the world- lively, bright, and brassy (serviced with CD). My full review here.

DocWatson_LiveAtClub47_COVER-494x494Doc Watson Live at Club 47 There is no end to the live Doc Watson albums available, and some (Doc Watson On Stage, for one) are definitely more well-rounded than this set. However, this 1963 set recorded in Massachusetts is a welcome and indispensable addition for those of us who just can’t get enough of the deft, affable roots legend. Several of the songs contained here would remain staples of his live and recorded repertoire for the next five decades (“Little Sadie,” “Deep River Blues,” “Sittin’ On Top Of The World”) while others are less frequently encountered (“Little Margaret,” “Hop High Ladies The Cake’s All Dough,” and “Blue Smoke, for example.”) Watson’s connection to his audience would not waver throughout his career, and this early archival recording- coming in at almost 80 minutes- is riveting. (Purchased download)

 I limited myself to a  baker’s dozen albums. Look around Fervor Coulee- I have reviewed a lot of great roots music since January, and many wonderful albums just wouldn’t fit on this list: the latest from Peter Rowan, Sylvia, John Prine, Bob Rea, Sue Foley, The Lynnes, John Paul Keith, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Travelin’ McCourys…

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

Big Bend Killing: The Appalachian Ballad Tradition review   Leave a comment

Big Bend I had to take much of the past month away from writing, but I continued to listen to music. I can’t count the number of hours I spent listening to this amazing two-disc set. It is absolutely splendid, ideal for those of us who appreciate the old songs and the artists who keep them alive. My review has been posted at Country Standard Time. 

Rosanne Cash- Edmonton March 23, 2015   Leave a comment

Living a ninety minute drive away from Edmonton’s Winspear Centre, it is rare for my spouse and I to take in a concert in the city, rarer still for us to do so on a Monday night.

Rosanne Cash, a long-time mutual favourite—we’ve been listening for thirty years and first saw her and John Leventhal at the Calgary Folk Music Festival nineteen years ago—held court at Edmonton’s finest music hall, a show rescheduled from some six weeks previous due to Leventhal’s spinal surgery.

Without question, this was an amazing live experience.

Unexpectedly—and more the bad to me for not following things more closely—she and her very fine (if occasionally too loud- personal preference only- others seemed to love; I am more flat top than Strat) five piece band performed The River and The Thread in its entirety. While many artists have taken to this concept, normally it is an archival or anniversary experience (the ‘jump the shark’ moment perhaps being Bryan Adams’ 30th Anniversary Reckless tour!) and I don’t believe I have experienced something similar in-person.

The hour-long first set, featuring the album’s eleven base songs, was impeccable. From the first notes, the band sounded great, were definitely feeling it on this night. The sound was big and bold, but not overpowering (except on the extended guitar pieces which I didn’t appreciate.) Cash herself was in great voice, and engaged the audience from the get-go, binding the songs together with her personal narrative. A very strong album was elevated in this presentation.

Her deep appreciation for the southern United States, the good and the bad, the enlightened and the dark, is apparent throughout the album, but is so vividly tangible within the live setting. The southern soul vibe certainly came through. Her stories provided touchstones that most recognized whether in personal experience or from vicarious observation. That at one point she referenced the richness of the south that universally implied “makes us Americans,” or some such was entirely forgivable.

The second set was even better for entirely different reasons. Playing mostly familiar songs from her vast catalogue (“Seven Year Ache,” “Tennessee Flat Top Box” (one of the noisy songs, going from Elvis to The Beatles) and “Blue Moon With Heartache.” Four songs from The List, my least favourite Cash album, did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for the concert. Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On” was ballsy and bluesy, and “Long Black Veil” sounded fresh. Perhaps I judged the album too harshly a few years back and need to give it a fresh listen.

After referencing the Tallahatchie Bridge in her introduction to “Money Road” at the close of the first set,  I was intrigued when she prefaced the fourth song of this set with “We’re going to visit that bridge I mentioned earlier.” The band had left the stage at this point, and as Leventhal started some noodling, I was thinking that I must have missed a conversational aside about ‘another’ bridge during the first set, because there was absolutely no chance she would perform ‘that’ song.

But, the longer he played with the notes, I started to get shadows of Bobbie Gentry and Carroll County, and by the time Leventhal hit the initial, immediately recognisable note of “Ode to Billie Joe” it was all I could do to exhale a soft, thrilled, “No!”

It was magic. The entire hall was silent for the entire five minute reading of the classic song, and Cash sang her ass off—as she did the entire show. Had Bobbie Gentry walked on from stage right I couldn’t have been more pleased. I have never heard of Cash performing the song (again, bad on me for not paying attention) but it was the evening’s highlight for this listener. Stunning.

Makes me think a Bobbie Gentry tribute album should be put together by someone.

