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about

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“If you like the direct honesty of the blues, but want to move beyond the 12-bar format, enjoy the emotive themes of country music but balk at the frequent plunges into mawkish sentimentality, or relish the uplifting excitement of gospel singing but prefer your lyrics on the secular side…”

Music For Grown-Ups, Foreword to Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977
Martin Goggin, 2008

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Somewhere between Elvis Presley's honorable discharge and his immediate sequestration under Colonel Parker's fleshy, bejeweled wing, there existed a window of opportunity. What if, instead of "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," we'd heard a deeper exploration of country and gospel music; what if he'd been backed by the Funk Brothers or the Wrecking Crew; what if Americana hadn't come to mean either at best a rote recitation of Old Time music or at worst a bland, formulaic, slightly twangy version of Adult Contemporary? What if songs of genuine yearning, resolve, pain, and triumph drew in equal measure from both Hank Williams’ high lonesome and D. Boon’s credo, “Punk is whatever we made it to be.”?

J Kutchma and the Five Fifths are interested in trying to find out what that could sound like. This is, of course, not to say that the band bears any resemblance to the rhythm section/force of nature behind Motown’s hits or the greatest punk rock trio ever to climb in a van, only that the urgency with which they played, the trust they had in their bandmates, and the willingness to stumble upon How A Song Should Sound, to tear up the chart and start over—these are the hardest and best parts of playing music, and they’re the whole reason these five got together in the first place.

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“I have knocked around a lot and been hard hurt in plenty of ways,” he said huskily. “There were times I thought I would never get anywhere and it made me eat my guts, but all that is gone now. I know I have the stuff and will get there.”

“Get where?”

“Where I am going...”

Roy to Memo, The Natural
Bernard Malamud, 1952

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All songs conceived and written Winter 2010 through Early Spring or so of 2011. Of the initial batch of ten songs, two were disregarded, Worried Mind and The Devil’s Waltz, while another added, Pastorals. Arrangement and rehearsals for the songs began on June 12, 2011 and continued until production commenced at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina on October 21 & 22, 2011. Evan Bradford, assisted by Paul Blackwell, engineered. The recording was made using a Studer A800 MKIII 24 Track to 2” tape and then transferred to digital copy for editing purposes.

With few exceptions, vocal takes and guitar overdubs were recorded in Carrboro, North Carolina at Track and Field Recording with Nick Petersen throughout November of 2011.

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The spaces between the lines are numbered from one to four. In music education, for the Treble Clef, the mnemonic “Every Good Boy Does Fine” (or “Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge”) is used to remember the value of each line from bottom to top. The interstitial spaces are often remembered as spelling the word “face” (notes F-A-C-E).

In music education, for the Bass Clef (or F Clef) the mnemonic “Good Boxes Don’t Fall Apart” is used to remember the value of each line from bottom to top. The interstitial spaces are often remembered, using the mnemonic “All Cows Eat Grass”.

