Hartle Road Limited Edition EP Available Feb 25th


At the top of a steep driveway, just a couple of miles from downtown Columbus, Mississippi, you’ll hear a noise far different from what you might hear on one of the local radio stations. It’s a sound completely unprovoked by trends or age. Everything about it squares off directly with what you might expect.

One look into their practice space tells the story. Every influence is represented– from the orchestrated pop of Brian Wilson and Phil Spector to the anthemic power of Bruce Springsteen. From the hooks of Tom Petty to the crunch of AC/DC. There’s barely an empty shelf… or space… in the room. It’s quickly evident that this is not just a band. It’s an obsession.

It’s Hartle Road.

It’s a close-knit group of family and friends that create a bold sound– a sound that pulls inspiration from a bygone era, yet delivers it in a punch that is refreshingly modern. It celebrates everything that music should celebrate…

… and they just want you to listen.

Water Liars’ Third Album Out February 4th


Mississippi’s Water Liars will release their self-titled third album on February 4th, 2014 via Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum Records.

“My sisters were the heavens / My brothers were the depths / Now I’m rolling into battle with a smoke between my lips,” Justin Kinkel-Schuster sings on “I Want Blood,” and it’s a presiding image on Water Liars. Joined by GR Robinson on bass, and fresh off the success of sophomore album Wyoming and the reissue of debut LP Phantom Limb – both released earlier this year – Kinkel-Schuster (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Bryant (drums, vocals) strut into this effort with their feathers out, driven by a need to create. Forget taking years to release a new album; Water Liars don’t know how to stop working. A punk aesthetic – a desire not to overdo songs until they’re shiny with emptiness – is the band’s defining feature, and it’s why their songs are filled with such raw sorrow. To call the songs here an improvement over what they’ve done before would be to sell the earlier work short: Wyoming, released in March, earned praise from The New York Times, Alternative Press, Penthouse, and All Music Guide, among others.

Recorded over three studio sessions in Water Valley, MS in late spring and summer, Water Liars finds the band expanding on Wyoming’s classic, soulful songwriting and warm yet heartsick expanse. The songs, written by Kinkel-Schuster and fleshed out with Bryant on the road, were tracked mostly live and exhibit diverse and divergent styles. Opener “Cannibal” sets the tone with resounding guitar and crash of drums; “I Want Blood” is a bright, resonant embodiment of the band’s determined spirit; “Let It Breathe” offers a heartrending, haunting appeal of simply guitar and vocals, as bare as it is vulnerable; “Ray Charles Dream” is a blistering take on ‘50s rock/pop; and “Swannanoa” is poignant, rolling waltz. A study in contrasts, the album captures the stark dynamics of both Water Liars’ live show – the restrained moments made all the softer by their roaring bookends – and their lyricism, all the while effortlessly towing the tenuous line of harsh and tender. For every lonesome ache, there’s a hopeful promise; for every stumble into despair, a wide-eyed reach for life’s wonder; for every broken heart, there’s one patched back together. These are songs about leaving and staying, about lost fathers and new loves, about distance and memory. A full track listing is below.

Water Liars track listing:

1. Cannibal
2. War Paint
3. I Want Blood
4. Swannanoa
5. Let It Breathe
6. Tolling Bells (For Molina)
7. Ray Charles Dream
8. Vespers
9. Pulp
10. Last Escape
11. Turn Me On

Water Liars tour dates:

  • Feb 14 – Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS
  • Feb 15 – Martin’s – Jackson, MS
  • Feb 18 – Vinyl – Atlanta, GA
  • Feb 19 – Normaltown Hall – Athens, GA
  • Feb 20 – The Royal American – Charleston, SC
  • Feb 21 – King’s Barcade – Raleigh, NC
  • Feb 22 – The Mothlight – Asheville, NC
  • Feb 24 – DC9 – Washington, DC
  • Feb 25 – Milkboy – Philadelphia, PA
  • Feb 26 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
  • Feb 27 – Cafe Nine – New Haven, CT
  • Feb 28 – Book and Bar – Portsmouth, NH
  • Mar 2 – Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mar 3 – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH
  • Mar 4 – The Union – Athens, OH
  • Mar 5 – The Brass Rail – Ft. Wayne, IN
  • Mar 6 – Schubas Tavern – Chicago, IL
  • Mar 8 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
  • Mar 10 – The Basement – Nashville, TN


