Review – Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit’s “Old Excuses”

January 19, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  25 Comments

the-good-luck-thrift-store-outfitIt speaks to the glutted nature of today’s music world that I’m only now sitting down to write a review for what I’ve discovered to be one of the best albums to be released in all of 2012 here some 20 days after the end 2012. It also speaks to how hard it is to attain a copy of Old Excuses. No, it’s not available on Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, or Bandcamp. No updates to the band’s ReverbNation or MySpace pages shed any light on where it can be found. And don’t even think about Wal-Mart or Best Buy. You sort of have to be in the know already about the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit to partake in its bounty.

But isn’t that the way it is with all the music worth listening to these days? The artists worth your time are so often aloof when it comes to self-promotion, so the music will never just fall into your lap. You have to work for it. You have to seek it out, or it must seek you out, and in many respects this imparts an even greater value to it than the already elevated value of the music itself compared to the music you encounter inadvertently through most popular media. The “thrift store” analogy is a good one for the Thrift Store’s music because the intrinsic value it has to you personally is so much more then it would have as an everyday item, just like that cool trinket or article of clothing that awakens memory or nostalgia in a way something new and shiny never would.

The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit features a tag-team of two of the best songwriters you will find out there in music right now. And yes, I understand how powerful and presumptuous that last statement was, but I stand behind it 100%, and you will too if you procure yourself a copy of Old Excuses.

Let me put it like this: You could take one of Willy “Tea” Taylor’s songs, just one of them, and it would lay to waste entire discographies from many other artists. Entire label rosters from some of Nashville’s largest imprints become laughable to the power of a single Willy Tea composition. The man is a songwriting virtuoso at the very apex of the discipline. His ability to put words and music to the task of describing life’s most precious moments is unparalleled, and is only rivaled in its touching nature by those precious moments themselves.

the-good-luck-thrift-store-outlet-no-excusesChris Doud’s songwriting gives nothing up to Willy Tea, though his method is more allegorical. Doud is also the one that brings the meat and potatoes to the Thrift Store’s sound. Songs like “The Wolfman” and “Chuck” are studies in how to convey wisdom through music, while “Little Bit O’ Livin’” and “Highway Religion” are just plum fun to listen to. Together, Willy Tea and Chris Doud touch on all of the colors of the songwriting spectrum, and compile a list of songs on Old Excuses that sends you reeling through the wild range of human emotions.

Though Good Luck Thrift Store may start as a songwriting collective, Old Excuses is a fully fleshed out, expansive and exhaustive musical endeavor with a total of 14 players contributing to the project. I’m talking horn sections and piano, pedal and lap steel, banjo, dobro, fiddle, whatever. Whatever a song calls for is found and fitted to the recording. Furthermore the instrumentation and arrangements are tasteful and honorary to the songs they clothe, from Willy Tea’s finger picking, to the blazing, in-your-face guitar solo on “Highway Religion,” to the settled-back, big-eared drum work of Aaron Burtch, there’s little on Old Excuses to second guess.

Many of Willy Tea’s songs on this album sound similar to those now legendary recordings of Paul Simon in his post-Garfunkel days, where the songwriting is superb, and the style is really laid back and smooth. It’s very rhythmic, but with lots of adeptness and technique being showcased in the background. Then Willy pulls out this magical falsetto, like on one of Old Excuses‘ standout’s, “One Yard.”

“The Wolfman” is the album’s most epic track, showcasing a brass section and settling in near 8 minutes. Though I wondered initially if the song would’ve made a better last track than a first one because it may leave you a little leery for what you’re in for, the last track was definitely more fit for Willy Tea’s masterpiece “Everywhere Now.” These two songs are the perfect way to bookend Ole Excuses. And in between, from boot kickers to heartfelt ballads, the Thrift Store runs the gamut of musical textures and interprets them all better than most.

Old Excuses is worth your time, worth the wait, worth the hassle to get, and worth way more than any monetary value you can name from the enrichment it will bestow to your musical life.

Two guns way up!

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Preview & Purchase Tracks from Amazon

25 Comments to “Review – Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit’s “Old Excuses””

  • GLTSO is also a killer live band, but seemingly impossible to see unless you’re in Northern CA.

