Sasha Colette and the Magnolias release "Ridin' Away" Saturday at the V Club


Sasha Colette and the Magnolias will break out the red bandanas Saturday night for the release of their new Appalachian prairie themed concept EP “Ridin’ Away” at the V Club in Huntington.

Reposted from The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

Things have definitely changed for Sasha Colette over the past year.

The 23-year old singer-songwriter has relocated from Eastern Kentucky to Huntington, and now has a new band backing her as she prepares to release “Ridin’ Away,” the follow-up to 2011’s “Leave It Alone.”

Sasha Colette and the Magnolias will release the prairie-themed “cry for wide open spaces” concept EP “Ridin’ Away” Saturday, January 28 at the V Club in Huntington.

Over the phone, Colette described first life after the move, now living home on the range -- in Huntington.

“I really do like it,” Colette said of moving from Morehead, Kentucky to Huntington in August of last year. “This is the first time I’ve lived in a neighborhood sort of feel. I enjoy having neighbors,” she said laughing. “Me and (lead guitarist) Jeremy (Short) moved up from Kentucky to be closer to the other band members. (Bassist) Chris (Justice) lives in Ashland, and (drummer) Steve (Barker) lives here in Huntington.

“There’s a good circle of musicians here,” Colette continued. “It’s nice to have friends who play music, everybody’s always working on their new projects or whatever. It just keeps me encouraged, the circle of friends. That’s been one of my favorite things about Huntington, is I just feel like I fit in.”

It’s one thing to hear about fitting into a new town, but it’s surprising to hear Colette talk of fitting into her own band. That’s just the change that she thinks stands out since releasing “Leave It Alone” last year.

“I’ve been playing with this band for about a year now, and it’s been really cool. They’ve given me a new form of confidence as far as how as I perform. They’ve helped me improve my vocal performance so much more,” Colette, already known for her soulful and powerful voice, admitted.

“Ridin’ Away” has a distinctly more country music sound than the mix of folk and rock found on “Leave It Alone,” something that’s happened naturally as Colette and her new band mates have congealed into a unit.

“Someone like Ryan Adams, what he does, you can’t place it exactly,” Colette said of the sound on the new record. “This album, not only does it have a nice concept throughout, but it also introduces the band. These guys, they weren’t on the first album. I never really had a particularly stable band before. I didn’t have a specific direction then because I didn’t have anybody steady in my life, as far as the music goes. But this album, the reason it sounds so good and so fitting is, we’re used to each other, and we’re all here to stay in this thing.”

Colette said capturing the sound the new lineup has been working on at Aaron Fisher’s 101 Productions in Sissonville is something she’s proud of.

“Man, the album, I love the sound it has because this is what we do at live shows. The other album, it was difficult to translate that into a live show, it was kind of misleading occasionally. But this album, there’s a lot of truth to it, whether it be from the lyrics, or the sound of the album to the sound of the live show.”

It’s the truth found in her lyrics (which Colette dutifully cites as examples) and on one song in particular on “Ridin’ Away,” that Colette is maybe most excited about.

“This album has a song on it called “Leroy,” and lyrically I am more proud of that song than any song I’ve ever written because the wordplay and just the story behind it, and the truth behind it, the offensive truth. It embodies what, um, what’s kind of going on in some people’s lives. “A simple enough life/giving up your daddy’s name to marry Leroy,” you know?”

The inspiration for one song on “Ridin’ Away” came from others finding out about Colette’s life as a “professional camper” after a Charleston Gazette article on her in early 2011 described her very real nomadic life at the time.

Photobucket“Like a tumbleweed I been out a roamin’/now my secret’s out and everybody knows,” Colette said, reciting the lyrics from “Red Bandana.”

“When I read [the article] I was like ‘Oh, they put that in the paper!’” Colette said laughing hard. “Some people don’t know how to react to that sort of thing, they think you’re a ruffian or something.

“Red Bandana” is kind of a cry for some wide open spaces. But people are diggin’ the idea of like a prairie-related album.”

