Eight 30 Records' debut album Cold and Bitter Tears: The Song of Ted Hawkins marked the first tribute album to the soulful Venice Beach street performer, a legend overseas later in his lifetime but a songwriter largely overlooked in the States. Hawkins simply sang like songs were stamped on his heart at birth. Evidence: High watermarks on the new record such as “Big Things” (James McMurtry), “Cold and Bitter Tears” (Kasey Chambers), “Sorry You're Sick” (Mary Gauthier), “Who Got My Natural Comb” (Shinyribs) and several other classics. Hawkins himself backed the point with the album's hidden track, the moving unreleased demo “Great New Year.”
Eight 30 Records owners Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson accompanied their book Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy behind Cheatham Street Warehouse with Dreamer: A Tribute to Kent Finlay. The album features more than a dozen Finlay disciples – notably, deep-browed songwriters James McMurtry, Walt Wilkins, Slaid Cleaves, Terri Hendrix and Jamie Lin Wilson – offering their versions of Finlay's original songs. The record also includes the first-ever duet between college friends and longtime Kent Finlay admirers Randy Rogers and Sunny Sweeney.
Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll, Austin-based Eight 30 Records third compilation produced by label owners Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson, celebrates a true songwriter's songwriter, a Texas tunesmith who has inspired both younger and older artists for nearly two decades. Carroll simply captures entire lifetimes among stilled snapshots like few others (“Screen Door,” “Girl with the Dirty Hair”). “I try to find moments that are sublime,” Carroll explains. “They just last a little bit and then you're back to your regular life and strife, but there are just these perfect little moments.” Evidence: “Black Flag Blues,” “Red Bandana Blues,” “South of Town,” dozens more.
Danny Barnes' first collection in six years showcases a singular songwriter and player in peak form as Got Myself Together (Ten Years Later) reworks his classic album a decade on (“Big Girl Blues,” “Get Me Out of Jail”). The Seattle-area resident simply strips songs to their essence on the seamless recording. “I spend a lot of time developing new contexts like the barnyard electronics aesthetic,” Barnes says. “Get Myself Together was my last acoustic-type recording and I get quite a bit of fan mail about it, but the label that released it went out of business. I wanted to make something with this record that featured more of my raw acoustic sound, as though I was kind of playing in your living room.”
Emily Herring simply sings purest country music. Witness Gliding. Herring's sophomore effort, produced by legendary instrumentalist Steve Fishell and releasing last fall on Eight 30 Records, delivers all raw emotion with a voice branded at birth for honkytonks. Listen. You'll hear. The daytime auto mechanic and nighttime singer-songwriter effortlessly bookends her new collection with equal measures swagger (“Millers in Milwaukee”) and sway (“Best Thing”). “I found an immediate connection with Emily,” Fishell says. “Her voice rings like Rosie Flores did in the 1980s when I played with her during the Los Angeles cowpunk movement. She has that energy and fire.”
Chris Fullerton sings country music bold and brave beyond compare. Evidence: Epilepsy Blues. The Central Texas singer-songwriter's debut, released last fall on Eight 30 Records delivers hard truths both elegantly (“Bad Winds”) and effortlessly (“Come to Texas”). High watermarks simply stun with candor (“I Feel Nothing,” the title track). “Releasing independently earlier this year but now getting picked up by influential Americana label Eight 30, Epilepsy Blues is indeed quite deserving of a wider airing,” the Austin American-Statesman says. “Epilepsy Blues is full of songs that demand to be heard, from a writer who doesn't back away from the dark heart of the matter.”
Eight 30 Records will release the eighteen-song Floater: A Tribute to the Tributes to Gary Floater on May 4! “We're so excited about our new tribute album honoring the great Gary Floater,” says Eight 30 Records' Jenni Finlay, who produced the album with label co-owner Brian T. Atkinson. “There's truly never been anyone like him.” Indeed, Floater tunes are simply singular. Consider a few titles alone: “Whatever Man,” “Thanks Me,” “Let Me Kiss You Where It Hurts,” “A Hero Never Learns,” “Grandpa's Promise,” “Pull Over I Wanna Eat That” and “Sunburn Lake.”
Floater: A Tribute to the Tributes to Gary Floater offers a veritable who's who of singer-songwriters with their takes on Floater's solid gold country classics. A short list – The Band of Heathens (“The Dirty South”), James McMurtry (“Grandpa's Promise”), Jason Eady (“Stand Back Boys I'm Fixing to Care”), Rod Picott (“That's What I'm Gonna Do”) – gives a glimpse. Floater himself will embark on his 40-city “Drink a Forty for the Fortieth” tour later this year celebrating the 40th anniversary of his unforgettable 1978 landmark album Denim on Denim, which features several songs on the new tribute.