This album is available in a limited vinly release of 300 copies with hand screened jackets. You can purchase it on vinyl here: saddle-creek.com/store/82
Plenty of myth and lore already surround the Omaha four-piece Outlaw Con Bandana. This time around, the Outlaw is getting in on the act, adding his own bit of fabulism to the narrative. “Faeries and Rewards,” an adventure story that exalts in eccentric characters and faces down the consequences of a life on the fringes, picks up with our main character as he is railroaded and harried by the powers that be. The resulting album is at turns exuberant, world-weary, wise and brash; and is easily one of the strongest statements in Outlaw’s catalog.
In real life, when the tracks on “Faeries and Rewards” were laid down two years ago, Brendan Hagberg (the outlaw in Outlaw Con Bandana) was in need of justice. These days he prefers not to talk about the circumstances behind that time, which he simply calls “the bullshit,” but luckily the product of those dark days has finally seen release on Slumber Party Records.
Outlaw’s music occupies a space somewhere between bluegrass stomp, tear-in-your-beer country and old timey blues. Reviewers could compare Outlaw Con Bandana to distinctly voiced sages like Townes Van Zandt or Leonard Cohen, if they’re into that kind of thing. Many of the songs found here have been in Outlaw’s 70-song live reparatory for several years. Highlights and fan-favorites include toe-tappers like “Alexander Martin Blues” – about the infamous real-life transcontinental hitchhiker – and “Hell Attacks” and “Idle Song.” On the other side of the coin, there’s “Rainy Season” and “Tumbles Down,” which seem well suited as the soundtrack to a relaxed summer’s night of porch drinking. Cheers.
“Faeries” re-imagines the accomplices and muses behind Outlaw Con Bandana as a united force battling, well, bullshit. One moment the lyrics find Hagberg documenting hedonism and mischief, rambling along with drifters and craving one last margarita. Next, he’s in world-weary contemplation, mulling over fuck-ups (both the people who were fuck-ups and the actions) along the path. But according to the Hagberg, these songs were not an exercise in coping with The Bullshit, but rather a validation of his struggle. The record is primarily about camaraderie and “justice under higher tensions,” he says.
Outlaw’s team of compatriots in the studio included vocalist Pearl Lovejoy Boyd, upright-bassist and longtime collaborator Matt Rooney, and The American Dream on drums. “Faeries” was engineered and produced by Ted Stevens of Cursive and Mayday notoriety. Team Love Records artist Dan McCarthy also contributed to the record.
Hagberg admits swiping the title of the album from a Rudyard Kipling novel about the trickster Puck, which seems more than appropriate. When asked for comment on the album, one of his only remarks was wry resistance. Instead, he trusted the interviewer to essentially say whatever he wanted about “Faeries and Rewards.” His explanation: “we got to build up all that fake myth bullshit.”