The second set seemed brief, but wasn’t, coming in at almost an hour. Nothing from Rules of Travel, Interiors, 10 Song Demo, Rhythm and Romance, The Wheel, Somewhere In the Stars, or Right or Wrong, and not all of that is unexpected when devoting such a large portion of the show to the latest album. Not complaining, just noting. A couple more country covers as the encore (a spirited “Heartaches By The Numbers” and beautifully restrained “500 Miles”) and the night came to a close.

An invigorating and dynamic performance from a veteran performer.

Posted 2015 March 23 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Rosanne Cash vs. Wreckless Eric   Leave a comment

Three or four months ago I first heard Rosanne Cash singing “Land of Dreams.” I was semi-thrilled to hear her voice cutting through an evening of desk work; pleasantly surprised, even. However, having now heard and seen the commercial no fewer than 500 times I must agree with my wife: I’ve heard it enough. While I’m not to the point of muting with anger, I’m getting close.

Tonight, while scanning the channels, I stopped myself dead when I head the unmistakable voice of  Wreckless Eric and the sounds of “Whole Wide World.” And I smiled and was happy watching a McDonalds commercial for the first time in memory. Pleased because I still love the song after all these years, and thrilled because someone whose music I’ve appreciated since grade ten is having a good payday: Take the K.A.S.H., as Eric Goulden might say.

I’m hoping I’m still thinking this way 499 replays from now.

Posted 2012 August 7 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Rosanne Cash- Seven Year Ache   Leave a comment

I watched part of the Ian Tyson DVD This is My Sky this afternoon, and it includes interview clips from this past summer’s Calgary Folk Music Festival- I sure wish they had included performance pieces from that day as Tyson was in fine form.

Part way through the bonus features disc, Tom Russell compliments Tyson by stating that modern country music is all ‘throwaway music’, a description that couldn’t be used with Tyson’s music. While a bit over-reaching, the comment resonated with me in light of this weekend’s list over at The 9513 about recordings that made folks fall in love with country music.

While the songs many folks mention in the comments are, to me, meaningless  (and IMO pretty much what Russell was describing as throwaway) what is obvious is that every person’s gateway into the world of country music is largely personal and what impacts one person doesn’t necessarily connect with another. Jessica Andrews, Lorrie Morgan and Kevin Sharp? As shudder inducing as they may be to me, to someone those artists, their albums and songs are just as significant has the one I’m going to ramble on a bit about today.

As I type I’m listening to that album, the one that I’m thinking was my first country music love- Rosanne Cash’s Seven Year Ache.

Family trips in the Buick LeSabre and later the Ford Cougar were accompanied by 8-Track recordings of studio musicians mimicking the hits of Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker.  As well there were a couple Johnny Cash recordings in the pile- I’m pretty sure one of them was The Rambler. I recall having a passing fascination with The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour when I was real young and CFCW was often playing in the house. But country music wasn’t really anything I would admit to enjoying.

I don’t recall listening to any country music while in high school, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get into George Jones until university. The first time I can recall listening to country music with any sustained attention was while working at Climax Records in Leduc. I remember that the store owner had a poster for Emmylou Harris’ live album Last Date in the back room, and I did listen to that album while working there.

Darkness on the Edge of Town had come out a few years earlier and besides being my introduction to Bruce Springsteen, it made me susceptible to the cinematic scope that I would eventually find in the best of country music.

The first country album I remember cracking was Seven Year Ache. Something about that album cover- the piercing eye contact she makes with the camera- was certainly an attraction. There was a beguiling mystery in that gaze that made me take notice. Still, I don’t think I would have played the album had I not known- maybe through searching in the big yellow Phonolog binder- that “What Kinda Girl?” was actually a cover of Steve Forbert’s “What Kinda Guy?”

None the less, Seven Year Ache was opened and listened to sometime in the late winter or early spring of 1983 and my world slowly shifted, sending me into the world of country music- to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Johnny Cash and George Jones. Heck, for a while there it led to Charly McClain, too.

I know the title track would eventually become one of my all-time favourite songs; heck, how could it not? But it was far from the only song that drew me in. “Blue Moon With a Heartache,” another Cash original, was such a lonely song, reminding me of the teen-ballads from the 50s and 60s that were part of my music education in the early to mid- 70s. The album’s lead track is the Keith Sykes song “Rainin’” and it is basically a rock & roll song barely disguised as country. Booker T.’s organ fills contribute to that feeling, as does the drumming laid out by LarrieLondin.

I recall the pulsing beat of “My Baby Thinks He’s A Train” being impressive; little did I know how much that owed to forty different Johnny Cash songs. The album’s closing track “I Can’t Resist” sent me over the edge because it reminded me so much of Rachel Sweet and her song “Tonight Ricky.”

I know my first favourite song on the album was definitely “What Kinda Girl?” Listening to the song now it seems pretty quaint, and I have a vague memory of her singing the song at the Calgary Folk Music Festival (accompanied by John Leventhal) in 1996, the same day she proclaimed- in writing- her ‘Love’ for me while signing my Seven Year Ache album cover. But, hearing her sing “I’m here for lovin’, but I ain’t no slut” in 1983 seemed pretty sharp and may have pivotal in adjusting the way I looked at country music.

