Posts Tagged ‘dan baird’

7379552.jpegUp on the stage, it’s as hot as Hades. Homemade Sin are working hard – and sweating buckets. ‘Can we turn on the Night Ranger?’ asks Dan Baird, referring to the big fan in the corner that if turned on will give the band the big hair look of Jack Blades & co. “I’ll end up with Bon Jovi hair”, chuckles Warner Hodges. The band are in a good mood and the crowd are into it. The temperature is cooled, but its gonna take more than an exhaust fan to cool rock ‘n’ roll this hot. Welcome to the world of Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll.

Having lived in the Balmain area in the late 1980s, I’d seen some good gigs in a number of pubs in this area- but tonight’s show trumps ‘em all. From the Gladesville Tavern to the now derelict eye-sore that is Balmain Leagues and of course, the Bridge Hotel, which over a period of years now has become of bit of a torch bearer for real rock ‘n’ roll. Arriving at the venue in time to catch Sydney up and comers, Release The Hounds, there are a hard-core of fans in tow to eat up their brand of blue collared/no frills rock n roll.  Reference points are AC/DC & Rose Tattoo, and with a set of catchy, original hard rocking tunes, these guys are on the rise and one band to look out for.

1493042895231By the time Dan Baird & Homemade Sin hit the stage at 9.45 pm, the room has filled with a moderate but enthusiastic crowd keen to witness a couple of hours of unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll.  Let’s also call it real rock n roll for unreal times. I’m at the bar charging my glass when Dan launches into the first chords of ‘Licka Sense’. I make my way to the front of the stage and position myself bang smack in front of the great Warner E Hodges. I never get tired of watching this cat play guitar, he is just so good, a showman and entertainer to boot. Speaking of boots – I notice he is wearing his distinct green cowboy boots and spurs. Like I’ve said on previous occasions, Hodges is cooler than Fonzie.

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin have been working with a set list for a month and a half- yet tonight, no set list. Dan is selecting the songs as he goes. It’s gonna be a fun night! There is an enthusiastic crowd response and the band feed off it. These guys consistently deliver the goods show after show – and set a high benchmark for themselves to deliver the best show they can. Tonight is no exception. Go search for any of their performances on youtube – you won’t find any dud performances their friends. Top shelf. Always.

From a 110 minute set there’s many highpoints – with a mix of new songs and old given an airing. Aside from ‘Licka Sense’, there are a bunch of tunes performed from the new album, ‘Rollercoaster’, and all sound hot. There’s ‘Love Gone Wong’, a rollicking ‘Shake It Til Its Sore’, the big hitting swagger of ‘Knocked Out Cold’, and the Zeppelinesque/Bad Company cross that is ‘Can You Hear Me Now’. Hodges is let loose on this one and is a joy to behold – and hear. What a tune. Shredding with feel – like no one else on the planet.

1493040499496.jpegThere is an absolute ball busting take of the epic ‘Crooked Smile’, from 2008’s debut ‘Homemade Sin’ album. This song is an out-and-out monster and reminds me of Neil Young jamming with Crazy Horse in the early 70s.  The song belongs to Warner Hodges – and is quite possibly the best 10 minutes of rock n roll that you are ever likely to see. In this brief period he finesses, shreds, bends, motors, taps and still finds time to throw his Les Paul over his shoulder! If you want to know why Hodges is so good – go watch this on youtube.  The rapturous response from the crowd tells me what I already knew – they got to see something just that little bit special. Why don’t more people know this song ? Go listen. It’s beyond superlatives.

‘Two For Tuesday’ is another highlight – oozing Fogertyisms and complete with a few bars of ‘Proud Mary’ thrown in for legitimacy. This tune has hit single all over it and like many things Baird has penned, is a melodic sing along, catchy and memorable.

1493042899515.jpegKeeping in mind that the band are without a set list, Hodges shows genuine delight when Dan launches into the first chords of ‘On My Way’, a deep cut off the superb Buffalo Nickel album. A technical issue sees him fixing his guitar rig mid song, yet the band never drop a note. An AC/DC devotee, Hodges tells the audience how Angus Young turned up at a Scorchers gig during their 1988 Australian tour and presented Warner with a wireless unit – which could have come in handy tonight!  The band then launch into ‘Julie & Lucky’ and ‘I Love You Period’, both from 1992’s ‘Love Songs’ LP, the latter charting in Australia. Not to be outdone by Hodges, drummer Mauro Magellan performs running repairs on his hi-hat mid song – without missing a beat! The guys a pro – a monster drummer, and quite the artist too.

