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Nine Bullets!


I have to get this one in before the end of the year so I’m not stuck including a band I didn’t even write about on my Top 10 of the year list.

If you haven’t heard of Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil then you need to pay more attention to me on twitter and Facebook and start listening to my damned podcasts but whatever, better now than never.

Doc Dailey comes to us out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama and Victims, Enemies & Old Friends is the followup to an EP he released way back in 2005. He teamed up with former FAME sound engineer, Ben Tanner, in Wishbone Studios and set to recording a full length. Now, I’m a drunk, not a music historian but when I think Muscle Shoals sound I think soul and southern rock and Doc Dailey ain’t either of those. They remind me another ninebullets favorite, Medford’s Black Record Collection, albeit more musical and less brooding but just as haunting and desolate. Victims, Enemies & Old Friends has an excellent mix of songs you can bounce and sing along to and songs you can drink and plot the murder of a loved one too. Sometimes, it’s the same song.

Trust me, I know about these things.

Anyhow, I wanted to mention this album before the end of the year cause it’s Essential Listening and almost definitely gonna be in my Top 10 so I wanted y’all to know about it in advance.

A Great Review From Sleeping Hedgehog!

Doc Dailey & Magnolia Devil: Victims, Enemies & Old Friends

By Gary, on December 3rd, 2010

If you’re at all like me, when you think of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, you think of soul music, not twangy country music. Doc Dailey is here to change your mind.

Victims, Enemies, & Old Friends is the full-length debut of Dailey and his band Magnolia Devil. It’s a follow-up to his self-released 2005 EP The Family, and it’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite 2010 releases.

Dailey sings in a high-lonesome voice that sounds like a metal gate swinging on slightly rusty hinges — again, more Appalachia than Alabama. He’s backed by a band in which pedal steel guitar and banjo figure prominently, along with acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, drums and the occasional fiddle and horn.

The vocals are arresting, the arrangements always interesting, but it’s the consistently strong writing that makes this album such a treat. These are the kind of songs that you have to listen to in order to follow what’s going on. Not that they’re psychedelic or cryptic like 1970s Neil Young lyrics, but Dailey doesn’t beat you over the head with obvious rhymes and stories that you can guess from the title and first line. Just listen to commercial country radio some time, and even if you’ve never heard the song they’re playing, you’ll be able to sing along by the end of the first verse. These songs aren’t like that.

I like all the songs, but I have no trouble picking a favorite. Or two or three. “Till Death Do Us Part” is a rocking country shuffle, a sweet love song about two lovers named Little Maggie and Earl, with some fiddle, and brushed snares keeping the beat. “Blue Eyed Blonde” is a sad uptempo honky-tonk song about a busted heart. “Red Tail Lights” is a crackling tale of a gal who got left home alone too many nights and is on her way out the door; the guy watches those red lights fade into the distance, “as the one he drove away drove away.” This one is quite bluegrassy, with fiddle and banjo and acoustic bass, even what sounds like a washboard.

But the real emotional center of the album is “Let Me Down,” a mid-tempo rocker that clocks in at six minutes. It follows a woman who arrives at the airport in the middle of a snowstorm and, when she finally gets home, finds her man with another woman. Like any good protagonist in a country song, she orders the cabbie to turn around and take her to “any old bar.”

It’s hard to quit naming favorite tracks. The opener, “Prove Me Wrong,” packs a lot of song into its quick two minutes. “The Only Reason” rocks and rolls as Doc tells a woman that she’s the “only reason I know / to go to Ohio.” “Pray for You” is a tender acoustic song of love to someone who, unfortunately, loves another. “Sunday School” is a loping rocker with wailing pedal steel and distorted electric guitar. The banjo-and-pedal-steel intro to “Alabama Daydream” kicks into a fast shuffling rocker. And both the final two tracks, “The Flame Beneath The Skin” and the title track, are layered chamber-folk.

No matter the arrangement, and whether it happens to rock, shuffle or sway, Dailey’s high-lonesome vocals and his southern-style storytelling keep every song firmly in the realm of country music. You can listen to samples at iTunes and Amazon, as well as at Doc & the Devil’s website. And I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing more from these folks.

Gary Whitehouse

[Southern Discipline, 2010]

We're Twangville's Album of The Month!!


Victims, Enemies, & Old Friends, by Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil

A strong Southern accent imbues Muscle Shoals musician Doc Dailey’s voice and music. His songs continue a rich Southern storytelling tradition, filled with characters struggling with the hands that they’ve been dealt. In album opener “Prove Me Wrong” Dailey strives to make a relationship work, only to confess “if a pictures worth a thousand words, how come I keep burnin’ hers.” The musical accompaniment – acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle – only adds to the melancholy feel.

It is Dailey’s descriptive attention to detail that captivates on “Let Me Down,” the tale of a woman flying into the Huntsville, Alabama airport expecting to find her lover there to pick her up. The tension builds as she eventually catches a cab home to find him in his truck with another woman. “She said, ‘Driver, turn this car around, take me to any old bar downtown, I need one more round of let me down.”

I’ve always been a sucker for horns, and Dailey hits the spot with “Seven Points.” The song starts as a solo acoustic gem but gets jolted to life when the horns announce their presence with eight sharp blasts. The upbeat tempo belies a sorrowful tale of broken love, with Dailey and Amber Murray harmonizing beautifully as they declare, “Scars don’t leave the wounds you can’t see, hurt so bad and last so long (never seem to heal up right).”

