Monday, September 25, 2017

Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars: Conversations 1975 – 1995 (2017) Book Review

How much are we shaped by the music we hear in our youth? How much is our perspective affected by certain songs? And what do we learn from that music and those musicians? I remember reading interviews with certain artists even in my pre-teens, and perhaps weighing their words a bit more heavily than they deserved. But what about those folks who were doing the interviewing? Were their lives and perspectives changed as a result of the words and thoughts of the musicians they interviewed?

Bill Paige, in his new book, Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars: Conversations 1975 – 1995, seems to answer Yes. He has worked as a music journalist, as well as in public relations and promotion, and has interviewed many famous musicians over the years. The book contains a collection of published pieces, but also functions as personal memoir, always with the focus on music. At the beginning, he gives a bit of background on his childhood and early adulthood as it relates to music. (He, like I, was a radio DJ in college.) The pieces are arranged chronologically, with the name of the artist in question used as the chapter title, so that’s it easy to find pieces on whichever artists you’re most interested in.

There are snippets of interviews, including Burton Cummings of The Guess Who, and both Peter Wolf and Magic Dick of The J. Geils Band. It’s great that Peter Wolf and Magic Dick are interviewed together, because they riff off each other, and that’s part of what makes it such an enjoyable interview. There is also an interview with the members of Shoes, a band I knew basically nothing about. I like that the server’s lines are included. I also really like the Grace Slick piece, and the ones on Steve Goodman and Lindsey Buckingham. The book contains some interesting information about Genesis, and details of Electric Light Orchestra’s stage design. Some of the information is surprising. Roy Orbison didn’t perform in New York until 1972? That’s insane! And Boy George wanted to be in Bow Wow Wow? There are some humorous anecdotes, like that about a missing contact lens which was found by Joe Jackson, and about Roy Orbison’s “Claudette.”

Bill Paige provides introductions to each section, in which he shares some of the things he’s learned. For example, he writes: “Conversations with industry veterans Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and Starship, ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist Bob Welch, and Jay Ferguson, a founding member of the band Spirit who sang on the 1968 hit ‘I Got A Line On You,’ revealed that musicians are subject to a variety of mid-life crises” (p. 68). There are lots of interesting anecdotes and tidbits, though not really any big life lessons. As you might guess, as a result of reading this book, the list of albums I want to purchase has grown. I’m particularly interested in Mick Fleetwood’s The Visitor. It sounds like a fascinating and fantastic album, and I’m wondering how no one has turned me onto it before. I’m also wondering if that backing track Mick Fleetwood recorded for “Street Fighting Man” has been released yet.

This book is an enjoyable and fairly quick read, and it’s set up such that you can, if you so choose, pick certain sections to read and bounce around as your interests dictate. There are several pages of photos in the middle of the book, including one of a letter written by Kurt Vonnegut, one of my two favorite writers (the other being Shakespeare). The information on who is in each photo is contained at the back of the book rather than on the pages with the photos.

Everything I Know I Learned From Rock Stars: Conversations 1975 – 1995 was released on July 1, 2017 through Eckhartz Press. It is 443 pages.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Lynn Drury: “Rise Of The Fall” (2017) CD Review

Lynn Drury is a singer and songwriter based in New Orleans. She mixes folk, country, blues, soul, rock and pop elements to create her own appealing and engaging sound, largely focusing on original material. And she is a damn good songwriter, her songs speaking to us honestly and directly. (That line from “City Life” jumps to mind: “I guess I’d rather be messed up than pretty.” And this line from “That’s What You Mean”: “I only wanted to suffocate under the weight of a love that’s real.”) Her new album, Rise Of The Fall, features all original songs, written or co-written by Drury. Rise Of The Fall is, by my count, her eighth full-length release, and features Rene Coman on bass, Chris Adkins on guitar, Chris Pylant on drums and backing vocals, Derek Huston on saxophone, Jack Craft on cello, Sam Craft on violin, Jake Gold on organ, Trevor Brooks on piano and organ, as well as other guests on certain tracks.

