It's time to add another album to your summertime repertoire. If you are like me, you think in soundtracks and create a themed playlist. Cub Country's Stay Poor, Stay Happy has not left my CD player since I first received it and, I may even venture to say, is one of my favorites of 2004 thus far. It has become one of the many soundtracks of summer.
Jets to Brazil fans may know that Cub Country is the moniker used by bassist Jeremy Chatelain. Here's the deal: this is NOTHING like Jets to Brazil, so get that right out of your head. Cub Country formed in 1999 as a vehicle to feature songs of Mr. Chatelain that would otherwise have no outlet. What you get here is a beautiful album of Americana, similar to Wilco's "Summerteeth," and Ian Moore's latest, "Luminara." I'm a big fan of Maker's Mark and this album makes me feel like I'm sipping Maker's on a porch watching the sun set on a warm summer evening in the desert. I seriously could not help making this cheesy analogy. Listen to the album, you will be forced to do the same.
Featuring an eclectic group of revolving members including folks from Rival Schools, Euphone, Lunachicks and Helmet, Stay Poor, Stay Happy feels as if all of the aforementioned folks wanted to get away from their realities and join a country, folk, bluesy summer camp. The result is absolutely gorgeous, especially "If We Should Fall" and "Leaving the Bar." Chatelain's simple, acoustic little gems remind me of Grant Lee Phillips, yet still remain true to their own unique view of what American music sounds like. Cub Country is a collage of artists, creating rock music that actually doesn't necessarily rock. Listen to Missed the Train and 59 Grand to better understand rock without rocking.
The album was mixed by Brian Paulson (of prior Wilco & Superchunk projects, to name just two). According to Jeremy, the title Stay Poor, Stay Happy comes from graffiti he encountered in a bathroom in New York City. Explaining his choice, he says, "It's pretty much the reality that I face in my life at the moment. And, I thought it sounded like a great title when I said it back to myself." Great title, even better album. Look for it's release in late September, but in the meantime check out Cub Country's other releases, High Uinta High especially.