Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle – Play Wagon Wheel Mix

More clouds over Nashville.  Much on my mind today, but nothing to share right now.  We have a nice selection of music so… shall we? 

After the JUMP

In the Pre-Shuffle…

“Cigareets and Whuskey and Wild Wild Women” by Black Jake and the Carnies  (Our friends from Ypsilanti, Michigan are up first today with a track from their latest release, Watching, Waiting – the video comes from their performance at Scenic City Roots in Chattanooga which took place the day after I saw them at the sister even Music City Roots in Nashville)

“OK Corral” by T. Hardy Morris (A nifty song from the Audition Tapes album by Dead Confederate Hardy Morris. This album was produced  by Cosmic Thug (Adam Landry and Justin Collins) who have previously worked with Deer Tick and Middle Brother.)

“AnnaRexia” by Marla Mase (yesterday, we had the Bill Laswell Dubmix of this song, today, we have the album version of the song, which is a power and stirring indictment of body image and insane societal expectations.)

“I’ll Start Again” by prattle on, rick (prattle on, rick is primarily Patrick Rickelton from Nashville by way of North Carolina. This is some groovy soulful music. Today’s track comes from a Noisetrade sampler – a new album from prattle on, rick is due out in the fall)

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–> “Goodnight Chicago” by The Dirty Guv’nahs (We close out the Pre-Shuffle with another sweet track from Knoxville’s The Dirty Guv’nahs)

In the Shuffle…

“Freedom Jazz Dance (The Evolution of the Groove)” by Miles Davis from Miles Smiles (1967)


The band: Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams

In my book, you can’t go wrong with Miles.


“Human Heart” by Courrier from Cathedrals of Color (2013)


Courrier is from Austin, Texas, but they have a definite British-Alternative-Arena-Rock sound. It is stirring and expansive, and sounds great.

“Exit Me” by The Imperial Rooster from Cluckaphony (2013)


 How fitting that we close out today’s mix of music with The Imperial Rooster’s song Exit Me.  Cluckaphony is another favorite of mine from 2013.  Way back in the Spring or something, we did an ever so clever dual/duel review of this album and Watching, Waiting by Black Jake and the Carnies (who started off today’s mix).  The Imperial Rooster are from Espanola, New Mexico and I can’t wait to see them live.



Friday Morning Music Non-Shuffle – Lucky Dog Barking at a Jukebox Mix

Well once again, fate, circumstance, procrastination and mysterious forces beyond my control or understanding have combined to lead me to this very point…. namely, as I’ve mentioned several times, I am way over due to for a wrap-up of April. As you may recall, at the end of March I did a big ole summary for the first three months on 2013, gave a shout out to old friends who made new music and welcomed a few new bands into the Ear to the Ground Family. I resolved at that time to try my best to do this same exercise monthly.

April was an amazing month for new music.  From our old friends, we covered new albums by Skeletons in the Piano, Taco Land, Killing Kuddles, The Danbury Lie, The Imperial Rooster and Black Jake and the Carnies.  – I’ve probably forgotten some, and if so, I sincerely apologize. 

Skeletons in the Piano  – Buy 

Taco Land – Buy

Now on to our new additions to the Ear to the Ground family (again family is my designation and no consent is required…)

After the JUMP, we get down to business with today’s Mix (Unshuffled)

The Lucky Jukebox Brigade

We start things off with the first five songs from Pretty Well Damned – the debut album by Albany, New York’s own The Lucky Jukebox Brigade. The album is almost a year old, but it just came into our consciousness following the band’s performance at Couch by Couchwest. 

So, the deal here is this:  We liked the CXCW video enough to want to hear more – we downloaded the album and added to our queue. The first song we heard, we thought was pretty cool and with every subsequent listen and every additional track we heard, we begin to really love this band.  I decided a while back, I wanted to include them in the list of artists we follow here at E2TG so today, I am happy to make that official.

A few observations: I hear some Musical Theater, some 60s girl group, some bohemian carnival music and more.  This record is tons o’ fun and the range of musical influences and styles are bound together by the incredible songs.  In my head, I was working on some bold statement like Music making is art while songwriting is craft. I have no idea is that is true or if it’s even what I’m trying to say. There are tons of people in Nashville who will sell you a formula on how to write a hit country song, and yes it is try that you can’t swing a guitar around your neck without hitting a songwriter, and I guess in that sense, songwriting is a craft.  I’m not smart enough to know if The Lucky Jukebox Brigade followed any formulas in writing the songs from Pretty Well Damned, but if I were a betting man, I’d wager that they didn’t. Nevertheless or therefore, these are really strong and wonderful songs. I was actually surprised to find out that this was the band’s debut as there is a maturity to this band.  I can hardly wait to find out what is next from the latest “Ear to the Ground” artist from the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area. 

