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The Crossing - May 2005 Edition

ARTIST of the MONTH:

As the days of April went by and I was contemplating who I might write about for May’s artist of the month, it kind of fell on my lap who it would have to be. There’s lots of  new albums coming out from great artists such as: Aimee Mann, Ryan Adams, Shelby Lynne and The Wallflowers to name a few. Even the new Better Than Ezra which was delayed (out May 31st.) But like another artist who hit it big with one hit in the 80’s (Aimee Mann’s hit ‘Voices Carry’ with her band Til Tuesday who has soldiered on way past that.), there’s another band with some titles surfacing that I thought could use some special attention.

It was 1983, a band formed in Scotland by the name of Big Country was hitting it big on the back of the smash hit ‘In A Big Country’. MTV was no doubt playing a MAJOR part in the exposure and success of many bands from this period. Some for the creativity of their videos and wild haircuts and clothes and some, even if it wasn’t seen at first for what it was, for their genuine talent. Like Aimee Mann in the genuine talent department, Big Country soldiered on through the better part of the next two decades, albeit slightly more under the radar. While their singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Stuart Adamson didn’t have the extrovert personality and desire to be a Bono, there’s no doubt Big Country was on the same career path actually breaking through on an international scale before U2. To this day, U2’s guitarist The Edge cites Stuart Adamson as a major influence on his guitar playing.

As it turned out Stuart Adamson was a major influence on a lot of people and that’s why I’m taking this opportunity to write about one of my all-time favorite bands and to write about a person who taught me to never give up even when he himself couldn’t go on. Several things came together to make this month’s artist of the month: Big Country. On May 31st, for the first time presented as a two CD set is the complete “Without The Aid Of A Safety Net” concert recorded in Glasgow in 1993. It's also available as a single DVD. Also on the same day is the reissue of Big Country’s sixth album and by many fan’s count, their best album, entitled “The Buffalo Skinners” remastered with four extra tracks. (Both are imports but don’t worry, I’ll let you know when they come out in the U.S.!) May 31st is also a significant day in Big Country history for two reasons. It marked the last show of their last tour, what turned out to be the second to last ever concert performed by the band on that day back in the year 2000 and it also marked the date of the tribute concert for Stuart Adamson in May of 2002.

I first met Stuart in April of 1998. He was living in Nashville, Tennessee and had formed a new band with the notable Nashville songwriter Marcus Hummon. Their band was first known as Blue Heeler and then later came to be known as The Raphaels. I saw them perform at a place called Caffe Milano in Nashville (don’t look for it! It’s not there anymore.) and before and after the show I had the fortune of meeting and talking with Stuart. He was very friendly and we talked and I told him my name and so forth. A couple of months later I drove down again from my home in St. Louis to see The Raphaels. I talked with Stuart again and he remembered my name! I was thoroughly impressed and totally bowled over really. Wow! I thought. This guy didn’t even know he’d see me again and a couple of months later he
remembers my name. Well, needless to say, I became a fan for life at that point. For a few other reasons, I moved down to Nashville and went on to see Stuart and Marcus a total of six times. I even saw Stuart’s other band Big Country in Nashville as well. The Raphaels went on to release one CD by the name of “Supernatural” in the year 2001. I always described their sound as folk with celtic overtones and country undertones. No matter how you slice it, it was a superb CD that’s been relegated to obscurity. In March of 2001, little did I know I would see Stuart for the very last time. In December of that year, Stuart succumbed to his ongoing battle with depression having fallen off the wagon he had safely stayed on for many years. The alcoholism mixed with depression was too much and he committed suicide. Without going into details, I know Stuart had an uphill battle from the start in his life. He would often pour his heartache into his music which was often the sound of his voice over a wall of sound at its most exhuberant and powerful, while on occasion laying low for the more deeply personal songs. There was an undeniable manic-depressive characteristic to the music without it ever really being depressing music. Just listen to an untold number of songs by Big Country (including the many rarities and b-sides) and you’ll
feel like you can take on most anything. The music was that powerful. The music and lyrics of Big Country helped me at an extremely difficult time in my life and I know from talking with many fans on-line through the years at the official Big Country site, the music has had the same effect literally throughout the world.

All that I have written here is just part of the story. The full story is in the memories, the lyrics, the music, the good times, the bad times, in life. There’s a lesson to be learned and there’s a world to be gained. I miss Stuart, but I wouldn’t miss his music for the world! “In a Big Country, dreams stay with you...”

Come explore the world of Big Country at:
http://www.bigcountry.co.uk

and thank you all for reading...