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J Kutchma wears spurs. All the time. Heavy metal ones on the back of his boots that jangle and clang as he walks. I’ve never asked him why. First time I met him we were sharing a bill and he came brushing by with his band, and his spurs, and a denim jacket I think he’d spray-painted silver. I said, “Hey there Sheriff, where’s your horse?” He just looked at me sideways and kept walking. We’ve become friends since then and I’ve spent some time waiting for him in bars and coffee houses and I always hear him before I see him. Clang clang jangle stomp clang. Even when I’m not expecting him, clang clang clang, and then a solid slap on my back and a big warm “Heeeeyyy!” Always puts a smile on my face. I’ve never asked him why, but I’ve thought about it some, and I’ve decided that J Kutchma wants to be heard before he’s seen. Like Miles Davis playing in the shadows with his back to the audience, or Jandek’s self released oblique soundscapes with pictures of his furniture on the cover, J Kutchma is aural BEFORE he’s physical. And I think that’s pretty fucking brilliant. That clanging sound of the solid spur is a great symbol for J’s music too, it’s something tough and true and a part of the real history of this country. The songs on this collection were wrestled down from the ether through long nights of driving and playing solo shows all over the United States. Twelve-hour drives alone between coffee shops and bars and record stores and one night in a tattoo parlor in Lincoln even, singing while getting a tattoo of a SPUR on his shoulder. No shit. The songs started out a certain way but by the end of a couple forty-day tours, they’d changed. The songs had changed. J had changed. Traveling like that is hard, it’s dangerous and crazy. When it’s bad, it’s really bad. You can be broke and alone, and have to do somebody’s dishes or paint somebody’s room, or sell an amplifier to make it to the next town. But when it’s good, it’s really good, you feel like you’ve launched yourself into the open at just the right time and all your friends are out there waiting for you and the people come to see you in all those small towns that were empty the time before and maybe you’ll meet a member of the Ohio Express, who was also a Shondell for a brief stint, working the late night drive-thru at a fast food joint like J did one night in Boulder, Colorado and maybe you’ll realize, as you’re driving through that empty part of New Mexico where there’s no radio and no cell phone towers and the aliens hide behind cacti making their weird noises in the moonlight and you think about all those good times and all those bad ones too, how so much of our perception is filtered through someone else’s experience, from movies and tv and top-forty radio and billboards and blogs and all the bullshit that we do with our lives instead of experiencing it and you’re eating your third banana and peanut butter sandwich that day, that’s also your thirtieth that month, and you have forty dollars in your pocket from the show the night before and you didn’t sleep at all because you stayed up all night with a stranger listening to her collection of old rock and roll 45’s and before you left she looks at you for a minute and shuffles through her collection and says “I know you didn’t get paid much last night, so I want you to have this, I think this single is the right one for you,” and as you’re walking towards your car, clang jangle jangle, some 600 odd miles between yourself and the next city, you read the label and it’s a Tommy James and the Shondells record, and you smile thinking about that fast food drive-thru fourteen days earlier and how the guy welled up a little bit when you gave him a tip, and all the trouble you’ve had just to feel like you’re actually in the place you’re supposed to be, doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing, and you’re there and you’re alive and when you get back home you put a band together and record the songs the way they’re meant to be recorded. This is not the kind of music that wants to have those experiences for you, like so much of the lazy shit that’s out there right now. It’s the kind of record that wants to share those experiences WITH you or if you’ve never been out there all alone, it’s the kind of record that wants you to WANT those experiences for yourself, to go out there and drag them down from the sky like J Kutchma did. Because in the end that’s what the music is there for, really. It’s the excuse to be out on the edge of space with the fear in your belly knowing that in the end the difference between falling and flying is only perspective.

Dan McGee

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Mixing began December 21 at Evan Bradford’s studio in Asheville, NC and ceased the day after. Nick Petersen delivered Final Masters to JK55 HQ on February 6, 2012.

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Which is nonsense, for whatever you live is life. That is something to remember when you meet the old classmate who says, “Well, now on our last expedition up the Congo—“ or the one who says, “Gee, I got the sweetest little wife and three of the swellest kids ever—“ You must remember it when you sit in hotel lobbies or lean over the bar to talk to the bar tender or stand in a dark street at night, in early March, and stare into a lighted window. And remember little Susie in there has adenoids and the bread is probably burned, and turn up the street, for the time has come to hand me down that walking cane, for I got to catch that midnight train, for all my sin is taken away. For whatever you live is life.”

All the King’s Men
Robert Penn Warren, 1946

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credits

released July 3, 2012

Jason Kutchma: Vocals, Guitar
Patrick O'Neil : Piano, Vocals
Evan Rowe : Drums
Rusty Sutton : Bass
Elysse Thebner : Guitar, Vocals
Nathan Golub : Pedal Steel

Recorded at Echo Mountain in Asheville, NC by Evan Bradford and Track & Field Recording in Carrboro, NC by Nick Petersen.

