The Joup Friday Album: “Traveller” — Chris Stapleton

TravellerWhen I was tagged for the Joup Friday Album, I had already been thinking for weeks that it was time to write about Chris Stapleton’s album, “Traveller.” This album won’t get out of my head, and I realize now why that is: It hasn’t been since U2’s “The Joshua Tree” that an album has had such a profound and personal impact on my life.

On Silver Wings: Remembering Merle Haggard

MerleIt was cold, windy and gray the day that I heard Merle Haggard died — in other words, a typical Midwestern spring day. It seems right, though, given the news.

The Joup Friday Album: “Dirty South” — Drive-By Truckers

DrivebytruckerIf you want an excellent, straightforward review of the Drive-By Truckers’ album, “Dirty South,” read contributor Stephen M. Deusner’s piece for Pitchfork. You’ll find no better deconstruction of what that album was about. You’ll discover, should you be patient and forgiving enough to truly research the history of Southern myths, there is much that exists in the gray area between good and bad, right and wrong, legal and illegal. Deusner’s words are well thought-out, well-considered and on point.

So what then, can one add to a discussion about this album? For that, we need to start in the Spring of 2014 and look at a connection between Texas and California that ran through Southern Ohio.

The Joup Friday Album: “Ace of Spades” — Motorhead

motorhead_ace_of_spades_by_wedopix-d39sqkp“I’m more into the slot machines, actually … but you can’t really sing about spinning fruit.”

When Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister died on Dec. 28, the world lost one of its most unapologetic rock ‘n’ roll heroes. Lemmy wasn’t exactly a role model, but he was a constant, dependable presence in hard rock. The world might be going to hell in a handbasket, but at least Lemmy was always there to give it a good soundtrack.

The Joup Friday Album: The Noisettes – Three Moods of the Noisettes

NoisettesListening to The Noisettes, it would be easy to dismiss them as another Alabama Shakes-wannabe act … except The Noisettes pre-date the Shakes by six years — and the band formed on a different continent.

Which is why, listening to the group’s 2004 EP, “Three Moods of the Noisettes,” it raises the question why listeners weren’t ready to embrace that retro sound in 2004, but just a mere two years later, press and public alike were enamored by Amy Winehouse, and then in 2009, fell over themselves in their collective (and justifiable) love for Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard. It certainly wasn’t because Noisettes singer/bassist Shingai Shoniwa wasn’t talented — in fact, USA Today called her “incendiary” in one 2006 article. And it wasn’t because they weren’t homegrown; Winehouse was also from London.

The Joup Friday Album: The Jesus Lizard – Blue

TJL_BlueIn 1998, I was working in Ohio at the Dayton Daily News as a page designer and copy editor. I was also just starting to dabble in music writing and criticism, thanks to the encouragement of the features editor there. His office was always full of promotional releases and cool freebies — this was in the music industry’s last Golden Age, so it was almost as though every day was an episode of “Storage Wars” based on the bounty you could find in one small office. He would invite me in and allow me to pick through the hundreds of CDs that would arrive each week, and I would select a few to review for what now seems like an obscenely large weekly entertainment guide, considering a lot of mid-range markets produce only an A- and B- news section these days. Ah, the ’90s.

The Joup Friday Album: Willie Nelson – Stardust

Willie-Nelson-StardustIn 1978, there was no bigger band than the Bee Gees. The Brothers Gibb dominated the charts with disco hits such as “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever,” and also contributed amazing songs such as “How Deep Is Your Love,” while Brother Andy charted with “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water” and “Shadow Dancing.” It was also the year that saw John Travolta’s astronomical rise to stardom with lead roles in “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease,” which spawned the hit single “You’re the One that I Want.” Even the Stones had a hard time catching up to the cultural zeitgeist; “Miss You,” their only real hit in ’78, spent just one week at the top of the Billboard heap.

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