Now let’s turn our attention to an all new month’s worth of listings.
 

Recently released and not mentioned in last edition:

  • Marcus Hummon - “Nowhere To Go But Up” (ex-partner of Stuart; his fourth album, fifth if you include The Raphaels album, he also has an EP.Check out Marcus’ site at: http://www.velvetarmadillo.com You can also check out the soundtracks to four or five stage plays that Marcus has written. The guy is seriously talented.)
  • Tony Butler - “Life Goes On” (Big Country’s bass player. Tony’s third album. Check out T-Bass’ brand new site at:http://www.tonybutlermusic.co.uk) 
  • John Mellencamp - Five early remasters w/extra tracks. (“A Biography”, “John Cougar”, “Nothin’ Matters And What If It Did”, “American Fool” and “Uh Huh”.)
  • Gun - “The River Sessions” (2 CD live set from the Scottish band.)
  • Richie Furay - “I Am Sure” (Co-founder of Buffalo Springfield and Poco.) 
  • David Olney - “Migration”
  • Frank Brown - “Out Of The Blue”
  • Deke Dickerson - “The Melody”
  • Malcolm Holcombe - “I Never Heard You Knockin’”
  • Moonshine Hangover - “Thicket”
  • Loudon Wainwright III - “Here Come The Choppers”
  • Dead Men’s Hollow - “Forever True”
  • Tim Burgess - “I Believe”
  • Chris McFarland - “Given”
  • Jonathan Rice - “Trouble Is Real”
  • Acceptance - “Phantoms”
  • Mountain Goats - “The Sunset Tree”
  • Karan Casey - “Chasing The Sun”
  • Tracy Grammer - “Flower Of Avalon”
  • Donna The Buffalo - “Life’s A Ride”
  • Jacob Zachary - “Fury And Spin”
  • David Usher - “If God Had Curves”
  • Great Lake Swimmers - “Bodies And Minds”
  • Kayle - “Tell Me Why”
  • The Rumours - “The Mighty Can Fall”
  • The Danny Mainstreet Band - “Bulletproof And Ignorant”
  • US3 - “Questions”
  • Maston - “Maston” (features Ty Tabor of King’s X.)
  • Magellan - “Symphony For A Misanthrope”
  • The Badlees - “If Memories Had Equity” (Live collection 1995-2002.)
  • Dada - Three remastered reissues w/ extra tracks. (“Puzzle”, “American Highway Flower” and “El Subliminoso”.)
  • Allan Holdsworth - “Against The Clock: The Best Of” (2 CD set import.)
  • Jefferson Airplane - “Essential” (2 CD’s; 32 tracks.)
  • Various Artists - “Songs For Tsunami Relief:Austin To South Asia” (Features Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, Kelly Willis and Alejandro Escovedo, etc.)
  • Various Artists - “Live From Bonnaroo 2004” (2 CD set.)
  • Triumph - “Living For The Weekend” (2 CD anthology 1976-1987; import.)
  • Rik Emmett - “One Night In Cinci” (2004 show; DVD.)
  • Natalie Merchant - “VH1 Storytellers” DVD
  • The Flaming Lips - “The Fearless Freaks” DVD
  • Bono In Conversation With Michka Assayas -(Book.) 
  • Bill Mallonee - “Friendly Fire” (Wait no more! It’s OUT and it’s excellent! Still available at:http://www.billmallonee.net. You want this!!)
5/3
  • Aimee Mann - “The Forgotten Arm” (Concept album about recovery from addiction.) 
  • Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - “Cold Roses” (2 CD set.)
  • Nine Inch Nails - “With Teeth”
  • Jamiroquai - “Dynamite”
  • Robert Plant - “Mighty Rearranger” (Led Zeppelin frontman for all the youngsters out there.)
  • Joe Perry - “Joe Perry” (Aerosmith axeman; new date.) 
  • Fall Out Boy - “From Underneath The Cork Tree”
  • Elkland - “Golden”
  • Fog - “10th Avenue Freakout”
  • The Ponys - “Celebration Castle”
  • 13 And God - “13 And God”
  • Caribou - “The Milk Of Human Kindness”Mike Doughty - “Haughty Melodic”
  • Shelly Fairchild - “Ride”
  • Blessid Union Of Souls - “Perception”
  • They Might Be Giants - “User’s Guide to They Might Be Giants” 
  • National Treasure - DVD 
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera - DVD
5/10
  • Lucinda Williams - “Live At The Fillmore” (2 CD set.)
  • Richard Thompson - “Live from Austin, TX” 
  • Headphones - “Headphones”
  • Weezer - “Make Believe”
  • Dave Matthews Band - “Stand Up”
  • Sloan - “A Sides Win: 1992-2005”
