Okay, let’s start off with the important stuff. Joe’s Truck Stop is releasing their new album, American Dreams, this Friday at the Southgate House Revival. You need to be there. Sure, you can listen to the album and I hope you do, but the collection of musicians involved in the recording are worth hearing in person. The acts coming along to help celebrate the release will be sure to entertain the hell out of you while you’re there, too. Maria Carrelli will charm and amaze you with her bluegrass chops, and then The Whiskey Bent Valley Boys will take the energy level up and through the roof. By the time Joe Macheret takes the stage with his band, I’d be surprised if he hasn’t already been up there with his friends.
Speaking of Joe’s friends, some of them are killer musicians. The usual lineup for the band includes Joe Macheret on vocals, acoustic guitar, fiddle, electric guitar, steel guitar, Ben Sweeney on electric guitar, Andrew Mcpheters on banjo, Dave Hathaway on bass, and Aaron Cordell on drums. American Dreams has assistance from such local greats as Ricky Nye on piano, Brad Meinerding on slide guitar and mandolin, Maria Carrelli on vocals, Scott Risner on mandolin, Aaron Geil on bass, and Blake Taylor on harmonica. There is even some brass thrown in there, with Brian Gilronan on saxophone and Collin Thompson on trumpet and trombone. All recording has been kept local, using Jacob Tippey’s skills at Ultrasuede Studios. I’ve listened to the link online, so I am just now catching glimpses of Kelly Willis’s album art. Everything I’ve experienced so far about this record feels like the real deal – authentic classic country.
If you haven’t heard of Joe’s Truck Stop, you may have heard Joe Macheret elsewhere. He plays mostly fiddle with The Tillers, regularly joins the Northern Kentucky Bluegrass Band, and teams up with the likes of Maria Carrelli, Scott Risner, and other Cincinnati-area folks to play acoustic music. Joe’s Truck Stop, however, is about honkey tonkin’. There are acoustic instruments on the recording, but the recording itself is electrifying. The tone of the songs maintain a folk theme, referring to unplugging from the rat-race of modern life to make room for genuine experiences. Songs like “Don’t Go to College” and “Peace of Mind” tell of the urge to simplify. The title track is a consummate tale of a musician’s life when out on tour. It’s not about glamour. Far from it, in fact. You miss people, and people miss you. Sometimes you end up sleeping on a dog bed, and sometimes you want to rail against the economics of trying to make a living as an artist. The last two songs on this album capture this theme quite well and are best listened to back-to-back. In fact, I think Joe grew up in the 1980’s in his past life because the song order throughout the album is like a well thought out mix-tape playlist.
Throughout the album, Joe’s Truck Stop displays humor, insight, taste, and skill. Songs like “Blues for Two” and “One More Night” will take you to the era when country music’s stories felt timeless. Enjoy the humor in “Banjo Pickin’, Tobacco Spittin’ Gal” and “Knockin’ Boots”, and get lost in the love stories told in “Moon Sang” and “One More Night.” Above all it is entertaining as hell, but don’t take my word for it. Get to the Southgate House Revival on Friday night and watch it all play out in front of you. You will be glad you did!