‘Movin’ Right Along’, another should have been classic from the ‘Get Loud’ album sounds 1493040504449.jpeggreat to my ears and gets the girls up and grooving. As does ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’, a song no doubt many punters came to hear, and who instead left hearing a truckload of other lesser known Baird classics as well. ‘Hands’ climbed all the way to Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100, and was denied the top spot by Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’. Turn that  Night Ranger fan up to full!

The Satellites material sounds timeless – testament to the song writing. Its great to hear ‘Mon Cherie’ and ‘Hard Luck Boy’, both rippin’ tunes with Micke Nilsson thumping hard on bass and laying down the groove. He’s a bad-ass bass player, who continues to hold his own amongst his more illustrious and seasoned band mates.

Dan dedicates ‘Sheila’, to an old bandmate, Ginny Whittaker whom he played with in The Rabbits back in 1980. Only a couple days before, in an interview with The Australian Rock Show, Dan talked about aging and death, and how every day you open Facebook to hear of a notable passing. The moment is not lost on me.

The ultimate tribute/commentary to Carny folk, ‘Fairground People’ scores two thumbs up, before a punishing version of ‘Railroad Steel’ ends proceedings. What a killer set. For those that were there, this was 110 minutes of the best rock n roll you are ever likely to see. For those that weren’t, be sure to see the band on tour soon. The best rock n roll band in the world – without a shadow of a doubt – Dan Baird & Homemade Sin.

Listen to an interview with Dan Baird on The Australian Rock Show from April 2017 here

Read Cowboy Col’s review of ‘Rollercoaster’, the 2017 album of the year.

Read why Cowboy Col considers Dan Baird & Homemade Sin to be the best band in the world.

all images (c) Colin Gray/Cowboy Col.

1493040478245

rollercoasterWell, I’m gonna go out on a limb here – but I’m confident. We are only a quarter into the year – and already, the albums of the year have arrived. Makes little difference what comes out in the next 8 months, I’m here to tell you that nothing released this year will surpass the two new albums from Georgia’s finest – the great Dan Baird. For Dan Baird fans – Christmas has indeed come early. He has released not one – but TWO new albums, and both are exceptional.

Baird has released many albums since the Satellites demise, commencing with his first album in 1992, ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. ‘Buffalo Nickel’ was good, (LOVE ‘Cumberland River’), as was ‘Out Of Mothballs’, and the material he released with Yayhoos is also exceptional, yet the albums he has released with Homemade Sin have taken him to a whole new level. Baird has collaborated with some fantastic guitar players throughout his career, including Eric Ambel and Rick Richards of course – who formed a formidable musical partnership with Baird and created a legacy that stands on its own merits. Over the last few years though, Baird’s right hand man has been Warner Hodges – and Hodges has been one of the key ingredients to Baird’s continued resurgence up the rock ladder. Hodges is rock solid – and has amazing tone and finesse – yet is also a great singer and song writer in his own rite (check out his couple of recent solo albums for further evidence of this). Hodges has added that ‘certain something’ to Baird’s sound, and from a slew of great albums, the last two Homemade Sin albums have both surpassed each other as Baird’s best. I didn’t think he could better 2013’s ‘Circus Life’, or ‘2015’s Get Loud, but I’m here to tell you – ‘Rollercoaster’ trumps ‘em both.

Rollercoaster is consistently strong – top to bottom. Right from the opening track ‘Shake It Till Its Sore’, pretty much the Homemade Sin creed of making great rock ‘n’ roll for people to dance to – you know you are in for a helluva ride. Dig the lyrics, “Smack the drums, hit the big A chord, pedal to the metal gonna shake it till its sore”. What is evident to me is that on both ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘SoLow’ Baird opens up his memory bank and lyrically, there are many tunes penned about his formative years and his youth growing up in Georgia. Songs such as ‘Licka Sense’, about taking his Dad’s Harley and how his Dad was not an enthusiastic supporter of young Dan’s chosen career path in rock ‘n’ roll. The imagery he creates in ‘Roll On Chattahoochee’ is another  – “Big river is where I’m from” he sings, with lyrics recalling past days of about running through the Georgia Pine, his first El Camino, swimming holes and the summer sun.  There’s been others who have written about the Big River, including Alan Jackson and I think Drivin ‘N’ Cryin also wrote about it, yet none are as lyrically evocative as this. Midnight ramble indeed. This is how John Fogerty used to write ‘em. There’s lotsa great rockers included too – ‘Let It Shine’, ‘It’s Alright’, and Hodge’s soloing on ‘Can You Hear Me Now’ oozes Rossington/Collins. There’s 13 tunes on ‘Rollercoaster’ and as I said at the outset – no filler in sight.  If I’m pressed though, ‘Lay It Down’ is the album’s personal pick for me. I love those lyrics. “I’m just a second hand novel with the last page missing, “I got Aces and 8’s that’s a dead man’s hand.” It’s a like a theme song to an old Henry Fonda western, and as anyone knows, Cowboy Col is a sucker for a good Western. Bring on the visuals! Great tune, rippin and rockin’ chorus.  I have to make special mention of the heart wrenching “Do My Worst”, a truly beautiful song layered with much emotive feel and playing. If you think Baird can only write ‘runka runka 3 chord’ shtick – you are wrong wrong wrong. He is capable of writing truly evocative songs/ballads, that can send shivers down your spine. As song writer and lyricist, he is way underrated – not by those in the know though. ‘Rollercoaster’ scores a big 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col.

