Posts Tagged ‘georgia satellites’

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.

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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

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/