Coming from a classic Americana standpoint the Bloody 98s’ album ‘Ashdown’ is a thing of beauty. This is hewn from the same tree as The Rustlanders, Whiskeytown and Bruntnell circa ‘Shot from a Spring’ or ‘Here Comes the Swells’. Big, wide-open sounds, full band and fuller harmonies on the choruses, bruisy guitars, pedal steel and lyrics drenched in the blue-collar experience.
The opener ‘One for the Road’ sets the scene perfectly – setting both the pace and the tone with its story of shut bars and lost highways. Title track ‘Ashdown’ has a stately grace and pace and ‘Country Stars’ builds on this vibe and adds sharp anti- Nashville lyrics to the pot. The pace rarely lifts above the pedestrian but this is an observation rather than a criticism as each song is sufficiently well drawn to avoid a sense of ennui. ‘Evangelina’ is a love song shot through with country melancholy. Album highlight for this reviewer is ‘If I Leave Tonight’ with its exquisite production and beautiful close-quarter harmonies – all world-weariness and regret – beautiful.
This band are currently unsigned but they have created a classic of the genre. Buy without fear. Let’s hope they cross the water!
This is probably my favorite album of the year!
Thank you Ravi. It means the world to us. Keep listening, and spread the word!
Chance Meyer & the Bloody 98s “Ashdown” CD is indeed a fine effort. Certain to be in my favorites from the year. I’m from Chardon, Ohio, USA and use Americana UK to find new music (& old). Why does it have to be so hard to find anything about this band? After searching I found 1 vendor selling it. Still, searching Meyer’s name was almost fruitless, Nicole Noel a little more successful. I hope they make themselves more readily available to those looking for what I hope is not a lost effort for airplay or even minimal exposure. Why do so many great bands and artists never get noticed. It’s amazing that social media hasn’t expanded the horizon for true artists like this,
Thank You! AUK for some of the most varied and emerging artists’ CDs I’ve added to my collection. I’ve collected records and CD’s for a while, I never grow tired of trying whats new.
Gotta reply to myself… this is my favorite album of all time, period. I guess they are not really a band that you’ll ever hear anywhere but I’ve given over 10 cds to my friends and family jus\t to make a point of music that is perfect but lost. You wrote “buy without fear”. Why can’t the many,or at least this one recording be recognized. Thank you for giving me this piece of Americana.