DB.SoLow-CD-cover‘SoLow’ is a solo album proper – sans Homemade Sin.  Much of the material on ‘SoLow’ is co-written with Joe Blanton, who also plays with Baird and Hodges in the highly recommended Nashville outfit – The Bluefields, one of Music City’s finest. Blanton used to be in a terrific band called Royal Court Of China. Add them to your homework list and go search them out too while you’re at it. David Newbould, who has contributed songs to the last couple of Homemade Sin albums also co-writes some tunes on ‘SoLow’. He has a band called The Stowaways worth checking out. The songs on SoLow are a little more organic, more country, but not in an obvious way, yet there’s some subtle differences to this and a Homemade Sin record. The opener Cemetery Train is a great song, super catchy, big chorus, memorable lyrics. A Baird/Blanton classic. Blanton should be in the major leagues, he is such a great song writer and has real predilection of melody. “Look Away” is an absolute monster. There is so much swagger and soul on the playing you’d think the Allman’s were on board. Superb. Aside from ‘Cemetery Train’, ‘Showtime’ is the obvious single. Likeable and catchy, good time rock ‘n’ roll. ‘Say Goodbye’ is another instant classic that is laden with feel, a sing-along chorus, sweet harmony’s and is beyond catchy. Melodic riff and great vocal to boot. You will be singing the chorus ‘Tell Me Why’ over and over. The more laid back, ‘She’s With Me’ comes up trumps, as does ‘Lay It On Me’. The plaintive “Gotta Get A Move On” is a pleasant surprise. Acoustic, stripped back, highlighted by some nice banjo and instrumentation. Two thumbs up from Fonzie and another 10 out 10 from Cowboy Col.

Dan Baird is the real deal. Forget whoever else it is that the social media conglomerates tell you is rock ‘n’ roll. Take my word for it when I tell you that Dan Baird rock ‘n’ roll is the best there is, and with ‘SoLow’ and ‘Rollercoaster’ – he has arguably, made the two best albums of his career.

See Dan Baird and Homemade Sin on tour in Australia in APRIL/MAY. Check out http://www.danbairdandhomemadesin.net for more details and ticket information.

  • Apr 13 The Corner Hotel Richmond, Australia  
  • Apr 14 Cherry Bar Melbourne, Australia  
  • Apr 15 Baha Rye, Australia  
  • Apr 16 Boogie Fest Tallarook, Australia  
  • Apr 18 Basement Sydney, Australia  
  • Apr 19 Lizottes Bar  Lambton, Australia  
  • Apr 22 Bridge Hotel Rozelle, Australia  
  • Apr 28 Triffid Brisbane, Australia  
  • Apr 29 Parkwood Tavern Ashmore, Australia  
  • May 02 The Gov Adelaide, Australia  
  • May 05 The Charles Hotel North Perth, Australia

b225c83a-ebcd-42e5-80f8-3148f8aad0de.jpgThe answer to this question is – arguably, yes – yet I need to qualify the response. If you ask a dozen people the same question, you will no doubt end up with twelve different answers – for the word ‘best’ is of course subjective. Yet in order to be somewhat objective – lets ensure that the ‘best’ band has to be contemporary. It’s meaningless to throw out names like Oasis or Zeppelin or U2, Skynyrd, the Black Crowes or whoever. As the timeline shows – at various point in history – these and many many others had their hands on that title – but in 2017, no.  And before some blinkered KI$$ fan emails me with their fist in the air telling me that the redundant caped clowns are the best – don’t even bother. If it was 1977 – maybe so, but they are nothing more than a cash register on wheels who offer zero in terms of new material. And in recent years their ‘new’ material is neither vital, engaging nor relevant. Retarded rock ‘n’ roll. I digress.

