“Sparrow” by Mean Mary, from the album “Cold”

Sparrow comes hot of the new release from our Mean Mary, October’s Album of the Month.

 

“Cocaine Country Dancing” by Paul Cauthen, from the album “Room 41”

All the songs on Paul Cauthen‘s just-announced forthcoming record, Room 41, were written during a dark, harrowing time in the artist’s personal life. None of its tracks, however, were written in a more manic and drug-fueled state than “Cocaine Country Dancing,” which readers can hear above.

“I had the hook of that song up in Wichita Falls, [Texas], at this old warehouse, with this weed dealer that I used to go buy weed from. He had an old drum set, like, with a mini keyboard and a loop station, all this stuff that I was messing with one day after I bought some weed from him,” Cauthen recalls to The Boot, adding that the early stages of the song were born during that impromptu riffing.

At the time, the singer was in the middle of what he describes as a “frenzy.” Following a calamitous breakup, Cauthen left the house where he’d been living in Wichita Falls, and moved into the Belmont Hotel in Dallas. He stayed in room 41, which serves as the title of his new album.

“Everything was about to be planned out for my life. I was gonna get married,” Cauthen continues. “Now, I went to being single and in a hotel room writing songs. You know, I was in some self-pity. I was acting like an idiot there for a minute, and I was dating a lot of different girls, just trying to find my heart again. I was in a hollow moment of my life.”

Songwriting became his therapy, Cauthen continues, and resulted in some of his most vulnerable and revealing tracks to date. In some cases — like in “Cocaine Country Dancing” — the degree of honesty in the lyrics makes Cauthen flinch a bit.

“I don’t like to have to tell my mom that the f–kin’ song is “Cocaine Country Dancing,” you know?” he interjects, “and talk to my mom and grandmother about this, about my drug frenzy and acting like an idiot. I went through some hospital visits. [I was] just pushing myself to the end, you know? Pushing myself to the max.”

Cauthen doesn’t harbor any delusions that this extreme lifestyle yielded better art. “Did bathing in all that despair and darkness help me musically? I don’t think so,” he admits. “I was on my route to get it done either way.”

Still, that period of living in extremes allowed him to take big chances in the songs he was writing. “It’s just that you don’t give a f–k,” Cauthen says of his mindset while writing the project. “You get sloppy drunk. You just don’t give a damn. That’s all just f–kin’ thrown out the window.

“I was just trying to get through it, and, honestly, I was reaching for a bigger sound the whole time … Like, ‘How am I gonna stand out? How is this gonna sound different than what everybody’s playing?'” he adds. “So I was reaching for what was left of center, rather than what was comfortable, and that led me down some other pathways sonically.”

thanks to The Boot

 

“Awake” by Shadowfields, from the album “Festival For One”

 

 

“Awake” begins Shadowfields’ absolutely amazing new release, “Festival For One”, an album full of the most brilliant songwriting and some of the best music, vocals, and vocal harmonies I have ever heard in my life! Heather Humphrey and Tom McKeown put their hearts and their talents into this awesome release and it truly shows, paying off in dividends!

And let’s not forget the rest of this incredible band! Jim Livas, Tony Meadors, and Gary Jacklin. All amazing and gifted musicians. I also need to mention the wonderful album artwork of Aeden Kurt Humphrey. Truly spectacular!

“Better by Now” by Benjamin Dakota Rogers, from the album “Better by Now”

Benjamin Dakota Rogers made his highly anticipated return to the folk world with his brand new single, digitally released January 25. Better by Now, strips the genre down to its core and emotionally charges it with raw human experience, immediately earning a top 40 single spot on the Airplay Direct Folk chart. With the release of his new single, this award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist folk-phenom proves he’s at the top of his game in every way imaginable. 

“Hi-Fi Love” by Chris & Adam Carroll, from the album “Good Farmer”

 

 

“Harmony” in music is really a pretty simple concept. Sing the notes, practice, and (hopefully) make beautiful music together. “Chemistry,” on the other hand, eludes easy definition, which is maybe part of the reason it’s so difficult to attain. Chris and Adam Carroll have that chemistry. Not because they done got hitched (although, they did, in 2013), but because they’ve naturally developed a musical gift that’s brought them to record their first album as a duo, Good Farmer.

 

That chemistry jumps through the headphones on the very first track, “Hi-Fi Love”, and it’s because of their different styles that the song, and the entire record, succeeds so well. Originally written with Scott Nolan, the singers made a few changes so they could perform it as a duo, and they make it both funny and endearing, like the cool couple you wish you knew. Along the way, they drop gems like, “You’ve been drinkin’/Like a bricklayer’s daughter”, “Seems like she left me/In a wolf and sheep kinda world”, and “Freebird rockin’/White trash, h-fi love.” Their vastly different vocal styles (Adam croons easily in a drawl that’s somewhere between Southern and Texan, while Chris’s flawless voice might remind you of Alison Krauss) helps those great lines land just right.