The album opens with “Lifetime Of Living,” a kind of beautiful and moving number, with a good amount of experience apparent in Lynn’s vocals, which works to give weight to the advice she offers. Really, her voice and the strings are what make this song something special. “There’s a lifetime of living/Don’t you forget it/Don’t you regret it/Don’t jump ahead of it.” And there is something about this song that is making me feel good. What more could I ask for from a song? “Trust in what you know.” Trevor Brooks plays organ on this track.

That’s followed by “Anniversary,” which has a strong country feel and full-band sound. “There was something he’s supposed to remember, but he forgot/It’s just his anniversary, his anniversary.” Then in “11:11,” Lynn sings “It’s 11:11 and I, I love you.” It’s a thoughtful, somewhat moody night song, and that line sets the tone so well. So simple and yet it says quite a lot, doesn’t it? “It’s 11:11, and I, I love you.” And by the end, the song has built in power. This one was written by Lynn Drury and Judson Smith.

One of my favorites is “Water Your Words.” It’s a beautiful song, slow and moving, yet oddly catchy, and with an excellent vocal performance. “We’ve always been good/At riding that fence/Between black and white/So don’t make me choose/Between this life and you.” Ars√®ne DeLay provides backing vocals on this track. This song dug into my brain, made itself a home there, where it is certainly welcome. I love this one more each time I listen to it. It’s followed by another of the album’s highlights, “What Good Is The Rain,” which has an adorable and quirky sweetness. These are the opening lines: “I want to wrap my hands around/Something that don’t get me down/And it don’t come with regret.” And check out these lines: “I’m sorry, I just thought/You wouldn’t want my heart/It’s weary and worn/Slammed shut from weathering too many storms/So what good is the rain/If it don’t wash away the pain.” Wonderful, right?

“Rise Of The Fall,” the CD’s title track, is another seriously strong song, with some beautiful work on strings. “Freedom Tree” is a slow, bluesy kind of haunting number. “I would never outgrow your touch/I would keep you through the winter of my love/My love.” Alex McMurray plays lead guitar on this track. “Taking All The Good People” is another favorite, this one written by Lynn Drury and Judson Smith. “Sometimes you don’t see the pain/When you’re walking down the street/And he’s hammering away on a dream that ain’t his/’Cause his skin ain’t the color of liberty/We have to stand up and say/We don’t believe in what they’re doing/Taking all the good people away.”

CD Track List
  1. Lifetime Of Living
  2. Anniversary
  3. 11:11
  4. Cold Feet
  5. Water Your Words
  6. What Good Is The Rain
  7. Rise Of The Fall
  8. Tuesday Lover
  9. Freedom Tree
  10. I Need You
  11. Taking All The Good People
  12. Shutter
Rise Of The Fall is scheduled to be released on September 29, 2017.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Lloyd Price: “This Is Rock And Roll” (2017) CD Review

Lloyd Price is an important figure in rock and roll and rhythm and blues, releasing records from rock’s very beginning, songs like “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (which he also wrote), “Just Because,” “Stagger Lee,” and “Personality,” the last earning him the nickname Mr. Personality. I can’t imagine what the world would be like without these recordings, and I’m far from alone in feeling that way. Lloyd Price was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1998. He was also inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. But even now in his eighties, Lloyd Price’s incredible career continues. He just released a new CD, This Is Rock And Roll, which finds him looking backward as well as forward, delivering wonderful new renditions of some classic songs. This disc includes liner notes written by Lloyd Price, which is cool. But I have to mention that there are multiple grammatical errors and such in those liner notes. Ordinarily I wouldn't mention this, but there are so many that I have to wonder who was in charge of proofreading. Anyone? I hope those will be corrected in the next printing, but of course they don’t detract from the music at all.

