Monday, February 15, 2016

American Road Trip by Chris Sand: “One Heckuva Ride”


Chris Sand (formerly Sandman The Rappin’ Cowboy) has traversed the blue highways and gravel backroads of the USA for over two decades, performing his unique blend of folk, punk, hip hop, and cowboy music in basements, living rooms, barns, performance halls, and dive bars along the way. Dubbed by Punk Planet in 2003 as “our Troubadour for the 21st Century,” Sand continues his ride in American Road Trip, his 13th official release.

From songs about the road (“Road Trip,” “Trucker Song,” “Bull,” “Yodelin’ Night Before Christmas Hitchhike Blues”), to energetic punk ("Chair of the Month"), to feel-good hip hop (“Down at Habashi”), to pop ballad ("Prisoner Of Love"), to a capella verse (“Road Kill"), to political comedy (“Ronald McDonald”), to existential reflection (“Mr. Kent”), to family tribute (“Farmor”), American Road Trip is pure Sand—a true American original. 

CD design by Bess Bird.  Photo by Allison V. Smith.
On what is arguably the choicest radio cut,“Bull,” Sand channels Johnny Cash. The song roasts a former truck-driving employer with a galloping country rap: “He don’t like unions and he don’t like feds / If you slack on your job, Old Boy sees red / He’s bull, he’s a bull / He’s got horns in the sides of his skull…”  

The album's penultimate track is Sand's recitation of Bruce Kiskaddon's masterful 1924 poem, “When They’ve Finished Shipping Cattle In The Fall.” Over a moody electronic breakbeat that evokes cracked badlands and sunsets glinting off interstate asphalt, Sand is at his best--sincere and true in voice and tone, his loneliness upfront and undisguised. 

On American Road Trip, two decades of touring the country—as rapper, jester, social activist, truck driver, country singer, documentary subject*, and lonesome lover—crystallize into a lyrical scrapbook of life lived in the flow of creativity under the great shadow of American discontent.  Across frozen ground and disappearing daylight, Sand’s humor, hope, and grit abide. 

As No Depression’s Grant Alden wrote in 1998 “…[Sand’s] songs arise from the same dusty world Woody Guthrie wrote about without being mired in the dust of Guthrie's tradition."  Fresh, funny, and fierce, American Road Trip is one heckuva ride.  

*Roll Out Cowboy, award-winning documentary by filmmaker Elizabeth Lawrence, 2010:

Tuesday, February 09, 2016


Here's the itinerary . . . so far.  Stay tuned!

Feb. 12 - Leadville, CO @ The Hen House (101 Maple St., Apt. A), 7pm.
Feb. 13 - Albuquerque, NM @ Baker Architecture + Design, 8pm.
Feb. 14 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Sadler's Saddlery, 7pm.
Feb. 16 - Columbia, MO @ Cafe Berlin. 9:15pm. $5.
Feb. 17 - Pesotum, IL @ Route 45 Wayside Bar, 8pm.
Feb. 19 - Indianapolis, IN @ Rhonda's Garden.
Feb. 20 - Nashville, TN @ Lightell-Greene House.
Feb. 21 - Florence, AL @ Rivertown Coffee Co., 6pm.
Feb. 22 - Little Rock, AR @ Watson House (3 Berkshire Dr.). 7:30pm.
Feb. 23 - Little Rock, AR @ Dogtown Sound (4012 JFK Blvd. NLR), 6:30pm.
Feb. 24 - Shreveport, LA w/ Bill Daniel's Milkcrate Microcinema + Dacoda Montana.

Feb. 26 - Huntsville, TX, @ The Eclectic Cafe Studio w/ Bill Daniel's Milkcrate Microcinema.
Feb. 27 - Dallas, TX, @ Church in the Cliff (1719 West 10th) w/ Bill Daniel's Milkcrate Microcinema, 7pm.
Feb. 28 - Austin, TX, @ The Carousel w/ Bill Daniel's Milkcrate Microcinema + John Wesley Coleman + Ralph White, 7-9pm.
Feb. 29 - San Antonio, TX, @ Flight Gallery (134 Blue Star) w/ Bill Daniel's Milkcrate Microcinema + Buttercup.
Mar. 1 - Lubbock, TX, @ La Diosa w/ Andy Hedges, 7pm.
Mar. 5 - Marfa, TX, @ Wrong Store, 8-10pm.
Mar. 6 - Bisbee, AZ, @ Shawnee's Studio (across from Elmo's, 2nd floor of old Bizz Art bldg.) w/ Melissa Reaves, 7pm.
Mar. 7 - Tucson, AZ, @ The Flycatcher, 9pm.
Mar. 8 - San Diego, CA, @ Sleep Beddar Art Collective, 9pm.
Mar. 9 - Los Angeles, CA, @ The Prospector w/ Sas, 9pm.
Mar. 11 - Los Angeles, CA, w/ Willie Wisely. 9:30pm.
Mar. 12-16 - Missoula, MT. Spring Break Vacation!
Mar. 19 - San Francisco, CA, @ Nana's! 4pm.
Mar. 19 - Sacramento, CA, Reva's house w/ Reva!  8:30pm.
Mar. 20 - Black Butte, CA, Boxcar Music Show!  8pm.
Mar. 21 - Ashland, OR, Amber's house.
Mar. 22 - Corvallis, OR, Interzone Coffee House.
Mar. 23 - Portland, OR, @ The Old Church Concert Hall.  7:30pm. $10 adults / $5 children.
Mar. 25 - Olympia, WA, @ Abigail Stewart House w/ Pink Tree Cabaret! 8pm.
April 1 - Missoula, MT, @ The Roxy Theater. 8pm.
April 2 - Basin, MT, @ The Pirate Ship. 6pm.