Bobby Bare Jr. “Shame On Me” 7″ Out January 7th

BLM0284_BBJ_Cover (2)


• Has a degree in psychology from the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE.

• Made 2 albums for Immortal Records with his band “BARE JR.” -
one for Sony Records in 1998 and one for Virgin Records in 2001.

• Born raised and still lives in Nashville, TN.

• Is VERY afraid of elves.

• Has 3 children -two boys and one girl.

• Nominated for a Grammy at the age of 6 years old for a duet with
his dad called “Daddy What If” – written by Shel Silverstein. That year the Grammy for “Country Duet of the Year” went to THE POINTER SISTERS.

• Believes that blue is a flavor and not a color nor a feeling.

• Has made three albums and one EP for BLOODSHOT RECORDS
since 2002.

• Co-produced his dad’s last record THE MOON WAS BLUE in 2006.

• Grew up in HENDERSONVILLE, TN with George Jones and Tammy
Wynette as his next door neighbors.

• Has been romantically linked to the BOB’S BIG BOY boy.

• Can NOT speak Mmandrin Chinese.

• This 7” was recorded at Dial Back Sound Studio in Water Valley,
MS with producer Bruce Watson.

Leo Welch “Sabougla Voices” Out January 7th


Over the years, gospel music has received all kinds of accolades and lip service from critics and musicians attesting to its profound influence on American popular music. Rock and roll began in the church after all. But unless you grew up around or in a church and absorbed all the Bible verses, preacher chants and sermons and, of course, the music, you have to really dig to start uncovering the music itself. Precious little has been reissued and made accessible to a wider audience. But things are beginning to change. The last ten years has seen an increasing appearance of gospel reissues and the vast, previously uncollected vinyl corpus has finally drawn the attention of the influential soul and funk collectors. The lost are coming to the Lord.

At the same time, misleading overly romantic stories and myths too often mar accounts of American popular music: Jimi Hendrix injected LSD into his eyeball; Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in order to gain his musical skills; and Hank Williams was always drunk.  Here we have the Saturday night blues vs. the Sunday morning gospel cliché to overcome. One can’t play the blues and the gospel the story goes. Leo “Bud” Welch lays all this nonsense as low as the shrubs and trees he cut for over 30 years with his chainsaw.  With his guitar sounding like a well-oiled Husqvarna, Welch uses the weapon that has killed many a lie, myth and story: the truth. I don’t know what you came to do but I came to praise his name; I came to sing my song.

It seems incredible that Leo Welch has until now remained unknown to the wider musical world. Born in 1932 in Sabougla, Mississippi Welch has lived his entire life in the area. Raised with four brothers and seven sisters, Welch’s musical ability was first noticed by his family when he and his cousin Alandus Welch. took to an older cousin’s guitar quicker than the owner R. C. Welch. Soon, Leo andR.C were picking out tunes heard on the radio and playing them for family and friends. Welch also picked up the harmonica and fiddle along the way. As the years passed Welch continued to entertain at picnics and parties in the area usually accompanied by his friend Otis McCain and often joined by first cousin R. C. Welch. Their repertoire consisted of many of the blues and radio standards and favorites of the day. On several occasions, Welch came to the attention of professional musicians, but planned auditions or jam sessions never worked out. When the Mondays rolled around, Welch was back at work, logging with his chainsaw or working on a local farm. Still, Welch played on, absorbing songs and listening to anything on the radio. Gospel music was a particular favorite and Welch learned the gospel repertoire at church and by listening to gospel groups like the Fairfield Four on Nashville’s clear channel WLAC. Even the name of Welch’s then current group, Leo Welch and the Rising Souls, suggests a belief in spiritual redemption anticipating the direction Welch would take.

One possible reason Welch flew under the radar for so long was his move into the church around 1975. The vast network of churches in Mississippi and the South offered consistent, safe venues to perform.  Welch’s brand of blues was becoming old fashioned and gigs were harder to come by. The churches offered a place where a musician like Leo Welch could still play his style, just slightly modified for the gospel. To this day these music programs and services often pass unnoticed to even lifetime residents in the local communities. Outside music enthusiasts who have obsessively canvased places like Mississippi over the last 75 years have largely overlooked the churches in their ceaseless attempts to discover a juke joint out of time. It wouldn’t be that far from overstatement to say that any single county in Mississippi probably has more churches than the all-time sum total of juke houses.

But Welch never let the blues go. He has never seen any reason to: “I believe in the Lord, but the blues speaks to life, too.  Blues has a feeling just like gospel; they just don’t have a book (a Bible).”  Welch continues to sing with two local gospel groups in the Bruce, Mississippi area, The Spiritualaires of Bruce, Mississippi and Leo Welch and the Sabougla Voices. You can also catch Leo hosting The Black Gospel Express TV show every 1st and 5th Sunday on WO7BN-TV in Bruce.

Lately, there seems to be a tolerant and accepting Samaritan like empathy appearing among former church goers and the like outside of the physical churches themselves.  Preacher’s kids and individual exiles from Baptist and Pentecostal churches who still quietly respect and follow the teachings of Jesus but suffocated under the dogmas of the physical churches have quietly set up shop in the cultural nooks and crannies of America. Some of these very same exiles have come together to make this record with Brother Leo Welch. And make no mistake; this is a gospel record.

So don’t go looking over your shoulder when you are listening to these songs. Come on into this church. There won’t be any old church ladies staring you down from the self-righteous section of the pews. It’s all right. Despite what some folk might insist, church isn’t always under the steepled roof. Where ever you are, have a sip, tap your foot, stomp it even fellowship with your friends and rejoice with the Lord and Leo “Bud” Welch.  Crank it.

Kevin Nutt
WFMU / Sinner’s Crossroads
Montgomery, Alabama
September 26, 2013

Listen to a track from Leo Welch’s “Sabougla Voices” below.

Sam Langhorn “The Gospel According to Sam” 10″ Out November 12th



Sam Langhorn (1933-2007) was known among locals as the best blues guitarist to come out of Oxford, Mississippi, but he somehow eluded the blues mafia who scoured the state looking for talent. The recordings here are the first ever issued by Langhorn, who demonstrates his skills performing traditional gospel in a style remarkably similar to Mississippi John Hurt. He learned guitar from his mother Camilla, who played at sanctified church services, but eventually chose the blues lifestyle.

The recordings were made around 1963 by two former Ole Miss football stars who befriended Langhorn and simply made the recordings for fun before putting them aside for half a century. Jimmy Hall went on to pursue a career of acting in New York City and L.A., and Robert Khayat a Pro Bowl career with the Washington Redskins then later returning  to the University of Mississippi, where he became a celebrated Chancellor.

Get a glimpse of Sam Longhorne’s upcoming album “The Gospel According to Sam” with the track “Keep Your Hands on the Plow” featured below.

John Paul Keith “Memphis Circa 3AM”


John Paul Keith’s new album Memphis Circa 3AM will be out on Big Legal Mess Records on September 17.

Check out the track list and listen to “Everything’s Different Now” from the new album below.


1. You Really Oughta Be With Me

2. We Got All Night

3. Everything’s Different Now

4. Ninety Proof Kiss

5. Walking Along The Lane

6. True Hard Money

7. New Year’s Eve

8. There’s A Heartache Going ‘Round

9. If You Catch Me Staring

10. Last Night I Had A Dream About You

11. She’s Almost You

12. Baby We’re A Bad Idea



John Paul Keith, the brilliant singer-songwriter and blistering guitarist who exploded out of a self-imposed musical exile in Memphis with 2009’s critically acclaimed Spills and Thrills and 2011’s The Man That Time Forgot, returns in September with Memphis Circa 3AM—his most accomplished and moving collection of songs yet.

Less a tribute to the spirit, soul and sound of the city than the living, crackling embodiment of it, Memphis Circa3AM finds Keith reaching the songwriting depths and musical heights that his previous two releases foreshadowed. Produced by the truly legendary Roland Janes—house guitarist for Sun Records in the 50s and longtime engineer and producer at Sam Phillips Recording Services—the album is a time-stopping 12-song duet between two deeply kindred artists, as Keith’s songs and Janes’ direction achieve a sonic balance that is both familiar and original. Cut live to two-inch tape—with Janes providing direction from the booth and not a computer in sight—the album sounds deeply rooted and incredibly fresh at the same time.

“When you think about the sheer scope of the work Roland has done, it is intimidating,” Keith says. “So many of my favorite records he either played on or worked on in some capacity. Working in there, I had to put it out of my mind. You can’t get anything done if you think too much about it. But Roland never brings it up. He immediately makes you feel comfortable. It became clear to me in my first meeting with Rolandthat he had no interest in doing any sort of nostalgia project. He wants to do something new and fresh and creative. It really helped us work.”

It shows. On each song—from the raucous stop-start rave-up of “You Really Oughta Be With Me” to the sad resign of “She’s Almost You,” Keith is backed with incredible power and delicacy by his band the One Four Fives. Bassist Mark Edgar Stuart and drummer John Argroves are arguably one of the deftest rhythm sections going, and their ability to propel, ground and bolster Keith’s songs recalls nothing short of the Band. Years on the road supporting the two previous albums, as well as crisscrossing the U.S. and Europe both alone and as backup for Jack Oblivian, has solidified Keith and the One Four Fives into an intuitive and powerful live band.

And as his band musically ups the ante, Keith meets it with his finest songs to date. There are few songwriters today that can match his ability to invest a simple turn of phrase with so many layers of meaning. From the hungover romance of “Ninety Proof Kiss” (“No one ever looked finer still wearing last-night’s eyeliner / I’m sure gonna miss that ninety-proof kiss”) to the plaintive moving-on heartbreak of “She’s Almost You” (“Why should I pine for you everyday, when she loves the words I used to say to you / they’re almost true”), Keith’s lyrics have an amazing ability to sound effortless and impeccably crafted. On “New Year’s Eve”—a stunning blue-eyed soul ballad that matches the melancholy sweetness of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham—Keith has written a song worthy of becoming a standard. “Next thing you know, I’ll be lying about my age / I’m reading the book, but I don’t want to turn the page /Can you believe it is already New Year’s Eve?”

It is a feeling and theme Keith returns to unflinchingly throughout the album. The songs hint of time slipping away, somewhere between midnight and morning, of feeling at the same time lost and in the right place, of being heartbroken and happy, optimistic and fearful, inspired to move forward by looking back. Keith’s ability to let these contradictions stand together unresolved has created a work of great and subtle complexity.

With the seamless balance itstrikes between Keith and his songs, and Janes and his production, Memphis Circa3AM is like discovering a musical Rosetta stone that decrypts the deep and mysterious codes of Memphis music to reveal the truths they hold. With Janes’ help, Keith has managed to harness the power of the city’s musical history and traditions to create a collection of songs that is truly timeless. In keeping with the album’s themes of contradiction, Keith has created a work that rightly stands in the pantheon of Memphis’ best while remaining adamantly and uniquely his own.