Monthly Archives: January 2015

Dengue Fever – The Deepest Lake

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If you drained the Pacific Ocean and smashed together the SE Asian pop scene and the SoCal surf punk sound, you’d have Dengue Fever. This internationally-successful band has been around for over ten years and this – their fifth album – sees them fully realizing the idea of what their band should be. It’s their best album yet. Merging the sounds of vastly different cultures, Dengue Fever brings the elements together with masterful songwriting and great performances. Here at RUST Magazine we’ve been fans of Dengue Fever for years and they are a staple on our play list at events and parties.

If you haven’t heard about this band yet, check out The Deepest lake and take this opportunity to hear them at their best. Everything they’ve ever put out has been awesome and this album really crystallizes their essence. Very Highly Recommended.

http://denguefevermusic.com/

Check it out – Go Betty Go’s Reboot

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Die-hard fans will remember Go Betty Go from two Warped tours plus a lot of SoCal and Mexico gigs, and they’re back (and badder than ever) with their suprise new album Reboot. The orginal foursome of Michelle Rangel, Betty Cisneros, Nicolette Vilar and Aixa Vilar have re-assembled and are re-emerging with an anthemic 6-song album that kicks butt, then chases it down the street and kicks it again! Strong, soulful and full of depth and intensity Reboot sounds great all around. It’s a classic punk band with a unique self-identity delivering fresh music that showcases a huge reservoir of stored-up energy and intention. It’s a confident quartet at work here with a little help from producer Ted Hutt and the result is an album that’s rock solid – and a lot of fun. Go Betty Go keeps it real… real punk rock – check it out!

 

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http://gobettygo.com/

Thrift Store Gold – Al Hirt’s Latin In The Horn

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They say that vinyl is the future of music, but there was a time when vinyl was the only music. These original recordings have now found their way to thrift stores, and that’s where I go to find my gold records. For “work” I listen to, and write about, brand-new artists and to relax, and to educate myself on the history of music, I go thrifting for lost and forgotten masterpieces. As DJ Slack I take these decades-old albums and play them – scratches and all – at my gigs and I mostly focus on lounge music from the 50’s and 60’s.

The sweet spot for me is the ultra-lounge music that was the epitome of un-cool as soon as hippies and disco hit the town, artists like Lawrence Welk, The Living Brass, Lenny Dee, Herb Alpert, Martin Denny and oddball movie soundtracks like Casino Royale and anything from the Ranwood label. 50 years later, this type of music has been mostly forgotten, even for the people that lived it. So now, it’s like people are hearing these timeless jewels for the first time. Honestly, the reaction I have gotten from people has been astounding. Just enough time has passed that this is now strange and bizarre music from a forgotten time and I get baffled people staring at the turntables and asking to see the jackets whenever I break out them out.

One of the factors in the music that I see is the geographic region I am in – north Georgia – and what shows up at the thrift stores are time capsules of people’s lives and the majority of records are from rural, conservative folks. One of the artists that I have become aware of through my forensic thriftology is Al Hirt. I see his albums again and again almost everywhere I look. The reason fo this is that Al Hirt was a huge star in his time. A Grammy-winning trumpeteer and band leader, his records went gold and he appeared on the popular variety television shows of the time hosted by people like Ernie Kovacs. He packed houses and was popular for decades.

Several months ago I came upon a copy of Latin In The Horn, originally released in 1966, and arranged and conducted by Hollywood legend Lalo Schifrin, responsible for sountracks for Enter The Dragon and Dirty Harry. This album is a departure from Al Hirt’s usual style, often called Cotton Candy, and it showcases a very different overall mood and feel. In my personal opinion it is Al Hirt’s best album by far, and just a few days ago I found another copy in excellent condition. I was so happy to find two of these rare jewels that I wanted to document it and encourage other people to take a listen.