Revivalism is popular in the music bizz nowadays – but to again reiterate- be the band old or new, are they releasing quality NEW material? People tell me that Ed Sheeran is the best artist in the world – but I don’t see it. Not sure he has the songs/originality to justify all the hype that has been bestowed upon him. He is hugely successful, multiplatinum in an era where people don’t go multiplatinum no more – yet that has more to do with mass modern social media pushing his wagon than anything else. Noel Gallagher he ain’t. As a singer songwriter – will he go down in history as a modern day James Taylor ?  The best ? Time will tell.

Yet in my humble opinion, if you define the ‘best band’  in the authentic Chuck Berry/blue denim /beat up Telecaster /ramalama tradition – then Dan Baird is all that and more. There is a legitimacy to anyone who rides the same road (which started with the blues), as greats like Steve Marriott, The Yardbirds, The Stones/Faces etc. Yet Baird ain’t plying revivalism rock ‘n’ roll. He continues to release creative new material that is both memorable, original and relevant – a nod to the past and a tip of the hat to the present. And that right there- is why he is the best. Not many artists have that capacity. Springsteen does, Neil Young does – so too Mike Ness.

Baird has always been cool – and I have always dug his lyrics. His lyrics have a twist that reflect his sense of humour and down to earth, unpretentious  southern heritage. Anyone who can write about Carnys (Fairground People), can use the word ‘parenthesis’ in a song (I Love You Period), write about 8 track stereos, Firebirds, and use lickety split in a song (Red Light) is a true wordsmith as far as I’m concerned.  Baird is having fun – and that comes across in the delivery of the songs – both musically and lyrically. Yet he aint no one trick pony. If you think he just churns out carbon-copied runka runka  styled tunes modelled on ‘Keep Your Hands To Yourself’ – you are clearly mistaken.  He is capable of writing extraordinarily memorable songs that are heart wrenching – that can make the hair on the back of your neck stand up – Check out ‘Thousand Little Pieces’ from the Circus Life album as evidence of this. Be in no doubt though, that the other reason Baird rock n roll is in the upper echelons is due to his band – Homemade Sin.  The calibre of personnel in this band is top shelf. Baird’s right hand man is Warner Hodges – the guitar players guitar player. Since Hodges came on board some years back, the Dan Baird band has become more muscled up, an even tighter unit – and a band that musically – consistently fires on all cylinders. Hodges is rock solid – who himself has a rich body of work to dive into if you aint already familiar with him. This includes his stuff with Jason & The Scorchers, or any of his rippin’ solo albums, ‘Centerline’ ‘Gunslinger’ or ‘Preachin’ The Gospel’.  The engine room is made of long serving (and ex Satellites) drummer Mauro Magellan and bass player Micke Nilsson, formerly of Swedish rockers Bonafide. This rhythm section are the core of the sound, and often don’t get the accolades they deserve, yet they should. They are the pulsating, never erring backbone that allow Baird and Hodges the room to move.

In many ways – In 2017 Homemade Sin are the modern equivalent of an early 70’s Mach 1 Mustang or Chevy Camaro – they ooze character when all others around them are made of plastic, and all look the same. A shit load of horse power, solid steel, sharp lines – and true style.

I have been a Dan Baird fan for what, 30 years now. I picked up obscure Satellites and solo records in different parts of the globe on different travels. There were two tours of Australia, including a support of Johnny Diesel & The Injectors in 1989. Then it became a long time between drinks – with Baird finally coming back to these shores three years back as part of Bobby Keyes’ band. Small venues – but big rock n roll. Baird has been incredibly prolific over the past 20 years – and has released a slew of albums with many bands. All worthy of your attention. Throw the dart at any of these and you will hit the bullseye every time. Once the Satellites folded, he went solo, and released the first of many solo albums – with ‘Love Songs For The Hearing Impaired’. Check out the video of him performing ‘I Love you Period’ on Letterman. Cooler than Fonzie. And over the years there have been more albums, both solo and with other bands including the Yayhoos and The Bluefields amongst others. Buffalo Nickel, Out of Mothballs – so many great albums. In fact – if you want a good starting point, pick up either the ‘Circus Life’ or ‘Get Loud’ albums – top to bottom – both superb albums.

Some of my favourite all time Dan Baird songs are far from the obvious or expected. If I had to come up with an album’s worth of material for a “Dan Baird Desert Island Disc” it would include tunes such as The One I Am, I Love You Period, Lost Highway, I Want You Bad, Picture On The Wall, Thin Disguise, What Are We Waiting For (Yayhoos), Younger Face, Fall Apart On Me, All The Same, Thousand Little Pieces (what a song……) and Outlivin’. Note that have not included any tunes off the brand new spanking Homemade Sin album ‘Rollercoaster’ as its only released this week – nor off Dan’s new solo album -SoLow either.

