Fresh Blood / Old Skin

The Border Band

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Fresh Blood / Old Skin

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Up from the roots into the wind, our music spans the borders of theme, time, and place to rock-on through rage and ruin.

Fresh Blood/Old Skin was greatly inspired by our bass player, Hugh Campbell, a young man of proud Navajo heritage and stout Scottish name. No stranger to borders, child of the desert Southwest come to age in River City, Kansas, he moves like a Skin-Walker between cultures, time, and place to bring an intriguing mix of power, passion, and tender yearning in his songs. He’s been with us nearly three years – give him a listen and I think you’ll see why we were pleased to add his fresh blood to our old skin... (Disc 1, Fresh Blood, all songs by Hugh Campbell -- Disc 2, Old Skin, all songs by M. Litton)

The Border Band is a four-piece group with M. Litton on vocals and rhythm guitar; Hugh Campbell on vocals, bass, and guitar; Dave Melody on drums; and Roger Holden on lead guitar. We play a raw mix of rock, folk, country, and blues, which we call “Rawhide Rock” because it’s fresh-skinned, still dripping blood, hasn’t been processed to fit any certain form. We’ve got songs high-peaked and treacherous as the Rockies, lonely and hunted as the Badlands, and gentle rolling as a spring pasture in first bloom. A varied terrain, no doubt, but sure and certain as the dust, rocks, and wind of which they’re formed.

“ The album “Fresh Blood / Old Skin” confirms the exceptional class of Melvin Litton & The Border Band. Again, it is incontestable a roots rock / alt-country / Americana album and undoubtedly, an unique gem...” -- Eric Schuurmans www.rootstime.be

The new double album (the fifth of The Border Band) “Fresh Blood / Old Skin” is strongly inspired by newcomer Hugh Campbell. Campbell wrote all of the songs and does the vocals on Disc 1 “Fresh Blood” (thirteen tracks); while Melvin Litton wrote the songs from Disc 2 “Old Skin” (fourteen tracks). Litton & Dave Melody (on two songs) do the vocals on “Old Skin”. Besides the foursome, Jeff Jackson (pedal steel guitar) was also in the studio for one track (“Louisiana Nights”). With a few beats by Dave Melody, “Fresh Blood” opens the first album of this double CD with “You’ n I”. Newcomer Hugh Campbell immediately shows here (and in "Better Hurry", which follows) that he is an excellent singer, while Roger Holden accompanies him unobtrusively in the background and stands out with a few solos. For the song “Desperado Hair”, which starts very quietly, Campbell collaborated with Melvin Litton for songwriting. The changes in tempo make this song a very interesting song. “Old Dead Tree” is a quiet atmospheric ballad, which at times, deeply overwhelms you, while “Torn Away” is raw, cuts and continues to reverberate through the effects until the last chords. One of the most striking songs on the album is “Welcome To My Cage”. The way Campbell sings here and Holden rounds off in solo is to say the least fascinating, but also scary. In the song "Close To My Heart" Campbell took everything to himself. Call it his personal moment, his reflections. We then get a totally different Campbell in "Goodbye My Friend", which sounds very poppy and in the drawn-out, with tempo acceleration spiced "Goin 'Downtown" (which is the longest track with more than seven minutes). The album closes with two Americana's: the quiet "When I Wake Up", and the rocking, somewhat bluesy, "Wanderin “. "Old Skin" is a singer-songwriter Melvin-Litton album. Note that Litton is not only a songwriter, but also writes novels. Released in 2014, “I Joaquin” is based on the life of prospector Joaquin Murrieta and “Geminga”, which he is currently working on, will be the story of a talking raven and a living snake. Fourteen tracks are on “Old Skin”, the second album of this double CD. The album opens with lots of bluesy slides and with an ode "Victrola Blues", followed by "Nothin 'Ain't Tryin'", which you could hear on the street in New Orleans. The ode, which Litton opens with, is to "The Victor Talking Machine Company," the flagship Victrola wind-up phonograph, founded in Camden, NJ, by Eldridge R. Johnson. That drummer Dave Melody can also sing well, he shows in the ballad "Louisiana Nights" and in the country rocker "Redheaded Woman # 2". On the first track he gets the help of pedal steel guitarist Jeff Jackson and for the lady with the red hair, he beats around wildly. For "James Street Bridge" and "Talkin 'Old Times" the tempo goes up and Roger Holden uses his wah-wah guitar pedal eagerly. That there is also rocking in prison, we hear in "Jewell Country Jail", after which peace returns with "Dream Drifters". Again there is an extra-long track. On this album this is the bluesy, slow ”Night Gives To Day”. "Farmin 'Blues" is the extra portion of blues we get before rocking to the end with "Ashes ‘n Dust" and the raw blues song "Solomon Smoke". In 2005, in the review of “Hard West” we already wrote it on this site: “Where does this fantastic music come from? Who are the musicians of this great band? ... ”Melvin Litton and his band are more than simply an Americana / Roots band. They are the essential musical added value of their music. That, which many other bands are often looking for! – Eric Schuurmans

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