The album opens with “I’m Getting Over You,” a good tune with a certain pop energy and some nice work on sax. Listening to Lloyd Price’s vocals on this track, I would guess he was at least two decades younger than he is. “Took your picture off the wall/I’m not waiting on your call/If you really want the truth/I’m not missing you at all.” I also like the backing vocalists echoing him, “I’m getting over you.” That’s followed by a deliciously funky tune, “Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore,” urging people to set aside their differences and care for each other, a timely number. “Nobody helps anybody/If it’s gonna cost them a little money/Nobody helps anybody/If it’s gonna take them out of their way.” This one features some wonderful work from the horn section, plus some good percussion. And check out these lines: “I’m not trying to put you down/Or place the blame on you/For there are lots of people that are in command/They’re not doing all they can do/Nobody helps anybody anymore.” This song is, for me, one of the disc’s highlights.

Lloyd then gets a bit mellower (but just as passionate) with “The Smoke,” in which he tells a woman, “It’s the little things I’ll do/Girl, when I’m lying next to you/That will take your breath away/You’ll be begging, begging me to stay/And, girl, you know I’ll do/Whatever you want me to.” Oh yes, how could you doubt him? Lloyd follows that with a new version of “Bad Conditions,” a song he released in 1969. It’s now titled “Our World,” and somehow is even cooler than it was before, and just as relevant. “We’re living in bad conditions.”

Lloyd Price delivers an unusual rendition of “Blueberry Hill.” It has something of a loose, smooth, jazzy vibe, with some cool work on bass. He follows that with an excellent rendition of Jimmy Reed’s “Baby, What You Want Me To Do” (sometimes referred to as “Peepin’ ‘N’ Hidin’”), recorded live in New York. This is a song that Josh Lederman has been doing in the Cambridge-Somerville All-Stars and The Country Pleasures, and so it’s been in my head a lot lately. This version by Lloyd Price features some great work on keys, and I love the horns and harmonica. And then there is an excellent lead guitar section. Lloyd adds “This Is Rock ‘N’ Roll” to the rendition, with a cool call-and-response section, making this the title track. There is great energy here. This track is one of my favorites.

“I Can’t Help Myself Interlude” is a brief big band instrumental number that leads straight into “I Can’t Help Myself,” which is also known as “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch),” a hit for The Four Tops in 1965. Lloyd Price gives a little nod to Blue Swede’s “Hooked On A Feeling” at the beginning of his version, and returning to it a few more times later in the song. Lloyd also gives his own spin to “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and originally a hit for The Shirelles. His version is a bit slower, with a romantic feel. That’s followed by a rendition of Fats Domino’s “I’m Walkin’” that features horns and piano, and has a big band groove, and works quite well, with a delightful confidence to Lloyd Price’s delivery, as if his vocals themselves could strut. The CD then concludes by going in an unexpected direction with “Belly Movement,” a song for belly dancers, with plenty of good percussion.

CD Track List
  1. I’m Getting Over You
  2. Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore
  3. The Smoke
  4. Our World
  5. Blueberry Hill
  6. This Is Rock And Roll
  7. I Can’t Help Myself Interlude
  8. I Can’t Help Myself
  9. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
  10. I’m Walkin’
  11. Belly Movement 
This Is Rock And Roll was released on September 22, 2017 through Universal Music Group.

Friday, September 22, 2017

UFO: “The Salentino Cuts” (2017) CD Review

On the new album, hard rock band UFO tackles some classic rock gems from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a few more recent songs. The Salentino Cuts finds the band covering some of their favorite tunes. It is UFO’s first album of covers. The band, which has been through many personnel changes since its inception in 1969, now features Phil Mogg on vocals, Andy Parker on drums, Paul Raymond on keys and backing vocals, Vinnie Moore on guitar, and Rob De Luca on bass. (Both Mogg and Parker are founding members.)

