Friday, September 13, 2019

Adobe and Teardrops Podcast -- Episode 79

Every new beginning is some other beginning’s end. I have Highwomen feelings and I wrote an article in The Boot!
Also, a little pop country!

  1. The Highwomen -- “My Only Child” (The Highwomen)
  2. Ma’aM -- “Sweet” (Can’t Talk, Being Chased.)
  3. Joseph Gallant -- “Better Buzz” (Single)
  4. Jessi McNeal -- “Out of Reach” (The Driveway)
  5. Charlotte Pike -- “Hurt Like This” (Single)
  6. Adam Ezra Group -- “The Toast” (Better Than Bootleg Vol. 3)
  7. Tacocat -- “Crystal Ball” (This Mess Is a Place)
  8. Jimbo Pap -- “Submission (Nice Pants)” (It Can Always Get Worse)
  9. The Hold Steady -- “Entitlement Crew” (Thrashing Thru the Passion)
  10. Blue Vines -- “Lanch Party” (Fever Dreamy) 

Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send me money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

Thursday, September 12, 2019

PREMIERE: Kristopher James -- "Too Soon, Too Late"

"We all have different relationships with love, no matter what kind of relationship we have," writes crooner Kristopher James. "Be it platonic, familial, romantic - they ebb and flow and if we're not being mindful - if we're too into it or oblivious, love could come "too soon" and we're not really ready for it, or it can come 'too late' - like it's in our rear view and we're stuck with only questions."

That lack of preparation is not how James rolls, though. Nor is it evident in "Too Soon, Too Late." The song marks something of a return for James, who blew me away with his last release in 2016, Find Me. After taking time to recover from surgery, James has returned to singing in excellent form -- and once you listen to "Too Soon, Too Late," you'll understand what I relief that is.


"Too Soon, Too Late" is a perfect primer for anyone who has yet to hear the swooning shifts and transcendent swells in James's voice. If his delivery wasn't so sincere, you'd think he was showboating. Fortunately, James has the graciousness to share his gift with the rest of us -- and the humility to get down to our level. Comfortably nestled between folk and soul, James's music reminds us how liberating vulnerability can be.



Kristopher James -- Official, Facebook

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

BONUS EPISODE: Queer Country Music History

Hello! I recently wrote an article on The Boot about the history of queer country music! There’s so much more than I wrote about -- and even many more artists than I’m including on this episode.
If you read my blog or listen to this podcast, you know I’m not great at tact. So I’ll also include the spicier takes that didn’t make the cut since it’s an article -- not an op-ed!
I cannot stress enough that these opinions are all my own.
For more background on the modern queer country community, see this article from Wide Open Country.


  1. Lavender Country -- “Lavender Country” (Lavender Country)
  2. k.d. lang and the Reclines -- “Big-Boned Gal” (Absolute Torch and Twang)
  3. The Indigo Girls -- “The Rise of the Black Messiah” (One Lost Day)
  4. Melissa Etheridge -- “Come To My Window” (Yes I Am)
  5. Tracy Chapman -- “Fast Car” (Tracy Chapman)
  6. Karen and the Sorrows -- “Guaranteed Broken Heart” (Guaranteed Broken Heart)
  7. My Gay Banjo -- “Muscle For Money” 
  8. Sam Gleaves -- “Hot Pink House Trailer” (Fink, Marxer, & Gleaves)
  9. Justin Hiltner -- “I’m Not in Love With You” (Watch It Burn w. Jon Weisberger) 
  10. Paisley Fields -- “Periwinkle” (Glitter & Sawdust)
  11. Amythyst Kiah -- “Wildebeest” (Amythyst Kiah And Her Chest of Glass)
  12. Brandon Stansell -- “Hometown” (Single)
  13. Orville Peck -- “Hope to Die” (Pony)
  14. Sarah Shook -- “What It Takes” (Years)
  15. Mariel Buckley -- “I Wonder” (Driving in the Dark)
  16. Loamlands -- “Some Boy You Don’t Need” (Lez Dance)
  17. The Highwomen -- “If She Ever Leaves Me” (The Highwomen)

Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and find Rachel on her socials via https://linktr.ee/rachel.cholst


Friday, September 6, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Man of the Minch -- "Undertow"

By the time you read this, my article on the history queer country music should be up on The Boot! I could probably write a whole book on the subject (Nadine Hubbs has already broached the topic) but I limited the piece to nine artists.

If you've been reading this blog or following the podcast for more than two weeks, you know the scene is much, much bigger than that. And it crosses continents. Glasglow's Man of the Minch has been hard at work crafting beautiful pop country (but not, like, radio pop country) since his debut EP in 2017. Today, he's showing us what's in store.


"Undertow" uses country conventions to great effect, using a prominent fiddle to illustrate the tension between the narrator and his partner. The faded vocals -- borrowed from contemporary pop -- seek to blunt the pain, but the acoustic instrumentation shows us how the narrator truly feels. And there's a lot going on lyrically here -- the narrator is conscious of his mistake, but...is he really going to learn from it? He's skeptical of even being given another chance -- sounds like this has been going on for a while and, as he admits, maybe it's time to pick it up and move on.



Also of note is "Better Off Alone," more of a dance song than "Undertow." "Better Off Alone" is a kiss-off song -- one where the narrator is trying to line up a few more kisses. I'd like to think this narrator is the object of the other's affections. Like most modern dance music, if you crank the volume high enough you won't notice the pain embedded in the lyrics. (Seriously, have you been listening to some of these kids? More emo than emo.) 



Man of the Minch -- Facebook

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 78

Labor Day plans, hospital visits, and a whole lot of Big Moods!