A technical master and excellent band leader, what makes Latin In The Horn different and special is the expansive vision of Lalo Shifrin. Perhaps you could say that Al Hirt has a very specific and focused technique whereas Lalo Schifrin has a broader perspective and a longer range of vision. As leader of your own band, you can do anything you want, which can sometimes limit overall songs into being mostly support for the soloist. Putting the two personalities together brought out the best of both here.

Latin In The Horn is an amazing album. It’s worth talking about – literally – 50 years later. Al Hirt is slowed down a little from his usual fast attack and subjected to the pacing of Lalo Schifrin versus having the ability to drive the band as fast as he can play – which is really, really fast. And the album is less about showcasing the trumpet specifically as it is about making a great themed album featuring the trumpet. It’s a smoother mixture, and much less speed-driven than the other Al Hirt albums I have come across. It’s also several years before Lalo Schifrin was to pen his great works, so retrospectivly this album is a unique window on his though process and the development of his style.

The subtleties beneath the surface – courtesy of Lalo Schifrin – are what really define this album. The songs are mysterious, and there’s a definite feeling of unease. The music transports you to a tropical land, but not the bright beaches and cocktail bars, but to lost, lonely paths with darkness falling and danger lurking. There is just enough bending of the time scale and notes that the traditional structure of the songs are eroded and seem in danger of collapsing. It’s like falling into a dream, when the concrete things that make up your logical world become loose and fluid. It’s complex, with deep, heavy movements swelling up while the high notes almost seem to be fleeing and evading the impending, enveloping threat.

The Hirt-Schifrin combination on Latin In The Horn is nothing less than a Lounge Super Group and I’m writing this article in the hopes that people will seek this album out and experience it for themselves. Of course I recommend heading out to your local second-hand shop and starting your own journey of discovery, but vinyl copies of this album are available online at reasonable prices. Latin In The Horn gives you a window through time and what you see are two of the best musical geniuses of their time united in a unique, dark and complex project.

 

http://www.discogs.com/sell/list?master_id=639949&ev=mb

Check it out – new music video from Frank Viele

Hey RUST Fans we have a double-extra-groovy new music video to share with you, and it’s awesome in a Simpsons kind of way. Guitarist Frank Viele’s debut album Fall Your Way features a monster line-up of artists, including Joe Bonamassa and members from the funk-fusion band Kung Fu, and though the album won’t be out until out in late March 2015, you can watch the Easy Money music video right now!

A Love Letter to TG and the Swampbusters

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Here at RUST Magazine we liked roots-rocker Tim Gibbons’ new project so much, we actually wrote him a love letter instead of a review:
Dear TG and the Swampbusters,

We love you. You are so cool. We love the way you play guitar and we love your funky down-low beats. We love the way you keep it so real, and we love how you write your songs. We love your swagger and your style and we love your new CD Swamp Tooth Comb.

You are our very favorite roots rockers. We listen to your album all day long and at night and we play it in the car and we nod our heads up and down while we drive down the road. We told all the other kids at school about it too! We think you are awesome.

So, if you’re not dating another music magazine, can we go steady?

Love, RUST Magazine

 

Brandon Decker talks about Patsy

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Patsy, the new album from decker. (Brandon Decker) is a project loosely enveloped by the description of psychedelic desert folk, but it’s not an album, and neither is he an artist, which could be easily described in any one phrase. Deep and thoughtful, Patsy is very much a musical journey. It’s not about the destination, it’s about what you see, how you feel, and what changes within you as you walk along the path toward it. As a musical artist Brandon Decker has presented brilliant questions through his work, and the answers are in the asking.

This might sound evasively philosophical but Patsy is an album that you can truly get lost in, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s like a co-journey with Brandon and his friends going through personal, dark, and desolate spaces. Deep down this rabbit hole, you get so lost you forgot how you got there, you don’t know where you are, and you cannot find your way out. It’s subtly captivating. Patsy is an album that defines it’s own space and time.