So the pack-up-and-go themes explored on “Ridin’ Away,” are not so far divorced from reality for Colette. “You know,” she said, sighing, and thinking about her life, where she’s been and still may go, “I’m still young, I’m twenty-three, and maybe it’ll never leave, but I have a real big urge to just get up and go all the time. I want to question tomorrow.”

But for now, Colette is focused only on her band and changing other people’s lives, with her songs.

“I’m really excited to have the CD to introduce the band to the fans. People really love our sound so much, they want to take it home with them. It can be a life-altering experience, if you listen hard enough.”


Sasha Colette and the Magnolias CD release
With Tyler Childers, The Switchmen
Where: The V Club, 741 6th Ave., Huntington
When: Saturday, January 28
Time: 10:30 p.m.
Cost: $8 (includes a copy of “Ridin’ Away”)
Online: www.reverbnation.com/sashacolette, www.vclublive.com

Related: Colette piece in The Ashland Daily Independent
Artwork by Jimbo Valentine/Amalgam Unlimited


CD Review: "One Man Houses"

CD: One Man Houses
ARTIST: Spirit Night

Dylan Balliett never ceases to surprise and impress the highly esteemed/regarded editorial staff here at WVRockscene. Ever since we were introduced to Spirit Night quite literally out of the blue back in 2010, finding out about What We Will Be pretty much with everyone else, we fell in love with the songs and sound Balliett quite literally brought out of his bedroom with friend Pete Wilmoth.

From his bedroom, now relocated to Brooklyn, Balliett -- via Shepherdstown, Morgantown and Pittsburgh -- brings his buddies Wilmoth, Ryan Hizer, and Dave Bello back for One Man Houses, the third proper Spirit Night release and follow-up to last year’s Normal EP. But if you expect any of the dreamy, echo-soaked acoustic-based stuff found on the aforementioned records, yes, there’s that (“Everywhere I’ve Gone” is a good example) but dear readers, you are in for quite the surprise.

You may find yourself cussing with excitement when you first hear the plug-in-and-go punk rock and indie sound of “Goodbye Jones,” “Kerouac,” and “Grasshoppers,” (which we made the mistake of listening to preemptively, spoiling the surprise of the new sound) complete with fuzzy bass (via Hizer) and crashing hard rock cymbals. Something like ‘Daaaamn, this is Spirit Night?!’

There’s also a jangly 80’s college radio rock tone and edge on some of the songs, like “Summer Clothes,” like this could fit into that era and sound, maybe pre-Green R.E.M. or something, fronted by someone who sounds like Elvis Costello?

More great backing vocals and harmonies back up Balliett’s alternately sullen or gutteral, shrieking vocals. One of the great things about Balliett’s material is really the visceral, raw emotion laid out in the lyrics. Themes, like those found on previous Spirit Night tunes, include lost or misplaced friendship(s), moving/leaving (all the more appropriate since Balliett really has moved), growing up, and, yes, jerking off instead of falling in love. But the early childhood trauma and murderous rage explored and described on the six-minute long “The Last Time” is really something that we’ll leave up to the listener to discern.

And let’s not call this stuff lo-fi anymore. The subtle childish laughter and wind on “The Last Time,” adds ambience, and random (panned?) percussion found and added to maybe the most awesome song we’ve heard in a long time, “Rubberneck,” (written by Balliett friend and longtime cohort Dave Bello) is a real treat for the listener. Sure, Balliett writes cool songs with great lyrics, but it’s those little things that make the songs cool. And don’t let us not say something else about “Rubberneck,” if anyone cares: this is a completely badass, hit song if ever there was one, as Balliett boldly belts out the chorus:
“You can read my numbers
If you deal me out
A fresh deck.
Spell out my accident
If you stare me down
And rubberneck.”
This is the standout track on the record. It is indeed way more killer than it appears just reading it as text.

So, if you were mad that Normal was just an EP and not a full-length, One Man Houses, even though barely half an hour in length, with nine songs, more than makes up for it. Thumbs up here to Dave Klug for mixing and mastering duties, and to Balliett and friends for pulling this off. If you thought you had it kind of figured out what Spirit Night will be, you may have thought wrong.

