Frank Gutch Jr: 2017? Bring It On!
Jesus Christ, but 2016 was a tough year! The musicians (and people) we lost! The impending doom of a Trump-inspired government! The division of what was in some ways a country, a world even. Ideals crushed beneath the boot heels of hate, news warped beyond any rational thought, a world based upon a semblance of logic now an anarchy of thought and emotion.
It is not like I didn’t see it coming. I knew something was bad wrong when friends I had had for years began turning on me because of my support for Bernie Sanders. Bad enough that I should be reviled by bigoted idiots who think that Trump is a real alternative, but to have people I agreed with in principle tell me over and over that if I didn’t vote for Hillary it would be my fault if Trump won was a bit hard to swallow. To me, that was the equivalent of not really thinking the new Stones album was the cat’s meow because, after all, they were going back to what they had once done better than most and, hell, they are The Stones, after all. Sorry, sports fans, I am not impressed. I’m not saying it is a bad album, but if they are supposed to be as good as their fans profess, they are not up to the hype.
Lost Leaders are, though. Those crazy rockers from New York State have put together a six-song mini-LP/Maxi-EP to help us put 2016 behind us and it is a beauty. Actually, it is another beauty if you take into account their 2014 self-titled album which was my pick for that years Album of the Year. There is something about the sound which carries me away— a seventies-infused aura I have missed pretty much since the seventies. A Crosby, Stills, and Nash aesthetic. A Poco feel. Shades of Simon & Garfunkel. A Paul Cotton a la Illinois Speed Press vibe. A John Lennon presence. Not all together but in pieces, fading and segueing in and out. If anyone had stopped long enough to hear their LP, they would have heard it. Here’s your chance on the new one.
It took them two years but Tamikrest will be back with a new album in March. Titled Kidal, it will undoubtedly contain that certain unmistakable aura which made Chatma a success. Here is a preview, with verbal notes.
After watching Sydney Wayser‘s new crowdfunding video for Clara-Nova on Pledgemusic, I cannor help but think of The Who and the ending of Won’t Get Fooled Again. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” but this does not apply to just Wayser, it applies to the music biz. I don’t know how many musicians I have talked with over the years who bemoaned the terms of the contracts they signed back in the day— the ones with legal gobbledygook and print so fine you needed a microscope to read. I am sure most were signed under duress, meaning it was a “sign here or you might never have another chance” situation because back then major labels were pretty much the only game in town— the only one with any chance of real success anyway. Nowadays it may not be labels, though they are rebuilding in different forms, but management companies, but the fine print is still there. Wayser discovered it when her “label” took over her two albums as their own and she headed into the nether regions to start again as Clara-Nova. She has never been one to let circumstances completely control her, though, and is bouncing back by starting again.
If you have read much of my stuff, you know she is one I backed wholeheartedly after spending a summer painting a house whilst alternating Wayser’s The Colorful with Seattle band Goldie Wilson until the job was done. By the end, I was a true fan of both bands and albums and have never looked back.
When Wayser finally came up with her second album, Bell Choir Coast, I was beyond salivation and, once again, she brought her A-game. A step down the line, or I should say, up the line. Another album I thought could not miss and it did well enough but not enough to break out.
Thus began the alter-Sydney, Clara-Nova, who would soon lose the rights to the first two albums (maybe three because she did have an LP or EP out before The Colorful) and would step into a new and, hopefully, not too-different world. I say hopefully because she is very unique in her approach to what she writes and performs. From the Backtard Sessions:
In the meantime, she has worked on various projects and has been getting herself ready for her re-introduction into the music world. Here is one.
Because she lost the rights to all of her masters, she is on a mission. She wants to re-record her music so she has control (something Steve Young wanted and finally realized with his re-recording of many of his classic songs for Songlines Revisited, Vol. 1) and I am sure has many songs in her trunk (Young claimed he kept his in a bathtub). So one project I am really looking forward to in 2017 is her new project as Clara-Nova. You can help her along and turn yourself onto some fine, fine music by checking out her fundraising page (click here). In the video she explains her predicament and her “mission” (my word, not hers). Hell, it’s one click away and it can’t hurt. Check it out.
