Losers begin new year with new music

A new year is an exciting time for music collectors.

So begins the next 12-month gathering period of releases with a copyright of 2013; during those 12 months, a folder on my computer, my shelves of vinyl and my iPod library will swell as I budget an unrealistic amount of money that I don’t have to buy music while I clear worthless releases from 2012 to make room for hundreds of new things – half of which will be deemed worthless in 2014.

Each yearlong quest is part of a larger search for music that will make the 10-year plan. The plan is simple, and a great way to rid yourself of music that doesn’t get played. Listen to it, then ask yourself if it will be worthy of your ears in a decade. It’s not easy. Motorhead passes the test. So have Frank Zappa, Lucero, Charles Mingus, Neko Case and The Thirteens.

Gone are things like The Cure. Not that there is anything wrong with them, but they’ve just been retired to the back of the rack and eventually the local thrift store, ready for some teenager to discover the 1980’s joy of “Head on the Door.”

2013 will be a great year for new local releases. Fans of the local alt-country outfit Farmington Hill will soon be treated to their debut release. But the first new music of the new year is “The Desperate Promenade,” the third record from Cortez’s Chuck Barry and his band, The Beautiful Loser Society.

Barry remains a working man’s musician; he’s the face of Stone Free Farm every Saturday in the summer at the Durango Farmers Market and also is a multi-instrumentalist who sings of white trash whiskey runners, old tractors and shotgun weddings. For “Promenade,” Barry handled vocals and most stringed instrument duties – acoustic and electric guitars, banjo and lap steel.

He was joined on various tracks by percussionist Danny Bankston, guitarists Dale X Allen and Justin Richert, Carl Johnson on pedal steel and bassists John McHenry and Moe Cooley. They recorded at Barry’s Montezuma County home studio and mixed it in Austin, Texas.

“The Desperate Promenade” is a textbook example of what roots and/or Americana music should be: Country rock that lyrically reflects a seedier side of America and sounds like an analog recording from 40 years ago, a gritty yet working relationship of rock and country heavy on pedal and lap steel ripe for the PBR–drinking punk crowd who appreciates classic country giants. Fans will see it as a continuation of what the band has been doing now for years, serving as a vehicle for the writing of the Mississippi-born Barry, whose literature–inspired lyrics paint portraits of a real America.

“I like the sad-sack character kind of guys, the cocaine-addicted bull riders and stuff,” Barry said. “You think from Hank to Robert Johnson, you’re not going to get out of this world alive or you have the hellhounds on your trail. I’ve always been a fan of the southern literature. I like the gothic, swampy evil things.”

The record is available online through CD Baby.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at Liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.