We’ve gotten nearly all the overdubbing finished on the new album. It’s mostly a 3-piece live rock album, featuring the core band (Dave, Hitch, and Dave C). All of the tracks were recorded live with no overdubs. But, to make things interesting at Lij Shaw‘s studio (The Toy Box) we’ve had our friends Joe Garcia (steel), Jen Gunderman (organ and piano), and Audley Freed (guitar) add a few bits and pieces. We will be mixing in August and hope to have the album finished soon. Jared Manzo has done a photo shoot at the Nashville airport with Dave and Dave C. for the new artwork, and we will probably do a few more shots.
Come out to our upcoming shows in Roanoke, Winston-Salem, and Johnson City. Check out the show page for more information.
Here are some great guest appearances we’ve done in the past at 101.5 The Music Place in Roanoke. DJ Ripley is the best!
Also a video of us stuck on I-40 on the way to Roanoke 4/19.
Congrats to East Nashville friends and neighbors Todd Snider and Kevin Gordon. Both of these killer artists got 3&1/2 stars in the March 15th, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.
Todd Snider– Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables – Recession special from one of music’s sharpest wordsmiths.
Kevin Gordon– Gloryland – Roots-rock bard riffs on the KKK, ZZ Top, and terrorists
Here’s a clip of me playing with Kevin at Music City Roots a while back:
The Coal Men, with guests Paul Slivka (bass) and Joe Garcia (guitar/lap steel), are headed out in the morning for Key West. We’re looking forward to seeing our friends Dan, Art, George, Alan, Bob, and so many more!
If you’re on the island this week please come down. It’s gonna be a great week of music.
The Coal Men will be playing Monday, November 28th – Sunday, December 4th at the Hogs Breath Saloon. Showtime is 10 p.m. (eastern) every night for seven nights.
You can also tune in on the “Hog Cam” to watch the show live.
There’s also a benefit for Rob O’Neil at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon on Wednesday, Dec 7th. Dave Coleman will join in for a good cause.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Tonight we got a bit of work done with the Dave Ray’s background vocals for “Midnight You,” a song Dave Coleman and Dave Ray wrote with long time friend Kennan Boyle. Brian Carter made the trip over to Rose Cliff for a remote session. Remember… You can get anything you want at Alice’s restaurant (excepting Alice).
We’ll post a live recording of this ASAP! —
1974 – The Sons of Zevon present music from 1974. Featuring Reeves Gabrels, Kevin Hornback, Audley Freed, Jen Gunderman, Bryan Owings, James Rubin and many surprising and amazing guests. Brush out your hair, get ready to rock, put on your jean jacket and slouch on down to party like it’s 1974. Friday, November 18 and Saturday, November 19, 2011
THE COAL MEN prove to be Natural Wonder at the Wash
After 12 years of van rides and rehearsals….. after thousands of miles….. after John’s Alley in Moscow, Idaho and the Sportsman’s Tavern in Buffalo, New York, and Vnuk’s Lounge in Cudahy, Wisconsin….. after taking comfort in the small pleasures of critical raves (“fearless emotional candor,” wrote a Vintage Guitar magazine reviewer, while Music Row’s Robert K. Oermann wrote, “These folks deserve stardom)….. after all the things that fall under the heading of “Paying Your Dues,” this is what it looks like for one of Nashville’s finest rock ‘n’ roll bands, The Coal Men:
The Family Wash in East Nashville. Chatty, Friday night crowd. A (deft) replacement bass player named Jared Manzo, because Jason “Hitch” Hitchcock is taking some time off. Nothing palpable to lose or gain, on a casual, hometown, tip jar gig. The kind of gig that lesser bands tend to slough off.
Also, the kind of gig that makes Nashville a special, enlightening and inspiring place, because lesser bands here don’t wind up headlining even small and funky hangs like the Wash on a Friday night. It’s a world-class music town, and Manzo, frontman Dave Coleman and drummer Dave Ray know better than to simply move through the motions. A disciple of the late and lamented rocker Duane Jarvis, whose onstage motto was “Every night different,” Coleman isn’t wired for routine, and Friday’s Coal Men show traded on dynamics and visceral flights rather than aural choreography.
That’s not to say that the three-piece isn’t tight, or that the songs and arrangements ever seem haphazard, just that there’s nothing rote here, even in between the songs. Before launching into a strutting new rocker, Coleman devoted the song to famously troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan, who Coleman said “Reminds me I am not a total screwup.” And prior to singing spot-on harmonies on a song about Tennessee, Ray noted that mid-state living space in the state is currently available: “I have a room to rent, near Hundred Oaks Mall,” he said. “Real neat and clean.”