There must be a few thousand Burns in Ithaca. The Burns Sisters alone have utilized at least a dozen (okay, maybe five or six) and there are right now at least three subgroups which emanated from the family— The Burns Sisters (at present, Annie and Marie Teresa; Hardin & Burns (Andrew Hardin & Jeannie Burns); and Burns & Kristy (Terry Burns and Ron Kristy). Thing is, they are all good and most times even better than that. I would look up all the years en toto but I am sure I can’t count that high, though I am sure that if I asked any one of them, they could tell me without even thinking. Once a family, always a family (unless Hollywood or reality television gets hold of you).
This time I am focused on Burns & Kristy, who just released a compilation album of sorts titled Always Home, a collection of songs beautiful and floating and contemplative. It took me maybe ten seconds to fall in love with the album but I was much in need of a little beauty and rest in the midst of the political hell we have been living in. Try this on for size.
They claim this album is more contemplative than some of their others. I could care less. I have heard enough of them to know that they feed on melody and harmony and create auras all their own. I love this kind of stuff.
Terry and Ron, when asked, went out of their way to explain their journey which includes not only Always Home but a new album they hope to have ready in two or three months. Spring. A perfect time for new music. A perfect time for excellent music, which I am sure it will be. Want to know why I think that? I stopped by Ron’s own site and checked him out. The guy is a music machine. I sampled everything on his page and am knocked out by his sense of Pop music. Outstanding! Listen here.
And if you’re in the market for cool T-shirts, etc., click here to visit their store. Nice stuff.
I’ve been waiting forever for the next Paige Anderson & The Fearless Kin album and Paige swears it will be coming this Spring. I understand that summer is a time for festivals and live performances and they have been paying their dues, but that does little to slake the thirst. I also understand that they are young and have oats to sow. I’m just hoping they are sowing them on the festival circuit, is all.
Once upon a time there was a band called Sinking Creek, one of the damndest pea-soup bands I’ve ever heard, and I loved them. They lived long enough to put together an album titled Fast Asleep which you had to hear all the way through to even begin to understand. It sounded like swamp gas and hog slop and was so unique it kicked my ass.
Unfortunately, few were taken by the album as was I (although Keith Morris of The Crooked Numbers took to it right off) and the Creek morphed into an ocean and renamed itself Monster Atlantic, the music morphing with the name.
One album with one coming soon, sez head monster Lance (Link, maybe? I’m not tellin’). Here’s to 2017!
Speaking of 2017, the one album I and most of my friends are awaiting is the new one by Popmeisters Daisy House. While there is supposedly a title, I am not passing it along until the album is actually released, hopefully early Spring at the latest. If you love the whole sixties Pop/Power Pop/Sunshine Pop thing and you have not heard these guys, prepare to be amazed. Three albums and the new one. All topnotch. Take a listen.
Back to 2016…
Hey, these guys have a “Christmas” EP out. Parentheses because it is about Winter more than anything.
Here is a real heads up. Carl Anderson has teamed up with Velvet Elk Records to bring you a deluxe edition of his album Risk of Loss. It will contain three new songs and the full album which I gave rave reviews when it was first released. Anderson, if you ask me, is one of those musicians who will garner respect among musicians (he already has) before breaking out to the general public. An excellent album in an excellent package. Click here for details.
And to cap it all off, I am still trying to figure this one out. The band is Tallisker. The song is Astraea. This may well be the future. For now.
It’s the end of the year and I am sure most of you are as tired as myself. It’s been a bitch, hasn’t it? I will cut this short to start my end-of-the-year column, if you don’t mind. And you can carry on with drugs and drink. We’ll need all we can get if those asshats who want to dismantle the country get their way. Thank the gods for music. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all…..
Frank’s column appears every Tuesday
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“Frank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.