Backyard Tire Fire are semi-major, but they get a review from me because I dig ’em and because they have a track approved for download. “Good to Be,” their newest album, is on their own imprint, Kelsey Street Records, which is being distributed through Sony-RED.  I’ve followed them from the beginning, helping to break them before Sony got interested, and I’m happy to say that something unusual has happened with this band: They got majorish, which meant they got smoother and more pop, but, in the case of BYTF, they actually got better.  Their albums have become progressively better crafted and more complete.

Good to Be has a definite mainstream feel, and it’s more indie rock/pop than Americana, but there’s still strong Tom Petty influences that are obvious and welcome (especially on “Estelle”).  The band’s sound is a lot like Petty, actually, but not like any one particular Tom Petty.  By which I mean, there’s pieces of Damn the Torpedoes style rock and grit, Southern Accent flavor folky Americana, and Free Fallin’ pop.  Makes for a sweet collection, and a really great listen.

You can stream some studio versions of tracks from the new record on their site. Or, you can hear some terrific live versions, followed by some covers . . .


Powderfinger (Neil Young cover)
When the Whip Comes Down (Rolling Stones cover)–As awesome a version as I’ve ever heard . . . Check out the band doing the entire “Some Girls” album here.
Lawyers Guns and Money (Zevon cover)
Dead End Street (Kinks)
Food For Thought*
Fuck the FCC (Steve Earle)
Tom Petty
Good to Be*
Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young)
A Thousand Gigs Ago*

*=From the new album, “Good to Be.”

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