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Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato : the brag and cuss  

Written by: Christy Mannering

Buy it at Insound!

Representative of the singer/songwriters who decide to write about something a little more involved than their own soup du jour, Rocky Votolato explodes this summer with his fifth full length album. Calendars have been marked for a national release date of June 19, 2007, the brag and cuss, has been highly anticipated by fans. Barsuk Records is pleased to launch their second of Votolato’s albums and they tell us it “moves from the minimal acoustic guitar and vocals of makers to a fuller sound.”

Contributing to the fuller sound, there is a plethora of known musicians, including: James McAllister (Sufjan Stevens) on drums, Bill Herzog (Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter) on bass, Casey Foubert (Pedro the Lion) on electric guitar, banjo, mandolin and percussion, and Rick Steff (Cat Power, Hank Williams Jr.) on keyboards and accordion. Combining the depth we find in all of Votolato’s lyrics (much like what you would hear from James Taylor), this fifth album is incredible! He has a way of saying everything you wish you could say, but never knew how to, so eloquently.

In case it isn’t apparent by just looking at the song titles of the brag and cuss, this album is a little bit more alt. country than rock or indie and it suits Votolato very well.  The sound at times leaves you feeling like you should be traveling down a dirt road heading to the next town bar. This definitely has a lot to do with the full band and it’s great to know the crew will accompany him on the album’s supporting tour this summer.

The first single of the brag and cuss is “Postcard From Kentucky” which Barsuk Records so graciously shared with the world in early May. Such a tease the song became as hype built around its awesomeness. Originally from Frost, Texas and now residing in Seattle, Washington, we heard about “Tennessee Train Tracks” in the acclaimed makers and now we’re traveling to grand Kentucky. Lyrically “Postcard From Kentucky” is a bit sad to say the least, but the song as a whole has such a great hook; it reminds me a lot of something we’d hear from Ryan Adams and the Cardinals, instead of the typical solo efforts Votolato has been known for over the years.

There is no doubt that “Postcard from Kentucky” should be a single; it’s a smash! But for me, “Red Dragon Wishes” is number one. From beginning to end that song gets me and doesn’t let go.  The track is over three minutes of tremendously profound lyrics and amazing chords, signed and sealed by Votolato’s perfect, raspy voice. It further adds to my shock that the album only took two months to create and produce (with help from Casey Foubert); after it took over a year to finish makers.

Despite the shorter recording process there is absolutely no lack of devotion in the brag and cuss. Add the many aforementioned talented musicians to Votolato’s already impeccable abilities and there will blossom a captivating combination of tracks. It doesn’t really matter if you decide to brag or cuss…just listen!

 MP3: Rocky Votolato


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