The CD kicks off with The Yardbirds’ “Heart Full Of Soul,” here titled “Heartful of Soul” for some reason. I saw The Yardbirds perform this one earlier this year at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival. Actually, they opened their set with this song. This version by UFO feels just a bit slower, heavier. And Vinnie Moore does some interesting things with that lead guitar part toward the end. It’s a good song with which to start the album, and it’s followed by another song I saw performed live at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival, “Break On Through.” (Robbie Krieger opened his set with this one, after a brief tribute to Gregg Allman). This version opens with a different drum beat, and appropriately features some good work on keys. And yes, Phil Mogg sings, “She gets high, she gets high” rather than the strangely edited “She get, she get” from the Doors’ original studio version.

“River Of Deceit” is a song I wasn’t as familiar with, and is the most recent song chosen for this album. It was originally recorded by Mad Season and released as a single in 1995. UFO delivers a good and powerful rendition. I love what sounds like a whale’s cry, which I don’t recall being in the original version. Some wonderful stuff, that. “River Of Deceit” is followed by Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher.” I was thirteen the first time I saw Easy Rider (that was also the first night I ever smoked pot), and this is one of the songs that stood out for me from that film, in part because it’s the first song you hear. It wasn’t long before I bought a Steppenwolf compilation on cassette (and “Snowblind Friend” quickly became my favorite). Anyway, UFO does an excellent job with this song, keeping the spirit of the original while also making the song their own, particularly with the way Phil Mogg delivers the lyrics. He really owns this one, making this one of my favorite tracks. (One more thing about that opening scene of Easy Rider – Phil Spector, as the drug connection, looks directly into the camera lens twice.)

John Mellencamp’s “Paper In Fire” is one I don’t hear covered very often. Actually, I can’t think of a single other version of it offhand. Anyway, it was a hit in 1987, and is one of the more surprising choices on The Salentino Cuts. UFO does a good version of it. It’s followed by Montrose’s “Rock Candy,” one of those early seventies reliable hard rock tunes. Apparently Sammy Hagar still performs it in concert. It’s not a bad song, but always feels like it goes on a little longer than necessary, and begins to feel repetitive. UFO’s version of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” feels a bit slower than the original, but with some really good work on guitar and plenty of cowbell.

Another of the surprising choices is Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” although lots of folks have covered it, including other hard rock bands. I actually really like what UFO does with this one. They rock that “I know, I know, I know, I know” section, which works well, but it is Phil’s vocal work right after that that I find most impressive. He delivers the next line a cappella, and it sounds great. Another highlight is “Too Rolling Stoned,” the Robin Trower song. Though a couple of minutes shorter than Trower’s original version, UFO’s rendition becomes a good bluesy rock jam led by some excellent work on guitar. This album concludes with a good version of The Animals’ “In My Life.” “Though I’m dressed in these rags/I’ll wear sable someday.”

CD Track List
  1. Heartful Of Soul
  2. Break On Through
  3. River Of Deceit
  4. The Pusher
  5. Paper In Fire
  6. Rock Candy
  7. Mississippi Queen
  8. Ain’t No Sunshine
  9. Honey Bee
  10. Too Rolling Stoned
  11. Just Got Paid
  12. It’s My Life
The Salentino Cuts is scheduled to be released on September 29, 2017 on Cleopatra Records. By the way, in addition to a CD release, The Salentino Cuts will be available on vinyl, in two limited editions.

Legendary Shack Shakers: “After You’ve Gone” (2017) CD Review

Legendary Shack Shakers are led by vocalist and harmonica-player J.D. Wilkes, who has lent his tremendous talent on harmonica to several other artists’ recordings over the years, including Lew Jetton & 61 South’s recent release, Palestine Blues. The band has been playing for a couple of decades, though with several changes in the lineup during that time. The band is currently J.D. Wilkes on vocals, harmonica, and piano; Rod Hamdallah on guitar and backing vocals; Fuller Condon on bass and backing vocals; and Preston Corn on drums and percussion. Their new album, After You’ve Gone, features all original material, and includes a few guest musicians – Liz Brasher on backing vocals, Shane Pringle on saxophone, and Chloe Feoranzo on saxophone and clarinet.

