The Essentials – Eleven Hundred Springs Share
In “The Essentials” series, our official blogger, singer/songwriter/journalist Mike Ethan Messick, dives into the catalog of one of the Texas Music Scene’s brightest stars or biggest legends and comes up with a handful of essential songs to recommend. Alternately he might tackle a theme, regional scene, or subgenre and list off just enough highlights and personal favorites to fill up your next mix CD.
THE ESSENTIALS – ELEVEN HUNDRED SPRINGS
- “See You In The Next Life” – Though Matt Hillyer and company are usually heralded for their straight-up traditional country music, this dobro-heavy (on the Straighter Line version … the Bandwagon take on it dishes out some equally sweet steel), slightly off-kilter, wryly funny jam is one of their most enduring tunes. Equal parts sour-grapes lament and good-humored kiss-off, it’s a great ode to that beautiful woman you were better off without.
- “Raise Hell Drink Beer” – Probably the band’s first recognizable signature tune from the early days of the loosely defined Texas Music Revolution, this low-fi, rapid-fire party anthem bridged the gap nicely between old-school rockabilly and ‘90s Texas country. Like the band itself, it’s aged remarkably well.
- “Some Place Else To Be” – Some of Eleven Hundred Springs’ albums are heavy on the anthem and/or “statement song” approaches, but some of their best work is in the timeless country tradition of emotional honesty and full-grown heartaches. The couple that Hillyer sings about in this one off of the 2012 release Midway, voice brimming with understated heartbreak, might be deeply unsatisfied. But their story, set to gut-punch, ‘70s-echoing hardcore country, is sure as hell compelling.
- “Thunderbird Will Do Just Fine” – Considering that they named themselves after a slogan for Pearl Beer, an ode to budget-friendly (if sometimes gut-disrupting) wine fits the unpretentious, unfiltered Eleven Hundred Springs ethos to a T. It’s also a swinging, pulsing honky-tonk classic in the making.
- “Why You Been Gone So Long” – Sure, it’s a cover, but in the hands of Eleven Hundred Springs this Mickey Newbury classic isn’t so much copied as it is curated. Breathing mournful yet insistent new life into this obscure gem from a sometimes-forgotten legend is one of the greatest contributions from a band of true Texas road warriors.
Rounding things out …
- “Hard Working Just Ain’t Working Anymore”
- “Hank Williams Wouldn’t Make It Now In Nashville Tennessee”
- “This Ain’t The First Time”
- “Broken Dreams”
- “If I Was A Candle”
- “A Few Words To Remember Me By”
- “It’s The Small Things”
- “Northside Blues”
- “What Do You Know”