Related: Wanna bone up on past mediocre WVRockscene posts on Spirit Night? Start yer boning with part one of our Q&A w/Balliett from July 2010...


Prison Book Club returns to Huntington for show at Black Sheep Burrito & Brews


Photo: Kimmy Bowen

Prison Book Club (L-R: Adam Meisterhans, John Miller, Andrew Ford, Tucker Riggleman) returns to Huntington tonight for a show at Black Sheep Burrito & Brews...

Reposted from The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

It’s fitting that John Miller and Tucker Riggleman shared the interview duties for Prison Book Club.

After meeting through mutual friends at a concert for the Memphis-based alt-country band Lucero in 2005, (Lucero served as a big influence on PBC) the pair became friends, started hanging out and sharing tunes. Miller and Riggleman have shared the singing and songwriting duties in the Shepherdstown-based alt-country rock band since its inception.

They’re such good friends, already being in The Fox Hunt and The Demon Beat, respectively, Miller and Riggleman are so dedicated to Prison Book Club that they have matching PBC tattoos.

But Prison Book Club, having released their self-titled sophomore record last August, has at this point moved out of the shadow of The Demon Beat and The Fox Hunt, made fans and a name all on their own, and turned any discussion about the band from one of a side project into talk of being a force all its own.

The band (Miller: rhythm guitar, vocals, bass; Riggleman: bass, vocals, guitar; Adam Meisterhans: lead guitar; Andrew Ford: drums) returns to Huntington Monday, January 16 for a show at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews as part of a 16-show, 18-day tour of the Southeast.

“This is definitely the longest that we will have been out together,” Miller said of the steady string of shows. “I had gotten used to traveling with The Fox Hunt at least as much, if not more, than being at home and I’m excited to get back out.”

As favorably as their sophomore release was received, Prison Book Club has all new songs that they’re taking out on the road.

“We do have a handful of new songs that I believe are some of the strongest we’ve ever done, which is a good sign,” Miller said. “You don’t want to make a record and then go back, work out some new songs and think ‘man, this sounds the same’ or ‘man, we’re slipping.’ We’re very excited to have the chance to tighten them up a bit on the road.”

Riggleman, strictly a bassist in The Demon Beat, gets to write and sing his own stuff in Prison Book Club. It was Miller who helped Riggleman, then a student at Shepherd University, get started as a singer and songwriter, helping him overcome any anxiety he may have had by providing a friendly ear. Also, these late nights laid the groundwork for an enduring friendship that would one day turn into Prison Book Club after the duo welcomed Meisterhans on for PBC’s first gig at a friend’s wedding.

“Personally, when I started writing songs I kind of always wrote them with a full band in mind,” Riggleman said. “I think John and I had kind of always wanted to get something going, like a rock and roll band, but we just had to wait for the right moment I suppose.”

That right moment also provided Miller some level of lateral movement musically, still offering him the opportunity to write down-and-out type songs, and sing with his instantly recognizable, tough-but-touching country music voice, only in a rock band.

“I really wanted to write songs outside of the string band dynamic that we have in The Fox Hunt, and Prison Book Club offered an opportunity to bring some different things to the table,” Miller explained. “It’s not apples and oranges, but there’s a little more freedom there. And really, we’re all good friends; we all sort of came together when The Fox Hunt and The Demon Beat were first starting to play locally, but certainly things would have been a lot different if Tucker and I hadn’t been buddies from the outset. We’ve put up with each other’s crap for too long to discredit that.”

Miller added that Prison Book Club has enjoyed a renewed energy, “cohesiveness and focus” and welcoming drummer Andrew Ford on in early 2011 is part of that.

“We’ve definitely taken the jump from ‘this thing we do every now and then when we have the time’ to ‘this is its own band,’” Riggleman added. “Bringing in Andrew on drums has been great as well, and we feel like he really pushes us to play better, being that he’s a very talented dude.”

For now, Prison Book Club is looking forward to taking its new songs out on tour, making fans the old fashioned way: playing out as much as possible. And for Riggleman, the friendship that exists between the members of Prison Book Club is what it’s all about.

