Looking back at the channel I programmed for XM Satellite Radio, X Country, I would have to say one of the things I am most proud of is the roster of artists that contributed shows to us. There was Robbie Fulks with Robbie's Secret Country taped live at The Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago. Robert Earl Keen did The Texas Uprising, Jack Ingram had his Real American Music Hour, Lee Rocker contributed Rumble and Twang, Threadgill's gave us the twice monthly live performance show, The Armadillo Radio Hour. And there was Dave Alvin's 9 Volt, named after his song homage to the transistor radio, "Nine Volt Heart." What a show it was. Dave is the consummate musicologist, with a specialty in California music history; but spanning the genres and flavors and decades from gospel to singer/songwriter, to R&B, to Blues, to Folk, to Rock & Roll, to Cow Punk and Rockabilly and Western Swing and Honky Tonk, all the way to 80's LA. Back and forth he cruised, offering a soulful, lucid and erudite insight into the music he was playing, and somehow connecting the dots between these seemingly disparate genres, eloquently making it all make sense.
Dave has morphed and grown from his days in the Blasters, X, and The Knitters; then with band aggregations from The Guilty Men, then The Guilty Women, to now, with Dave Alvin and The Guilty Ones. There is a new album heading in our direction this summer, and a song has been released as a teaser already. "Harlan County Line" continues Dave's great romantic story song tradition, it is one of his strong suits, fleshing out these characters so we see them walking among us. The song was written and recorded for the FX television series Justified, fictionally based in Harlan County, KY. Dave and the band appeared in an episode earlier this season.
We can't wait for the new CD Eleven Eleven to be released on June 21st. In advance, here is the Music Fog recording of "Harlan County Line." From Threadgill's a few weeks ago, here's Dave with Lisa Pankratz, Chris Miller, and Brad Ferdham.
- Jessie Scott
PS: 11/11 is Dave's birthday!