JON LANGFORD'S FOUR LOST SOULS / THE MEADOWS BROTHERS
JON LANGFORD'S FOUR LOST SOULS at
Founded the Ground Zero UK art/punk collective The Mekons (who, many suggest, went on to inadvertently turn a bunch of punk rock snots like Bloodshot Rob into country fans with their seminal albums Fear and Whiskey and Honky Tonkin') , noise rock progenitors The Three Johns and countless collaborations with greats, near-greats and unheard of cult figures.
For Bloodshot, he's been an indefatigable presence in our shoddy offices since day one. In addition to all his musical contributions as a solo artist, he's created lots of cover art, produced lots of records, lent his ham-fisted guitar stylings to recordings by the Old 97's, Roger Knox, Rosie Flores, Kelly Hogan, Andre Williams, Sadies, Sally Timms, Danbert Nobacon, Alejandro Escovedo, among others, draws a comic strip, writes books, appeared as the backing band on This American Life and acts as a reeling papa bear figure to many of Chicago's musicians looking for direction and reassurance in this vicious racket we call the music industry.
Since the man creates more music than any one band could possibly hold, he's also the guiding force in the Waco Brothers, the rarely convened collective of the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, the Skull Orchard and Wee Hairy Beasties. At any given time, he might have a few other irons in the fire, or plates in the air, or pies in the oven, or cubes in the tray. It tires us just trying to keep up.
The revelatory aspect of Jon's prolific body of work is that he's always treated punk rock as folk music and folk music, when it stays true to its roots, can be awful damn punk. Woody Guthrie pissed off as many, if not more, people than Johnny Rotten. Also, country music, REAL country music tells a story and lays bare the truth as honestly and directly as anything the Clash ever did. For Jon, the line between Acuff-Rose and Strummer-Jones is a direct one. He also never lets a firm stance or a strong opinion get in the way of a hearty laugh or a ripping good yarn, preferably told in the company of friends with a frothy pint glass within reach.
We've learned a lot from him over the years. First and foremost, doing everything honestly and honorably is its own reward. Just keep moving. Keep your head down and perform your job. Don't look back. Let the rest of the world sort it out. Don't get bogged down by the misses. It's helped us survive in this racket, and it helps us in our daily lives.
Americana has not lost its grip on Langford, nor vice versa.
Lets skip the history and instead focus on the primary constant Langfords barkeep approachability and an affable approach to political frustration and career disillusionment.
Americana has not lost its grip on Langford, nor vice versa.
When they didnt know quite what was there, they put Here Be Monsters. When I think of where my career has gone over the last 35 years, its usually in that area off the map.--Jon Langford
Here Be Monsters finds acclaimed musician/visual artist Jon Langford and his band Skull Orchard scanning the outskirts of popular culture, its title born of medieval cartographers term for the dragons, sea serpents, and other mythical beasties that reside beyond the boundaries of the known universe. This new album will feature a unique piece of artwork specific to each track printed on individual inserts included with copies of the CD. Best known for his work in the The Mekons and theWaco Brothers, Langford has been a leading pioneer in the assimilation of folk/country music into punk rock since the genre's first evolution over 30 years ago.
The album sees the Welsh-born, Chicago-based singer/songwriter, bandleader, producer, painter, and poet plotting a clear-eyed, sharp-elbowed course through such far-flung subjects as alternative hierarchies and astronomy, perpetual war for perpetual profit, the culture of detachment, middle age, fatherhood, fame, and the fleetingness of love. "The subtext of the album is maybe the things our civilization thinks of as fixed and immovable might actually be redundant/obsolete/discredited and it's up to us to question and find new rocks to be washed up on," says Langford, who called in Mekons/Waco Brothers veteran Mike Hagler (My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Neko Case, Billy Bragg) to record this album at Chicago's Kingsize Sound Labs. "Skull Orchard used to be a fairly solitary activity songs that didn't fit anywhere else stuff that was too Welsh or personal to bother the Mekons or Wacos with," says Langford, "but something happened with the band I formed to tour with the previous record. It turned into a real group, so this is much more of a band project than any of the solo things I've done before."
Also known for being a prolific visual artist, Langford designed all the artwork for Here Be Monsters himself, including individual designs for each track that will be showcased on separate inserts in the CD and in a collage on the LP jacket. "This album really brings the art and the songs together a chicken/egg which came first situation. The songs are very visual and in some cases came directly from the paintings," continued Langford. "Star maps, strange creatures, sympathetic monsters, monsters we have created the little poem at the top of the album is all about that."
+ THE MEADOWS BROTHERS
"Singing guitarists Dustin and Ian Meadows prove that roots music is an unending resource, turning early influences gleaned from the Band and Gillian Welch into an engagingly twangy sibling sound all their own." BOSTON GLOBE
"This is the stuff I grew up on; good guitar playing, harmonica, a little steel guitar action, like a train moving down the track. It keeps you grounded, reminds you of where you started this journey, lets you go back to those early days when singer songwriters ruled the day. These brothers are the real deal. -50THIRDAND3RD.COM
Remember that band you started with your brother when you were both in high school? The Meadows Brothers are not that band! Ian and Dustin Meadows are more like what I imagine Ira and Charlie Louvin were like when they were 18 and 20 years old. They are also fine young men, devoid of posturing and pretense. And god knows we need more of that too. - CHRIS BOUSQUET
"Ian and Dustin Meadows are jack-of-all-trades instrumentalists who have come together to create a truly amazing musical experience. Their sound is a throwback to all of the great folk/country/bluegrass/blues that was kicking around both prior to and shortly after World War II, as well as the great folk revival of the 60s." - CHIP MCCABE, LONESOME NOISE
There is hope for country music. Indeed. EAR TO THE GROUND MUSIC
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