  • Alison Krauss & Union Station - “Home On The Highways” (Best of; apparently this is only available at Cracker Barrel stores.)
  • Alison Brown - “Stolen Moments”
  • Redlightmusic - “Redlightmusic” (ex Candlebox guitarist’s new band.) 
  • Waking Ashland - “Composure”
  • Spoon - “Gimme Fiction”
  • The Starting Line - “Based On A True Story”
  • Tracy Bonham - “Blink The Brightest”
  • Thousand Foot Krutch - “Art Of Breaking”
  • Hal - “Hal”
  • Nils Lofgren - “The Ryko Years: 1990-2005” 
  • Robert Earl Keen - “What I Really Mean”
  • Van Zant - “Get Right With The Man”
  • Utah Phillips - “Starlight On The Rails: A Songbook” (Boxset.)
  • Day At The Fair - “The Rocking Chair Years”
  • Ali Farka Toure - “Red And Green”
  • X - “Live In Los Angeles”
  • Son Volt - “Live From Austin, TX” (Austin City Limits show from 1997; DVD.) 
  • Richard Thompson - “Live From Austin, TX” (Austin City Limits show from 2001; DVD.) 
  • Lucinda Williams - “Live From Austin, TX” (Austin City Limits show from 1998; DVD.) 
  • Marillion - “Marbles On The Road” (DVD.) 
  • The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou - DVD 
  • In Good Company - DVD      
  • Assault On Precinct 13 - DVD
  • William Shakespeare’s The Merchant Of Venice - DVD 
  • Racing Stripes - DVD     
5/17
  • John Williams - “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith” (Score.) 
  • Paul Westerberg - “Besterberg” (Best of Including rarities.) 
  • Billy Joe Shaver - “A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver” (65th birthday w/guests Guy Clark, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jack Ingram, Kelly Willis and Todd Snider, etc.) 
  • Robbie Fulks - “Georgia Hard” 
  • Van Morrison - “Magic Time”
  • Lou Reed - “Live In Spain”
  • Poi Dog Pondering - “Best Of The Austin Years”
  • Sawyer Brown - “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”
  • Still Remains - “Of Love And Lunacy”
  • Breaking Point - “Beautiful Disorder”
  • The Rocket Summer - “Hello, Good Friend” Brian Jonestown Massacre - “We Are the Radio” 
  • John Wetton & Geoff Downes - “Icon” (former Asia bandmates; import.)
  • Huey Lewis & The News - “Live At 25”
  • Def Leppard - “Rock Of Ages” (2 CD best of; North American version.) 
  • Team America: World Police - DVD
  • Kinsey - DVD
  • White Noise - DVD
5/24
  • The Wallflowers - “Rebel, Sweetheart” (Fifth album from Jakob Dylan and company.)
  • Son Volt - “A Retrospective 1995-2000” (20 tracks including five previously unreleased tracks; includes the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Open All Night’.) 
  • Mark Knopfler - “Trawlerman’s Song” (Six song five EP; import.)
  • Collective Soul - “From The Ground Up” (8 track acoustic EP.)
  • At The Drive In - “Anthology: This Station Is Non-Operational” 
  • Shelby Lynne - “Suit Yourself”
  • Robert Cray Band - “Twenty”
  • Stephen Malkmus - “Face The Truth”
  • Sleater-Kinney - “The Woods”
  • Sinead O’Connor - “Collaborations” (import.)
  • Hem - “Rabbit Songs” (Debut reissue.)
  • Belle & Sebastian - “Push Barman To Open Old Wounds”
  • Clumsy Lovers - “Clumsy Lovers”
  • Seether - “Karma And Effect”
  • Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez - “Red Dog Tracks” 
  • Gorillaz - “Demon Days” 
  • The Shout Out Louds - “Howl Howl Gaff Gaff” 
  • Bruce Dickinson - “Tyranny Of Souls” (Iron Maiden singer’s sixth solo album.) 
  • Johnny Cash - “Original Sun Albums Complete Collection” (Boxset.)
  • John Mellencamp - Four Remasters w/extra tracks (“Scarecrow”, “Lonesome Jubilee”, “Big Daddy” and “Whenever We Wanted”.)
  • Canned Heat - “Very Best Of Canned Heat” 
  • Loggins & Messina - “The Best of Kenny Loggins & Jim Messina - Sittin’ In Again”
  • Brian Wilson - “Presents Smile” (DVD.)     
  • Pooh’s Heffalump Movie - DVD
  • The Aviator - DVD
  • A Very Long Engagement - DVD
  •   16 Years Of Alcohol - DVD
  • Seinfeld - “Season 4” DVD


