US Rails | Southern Canon

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Rock: Americana Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Vocal
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Southern Canon

by US Rails

The long awaited sophomore record from US Rails. This record, recorded in Germany & Philadelphia has 13 nuggets on it.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Heart Don't Lie
4:02 $0.99
2. Ring a Big Bell
4:13 $0.99
3. Live Like We Love
3:58 $0.99
4. Nightbird
4:06 $0.99
5. Carry Your Weight
4:30 $0.99
6. Do What You Love
3:39 $0.99
7. Same Old You (Same Old Me)
3:53 $0.99
8. Take a Long Time
3:03 $0.99
9. Don't Take Me Now
3:10 $0.99
10. 18 & Lonely
3:54 $0.99
11. Heartbeat Away
2:55 $0.99
12. You're My Home
4:01 $0.99
13. Old Song On the Radio
4:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
US RAILS: The Blue Rose Records label's own 'super group' has set its sights on not being a more than just short-lived entry in rock history and on gaining new fans and consolidating its cult status. After a host of activities in the US, January/February will bring another tour of Germany and their brand-new second album Southern Canon - a formidable testament to how tightly knit Ben Arnold, Tom Gillam, Joseph Parsons, Scott Bricklin and Matt Muir have become as a band. There's a highlight for the ever-hungry Americana crowd at the start of the year - finest folk rock and driving rock'n'roll!

The US Rails name has been circulating in well-informed folk/roots/rock circles for a while. A new little super group with well-known songwriters originally got together on the Philadelphia scene and caused quite a stir with its first few live appearances. But it was their phenomenal gig at the Blue Rose Christmas Party in December 2009 in Hannover-Isernhagen which convinced German roots music fans of the band's enormous talent and potential. As a confirmation, their eponymous debut album followed in June 2010 as well as an extensive and very successful tour of Europe shortly thereafter. That could've been it for this band since all five musicians still have their own careers to attend to - almost all of them on Blue Rose, by the way. But when inspiration strikes and there's a strong musical bond, things yet to be said and energy to be shared, there's no reason not to continue!

Four independent artists (plus drummer) form the musical nucleus of US Rails which puts them in a category with CSNY and the Traveling Wilburys as well as label mates The Resentments and Hardpan. US Rails are the direct descendants of '4 Way Street' from Philadelphia. There's Joseph Parsons (acoustic guitar, vocal), the simpatico Philly singer-songwriter, now residing in Germany, a Blue Rose staple since 1998. With his warm, sonorous voice he has proven himself to be a master of melodious, sensitive folk rock who can certainly rock out in concert, too. In 2011 he released his new solo album Hope For Centuries (Meer Music) as well as his second duo album with buddy Todd Thibaud on Blue Rose, Transcontinental Voices.

Ben Arnold (acoustic guitar, piano, organ, vocals), Scott Bricklin (bass, acoustic guitar, organ, vocals) and session man Matt Muir (drums, percussion, vocals) are also erstwhile members of 4 Way Street. Arnold certainly has the most recognizable, gnarliest voice and has been releasing albums since 1995. In 2010 he debuted on Blue Rose with the excellent Simplify. Multi-instrumentalist, producer, recording engineer, singer & songwriter Scott Bricklin has also come a long way from 80ies cult band Bricklin, Martin's Dam, tours with Joseph Parsons, the Figgs and Graham Parker. He has been living in Paris for a number of years now and also released his self-titled debut in early 2011. In US Rails, his main job is handling the bass, he also sings his self-penned songs. And then there's the 5th guy: Tom Gillam (electric guitar, slide guitar, vocals), an established Blue Rose A-list act who has often worked as Joseph Parson's sideman - on tour and on record. He hails from New Jersey, joined the others in Philadelphia and has since relocated to Austin, Texas. It's his instrumental skills on electric guitar that add a rocking edge to US Rails. He transports the delicate, harmony-laden and acoustic-guitar-driven folk rock into roots rock territory. Tom Gillam stands for rock'n'roll!

Just like on US Rails, it's the ensemble playing not the individuals that stand out on the 13 tracks of Southern Canon. But while the debut was a patchwork affair compiled and recorded over several years, this project was put together as a whole with songs written exclusively for this album. It's easy to hear that the five musicians have grown even tighter as a unit, even though they've drifted apart location-wise and recorded their parts in Pennsylvania and Germany, Paris and Texas. They have managed to distill the essence of everyone's individual strengths into this band. US Rails have a signature sound and a lot of character and charisma! All of the four frontmen contribute three compositions each, drummer Matt Muir pitched in one and sings on it as well.

It's practically impossible to handpick individual highlights from this multi-faceted, complex, expertly sequenced whole - the quality is consistently high. Still, the album's dynamic opener, Scott Bricklin's "Heart Don't Lie" is a standout track since everyone gets to sing a verse. And his power ballad "Carry Your Weight", blessed with an irresistible chorus, has all the potential in the world to become a hit. Tom Gillam's "Same Old You (Same Old Me)" reminds us once again of Joe Walsh's qualities while the closing, piano and guitar-based ballad "Old Song On The Radio" delivers the most beautiful Eagles-type harmonies. The semi-acoustic, rocking "Do What You Love" features Ben Arnold's raspy vocal, reminiscent of Randy Newman or Procol Harum's Gary Brooker and "You're My Home" is a midtempo number with a soulful gospel flair. It cannot surprise that Joseph Parsons delivers the album's most introspective moment, the slow, somber "Take A Long Time". He also gives proof that he can be a more powerful troubadour with the catchy "Night Bird".

Southern Canon provides a lot of new material and we're eager to hear how it will sound on stage in early 2012. Thanks to US Rails, the new year is off to a good start.



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