268 a
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Even to Win is to Fail / EastMont Syrup

Thrill Jockey
Thrill 268 - 2011

This very special double A side LP was made exclusively for Record Store Day 2011 and included a free download coupon and an insert with notes, lyrics, and manifold stew cooking recipes from Charlie Parr.

Glenn Jones, a 30+ year devotee of the so-called “American Primitive” school of acoustic steel string guitarists, has been playing guitar since the age of 14. He formed Boston pysch-rock band, Cul de Sac, in 1989 and led it on its 20 year journey to nowhere, leaving nine albums in its wake, including collaborations with guitarist John Fahey and Can’s Damo Suzuki.

Jones released This Is The Wind That Blows It Out, his first album of acoustic 6- and 12-string guitar instrumentals in 2004, and followed it with Against Which The Sea Continually Beats (2007) and Barbecue Bob In Fishtown (2009). All three albums were released on the Strange Attractors Audio House label.

Jones has written extensively about the leading lights of the American Primitive guitar style, namely John Fahey (with whom he was friends for nearly 25 years), and Robbie Basho (Jones was friends with the guitarist until his untimely death in 1986, and hosted Basho’s final tour of the East Coast). Jones was also close friends with Jack Rose and they toured together in the U.S., Canada, Europe and UK. Jones guests on several of Jack’s albums, including Luck in the Valley. The Things That We Used to Do, a DVD featuring hour-long solo sets from each artist, and a pair of duets, was issued in April 2010 for the Strange Attractors label.

Jones has also performed with Peter Lang, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Cian Nugent, James Blackshaw, Paul Metzger, Peter Walker, Meg Baird, Harris Newman, Sean Smith, MV + EE, Dredd Foole, Tom Carter, and many others.

Jones recorded Even to Win Is to Fail exclusively for this release and will follow it with a full length album on Thrill Jockey later this year.

So a few years ago, Charlie Parr, country bluesman, songwriter and reso guitar and banjo king of the Upper Midwest, and the Black Twig Pickers, scrappy stringband of the Virginia/West Virginia state line, are kicking up a storm at a house party in Blacksburg, Va. It had already been an evening to remember, with three generations of the Thornton family playing a set that included Curtiss, the eldest, singing a hair-raising “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry” and accompanying himself on dobro. But now Parr and the Twigs are throwing down, ripping through fiddle tunes and blues while a houseful of rowdies dances, jumps and shouts. But then the guy that lives downstairs decides he’s had enough. Wearing his pajamas and a leather jacket, he’s standing on the back porch yelling, saying he’s calling the cops unless people quit stomping on his ceiling. The Twigs try a quieter, slower fiddle tune. People shout and stomp and shout some more. It’s time to go. Then Sally steps up and says she and her roommates are moving the party to their house, just a few blocks away. It’s Blacksburg, so nearly everything is just a few blocks away. Soon the ruckus resumes at Sally’s, with music and dancing into the early hours. Fast forward a few years. It turns out that Sally, besides being an excellent dancer, is a great fiddler and knows how to call a square dance too. She starts sitting in with the Twigs at dances. And Parr and the Twigs keep playing together whenever Charlie’s globetrotting tour schedule and the Twigs ‘ rounds of community events line up. Along comes EastMont Syrup: part reunion, part hoot, part lament for times and pals gone by -- and part sampler for what’s to come.



  • 1 Anchor Chain Blues
  • 2 The Great Pacific Northwest
  • 3 On the Massachusetts-Virginia Border
  • 4 Even to Win is to Fail
  • 5 Tinka Marie
  • 6 Forky Deer
  • 7 Warming by the Devil’s Fire
  • 8 Falls of Richmond
  • 9 Horseshoe
  • 10 Barnswallow
  • 11 Wednesday Night Waltz
  • 12 Death of Jerry Damron

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