Sunday, July 13, 2014

Song Of The Week: 7/13/14

Song: "Seems We're OK"

Artist: Chuck Ragan

Album: "Covering Ground"

Year: 2011

"Seems We're OK" is a song that appears to be about reflecting back on a life with someone that has been filled with pain, heartaches and regrets. I get a sense, however, that it is not a negative song, more like it is telling how no matter how bad those times were and the pain that they have been through, they are still here today, in the present. Now they can reflect on what they've been through and perhaps appreciate more where they are today. Chuck Ragan has been active in the music industry since 1993. Hailing from Gainesville, Florida, Ragan is probably best known as the frontman and guitarist for the band Hot Water Music. Hot Water Music has been active since 1993 and to date have released seven full length albums, three compilations, two live albums and more than twenty EP's and splits. Their most recent release was 2012's "Exister". Ragan got his first taste of the acoustic/folk buzz back in 1998 when he, Chris Wollard (also of Hot Water Music) and Samantha Jones released a series of EP's under the moniker Rumbleseat. All of these EP's and 7" recordings would be compiled into a cd called "Rumbleseat Is Dead" which was released in 2005. 2005 also proved to be a year of change for Ragan as Hot Water Music decided to go on a little hiatus from recording or touring. It was during this hiatus that Ragan really buckled down and focused on his solo career. In 2006, Ragan began releasing a series of singles, one per month which became known as "the 7-inch club". No Idea Records would eventually release all these singles in a compilation entitled "The Blueprint Sessions". Ragan also self-released a live album called "Live At The Troubadour that year as well. 2007 saw Ragan strike a deal with Side One Dummy Records and release his debut full length album "Feast Or Famine". That year he also released yet another live album called "Los Feliz". In 2008, Ragan released an album with Austin Lucas called "Bristle Ridge". Ragan's second studio album, "Gold Country", was released in 2009. That very same year saw Ragan appear on a split EP with Anderson Family Bluegrass as well as another live album called "Live From Rock Island: The Daytrotter Sessions". In 2010, Ragan appeared on yet another split release with Darren Gibson. 2011 saw Ragan release "Covering Ground". This album featured the single "Meet You In The Middle" which is a duet with The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon. Ragan would appear on a four way split that year as well featuring himself, Sam Russo, Jimmy Islip and Helen Chambers. 2012 was a year that the focus and dedication was put back on Hot Water Music as the band released "Exister" and toured in support of that album. Ragan would get back to his solo thing by 2014, however, with the release of "Till Midnight". His fourth studio album would feature the singles "Something May Catch Fire", "Non Typical" and "You And I Alone". Currently, Ragan is doing several shows supporting "Till Midnight". Though I'm not sure if Chuck Ragan is the first punk rock vocalist to trade in his electric guitar for an acoustic and begin writing folksy, roots type songs, I'd argue he just does it the best. His raspy, powerful voice just lends itself to this new folk/punk genre that has seemingly been the new thing to do for punk vocalists lately. He is also the brain behind "The Revival Tours" which have been going on since 2008. Along with Ragan, some other notable artists that have appeared on these tours over the years have been Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem), Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio), Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds) and Tim Barry (Avail) to name a few. The shows are like being at a campfire as several of the artists get on stage together during each other's sets making it a cool, sing-a-long type atmosphere. Whether with Hot Water Music or as a solo artist, Chuck Ragan is well respected in the punk rock world.

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