It’s also music that is decorated with beautiful guitar work and excellent instrumentation, especially the tense performances by a stellar collection of bandmates and guests. This really is a musician’s album with each member really putting in the effort to make it “just right” whether that means playing it close to the chest like a gunslinger, or letting the tempo slip and shift into something unnerving and shapeless.

Following up 2013’s Slider and recorded at WaveLab Recording Studio in Tucson, Patsy is an old-school audio treat. The instrumentation and production converge into a collection of songs that feel like they have a purpose… or perhaps an immense inertial velocity that cannot be stopped. It’s clearly the work of a musical team that is able to go deep into their own personal spaces and return with hard-earned inspiration and perspective.

Patsy is also an excellent example of the music scene that is thriving right now, along with bands like The Lost Patrol, The Blueflowers and similar desert-dwellers Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray. Astoundingly good music is coming from small groups of super-dedicated people who are using new tech tools to bring a constantly-higher level of production quality to their work. With decker. these tools have allowed them to refine their mutual statement to a razor edge. It’s truly inspiring.

 

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We were so curious about the people behind the project we reached out to Brandon, who graciously answered some questions for us.

RUST: Brandon, Patsy is really a fantastic album. To us, it feels like you had a real drive to express yourself here, like the songs were pushing to be heard all on their own. Did you feel like they were – perhaps the word here is – inevitable?

BD: Thank you! I am very happy with and grateful for this set of songs. I’d say, out of my five albums I’ve released, these were all written with the most intent, in a variety of ways. In the past, and even here somewhat, songs always feel in some ways like this thing that happens to me and I’m grateful for it. But here, I definitely set out with a focus for all of them and they felt a little more artistic and less personal than songs in the past have. But even then, they all kind of create their own space too. I don’t know about inevitable but I’ve thought alot lately about how songs and art just kind of come out of the ether.

RUST: Can you tell us a little about some of the people that really helped make Patsy what it is?

BD: There was a ton of personnel that helped make this album what it is, and I’m so grateful for the abundance of talent on it. Principally the main players: Kelly Cole (spacey guitars, percussion) Amber Johnson (Keys, synths) and Andrew Bates (Bass). But then Dan Allmond of the Phoenix band Field Tripp did some of the more aggressive guitar solos and Henri Benard added alot of percussion. On top of that a heap of people from the Tucson music community jumped in. Almost too many to name! Joe Novelli of Segrio Mendoza Y La Orkestra added some wonderful slide and trumpet parts, Steff Koeppen scored the string quartet on the track Patsy. The list goes on and on. Past that, the gentlemen from WaveLab – Chris Schultz engineering tirelessly, and Craig Schumacher putting his ear and mind on it. I was quite fortunate to have so much love given to me.

RUST: Is there any one person you want to thank for supporting you right now?

BD: Oh gosh, again, so many that to name one is to diminish so many others. I’m grateful that my son’s mom helps navigate our co-parenting with my strange music lifestyle.

 

RUST Magazine Very Highly Recommends Patsy, and though it won’t be available until February 17th, you can listen to some of the tracks right now, right here: https://soundcloud.com/deckermusic/patsy

 

Check It Out: Cicero Buck – The Birth of Swagger

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Here at RUST Magazine we love surprises. Especially fresh and intense pop music from that shows up in our mailbox all the way from the UK. Although this British band is actually half American (via Kris), this dynamic duo of Kris and Joe Hughes have compiled a collection of super-produced hits for this, their fourth full-length album. The Birth of Swagger takes cues from some specific moments in Amerciana music and maximizes it within a particular space. The concept, the songwriting, the performances and the production are all excellent, and The Birth of Swagger showcases artists with experience, skills and self-knowledge to spare.

Cicero Buck reminds us a lot of SISRY’s Rich and Melanie, also a powerhouse pop-rock duo, who talked to us recently about the state of pop music and commented on their Beatles-inspired approach to songwriting. Similarly, Cicero Buck delivers classic songs built on solid ideas, showing love and appreciation for moments past on the FM radio dial. Diversity is a key element here, with songs bringing flavors of Cheap Trick, ELO and Phil Spector into new and interesting places. It takes more than talent to prepare songs of such excellence, it takes hard work and a greater concept of what these periods in music history left as their legacies, and Kris and Joe have taken the time to do it right, having worked on this album for several years.