Australia – tour dates are locked in for April and May 2017. Y’all get ready for the BEST rock n roll band in the world. Real rock n roll – for un real times. More information at http://www.danbairdandhomemadesin.net/

13882569_10205063030815125_8856265621919806028_nWhen it comes to new rock n roll, separating the cream from the crap is often the hardest part.  There are so many artists out there, all using the same media platforms to try to reach an audience. So many artists have great websites and are versed at self-promotion. Which is all well and good, yet the problem remains that the market gets absolutely flooded with mediocrity. The irony that many of these bands are also regurgitating an old sound doesn’t hold much appeal for older fans such as myself who has seen and heard it all before. Yes I know, young bands aren’t pitching at cynical, mocking old rock dogs like myself, they are aiming at their peers who may not have heard the whole D-A-G guitar chord progression shtick. Which brings me to the subject matter of this post – a gal from Nashville (via NYC) named Carly Jamison. Unlike many other young up and coming artists, Jamison has the talent and ability to craft melodic pop songs draped in originality. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches – she’s that good. There’s some trippy hippy elements to her persona and with her deep, breathy vocal delivery, she reminds me a little of Brett Smiley and Nick Gilder to a lesser extent.  Yet that comparison fails to do her music justice. Her songs are upbeat, catchy, with big chorus’ and even bigger melodies.

0003918265_10It’s hard to make musical comparisons, and I really don’t like doing it. But I also know that readers like some kind of reference point. I’ve read reviews that compared Jamison’s sounds to The Pretenders, The Stones, Elvis Presley, Joplin, Bonnie Raitt, Humble Pie, Drive By Truckers, John Fogerty, Roy Orbison, Status Quo, Slade etc. The fact that her sound can’t be pinned down only goes to show how richly diverse her songs are. All I look for are melody, hook and a catchy memorable chorus. She has all that – and an originality that is refreshingly welcome.

She first came to my attention via Dan Baird, who played guitar on Jamison’s 2010 album, ‘Everything Happens For A Reason’. Being a huge Dan Baird fan, anything that Dan lends his name to (including the great Stacie Collins) has to be good. Tracks such as ‘Look Where Its Coming From’ have elements of pure pop, classic early 70’s UK glam, handclaps and melody galore. A second album followed in 2013, called ‘Ungrounded’ and it also gets the Rockbrat thumbs up.  Since October last year, there have been three new singles releases by Jamison and all are killer slices of pure hard edged pop. ‘100 Goals’ is a classic slice of hard rockin’ pop and is beyond radio friendly. Killer tune. It features the cream of Nashville’s finest including the way underrated Chris Tench and Mike Webb (whom I saw in Sydney a couple of years back as part of Bobby Keyes’ band). In April this year she dropped another superbly crafted pop tuned called ‘Dynamo’. Pure, unadulterated pop that has me struggling to find superlatives to do it justice. Why aint they paying this on the radio everywhere? The press blurb accurately describes a combination of 80’s inspired guitar riffs, pop melodies, punk rock energy, and poetic lyrics. And then late last month, Carly released another new single called ‘Sneaking Around This Small Town’. Its again heavy on the melody, a little more reflective, but in no uncertain terms showcases the depth of quality song writing that Jamison has in spades. This cat is a way underrated song writer who knows how important melody, chorus and hook are to a song. I’ve been listening to rock n roll for a hell of a long time, since the late 70s in fact, and I’m here to tell you, Carly Jamison has the goods to take her to the top of the heap. She just needs a couple of breaks to go her way. If she keeps putting out quality new singles that surpass each other, it’s only a matter of time before one of the major labels take the bait and give her a shot to see how far she can go. I’m already hip to Carly Jamison, the best kept secret in rock n roll. Get on board! http://www.carlyjamison.com/

stacie_400x1400srI’ve been listening exclusively to Stacie Collins of late, and her new album ‘Roll The Dice’. Man, is she good, and to coin an often overused term, is the ‘real deal’. Anyone who has the great Dan Baird and Warner Hodges in her corner has to be top shelf, as they don’t pin their hard earned reputations onto just anyone. If Stacie Collins has their seal of approval – you know she’s gotta be good. Good enough in fact for Dan Baird to have produced her past three albums. Always difficult to define an artist’s sound, yet some of the descriptors used to outline the Stacie Collins sound are pretty spot in. “Little Walter meets Joan Jett and Tammy Wynette”. This harmonica blowin’ hell-cat is blazing a trail travelled by few women.” She mixes Stones-fried rock-n-roll, raunchy blues & vintage honky-tonk. Although she is based in Nashville, she has an established market in Scandinavia and Europe and in Japan, there is even a “Stacie Collins” tribute band. Leather clad, eyeliner, and wailing away on harmonica – she’s a long way removed from the Grand Ole Opry of the 50’s – although country purists might enjoy her self-titled album from 16 years ago which is more trad. country than her recent recordings.

