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"Latham's music is passionate with biting wit."--NPR
"One of the sharpest songwriters to emerge of late on the antifolk sphere...Charles Latham could be your new hero."--The Independent Weekly
"3.5 stars out of 5"--Pitchfork
Charles Latham wields an acid tongue and a poison pen, crafting social criticism, tragicomic narratives, and brutal self-analysis into three and a half minute ramshackle folk-pop songs. His songs are often exercises in duality: he finds humor in horror and horror in humor, the profane in beauty and beauty in the profane. In a live performance, his audience often laughs and smiles, but he rarely does. His lo-fi home recordings compliment the harsh honesty of his lyrics; his guitar buzzes and rings, and his snarling voice leaps, cracks and cries. His music is as equally influenced by folk and country as it is by punk, British Invasion-era rock, and Brill Building-style pop.
Originally from Virginia, Charles Latham began playing music professionally while living in Brighton, England as a student. The UK's folk-punk or "antifolk" scene adopted him as one of their own: Latham was the only non-British act to perform at the 2004 Winter Antifolk Fest in London. In 2005, Latham was voted "Best of Sussex" by a panel of judges at the Sussex Battle of the Bands, winning the grand prize.
After returning to the States, Charles Latham completed his first full-length album, "Pretty Mouth" in the spring of 2006; the album is a collection of home recordings captured on an 8-track in various locations in the UK and at his home in Virginia. The album was self-released, and has been met with enthusiastic acclaim in both the US and UK (see Press). Several songs from the album, including "Memorabilia" and "My Perfect Church", have received frequent radio airplay; "Nice (to me)" was featured on NPR. "Boot Hill" is listed as one of the top "Songs of the Times" on Neil Young's Living With War site. A non-album track, "The Internet Sexual Predator Talking Blues", a song about the scandal surrounding ex-Congressman Mark Foley, was given 3.5 out of 5 stars by Pitchfork. “Hard On” has been covered extensively by contemporaries worldwide.
While living in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, Latham created Antifolk SouthEast, a loose collective of local folk-punk musicians, and co-produced the Antifolk SouthEast Winter Extravaganza 2007, a showcase of musicians in the collective, and the first festival of its kind in the area. The event was a success.
Charles Latham has performed throughout the United States and United Kingdom, including major music festivals such as the Hopscotch Music Festival and yearly winter tours in the UK. After a decade of wandering In the tradition of the wandering troubadour, living in six different cities both in the U.S. and abroad, Charles Latham returned to Durham, NC in late 2014, where he continues to write, record, and perform.
Organ Donor (2003)
Calle Verde EP (2004)
Pretty Mouth (2006)
Live at WXDU (2006)
Legend: The Best of Charles Latham (2008)
Come Clean EP (2009)
Squares (I'm Trying to Get in Shape) Single (2010)
Oil! Single (2010)
Not Gonna Be Down Today (No Depression) Single (2010)
Everybody Else Likes Me (Why Don't You?) Single (2011)
I'm Moving Back to My Parent's House Single (2011)
Third Wheel Single (2011)
Fast Loans (2012)
Next to Nothing Blues Single split 7" w/ King of Hollywood [Withered Hand] (2013)
When North Carolina's honky-tonk heroes the Two Dollar Pistols broke up in 2008- leaving behind a legacy that included five full-length CD's, an EP of duets with Grammy nominee Tift Merritt, and several US and European tours- lead singer/songwriter John Howie Jr. already had the seeds planted for a new group, one that would continue the Pistols tradition of making soulful honky-tonk based music for contemporary times. Bringing Matt Brown over from the Pistols, John recruited pedal steel guitar ace Nathan Golub, christened the new band John Howie Jr and the Rosewood Bluff, and set about writing a new batch of songs.
After a solid year of playing live, opening for everyone from Junior Brown to Lucero, plans were made for the band to enter the studio. Brian Paulson (Wilco, The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo) was called on to take the producer's chair, having done a stellar job in that capacity on the Two Dollar Pistols 2004 Yep Roc release, Hands Up! Studio time was blocked off at Kudzu Ranch, owned and operated by Rick Miller (Southern Culture on the Skids). Several months later, the band emerged with Leavin' Yesterday, an album that expands upon the Pistols trademark sound, adding prominent pedal steel guitar, piano (by DB's/REM member Peter Holsapple), and strings to the mix for a landmark country music collection that should please Pistols fans, while breaking new ground at the same time.
Album opener "Watch Me Fall," a defiant, ringing kiss-off in the grand tradition of country music, sets the tone for Leavin' Yesterday. Straight-ahead country-rockers, "Trying Not to Think," and, "Last Great Guitar Slinger," sit comfortably next to ballads like, "Downhill," and classic honky-tonk shuffles like, "Handful of Heartaches,"and, "Back to Basics." The Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell influenced "Dead Man's Suit" comes off "like it could have been Gene Clark...if he'd packed a string section," according to Shuffle Magazine, while "I've Found Someone New," also featuring a string quartet, bears the influence of Billy Sherill's 1970's "Countrypolitan" productions as found on the George Jones and Charlie Rich records of the day. The album-closing title track rings out with 12-string Rickenbacker, pedal steel, and gorgeous harmonies.
With Leavin Yesterday finished, Howie put together a crack band capable of capturing all of the moods in the country music idiom and doing full justice to his songs. Along with Golub on steel and Brown on drums, electric/upright bassist Billie Feather (The Bo-Stevens, Darnell Woodies) signed up, as did telecaster hero Tim Shearer (Hearts and Daggers), with Howie front and center on lead vocals and acoustic guitar.
Two Dollar Pistols fans mourning the loss of North Carolina's finest traditional country/honky-tonk band need not have worried. While the Pistols may be gone, one listen to Leavin' Yesterday by John Howie Jr. and the Rosewood Bluff should prove that, as the Charleston City Paper says, "Howie's best years may still be ahead of him." with John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff