Friday, June 19, 2009

Thank Folk It's Friday (Vol. 2)

So last week was the girls' turn, this week the boys take over. That means things get a little more raucous, but it's okay, because everything is still folk, at least by the broad standards being employed here.

I'm going to have to be quick about putting this one together, or it's not going to happen today. There's just no alliteration in Thank Folk It's Saturday, so that won't do.

Johnny Flynn (and the Sussex Wit) - Tickle Me Pink (A Larum, 2008)

We start with a nice slice of English folk by what we're going to call the Sussex Wit, even if only Johnny Flynn's name appears on the front cover of the album. He was once just another member of the band, before somehow 'going solo' with the same crew.

Jeffrey Lewis - The East River (The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane and Other Favorites, 2003)

We're still nailing down the precise definition of anti-folk, but Mr Lewis would seem to do if you wanted to just slot one of his tracks into your audio-dictionary. Raised on comic books and blues music, Lewis is now a comic book artist in his own right, and you might be most familiar with his work in the form of the Moldy Peaches album cover. But don't overlook his music, equal parts quirky and dark, and always catchy.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Buriedfed (Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, 2009)

MBAR is a serious contender for album of the year in my book. A battered and bruised yet still largely beautiful record, MBAR's debut announces a major songwriting talent. This is not the best song on here, but I'm saving some of the others for future posts. Yes, you will hear plenty more of MBAR.

City and Colour - The Death of Me (Bring Me Your Love, 2007)

You never expect to pick up too many new music tips in HMV, but credit where credit is due, this was a staff recommendation, and I've never regretted following it. Canadian hardcore rocker Dallas Green found his mellow side under this moniker and now has two albums out as City and Colour. This is the opening track from the second of those.

Scott Miller - The Rain (Are You With Me? 2000)

Former V-Roys songwriter Scott Miller now has four albums out with his band, The Commonwealth, but for my money, he's still never done a studio version of his best bit of songwriting, which would be this. Found on his early live album, Are You With Me?, The Rain fits into a bout of a civil war obsession Miller showed on his debut, Thus Always To Tyrants.

Hayes Carll - A Drunken Poet's Dream (Trouble In Mind, 2008)

As a Texas singer-songwriter, Carll is most obviously walking in the footsteps of Townes van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark, but he also owes a lot to the rootsy Americana of The Band. As such, I've picked out the opening track from Trouble In Mind, which more than a little borrows from The Band's 'Up On Cripple Creek', and the drunkard's dream contained within.

Ryan Bingham - Southside of Heaven (Mescalito, 2007)

While we're down in Texas, we'll stop in on another emerging songwriter, this time even more in the Steve Earle camp than Mr Carll. Although he was 26 when it was released, Rolling Stone described Bingham's voice on his debut Mescalito as sounding like "Steve Earle's Dad". It's hard to argue.

William Elliott Whitmore - Hell or High Water (Animals In The Dark, 2008)

The further this list goes on, the more I'm twisting the definitions of folk to get plenty of Americana and alt-country on here, but what of it? Whitmore's rootsy blues are like little else being produced right now, as he manages to sound both weathered and fresh at the same time.

Dent May - Meet Me In The Garden (The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukelele, 2009)

May looks like the guy you might imagine Napoleon Dynamite grows into in later life. But put his slightly ridiculous appearance to one side and enjoy the sound, entirely his own, that he's cooked up.

Elvis Perkins - While You Were Sleeping (Ash Wednesday, 2006)

Perkins seems to have suffered a largely tragic upbringing, first losing dad Anthony Perkins to AIDS-related illness while a teenager and then mum Berry Berenson in the 9/11 attacks on New York City. Some of that pain comes burning through on Ash Wednesday, and yet it's a surprisingly uplifting experience to spend an hour in his company.

Which brings to a close this week's collection. There's still a need for some old-school folk, as well as for some bands rather than solo artists. All will follow in due course. Enjoy your weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Some great song picks. Love Miles, Johnny and Jeff, will have to check out the rest at some point.