If you’ve been disenchanted with pop music lately, it’s because you’re not listening to awesome, talented bands like Cicero Buck. All the producers tricks in the world are worthless unless there is authentic talent at work, and in the case of Cicero Buck, their talent is enabled here and accelerated into a collection of songs that will surely stand the test of time. The ideas are great, the production is great, and each song has a unique and memorable identity – that’s a real accomplishment – and The Birth of Swagger keeps it going from start to finish.

So be sure to check out Cicero Buck. The Birth of Swagger gets our full endorsement and it will be available in February.

https://www.facebook.com/CiceroBuck

Fred Gillen Jr. talks about Wage Love

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Several years ago, when the economy collapsed, there was a communal need in our country to revisit our roots culturally and to seek wisdom, guidance and comfort in the things that our predecessors found solace in. Bands like The Blueflowers, The Great Tribulation, The Grahams and Jared Grabb came to be grouped in – what we called – the New Rustbelt Sound. Bringing back musical memories of the dust bowl and the lonely sounds of dark heartland artists like Patsy Cline and Roy Orbison, these new voices joined a long and distinguished lineage of poets and rebels disenchanted with the shine and finding substance in the shadow.

Of course, these voices were never silent. They never have been and the never will be. But this new generation of musicians were doing amazing work at a time when their relevance, which had been neglected while the world was distracted with other fads, suddenly became essential. It’s been a few years since then and there has been a continuation of the development of Great Americana music with bands like The Fugitives, The End Times, Sean Watkins and Cabinet merging the country and the city, and the new and the old into fresh, vibrant, relevant music.

Last year, we picked Matt Turk’s Cold Revival as our album of the year. Like the other current and historical works that defined the American, and the human experience, Matt delivered a unique, personal and superb collection of music in the classic American singer-songwriter space. One of the other people involved in that album, and a co-creator and performer with Matt is Fred Gillen Jr. who is about to release his new album Wage Love, and it’s going to make history.

Or perhaps it’s going to join other great works in the endless history of our world. Reaching back to those first definitive union anthems, Wage Love bridges the generations and eras of our shared culture to find profound truths both new and old in the quietness of poverty – either fiscal or philosophical. Matt also joins Fred on this album playing mandolin, and just as with Cold Revival, a dedicated core group of people have helped Fred realize this expression of his music.

A prolific poet and musician, Fred Gillen Jr. has an archive of work going back almost 20 years. He’s released solo albums as well as working with groups like Hope Machine and he’s been heavily involved with the arts community in his home region of upper New York. Wage Love is focused more on political and social issues than his previous work, and it gives the album a specificity that accentuates it’s relevance and timeliness. This is an album with something to say. It has a self-evident importance and clear identity. RUST Magazine gives it our highest recommendation, but we wanted to hear from Fred about what he thinks about it himself and he graciously answered a few questions for us:

RUST: A few years ago, there was a big resurgence in what might be called Americana Roots music, while it is now becoming somewhat less present in the public space. Perhaps times aren’t as profoundly hard as they were a couple years ago, maybe people have adjusted to a new normal. You finely interpret the spirit of that moment with the song Occupy Your Own Mind, did you write this as a cautionary message not to forget the occupy movement as well as the other moments that inspired other people to write about their times?

