Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Drag The River - Bad At Breaking Up

Drag The River are from Ft. Collins, in the bucolic glen that is Colorado. They also kick some motherfucking ass, if I may wax so eloquent. Comprised of Jon Snodgrass from Armchair Martian with Chad Price of "World's On Heroin" period ALL and very often JJ from the Nobodys, backed with a rotating rogues gallery of drum and steel players. I like the trend of the punk guys playing roots music. God bless Jon Langford for making it cool enough that everybody wants to do it. It's fostered the expected bunch of y'allternative dick riders, but they are almost always so transparent that they pass in short order, unless they perhaps have a film career to fall back on, porn or otherwise.

Drag The River carried the alt-country torch in their corner of the Northwest for a good long time. They were definitely the big fish of that small pond, and found a pretty fair amount of success. I would expect everyone had a day job, but they seemed to be a bunch of guys in it for the right reasons: free drinks, purge a demon or two, or maybe even meet a lady. Jon and Chad are best friends whose songs and voices complement each other like Cooley does with Hood in the Drive By Truckers or Tweedy used to complement Farrar in the good old days. The band and their friendship have weathered the usual bumps in the road, the most significant of late being the break-up of Drag The River after the band toured as the opener and backing band for Rocky Votolato.

A week or so, as I recall, into the Votolato tour, just a few dates before the tour was to pass through NYC, word came down the pike that Jon was leaving the tour. It was kind of a bummer, I had never seen Drag The River live and hadn't recalled them coming through New York much, if at all. Snodgrass bailing meant that they arrived in town with half of their catalog unavailable, so with all respect to Chad, their opening slot was just ok. Votolato was decent, but seeing Drag The River relegated to a backing band wasn't a good look. Soon, the formal declaration that Drag The River were over "for now and perhaps forever" came down from Jon via Suburban Home, yet another of the inevitable breakups that always seem to come on the heels of my completing the acquisition of a band's entire back catalog. They played a string of final shows in Ft. Collins, released a million songs posthumously, played some solo shows and now we've got a reunion thing going on. Ah, the mercurial life of bands!

Bad At Breaking Up is a compilation of alternate and unreleased material from the Drag The River archives. I believe it was supposed to be a posthumous odds and sods compilation, but in the wake of their recent revitalization, it's a precursor to their new full-length. There's good stuff here. J.J's Driving makes an appearance along alternate versions of A Way With Women and Beautiful and Damned and seventeen other tracks that don't suck in the slightest. Plus, it's on Suburban Home, so you know Bad At Breaking Up will be cheap, have awesome packaging and your dollar will be going to support a bad-ass bunch of individuals, so avail yourself of this link and get yourself a copy of Bad At Breaking Up and/or the million other great bands Suburban Home has on their roster. Plus, Suburban Home is releasing the new Yesterday's Ring record, so you should spend money there just to say thanks. Keep track of what's going on with Drag The River here. Maybe even be their friend


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