For a Second Time
(June 16, 2009)
Label: Cedar Creek Music
Well, today’s convoluted music news is that Daddy’s gonna be a daddy for a second time with For a Second Time, and if you understand what I’m talking about, then God love ya and log onto ReverbNation.com/DaddyTheBand PDQ because time’s running out to get your copy of this baby with the name-your-own-price option.
That’s right, the CD hits the streets on June 16 and Daddy’s letting you set the price (plus S&H) until June 6, all in time for Father’s Day.
I first heard about Daddy from Jeff Roberts, owner of the very independent Sounds Better Records in Myrtle Beach, S.C. “You need to know about Daddy,” he told me, “You start out with two solid singer/songwriters who are at different ends of the playing field and the place where they meet is completely different… it’s like two and two equal five … and they rock!”
He was right, so I did a story about their live Myrtle Beach performance courtesy of South By Southeast [Alternatives NewsMagazine, vol. XXV, No. 2, issue Aug. 28-Sept. 11, 2008] and later blogged about their first CD, a live recording titled Daddy At the Women’s Club.
For the uninitiated, Daddy, which made its official debut at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, is made up of five super talented players. Founders and touring duo Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough deliver rockin’ guitar licks and write some of the wildest songs around. They first worked together in the bis-quits on John Prine’s Oh-Boy! label.We’re talking early 90s. Will was the 2005 Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the year and Tommy has twice received the Nashville Scene Best Song award.
The rest of Daddy includes monster talents Dave Jacques on bass (John Prine, Emmylou Harris), John Deaderick playing keys (Dixie Chicks, Michael McDonald, Patty Griffin), and Paul Griffith on percussion (John Prine, Todd Snider).
After listening to this bluesy-country group for the last three days, I’m happy to report that the band’s latest offering has been worth the wait. For a Second Time is a ten-track recording that’s classic Daddy – schizophrenic rants that morph into crystal clear observations of life. This little slice of roots-rock Americana with its gospel overtones and rockabilly undertones gets better with each listen.
Here’s how Tommy describes the opening track, “Nobody From Nowhere:” Will and I wrote this one together with acoustic guitars in my house. I love how the tunes came from that and flowed to a place that sounds like the bayou coastline looks, with flashes of Memphis. You can dance to it. It fuses and Motown and the Allman Brothers like probably never before.”
“Early To Bed, Early To Rise,” is another written and performed by Womack. He says, “It’s a tough song for tough times. I play the part of the curmudgeon commencement speaker who needs to put the fear of God into the young, fresh hearts and minds of this country. Warren Zevon meets Crazy Horse.”
Next up (and the only track not written by one or both) is folk classic, “The Ballad of Martin Luther King,” which comes from singer/songwriter Mike Millius, who reportedly wrote it the same night Dr. King was assassinated.
Track four is “Wash & Fold,” written by Will Kimbrough. Tommy calls it “Will’s tune of love in a laundromat.” The backstory is that it was inspired after bringing some gamey “tour-filthy” laundry to a city laundry and being subjected to utter rudeness after choosing wash-and-fold instead of springing for wash-and-press.
“He Ain’t Right,” track seven features Tommy’s lyrics, Will’s music. Basically, it’s Kimbrough singing Womack’s story.
The melancholy album closer, “Redemption Is a Mother’s Only Son,” was written by Kimbrough and Jeff Finlin, another talented American singer/songwriter traveling under the radar.
For June, South By Southeast is bringing us a roots-rock group that’s not quite a household name yet, except maybe throughout the upstate of South Carolina and North Carolina.
The Bad Popes are a popular five-piece group known for their own brand of Texas swing, their country leanings, their rockin’ roots and their folksy bluegrass.
At one show, you can expect to experience a combination of all that and more. Guitarists Jef Chandler and Charles Hedgepath handle the group’s lead vocals and the lion’s share of the songwriting. Hedgepath has also been known to pull out the mandolin. On bass is Greenville’s Chris Garrett. Kevin Heuer, who has been teaching all levels of drumset for 24 years is on the kit. Mike Bagwell is on pedal steel and dobro.
Right off the bat, I had to know: where did that name come from?
“Well,” Charles Hedgepath laughed, “I had borrowed this book from my mother-in-law. It was about these popes who weren’t exactly good … they were bad. It was strange and we like it … and now we’re The Bad Popes.
Both Hedgepath and Chandler are prolific writers. Charles said, “I started when I was 16. I went through a phase in my early 20s when all I wrote was instrumentals, but then I started listening to Hank Williams … what good songwriting. Now I take that energy … I try not to pigeonhole songs right away; I don’t set out to write any type of song. It’s never like ‘Oh, we need another ballad.’ I just write what comes.
“I’ve written, I think, about 30 songs with Jef. I like throwing ideas off someone else … and working together, it’s a good check-and-balance. We both work on lyrics and melody.
“If there’s a theme that runs through all our songs, I’d say it’s strong melody.
“Sometimes one of us needs help with a bridge. Or I hear something of Jef’s and I add a chord … or we add lines for each other. Sometimes we work from scratch and other times we help each other finish something already begun… We try to let the songs breathe … kind of cultivate. This lets us play whatever’s right for the song.”
Chandler agrees, “I write based on how I feel. I grew up listening to the Beatles, Tom Petty, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan. Lyrics and music have always been important to me.
He laughs as he talks about his introduction to music. “I started playing guitar at 12. I was also playing piano, but I dropped it for guitar because I thought the guitar was cooler.
“I’ve been writing songs since I was a kid, I think, when I was taking lessons.
“For me, the songwriting comes as I’m trying to pick out another writer’s song.”
A serious student, Jef was an English major at Furman University and then took classes James Dickey, who was a poet-in-residence at the University of South Carolina at Columbia.
How does it work with two guitarists, I asked. “We both play rhythm or lead, says Charles. It depends on the song. We look at what the musical situation calls for.”
The band members are also known for their work in other bands including the Jef Chandler Band, the Work, Vigilantes of Love, Matthew Nights Williams Band, William F. Gibbs, Danielle Howle and Seconds Flat.
The June 6 smoke-free performance of The Bad Popes for South By Southeast will take place at the landmark Myrtle Beach Train Depot. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for those under 21 if you’re a member, $25 if you’re not. Don’t forget, your price of admission includes not only the show, but also a pot luck dinner along with free wine, soda and beer Dinner starts at 6 p.m., music at 7 p.m.
If you’d like to support this wonderful grassroots nonprofit organization, membership in SXSE costs just $25 a year. This all-volunteer group is dedicated to preserving and promoting all sorts of American music that mainstream America sometimes forgets. For more information, log onto http://www.sxsemusic.com and download an application form.
Sponsors include New South Brewery, QROCK Radio, Sea Note Recording, Pepsi, Sounds Better Records and the Anderson Property Group.
For more information call Jeff Roberts, owner of Sounds Better Records at 843-497-3643 or Seth Funderburk, Sea Note Recording, at 843-455-6499.