FGJR: We definitely do quickly adjust to a new normal. I think Occupy Your Own Mind was more of a “here is what is” song for me. I had that word occupy rolling around in my head for a long time. I set out to write a very “political” protest song, but wound up with something else. The two verses are about two things I think about a lot. We’ve wound up in a situation where our so- called leaders can only get elected by coming up with a whole lot of money. Citizens United made that even worse- now corporations can “donate” so much money anonymously. In Germany where they have publicly-funded elections they’d call a private donation to a candidate a bribe! Duh! Also every President has been a male over 6 feet tall who was educated at one of just a few colleges. We elected a black man president, which to me was frankly surprising and great, but we did it before we ever elected a woman. Twenty years ago I would have said you were crazy if you told me that would happen. With how racist this country seems to be I think this illustrates how sexist it also still is. Woman still don’t have equal pay for equal work, and are still culturally treated as objects pretty easily in the media and in our daily conversations. In the midst of all of this, in the northeast we had a big hurricane a couple of years ago and the reason that seniors and disabled people without electricity got meals and heat was because Occupy Sandy organized and made it happen. They had a lot of help from churches and synagogues and other organizations, but Occupy were the organizers. This gives me great hope! The Occupy movement was bigger, more organized, and accomplished more than the mainstream media, which is owned and run by the Wall Street folks, showed us. The great thing is that the occupy movement didn’t go anywhere. They’re still here!!!

RUST: As a whole culture, with hindsight it appears that America lost some of it’s own self-identity in the gilded age before the crash and they looked to the music of old – as you might phrase it – to regain that sense of cultural pride when hard times returned. Perhaps people felt that they had to now earn that which was previously so easily bought, and they had a new appreciation for it. Are you wary that this righteous message is beginning to again fade as times continue to change?

FGJR: Living in the Hudson Valley I guess I don’t see this as much, because it has not faded here at all. I don’t think it ever fades anyway – I think it just stops getting televised for a while until it becomes sexy again. But I do think that the hard times give it a sense of urgency. The thing about this music is that it is a community-building thing, and in hard times we all need community in a more urgent way. I think American cultural pride is still out there, but it is more underground, or perhaps more local.

RUST: But I’m making it sound as though this style was sealed away in a “break glass in case of emergency” container, and of course it wasn’t. You’ve been active for about 20 years, as have fantastic artists like Matt Turk. You must have met some amazing people along that journey, can you share a story with us about one person that inspired you along the way?

FGJR: Of course the first person who comes to mind is Pete Seeger. The last time I played with Pete was after a parade in Beacon with a group of school children. The event was “Spirit of Beacon Day.” Pete had helped create this event because he observed, many years ago when he moved to Beacon, that the town was basically segregated, and he wanted to for at least one day a year integrate it. He and some other folks created this event in September every year. Anyhow, here was the guy who co-wrote Turn Turn Turn and If I Had A Hammer playing on the street after a parade! This is very inspiring. When Pete’s career and livelihood were taken away from him by HUAC and the black-listing, he took it to the streets and schools, and I think he found out that that’s where it belonged! I was fortunate to get to spend much more than my share of time with Pete, because of a few people who seemed determined to put me in the room with him. Matt Turk, David Bernz, Susan Wright, Rick Rock of Tribes Hill- they all put me in the room or on stage with Pete, along with a few other folks, over the years. Knowing him and having spent some quality time with him it is hard to imagine him on the mall with Springsteen at the inauguration. That last time I played a gig with him he taught us a new verse he’d written for “This Land” about fracking. He said “last week I sang this at Farm Aid with Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and that nice young man Bruce Springsteen.” Sure enough I looked it up, and there it was on Youtube. Dave Matthews and Mellencamp were also there. “NY is your home, NY is my home, from the upstate mountains down to the ocean’s foam, with all kinds of people, we’re all polychrome, NY was made to be frack free.” Polychrome- such a Pete kind of word! I wasn’t close to Pete the same way Turk was, but boy do I miss him. We all do!

RUST: It’s just the new year. Hello 2015. As another new year begins, do you have hope that a new generation of musicians has looked to people like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie to inspire them as they grow as musicians?

