Are you a fan of a certain record label? I know fans who will buy just about anything because it is released by a certain label. Fat Wreck Chords, Sub Pop, Third Man Records, Mascot Records, and Blue Note are a few labels that come to mind. You can add New West Records as my contribution to the list.
My fandom for New West Records is not intentional. In fact, I just realized that I have been subconsciously affected because I find myself buying albums that I do not know anything about, but are on the New West Records label.
I was in my local record store (shout out to Comeback Vinyl) flipping through the new vinyl and I saw this record and said to myself “I know this band, right?” Yes, I talk to myself out loud. It did not hit me until later that it was the New West Records sticker that was familiar to me. However, I am learning that being a fan of a particular label can be a very good thing.
Before I ever dropped the needle on Redemption & Ruin I noticed the songwriting credits. This is an album of songs from some of the greatest songwriters and musicians in the history of time. Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zant, Hank Williams, Sr., and more are represented on this record.
Redemption & Ruin is traditional bluegrass country. It is a pickin’ and grinnin’ album. It features such instruments as an upright bass, banjo, pedal steel guitar, fiddle, dobro, and spoons. The vocals are the type of twang you would hear on the front porch of a rundown log house in the holler of West Virginia backed by call and response and counter-melody background voices.
Thematically it feels like real life. Redemption & Ruin is filled with gospel songs alongside songs about drinking and drug use. Just like many people I know, this record loves Jesus but also likes to have a drink and smoke a little weed.
This album will transport you to another place and time.
My favorite track: Champagne and Reefer