Mixed by Evan Bradford
Mastered by Nick Petersen

Album cover by Steve Oliva at Kitchen Island Show Print
kitchenislandshowprint.com

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: End of the World
I’ve been thinking, the world is coming to an end
Real soon, yeah real soon
Better believe the Angel of Death, he’s coming for you
And me too, yeah me too

I’m sorry I gotta run after I say my goodbye’s
You know how it goes when the end is nigh
And the end is nigh, yeah the end is nigh
Better watch out

I gotta get home, I got a table to set
For Four Horsemen, yeah Four Horseman

And I got a four meal course on china fine
He on his black horse, I’ll just have to give him wine
Give him wine, you can all have wine!
Beaujolais

Baby it’s okay cause I’ll see you in the afterlife
Maybe not, yeah probably not
And that’s the way it goes I guess
You see now what we get?
Toothless Sam he’s been mumbling ‘Repent’
For years, yeah it’s been years

Was there nothing we could spare?
Not one dirty cent?
We paid no care to a faithful prophet
It’s the end

Cheers

Everybody cheers
Track Name: Every Good Boy Does Fine
My Momma don’t mind if I stay up late
But Daddy don’t like if I’m up past eight
My sister she says I should just rest my head
And Grandpa says I’ll sleep when I’m dead

Who’s got the right
To say which one’s right?

Who’s got the right
To say which one’s right for me?

Who’s got the right
To say which one’s right?

Who’s got the right
To say which one’s right for me?

All they ever wanted
All they ever wanted me to be
Just be a good boy
Track Name: Teenage DMZ
Nobody understands me
Nobody understands me now
My Momma don’t get it
Pappa say Boy you better turn that shit down
I don’t make sense to my teachers
I don’t make sense to my preacher now
All I do is go

Yeah Yeah, Oh Yeah Yeah

They say You need an education
They say This boy just needs some ambition
And they say Boy you just need some salvation
I don’t understand
Cause they stand there with their prescriptions
And their goddamn televisions
The got their augmentations
Their ammunitions
All I do is go

GO-GO-GO-GO-GO

They used to sing Tuitti Fruitti
They used to sing Be-Bop-A-Hula-Baby
They used to dance so close to Shama Lama Ding Dong
They’d scream Gabba Gabba Hey
I don’t understand
I don’t understand
Why they don’t understand when I go

Yeah Yeah, Oh Yeah Yeah

I remember that summer
I saved up every dime
And I walked to the counter
Slapped down my dollar
Pointed to a guitar
Said I believe that is mine

It was like for the first time
For the very first time
I could stand up tall
From now I’m gonna stand up tall
I’m a walking tall
And I’m a talking loud
And I’m a singing loud
I’m going GO-GO-GO-GO-GO

Yeah Yeah, Oh Yeah Yeah
Track Name: Pastorals
And no, I’m not proud
Of the places that I’ve been
I never knew what I was looking for
But I couldn’t stop looking
I traveled so far and dark for this to realize
There are no pastorals for the quarrels with the
world
But maybe for the ones inside

And no I’m not proud
Of the people I have scorned
The truth? In birth as now in death
It’s cold and forlorn
How far I’d go away from home
So one day I would know
There are no pastorals for the boys or girls
Who try and go it alone

I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right
My fault I won’t deny
I hope at heaven’s gate they make saints
From sinners who kept on trying

And no I’m not proud
Of the roads that I have gone
I’d run and run from dawn to dawn
I knew not why, where to or from
I say for any man who values distance over time
There are no pastorals no there’s no laurels
No race no finish line

I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right
My fault I won’t deny
I hope at heaven’s gate they make saints
From sinners who kept on trying

And no I’m not proud
Of all that I did
In a search for destination
Now I’m back where I begin
All my transgressions oh how I remember each
But if I lived again without them
Would I have found this peace

I’ve been wrong more than I’ve been right
My fault, I won’t deny
I hope at heaven’s gate, they make saints
Cause I tried, I tried, I tried

I been so wrong
But I tried
I tried
I tried
Track Name: Used To Believe
I used to believe in the radio
All alone in my bedroom, how I loved it so
What happened I can’t guess
But I was listening less and less
Hanging around with a different crowd I suppose

Me and my friends we were punks
Drunk as hell cause that’s punk as fuck
Got a band to be famous
And to get laid hey can you blame us?
But without a record deal we did the punk rock thing
And broke up

My Pop don’t believe in the power of song
Son the only way a song’s gonna right a wrong
Take the lyrics of Blowin’ In the Wind
Write them on the bills with Ben Franklin
Pass them around to the poor across this great country
And maybe eventually you’re gonna cure poverty