“After You’ve Gone” opens with “Curse Of The Cajun Queen,” a heavy and wild blues song, with a raw, steady, stomping groove, and of course some delicious work on harmonica. The vocals seem to be rising out of a portal to hell, forcing their way into our realm to claim our souls, the music getting us dancing. Oh yes, we should all be so lucky to dance our way to eternal damnation. That’s followed by the album’s title track, though the back of the CD case says “War Whoop” is next. “After You’ve Gone” has more of a classic rock and roll sound, with saxophone. There is something both innocent and exciting about the sound. “And this place just ain’t the same/And I’m calling out your name/Just an empty echo/After you’ve gone.”

“Single Boy” has a bit of Bo Diddley thing happening, which I love. This song is a whole lot of fun, the guitar coming at you with fury. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Now, when I was a single, I had women by the score/But now that I am married, well, they don’t come ‘round no more.” After “Single Boy,” we get “War Whoop (Chief Paduke’s Revenge),” a wild western tale that doesn’t fail to follow through on the promise of its title. (Hmm, Discogs seems to have the song order listed incorrectly too.)

One of my personal favorites is “(Sing A) Worried Song,” an absolutely delicious song with a something of an old-time vibe, and another that urges us to dance toward oblivion. “Well, sing a worried song/For it won’t be long/That we’ll be dead and gone/And be passing on/To the by-and-by.” I am so glad people are making music like this. “Well, see how the trees they grow/Pushing up the dead beneath your feet/You may chew your kudzu down/But it’s you more likely it will eat.” Halloween is coming up, and this song will be a perfect addition to your party play list. It’s followed by “Long Legs,” which begins with a cool bass line, then bursts in with a wild, demented energy, like from a rockabilly voodoo doctor who is part Carl Perkins, part Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Yeah, it’s fun, and I dig the interaction between the J.D. Wilkes and the backing vocalists.

Obviously, “Frankenstein’s Monster” would be another excellent choice for your Halloween party. It opens with the lines, “Well, I created a monster/And then I lost him.” This song itself becomes a fiery beast, with some wonderful work on harmonica, leading back to the line “Well, I created a monster,” which this time suddenly ends the song. By the way, another song you might consider playing at your Halloween party is “Garden Of Delights,” which features these lines: “You know your sins have salted the earth/And the worms will have their claim/And nothing wants to grow/And the garden looks like graves.” Yes, the song is about the end of a relationship, but the imagery certainly works for the holiday. And besides, it’s just a great tune.

“Get Outta My Brain (South Electric Eyes, Slight Reprise)” begins as an instrumental, and is another twisted delight. “Well, step into my eyes/And follow me down the drain/You’re welcome to my heart/But stay out of my brain.” “South Electric Eyes” is a song from Legendary Shack Shakers’ Pandelirium album. After You’ve Gone concludes with “Invisible Hand,” a song that features just J.D. Wilkes on vocals and piano. “But the stars on the chart are a lie/Made of paper instead of the sky/So I’ll lay down my head here and die/Because it’s all over now/I lost you somehow/I let go the invisible hand.”