Some history. When she was a little girl, Stacie Collins lived above the bar where her mother worked as a waitress. While other kids were playing with dolls and trains, her main source of entertainment was the magical, glowing jukebox that reeled and rocked downstairs until way past her bedtime. In one of Collins’ earliest memories, she’s dancing on the bar’s pool table, collecting quarters from bleary-eyed customers and then stuffing them, spellbound, into the neon-encased Rock-ola. It’s no surprise then that, years later, Stacie would end up onstage, performing original songs that draw their life-blood from those honky-tonk jukebox classics. Born in Muskogee, OK and raised in Bakersfield, CA, her childhood and teenage years reverberated with the honky-tonk sounds of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. A move to nearby Hollywood in her late teens put Stacie in touch with LA’s burgeoning rock scene. Obsessed with both the twang of West Coast country and the balls-out energy of rock-n-roll, she picked up a blues harp and right away started attracting attention. Being a female harp player still makes her something of a rarity, especially in her adopted hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. “My Dad played harmonica”, Stacie recalls, “and even though I didn’t know him very well because my parents divorced when I was 5, I felt like that gave me license. I had inherited a gift. After learning to play, I fell in love with the Chicago Blues sound and players like Little Walter and James Cotton. I had found my muse.” Upon arriving in Nashville in 2001, Stacie quickly proved that she wasn’t your typical Music Row twangstress the moment she stepped back from the mic and unleashed her high-spirited energy on a mean little blues harp. Full of attitude and flair, blowing harmonica is her calling card but it’s Collins’ soulful voice and gritty songwriting that creates such a broad ranging appeal.

2007’s ‘The Lucky Spot’ is the first of her albums which shows a real muscled up rock/country sound, with Baird’s influence clearly evident throughout. Man I love Dan Baird. What a shame he doesn’t tour Australia as often as he does Europe, where let’s face it, the market is established and the balance sheet offers greater profits. I get that. Check out the ballsy opener ‘Its Aint’ Love’ for a song straight outta the Dan Baird book of hits, a guy who certainly made the runka-runka sound his own (although he will tell you the sound goes back to NRBQ). Collin’s 2010 effort ‘Sometimes Ya Gotta’ is better again, and top to bottom is chock full of memorable, hook laden roots country rockers. If it’d been released twenty years ago it would sound as natural on 70s FM radio alongside ZZ-Top & The Rolling Stones as it would next to retro-rockers the Black Crowes or Jason & the Scorchers. Great tunes. Again produced by Dan Baird. Classic Rock said it best with “Guaranteed to get any party started… Imagine a late-night lock-in jam with Aerosmith, The Stones and ZZ Top, fronted by the equivalent of Ronnie Van Zant, or maybe even Shania Twain with balls…. It’s sassy, sexy & rocks like a bitch”. The album opener ‘Hey Mister’ is rip snorter, and ‘I Won’t Do Ya Like That’ sounds like it should have been on the Satellites’ Open All Night’ album’. ‘The tender ‘It Hurts To Breathe’ is a good example of the strength and quality of song writing diversity on display. A song for the broken hearted, yet as good as anything you’ll hear on FM country tear jerker radio anywhere. Did I mention that this girl is good? Which brings me to her latest (and fifth) album, ‘ Roll The Dice; released late last year. This has been getting rave reviews and justly so, although Classic Rock got it wrong big time with their review of 6 out of 10, and comments such as “the lack of distinctive traits in her music lets it down.” Which means that the limey reviewer knows bugger all, and if he did, he would know that she categorically has a blues/rock/country sound all her own, distinct due to her own vocal sound (no one sounds like her), harmonica laced blues/country played by HER (a woman, that’s not distinct?), and all songs are catchy, infectious and memorable. There’s harmonica drenched rockers (‘Lost and Found’, and the brooding ‘King Of Rock’), to  the super melodic and radio friendly ‘Gonna Fly’. How about ‘Jani’, the catchy sing-along tribute ballad to the deceased Warrant front man which is, incidentally, my favourite song on the new album. ‘It’s Over’ has a huge chorus which you will be singing over and over. This song is a monster. Talking about sing-along chorus’ , how about ‘Heart On My Sleeve’. Another example of the quality of the song writing. 6 out of 10 Classic Rock ? Please. This album is solid from top to bottom and gets 10 out of 10 from Cowboy Col. She is an original. As I said, forget his lame review and go onto YouTube and check out some of her videos yourself. Be your own reviewer. I think this is her best and most consistent album so far, its heavier than the others and is well worth your hard earned.  Am I biased? I mean Dan Baird is, along with Neil Young, one of my all-time faves, but after 5 albums and 15 odd years, this girl stands well and truly on her own two feet with a distinctive sound (up yours Classic Rock) that is well and truly all her own. Go to staciecollins.com and dig in. You won’t be disappointed. Get your ass down to Australia Stacie!