If you haven’t listened to Seven Year Ache recently, I would encourage you to do so. To my ears it has aged well. Far from traditional, neither does it have the dated Billy Sherrill-type of arrangements that were so common on other Columbia and Epic releases of the day. Rodney Crowell’s production choices hold up; while there is no shortage of musicians on the album, the tracks never feel too crowded or over-produced. An incredible number of them are common to most fans of country music: Emory Gordy, Jr., Tony Brown, Glen D. Hardin, Albert Lee, Hank DeVito. Well-respected certainly even at the time, but how was I to know that? Emmylou Harris sings harmony on select songs and those songs may have been my introduction to her.

For a kid who was most comfortable with The Who at the time, Seven Year Ache was revelatory. While memory and time play tricks, I’m pretty sure it was the first country album I listened to with any sort of appreciation and it therefore led me onto this path of Americana, roots, folk, country, and bluegrass that now seem most natural to me. And it definitely isn’t throwaway country music.

 Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Feel free to comment on your gateway album? What led you to roots music? Donald

Posted 2011 February 13 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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I’m grumpy with Rosanne Cash tonight   1 comment

Actually, I’m grumpy about a few things this evening. Maybe I’ll share the other with you another night, but it has to do with bluegrass bookings.
The one I can and will share with you- whether you want it or not- is this. And I’m as mad at myself as I am at Rosanne and her people.
I’ve been hearing cuts from The List for weeks now, and nothing really impressed me too much. Pretty much music by the numbers. Which is disappointing for me, mostly because I’ve got a crush on Rosanne that is almost Emmylou-like; musically, I mean. She can flat sing, and I’ve loved most everything I’ve heard although I’ve never tripped across that first, Europe-only album.
But, as I buy everything Rosanne does, I knew I would pick it up the first chance I got. (BTW, went to the local HMV the other day looking for it; none on the shelf. Their computer said they had 15 in the store. After a five minute wait while the back was searched, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind coming back later in the week as it was in a box in the back and couldn’t be found right now. This was on Sunday after the Tuesday release. Guess who lost a sale? And the stores wonder why fewer and fewer are buying hard copies. But, I digress. I’m good at that…)
So I go to Wal-Mart on the way home from work the other day, completely forgetting I meant to check on iTunes for the album as I suspected there may be a bonus cut on the download, and I buy the album for $15.99.
As soon as I go home, I see the computer and have a V-8 moment. I pull up the album, and see that for $9.99 I could have downloaded the album and got a bonus track with Neko Case.
So, for $6.00 more, I get one song less. The packaging contains nothing that would be worth the extra three-toonies. No insights. Nothing memorable.
So, I’m grumpy.
(Not terribly impressed by the song selection either, even having known prior to buying what was on the album. The chosen songs are pretty lame- not necessarily the performances themselves- and of the waaaaaay overdone variety on the whole. I would have thought John would have been a bit more adventurous when recommending songs to his daughter. Or, maybe, the blame- if such is appropriate- belongs to JL and RC and they just chose the lame songs.
Okay, lame is the wrong word I realize. But, is there anyone who in the year 2009 will feel their world shift hearing Rosanne sing “Miss the Mississippi and You?” Or “I’m Movin’ On” or “Sea of Heartbreak?” “Long Black Veil?” “She’s Got You” or “Girl from the North Country?” How about something- anything- that wasn’t a top ten hit? (Well, I guess that would be “GftNC” but why let facts get in the way of a rant!)
The definitive cover of “Silver Wings” has been done. Ditto “Heartaches by the Numbers”. The only song that I was excited to see listed was “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow” and that is because of the thread that runs through that song back to the Carter Family.
I have no doubt of Rosanne’s sincerity in recording these songs. But 36 years after her father created the list for her, nothing about these selected songs appears inspired. Few of these songs would have been fresh while Rosanne rode the tour bus with her dad, but now- and with dozens of cover projects and one-off covers between them- the choices she has made seem lazy. And I realize she is working with a list put together that many years ago. We’ll need to wait for a second volume to understand the complexities of Johnny’s chosen 100 songs, but the 12 selections here don’t give me much hope. Too safe, by half.
But, I’m really mad because, once again, the recording industry got extra money out of me for giving me less than I deserve as a consumer. Am I any less worthy of hearing Rosanne and Neko sing “Satisfied Mind” as those who download the album for ten bucks? Where is the logic in that? And don’t even get me started on the Barnes and Noble exclusive version with yet another song on it- there are no B&Ns in Canada, as far as I know.
How about a Fervor Coulee edition of the album with a Bill Monroe song on it, just for me?
Okay. I’m done. I don’t feel better.
Anyone else frustrated by anything tonight?? (Sorry about the crowded condition of the last few paragraphs- I’ve attempted to edit to leave breaks four times, but they aren’t taking.)

Posted 2009 October 14 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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