The Two Best Songs of 2015

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Tangled, by Brent Best, formerly of Slobberbone.  From the fantastic Your Dog, Champ.

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And The Bird Hunters, from the Turnpike Troubadours’ self titled record.

Those of us who grew up out in the country, bird hunting with our dads, uncles and friends, behind legendary Pointers who now occupy dusty frames on our favorite walls will have a hard time not getting a little misty-eyed over the old bird dog named Jim and the Belgium-made Browning, like those many of us inherited from people we idolized.

New Steve Forbert Record

Everybody has songs that serve as the soundtrack to parts of their lives.  I’ve got a lot and one of them is Steve Forbert’s Romeo’s Tune from 1979.  That song will forever remind me of my sophomore year of college, including a road trip to Orlando for the 1979 Tangerine Bowl.

“Bring me southern kisses from your room.”  Yep.

I’ve heard most of his records and seen him live a time or two.  So it’s always news when Steve does another record.  He’s about to release his 16th studio album, Compromised, on November 6, 2015.  Recorded in Woodstock and Cape Cod, it was produced by Forbert along with John Simon, who produced Jackrabbit Slim, the excellent 1979 record that included Romeo’s Tune.

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I received a review copy of the title track, and it’s pure Forbert.  An excellent song that sounds a bit like a look backwards at the ups and downs we’ve all had in the decades since 1979.

Compromised collaborators include bassist Joey Spampinato (NRBQ), drummer Lou Cataldo (The Freeze), pianist/trumpeter Kami Lyle, and keyboardist Robbie Kondor, the latter of whom played on Forbert’s classic 1978 debut, Alive on Arrival.  “I recorded with the band that did the Arrival and Jackrabbit anniversary tours with me in 2013 and 2014,” Forbert says, “where we played those albums in their entireties.  It just seemed natural to say, ‘Okay, we’re going to rehearse for this tour — but let’s record an album together, too.’   And it was great reconnecting with John Simon again after all this time.”

Look for a full review as soon as I get my hands on a complete copy.

GoodSongs: Well Worn Soles

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I get a lot of music to (hopefully) review.  Most of it is good.  Some of it is great. Every now and then a record matches up perfectly with my musical DNA.  Like the one I received recently from Well Worn Soles.  This record is wonderful from the first listen.  It sounds like what I want to hear when sitting on the porch at the farm.  It sounds like music I’d love to hear live.  It sounds like life.  Real, authentic, natural.  When I read their bio, I began to understand why .

They met while enrolled in the bluegrass program at East Tennessee State University and quickly recognized that there was something special about the two of them together.

Yes, there is.  Emerson Wells-Barrett and Chelsea Dix-Kessler make some amazing music.  I could share just about any of the 11 songs on their forthcoming record, “Country/Folk by Well Worn Soles,” which is scheduled for release on August 4, 2015, and you’d love it.  But when someone writes and sings “We were something, me and you.  Two happy spiders, all tangled up in our web,” well, that’s the one I have to pick.

Big Red Fire – Well Worn Soles

There’s a lot more to love on this record.  Chelsea plays a beautiful fiddle and Emerson plays a mean mandolin, among other instruments.  There’s traditional country, there’s bluegrass arrangements, there’s honky-tonk, and there’s even the right amount of humor (humor on a record is like whiskey; a little is good, too much makes my head hurt).  They remind me of so many of my favorite bands.  Freakwater, The Be Good Tanyas, The Everybodyfields (the benchmark for Tennessee duos), etc.

When this record comes out, buy it, stream it, heck, steal it if you have to (not really).  If you like well written, well-played rural American music, you’ll love this record.

I do, and I do.

Keep up with Well Worn Soles via their website, Facebook, and Instagram.