People talk about how life can be a real roller coaster, and few know this better than Justin Townes Earle. From struggling with alcohol and drug addiction — not to mention a double-digit number of stints in rehab — to signing his first record deal while still in his teens, Earle has definitely seen both sides of the coin. And the years leading up to his just-released new record, Single Mothers, were no less mixed.
Songs like “Lump,” “Peaches,” and “Boll Weevil,” were short, fast, loud, catchy as all hell, and unlike almost every other Seattle band releasing records in the ’90s, they were giddy fun, preferring lyrics about tiki gods and kitties to heroin.
The great Mississippi River flood of 1927 began when more than 100 levees broke early in the year. It resulted in more than 27,000 square miles of land being flooded, lasted for almost eight months, and is the most destructive flood in the history of the United States.
And Cummins is not kidding when he says this album leans heavily in the rock and roll direction. While there are melodic moments, like the Police-esque opener “The Linear,” songs like “Cut the Cable” are balls-to-the-wall rockers that teem with chugging, gritty guitar riffs.
“Usually our show will contain music and some kind of Vaudeville slapstick,” says Jason O’Dea, who in addition to singing, also plays the guitar, kazoo, harmonica and drum. “We’ve done stuff like that at the beginning of the show to get people’s attention.
If variety is the spice of life, then the music that Laurie and Katelyn Shook (Shook Twins) make is very spicy. Their early albums have included everything from tales about robot love to near Biblical levels of flooding, and their live shows feature beatboxing, singing and one of the twins clucking like a chicken.
ZoŽ Keating is not your typical cellist. Instead of performing with an orchestra, she marries her cello to a variety of loopers, pedals and laptops to create a layered cello experience which makes her a one-woman orchestra. But as much as she relishes her ongoing creative endeavor, she sometimes has a love-hate relationship with it.
And before she could even think about performing, there was the issue of actually writing something. Herzig went nine months without writing any songs, and when she finally realized it was time to start, the prospect of doing so was daunting. Fortunately for Herzig, once she got going, she gradually started to heal.
Most of the songs from her debut EP, 2013’s Mountain Road, are based on her life in Colorado or at least were created here. But the closing song on the EP, “When I Was Young,” hearkens back to her days growing up in Vermont.