“I couldn’t imagine being in a band with strangers or people I didn’t like. Making music with some of your best friends really is about the best thing there is, in my opinion.”

If you go:
Prison Book Club
Where: Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, 1555 3rd Ave., Huntington
When: Monday, January 16, 10 p.m.
Online: http://www.reverbnation.com/prisonbookclub
Contact: http://www.blacksheepwv.com/ (304) 523-1555


CD Review: "At Least I Can Still Smoke In My Car"

CD: At Least I Can Still Smoke In My Car
ARTIST: Bud Carroll

We ended 2011 heaping praise on a great record that had been released for free, so it only makes sense that we’d start 2012 doing the same thing.

It’s been a while since we last heard from Huntington’s Bud Carroll. Sure, the 29-year old (widely considered West Virginia’s most badass guitarist) multi-instrumentalist has been staying busy, either in AC30, lending his own formidable talents to other acts, or helping bands record at his Trackside Studios.

The neat thing about At Least I Can Still Smoke In My Car, Carroll’s new 12-song release is that in some regards it ties into and partially anchors itself to what we heard on Wasted Words and Best Intentions, but also jumps off into something approaching Brit rock/British Invasion type organs, bells and tones (“Heard This One Before”) in parts, and still sounds familiar to what Carroll’s been doing more recently in AC30.

Two years in the making, it would be interesting to know how and when these tracks kind of came together, as Carroll left his Southern Souls days behind him, still contributing to AC30, but also forging a new, not really new, just solo (in name) musical identity. This is an exciting phenomena to witness; it seems like every time you see Carroll covered in the past, there’s always couching of what he did before: when he started the Southern Souls, it was the (of course, rightful) obligatory mention of American Minor, now with the solo stuff, will we constantly compare what Carroll does to AC30 or the Southern Souls? Maybe.

But yeah, long story short: if you liked the Southern Souls, there’s some more straight ahead hard chargin’ rock (“There Someday,” “I Just Wanted You To Know”) with more bluesy, soulful, lovelorn jams. And whatever band he’s in, know this: it’s gonna rock.

Oh there’s a good reason why you may hear some nods to the Southern Souls on a few of the songs on the record: there are three Souls songs on it. Carroll is joined by Jimmy Lykens, Steve Barker and Jon Cavendish on “I’m No Stranger,” “Thinking Only of You,” and “Honorable Mention.” And there are the frequent lyrical references to “nowhere towns” and “wasted words and best intentions,” infrequent winks and nods to his not-too distant musical past.

But looking at things from the outside, you can almost kind of feel bad for Carroll. Like so many artists, he seems to be his own worst critic, talking about his own obsessive compulsive tendencies in the studio. Regardless of what we say here, it’s safe to assume Carroll knows he’s got something good with this batch of songs.

And regardless of Carroll’s seemingly immense talent(s), the one thing that kind of endears you to his songs is not only his dreamy singing, it’s that Carroll is basically writing love songs here, and he hasn’t exactly been winning. Standing astride whatever genre he wants, in parts there’s a kind of R&B vibe in some of these songs, fitting right in with Carroll’s own pop sensibilities, with all the help of so many people, Carroll has indeed, no surprise here, made a great record.

Standout tracks for us include the aforementioned “There Someday,” the dreamy, yet entirely broken-hearted (with cool organ and bells) “She Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “I Just Wanted You To Know,” and “We’ll Be Together Again,” which closes the CD out quite nicely.

Self-produced over two years by “Edward Money” (haha, am I right?) with engineering help from his Trackside cohorts James Barker and Ryan Weaver, with Eddie Ashworth and Max Nolte (who, along with Adam Harris, garnered executive producer credits) sitting in, and with guest vocal appearances from Sasha Colette and John Lancaster -- among other guests -- At Least I Can Still Smoke In My Car really is a CD worth paying for.

“We’ll Be Together Again” Live at Trackside

--- Bud Carroll’s Love Wolf plays Adam Harris’ 30th birthday party tonite at the Empty Glass with Sasha Colette, The Boatmen and The Carpenter Ants.