Imagination Running Wild


The new Tyler Keith and the Apostles record, Do It For Johnny, dropped on 9/9. I wrote the liner notes. Here they are:

You’re in a movie. In the movie is where you feel right. All the women look like Diane Lane, like they’ve just come from a sock hop or had a cherry soda at the drive-thru. All the men have knives, combs, leather jackets. In the movie, you’re in a bar. The bar is called a man’s name. Rufus’s. Gus’s. Something like that. Pool table, skanky bathroom, graffiti on the walls. There’s a house band: Tyler Keith and the Apostles. They V out on the small stage like something that’s come to do you harm. They’re drunk, and they tear into their songs. The action bends to the music. Your life in the movie is just beginning. The music is what you needed. Now you can fight, love, maybe die.

Do It For Johnny peels off the line like that primer grey ’55 Chevy from Monte Hellman’s Two Lane Blacktop. It’s gritty and raw and muscled up, punk country noir at its best. When I live inside these songs, as I do often, I live inside a perfect movie. A dark dream. Hellfire and hot rods, pool cues and switch blades, doom-drenched desire on the mystical slick side streets. I feel menaced. I feel damned. I feel like I’m being yanked around town by Jerry Lee Lewis and Jim Thompson. It’s criminal that these songs aren’t on every last radio in the savage, whiskey-loosened American night.

Buy the album here:



Parts Unknown

Anthony Bourdain’s Mississippi episode is on tonight at 9 Eastern/8 Central. You’ll see all sorts of great people on it – John T. Edge, Leo ‘Bud’ Welch, Jack Pendarvis, Tom Franklin, Wright Thompson, Chris Offutt, Megan Abbott, Ace Atkins, Derrick Harriell, Lisa Howorth, Beth Ann Fennelly, Blair Hobbs, Melissa Ginsburg, John Currence, Taariq David, Theresa Starkey Pendarvis, many more – and you might see my big dumb head in the background in one or two scenes.

Here’s Bourdain’s blog entry about the episode.

And here’s a picture from our lunch at Lamar Lounge. Not sure what I’m doing – probably holding my head up since I’d already had two espressos, a double shot of rum, and a few pints of Guinness.