Dailey and the Devil show their rock edge on “The Only Reason That I Know.” Pounding drums set the tone, soon joined by a heavy bass line. A jangly electric guitar and banjo soon join in for a raucous good time. Meanwhile, “Alabama Daydream” is anything but, a rollicking ramble that finds Dailey confessing, “I never claimed to know it all ‘cept slow sad songs and alcohol.”

In the end, it’s the album’s honesty and simplicity that make it so enjoyable. The songs have a special sweetness, even when bittersweet. They overflow with sincerity and spirit, exactly the way that music was intended to be.

Look at this little devil.... 

We would like to to welcome Agnes Flynn Stedman to the world!!!

She was born bright and early on November 16th, 2010.

Congratulations to our bassist/web guy/graphic artist, Ben Stedman and his beautiful wife, Brandy June Flowers Stedman!!!

This Is American Music write-up! 

Thanks to Nick, Corey, and Daniel at This Is American Music for covering us!

The Country Matters of Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil

DateThursday, November 11, 2010 at 09:28PM

by Nick Nichols

As my wife and I channel surfed on Wednesday night, we happened upon the Country Music Awards. As a bit of a challenge to myself, I decided to try and watch as much of it as I could before nausea sent me to the nearest receptacle. I make no claims to psychic or prophetic powers, but the affair was exactly as I would have expected: gaudy, pretentious, and characteristically over the top. Prefab artists performed mercifully-truncated versions of the cookie-cutter ditties that manage (baffling as it is to me) to make them millions of dollars. There was nothing new, nothing original, nothing genuine, and nothing even remotely interesting about any of it. It was a circus of costumes, props, and theatrics designed to take formulaic songs about teen crushes, football, and farm implements, combine them with a healthy (if not obligatory) dose of American jingoism, and jam them down the throats of a nationwide audience. It even felt like Loretta Lynn had to perform with Sheryl Crow and Miranda Lambert in order to appeal to some target demographic that probably has no idea who she is.

But don’t think that I watched the entire mess through the lenses of gloom and doom; far from it, actually. In some ways, watching the CMA’s made me extremely optimistic about the future of country music, that future just wasn’t happening on TV. No, the CMAs provided a great reminder that while “country’s biggest night” was turning into a 60-car pileup in Nashville, there was real country music being made just a few hours to the south in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “Thank God for Doc Dailey,” I told my wife as we turned away from the televised chaos and made our way to bed. I went to sleep knowing full well that on my morning commute seven hours later, I’d be blasting Victims, Enemies, and Old Friends, relishing in country music the way it was meant to be. If ever there was a time and a need for Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil, it is now.

While the glitzy Nashville machine might like you to believe otherwise, Doc Dailey and Magnolia Devil take great pains to remind their listener that “life ain’t like the movies” (“Prove Me Wrong”). Delivered with a heavy, Louvin-esque twang and a rock and roll attitude, Dailey’s songs echo the gritty South from which they come, one full of love and heartache, success and uncertainty, winners and losers. Backed by the versatility of Magnolia Devil, Victims, Enemies, and Old Friends floats seamlessly from classic country (“Blue-Eyed Blonde”), catchy rockers (“The Only Reason”), and bluegrass (“Red Tail Lights”) to the symphonic strings of the album’s title track. Each of the songs on the album feels sonically diverse, but all are held together by Dailey’s clever songwriting and unabashed Alabama drawl.

Dailey’s lyrics and the way he deftly pairs words and phrases is reminiscent of his fellow Muscle Shoalsian, Jason Isbell. As is the case with Isbell’s writing, it is clear that each word in each of Dailey’s songs has been thoroughly vetted and is exactly where Dailey wants it to be. “Prove Me Wrong,” the album’s opening track, sets the tone for the record and exemplifies the care with which Dailey approaches his songs’ structure. Dailey’s description of the simple, dizzying intoxication of new love provides the listener with a potent introduction to the tracks to come:

If we take our time and feel each other out right

And make out in this moonlit night,

Then we can just be high without drinks, or pills, or powders

And everything that’s louder

Just quietens with your smile.

My only complaint about “Prove Me Wrong” is that it is too damn short. I’ve moved it to the top of my short-list of “Songs I Wish Wouldn’t End.” Pair “Prove Me Wrong” with the track that follows, “The Only Reason,” and you’ve got a duo of undeniable hooks. The latter is a song that screams for a live performance but also feels radio-ready.

Five, four, three, two, one

I’ve been waiting for someone

With a whiskey voice and a velvet tongue

To carry me carry me away.

Five, four, three, two, one

I’ve been waiting for someone

To take this gun

Out of these shaky hands.

For all this counting, I have lost count of how many times I have listened to this record over the last week. It is one of the most pleasing, enjoyable albums I have heard this year, and one we think universally accessible. Any music fan can find something likable here, and in short order, we suspect that many will. Doc Daily and Magnolia Devil should be embraced by fans of rock, country, Americana, and bluegrass alike. They’ve quite simply found the perfect amalgamation of so many types of Southern-American music that if they do not succeed in what they are doing, there is something seriously wrong with the world. We think Doc Dailey is here to make it right.