CD Reviews for 12/19/07 – Heavy Trash, Levon Helm

Compact Capsules for 12/19/07
by Dan Ferguson

Heavy Trash
Going Way Out With Heavy Trash
Yep Roc Records YEP2133

It begins with a raw-as-red-meat slab of primitive rockabilly, hiccupin’ vocal patter and all, called “Pure Gold”. Ghosts of Charlie Feathers looming in the grooves? Sure as shit, not to mention blues grinders like Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside. Heavy Trash is Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray. On this sophomore platter, the M.O. is rough and tumble roots music in all its garage band urgency on which the duo serve up 13 originals that spiritually channel everything from the early Sun Records juggernaut to North Mississippi Hill Country bluesmakers to minimalist pacesetters Flat Duo Jets. (Visit

Levon Helm
Dirt Farmer
Vanguard 79844

It’s been 25 years since the last solo studio album from Levon Helm. On Dirt Farmer, Helm sounds as woodsy and fresh-voiced as his Band days. The twists this time out are daughter Amy Helm (of Ollabelle fame) providing tasteful harmony vocals and multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell working his magic on all things strings. Reworked traditional tunes mixed with songs from the likes of Steve Earle, Buddy Miller and J.B. Lenoir fit Helm’s mountain yelp like a well-worn pair of boots. (Visit

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)