Poor Player | Where the Wasteland Ends

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Country: Alt-Country Folk: Folk-Rock Moods: Type: Political
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Where the Wasteland Ends

by Poor Player

Motor City folk rock Americana, with a hopped up & gritty grab bag of American riddles and laments, Poor Player is all about finding the roots beneath the rubble, the green beneath the ruin, the folk in the f***d up, & the beauty in the city gone to seed.
Genre: Country: Alt-Country
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  Song Share Time Download
1. She Says She's Gonna Leave
3:32 $0.99
2. Bring Home That River? (Flint)
4:58 $0.99
3. Go
4:23 $0.99
4. Purple Lies
6:14 $0.99
5. Goin' Back Home
4:44 $0.99
6. Meet Me at the Station
5:21 $0.99
7. Disheveled Beauty
5:48 $0.99
8. Cold Lands of the North
7:00 $0.99
9. Down to the Shore
6:19 $0.99
10. Giddy up Angel
4:44 $0.99
11. Bring Home That River! (Detroit)
4:57 $0.99
12. Where the Wasteland Ends
7:30 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Poor Player is Matt Fredericks on acoustic guitar, vocals and harmonica, Brian Simon on electric guitar, Mark Biermann on bass, Fred Vitale on keyboards, Stu Tucker on drums. Bandleader/songwriter Fredericks expresses tremendous gratitude the group is willing to hang with the different directions the songs may go, and give it their full inspiration. Nonetheless he refers to the overall sound as ‘Motor City Folk Rock Americana,' struck by the fact that Detroit has arrived first (for better or for worse) at so many of the crossroads of our nation's history--from the Underground railroad to the pharmaceutical industry to mass production, to suburban sprawl to mass unemployment; crises of racial injustice; to post-industrial city, to dreams of urban renewal; to critical infrastructure issues, music genres galore, the list goes on. Others have noted, 'Motor City Americana' suggests some bit of grit—yes, hopefully, getting at the real deal, not some hokey hackneyed 80 years old safe for consumption romanticized balladry version of our country's history; but also, what's going down right now--taking a dirty mechanic's look at the pistons in the engines that are turning the wheels of our current realities. Ok, that's a bit over the top, but hopefully it’s a working credo on better days.

The album was recorded at Rooftop Studios. Producer engineer Dave Roof is very attuned to singer-songwriters and has worked with many roots/Americana/alt-country oriented bands around Michigan. He brought a wealth of knowledge and perspective and provided a laid back environment for us to make the most of our time in the studio. The fact that he was up I-75 just outside of Flint brought an eerie irony when recording 'Bring Home That River (Flint)'. It was mastered by Jim Kissling, who has worked with Grammy-nominated artists.

From Jeff Milo - WDET

"Poor Player” is a band name and it evokes an underdog to root for… Maybe it’s a wobbly record that just keeps spinning, or a guitar picker with callouses built up over years’ worth of playing. Interwoven into the lore of musical traditions and troubadours from folk, Americana, country, and blues, it suggests resilience; something raw that keeps on rolling, a scuffed windmill blade that keeps rotating. For this Detroit-based six-piece, it means embodying the resoluteness of the woeful spirit that catches the wind at its back, or a formerly-broken-but-newly-mended broken heart. It’s the stuff great Americana-folk is made of.

The group blends the twang of country with a bit of rock ‘n’ roll grit. Electric guitars intertwine with the strum of an acoustic, while the rich and rustic timbres of a banjo or mandolin float over the hum of an electric piano. Poor Player is Matt Fredericks (vocals/guitar), Fred Vitale (keyboards/accordion), Brian Simon (electric guitar/mandolin/banjo), Mark Biermann (bass), Stu Tucker (percussion), and Marija Franetovic (vocals).

Frederick’s melodic warbles and country croons thread lyrical ruminations that are inspired by real life events such as wandering across mountain slopes in the Pacific Northwest, memory mash-ups rendering perspectives on world events, large or small scale tragedies, bouts of existentialism. If none of the above, his lyrics feature novelistic imaginations laid out with compelling plots and quirky and/or empathetic characters."

