Hot Water Music

Hot Water Music

Light It Up

Rise Records

Rating: 4/5




Gainesville gravel punk greats Hot Water Music exist in the same world as bands like The Lawrence Arms and Alkaline Trio.  While miles apart in style, they’ve been the bedrock of the punk scene for going on decades, and their members have grown beyond their core band.  The Lawrence Arms coexists with Sundowner and The Falcon/Brendan Kelly & The Wandering Birds, Alkaline Trio is complemented by Dan Andriano In the Emergency Room and Matt Skiba & The Sekrets, and Hot Water Music remains the glue connecting Chuck Ragan’s solo folk work with Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves.  Through these side projects, each of these artists have been able to flourish and expand without compromising what originally put them on the map.

Hot Water Music’s first album in five years, Light It Up, serves as a solid reminder as to the band’s time tested continuity, while presenting its own distinct markers amongst their body of work.  Opener “Complicated” is quintessential contemporary Hot Water Music.  A solid mid-tempo rocker fuelled by Ragan’s dominant vocal presence, steady riffs rumble as the mid-song chorus swells in anticipation of the apex of the final bridge.  It’s predictable by Hot Water Music standards, but a welcome mission statement at the get go.  “Light It Up” follows quickly with Chris Wollard assuming vocal duties in a surprising ode to the band’s early years.  The tempo is feverish and the angry and angular chords roar with similarities to mid-90’s Bad Religion.  Plenty of backing “woah-oah” vocals serve to tie the song to the album’s dominant sound without veering off track.  “Show Your Face” carries on the sweeping bellows with at least a hint of Ragan’s solo personae shining through in his persevering lyrical cries.

Furthermore, Light It Up skillfully balances various shifts in size and scale.  From the far flung anthems of “Burry Your Idols” and “Take You Away” to the to slow landing drum beat and gunge guided guitar crunch of “Sympathizer,” Hot Water Music continues to distance themselves from each member’s distinct side project.  “Vultures” in particular highlights the possibilities inherent in the Ragan-Wollard vocal partnership.  Wollard’s raspy vocal strain fades from the role of domineering frontman to supporting role in a skillful vocal swap with Ragan that further strengthens the song’s progression and emotional reflection.  Only a minor few like “High Class Catastrophe” ever tend to blend in with their neighbours in a more generic sense.

Light It Up isn’t necessarily a defining album, but is defined by a career worth of care and musical stewardship.  Hot Water Music’s distinct blend of melodic gravelcore and hard-raised anthems remain a high benchmark in the genre, and Light It Up makes good on that reputation.

Chris Wollard Taking A Break From Hot Water Music

Hot Water MusicHot Water Music co-vocalist Chris Wollard has announced that he will be taking a break from the band to focus on his health.  Wollard’s full statement can be read below.

The band recently released the album, Light It Up, back in September on Rise Records.

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Hot Water Music Stream Full FEST 16 Set

Hot Water MusicLong running punk act Hot Water Music is sharing their set from The FEST 16 with fans in full.  The band recently released Light It Up on September 15, 2017 via Rise Records.  The album follows 2012’s Exister.

Stream the full set below.

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Hot Water Music – Complicated

Hot Water MusicLong running punk act Hot Water Music has premiered a new songfrom their next full length.  The disc is titled Light It Up, and is due to be released on September 15, 2017 via Rise Records.  The album follows 2012’s Exister.

Listen to the song “Complicated” below.

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Video: Hot Water Music – Vultures

Hot Water MusicLong running punk act Hot Water Music has premiered a new music video from their next full length.  The disc is titled Light It Up, and is due to be released on September 15, 2017 via Rise Records.  The album follows 2012’s Exister.

Watch the video for “Vultures” below.

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Hot Water Music Announce New LP; Stream First Track

Hot Water MusicLong running punk act Hot Water Music has announced plans for their next full length.  The disc is titled Light It Up, and is due to be released on September 15, 2017 via Rise Records.  The album follows 2012’s Exister.

Coinciding with the announcement, the band has premiered the song “Never Going Back,” which can be heard below.

