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A little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll

November 8, 2013

A couple of records from fellows, who while clearly not straight-up country, certainly lean heavy in that direction. Eddie Spaghetti’s (and how can you not love that name!) greatest renown has come thanks to his lead roll in rock ‘n’ roll band. The Supersuckers who have been delivering the goods since the late 1980s. Spaghetti’s solo side project forays began a decade ago with the country leaning album “The Sauce.” “The Value of Nothing” is his fourth solo record and the first consisting of all original songs.
Perhaps you caught Jonny Fritz at the Newport Folk Festival in the summer of 2012 or more recently, at Deer Tick’s Dudesmash 2 event at The Met Café in September. Fritz plays traditional-based country music, with a twist. His latest is worthy of ears. Let’s get to it.

Eddie Spaghetti
“The Value of Nothing”
Bloodshot Records

Eddie Spaghetti’s main gig is as front man for Seattle-based “punk-try” band the Supersuckers. The band has divided its sound between full-throttle punk and hard country over its lengthy lifetime. Spaghetti spun off a solo career about 10 years ago with music leaning hard in a roots rock direction. Now four albums into the solo side of his career, with this latest Spaghetti continues to deliver records with both plain-spoken attitude and swagger. “The Value of Nothing” is no exception. Recorded in Austin, Texas, with honky tonk roots rocker Jesse Dayton (collaborator to country legends Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings) producing, the album is a 10-song trip that draws from everything from the energetic, hard rocking, cowpunk side of the Supersuckers to the kick-back, rootsier side of past works. The songs speak of an earn-your-stripes life as a road dog balancing life on the endless touring circuit (25 plus years!) with trying to retain some sort of roots and normalcy. And if you know Spaghetti, you know there’s a wink-and-a-smile brand of humor to his songs and it gives “The Value of Nothing” its levity. The record features some hit-home classics that are sure to strike a nerve with those who’ve been rocking to the ‘suckers since their beginning and still approach life with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. That spirit threads itself through all of the album. Standouts tracks include “You Get to Be My Age” about aging with your mate while still possessing that kick down the doors approach to life, “Waste of Time” with its laid-back country attitude and charm, and album closer “When I Go I’m Gone.” Approaching 50 years of age, label Spaghetti a country punk Willie Nelson and with The Value of Nothing he gets to the heart of the matter with his no frills paeans rock and roll. Visit www.bloodshotrecords.com.
Eddie Spaghetti’s solo tour makes a stop at Café Nine in New Haven, Conn., Friday, Nov. 15. Café Nine is located at 250 State St.

Jonny Fritz
“Dad Country”
ATO Records

It’s hard to say where the music of Jonny Fritz, formally Jonny Corndawg, fits in the grand scheme of country. Musically speaking, it definitely falls on the traditional side of the tracks – fiddle, pedal steel, plenty of twangy guitar. The subject matter of his songs also leans on the traditional side of the country spectrum – heartbreak and busted relationships, death, and hanging with the wrong crowd. Even his voice, a quavering tenor, has a country flavor to it. What sets him apart is the quirkiness of the whole package, clever songs slightly skewed in their delivery and a writing style not far removed from one of his heroes, the late Roger Miller. In other words, this is your dad’s brand of country. Checking in at a dozen tracks, Fritz on “Dad Country” delivers a set of songs to savor that wade knee deep in the stone country tradition. Visit www.jonnyfritz.com.

LIVE SHOTS:
A nice twin bill of on-the-rise indie acts at The Met Café (1005 Main St., Pawtucket) on Friday night. Headlining is former Cursive and The Good Life front man Tim Kasher whose new solo release of rock/pop called “Adult Film” is garnering great press. Opening for Tim is Laura Stevenson who one writer described as “a sweeter voiced Sharon Van Etten with very smart witty lyrics” and whose first release as a solo artist from earlier this year called “The Wheel” has also been getting plenty of critical kudos. Doors are at 8 p.m..
Locally, Music at Lilypads (Unitarian Universalist Church, 27 North Road, Peace Dale) presents Canadian “power trio” Genticorum on Saturday night. The highly entertaining band’s appearance at the Lilypads last December was a complete sellout, so get on the stick!
Crescent City groovers the New Orleans Suspects who have entertained locally at the Rhythm & Roots Festival return to the Ocean State on Wednesday night with an appearance at The Met Café in Pawtucket. Doors are at 8 p.m. and music begins at 9 p.m.
Atlanta-based psych rockers Gringo Star are on the road touting a new album (“Floating Out to See”). The tour makes a stop at Fete’ Lounge (103 Dike St.) in Providence Thursday night, Nov. 14. Ski Lodge and The Atlantic Thrills are in the opening slots.

Dan Ferguson is a freelance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on WRIU-FM 90.3.

 

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