We know what you’re thankful for this year: the Bandcamp Pick of the Week
Various Artists – TOO LATE TO PRAY: DEFIANT CHICAGO ROOTS
Genre: Blues, Country, Alt-Country, Rockabilly, Bluegrass, Folk, Grunge, etc etc
Favorite Tracks: N/A
As the story goes, following a bad accident suffered by pianist and singer Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson went to Martin Scorsese, with whom he’d previously worked with on MEAN STREETS, to film one final concert, as The Band underwent a transition away from performing live. And so was born THE LAST WALTZ, filmed on Thanksgiving, 1976, and subsequently resulting in one of the classics of the holiday (read Uproxx’s Steven Hyden explaining so here). So this Thanksgiving, beyond obviously popping on THE LAST WALTZ, as a shot-chaser for when the meal is done and you’re passed out on your couch, toss on Bloodshot Records’ recently released 25th Anniversary compilation, TOO LATE TO PRAY: DEFIANT CHICAGO ROOTS. Featuring 22 songs (why they couldn’t find three more is beyond me, feel free to @ them on Twitter) from Chiacago artists who span the legendary label’s varied history ranging from the well-known (Robbie Fulks, The Handsome Family) to rising stars in the scene (The Family Gold, Wild Earp). Highlights here include the heartbreaking bluegrass drifter “You Never Told Me” from Big Sadie, woman-about-town Sima Cunningham and her beautifully layered ballad “Weeds and Daisys,” and the grimy shit-talking rockabilly of Los Gallos’ “Yeah Yeah Yeah.” Also worth highlighting two of the covers here: ROOKIE’s scratchy, stripped-down take on Tears For Fears’ “Head Over Heels” and Freakwater’s banjo’d out take on the eternally underrated Rolling Stones’ cut “Sway.” And as an eternal fan of podcast COMEDY BANG! BANG! (and other shows on the Earwolf network), it was exciting to learn through this comp of actress and improv extraordinaire Tawny Newsome’s musical past (you can hear her alongside Bethany Thomas on the fun MTV UNPLUGGED-sounding ‘90s grunge cut “Dinosaur”). Certainly in the lineage of THE LAST WALTZ, Bloodshot Records has compiled a fascinating showcase of country, bluegrass, blues, and rock that unquestionably (as most music in these genres do) lives in the looming shadow of Robertson, Levon Helm, and those featured in the documentary. So while I urge you to of course toss on Scorsese’s excellent slice of musical filmmaking while you prepare the bird, try on TOO LATE TO PRAY: DEFIANT CHICAGO ROOTS as the soundtrack to your holiday dinner. It’s available here on Bandcamp.