  1. Wonderly Road -- “Knock Knockin’” (Single)
  2. Lisa Bastoni -- “Never Gone to You” (How We Want to Live)
  3. Panther Hollow -- “Letter” (Single)
  4. Aloud -- “Live TV” (Single)
  5. Isabelle Stillman -- “Nashville” (Middle Sister)
  6. Charles Mingus -- “Moanin” (Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus)
  7. Meanlife -- “Left Nothin’ Behind” (Bad Vibes in the Womb)
  8. Kathleen Edwards -- “Hockey Skates” (Failer)
  9. Eilen Jewell -- “Miles to Go” (Gypsy)

Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

Thursday, September 5, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: "Year And a Moon" -- Russel Taine, Jr

Based in Austin, Texas, Russel Taine Jr. is not one man. Rather, it's a four-piece comprised of Aaron Winston (vocals/guitar), Justin Winslow (bass), Cory Fica (drums) and Brittany Long (keys). Skillfully blending indie rock, punk, and folk, "Year And a Moon" finds the band in a wistful frame of mind.

The group officially formed in March 2017 after a last-minute request to play at Austin’s famous venue The Mohawk. After spending 2017-2018 playing shows around Austin, Russel Taine Jr. put together their inaugural EP, American Dream. A second EP, Tales, is in progress.


A ramble on that murky line between nostalgia and regret, "A Year And a Moon" channels millennial pop-punk through Uncle Tupelo. Even as the  the dream-like momentum of the song's rhythm mirrors the narrator's life passing by, the subtle twang gives the narrator an edge. He's resisting -- or, at least, he thinks he is.

"Written about the long car ride from Cleveland, OH to NYC, this song is an homage to restless nights and meandering desires," Winston explains. "The big ideas in this song are imagining what could have been — and thinking about what is and what was. The initial thrum of an electric guitar through a reverse and tape pedal is designed to help snap the present into focus and the past into a contrasting relief."


Russel Taine, Jr -- Bandcamp

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

PREMIERE: Bradford Loomis -- "Rambling Man"

If I had a nickle for every time I've heard the phrase "the new Nashville" since starting this blog, I wouldn't need a day job. But if I had a dollar for every time the phrase was apt, well, I'm still working the 9 to 5. Bradford Loomis' new track "Rambling Man" imports some Seattle grunge into his Americana, making for a stadium-worthy country production. It's a song that is triumphant and sorely necessary: the story of someone waking up to what's around them.

Loomis has earned the grit on "Rambling Man." After losing his job and his home in the Recession, Loomis also had to support his wife through a mysterious illness as well as his father with early-onset Alzheimer's. These experiences brought Loomis back to music after a ten-year hiatus, and the scene has welcomed him with open arms. You may recognize Loomis' voice from his duo with Beth Whitney: Banner Days. On his second full-length solo album, Where the Light Ends, Loomis looks to a brighter future. The album will be out on October 11th.

Photo: Tony Hammons
 How did you come to write this song? Is it about you or about someone else? What inspired it?

When my friend Shelly Moore and I sat down to write this, I was telling her about my fathers diagnosis of Alzheimer's and how that got me thinking about the legacy that we leave. I have found myself asking, "Am I making the most of my time here on Earth?" I have come to the realization that I have no idea where this life will take me, but I want to enjoy the journey. I want that journey or the time that I'm given to be meaningful and make others lives better. I'm working towards that.

How did this song come together in the studio? Was it easy, or did it require a number of takes to get it the way you wanted it?

Oh man, it was so much fun. Mark Alvis, my drummer, and Brandon Bee, the album producer, came up with some amazing parts for the rhythm section. The way the rhythm pattern shifts from the verse to that syncopated beat in the chorus is my favorite part of the song. It's an amazing experience to watch gifted musicians take a song you wrote in directions you hadn't imagined. It's a beautiful surrender. And it gives the song a chance to really come alive.



Your press materials talk about some of the difficulties that life threw at you and how overcoming them made you a stronger person and shaped your music. How do you think losing your job, your home, and having your wife be sick (all at the same time) informed how you approach songwriting? Do you still mine that difficult time for your songwriting? 

Well, for one, I doubt that I would have had the courage to pick up music again if not for the adversity. It lit a fire that was both logistic (we needed to pay the bills and music was something I could do on the side) and soul nourishing. It gave me an outlet to deal with what we were going through. And through that, I found that we were not alone. We are uniquely wired for narrative. The songs that were tending to my wounds told powerful stories of hard times struggled through. It gave me hope and the means to tell my stories and the stories of my family. I still come back to those timed in my writing. There is an unfortunate universality in suffering. We can all relate to it at some point. The key for me is always looking for the light. Hope seems to always get us through.

You moved from Seattle to Nashville, which is not only a big geographic move, but also probably a bit of a cultural shift too. Do you feel that you fit better in Nashville than you did in Seattle as a musician and performer? How has it been for you to be part of the bustling Nashville music scene? 

You know, I think I do. I don't know that Washington will ever stop feeling like home, but Nashville definitely does now. The people have been so kind and welcoming. Nashville is built around music and the people who make it. It's an electric city that knows the value that creators bring to a city. It's pretty amazing. Seattle is beautiful and has a great scene filled with loving people, but the city has made it hard for creators to live there. They aren't valued. It's a shame. I've always stood out wherever I go. It's the nature of looking like I do I guess, but it's different here. It's felt like a good thing so far. And my favorite thing is that people are so open to collaboration here in Nashville. It makes it much easier to find and build community.

Where the Light Ends will be released on October 11th. "Rambling Man" will be available wherever you find your music on September 6th. 

Bradford Loomis -- Facebook, Twitter, Spotify