The Lucky Jukebox Brigade:

Dog Without Warning

The Bay Area band Dog Without Warning also came to my attention at this years Couch by Couchwest anti-festival. The band’s Facebook page lists their genre as Rock, Garage Rock and Indie Rock.  In April, we featured several songs from the band’s 2012 album Go Girls which struck me as really good indie rock and kind of weird in a good way.  So as I was contemplating the April wrap-up, I was trying to decide if I knew the band well enough to list them as an Ear to the Ground featured artist (or whatever).  Then, in a moment both serendipitous and motivating, I was contacted by a member of the band with a link to some brand new music by Dog Without Warning.  A five song EP called Bark.

And let me tell you, Bark was a revelation. Right from the opening bars of the opening track, “Chili” I knew I was in for something unexpected. A cautionary tale perhaps and yes a great song. I was reminded of something I was taught growing up – “there are three things you don’t talk about, Politics, Religion and Chili Recipes.”

The record is a rollicking good time and pretty damned Americanaish. It’s acoustic as opposed to the more electric sound I’d heard previously from the band, but surely that is not the only difference.  At first, I was thinking I had the band mixed up in my mind – full disclosure.  I just downloaded the album last night – scanned through enough to experience my first shock to the system, and then gave it a complete spin on my walk in to the office today. I kept thinking, I don’t remember them being a Country band. I don’t even know “Country” is an accurate description, that is what was going on my mind before the second song “Flood” took me away, and I just let the music be what it was.

 When “Infatuation” kicked in I didn’t care what you called it, it was just good. The Indiana cheerleaders are okay, but nothing like the honkytonk women.  

“Nostalgia”  was evocative and lovely, and the last song, “Dromedary”  was silly, goofy and just plain awesome.

 So call me fickle, call me whatever you want, just call me!  Wait, what?  Overnight, Dog Without Warning went from this interesting band that I liked and wanted to know more about to one of my favorite bands of the moment. Bark is out now and available for download  using the Embed up above. It’s Name Your Price, but c’mon throw ’em a bone. Pun intended. Now, I gotta give the EP a second and third listen.

Dog Without Warning

A Special The Lucky Jukebox Brigade/Dog Without Warning You Tube Playlist


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Thursday Morning Music Shuffle – Firehouse Mix

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Time is short and we have some great music to cover in today’s pre-shuffle and shuffle.  Let’s get to it.


“Odd Fellows Local 151” by R.E.M.
“A Good Man Knows” by Black Jake and the Carnies (the song from their new EP we didn’t get to yesterday!) 
“Digging Underneath the House” by Skeletons in the Piano
 “Machine Gun” by Taco Land

Shuffle awaits you after the JUMP

Today’s shuffle could be subtitled “pure pop heaven” and I mean “pop” in the best possible way.

  • “24” by Game Theory from Real Nighttime (1985) compiled on Tinkers to Evers to Chance (1990)

“And for whatever reason I wish that I had two minds
Opposite signs, parallel lines, wide point and fine”

from Scott Miller’s liner notes to Tinkers to Evers to Chance: 24: The first record (Real Nighttime) produced by the godlike genius of Mitch Easter, and our first record to reach national obscurity, as opposed to regional obscurity.” 

  • “Whiskey Song” by The Lucky Jukebox Brigade from Pretty Well Damned (2012)

As I was listening to this song this morning the words that kept coming to my mind were exquisite and gorgeous and amazing. I felt like I was listening some really old music modernized in the most wonderful way. Have I made it clear yet, I really dig this band and this album!

  • “The Ghost Pal Song” by The Harmonica Lewinskies from Salad Days EP (2013)
More funky fresh goodness from the New York band – the title references another NY band that I will now have to check out….

  • “Pancakes and Pizza” by Taco Land from Pancakes and Pizza (2013)

“Hand me some patience cause I wanna plant some seeds, share some love cause that’s all that I need.
But I’m hating on you and you’ve been hating on me. Red and Blue no longer stands for Free!”

The title track to the new Taco Land album is an amazing song with an important message wrapped in a catchy tune and all done up Taco Land style. And yes, Pancakes, Pizza and Tacos make me hungry, but I just ate so I’m doing okay – thanks for asking.