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Hot Water Music Recording Next Album

Hot Water MusicChuck Ragan of Hot Water Music has made it known that they are officially in the studio recording their next album.  Ragan comments on the process so far:

“Energy is high, vibes are good so to say the least, we’re stoked to have this new record underway. We owe everything to our loved ones for standing by us all these years of us continuing this path. Without their support, we would’ve run out of fuel quite some time ago. Our fans have been a constant inspiration as well. A beautiful community of music lovers that share the same vision and ethics that this band was born into and continues to share through songs. Thank you for all the years of support and always going above and beyond the call whenever it came to making it to our shows to sing your hearts out. Our gratitude is much more than what I could ever put into words. We’ll be trucking along in the studio and looking forward to getting everyone some new music soon.”

The band last released Exister on Rise Records back in 2012, and Ragan and bandmate Chris Wollard artists have since released a number of solo and side project works.

Hot Water Music Writing Music

Hot Water MusicChuck Ragan of Hot Water Music recently posted a picture to Instagram with the caption that he and bandmate Chris Wollard are currently writing music together.  Little else is known at this time.

The band last released Exister on Rise Records back in 2012, and both artists have since released a number of solo and side project work.

ship thieves NA

Ship Thieves

No Anchor

No Idea Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Ship Thieves are a band formed by Chris Wollard of Hot Water Music, formerly known as Chris Wollard And The Ship Thieves, the fact that his name no longer appears in the group’s moniker indicates that this outfit has moved beyond being a side project, and for me this release indicates they deserve recognition in their own right. Having said that it’s almost impossible to look objectively at the works of someone from a popular band without a degree of comparison, so apologies for that to Mr. Wollard as it’s an inevitability that it’s going to happen. I am however going to try and avoid pirate or naval references in this review, as tempting as they may be.

As with many acts that start out as the side projects of an established band, they initially act as a depository for ideas and songs that don’t suit their better known act. Whilst that may have applied to Ship Thieves earlier releases I’m not sure it applies to this album, this is a strong no frills punk rock release in it’s own right. The tempo rarely lets up, the songwriting is top notch and this album features some of Chris Wollard‘s fine trademark guitar riffs. Whilst the vocals are perfectly fine they lack the bite of his other act and indicate why Chuck Ragan is the lead vocalist for Hot Water Music

This is a fine album for those who like their punk rock in it’s raw state. There isn’t a bad track on this release and it suggests that Chris Wollard has a bright future, whether that’s with Ship Thieves or Hot Water Music. However, what does let the album down is the slightly muddy production which doesn’t let the obvious energy and commitment in this album shine through. This is a damn shame as I can hear the album this could have been.

I sincerely hope that Ship Thieves go on to greater things as the potential they possess is immense, so whilst this isn’t a direct hit it’s a good broadside… dammit I almost made it.


Chuck Ragan  interview

Chuck Ragan

Chuck Ragan

SideOneDummy Records
By on Dec 10th, 2014 at Phone



Ahead of his pre-Christmas shows in Canada, Chuck Ragan took time out to speak to us about being back in Canada, his latest album, Till Midnight and the future of the Revival Tour.

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Tours: Hot Water Music / Dave Hause / The Flatliners

Hot Water MusicHot Water Music has announced that they will be touring with Dave Hause and The Flatliners in November.  Hot Water Music last released Exister in 2012, while both The Flatliners released Dead Language and Dave Hause released Devouter in 2013.

Full tour dates can be found below.

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The Fest 13 Adds Hot Water Music & More To Lineup

Fest13The organizers of The Fest 13 have confirmed the next batch of bands for the annual music festival.  Hot Water Music leads the new additions along with Touche Amore, Restorations, Masked Intruder, Screaming Females, Modern Baseball, Spraynard, Pianos Become the Teeth, The Sidekicks, Everyone Everywhere and Tiltwheel.

Ticket sales are expected to go live on The Fest 13 website on April 20, 2014.

Tours: Hot Water Music / O’Brother / Torche

Hot Water MusicHot Water Music has announced the Nor’Easter for the Holidays tour.  Hot Water Music will be playing 5 shows with Torche and O’Brother.

Tour dates are below.

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Bouncing Souls Announce New Drummer

Bouncing SoulsNew Jersey punks Bouncing Souls have announced that George Rebelo (Hot Water Music) is their new drummer after Michael McDermott left the band after 13 years.

He is already playing live shows and his first appearance on record will be a split release with The Menzingers due for release in November.

Tour: The Draft / Cheap Girls / Luther

The Draft, three-founds of post-punk legends Hot Water Music, have announced Cheap Girls and Luther as support for most of their upcoming Eastern US tour dates. The upcoming two week run of shows will be the first shows that The Draft have played in almost 5 years. The tour will kick off in Washington D.C. on July 17th and end on July 28th in St. Louis, MO.

