The Train Wreck Endings
A bluesy Americana album recorded live in the Potomac Falls High School library in November 2013.
NOTE: Debuted in the iTunes Top 20 downloads!
This album was recorded live in the library of Potomac Falls High School in Sterling, Va., on November 4, 2013, by Chris Murphy of RHL Audio. It leans heavily toward the blues, but includes some rock and Americana sounds, and it features the funky "Rum Talking" (written by Andy Hawk and guitarist Paul Bordelon), which opens the album.
The band set up amps among the bookshelves and managed to finish the entire 8-song session in just under four hours.
"Mason-Dixon Line" is a slice of dirty minor-key blues that moves along seductively and finds our narrator - who describes himself as "a sweaty carpetbagger with a bellyful of wine" - longing for the north but drawn to the south: "Lord, I miss the snow in Pittsburgh / and the Massachusetts fall / and the moon in old Ohio / Lake Michigan, it calls / but they'll never match the sweetness / in her honeysuckle sighs / down below the Mason-Dixon line."
Following that is the lighthearted and lively "Lipstick & Dynamite", a song about - yep - female wrestling. Characters like the Fabulous Moolah and Killem Gillem are real names, and the title was inspired by a documentary of the same name.
Next is the lovely ballad "Letting Go", written by Hawk and bass player Chuck Bordelon. Its spare arrangement allows the lyric to shine through: "Ever get the feeling you're driving away from all you know / the rear-view tears at you, the pull of the undertow..." It's about the bittersweet debt you have to pay for the privilege of being alive.
"Another Roadside Attraction" is the title track from the band's 2010 album, and this live rendition does justice to the original, as does "Midnight Run" (another by Hawk and Chuck Bordelon), a track from last year's "Sorta Kinda Maybe" CD. The live vibe brings it to life with a burst of energy.
A new song by Hawk and Paul Bordelon, "Gone Hollywood", feels like a sunny Southern California day, with tongue-in-cheek lyrics that illustrate the narcissism of many an aspiring (and delusional) star: "If I can't find the news I'll bite a dog / I'll get a plastic face and attitude / and change my name to Andy Hollywood..." Great stuff, delivered through a '60s Beachblanket Bingo surf sound.
Last, but not least, is "Think Too Much", a terrific Old 97s-like tune that opened the band's 2009 lo-fi "Tin Can Town". Here, it's given proper treatment, and it eclipses the original in feel, tempo, and authenticity. It's top-notch Americana music with great barroom lyrics: "It's 3 a.m. and I can't help but wonder what went wrong / though I fill my glass, it looks half-empty to me / I'm misty eyed, true and tried / alone with all I fear / I can't go back or forward while I'm here..."
Overall, this tight package of tunes maintains a high-energy live feel with a sound that's clean and clear. A wonderful example of the group's live act.