elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth.
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16 Horsepower is the group I recommend to those who say that they despise country music. They were one of the greatest groups to emerge from the alternative country, also commonly referred to as alt-country, scene during the '90s. This isn't your stereotypical radio-friendly country music, and for those of you who avoid the genre like the plague, you might very well find yourself saying "I despise most country music" once you've had the opportunity to hear 16 Horsepower and their counterparts. There isn't much information to be found on the internet for the download provided below, although if anyone has info regarding this recording please share it in the comments section. I downloaded this album, along with a few other 16 Horsepower bootlegs, from an individual on Soulseek years ago. I properly tagged all of the tracks, and created the album cover you see above. What I can tell you about this is that it is a bootleg recording of a live performance by 16 Horsepower in front of a small crowd in Berlin Germany on September 3rd, 2006. The group performed a number of songs from both their self-titled EP, as well as their first full-length album, Sack Cloth 'n Ashes, which was released in February earlier that year. While this is no soundboard recording, it is perfectly listenable for a bootleg recording, and captures 16 Horsepower during a time when they were at their creative peak.
16 Horsepower's unique musical style was the result of a fusion of heavy rock with more traditional genres that originated from the South, such as folk, country and bluegrass. They seemlessly wove all of these these influences together with a dark, modern twist, creating a sound that was remarkably unique and refreshing. The group utilized a wide variety of musical instruments, regularly making use of acoustic, electric and steel guitars, upright and flat top bass, accordians, banjos, fiddles, cellos, violins, pianos, organs and keyboards.
The group's lyrics and subject matter often complex religious matters, particularly conflict and redemption. This can be attributed to Edwards' upbringing as the grandson of a traveling Nazarene preacher, which would later influence the creation of his brand of fire and brimstone rock. Despite the group's country and folk roots, they considered themselves to be a rock band first and Among others, they regularly cited Joy Division, The Gun Club, Nick Cave and The Birthday Party as their primary influences. They would eventually cover The Gun Club's "Fire Spirit" on their 1998 EP, The Partisan, and tour with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in 2004.
In 2005 the group split apart due to personal differences, with some of the members moving on to focus full-time on the side-projects that they had formed prior to the group's split. Lead singer David Eugene Edwards would turn his attention to Wovenhand, a group he formed along with bassist Pascal Humbert while 16 Horsepower was taking a temporary hiatus in 2001. While Humbert would continue to play for Woven Hand after 16 Horsepower disbanded, he primarily focused on his own band, Lilium.
Year of Release: 1996 Label: N/A (Bootleg Release) Recording Date: September 3rd, 1996 Genres: Alternative Country, Folk, Bluegrass Bitrate: 192kbps
Track List: 01. Low Estate 02. American Wheeze 03. Shametown 04. Black Soul Choir 05. Horse Head 06. South Pennsylvania Waltz 07. Phyllis Ruth 08. Ruthie Lingle 09. Harm's Way 10. Pure Clob Road 11. Black Bush 12. I Seen What I Saw 13. Heel On The Shovel 14. Haw 15. Coal Black Horses 16. Prison Shoe Romp 17. Neck On The New Blade 18. Dead Run 19. Strong Man