Tour dates are posted below. Read More…

New Photos: Lucero, Make Do And Mend, Anberlin, Knucklhead and Riot Fest Toronto


After fixing a little bug in our media gallery, we’re back with a vengeance and have posted a ton of new photos for you to devour.

We’ll start out West in Denver, Colorado as Mike Fajardo captured an intimate Lucero acoustic show at Illegal Pete’s in April. You can check out those pictures here.

Heading up North, Chris Wedman has been busy up in Calgary, Alberta and recently snapped some photos of Anberlin, Make Do and Mend and Knucklehead with The Hockey Fight.

And finally we hit up the East Coast as our resident Toronto photographer got some images of Riot Fest Toronto last year featuring the likes of NOFX, Descendents, Andrew WK, Lawrence Arms, Hot Water Music and Less Than Jake here.

Tour: The Draft

The Draft, the band featuring three-quarters of legendary punk band Hot Water Music, have announced a short two-week tour across the Eastern US this July. This will be the band’s first live shows in five years, with bassist Jason Black saying “We just decided, ‘why not?’ It’s a short, fun run and we like playing music together.” There is no further news as to whether this signals a forthcoming The Draft record at this time.

The dates are below.

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Hot Water Music - Fire Steal Tread

Hot Water Music

The Fire, The Steel, The Tread / Adds Up To Nothing EP

No Idea Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Hot Water Music fans have been impatiently waiting for a new full length since 2004. In the meantime, the band have made occasional live appearances and released a variety of EPs and splits to keep listeners’ interest from waning. The extended absence of the band doesn’t signal laziness on their part. Chuck Ragan has become a solo artist whose folk songs have arguably found a larger audience than his full time band, while the other members have pursued classic punk rock sounds as The Draft. The success of both of these side projects begs the question of what the band’s future full length will sound.

If this EP is an accurate representation of what a new Hot Water Music album will sound like, then it will sound like… Chuck Ragan and The Draft. The A Side of the 7” is called The Fire, The Steel, The Tread. This song features Ragan on vocals, with sparse electric guitar accompaniment. It is slightly fuller sounding than his acoustic folk solo songs, but it is more like that than previous Hot Water Musicreleases. Think of it as a blend of Justin Sane’s solo songs, classic Bruce Springsteen structure with Ragan’s easily identifiable voice taking the lead. This is a catchy tune that will appeal to fans of his solo work. On the flip side, Up To Nothing sounds more like an unreleased song from The Draft. This time Chris Wollard takes vocal duties on a faster tempo punk rock song. While once again veering away from expectations, this song also works well.

These two songs will definitely polarize listeners. Those who are holding out for a triumphant return to the post hardcore sound of their early days will be sorely disappointed, especially if these songs are an accurate preview of sounds to come. But those who approach them with an open mind will find two strong rock songs with gravel throated vocals made for campfire sing-along’s.

Hot Water Music - Exister

Hot Water Music


Rise Records

Rating: 3/5




Punk rock has been fortunate for the tumultuous careers that collectively comprise Hot Water Music. Part of the late-90s class that made Gainesville, Florida the capital of gritty folk punk, HWM’s influence is matched only by its ethereal quality: It disappears, sliding over and under the current, reappearing in new and fleeting forms, a breeze ruffling the plicate face of punk. Its first full release in four years is an act of reformation, a return to its most recognizable form that puts the band back where it once was, gaining no new ground, but making up for a lot of lost time.

Indeed, much of the album’s imagery is concerned with redemption and salvation, with tracks like “Pledge Wore Thin” and “Boy, You’re Gonna Hurt Someone” hymns to the band’s relentless perspicacity which, while only occasional manifesting as HWM, has spawned enough side movements to make one wonder how this album could lack the visions of its individual members.  Chuck Ragan is indisputably more talented than this album leads one to believe. Chris Wollard’s (who has worked with Bad Religion, The Gaslight Anthem, and with part of the lesser-known hardcore act Gunmoll) powerfully catchy chords never quite come into their own, and George Rebelo (a sometime member of Against Me! among others) merely blends amicably with the album’s semi-funk, semi-pop feel.

