Posts Tagged ‘Scissor Tail’

Scott Hirsch – “No No”

Can’t pass up the video for one of my favorite tracks from a likewise favorite album of 2018. Scott Hirsch’s latest can’t be talked up enough, but the vibes on the cough-syrup fresh JJ Cale take “No No” is the where he shines the best. For a video, Hirsh takes the Mescaline meltdown of the song’s already psychedelic flare and pushes it hard through the lysergic mirror. With a psychdelic roadtrip backdrop and sinister vibes aplenty, this is the best accompaniment to the freak train that Hirsch is conducting. If you missed out, miss no more and get into Lost Time Behind The Moon.

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RSTB Best of 2018

So, it seems that 2018 is finally coming to an end. It’s been a hell of a year by most standards, but musically its been damn entertaining. Perhaps its fair that there’s some bright spot in all the chaos. Not to diminish the chaos, but when the negativity is at an all-pervasive fever pitch, its feels good to have something to hold onto. I’ll choose to remember 2018 as a banner year for music and for the birth of my second daughter rather than the year that page refresh politics threatened to give me an ulcer any day. Below are my favorite albums of the year, taking care to highlight some that might otherwise get forgotten. They’re in (quasi) alphabetical order with no other particular weight on the list. Keep your eyes out for a few more year-end features this week before I reset for the new year. As always, thanks for sticking with RSTB for these 12-odd years or so.

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Scott Hirsch

A couple of years back Scott Hirsch moved out of the studio pool, producing Hiss Golden Messenger records and holding down time in The Court and Spark to release a solo record. The record touched on plenty of the same ground he’d explored with those outfits – mellow, smoke and sunset country-folk that was nuanced and peppered with seasoned vets in the studio. On his follow-up, Hirsch has refined that sound, but added a low-slung groove to his tanned leather soul. Among those other plaudits, Hirsch was instrumental in mobilizing the one-off brilliance that was Golden Gunn and he brings the same reverence for the catalog of JJ Cale’s cocaine country to the fore here.

Lost Time Behind The Moon weaves between the roadhouse wrangle of Cale’s legacy and something of a transcendental peace, picking up the scattered pieces of Fred Neil alongside the respective ’72 vibes of Little Feat and Tim Buckley. Hirsch outstrips his previous effort time and again as each new song on his sophomore stint cues up – each one full of deeper humility, more vibrant hues, and rougher cut features. In a way the album sidles alongside the wave of Cosmic American that’s blossomed in 2018, though its nowhere near the heady sweat of most of the core chooglers operating in that sphere. While “No No” could easily slip in to bridge the divide between One Eleven Heavy and Howlin’ Rain, the scope of Hirsch’s album aims for more than just a nostalgic niche. Lost Time bristles and broods and in the end is a salve and solace to lost souls.

There’s something ephemeral that ties 1972 and 2018 – a tangle of turmoil, terror, desperation and delusion. The corruption wormhole of Watergate shot through to whatever ham-sliced timeline we’re currently operating in is palpable and by turns the same battered blue-collar brilliance on the stereo seems to hit home. Hirsch’s vision of country elegance and barbiturate boogie hangs heavy on he diaphragm, groovin’ and singin’ in the same breath. It’s both a damn shame and a blessing that this is coming out in December. The release schedule rush means a lot of people are going to gloss right over this, head stuck in the wet sand of year-end wraps ups. On the other hand, that makes this a brilliant gem for those still paying attention to the right channels. This one’s feels like it’s already got future collectors itchin’ to find a first press. If there’s one last record you add to the stack before the year tumbles down, this should be it.



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Scott Hirsch – “When You Were Old (El Dorado)”

On the follow-up to his lauded album, Blue Rider Songs, Hirsch starts out strong tapping into a sunset country mix of mellow strums, buttery pedal steel and the tight-laced punch of horns. This time around Hirsch has enlisted members of Wilco alongside Edward Sharpe and M. Ward’s touring players and the results sound as well-oiled as that lineup would suggest. Hirsch sighs his way through “When You Were Old,” unraveling a tone of weariness and resigned sadness. The song shimmers in a way that’s not showy. It’s not the jukebox pick that’s gonna bring everyone to the floor, but its probably gonna save someone’s night, reaching out an arm of solidarity through any darkened bar. Hirsch has a deft handle on country tinged with Southern soul. The track swings like its got a touch of Muscle Shoals in its DNA, provided the house band relocated to Laurel Canyon for a dawn session among the trees. The record is out in December on Scissor Tail, which is a mark quality in and of itself, the label is an essential barometer for high quality folk and country these days. Get into this one and keep your finger above the repeat button.



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Sarah Louise

So, this comes in pretty recent on the ol’ reissue calendar. The record was issued as a small run cassette in 2015 on Scissor Tail and didn’t snag enough attention at the time. The label is now giving the record a more expansive issue as an LP three years later. Perhaps this comes on the tail of Louise’s duo House and Land receiving a bit more acclaim with their record on Thrill Jockey, perhaps not. In either case we’re all luckier to have this one in a more solid format. Sarah Louise is a consummate purveyor of fingerpicked guitar. As might befit her inclusion in VDSQ’s acoustic series and, well, her surfacing on Scissor Tail in general.

Field Guide diverges from House and Land’s somber, wooded folk for more of a traditional take on the 12-string approach. Louise more than proves her chops here, tackling runs that bring to mind Basho, Jansch, Kotke and even a bit of Peter Walker. She’s not all flash and technique though, there’s plenty of beauty sparkling melody present in her rambles. The record, as the cover might suggest, brings to mind natural wonders, evoking streams and the endless spread of rolling hills. It’s a great intro to a contemporary string slinger that, if she’s not already, should be on your list to keep tabs on. Scissor Tail was right to give this one another go ‘round and a wider audience.




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