When I would make mixtapes (or CDs), I’d try to fit as much music as I could on the tape or disc. Kurt Vile must have done the same thing. With Bottle It In, listeners get almost 80 minutes of music. That’s just-shy of 3x longer than the Ramones debut! There’s no shortage of classic Kurt here, as his lo-fi, Stephen Wright-like deadpan delivery is in fine form. To me, Kurt has left behind the ‘galloping tempo’ of his former group War On Drugs. Here, his reverbed, moody voice and banjo (his 1st instrument) take “Come Again” from sounding like it’s of the Mother Maybelle Carter catalog to “Oh, that’s Kurt Vile” territory. However, during one of the three 10-min-long songs (“Bassackwards”), I also hear studio tape tactics of the Beatles or early ELO. If you have a road trip to South Denver planned, this disc will take you door to door!
Southern Culture On The Skids (or SCOTS, as they are known to their fans) have been at it a very long time. SCOTS got their start in the heyday of DIY 7” and cassette recordings, forming in 1983. Since then, they have released 14 full-length albums. Their fifteenth is called Bootlegger’s Choice and it features 16 new recordings of the most requested songs from their out-of-print major label releases: Dirt Track Date (1995) and Plastic Seat Sweat (1997). Bootlegger’s Choice also includes a re-mastered edition of the original 1991 recording of “Camel Walk” from the Santo Sings EP. Let’s face it, SCOTS are not reinventing the wheel here, but it is nice to hear a 2018 take on old favorites like “Voodoo Cadillac” and “Fried Chicken and Gasoline.” Bootlegger’s Choice is not a must-have but it is a cool thing to have, especially if your collection is missing Dirt Track Date and Plastic Seat Sweat.
Carl Broemel is no stranger to the recording studio. The classically trained guitar player, who holds down the lead-guitar spot in My Morning Jacket, has three solo albums under his belt and has just released his fourth, Wished Out. Recorded in his home studio in Nashville, Broemel recruited friends Russ Pollard (Sebadoh), Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick) and MMJ bandmates Tom Blankenship and Bo Koster to round out his sound. The result is a melodic, eight-track delight that showcases Broemel’s guitar prowess and songwriting skill. From the rhythmic, guitar-driven opening track, “Dark Matter” to the melodic, eloquent “Malibu Shadow,” the disc seamlessly transitions from rockin’ to introspective. It’s a solid album that’s not too far out of the MMJ wheelhouse but different enough to set Carl Broemel apart and make people take notice.
Loretta Lynn has just released her 41st album: Wouldn’t It Be Great. The album features songs written by Lynn over the years which she has decided to re-work for a more contemporary feel. The title track is a perfect example of the direction Lynn wants to take these new versions. Originally released in the early 80’s, Lynn redid the song for the album she did in the 90’s with Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton. Each version of the song begins the same way before breaking free and developing its own personality. Lynn obviously keeps finding inspiration from the song and wants to share those feelings with us all. The album is produced by her daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and John Carter Cash, offspring of two of the biggest luminaries in country music. As a result, the album has a very familial feel to it. It’s like sitting around the parlor singing with your kin – something we could all benefit from these days.