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  Listen Up! 3/19/03 Listen Up!

Wednesday, Mar. 19

Various Artists, “Poor Little Knitter on the Road: A Tribute to the Knitters,” Bloodshot Records. This came out four years ago, a fairly unique album in that it is a bunch of covers of covers. The Knitters was an off-shoot of X, an acoustic side-project in 1984 or thereabouts that covered old 1920s country songs back when nobody hip had any idea that such things existed. The influence of that album on Uncle Tupelo and then the entire No Depression alt-country movement cannot be overstated. So, Bloodshot gathered up a bunch of alt-country leading lights, and got them to sing the same songs (along with one actual X song, “The New World,” that I don’t remember being on the original Knitters record, though I haven’t played the thing in fifteen years). All the panache of the original is missing; these versions are more orchestrated, but also more reverent than the Knitters were. Still, there are some decent performances, especially Anna Fermin (who?) doing “Love Shack.”

Soundtrack from the film, “The Slaughter Rule,” Bloodshot Records. Jay Farrar wrote the score and assembled this amazing collection of alt-country classics by the likes of Vic Chesnutt, Freakwater, the Blood Oranges, Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant, Neko Case, the Flatlanders, and Uncle Tupelo. I have no idea what the movie is like, but oh, this soundtrack evokes a desolate, beautiful, and wide-open Texas.

--Steve Pick


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