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MP3 The Wells (USA) - The Outcasts Will Make a Strong Nation

American Primitive rock ''n roll; a gumbo of old weird folk, pining country, nasty blues.

11 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Folk Rock, ROCK: Roots Rock

Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, the Wells began as a trio in 2003 featuring Andy Gard (bass, vocals), Bill Heingartner (drums, vocals), and Robert Loss (guitar, lead vocals). Their first release in May 2004 was an EP entitled New Death Valley Blues, described in Columbus’ The Other Paper as “rustic Appalachian folk music and drawling country twang with a churning rock sensibility underneath.”

Seventeen basic tracks for Outcasts were recorded over a four-day session in December 2004 at drummer Bill Heingartner’s professional home recording studio, where he’s worked with plenty of fine Columbus rock bands (Jive Turkeys, Guinea Worms, Bygones). Seven songs fell by the wayside, and the album’s only acoustic track, “I Had a Dream, Jesse,” was recorded in August 2006 to round out the album. Mixing and mastering was done by Bill Heingartner.

Robert Loss began as a folksinger in Cleveland and traveled the east-of-the-Mississippi countryside until he moved to Columbus to pursue his MFA in creative writing at OSU. He currently teaches English at various local colleges, a step up from when he drove an ice cream truck. Andy Gard, also from Cleveland, is in the process of obtaining a PhD in Math at OSU and until joining the Wells had played mainly solo material. In addition to running his own recording studio, Bill Heingartner is the drummer for local faves the Bygones (Circles) and has played the kit for Columbus bands like Heifer (It Will Be Comfortable) and the Sophomores.

Contributing to this record are a few familiar faces from the Columbus scene. Lori Parsley (vocals) fronts the Sure Things (Odds and Endings) with Nick Mancini (lead guitars); Mancini now plays guitar with the Wells while Parsley sits in on occasion. Prominent on a few tracks is the violin of Megan Palmer who, in addition to backing performers like Rick Moranis, Tim Easton and local newgrass favorites The Spikedrivers, has also released her own solo album, Forget Me Not.

Most of the songs on Outcasts are ballads; folk and blues motifs collide, like “shake sugaree” (from Elizabeth Cotton’s song, not the Dead) and “if tomorrow was Christmas Day” (from Robert Johnson’s “Hellhounds on My Trail”) while literary references (The Sound and the Fury; Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory) mix with fantastic tall tales like “Big Tent Revival” and enigmatic whodunnits as in “Knockdown Dragout”.

(what follows below are the liner notes for the record)

Notes on the Songs. Sorry these are so sloppy, but when the dog is drunk, she doesn''t type well. Hanging Tree. Pieces of an old Dylan folk song rewrite called "Seven Curses" A one-hill rollercoaster of betrayal and sore luck. Cedar Hill. After our first record we wanted some happy songs; while this still has rueful lyrics of child labor and inebriation, the hero escapes. Our Huck Finn tune, but not as good as Cave''s "St. Huck". I Shot Tom Joad. Corruption at can''t-miss prices. Sometimes you have to write from the devil’s point of view…not all politicians are like this we hope you know. Knockdown Dragout. Murder ballad ''obscene''. Come to find out that there was a Vera Lynn in the 1940''s, a torch singer; this song is not about her so stop asking. Hard Way to Go, well, yes, for everyone, but especially small-time crooks. Easy to kill a man only one woman loves. Blood Always Tells. Weathered Hill is a real place. Three Day Drunk. Transported to Rio Grande. Bill sings real purty here. Big Tent Revival. More bounce fantasy, a Faulkner-wrestling-Dock Boggs song about unrequited love. Sixteen Coaches Long. Old man farmer, a widower and sketchy con artist, scheming plans for his virtuous daughter, who he has taught to shoot a gun: a fact he will soon regret. Red Shirt Era. Do you know The Power and the Glory? Graham Greene, who was very religious, wrote like a mean dog with impeccable manners. I Had a Dream, Jesse tells you everything you need to know. Good night.

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