|Roger Knox & The Pine Valley Cosmonauts: “Stranger In My Land
(Bloodshot BS 179)
Release date: 2013
The Land Where The Crow Flies Backwards
Great reviews from Allmusic.com and Cool Album of the Day that we don’t want to pull quotations from, they deserve to be read in full.
“When it’s released in early February, this will become the most important country music release of 2013. Why?…This is country music wrought bruised and aching from the dustbowl that is Australia’s Outback. This is Roger Knox bringing an Aboriginal voice to what amounts to Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell, Woody Guthrie and Paul Robeson gathered at the billabong singing protest tunes. These are down-under songs of racial alienation, displacement, the march to civil rights and a collective voice in the wilderness proclaiming that they will not be moved. It is vintage Nashville sung like it should be; honestly, matter-of-fact and evocative as hell…Elegant, suffused with meaning and essential.” –OCanada.com
“Part travelogue, part National Geographic special, and part crash sociology course, Stranger in My Land is surely to be the most important album you will listen to all year, and might just be the most important album of the decade… a five on a five scale listen.” – Cool Album of the Day
“Down-under civil-rights songs addressing feelings of racial alienation and making pleas for justice, all couched in the plainspoken language of vintage Nashville.” – Chicago Reader
Stranger In My Land is a collection of songs originally written by Aborigine artists who were Knox’s peers and predecessors; some tunes previously recorded but difficult to find as well as several unrecorded, handed-down folk songs (which without this recording, could have been lost forever). It is powerful and moving material, heartbreaking and hilarious, downtrodden and uplifting, suffused with longing, alienation, resilience and hope; universal themes arising out of largely unexplored context. It possesses the urgency of a Alan Lomax field recording, but with a spirit that remains relevant in today’s world.
Country music crossed the equator in the kitbag’s of US servicemen in WWII and magically struck a chord with a voiceless and near invisible aboriginal population. Soon American cowboy songs and honkytonk classics were retooled to describe rugged outback lifestyles and the migration from country to city. Turns out, you can’t beat this music as a vehicle for telling tough tales and the Aboriginal Country & Western Songbook is peppered with drinking songs and prison songs; songs that yearn for justice and for home; songs of alienation and the loneliness of the outsider. Humor, resignation and outrage stalk a superficially familiar musical landscape that’s been re-populated with stockmen, bandicoots, wallabies, porcupines, grog-drinkers, pelicans and policemen.
Stranger In My Land features guest vocals and instrumental performances from Bonnie Prince Billy (“Scobie’s Dream”), Kelly Hogan (“Blue Gums,” “Took The Children Away,”) Dave Alvin of X, Blasters (“Land Where The Crow Flies Backwards”), Sally Timms (“Home In The Valley”), Andre Williams (“Stranger in My Country”) and perhaps the last known recording from Charlie Louvin of the Louvin Brothers (“Ticket to Nowhere”). All this star power is backed The Pine Valley Cosmonauts and the Sadies.
Also included in a album is a lovely insert by Langford that gives an apt history of the songs, artists, and people behind this fragile, yet empowering music. This is an album about a man and a people’s struggles in their own place of origin, and the experiences in a journey that such a complex life path can take. Knox is the conduit for these stories and these songs, but this isn’t ancient history and these songs are not museum pieces.
The place names and characters are different, but the humanity remains common. In making Stranger In My Land, Roger Knox closes the circle on a strange journey that takes the music and stories of his people all the way around the planet and back to America.
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard acoustic band (featuring Jim Elkington & Jean Cook) head west next weekend playing:
The CHAPEL in San Francisco on Friday 21st – http://www.thechapelsf.com/event/287859-jon-langford-jean-cook-jim-san-francisco/
Davis Music Fest (THE LODGE Upper Hall, Davis CA) at 6pm on Saturday 22nd – http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d151/totbl/dirtschedule_zpsef2fcc04.jpg
AND Langford has an artshow at THE WILLOWS (12th & Folsom) on Sunday night July (meet/greet/grunt/drink @ 8pm)
Waco Brothers play at 8.45pm on Sunday 6/30/2013 – North stage Kedzie & Milwaukee
Stephen Foster was the guy who wrote ‘Oh Susannah’, ‘Hard times come again no more’ and numerous other songs we often considert as public domain. He was the first man to earn his living solely through his music. He died as a forgotten alcoholic at the age of 37.