E2TG Daily Playlist

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Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – Waiting for Cluckaphony Mix

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Let’s face it, there is no shortage of bands dancing around the “Americana”, “Roots Rock”, “Alt-Folk-Bluegrass-Country-Blues” sound. Hell, these days it’s not too unusual to hear a banjo (or  more likely a banjitar) even on the “Hit” radio stations.  If you liked Mumford and Sons then you’ll probably like the other half a dozen or so bands who sound just like them.  Right? So, here is the question: If there is this glut of Rootsy sounding bands being blasted out of radios and computers and MP3 players, does not mean any band falling however loosely into that area of music is redundant or superfluous? Well, keep in mind, this is coming from someone who writes a music blog for goodness sakes!  But, I think the answer is… wait what was the question?  Bottom line, the world can never get enough of creative and talented people following their passion down whatever path that leads them. So if a creative or talented group of musicians happen to play rootsy music (or punkish indie, or blues based rock or whatever) so be it and more power to them.

All that long windedness to say, I have had the good fortune to become acquainted with tons of amazingly talented people over the last couple of years, and it seems like at least half of them are releasing new music this year.  Today, I’m going to delve into two bands who are similar in a different way from each other (or maybe they are different in a similar way)… Join us after the Jump for a very special episode of Ear to the Ground’s Morning Shuffle:

 At some point last year, I suggested via Twitter that The Imperial Rooster and Black Jake and the Carnies should do a show together sometime.  I later displayed my cleverly loose idea of geography to suggest that Nashville, Tennessee might be geographically equidistant between Espanola, New Mexico and Ypsilanti, Michigan – where the two bands or receptively based. I am not going to back off on the suggestion that a show featuring these two bands would be epically awesome, but the new releases have forced me to think deeper about the way these two bands intersect and diverge.

I’m going to avoid making this a compare and contrast exercise.  Mainly because I hated doing those in school, but as way of an introduction (he says several lines into the post), I will say, the two bands play raucous roots-based music with similar instrumentation, and the newest releases by the two bands even touch on similar themes of religion, death, sin and vice.  That their approaches to the subjects and the music is informed by the divergent beliefs, philosophies and geographic influences just makes the experience for this listener all the more interesting.

The Imperial Rooster from Espanola, New Mexico recently released Cluckaphony which is there album length follow-up to 2011’s Decent People.  

Black Jake and the Carnies from Ypsilanti, Michigan literally just dropped their new EP called Watching, Waiting which is their follow-up to 2011’s Sundry Mayhems.
For the fun of it, I shuffled these two albums together and listened to eleven of the 17 total tracks on my walk up the hill today.  I do have to say, I’ve listened to both records all the way through, I a highly recommend that experience.
Here are the tracks we heard today:
“Last Stop” – BJ and the C
“Ain’t No Grave” – BJ and the C
“The Hoover Farm Exorcism” – TIR
“Soldier Boy Johnny” – TIR
“Polka De Nalgas” – TIR
“Pine Box Hell” – TIR
“Exit Me” – TIR
“Cigareets and Whusky and Wild Wild Women” – BJ and the C (a Red Ingle cover)
“The Savior” – TIR (a Crucifucks cover)
“Sinners, You Better Get Ready” – BJ and the C
“Santa Cruz” – TIR

It was a pretty incredible mix of songs. I especially enjoyed the contrst between the Carnies’ “Ain’t No Grave” and the Rooster’s “Pine Box Hell” which took very different approaches to the subject of death.   The choice of covers was also illuminating.  Coincidently, The Crucifucks were a punk band from Michigan. Just saying.

Here’s the deal, I have no idea if these two bands would even like each other personally, and to be honest, it doesn’t matter to me.  They are two great bands who have released some amazing new music out into the world, and you should check them both out. Don’t read too much into my dual review – it was fun and expedient and time has been in short supply lately.  Consider this a preview of both albums with a strong recommendation to grab this while you can.  
The Imperial Rooster are: Cootie LeRoux, Nat King Kong, Tennessee Skilly McGee, Khorn Syrup, Lulu Lotus Cornblossom, Dusty Vinyl
Black Jake and the Carnies are:  
Black Jake — banjo, vocals
Joe Cooter — bass
Gus — fiddle
Andy Benes — mandolin
Billy “The Kingpin” LaLonde — drums/washboard, vocals
JC Miller — accordion
Watch for both bands in your area some time soon (assuming you are somewhere where they are going to be).  

Ironically (fortuitously?) The Imperial Rooster are playing tonight (April 24, 2013) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Black Jake and the Carnies will be playing Music City Roots here in Nashville June 5.  
Do the “Like” thing on Facebook at:  The Imperial Rooster and Black Jake and the Carnies

 One last thing, please do not ask me how to pronounce Ypsilanti. 

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Band of the Month – October – Black Jake and the Carnies!