Other works between this album, the 2008 Till the Wheels Fall Off b-sides and The New What Next show a more ambitious band, one that has spread its roots across the genre. The swift rise and disappearance of California Burritos was a The ‘Tone-sized tragedy of short-lived punk groups, and the energy captured in that little moment is here lacking.

The album’s eponymous “Exister” is one of its strongest, Ragan roaring about the common threads that unite the stories of “another time, another place” that fill the album. Though it has the quiet, understated desperation as good as any Gaslight Anthem piece, Hot Water Music’s legendary lead singer presents unfulfilling poetry unmatched with vocal verve sufficient to carry its tunes.

The band’s sound is rendered with richness and depth by Rise Records, and the upcoming release of a live album on No Idea may signify a permanent change to that label. Live albums are useful as technical outs on recording contracts, and while No Idea has done them good (and will, doubtless, continue to support their side projects) a new set of producers may give HWM space to spread out its repertoire. Given this album’s similarities to its previous work – there are few higher compliments for a folk punk album than “kind of like old Hot Water Music” – such a change may be a blessing to the band.

With an announced live album Hot Water Music may finally be signaling intent to stay in one place for awhile. It can no longer be the place it has held until now, but if Ragan can carve out a more ambitious work with Rise, a group this strong and dynamic cannot fail.

Hot Water Music - The New What Next

Hot Water Music

The New What Next

Epitaph Records

Rating: 3.5/5




I like Hot Water Music, but I haven’t been a fan for a long time. I first came to really know them when they released their second Epitaph album, Caution; which I really liked. They wowed me even more when they came here with The Bouncing Souls a couple months later, so when I heard that they were releasing a new CD, The New What Next, I was excited. And after listening to the CD more times then I can count, I can happily say that this does not disappoint.

The album features twelve solid tracks of classic Hot Water Music songs. By now, most people know what to expect from this Gainesville quartet after the 130 or so songs they’ve released. Gruff, strong vocals by Chuck Ragan and Chris Wollard come floating through your speakers in a constant melodic manner, leveled just enough to slightly top the instrumentals. The one big change in the vocals from Cautionto The New What Next is that you can actually understand most of them all the time, you aren’t always reaching for the lyric booklet; which gets you singing along more often.

Strategically placed, the two most powerful songs are found at the beginning and the end of the album, Poison and Giver; which makes the album kick off and end with a bang. But not to worry, the middle tracks aren’t just filler, they too are strong tracks. Songs like The End Of The Line, My Little Monkey Wrench, Keep It Together, and Ink And Lead are sure to grab your attention and have you pressing repeat in no time.

Hot Water Music have created another solid album to add to their discography. It won’t disappoint any fans, and will probably help bring in some more. There are a few moments in the album where you feel that it could use a little extra kick to get it really going, but those moments are few and far between. I have listened to this album countless times since I got it, and have yet to get even remotely bored with it; and I’m sure I’ll be able to pull it out of it’s case anytime in the future and enjoy it again too.


Hot Water Music - Caution

Hot Water Music


Epitaph Records

Rating: 3.5/5




First off, I’d liked to mention that “Caution” has some of the best artwork I have seen on a CD in a such a long time. It is just plain amazing abstract art. The cover has a slight sad feeling to it, using all dark colors, except for the bright red bird near the bottom. The inside has a small square on each page telling a story of a bird, flying around, then being caught, burned then reborn with music. The artwork is just fascination and I love it. The CD itself is simple but effective, and then the “DJ” in the back of the album is amazing,  soon I will be scanning it to make a wallpaper of it for myself. The artwork is amazing, just making you want to open the album, and play it right away.

So that’s what I did and I was not disappointed. “We spent a lot of time writing these songs, really killing ourselves on them.” said Jason Black (bass), and their time was not wasted! Straight from the opener (Remedy),  all the way to the final song (The End), there is rarely a dull moment.  As I mentioned before, Remedy is the opener, and their first single of the album. Right away getting into the vocals, this is one of my favorite on the album, and a great choice for the single. It is a hard pop-punk, fast paced song just like the rest of the album. It has catchy vocals with an incredible beat. After we head into Trusty Chords, this is another one of my favorites on the album. It is a slightly poppier song. The song has a jumpy beat that gets you jumping with it. It is just done exceptionally well, with great vocals and a even better tune. I Was On A Mountain comes third in this onslaught of amazing songs. Its about standing on a mountain, and falling off. I really enjoy this song and it was done effectively.

