Western Centuries will visit the UK for the first time starting April 19th 2017 for a tour that stretches into May. The US act will be supporting their acclaimed 'Weight of the World' album which was praised by Jim Lauderdale amongst others. Please read on for those tour dates, a video for the excellent title track and much more about Western Centuries.
Comprised of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, jam band veteran Jim Miller (co-founder of Donna the Buffalo), R&B and bluegrass-by-way-of-punk rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel player Rusty Blake, and bassist Dan Lowinger, Western Centuries are clearly a diverse bunch. Set for their debut tour as a band the band will be performing songs from their critically acclaimed album, Weight Of The World.
19th Leytonstone, LONDON
20th Brudenell Social Club, LEEDS
21st The Hut, CORBY
22nd Green Note, LONDON
23rd Coachwerks, BRIGHTON
25th NCI Club, CAMBRIDGE
26th Canteen, BRISTOL
27th B-Bar. PLYMOUTH
28th / 29th - Kilkenny Roots, KILKENNY
30th JJ Harlows, ROSCOMMON
1st - Balor Theatre, DONEGAL
2nd - Red Rooms, BELFAST
3rd - Old Coach House, DUMFRIES
4th - Cluny 2, NEWCASTLE
5th - Victoria Room, Queens Hotel, DUNDEE
6th - Glenbuchet, SCOTLAND
7th - Grand Ole Opry, GLASGOW
8th - Traverse Theatre, EDINBURGH
The band is collaborative in nature, but they are – albeit subtly – helmed by Morrison. After years of performing in prominent roots duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West (whose music made fans of Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Dirk Powell, and BBC Radio’s Bob Harris along the way), Morrison formed and led the band Country Hammer, made up of members who have mostly crossed over into Western Centuries.
Produced by Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses) and recorded in his Nashville studio, Weight of the World features three different songwriters and lead vocalists (Morrison, Miller, and Lawton); the result is a sound that deftly defies neat categorization. Yet the album doesn’t come off as scattered. Instead, it feels like the natural confluence of the band’s wide-ranging influences, laced together by the interconnected histories of the musical styles at its foundation, and by its writers’ commitments to imaginative songwriting.
The progressive, almost psychedelic nature of the album’s lyrics infuses the 12-track record with a distinctly modern sensibility. Sure, there’s ample pedal steel and plenty of country telecaster twang, but Western Centuries elevate these neo-traditional two-stepping tunes into transcendental, rootsy rock ‘n roll doused think-pieces.
Upon first listen, Weight of the World provides all the familiar satisfaction of traditional country lyricism – rife with simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking one-liners, tales of hitting the bottle and scraping bottom, and so on – but these songs yield new and deeper meaning with every listen. Each songwriter brings his own flair to Weight of the World, but there is a deeply literary approach to the songwriting woven throughout. The metaphors cleverly extend on, sometimes for an entire song as with Lawton’s “Off the Shelf” -- a love song written for a bottle of booze.
While its lyrics are impressively layered with meaning, Weight of the World will appeal to just about any fan of roots music; the album certainly showcases the band’s great range and ability to blend influences ranging from early rhythm and blues, all the way to straight up country. But it’s also marked with a profound ingenuity – the type that feels instinctual rather than intentionally laboured for, the kind that continues to flourish and snake into new realms as time wears on. This is just the beginning for Western Centuries, and it’s not likely their creative well is going to dry up anytime soon.