  • wow awesome stuff, i need to get my hands on a copy of this cd

  • And some people still wonder why I ran away from the farm in Eastern Iowa to live in the mountains of Northern California.

    • You live in Northern California? I suppose we live pretty close to each other then!

  • Wow great songs…I may end buying this album. Thanks for posting this Trig!

  • thanks for posting this. awesome stuff. just ordered it. all the best from germany

  • this album has had a ton of spins in my truck…i find myself sitting in driveways, parkinglots and outside work, late to my commitments, because im still sitting behind the wheel- engine off, just letting a song play out. absolutelymusthave.

  • Like Olds, this one had an extended playtime in the truck’s disc spinner. Definitely one of my favorite rekkerds from 2012. Every track on this one is stellar. I was lucky enough to help with their Kickstarter project for Old Excuses and received a couple of boot leg CDs of their wonderful sound, live and studio. Not a bad song on any of teh 3 discs I received.

    Now, go out and support these guys and the great work they do.

  • You can find out more about the band on their Facebook page, which is updated pretty regularly. http://www.facebook.com/TheGoodLuckThriftStoreOutfit and twitter too @TGLTSO.

  • One of my favorite albums of 2012. Of life. Joined by GLTSO’s EP “Good Friends” also released 2012. Might be a bit harder to find but one listen to Chris Doud’s “Cabin” and you will find it well worth even the most extreme effort.

  • These guys have something so special, its a gift. If you are a long time music fan, you must give this album a sit through. It will convert you. If you can remember a time when you first heard an artist, and that light bulb went off. Hey what is that? Maybe it was John Prine, or Leonard Cohen. Maybe it was Roger Miller, or Chuck Berry. That first moment of hearing something new. That is what this band did for me. I say this because it is so rare for that to happen in this current market of music. I say all major music producers should kneel down, stick a fork in their arse, and ask forgiveness for not signing bands of this quality. This article is spot on, and both these songwriters write circles around the taylor swift, kenny chesney, and toby keiths of the world.

  • This album shows why songwriters should never give up on their dreams. The true measure of success is to earn the respect of other songwriters, to inspire, and give those folks a chance to play in your hometown- these cats have done all of those things- this album is a game changer. It sets the mark higher for the rest of us and reminds us that songwriting is not just good therapy, but powerful medicine..

  • Unbelievably good album. I have to admit that I prefer Willy’s songs to Chris’s, but that’s in no way a slight on Chris. Both are very, very good in their own way.

  • YES!!!!!!!!!! So glad to finally see this on here! Amazing album by an amazing bunch of musicians Great write up trigg

  • Wow, just got all excited about music again!
    Thanks for bringin it!

  • I am lucky enough to live one town over from these guys and let me tell you, everything you hear about these guys is true. They are a force of nature live, I never miss a show if I am able, I am there. Every member of the band is amazing in their own right and that is a fact. Don’t forget to check out Will and Chris’s solo CD’s, they really give you a chance to get into the way they tell story’s and look at life. As a songwriter myself these guys are a constant source of inspiration. Thanks for helping to shed more light on this wonderful band.

  • Just downloaded the Ghost of Good Manners (their 2009 album)–thought I’d take one step back f buying this one. I just finished listening to it all the way through–it’s a nice piece of work. Thanks again Trigger for introducing me to another great band! Great band this site has introduced me to: 357 String Band, Hellbound Glory, Sunday Valley, Turnpike Troubadors, and now GLTSO…

    • The previous post should read “thought I’d take one step back before buying this one”–too much PBR!

  • “The artists worth your time are so often aloof when it comes to self-promotion, so the music will never just fall into your lap. You have to work for it. You have to seek it out, or it must seek you out…”

    Or you can have Trigger do all that for you ;)

  • Had the privilege of playing with these fine musicians in their hometown of Oakdale CA. Some of the greatest guys you ever want to meet.

  • We’re gonna be bringing these guys over to the UK in 2013 to play some shows, all being well.

    Promoters, don’t miss out!

  • Just a heads up…the album can now be downloaded from Amazon…type in Old Excuses instead of the band name and you will find it. I downloaded it tonight.

    • Thanks for the heads up Rich!

  • Also available on iTunes now…

  • Wanted to let you all know TGLTSO will be featured on an upcoming American Primitive Records compilation called ‘Everything but Country’, coming out sometime 2015…

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