CD Track List
  1. Curse Of The Cajun Queen
  2. After You’ve Gone
  3. Single Boy
  4. War Whoop (Chief Paduke’s Revenge)
  5. (Sing A) Worried Song
  6. Long Legs
  7. Garden Of Delights
  8. Frankenstein’s Monster
  9. Branding Iron
  10. Get Outta My Brain (South Electric Eyes, Slight Reprise)
  11. Silent Key
  12. White Devil (The Curse That Worked)
  13. Invisible Hand
After You’ve Gone was released on August 25, 2017 on Last Chance Records.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sam Marine: “Big Dark City” (2017) CD Review

There is something about good, straight-forward roots rock music that makes me feel younger than I am. It takes me back to my youth, when – oddly – I was looking forward to being older, driving to concerts, getting into bars, exploring the world and so on. Remember those long days of summer, when dusk held out promises and possibilities and gave us the illusion of being grown up? I’m still holding onto that illusion, I think. Sam Marine’s new release, an EP titled Big Dark City, takes me right back to those days, with its excellent rock tunes, somewhat rough vocals, and its total lack of bullshit. Sam Marine is based in Los Angeles. Big Dark City is his third release, following 2013’s Lacktown and 2015’s New Home.

The CD opens with its title track, “Big Dark City,” a tune with a good steady beat that feels to me like the pulse of an eternal summer. The song takes place on a Sunday night, when you’re trying to hold on to the weekend, opening with the lines “Turned on the lights so I could see what I was looking for/Grabbed some cash and headed out for maybe just one more/And I ain’t really been to sleep for very long just yet/I’m a couple drinks ahead of you, I bet.” I’m definitely into this song. And it’s followed by a slightly faster and harder rock tune, “Dawn Come And Gone,” which makes me feel like I should be out dancing at a bar with a carefree crowd of friendly strangers. It’s driven by the guitar and by Sam Marine’s wonderfully gruff vocals. Ah, night doesn’t last forever, no matter how much we might it want it to. “Now the sun is shining/Dawn come and gone.”

“Freeze ‘Em Out” has something of an early Tom Petty feel, and is another strong track. “If you can give me just a second just to think so I can figure it out.” And I like this line: “Now all I need is a distraction just to keep the words from coming out.” Sure, it’s pretty straight-forward rock, but the lyrics aren’t lacking substance as a result. And that’s followed by a slower, more serious-sounding song, “I’ll Soon Be Gone.” “My face has no expression, my shake is true and firm/I’d gladly lend a hand, but only on my terms/And don’t ask me where I came from, ‘cause I’ll soon be gone.” This one has a touch of country, and apparently was also included on Sam Marine’s first album (though a different version). The CD then concludes with “Mike Lee,” which also has a bit of country to its sound, and which might be my favorite track on this disc. “Said he’s gonna head a little north to stay in the south/Until then, he’s just passing time for now/Mike Lee/If you get along with him, you’ll get along with me.” And I appreciate these lines: “All we’ve done all night is ride around/Still, there’s plenty more to see in this college town.”

CD Track List
  1. Big Dark City
  2. Dawn Come And Gone
  3. Freeze ‘Em Out
  4. I’ll Soon Be Gone
  5. Mike Lee 
Big Dark City is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2017.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cait Brennan: “Third” (2017) CD Review

Cait Brennan’s recent release, Third, is the third studio album she’s recorded, but only the second she’s released, following Debutante. In addition, the album’s title is a nod to Big Star’s Third, which apparently is Cait’s favorite album. In fact, Cait’s Third was recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where Big Star recorded their albums, and Cait was able to use Chris Bell’s Gibson and Alex Chilton’s Mellotron on this album. All of that is interesting, of course, but wouldn’t matter if the music weren’t so damn good. All of the songs on Third are originals, written or co-written by Cait Brennan. And nearly all of the instruments heard on the album were played by Cait Brennan and Fernando Perdomo (there are guest guitarists on two tracks). I didn’t know that the first time I listened to this disc, and so the second time was even more impressed. This is a wonderful album, mixing pop, rock, glam, and even soul, some of it with a 1970s flavor.