Now skipping a couple songs and going to song 6, The Sense, this is a fast paced song with hard vocals once again. A little bit before 2 minutes, both vocalists start singing, making an amazing contrast, and I just love how it is done. Not For Anyone is a great song, catchy tune and vocals, and an amazing chorus. Sweet Disasters comes next (song 8) is another one of my favorites. It has hard vocals, and a great tune. It is also a rare song, because it doesn’t really have a chorus! Near the end they slow down a bit, and end the song in a superb way.

Now skipping right onto the end, with the song The End. This is another hard pop-punk song, but a little slower then the rest of the album. It has a steady drum beat throughout the entire song, and is a good song to end on, but I believe that they could have done better.

HWM have made a CD here that will keep me occupied for a while, but it is not one I will be able to come back to in a year from now and still love it. The only downside to the album is that some of the songs sound slightly similar.

Video: Hot Water Music – Trusty Chords/Paper Thin (Live in Chicago)

Hot Water MusicHot Water Music have posted two live clips from their recently released live CD/DVD, Live In Chicago.

The videos are for the songs Trusty Chords and Paper Thin, originally from 2003’s Caution and 2001’s A Flight and a Crash respectively. 

Live In Chicago was released on January 15th through No Idea Records and features a 30 song audio portion and an 80-minute, 24-song live DVD of night two at the Metro in Chicago.

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The Draft - In A Million Pieces

The Draft

In A Million Pieces

Epitaph Records

Rating: 3/5




The opening song on this album basically describes the entire album perfectly with two quotes. The first quote from New Eyes Open is “We have been left for dead/in our own fucking beds/ forced to start again/ with new eyes open/ the end’s where it begins;” which is basically a metaphor for the creation of the band in question. Formed from the ashes of the now defunct, but forever popular, Hot Water MusicThe Draft‘s humble beginnings start at an ending. When Chuck Ragan decided to focus more on his family and a small acoustic project, Jason Black (bassist), Chris Wollard (vocalist/guitarist), and George Rebelo (drummer) weren’t ready to lay down with their eyes closed in their own beds. Instead, they went out, found Todd Rockhill, and started writing a new album under a new moniker which, in turns brings us to the second quote of the song. A quote that describes the album beautifully: “That’s what I like about it, it’s not so complicated.” Whether they were talking about the music or not, you can’t help but see the connection between the line and the album.

While it is true that it’s not an incredibly complicated album, the album is also far from simplistic. Gone are the dueling, back and forth vocals that were constantly present in Hot Water Music. Gone are the insane, interlocking guitar riffs that melt your mind. Gone is Chuck Ragan’s signature vocal style; but while there are the few things gone, there are still many new things popping up. Wollard takes up the vocal duties for himself, only getting back-up vocals on a select few sections (All We Can Count On for example). Black and Rebelo keep the rhythm section moving in the same speed and tone of their former effort. And you still get the crusty, punk rock sound that Hot Water Music fans had come to love.

Even though there are definitely similarities between the two bands, and songs like Lo Zee Rose and Impossible could easily fit into its predecessor’s back catalogue, The Draft have still managed to create their own identity. An identity that sees them stepping out from their former shadow to create their own on the punk rock scene. The music is still rough and slightly distorted, but it features a lot more melody compared to some of the band’s earlier work, so much in fact that at times you wouldn’t even be able to compare to the two.

The trio of musicians may have been left for dead, but any fear that you wouldn’t see them again can not be put to rest as they’ve crawled out from their beds and started anew; and Hot Water Music fans should rejoice at the fact. It won’t change your life, but it will keep you entertained.

Dates Announced For Revival Tour

Revival TourDates for the sixth annual Revival Tour have been announced and can be seen below.

The 2013 edition of the Revival Tour kicks off in March and features acoustic performances by Dave Hause of The Loved Ones, Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath, LA’s Jenny O., Hot Water Music‘s singer and original tour organizer Chuck Ragan, Seattle-based singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato, NJ-based singer/songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs, with additional artists to be announced.

The tour will last five weeks starting on March 15th.