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Well, well, well… The Foresters made a late run, but Michigan’s own Black Jake and the Carnies held on to become our Ear2theground’s Band of the Month for October!  For those of you playing at home, they are officially the first Crabgrass band to become Band of the Month.  They are are also the first band from Ypsilanti, Michigan to be Band of Month.  Trivia, in fourth grade our class did a huge mural of the United States in the hallway of our school, and we each were assigned a state to paint.  We also had to do a report on that state.  My state? Michigan.  I know right? Amazing the way the world works.

Black Jake and the Carnies play a raucous blend of country, bluegrass and punk.  They are tons o’ fun and they make a great Band of Month. 

Once again, we had a great group of Featured Artists – probably our most diverse group yet, and I am grateful for all the people I got to know this month.
It’s November now… and time to unveil a new batch of Featured Artists.  We’ll be doing that soon – and trying something new….

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Last Chance to Vote – Band of the Month – October

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It’s that time!  I will probably be out trick or treating or something so this may very well be your last reminder.  With less than 8 hours to go – we present the TOP 4 so far – Band of the Month for October will be revealed tomorrow morning:

Here is the place to VOTE!

Currently in 4th place is Valued Customer from Toronto.

In 3rd place is Bad Cop from Nashville.

In 2nd place are The Foresters from Bethany, CT.

And currently in 1st place going into the home stretch is Black Jake and the Carnies from Ypsilanti, MI…

Go to the poll to see all the Featured Artists…


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Ear to the Ground Voter Guide – October 2012

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With just over a week to go, you may still be unsure which of our awesome Featured Artists to vote for in the Band of the Month poll.  While, we try to stay neutral on this important decision (the whole point of letting readers vote is that we are too codependent to make a decision ourselves), we do have some valuable and  not so valuable information to share which may just make your decision easier.

Reasons to vote for…

45 Spider: 1.

2.  Cleveland Rocks!
3.  This is your band if you dig turbo charged, high-energy, fun rock n’ roll.

 Bad Cop 1.  They are at the forefront of a renaissance of Nashville Rock n’ Roll that is garnering national headlines.

2.  To my knowledge, they have no official association with the ABC series Nashville.

3.  They are your band if you dig rock music with a fuzzy undertone, and because “Wet Lips” just plain Rules!

Black Jake and the Carnies: 1.  Your mom warned you about trusting the carnies, but she never said you shouldn’t listen to their music.

2.  They are from Ypsilanti, MI and play Crabgrass music. You need more?

3.  They are your band if you dig murder ballads played in a old-time string band style at a punk rock, break-neck pace.  Prepare to move your feet!

Brennen Leigh: 1. She is a true Texas songbird whose music has a timeless quality.

2.  At the Americana fest, she sang a duet with the fabulous John Scott Sherrill. 

3.  She is your artist if you dig beautiful vocals set to amazing sounding country/bluegrass sounds.

Forest Mountain Hymnal: 1.  Rebecca and Jonathan are incredible people who financed their wedding in part by busking on the streets of Nashville. 

2.  They play brilliant versions of traditional and traditional sounding folk tunes and made a record perfect for Halloween.

3.  They are your band if you dig well-grounded, earthy and organic folk music and arent’ afraid to take it to the streets.

The Foresters:  1.  Writing about them and a few other bands has finally allowed me to learn to spell Kahnettykut – wait, is that not right? Shoot!

2.  If they Rock this hard now, wait until they hit those teen angst years… 

3.  They are your band if you dig melodic, pop-punk music played with energy and heart.

Pigeon Park: 1. They are from British Columbia which is in Canada not in Central America like I thought… :-/

2.  Cause Pigeons are Bert from Sesame Street’s favorite bird.

3.  They are your band if you dig big, bluesy rock music made to fill arenas.

S3X: 1.  It’s fun hearing the words Salt Lake City and Punkcore in the same sentence.

2.  S3X… I mean come on!

3.  They are your band if you dig aggressive, fast, loud music with a melodic streak played with verve and passion.

Tim Lee 3:  1. They’ve been a part of the fantastic Couch by Couchwest Festival. 

2.  They like barbeque – pulled pork baby!

3.  They are your band if you dig wild, bluesy, rootsy southern rock n’ roll the way it was meant to be played.

Valued Customer: 1.  They are most likely the coolest, weirdest band I’ve ever heard.

2.  Patrick Power sometimes wears a tie and plays Afro-Latin Polka…?????!!!!!!

3.  They are your band if you dig experimental hip-hop with a twisted sense of humor and a sick mellow groove.

There you have it.  You are now informed so vote:

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