The Roadside Graves

New Jersey’s The Roadside Graves released their You Won’t Be Happy With Me EP earlier this year and, once again, they delivered the goods. Recorded at Jeremy Benson’s grandfather’s summer home in The Adirondacks, the band continues to show growth on each release. While they’ll never be confused with The Low Anthem or Horse Feathers in terms of creating space, these tunes seem a little less frantic than their previous works. What immediately drew me to The Roadside Graves was their ability to translate their live energy into studio recordings, but now I’m also appreciating their restraint.

On You Won’t Be Happy With Me, the band wrote the songs as a body of work. John Gleason, one of the most recognizable voices around, leads the band through a wonderful 6 song appetizer that really has me jonesing for a full LP. The first two tunes, “Demons” and “Liv Tyler,” are amongst some of the better pieces of work they have done. Both have choruses that lend to fiery sing-a-longs: “We all have demons/ Rise up when we fall” and “If we didn’t have to worry about money/ We’d be alright.” These guys continue to epitomize all that is good about music and, more specifically, the alt-country genre.

The Roadside Graves – Liv Tyler

The Roadside Graves – Demons (from the AD Session)

Hear more in our Live Session with The Roadside Graves.

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The Roadside Graves, Live Session #59

by Woody on November 11, 2009

roadside graves

I was talking with John, the lead singer of Roadside Graves, after this session about how to describe the band to those unfamiliar with the New Jersey outfit. He tended to go with older acts such such as The Band, Dylan and Burrito Brothers while I threw out modern day contemporaries like The Felice Brothers amongst others. This became a tired exercise, so I said to tell them this: “We sound like awesome. Go buy a t-shirt.”

And they do and I did purchase myself a t-shirt that night after the session. Finding out Roadside Graves was putting out a new album this year was truly one of the pleasant surprises of 2009. I thought that after their excellent 2007 release No One Will Know Where You Have Been, that they had disbanded and moved on. But thankfully that was not the case and My Son’s Home is one of my favorites of 2009.

So dig into the five tracks, including “West Coast” off the aforementioned No One Will Know Where You Have Been. And the video of “Ruby” shows the boys playing one of top 10 tracks of 2009.

The Roadside Graves Introduction

Exclusive: The Roadside Graves – Take A Train

Exclusive: The Roadside Graves – Radio

Exclusive: The Roadside Graves – Ruby

Exclusive: The Roadside Graves – Far And Wide

Exclusive: The Roadside Graves – West Coast

Download The Roadside Graves live session as a zip.

Video: The Roadside Graves – Take A Train

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The Roadside Graves are making their first San Francisco appearance, playing at Hotel Utah tomorrow night, 8/16 at 9pm. My Son’s Home is one of our favorite albums of 2009.

The Roadside Graves – Ruby

The Roadside Graves – Far and Wide

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Roadside Graves

The Roadside Graves, a criminally overlooked New Jersey band, is back with a massively ambitious release. After 2007’s No One Will Know Where You Have Been, the boys have landed on Autumn Tone Records which is also home to J. Tillman and The Henry Clay People. My Son’s Home is 18 tunes strong and, while that usually is a signal that a band needs to trim some fat, this album is brimming with alt-country genius from beginning to end.

Each song is unique in sound with exceptional lyrics that strike you between the eyes. For those unfamiliar with them, I would liken their sound to a blend of Felice Brothers, Trainwreck Riders, Son Volt and The Band with a sprinkling of Gaelic influence in the vein of The Waterboys. The band is fronted by John Gleason and his voice and songwriting will have you believing the man has lived a number of lives.

In a day, where America spends countless time voting on their next plastic wannabe superstar, our time would be well-spent listening to bands like The Roadside Graves who fill their songs with emotion, heart and soul. Oz and I both have the same favorite track, “Ruby.” This is one of the tunes that has that loose, ramshackle Felice Brothers sound as it tells the story of a man back from war and his love, Ruby. Gleason and Jeremy alternate singing verses towards the end of the tune and the interplay is extraordinary.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is the title track, “My Son’s Home.” Gleason pours every ounce of his soul into the tune with the barest of instrumentation and backing vocals. It’s absolutely mesmerizing and hasn’t lost an ounce of its impact despite numerous listens.

I could rattle off amazing tune after amazing tune which would make this review about 2,000 words long but instead I will just urge you to purchase this brilliant album. The boys will be doing a tour later this summer and will be making their way through Chicago, hopefully with a stop in Shirk’s studio for a session.

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The Roadside Graves – Far and Wide

Update: After reading that we loved “Ruby,” we were given permission to also post that mp3.

The Roadside Graves – Ruby

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