Profile of Bloodshot Records
By Scott Jones
There’s a small record label in Chicago by the name of Bloodshot Records. To say that their catalogue is eclectic is a huge understatement. Featuring cowpunk, country blues, southern rock, and even the occasional throwback to ragtime, Bloodshot proudly provides a wide array of music that will satisfy any listener willing to reach outside of the proverbial box.
This year has offered no shortage of this aforementioned cornucopia of tunes; and I am privileged to present to you, the outside-of-the-box music listener, with some of them.
Artist: Roger Knox
Album: Stranger in My Land
Despite the fact that this man has been in the music business for quite some time, this latest collection of serious reflection upon his homeland of Australia and the persecution of minorities still rings true to this day. A true wake-up call to those in the Western world who are unaware of the social inequalities Knox has faced since his youth.
Sounds like: Country roots-rock with a purposeful message of peace and harmony attached.
Artist: Wayne Hancock
Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s music is as close to 1950 as you can get. That’s saying something for a guy who wasn’t even born when Hank Williams was jamming in country bars across the land. Mr. Hancock has built a reputation on seamlessly blending the sensibility of Hank’s vast outpouring of heartfelt emotion, while at the same time, incorporating heavy doses of rockabilly throughout the record. Look no further for a man who, in 2013, is as country as country gets.
Sounds like: What you heard 60 years ago when you dropped that quarter in the jukebox. Ride on!
Artist: Deadstring Brothers
Album: Cannery Row
“Sticky Fingers” must have made its way to “Cannery Row” somehow, because the early stages of country-rock, owing to the Flying Burrito Brothers (which featured the legendary Gram Parsons), and Brits such as the Stones and even the Kinks (with their seminal, and sadly underrated album “Muswell Hillbillies”) really have done a number on this group, led by Kurt Marschke, because it just sounds so fresh all over again. Turn your dial back to 1971 and have some tea.
Sounds like: A regeneration of country rock’s fledgling days.
Artist: Luke Winslow-King
Album: The Coming Tide
This man isn’t even old enough to remember Vietnam, let alone the Dirty Thirties. But he, along with a sensational co-vocalist Esther Rose, sings songs of an era largely unknown by today’s music listeners. Ragtime music seems to be a forte of Luke’s, and he wears this forgotten genre on his sleeve. In the midst of a generation gone digital, this man would probably cut a 78 if he had the opportunity. And I would listen to it once I obtained a phonograph capable of playing it. You should too.
Sounds like: Your great-great-grandparents’ record collection. Smile and be glad this music was around, and that someone like Luke has dusted it off.
Artist: JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound
Once again, Bloodshot features an artist with a great deal of respect for his elders. Here, JC produces a rockin’ soul record that doesn’t stray far from the legends tree. Otis Redding, James Brown and Marvin Gaye are all looking down on this man and his band for making upbeat hoppin’, boppin’ numbers sound just as fresh as the day they recorded their own masterpieces. The vocals take centre stage, but the Uptown Sound holds up their end of the bargain in making this sound pop in one of the grooviest records you will hear this year.
Sounds like: The coolest, and most faithfully influenced soul numbers since James Brown felt good.