*She Says She's Gonna Leave

At a roadside diner, a hungry folksinger, overworked waitress, and a grabby boss cross paths before a chorus of cranky customers who tip pennies and massacre sausages. With a bit of playful seriousness the intro track on 'Where the Wasteland Ends' sets out album’s themes of longing for escape and yearning for justice, love and home. The cowbells are cranked up in an update of the old stranger comes to town and saves the day plot--except in this one the stranger just sits swooning, slurping coffee and trying to write a song while the damsel in distress saves herself and ends up tossing a lifeline to him. The Video features the tremendously talented Matt Rasch, whose surreal sensibility and outlandish animation perfectly complement the humor and horror in the slapstick tale.

*Bring Home That River? (Flint)

This song attempts a blow-by-blow account of the Flint water crisis (a crazy notion that involved many rewrites as the story in the news just kept expanding getting worse and worse, and the gravity of a city in a state surrounded by Great Lakes laid low by polluted water made obliged Fredericks to include as many parts of the story as possible.) Some bandmates suggested cutting a verse, but it was devastating to live in "the great lake state" as all these water crises were unfolding. "Pure Michigan"? (as a state tourism advertisement puts it). Senseless tragedy created by disinvestment in our public infrastructure and callous disregard for poor communities.


Tried to get as elemental as possible—a microdose of basic options for all bad situations--the belief that you can always leave.

*Purple Lies

A tale of epic deception. Love gone wrong. Privacy sacrificed on the altar of self-promotion. Also inspired by Detroit-made Faygo, a super sugary beverage every kid has drank at some point, whose delivery trucks often were on Warren Avenue in Detroit about the same time Fredericks was driving in to work.

*Goin' Back Home

Love letter to Fredericks’ time wandering mountainsides in the Pacific Northwest and brief stints as young man riding the rails, attempting somehow to escape...

It was this song perhaps that made our drummer suggest that album should just be called, 'Poor Player Gets Back to Nature'.

*Meet Me At the Station

The BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico becomes backdrop for memory mash-up of a once upon a time trip to the bayou, love lost, a run-in with law-enforcement and the endless fuel consumption of the American way...

*Disheveled Beauty

All the world’s a stage and we are each simultaneously dancing along and yanking off our clothing. Characters galore come and go. It is in this brave new to-do of the interwebs—something like a strip club--that we are united in an embittered burlesque and estranged lover's embrace.

*Cold Lands of the North

An outta work Eskimo stumbles into typical sadistic industrial plots involving psychotic pipeline laid across the land to despoil nature, glue our skulls and souls to machinery, and heat up the planet for no purpose other than fast plutocrat profit (but all the while making the heads of the proletariat happily bob so long as they have a job). Spoiler alert: Sea shanty 2.0 = Seas rising shanty.

*Down to the Shore

Though America is increasingly post-religious, most still hold on to the hope that water will cleanse us; perhaps that is the root of the longing expresses in this ode to the long and winding shore of Michigan’s Third Coast.

*Giddy Up Angel

A child-like lullaby, a dream of heavens, a great escape—to sleep, perchance to dream...
*Bring Home That River! (Detroit)

Second part of the songs concerning water crisis in the Great Lake State of Michigan which bookend the album. Sung from the perspective of a Detroit resident who’s lived in a home their whole life only to have their water shut off due to skyrocketing rate increases. Written during the protests in Detroit over water shutoffs--one odd line was borrowed from some of the protesters tactics, "Gonna fill me up a big pickle jar (of water) from the mayor's own backyard..." The song is a reprise of "Bring Home That River (Flint)". Fredericks notes, “I suddenly thought, if Charlie Patton did “High Water Everywhere (Part 1 and 2)”, and Woody Guthrie had “Tom Joad (part 1 and 2)”, Neil Young wrote “Hey Hey my my. Hey Hey, My My (Out of the Blue)” and "My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)"… then why can’t there just be two parts to this song?...”

*Where the Wasteland Ends

This song was the seed of the album. Sometime after the housing crash songwriter Matt Fredericks walked by a homeless camp in Seattle. There were tents, tarps, folks huddled around fire pits--seemed like a scene out of the Depression; yet it was on empty lot in the middle of an otherwise decent neighborhood in a city flush with technology wealth. The contrast struck him. The song attempts to provide a window into people of the great recession: a man who lost his home to foreclosure, another whose unemployment has run out, soldiers returning from the Middle East only to become homeless, the CEOs and financiers whose blind greed who got us in the mess-- yet still in the end, in spite of whatever finger-pointing may transpire, our fates are intertwined, we inextricably are all in this together.



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