Welcome to 2014. Hopefully you all had a pleasant holiday season and are a ready for a rockin’ 2014. New Years Resolutions? Well apart from aiming to watch as many Randolph Scott and Audie Murphy westerns as possible(who would have thought Cowboy Col dug western movies?), Mr Rockbrat and I want to get the Australian Rock Show off and running this year, so stay tuned for that. There’s a couple of news albums and a new podcast out and about that I want to draw your attention to. Just prior to Christmas, the fabulous Glam Bone Podcast released a long awaited new episode. If you fondly remember the Sunset Strip hard rock / metal scene of the late 80s, this is the definitive podcast of that era – its well done, and has a tongue in cheek look at many of the bands from that time. The current episode features an interview with Jimmy Thrill, formerly of Rattlesnake Shake. Check out the new episode here. The great Dan Baird and his Homemade Sin have a new album out, called ‘Circus Life’ that was released last year – and its top shelf.  The way underrated Carolyne Mas also has a new album out and about, and its worthy of your attention. Mas has paid her dues many times over, and has had a tough financial run in recent years –  so the fact that she has managed to get an album’s worth of new material out is welcome news. Her name album ‘Across The River’ is superb. Some tunes are reflective and evocative, all highlight her brilliant vocal ability. As a vocalist, she is getting better with age. Some good covers on the album including Springsteen’s ‘New York Serenade’ and Steve Forbert’s, ‘Witch Blues’. Pick up a copy here. Also, the last episode of Rockbrat Radio featured a special on Carolyne Mas, and is a decent introduction to her if you ain’t heard of her. You can check that out here.

I knew this album was released some weeks back, but I just haven’t had a chance to listen to it. I heard Michael Butler play the tune “Train Wreck” on a recent episode of his ‘Rock n Roll Geek Show” and my interest was sky high enough to buy the thing and I got to tell you –  ‘Pure’ is likely to be one of the best things you’ll hear this year. If you are like me, and are a fan of the Georgia Satellites, Dan Baird, or any of the guitar / alternacountry peddled by bands like Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskey Town etc, you should consider this essential. Whilst Baird and Hodges are key throughout,  Joe Blanton MAKES this album his own. Anyway, I was going to review this album myself, but then I read this superbly spot on review by Keith A Gordon that appeared on Burt Online, that I couldn’t better, so I thought I’d repost it. You can head the full review here……….Here is Keith’s review:

Probably the closest that the Nashville rock scene has ever come to the birth of a bona fide “supergroup,” the Bluefields comprise former Georgia Satellites’ frontman Dan Baird (who, more recently, fronts his own Dan Baird and Homemade Sin band); Jason & the Scorchers’ charismatic guitarslinger Warner E. Hodges (also a Homemade Sin band member); and singer/songwriter Joe Blanton, formerly of such beloved Music City rock ‘n’ roll institutions as the Enemy and Royal Court of China. All three men have a lot of miles under their belts, all three have experienced the fragile joys of a major label record deal, and all three have pursued solo careers with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, their individual pedigrees are impeccable…That these three musicians came together is an act of provenance, perhaps, or maybe just the Holy Trinity (Chuck, Elvis & Bob) looking down from the Mount Olympus of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Blanton had returned to Nashville after a decade-long hiatus spent in the hinterlands pursuing the brass ring with an acclaimed, albeit impoverishing solo career. Blanton reconnected with his teenage pal Hodges (the two cutting their musical teeth together on the roughneck late ’70s Nashville punk scene), the guitarist in turn introducing Joe to Dan, the three subsequently finding acres of common ground. As these things happen, they decided to write and play together ’cause, well, that’s what rock lifers do, and the trio convened to Blanton’s secret, subterranean recording studio, dubbed by the newly-formed Bluefields as the “underground tree house.” I’m not sure whether it was the trio’s rapidly-formed musical chemistry, or if jars of pure-D white lightning corn liquor were passed around the basement studio, but Pure, the Bluefields’ debut album, serves up a righteous helping of shit-kickin’, guitar-driven, Southern-fried twang-rock that fans of both the Satellites and the Scorchers will nod their collective heads in approval of, although the Bluefields really sound nothing like either of those bands. Blanton takes the lead vocals on most of the tracks, the man really one of the best singers in the Music City, criminally overlooked among the glut of clones marching in lockstep through the halls of the record label offices that line Nashville’s notorious “Music Row.” Hodges does what he’s always done best, and that is to bash and mangle that plank of wood and steel, tearing sounds out of his instrument previously unheard of by man nor beast while Baird, the M.V.P. of any session he’s involved with, plays the fat-string, adds a little of his trademark Keith Richards-styled rhythm guitar where needed, pitches in on backing vocals, and even adds keyboards if necessary. Friend of the band Steve Gorman, from the currently-on-hiatus Black Crowes, adds his thunderous drumbeats to the majority of the songs. The bottom line, though, is that regardless of the talent assembled, it’s the music that matters…and Pure offers up more than a few surprises. The album kicks off with “What You Won’t Do,” the song’s brief instrumental intro displaying more than a few strains of Led Zeppelin’s Eastern-fueled musical mysticism. When the band kicks in, Gorman’s blast-beats ring loudly and the intertwined guitars are simply smothering. The instrumentation is thick, like an intoxicating smoke, the arrangement more than a little Zeppelinesque but with more twang and bang for your buck, mixing roots-and-hard-rock with a bluesy undercurrent to great effect. The jaunty “Bad Old Days” is both a gripping morality tale and a humorous page straight out of the Dan Baird songbook. With a rolling, Southern boogie-flavored soundtrack, the lyrics recall a tale of woe that all three band members have lived in one manner or another. Sobriety doesn’t come easy, those crazy old days are in the rear view mirror, and with guitars that swing with anarchic glee, “Bad Old Days” is an unbridled rocker tailor-made for radio…if radio still played rock ‘n’ roll, that is……..”Don’t Let Me Fall” is an old-school romantic ballad, the sort of song that, with enough hairspray and metallic hooks, would have had the spandex-clad bottle-blondes pulling out their lighters twenty-five years ago. In these days and times, though, Blanton’s vocals are timelessly heartworn, Hodges’ Duane Eddy-styled background riffs a perfect accompaniment. The band doesn’t stay morose for long, though, launching directly into “Nobody Loves You,” a pop-tinged rollicking boogie-rocker with a ’80s new wave vibe built on a spry rhythm, ambitious rolling drumbeats, and shards of wiry guitar. By this time in the album’s sequencing, the Bluefields sound like they’re having way too much fun, a hypothesis easily proven by the Zep-styled reprise of “Repair My Soul,” a larger than life, foot-stomping hard-rocker. Built on a foundation of dirty Delta blues, the song is raised to the heavens on the strength of intricate (and inordinately heavy) guitars that sound like a clash of the titans, and Gorman’s unbelievable drum tones, which sound eerily like the angry ghost of John Bonham banging on the cans. With lyrics dealing with sin and salvation, if this one doesn’t scorch the hair from your head and get your feet a moving, then you’re probably deaf (or a Justin Bieber fan…shudder).  As good a song and performance as “Repair My Soul” may be…and make no mistake true believers, it’s one of the best rock songs you’ll hear in your lifetime…the Bluefields trio scale the heights of the aforementioned Mount Olympus with the incredible “Flat Out Gone.” A runaway locomotive of choogling guitars, racing drumbeats, defiant vocals, and swaggering rhythms, one can hear the entirety of the pantheon of rock heroes channelled through each and every note: Chuck Berry, Duane Eddy, Gene Vincent & the Bluecaps, Eddie Cochran, Big Joe Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Roy Orbison, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Seger, Bo Diddley, Johnny Burnette, Ike Turner, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Doug Sahm, Link Wray, Mitch Ryder, Elmore James, the Yardbirds, the Band, Bob Dylan, and the almighty Elvis himself. The song is three minutes and twenty-two seconds of pure, unvarnished rock ‘n’ roll cheap thrills, the likes of which come around far too infrequently these days for my tastes and, I’m betting, your tastes too…There’s more, much more to be heard on Pure, the album probably the best example you’ll ever hear of three guys getting together and making music for the sheer joy of it all. Every note played, every word sung, every beat of the drum is the result of lives lived in thrall to the muse of rock ‘n’ roll, albeit with a distinctively Southern perspective. As a result, Pure lives up to its name, the album probably the purest expression of reckless country soul that’s ever been carved into wax. Buy the album direct from the band at http://www.thebluefields.com/