Jasper Coal 1000 Feet Closer to Hell

Jasper Coal is a 6 piece band hailing from Birmingham, Alabama that plays acoustic instruments with hard energy and edge. Listening to Jasper Coal is like having a nice serving of your favorite homemade comfort food. Most of the songs on the album are traditional songs plus one Pogue’s song and one original song. My analogy of comfort food is fitting because the songs are ones that most fans of Celtic traditional music would know and thus comforting especially with the acoustic instruments but the seasonings have been ramped up but not overpowering.

While still honoring the traditions, Jasper Coal adds their own grit and energy to the mix. Continuing with the food analogy, you can’t have a meal with just one dish (usually anyways) and the side dish of Jasper Coal’s original song 1000 Feet Closer to Hell is the prime rib of the dish! From the fast beats from the introduction the tone is set is for a fast paced song, with the instrumentation it is reminiscent of Cutthroat Shamrock but more Irish and less Appalachian. The song has clear influences from folk music with themes of corporate greed at the cost of the workers.

If the song is indicative of original work that Jasper Coal can create, I look forward to more of their work. It is a great piece of original work created with great craft and delivered with speed and energy. Even if you are not one for bands that cover traditional, this album is worth it alone for 1000 Feet Closer to Hell! Hopefully Jasper Coal will start venturing out of Alabama and bringing their great music to the rest of us. Now, if you will excuse me, my food analogies have made me a bit hungry!

Slainte!

Track listing:

1. Paddy on the Railway
2. Donald MacGillavry
3. Twa Corbies
4. Finnegans Wake
5. Raglan Road
6. Rollin’ Down to Old Maui
7. The Merry Plowboy
8. Follow Me Up to Carlow
9. Paddy’s Lamentation
10. O Caide Sin
11. The Moonshiner
12. The Rocky Road to Dublin
13. Boys from the County Hell
14. The Trooper and the Maid
15. 1000 Feet Closer to Hell
16. Fionnghual

Thank you Last.fm

This is my first foray into the blogging and social media space.  For a long time, I did not feel I had anything to share of interest to other people, but this last year I have become addicted to Celtic Rock/Punk and I want to share my enthusiasm for the genre and the great bands that exist – many of which are local and regional.  Without the Internet, I never would have heard of them.

To start, way back when in the 90’s, I had been a big fan of The Pogues and Black 47. If I had only known of the some of the bands at that time!  As with most of us, the real world intrudes in our lives and music took a backseat to other things in my life.  Recently, I have felt something was missing from enjoyment in life, but I could not find any music that revved me up – that is until I started listening to Last.fm at work.

One day I was listening to the Flogging Molly radio, and BAM! What a great day – for the first time I was hearing The Mahones, The Tossers, Flatfoot 56 and many others.  As I would hear a band that caught my attention, I would switch to their radio and found even more!  The Killigans and Killmaine Saints, American Wake, Bollox, Real McKenzies!  A fire was lit that day!  I found what I was missing!  Music that combined the power and frustration of Punk with the melodies, themes and anger of the great Irish songs!  The combination of rock with the soulful rebellion songs, the hard emotion of punk mixed with the songs of exile and anger.  My playlists kept growing and still grow daily.

It drove me to find more and wonderful blogs like Paddyrock, Shite n Onions and Celtic Folk Punk helped me found more.  On my last birthday, my wife got us tickets to go see Dropkick Murphys and what a blast! I had forgotten how much fun live music is.  That drove me to find bands to listen to live.  So many of the bands I have really enjoyed are regional and don’t make it St Louis.  But I was encouraged – St Louis has a large population of Irish ancestry, so surely there had to be something here.  If Lincoln, NE could have the wonderful band The Killigans or Rockport, IL with their powerful Screw City Saints, why not St. Louis?

After much searching the internet, I found a band called Rusty Nail.  That got me thinking that I want to help people find a band in a genre that is so much more than Flogging Molly, DKM or The Pogues.  After much deliberation and soul-searching for a name for the blog, here it is Rocking the Craic (pronounced as crack.)  Craic is an Irish term for fun, entertainment and enjoyable conversation.  Very appropriate, I think!

I doubt I will ever be able to even be a tenth of what Paddyrock, Shite n Onions and Celtic Folk Punk are, and I am not trying to be them.  This blog is about my journeys and explorations of a much overlooked genre of music and if I can help a few people find a band or two near them, then I have succeeded in what I want to do.  Slainte!