Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires on Maximum Ames Records

Maximum Ames, the record label discovering and pressing Iowa based artists is back with this alt-country single from Derek Lambert and the Prairie Fires, based out of Des Moines. Derek had been writing and performing solo previously until getting together with the prairie fires to round out this huge back room bar country sound. Even if the loner, acoustic guitar sound is your style, this sound is equally rooted in the ensemble work of a bunch of relatives on the porch, playing standards long into the night.

Like A-Side's "Swing Low" which is exactly the song you're thinking... an acapella start but with some new verses, wiping dirt from his lips and shoveling dirt. Done in that huge band, chorus all pipes firing sound... a million voices coming in for the chorus, yelling like their lives depended on it. That goofy ballad of despair, tryin' to make the best of a bad situation,...the point of the song after all and they make it their own form of success. An abbreviated version of this retelling ending right in the middle to continue on with "It Shines" going into their heavy rocker-country style with a light, warm distortion even on Derek's vocals. A little like that Devil went down to Dixie song...or a little rawhide style of that sentiment anyway. They keep rising higher and higher, the instrumentation billowing into a coud of static and fuzz. This slower section is the morning after, the depression sets in when everything has kind of gone wrong. What do you do in that situation but go get fucked up again to chase that hangover. That's what they do in this sort of Irish sea chanty way. Sing along people. There's a weird backwards masking at the end of this, probably something to do with the devil.
B-Sides "I Came Down" comes in a little quieter this time with slow, electric fingerpicking and Derek's laying on the imagery again... this guy really wants to create a story everytime, in his specific lonesome way. The bass waits to start humming in along with the slow crash of cymbals and when they hit the title of this track the instrumentation really builds, it's all in service of this songwriting.
"A Change Will Come" goes heavy rockabilly this time with rumbly vocals and a bluesy bass line of stuttery gripped pick electric... they are ending this on a bang. Now that I hear this big ensemble sound again, it's what you look to these guys to do well. When they have this almost party sound of crazy blues is where this picks up steam and they're going to get you to have as good of a time as they are. Turns out this was recorded somewhat live and that energy come soff in this recording.

On black vinyl with download card from Maximun Ames Records. They love Iowa as much as Fort Lowell loves Tuscon.

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