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Thriftstore Masterpiece is a revolving music collective devoted to paying homage to the underdog records of years past. The debut album revisits Lee Hazlewood’s 1963 lost classic Trouble Is A Lonesome Town and features Pete Yorn, Frank Black, Isaac Brock, Courtney Taylor-Taylor (The Dandy Warhols), Eddie Argos (Art Brut), the late Larry Norman and more.
In 1963, Lee Hazlewood released his debut album Trouble is a Lonesome Town to little fanfare. It was a collection of solo acoustic songs stitched together with a narrative that described life in a fictional small town inhabited by outlaws, thieves, and down-and-out laborers. The album was hokey, but hip. Corny, but cool. It evoked a bygone era of pastoral American towns and their sometimes seedy underbellies, somewhat like a darker version of the Andy Griffith Show or a more sinister Prairie Home Companion. More importantly, it was a fully realized concept album that predated the trend that is so common in today’ s music world. Hazlewood had originally intended the songs as demos for his publisher, in hopes that other artists might someday record them. A half century later, the music collective known as Thriftstore Masterpiece has done exactly that.
Producer I band leader Charles Normal explains “I first came across the record around the turn of the millennium while living in Oslo, Norway. I found it in a secondhand junk shop and it struck a nostalgic note somewhere within me. It made me homesick for the panoply of Americana I had experienced while slumming it in the Southwestern border towns and California desert whistle stops I drifted through when I first started playing music on the road. The record didn’t leave my turntable for months. Years later, I started to envision the record as a more orchestrated statement and began recording the basic tracks in my studio. My brother, singer Larry Norman, lent his voice to a couple of the tracks, but when he passed away from a heart attack in 2008 I fell into a deep funk and put the project on the back burner. I couldn’t bring myself to harmonize with his vocals … it was just too emotional to deal with. It wasn’t until much later, prompted in part by Isaac Brock, that I dusted off the tapes and hard drives and began to finish it. I went through my address book and started calling friends who happened to be in possession of great voices to see if they were interested in joining in.”-musicdirect