I was on board from this album’s opening line, “Yeah, I’m the asshole who stole your boyfriend.” That line might get a laugh, but “Bad At Apologies” is kind of a serious song, and it rocks. At moments, it actually reminds me a bit of Aimee Mann, just in the phrasing on lines like “So let’s go direct to the scene of the tragedy.” And I love these lines: “Kinda tried to hide it, but I never denied it/And if you think that you can resist, then you’ve never tried it.” “Bad At Apologies” is followed by “Stack Overflow,” a song that demands some volume. It’s another powerful (and seriously fun) rock tune with a steady beat and some great vocals. Think of some of Eurythmics’ best rockers, and you’ll have an idea of the sound and feel of this one. And check out these lines: “I went before the lord/I begged him for a chance just to sing my song/He said ‘you’ll sing it loud, but you won’t sing it long.’” This one got me dancing.

“He Knows Too Much” is a song about having to kill someone, but with a pleasant early rock sound, even hand claps, and something of a Sweet sound to the vocals during the chorus. “Well, he knows (he knows)/Too much (too much)/I think we’ll have to kill him.” There is a humorous spoken word part at the end, which first explains that Cait is not really going to kill anyone, then reverses that position slightly in the final line, “So give the girl a break, and treat her with some respect, or she just might lose her shit.” Ah, you’ve got to love a kick-ass, slightly off-kilter chick with a sense of humor. And then suddenly she delivers a sweet love song, “At The End Of The World.” Sure, it’s an apocalyptic love song, but it’s heartfelt. “At the end of the world/When all of it’s through/I’ll be with you.”

“A Hard Man To Love” is a fun tune, with a seventies feel, reminding me a bit of ELO. This one was written by Cait Brennan and Fernando Perdomo. And then there is something strangely beautiful about “Caitiebots Don’t Cry.” I think you’ll know what I’m talking about when you hear it. That’s followed by “Benedict Cumberbatch,” a song that just makes me feel good. It’s a response to an ex, saying the guy doesn’t even deserve the song, and so it’s being given to Benedict Cumberbatch. And why not? He seems like a good guy. And he’s played Hamlet. And yes, there is a certain 1970s aspect to this song. And to the following song as well, “Shake Away,” which was written by Cait Brennan, Van Duren and Fernando Perdomo. Van Duren also plays guitar on this one. This song deals playfully with a near-death experience in 2016, the year of one death after another. (Boy, 2016 just completely fucking sucked from beginning to end. Any year that takes Leonard Cohen and leaves us with Donald Trump is a year that should be knocked senseless and left in a ditch at the side of the road.) “I said, the year’s trying to kill me but I’ll be fine/’Cause I ain’t great enough to slaughter by the deadline.” That’s followed by another song that deals with the same subject, “The Angels Lie.” This one calls out by name a few of the great musicians we lost last year – “Everybody let me go/Like Haggard, Prince and David Bowie/Gotta get me to the show.” Both of these songs are a lot of fun, and this one includes a bridge, during which she sings “Insert the bridge here/I think the bridge goes here.” Cait delivers this song with the energy and passion of a Meatloaf song, just really going for it, giving it everything, the way Meat Loaf does. And at the end, she sings, “Insert the end here/I think the end goes here.”

“Collapse” is a mellower tune, and one that really grew on me. Something about this is quite moving. Robert Mach√© (from the Continental Drifters) plays lead guitar on this track. “Everything you want, I’ll say it now/Any price you want, I’ll pay it now/Everything I am, just take away/Tired of being this every day.” And check out these lines from “Perish The Thought”: “When I see you/I see the worst of myself/The part I left in some corner of hell/When I see you/I kind of want it back.” Yeah, Cait can certainly write some damn good lyrics.

CD Track List
  1. Bad At Apologies
  2. Stack Overflow
  3. He Knows Too Much
  4. At The End Of The World
  5. A Hard Man To Love
  6. Caitiebots Don’t Cry
  7. Benedict Cumberbatch
  8. Shake Away
  9. The Angels Lie
  10. Collapse
  11. LA/Amsterdam
  12. Perish The Thought
  13. Goodbye Missamerica 
Third was released on April 21, 2017 through Omnivore Recordings.