With Juniper Tar as house band, The Foster Project features performances from Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers), Christopher Porterfield (Field Report), Robbie Fulks, Blueprint, Betty Strigens, and a community choir of 20 voices from Milwaukee’s various music scenes.
ON PRE-SALE NOW: Roger Knox and The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, ‘Stranger In My Land.’ When you pre-order, you’ll be entered to win one of two Jon Langford limited- edition digital prints mounted on plywood, like the one pictured below. Get to it! http://www.bloodshotrecords.com/album/roger-knox-stranger-my-land
Opening event: Saturday 27 October. 1pm – 3.30pm. Four veteran activists have been invited to speak at the opening: Hanif Bhanjee, former secretary Wales Anti-Apartheid; Ray Davies, left wing activist; Ray Lawrence, former NUM; Jill Gough, Wales CND. This is a free event, open to the public and includes refreshments and musical entertainment from The Chartists and Roy Zeal.
The exhibition Through Disobedience We Progress is a collection of newly commissioned radical Christmas card designs which compliment Glad Tidings of Struggle and Strife. The designs reflect the spirit of Llew and Pam Smith’s collection and feature work by thirteen contemporary artists and designers including: Jamie Reid, Jeff Pigott and Julia Warin, Brian Jones, Control, Jon Langford, Maurice Burns, Terry Sandhu, David J Morris, David Mabb, Chris Partridge, Robert Rubbish, Jac Saorsa and Steve Smith. Themes include animal rights, greed and social justice, free speech, anti-war, austerity and anti-cuts, consumerism/capitalism, peace and anti-nuclear sentiment. The designs will be available for sale as limited edition cards during the exhibition, individually and as a set.
“Jamie Reid is best known for the graphic montage designs for the sex pistols in the late 1970’s, his work has consistently maintained a political edge; Jon Langford is a musician from Newport often associated with the ‘left’ he now lives in Chicago, his bands include the Mekons and The Three Johns; David Mabb works almost exclusively with original William Morris designs, subverting, exploiting and reinvigorating their political potential; Jeff Pigott and Julia Warin often work together on projects with a political, socially commentative theme; David J Morris is a designer with longstanding roots within the activist tradition; Control, Chris Partridge and Terry Sandhu all live and work in the Newport area and often producing work of a satirical nature; Steve Smith (brother of Llew) is a graduate of Newport Art School, he has been producing radical Christmas cards for several decades; Maurice Burns is an artist and illustrator living in Manchester, and artist Robert Rubbish lives in London – both create works which often reflects a social, political dimension; Brian Jones is a contemporary pop artist living in mid-Wales and Jac Saorsa is a drawing specialist and academic from Cardiff. Seven of the artists were also featured in the recent anti jubilee publication ‘the great frock n robe swindle’ published independently by the curator, Shaun Featherstone.”
10.05.12 CA San Francisco HARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL at 4:45 Arrow Stage
Jon Langford with his Sadies, Sally Timms
10.05.12 CA San Francisco THE SWEDISH AMERICAN HALL Acoustic Set at 8:30 pm
w/ Roger Knox, Sally Timms, Walter Salas-Humara (Silos)
10.05.12 CA San Francisco CAFE DU NORD at 11pm
w/ Jon Langford and his Sadies, the Sadies
10.06.12 CA San FranciscoHARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL at 11am Star Stage
w/Roger Knox, The Sadies, Sally Timms
10.08.12 CA Davis HOUSE PARTY
w/ Roger Knox, Walter Salas-Humara (Silos)
10.10.12 WI Madison The Frequency
w/ Roger Knox & Pine Valley Cosmonauts
10.11.12 IL Chicago Old Town School of Folk Music
w/ Roger Knox & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts
IOTA Arlington VA May31st
MOTR PUB Cincinnati OH June 1st
HORSESHOE TAVERN Toronto June 2nd w. SADIES and BURLINGTON WELSH MALE CHORUS