Chuck Ragan Announces Dates For New Album, Tour

Courtesy:  Reybee, Inc.

Courtesy: Reybee, Inc.

Folk musician Chuck Ragan will release his latest full length studio effort next month.  The Northern Carolina based singer-songwriter will release Till Midnight on March 25th via SideOne Dummy Records.  Ragin will hit the road in April only days after the release of his new album.  He and his band mates—Jon Gaunt (fiddle), Joe Ginsberg (bass), Tod Beene of Lucero and Glossary (pedal steel, electric guitar) and David Hidalgo, Jr. of Social Distortion (drums)—will join The White Buffalo and support act Johnny Two Bags for the five-week tour.  The tour kicks off Thursday, April 3rd in San Francisco, CA and will wind down in Los Angeles, Friday, May 9th.  It also includes a stop at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC on Friday, April 25th.

Ragan explained that this tour will be a little different from most that people are used to seeing.  He explained that a portion of ticket sales from this tour will actually go to help support the Wildlands Network.  “As much as we love music and sharing it with the world, we’re aware that our means of travel does make an environmental impact on our surroundings,” he said.  “We’ve aimed to release some merch and means to offset our carbon footprint on this tour and help make a difference along the way.” For every ticket and package sold, one dollar will be donated to Wildlands Network to help better our air, water, forests, and the wildlife that inhabits them. VIP packages, limited edition sustainable merch bundles, and tickets are available here:

http://www.chuckragantix.com

Chuck Ragan Sustainable Merch Package
• One General Admission Concert Ticket
• Autographed Handwritten Lyric Poster printed on recycled paper
• Stainless Steel and BPA free “Till Midnight” Water Bottle
• Eco Friendly Tote Bag to help reduce and eliminate single use plastic bags.
• Autographed LP & CD versions of the New Album, “Till Midnight”

Chuck Ragan Ticket + CD / LP
• One General Admission Concert Ticket
• Autographed LP & CD versions of Chuck’s New Album, “Till Midnight”

Chuck Ragan Ticket
• One General Admission Concert Ticket

More information on Chuck Ragan’s upcoming tour, album and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/chuckragan and http://www.chuckraganmusic.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

West Of Memphis Soundtrack A Good Counterpart To Documentary

Courtesy:  Legacy Recordings

Courtesy: Legacy Recordings

Sony Pictures Classic recently released a new documentary titled West of Memphis in very limited release.  The documentary—produced by famed director Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh (The Lord of the Rings trilogy)—focuses on the investigation into the 1993 killing of three eight-year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas and the controversial trial that would follow.  Three men—Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley—were arrested and charged with the murders.  The three now grown men were teenagers at the time.  Over the course of the men’s incarceration, increasing amounts of evidence began to seemingly point to the men possibly being innocent of the crime.  Support for the men grew increasingly over time.  Much of that support came from the music community.  Now in coordination with the documentary’s release, Sony Pictures Classic and Legacy Recordings have partnered to release music from many of the artists who have supported the cause of proving the men’s innocence in the form of a soundtrack to the documentary.

The documentary’s soundtrack opens solidly with Henry Rollins reading a letter written by Damien Echols, one of the three men charged in the case.  His solemn reading backed by the music of Nick Cave expertly sets the mood of what is to come even for those who haven’t had the opportunity to see the documentary.  Echols’ words echo through the speakers, exhibiting exactly what Echols was thinking and feeling.  Cave’s musical backing makes this moment all the more emotional.  As Echols’ final words are spoken, the solemn mood is maintained in the soundtrack’s next piece, ‘Mother.’  Natalie Maines’ delivery as she sings, “Mother do you think they’ll like this song/Mother do you think they’ll try to break my balls/Mother should I build a wall/Mother should I run for president/Mother should I trust the government/Mother will they put me in the firing line?” is absolutely haunting.  Her response on behalf of the figure’s mother is just as powerful and moving.  The lyrics and music combine to make this one of the outright best pieces on this brand new soundtrack.  Lucinda Williams follows with an equally powerful song in ‘Joy.’  It’s powerful, but in a different manner.  The dark, bluesy sound backing Williams’ singing, “I’m gonna go to West Memphis and look for my joy” is something that simply must be heard to be fully understood.  It’s just one of so many songs that listeners will enjoy in this compilation.

Just as powerful and moving as the soundtrack’s opening tracks is The White Buffalo’s performance of ‘House of Pain.’  The song is sung from the perspective of a young boy whose father is anything but in the picture.  The young boy eventually grows up still without his father, still feeling the pain.  He sings, “wasn’t I worth the time/A boy needs his daddy like a dance to mime/And all the time/I looked up to you/I paced my room a million times/And all I ever got was one big lie/The same old lie/How could you?”  Put in the right context, this brings full circle the letter read by Henry Rollins as the soundtrack opens.  Echols mentions having a son in his death row letter.  Considering this, one can only imagine this being used in the context of perhaps exemplifying the mix of emotions felt by Echols’ son during his son’s incarceration.  It is without a doubt one of the most powerful songs on the soundtrack.  It’s a song that as with Lucinda Williams’ take of ‘Joy’ must simply be heard to be believed.  As impressive as it is, listeners are given other amazing songs from the likes of Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder, and Citizen Cope just to name a few.  The soundtrack to West of Memphis is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered online direct via the Voices for Justice online store at http://www.myplaydirect.com/west-of-memphis?cid=lg:zel&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=voicesforjusticemusic.com&utm_content=west%20of%20memphis%20d2c%20promote&utm_campaign=west%20of%20memphis%20d2c%20promote.

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