FGJR: Hope Machine did a lot of work with the Woody Guthrie Foundation/ archives. Anna Canoni, Nora Guthrie’s daughter, got us a lot of gigs playing Woody songs. It always struck me that the “myth” of Woody Guthrie was very appealing. He is really kind of a classic outlaw/ underdog. I think one of the things that they do at the foundation is attempt to tell the real story without undermining the myth. Kind of interesting. When I consider that This Land was never on the radio or television (until the Obama inauguration) but almost everyone in this country knows the song, I’ve got to figure that something big is going on. I talked to Cy Hamlin, the guy who designed the Clearwater Sloop, on the phone this summer. Some story about Pete and the Clearwater came up and he said “that’s not how it happened but it is a good story so let’s let it stand.” At 94 he had the wisdom and humility to let the myth be built, and to know he was a little part of it. He understands that the Clearwater is not just a boat and not just a currently active vehicle for change, but also a part of a mythology. It helped get the Clean Air & Water Act passed, after all! So it is with Woody and Pete. I think some of what happened in their lives is just what happened, just the chaos of life. I also think they made large and small choices which changed the course of their lives, and therefore changed their legacies. Woody left a good-paying radio job because he was censored there. In the moment the impact it had on his life was that he was broke but had his integrity, but in the long term it changed everything. This was a very difficult choice. Woody met Will Geer and Will brought him to see the jungle camps, and this politicized him. Was this luck? Maybe they were “meant” to meet. Maybe it was inevitable. In any case, Pete and Woody’s decisions made a difference. What strikes me is how many of these decisions were made for the sake of integrity. More than the music, this is what I hope young musicians get out of their stories. Integrity is something worth fighting and suffering for, in my opinion. If Wall Street had more of it we wouldn’t need an “Occupy” movement! Now we’ve got “B-corporations,” and I’m hopeful we’ll have more humane capitalism in the future! But there are a handful of people grasping a big pile of money and they’ve been pulling strings, greasing palms, and even breaking laws for a long time to get it. We don’t have to ask what Pete would do, because he was at Occupy Wall Street, at 93 years old! Pete and Woody were human and flawed, but they are also archetypical heroes, and both were very stubborn about their integrity. I think a lot of young artists recognize that about them.

RUST: So, we’re both big fans of Matt Turk. You’ve worked with him and toured with him. We gave him album of the year. Do you have a funny (and hopefully mildly embarrassing) story to tell about your mutual adventures?

FGJR: Most of the funny stories I have from touring with Turk I don’t want to tell in print because it could hurt the other people involved. Suffice it to say it is always an adventure. The thing I love most about Turk is that he isn’t necessarily as happy-go-lucky as he appears, but he WORKS at being positive, I’d say at all times. I think if it came as easily as it appears it wouldn’t have the impact it has. He brings positivity everywhere he goes. He manifests it in the world. It is the same with the music- he makes the mandolin sound easy, but I can tell you he’s worked very hard at it, studying with Barry Mitterhoff of Hot Tuna and practicing many hours a day. Our Spring tour is going to be called the “Love Revival Tour.” Wage Love, Cold Revival. But that’s kind of who Turk is- a walking love revival. He sort of refuses to accept negativity! A great friend. Actually he’s more than a friend, he’s family.

RUST: Who are some of the other people who helped make Wage Love? What about them made them right for this album?

