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The most excellent thing about the internet is that every lead guitar player can write a review of his own album and people can actually be duped into reading it. Here is my song-by-song, narcissistic, self-absorbed stab at reviewing Most Messed Up, complete with a guitar and amp played.

Most Messed Up Commentary pt 1

– Ken Bethea, Stage Right

 

Longer Than You’ve Been Alive

The thesis statement of our album, this is simply my favorite song Rhett has written in years. I’m not going to spend that much time on it as I may write a whole blog just on this one song at some point. I will say this:

“And I might butt heads with the guys in my band
But I never once went to work for the man”

Makes me snicker every time.

Gretsch Tennessee Rose > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

Give It Time

My goal with this song was to get a buzz-saw guitar sound. So I played my guitar part more or less exactly the same with different amps and guitars. I went into this album with the goal of doing that a bit more than I have on the other Salim-era albums, but wound up only doing it here.

Guitar 1 – Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

Guitar 2 – Tobacco Telecaster > Fender Princeton

Let’s Get Drunk and Get It On

When we were first working on this song in May, we were playing fairly straight shuffle-country. Salim suggested we switch it up a bit like something off of London Calling. I was channeling Jimmy Jazz and the song really began to gel.

On the verse after the first chorus, Rhett sings about a cheap motel on the interstate. I step on a pedal on that verse called The Wiggler which makes my guitar sound like a Baldwin Fun Machine Keyboard. I love the idea of the couple in the song drinking at the bar and listening to lounge music.
The opening lyric “Your eyes are the color of the Earth as seen from outer space” was a possible album title. A little unwieldy and pretentious, but still a great way to start a song.

Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

This Is The Ballad

“This is the ballad of try’n to grow flowers
so life will seem like it has meaning and stuff.
Finding out all of those beautiful flowers
will never be anywhere close to enough.”

For you songwriters sitting at home, that’s how it’s done in the big leagues. 22 syllables followed by 22 syllables. Done in 6/8, “duple” time. And sad without sounding sad. Well played, Miller.

This was the last song to be included from the pre-production sessions, but from the moment the band played it, it was a no-brainer. Love it.

Guitar 1 – Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp
Guitar 2 – Tobacco Telecaster > Fender Princeton

Wheels Off

In the 80’s, students could get an emergency loan at the University of Texas for $100. You had 1 month to pay them back $101. In the Spring of 1985 I spent $75 of my loan money on a 1960’s Harmony Rocket at a Pawn Shop on Guadalupe. For years it was my only guitar, but by the time the 97’s started, its wiring was messed up and it found its way to my attic. A year ago I got the wiring fixed and for the first time every, the old Harmony gets a starring role in one of our songs 🙂

Hook ’em.

Harmony Rocket > Not sure on the amp. Probably my Matchless.

Nashville

We were in Nashville a couple of years ago and Rhett disappeared for the day to write this song with some old man. I really don’t know anything else about it, but in a way, that old guy became Rhett’s muse for the album. He came back laughing and swearing and sang this song over and over in the van. It was obviously going to be a wicked, Pogues-ey, barn burner for the band.

There’s a big solo, which I pretty much spend the last 5 or 6 seconds of it just trying to get out of it without getting bucked off. Fun.

Black Telecaster > Matchless Chieftain blended with a 50’s era Gibson Les Paul amp

I’ll do the second half the album next week. See you then……………