. . . I was never that good at the words anyways - bn

. . . you're not punk and i'm tellin everyone, save your breath i never was one - bs

Friday, January 17, 2014

Guest List: Derek "Doc" Feldman - 2013 Favorites

Doc Feldman is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, hailing from Lexington, Kentucky.

If you've been perusing "Best of 2013" album lists there's a very good chance that "Sundowning at the Station," the debut album from Doc and collaborators; James Jackson Toth (aka Wooden Wand), David Chapman, and Jeremiah Floyd, has popped up on multiple occasions.   The album, released on This Is American Music (you know the guys who brought us District Attorney's, the Pollies, another certain doc and associates, the new Have Gun Will Travel album, and countless other fantastic bands and records), really is an exquisite and balanced blend of melancholy, traditional folk sounds, raw soul and beautiful ambient noise.

It's completely captivating and I'd like to think I'd be hard pressed to find someone with whom is doesn't leave an indelible impression.  That is to say, no matter your general preferences, chances are damn good you are going to love this thing.

You can listen to and buy the album via Doc's bandcamp page here or get it over at the This Is American Music shop.

Additionally and thankfully, there's a lot on the immediate horizon for Doc and these guys,  including several shows coming up over the next few months, sharing the stage with Austin Lucas, Peter Walker, John Moreland, and Those Crosstown Rivals (with Ned Van Go) for their record release.

He also played some guitar on a vinyl split of James Toth (Wooden Wand) / Jenks Miller (Mount Moriah and Horseback) that will be released for Record Store Day (April 19) as well as on the next Wooden Wand album due out in the summer. So watch for those.

So with that, you know the drill with these lists by now, I'm so grateful and excited that Doc agreed to share his favorite albums from 2013 we me/you all.  In all candor, a few of these albums are completely new to me so i'm anxious to dig into them. Thanks so much Doc!

Derek "Doc" Feldman - Best of 2013

1. Steve Gunn – Time Off
Totally blown away is really the only way to describe what it was like listening to this album the first time. I was only sort of familiar with Steve as an artist before this album, but I've been hooked on this thing all year. My personal pick for best album of 2013. I've seen it listed on shamefully few "best of 2013" lists and I can only assume it's because people just were never exposed to it somehow. So if you haven't heard it, stop what you're doing, and listen. 

2. Richard Buckner – Surrounded
Well, what can I say?... One of my absolute favorite artists out today, and this album was a particularly strong effort in my opinion. It's fucking fantastic... start to finish.

3. John Moreland – In the Throes
This album was at the top of nearly everyone's favorites and completely deserving of that. Without a doubt. Absolutely an amazing and heartfelt songwriter. I'm also just personally excited to get to play a show with him in March here in Lexington when he tours through.

4. Wooden Wand – Blood Oaths of the New Blues / World War IV
I can't say enough about Wooden Wand. He's a motherfucking force of nature, and I'm in complete awe of him as an artist and songwriter. I've somewhat arbitrarily placed him batting cleanup here at #4 because as difficult as it is to "rank" any art/music to begin with, it's impossible for me to do so with someone I consider one of my best friends. I've also had the distinct honor of being able to co-write a couple of songs and collaborate on other projects with him on a fairly regular basis. Oh, and did I mention he put out TWO phenomenal albums in 2013? One album is for lazy asses. Try doing two. And guess what... the fucker has to hold back. I'm serious. If given sufficient financial support and backing the guy could quite literally churn out three, four, maybe even five GREAT albums every year. Don't believe me? I dare someone to give him those types and resources and see what happens. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but it's not.  

5. Arliss Nancy – Wild American Runners
Really fucking great record. The whole thing is fantastic. It's rocking and heavy and beautiful and delivers lyrically like a lot of rock bands just don't or can't. "Both Got Old" will hit you like a ton of bricks and leave you slack jawed in admiration at its depth and raw beauty. Brilliant in my opinion!

6. Scout Niblett – It’s Up to Emma
Scout is just so awesome, and this is a fantastic album. I also had the privilege of seeing her live in September and while I had been a fan for a while, seeing her live was a revelation. Amazing artist and great album.

7. Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Deserving to be at the top of everyone's best of lists. He was awesome with the Drive-by Truckers and awesome solo. This is a really great album. Not much else can really be said about it honestly. It looks like he's destined to truly enter into the mainstream with this recent success, and if he leads people away from the mindless crap that passes for Country Music, it can't possibly be soon enough. He's got "it" and it's unmistakeable. 

8. William Tyler – Impossible Truth
Mesmerizing and transcendent album full of guitar movements that seem to tell some sort of cosmic story without ever saying a word. The album was made all the more present in my mind due to my being lucky enough to have actually recorded a few songs with him (us both playing guitar) on the next Wooden Wand album that will come out sometime this summer. It was an honor.

9. Bardo Pond – Peace on Venus
I just love Bardo Pond. Psychedelic heavy noise was exactly what I needed this year and Peace on Venus delivered beautifully.

10. MV & EE – Fuzzweed
Fuzzed out weirdness good for my soul. They also happen to be two of the coolest and nicest people you'd ever want to meet. 

Other albums I really enjoyed this year:   Kurt Vile – Walking on a Pretty Daze, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away, Bill Calahan – Dream River, Cass McCombs – Big Wheel and Others, Phosphorescent – Muchacho, Water Liars – Wyoming, and on and on and on.

Doc also wanted to give everyone some insight into the goings-on in Lexington and thereabouts, so as a bonus . . .

I live in Lexington, Kentucky and I just want to give you and your readers a heads up on some truly fantastic local artists that are coming out with new albums in 2014 that you should keep an eye out for: Those Crosstown Rivals have a rockin new album coming out in March. Everyone in Lexington knows Coralee and the Townies, but I'm excited for her new album so the rest of the world can see for themselves just how fantastic this honky tonk soulstress is. A personal favorite of mine, psychedelic folk band Bear Medicine will release their debut album in the spring. I think they are going to blow some people away. I'm hoping another personal favorite, Warren Byrom & Fabled Canelands, will release an album this year. I've heard a sneak peek of some of it in the works, and there's some spectacular stuff there.

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