All I ever needed was rock and roll
Rock and roll and a turntable
And me and Lou and Iggy Pop
And the drugs and Mary and oh I couldn’t stop
I wonder how my kids are doing these days

I wrote songs that matter! I had a story to tell!
I thought that’s what the world wanted as well
I wrote the greatest songs you never heard
You assholes asked for Freebird
Well damn you and FM Radio straight to hell

I used to believe that a catchy tune
Can cause world peace if everyone would sing with you
But I started watching the evening news
Now I believe what they want me to
Read Psalms, drop bombs and god bless America

I used to believe in a lot of things
I used to believe in believing
Man now I don’t know, it’s so hard
But I still got something to say and a guitar
Maybe that’s all the reason I need to believe
La da dum La da dum
Maybe that’s all the reason I need to believe
Track Name: Don't It Figure Better
Don’t it figure better
To let life have its way with us
What’s the use of trying
What’s the use of doing anything at all

Throwing our will
To the air
Watch them fly away

Mutt in a gutter
Blood crowns his head
Fast Buick don’t got patience
To prepare a dog’s death bed

He crawled all the way
From the middle of the road
He just wanted to go home
He was so close

Don’t it figure better?
Track Name: I'll Survive
When the sea sent me a hurricane, I survived
Through a hole in my roof I saw a black sky
I got water through the floor and a boat through the door
Can’t call that a home no more
Sea sent me a hurricane and I survived

And the devil took my Daddy and I survived
You see Daddy took to drinkin’, me-oh-my
I survived his cussin’, his drinkin’, his sin
No I can’t say the same for him
Devil he took my Daddy and I survived
And the war took my brother and I survived

He was serving his country in the front line
And he died by a bullet, friend or foe?
The U.S. Government still don’t know
Someone killed my brother and I don’t know why
Oh please, tell me why?

Jesus took my baby, why Lord why?
Why Lord him and not I?
A life would end before it’d start
No greater pain for a parent’s heart
Jesus took my baby’nd only he knows why
And now you standing at my door

Saying you leaving tonight
You know you ain’t ever been worth a tear from my eye
You calling me cheap and worthless down by the bar
Who the hell do you think you are?

You want to leave? You get to steppin’ tonight
I ain’t gonna tell you again, good-bye
Let me say it loud and clear one more time
That without you I know I can
Survive
Track Name: There's A Light On
I left them at the station
A suitcase and me, waving from a train
Well maybe not a train
It was anything
That would take me away

And they were all sad-like
Sad like Trumpets on a Vine
And although
I knew my road
Some part didn’t wanna go

But like a lonely house on the hill
Given to me from some dusty will
Mine by decree
But I knew to be
It was mine but it wasn’t me

Momma I’m not sorry none
No I’m not sorry bout anything
But even so
I want you to know
I’m sorry about everything

I hope they know I love them
I was never sure the reverse was true
Until that day I fled
My Dad
He held me and he said
There’s a light on

There will always be a light
Track Name: I Will Not Be Broken Nor Will I Be Denied
All my life there ain’t nothing that’s ever been clear
Although I’m a man grown I still got my fears
And every time I widen my eyes, the more I’m terrified
But I will not be broken and I won’t be denied

And it’s been I yes that’s chosen this path
But it seems with every step that I’ve made
I’ve wanted to turn back
I’ve taken my falls, yes I’ve had to crawl
But every time I stand and reply
I will not be broken no I won’t, I won’t be denied

I will not be broken nor will I be denied
Though tempted I may
I won’t walk away till I’m satisfied
Oh the pain that life brings
When you’re following your dreams
The true ones they don’t subside
I won’t be broken nor will I be denied

There have been so many times when I couldn’t stand tall
I was wasted, forgotten, no I had nothing cause I gave my all
I heard Stay down don’t get up,
Boy you stay down you don’t get up
But no, oh no not this time
Cause I will not be broken I won’t be denied

I will not be broken nor will I be denied
Though tempted I may
I won’t walk away till I’m satisfied
Oh the pain that life brings
When you’re following your dreams
The true ones they don’t subside
I won’t be broken nor will I be denied