The Coal Men Release Fourth Album Escalator
Presented by Todd Snider’s Aimless Records
August 27, 2013
“I’m wearing out this new Coal Men record. I think it’s masterful start-to-finish. Dave Coleman is one of Americana music’s great songwriters, and I hope this record gets the attention it deserves.” Todd Snider
Dave Coleman and his band, The Coal Men, have released four albums and kept a rigorous touring schedule for more than a decade. Founded in 1999, the well-seasoned outfit is releasing their fourth album Escalator on August 27, 2013 -- with an accompanying tour with Todd Snider in October, as well as a solo tour starting at the end of August.
Escalator, is a fully realized showcase for both Coleman’s creativity in the studio and his mastery as a guitarist (having spent time playing on albums for major label studio albums) - and as a bandleader. Produced with the help of Joe Garcia, Escalator features guest performances by Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris), Jen Gunderman (the Jayhawks), and Audley Freed (The Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow) – but at its core this is a stripped-down rock and roll affair.
The band began honing their sound with a 6-month residency in Nashville, releasing their first EP in 2001. “On Escalator, we wanted to document how our live sound has evolved over the years,” Coleman says. The band played all the basic tracks live in the studio. “We wanted to get aggressive, to play loud and hard and sound like the band we’ve become. The lead track, “Last Goodbye,” is a familiar rocker – but with an inventive guitar hook and upbeat - but with a bitter chorus.
From there, Escalator cuts a swath through Americana-rock territory: blues-infused country to best an outlaw wannabe with “Stuck,” and the rock-folk of “Tennessee.” The Jamestown, TN native sings, “Put my Wings to the wind /Leave the rest to the sky /Keep on painting on my pictures /Until the day I die/ in Tennessee.”
There is also mid-tempo pop on “The Fall,” and thick guitars on “Old Friends” - “One call away, they don’t think /They don’t worry, about a good night sleep /Won’t say a word/ They’re just glad, to get you home.”
Songs on Escalator – most penned by Coleman, but with contributions from drummer Dave Ray, who has been with Coleman from the start – offer glimpses of small-town life, economic struggle, and the complexities of romantic relationships like straight-ahead rockers “Role Model” and “Broken Heartland.”
The Coal Men have earned admirers at home and on the road for years, including a yearly sojourn to Key West six or seven weeks a year. It has become a regular planned destination and vacation for many fans that follow the band.
The band’s latest work is drawing particular praise. One fan is Nashville-based music critic and songwriter Peter Cooper: “The Coal Men were intriguing. Now, they're singular. Their songs are sharp enough to wound, and warm enough to heal. Their songs welcome us to a new and unexpected Nashville.”
While Paul Deakin of the Mavericks says, “Get this record and keep a copy in your car disc changer in case you get a wild hair and drive across the country. It is the perfect soundtrack for an American adventure.”