Read More…

Chuck Ragan - Los Feliz

Chuck Ragan

Los Feliz

SideOneDummy Records

Rating: 3.5/5




I’ve always enjoyed Hot Water Music, and the one time I saw them live back in grade nine they blew me away, but to say they had a major impact to my life like they had for so many others would be a lie. Nevertheless, I was still slightly saddened to see them melt away into the darkness of the night – but I guess all good things must come to an end sometime; luckily, the destruction of something beautiful sometimes makes way for the creation of yet more pieces of art, because not only did we get a new act in The Draft but we still get to hear Chuck Ragan‘s passionate voice in what I’m sure will be a successful solo career. And what better way to kick off his career than with a live record?

Opening up with a warm greeting to and from the crowd, Ragan quickly launches into one of the highlight of the album – Open Up And Wail; a song which instantly sets the tone for the remainder of the record. Strong guitar work, cheers from the crowd and passionate worn out vocals from Ragan lead the song forward and the entire album reads that way as well as you can hear the energy put into the songs and the power and meaning behind it. WIth heartfelt lyrics and blue-collar subject matter, Ragan wears his heart on his sleeve and it comes through that way.

Getting help from friends and neighbors, songs like Valentine are pushed even further with a soothing fiddle playing in the background and the cover of Bukka White‘s Dream Of A Miner’s Child is made that much more realistic with a quick mandolin beat to go along with the bluegrass fiddle. Playing fan favorites like The Boat, Do You Pray (whose lyrics “I wanna dance like nobody’s watching, and sing like nobody cares. / Climb to the top of those mountains we see, to find peace, and die up there” sends shivers down my spine every time), Congratulations Joe and a reworked rendition of Hot Water Music‘s God DecidingRagan is continually greeted with cheers that are clearly audible and add an extra depth of intimacy on the album. He closes the set with California Burritos which not only has the crowd clapping along but singing the chorus back at him during the final take – and keep in mind, this is the first official release so all those fans had got the bootlegged live audio beforehand.

This is a blue-grass, blue collared, folk record from one of punk’s finest front men. It is honest and sincere, and somehow the fact that the first release from Chuck Ragan is a live album just seems fitting – after all, Hot Water Music were always known for their insanely intense live show and this just shows the other side of Ragan‘s live show persona. If you liked Tim Barry or Greg Graffin‘s solo output, then you’ll also enjoy Los Feliz and will soon be patiently waiting for his first proper release.

Chuck Ragan - Feast or Famine

Chuck Ragan

Feast or Famine

SideOneDummy Records

Rating: 3.5/5




Chuck Ragan forged a name for himself with countless tours and records with his former act, Hot Water Music. When that endeavor was put to rest, Ragan went out on his own to create more folk-oriented, blue grass music which quickly garner energetic buzz through the internet thanks to his passionate live performances scattered across California. The buzz grew so much that SideOneDummy decided the first proper introduction to the now solo performer should be a live record. Thus, Los Feliz was released documenting one of Ragan‘s early performances; that was, of course, quickly followed by this: Feast Or Famine – the first solo studio album from the celebrated musician.

Now, six of these songs were previously released on Los Feliz so those don’t offer much as far as new material goes; however, it is nice to hear the slightly reworked versions. I still think Symmetry is one of the weaker tracks on the album (just like it was on Los Feliz) but Do You Pray soars to new heights with a much more pronounced blue grass feel and the perfectly placed female vocals shadowing Ragan softly in the background during the chorus that add a great layer to an already amazing track. The Boat is still a driving song with a heavier musical backdrop but Ragan‘s beer worn vocals are still the main force leading the song and pulling the listener into the album – just like it was on Los Feliz and I still like For Broken Ears just as much as I did previously.

The six new tracks follow in the same general format that was first introduced by Ragan in his live album as they are folk inspired, blue-collar anthems led mainly by his worn out vocals and acoustic guitar but supported quite solidly by instruments such as the mouth organ, violin and mandolin. Geraldine is a slow moving love song full to the rim of soaring violin melodies and the aforementioned female vocals scattered softly in the background creating a perfect contrast that holds the song together once again. On Hearts of StoneRagan borrows from Greg Graffin and Don’t Cry (easily one of the standouts on the record) is a faster song with a heavier, darker tone to it and a full mass of instruments with two guitars and a mouth organ. The vocals are passionate and pull the listener in and throws the listener into the final half of the record with hopes held high. Feast or Famine ends it all with Do What You Do, a passionate track with a uniquely tuned guitar that somehow summarizes the entire album perfectly.