5/31

  • Big Country - “The Buffalo Skinners” (Remastered w/four extra tracks; import.)
  • Big Country - “Without The Aid Of A Safety Net” Available for the first time as a complete 2 CD live set and as a DVD from Glasgow, Scotland 1993; import.)
  • Better Than Ezra - “Before The Robots” (New date. Got pushed back for some reason.)
  • Oasis - “Don’t Believe The Truth” 
  • Staind - “Chapter V”
  • The Band - “The Band: Classic Albums” (DVD.)
  • East Of Eden - DVD; 50th anniversary edition.
6/7
  • White Stripes - “Get Behind Me Satan”
  • Coldplay - “X & Y”
  • Teenage Fanclub - “Man-Made”
  • Daniel Lanois - “Belladonna”
  • Dream Theater - “Octavarium”
  • Audioslave - “Out Of Exile”
  • Taproot - “Blue Sky Research” 
  • Johnny Cash - “Johnny Cash - The Legend” (4 CD boxset; limited edition comes with DVD.)
  • June Carter Cash - “Keep On The Sunny Side” (2 CD anthology.) 
  • The Eagles - “Farewell Part 1 Tour - Live From Melbourne” (2 DVD set.) 
  • The Machinist - DVD 
  • Beyond The Sea - DVD 
6/14
  • The Strokes - “TBA”
  • Dressy Bessy - “Electrified”
  • Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell - “Begonias” 
  • Dwight Yoakam - “Blame The Vain” 
  • Alanis Morissette - “Jagged Little Pill - Acoustic” (10th anniversary.)
  • Paul McCartney - Live In Red Square” DVD 
  • Duran Duran - “Live At Wembley Arena” (early 2004 show; DVD.) 
  • Hitch - DVD
6/21
  • Foo Fighters - “In Your Honor” (2 CD set; one acoustic, one electric.)
  • Billy Corgan - “The Future Embrace” (former Smashing Pumpkins frontman, of course.) 
  • John Hiatt - “Master Of Disaster” 
  • Redwalls - “De Nova” 
  • Coach Carter - DVD 
  • The Jacket - DVD 
  • In The Realms Of The Unreal - DVD
6/28 
  • Fountains Of Wayne - “Out Of State Plates” (2 CD rarities set plus two new songs.) 
  • Shannon McNally - “Geronimo”
7/5
  • Steve Walsh - “Shadowman” (Singer/keyboardist of Kansas.)
  • Hide And Seek - DVD
  • Bride And Prejudice - DVD
7/12
  • Son Volt - “Okemah And The Melody Of Riot” (Um, yep! That’s the name of it. Jay Farrar returns under the Son Volt name with an all new band.)
7/19
  • Doug Pinnick - “Emotional Animal” (Possible title; third solo album for the King’s X vocalist; first under his own name.)
  • Switchfoot - “Nothing Is Sound” 
  • Frank Black - “Honeycomb” 30 Seconds To Mars - “The Battle of One” 
7/26
  • Bob Mould - “Body Of Song” (Former Husker Du and Sugar frontman.)
  • Brian Setzer - “Rockabilly Riot Volume 1 - A Tribute To Sun Records”
  • 311 - “TBA”
8/9
  • Nickel Creek - “Why Should The Fire Die?” 
  • Carrie Newcomer - “Regulars And Refugees: More Stories From The Diner” 
  • Ryan Adams - “Jacksonville City Nights” (a honky-tonk, country type album.) 
  • Hootie & The Blowfish - “Looking For Lucky” (We can all rest easy now.) 
LYRIC of the MONTH:
Look at him now. Another used man. Wearing the passing of his dignity with all the courage that he can. He stood in the storm. Carved out in stone. He said I’ve worn my honesty with pride in everything I’ve done.

So where were you when my ship went down.
Where were you when I ran aground.
Where were you when I turned it around.
Where were you when they burned me down.
Stuart Adamson (Big Country) from the song “Ships” off
of the album The Buffalo Skinners.


Have a great month everyone. “Star Wars” is fast upon us. Time to get psyched! 

...May The Force Be With You!

See you in June!

Chris Barlow
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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