When not hawking his rental commodity, Ray drummed with a rock ‘n’ roller’s steady pulse and a jazzman’s touch, and his harmonies shimmered over Coleman’s lead vocals. Manzo integrated himself nicely into the mix, managing parts that are intriguing without being muddy or busy, and his Rickenbacker bass layered a distinctive treble pop atop the low-end underpinning.
For his part, Coleman, 32, is a distinctive yet versatile (that’s a tough trick) guitar force. In his 20s, some folks talked of him as a budding Kenny Vaughan or Buddy Miller, and he’s now squarely in that league. He makes a three-piece sound like a five-piece, never relying on the kind of silly, flurried-high-note tricks that draw applause without providing substance. His tone is unassailable, and he is essentially producing as he plays, subtly answering vocal lines, bass riffs and even drum fills with pretty-as-you-please six-string responses. He also provides strong vocals and a song sense that ranges from the earnest guitar pop of show-opening “Natural Wonder” to the hooky aggression of “My Last Goodbye,” which would fit happily at home on a late-1970’s Nick Lowe album.
All of that and 12 years of van rides will get you a Friday night gig at the Wash, where patrons drop some cash in the hat that gets passed around, and maybe that cash buys enough gas to get the band halfway to Cudahy, the next time the boys play Vnuk’s Lounge. That’s the way of the musical world, and it’s neither just nor righteous, but it makes an East Nashville Friday night into something approaching the “Natural Wonder” of which Coleman sings.
Peter Cooper is the roots music critic. He is a touring singer-songwriter, a recording artist, a music columnist for The Tennessean and a senior lecturer in country music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. His pieces have appeared in Esquire, The Oxford American, Nashville Arts Magazine and numerous other publications. He was chosen Nashville’s best music journalist for eight consecutive years by readers of the Nashville Scene, and he is the 2011 recipient of The Charlie Lamb Award for excellence in country music journalism. Cooper also co-produced I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow, a heralded tribute album featuring Hall, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Bobby Bare and many other music greats.
The Coal Men are hard at work on a new album for 2012. With the production help of Joe Garcia and the engineering power of Paradox Production’s Brian Carter (Beauty is a Moment), Dave Coleman, Dave Ray, and Hitch are finished tracking a 13 song album that has been road tested, Garcia selected, and so far, audience connected.
On a side note, We (the band) promise to keep listeners better in touch with what we are doing by taking care of thecoalmen.com ourselves and posting news, music, and stories.
Five Good Reason’s to Catch The Coal Men’s current tour
A trio out of Nashville, the Coal Men have been around for about a decade, though they’ve only ventured outside of the Music City in the last couple of years. Out on tour in support of their new album, Kids with Songs, the guys recently came through Cleveland, Ohio to play Wilbert’s, a blues bar located in the heart of downtown. Despite dealing with a mediocre sound system and an empty room, they put on a terrific 90-minute show. Here are five good reasons to catch them when they come to your town (check thecoalmen.com for tour dates).
1. At one point I counted a total of 11 people in the audience (and that included the head of Funzalo, the band’s record label, and a rep from the company that distributes the band’s CDs), but these guys played a good 18 songs and gave it their all. “We’re all gonna know each other’s names tonight, but that’s how it goes sometimes,” singer-guitarist Dave Coleman said matter-of-factly at one point during the set. In fact, it even seemed like the group relished the intimate setting, joking with one patron when he suggested they were playing for nothing more than “gas money.” “It’s all just gas money,” said drummer Dave Ray in response.
2. The band’s new album, Kids with Songs, kicks ass. The guys have put a good number of songs from Kids into their set and tunes such as the rootsy title track and the snappy, Jayhawks-like “Nightingale” feature sing-a-long choruses and terrific vocal harmonies. A good mix of moody ballads and bar band rockers, the album mixes solid vocal harmonies with Southern rock guitar work, at times venturing into Drive-by Truckers territory.
3. The band’s moody ballad “Farther Found Me Now” has taken on a second life after it was used on an episode of Deadliest Catch. The track was the centerpiece of the live show and is so haunted, it sounds like it could be a traditional, 100-year-old ballad. Coleman’s vocals have a raspy, Springsteen quality as he sings, “Where we going? Please tell me.” The song resonated even more in the live setting.
4. Coleman can play the hell out of his Gretsch guitar. Throughout the course of the concert, he offered up intricate, mid-song solos and often stood on the top of the monitors as he let them rip. His playing is rather understated on Kids with Songs but much more vibrant live.
5. The band plays a cover of the defiant “I Fought the Law” that’s every bit as rambunctious as the Clash’s version. You’ll have to wait for it since when we saw the band play, it was the night’s penultimate number. But stick around to hear them kick it out. It’s a fitting homage to the late, great Joe Strummer, and radical rock icons everywhere.