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Bloodshot Briefing: BBQs and Bests

By Matt Harness

As 2009 comes to a close, we at Beachwood Music are hitting some highlights from the past year in Bloodshot land.

Of course, the year was dominated by the label's cross-country birthday parties. More than 20 different bands played at nine sites.

The celebration started in Pittsburgh in early July and ended with Tempe's bash in late October. There still remains a possibility of a Seattle stop.

The Deadstring Brothers win the award for presence as the Detroit rockers played in seven of the nine cities. Ha Ha Tonka, Bobby Bare and the Wacos jammed at six, while the Bottle Rockets and the Dex Romweber Duo entertained crowds at four.

Beachwood Music spent a few minutes with Bloodshot co-founder Rob Miller as he looked into the rearview mirror.

Beachwood Music: Let's get the perfunctory first question out of the way. How'd it go?

Miller: Overall, it was a grand success that a lot of people enjoyed.

Beachwood Music: What were some of your highlights from the road?

Miller: At every show there was a band that did a set that surprised me. That's just the nature of the beast. Dex Romweber in Brooklyn, for one example, or the Wacos in Minneapolis. But there is never one moment or one highlight.

The ongoing rush and excitement of these lineups is watching the people get into something they might never have know about otherwise. People coming to see the Wacos and getting floored by Ha Ha Tonka, Graham Parker fans flipping over the Deadstring Brothers.

Beachwood Music: Which artists were received well across the country?

Miller: Each town was getting exposed to things they might never have before.

Beachwood Music: Give us an idea of your typical concert day? Pretty crazy, I imagine.

Miller: Started about three-plus hours before doors and ended about two hours after the show was over. Twelve to 14 hours. We're the fist ones in and the last ones out.

Beachwood Music: Now that the 15th anniversary is mostly finished, what does Bloodshot do moving forward?

Miller: Personally, it's been a really rough year. There's been a lot of personal and family issues to deal with and, given the collapse of the economy, I am sure I have worked harder here in full-on survival mode to keep this going.

I think, if anything, I appreciate the little moments more. It's been really humbling to go out to all these cities and have people tell us how much the music we've represented has meant to them over the years and to see people coming out in such big numbers (4,000 at the Hideout) in such difficult times to enjoy the vibe we've tried all these years to maintain.

In Tempe, a town really hit hard by the economy, so many people thanked us for keeping the tickets at $5 and bringing it to them, and how they hadn't seen so many folks out having a good time in a while.

Beachwood Music: What's on deck for rest of the year?

Miller: I'm tired. But now we have to gird ourselves for the (hopefully) busy holiday season. And then, we begin the 2010 releases by the Deadstring Brothers, Andre Williams, Graham Parker, Bobby Bare, Jr., and, as always, some surprises we can't talk about.

It never ends.

Beachwood Music: Not much longer before you turn 20. Already thinking about what that party's going to like?

Miller: If it were possible to punch you in the nose via the interweb, I would.

Given that at this time last year, it was doubtful that we would even make it through this year, I can't ever ever ever let my head think that far ahead. It is rather presumptuous.

Best of Bloodshot
We're not done yet. Here's a look at how Bloodshot bands figured into Amazon's "Best Of" lists from 2009.

* Label alumnus Neko Case checked in at No. 1 in the Top 100 list for her Midnight Cyclone.

* Justin Townes Earle's Midnight at the Movies landed at No. 8 in the Best Country Albums.

* Rosie Flores found herself at No. 37 in the Outstanding Albums You Might Have Missed category for her work on Girl of the Century.

Choir Note
Finally, Double Door is hosting another concert benefit for Scotland Yard Gospel Choir on Dec. 19 with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Bloodshot band. Bloodshot's Detroit Cobras, Dex Romweber Duo and The Blacks are are on the bill along with the Lawrence Peters Outfit.

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Bloodshot Briefing appears in this space every Friday. Matt welcomes your comments.



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Posted on November 6, 2009


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