Saturday, October 07, 2023

Wronger: An Interview with Tommy Stinson & Show # 1008

Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire released their debut album Wronger in June 2023. The album collects a mix of alt-country, rockabilly, folk songs and features musicians Tommy Stinson and Chip Roberts. Stinson and Roberts’ history goes back many years, he even helped co-write a song on Stinson’s Bash & Pop album Anything Could Happen in 2007. But, for those of you who don’t know Tommy got his start playing bass in the Minneapolis band The Replacements, then went on to play in numerous groups such as Perfect, Guns n’ Roses, Soul Asylum, Bash & Pop. Wronger got its start with some sessions recorded in Texas with Christine Smith around 2016/2017 with John Doe on bass, the rest were recorded in Stinson’s New York studio. There are several different musicians on this album that all add to its makeup, but overall it comes off as a stripped down collection of songs that flows together so naturally.

“Here We Go Again” starts off Wronger with ukulele and horns. Lyrically drawing on themes of creativity and everything that comes along with it, “That’s It” is an upbeat and fast paced rockabilly track, while the third track “Mr. Wrong” is a sparse song reflecting a Bakersfield sound with lyrics such as “I see all your troubles playing out in a brand new light,” and “I hope your Mr. Next will be Mr. Right” that sketch out a catchy character study of love gone wrong. “Fall Apart Together” with its Nashville meets Bakersfield sound evokes a sense of giving it another shot, despite the fact that everything is in a destructive decline. “Hey Man” is another track featuring gritty soulful vocals and evocative country styled dynamics as a string section brings forth another element altogether. With lyrics such as “All the bridges that won’t go across the tracks/The grass is greener for the things that lax” and “To lead you onto war,” Stinson touches on several topics that dip into the realm of politics without overstating the message here.

“We Ain’t” begins with bass before a rockabilly guitar line comes in with locomotive-like acoustic guitars as Stinson sings lyrics such as “Waiting at the table/With your cemetery eyes,” and “We made a few mistakes/Make it hard to sleep alone/Except for all the ones/That I’ve learned to face right on” that draw on themes of determination and trials and tribulations that come along with it. This song has drawn comparison to Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison album and it matches the energy found in the songs there. “Souls” arrives with a shuffle as the bass and drums float in the background as acoustic guitar, electric guitar and piano weave in-between pop melodies. “Dream” ends Wronger. One of the strongest songs found in this ten song collection, if features steady drums, pedal steel slides and impassioned vocals, the lyrics “It’s a been a while since you’ve released your spell/I was just a lonely so and so trying to make myself a home/I had a dream, you weren’t in it” bring a certain feeling. It is reflective, realistic, yet profound.

Throughout Wronger, Stinson and Roberts produce songs that incorporate so many different musical elements naturally. There are a lot of experimental aspects found throughout the album and the songs also have a loose and have a spontaneous feel to them. Wronger creates and delivers music on its own terms.

Listen to an interview Revolution Rock did with Tommy Stinson here:
Show 1008 Playlist (Tommy Stinson Interview):

1.  Yo La Tengo - Double Dare 
2.  The Afghan Whigs - Be Sweet 
3.  Uncle Tupelo - The Long Cut 
4.  Tea Leaves - Meet Me at the Mausoleum 
5.  Window Lamp - Laughing at Me(
6.  Jeff Rosenstock - Doubt 
7.  The Rural Alberta Advantage - Bite My Tongue 
8.  Pooched - Bats 
9.  Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire - Fall Apart Together 


10. Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire - That’s It 


11. Tommy Stinson’s Cowboys in the Campfire - Dream 
12. The Replacements - Having Fun 
13. The Replacements - Kiss Me On the Bus (Demo) 
14. Dion Lunadon - Secrets
15. Pierre Omer’s Swing Revue - Tropical Breakdown 
16. Autogramm - WannaBe 
17. Olinda - Reverie 
18. Psychic Void - Cemetery Eyes 
19. McLusky - Unpopular Parts of a Pig 
20. Tunic - Boss (Revised) 
21. Packs - Honey 
22. David Bowie - Dirty Boys 
23. Buzzcocks - Harmony in My Head 
24. Constantines - Lizaveta 

To hear this program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and click the October 7 file to download/stream the episode.