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Bryan and the Haggards

Pretend It's the End of the World

(Hot Cup; US: 1 Mar 2010)

Music that plays inside a drunken cowpoke's head after one too many

One might think that free jazz and the Bakersfield sound have little in common, but Bryan and the Haggards tear that myth apart with the band’s wild and woolly approach to the music of Merle. The seven-song EP, Pretend It’s the End of the World, takes country music to places usually inhabited by the likes of Ornette Coleman with fierce improvisations and outrageous inventiveness. The twin saxophone attacks of tenor Bryan Murray and alto Jon Lundborn discordantly blast the jets off the airplane on Haggard’s lonesome lament “Silver Wings”, and the five-piece band takes “Working Man’s Blues” far beyond where the hammer hits the spike. The music can be crazily melodic, especially on “Miss the Mississippi and You,” a tune Jimmie Rodgers made popular, but which Haggard best interpreted on his paean to the Singing Brakeman. Bryan and the Haggards also turn “All of Me Belongs to Me” into a drunken polka, complete with scat accompaniment. This is the music that plays inside a drunken cowpoke’s head after he’s had one too many at that urban dive.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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Miss the Mississippi and You
Miss the Mississippi and You
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24 Jan 2012
Bryan Murphy and company sound like they are drunkenly scatting the sounds of the instruments one minute and then play it straight the next before launching into distorted music that could have come directly from Saturn (or at least Sun Ra).
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