The record is a very solid release. While not as energetic as Hot Water Music and maybe not as emotional as his live album was, Feast Or Famine is a sincere, honest, folk, blue grass record with Ragan‘s signature vocals and amazing lyrics. If you liked Los FelizTim Barry‘s Rivanna Junction or Greg Graffin‘s Cold As Clay, then this will be right up your alley.

Chuck Ragan - Covering Ground

Chuck Ragan

Covering Ground

SideOneDummy Records

Rating: 4.5/5




By now it is almost expected that every singer in a punk rock band eventually releases a stripped down acoustic solo album. For the most part these are little more than unnecessary acoustic songs that could pass as throwaway B-sides from their full band. There are of course a few notable exceptions, such as Joe Strummer’s Streetcore, which fused punk rock energy, folk storytelling and world soundscapes into a brilliant farewell album. Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan has a lot of years ahead of him before he can stand alongside a legend like Strummer, but over the course of a multitude of 7”s, full lengths and split albums he has proven that his solo work stands strongly on its’ own merit.

This album is his testament to a life on the road, which is confidently backed up by the miles he has clocked as a solo artist, with Hot Water Music and with The Revival Tour. Nothing Left to Prove contrasts a melancholy fiddle arrangement with Ragan’s ragged voice to create a pleasant dissonance. For the most part these are full fledged folk songs, a far cry from the thousands of solo artists out there with an acoustic guitar.  You Get What You Give is reminiscent of Hot Water Music, while Come Around is a respectable country song. While he may have his roots in the Florida punk scene, this album owes more to Tennessee than the Sunshine State. He has transcended the solo artist moniker to become a legitimate folk musician. During the love song Wish on the Moon he samples Elvis Presley. The harmonica that has been loved by everyone from Dylan to Woodie Guthrie shows up on Seems We’re OK. The hidden track at the end of the album is a beautiful quiet ballad, with simple melodies and the cleanest vocals of Ragan’s career.

What helps elevate this album above his previous releases is the musicians that he collaborates with. Frank Turner, Brian Fallon and Audra Mae all make appearances, while the fiddle and stand up bass help to give his songs body. Add to this his heartfelt lyrics and consistently great voice and this becomes a great collection of songs. Not only has he released his best solo album to date, he has released his best piece of music ever. It is by no means perfect (Right As Rain comes across as sludge folk, painfully dragging on and on, while Valentine fails to be memorable after multiple listens), but Covering Ground is a great folk album from a great artist.

Video: Hot Water Music – Drag My Body

Hot Water MusicFlorida’s punk stewarts Hot Water Music have released a brand new music video.  The video features the single “Drag My Body” from their new album, Exister, which was released back in May via Rise Records.

The video can be viewed below.

Don’t forget that the band will be touring North American with The Menzingers and La Dispute starting January 16th.


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Jay Weinberg Leaves Against Me!

Against Me!Against Me!‘s drummer Jay Weinberg announced over Twitter that he will be leaving the band. Weinberg’s message read:

“I want to let you all know that I am leaving Against Me!, and I wish them all the best.”

No comments have been made from any of the other band members. Weinberg is the second Against Me! drummer since long time drummer Warren Oakes left in 2009. Oakes was replaced by Hot Water Music‘s George Rebelo who was in turn replaced by Weinberg when HWM reformed. 

Against Me!‘s upcoming album Transgender Dysphoria Blues does not yet have a scheduled release date.

Tours: Hot Water Music

Hot Water MusicHot Water Music has announced a headlining tour with support from La Dispute and The Menzingers.  The tour marks their first headlining tour in eight years and is set to run January and February of 2013.  The band is currently supporting their new full length, Exister, out now on Rise Records.

Tour date can be found below.

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Chuck Ragan Compiles Tour Stories in ‘The Road Most Traveled’

Chuck RaganHot Water Music‘s Chuck Ragan released a new book titled The Road Most Traveled, which highlights the lives of bands and other traveling music artists who spend many days touring. The book includes compilations of tour stories featuring Flogging Molly, Frank Turner, Social Distortion, Samiam, Gaslight Anthem, and more.

Ragan writes in the book’s foreward:

“I chose the road at an early age. Although I found amazing places, stories, and people, I’ve lost just as many. I’ll say, looking back on the course of it all, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Along with playing punk rock in Hot Water Music, Chuck Ragan also travels with his collaborative folk ensemble The Revival Tour.

The Road Most Traveled is now available in hardcover and eBook.