FGJR: It’s funny. When I first started working on the album, Tom Kristich, the photographer, called me. He said he wanted to shoot some photos of me at an abandoned Department of Public Works garage near his house. We had to climb through a fence, and walk past broken bottles and a fire pit where kids hang out and drink at night, and there we found the torn American flag on the ground. I picked it up and brought it with us for the shoot. I know a whole bunch of great singers, including great folks like Abbie Gardner and Laurie MacAllister of the band Red Molly and Brooke Campbell, who have sung on my records. I met Laura Bowman when my cousin jazz drummer Brian Woodruff suggested I call her to play at a songwriters night in Astoria, Queens that she hosted. She turned out to be really community-oriented and we kept in touch. Last year she did a project called “Busk or Bust,” where she planned to busk her way across the country until she ran out of money, and make a documentary about it. It was supposed to be a film about not being able to make a living as a musician, really about having to go home out of money. She wound up on the road for the whole summer, going to the West Coast and back. I think this really transformed her. So though I really like her singing, I called her for more personal than musical reasons, thinking that she was right for this record in a personal sense. About 95% of what she sang she arranged. “I Dreamed I Saw Pete Seeger” I wrote at the last minute, so Laura heard it for the first time just before she sang it! Talk about a home run! She put out a great ep recently called “Troubadour.” Paul Magliari is just groovy as a drummer. He made “We The People” less square, and “Election Day” more musical. I’m currently recording, at my studio, an album with him of his music. His music is a bit like early Genesis. He calls it “conceptual pop.” I thought of Turk as soon as I wrote “Ghost of Joe Hill.” He says he thinks he went to a new place singing on “Freedom Highway,” and I agree. He also helped me work out the arrangement for that, because we’re singing what the audience usually sings. Lastly Jeffry Braun, who designed the cover, named the album. I’ve been giving away “Wage Love” stickers for almost 15 years now but I never would have named the album that!

RUST: We The People is *one* of our favorite songs on the album, can you tell us a little about it?

FGJR: I wrote what I’d call the first finished drafts of that and Killing Machine in 2003, after the war in Iraq started. Killing Machine didn’t undergo much revision after that. That one wrote itself. I made a quick, limited-run e.p. called “We The People” that summer because I was angry about the government’s reaction to 9/11. The first concert I ever played with Pete Seeger probably in 2005 I sang that version of We The People, and he told me it was important and I should keep working on it and keep singing it. I’ve been revising it since then. Ten years! I’d thought about including it because I knew it sort of fit, and when Pete passed away last January I kind of felt a sense of responsibility for the song, because Pete told me to work on it. I think a lot of songwriters in the Hudson Valley feel a similar sense of responsibility, because it will take all zillion of us to do anything like what Pete did. When I get really down and cynical I pick up my little paperback of the constitution and Declaration of Independence, and remind myself that the constitution and the people are the country, not the current politicians. We the People! It is our country! When you join the Army you swear an oath to uphold the constitution. This is bigger than any political party or person!

RUST: The album isn’t out yet, but maybe you have you heard from some people about it already? Which songs seems to be the ones other folks like the best?

FGJR: Well, “Killing Machine” has been around a while, and I’ve heard from a lot of veterans and other people over the years about that song. That song seems to really work. It is a difficult story to hear but the music seems to open people’s ears to it. “Walking Down That Freedom Highway” has been a big song for me live since I wrote it, and is already being covered by local Hudson Valley songwriter Scoot Horton. (We cover a lot of each other’s songs up here!) “Election Day” nobody seems to want to hear, though it is probably my favorite song on the record. I know it is a tough one, but I think it speaks the truth. I’ve just started singing “Cost of War” live and that one has also been well-received. “I Dreamed I Saw Pete Seeger,” though the closing song on the record, has been a great opening song at solo shows. It really brings everyone into the room, so to speak.

RUST: Thanks Fred, one last question, is there one artist out there right now that people should be listening to?

FGJR: Well- the first person I thought of was Chris Moore. http://www.mooresong.com/ I’ve been a fan for years and we’ve gotten to know each other and played some shows together. He’s out of Brooklyn, but was the drummer of the 80’s Detroit hardcore/ punk band Negative Approach before he became a singer/ songwriter. He’s got a new ep and a new full-length album out.

Get more info at http://www.fredgillenjr.com/

Also recommended: Pete Seeger: Pete Remembers Woody (2012) featuring Fred’s version of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home” from the debut Hope Machine album. This two CD set is a collection of Pete Seeger’s spoken-word stories about Woody Guthrie, interspersed with various artists’ versions of Woody’s songs. This collection was produced by David Bernz, producer of “Pete at 89,” and released to coincide with Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday. Order Here: http://www.appleseedmusic.com/‌peteseeger/peterememberswoody.‌html