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Dropkick Murphys – “Okemah Rising”

Okemah Rising - Dropkick Murphys

Release Date: May 12, 2023 Record Label: Born & Bred Records

Dropkick Murphys had such a fun time recording (and touring) last year’s collection of songs featuring the unpublished lyrics of Woody Guthrie – This Machine Still Kills Fascists – that they’re back for another round! Due out May 12th, the new album is called Okemah Rising, and features ten more tracks for which the Dropkicks wrote music around a set of unpublished Guthrie words.

Okemah Rising finds them reuniting with Ted Hutt in the producer’s chair, and features guest spots from Violent Femmes, Jesse Ahern and Jaime Wyatt.

You can pre-save Okemah Rising here and pre-order it on CD/vinyl here, and check out the video for the first single, “I Know How It Feels,” below!


DS Photo Gallery: St. Patrick’s Day in Boston Dropkick Murphys, Turnpike Troubadours and The Rumjacks

Despite living in the Greater Boston Area for the four-plus decades I’ve been alive, and despite having seen numerous Dropkick Murphys lineups play numerous Dropkick Murphys shows – from a show where they appeared sandwiched between The Mr. Rogers Project and The Pietasters at The Living Room in Providence to headlining the hometown Agganis Arena […]

Despite living in the Greater Boston Area for the four-plus decades I’ve been alive, and despite having seen numerous Dropkick Murphys lineups play numerous Dropkick Murphys shows – from a show where they appeared sandwiched between The Mr. Rogers Project and The Pietasters at The Living Room in Providence to headlining the hometown Agganis Arena over St. Patrick’s Day weekend – I’d never actually seen the band live and in person on the most Boston Irish of holidays itself. Until now. The 2023 installment of the Dropkicks’ annual St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities took three days at the massive new MGM Music Hall that serves as the literal back door to Fenway Park, with Sunday’s wrap-up show happening across the street at the comparatively quaint 2200-capacity House Of Blues.

As has been customary for many of the St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities that Dropkick have thrown over the years, this run capped off what had been a pretty busy tour schedule in support of their latest album, in this case This Machine Still Kills Fascists, the Woody Guthrie-inspired record that they put out on their own label last year (a follow-up, Okemah Rising, is due out this Spting). Openers rotated slots across the four main shows (Saturday also had an early “soundcheck”-style abridged set and meet-and-greet); St. Patrick’s Day itself featured The Rumjacks and Turnpike Troubadours; Nikki Lane and Jesse Ahern also took their respective turns in the rotation at the weekend’s other shows.

The Rumjacks kicked off the St. Patrick’s Day festivities promptly at 6:30pm to a fairly robust crowd in spite of the early set time. Probably helps that the holiday fell on a Friday and that it’s spot at the end of Lansdowne Street puts MGM right at the start (or end, I suppose) of a run of bars eager to cash in on the most pub-crawlingest of holidays. The Australian lads’ set had a bit of a hometown feel to it, not just because most Celtic/Irish punk bands do pretty well in this market, but because not only is local boy Mike Rivkees manning frontman and tin whistle duties, but his fellow Mickey Rickshaw bandmate Kyle Goyette has been handling accordion duties and may/may not officially be a Rumjack now? The band ripped through a baker’s dozen Irish bangers including “Through These Iron Sights,” “One For The Road” and, of course, “An Irish Pub Song.”

Turnpike Troubadours occupied the middle slot on the bill, and they’re a band I’d been looking forward to catching again for a long time. The last time I saw Turnpike was back in 2018 at Lucero’s Family Block Party in Memphis. It was good, but it wasn’t, from my understanding as someone who was considerably late to the Turnpike game, a really representative set for a variety of reasons, and the band went on hiatus early the following year in order to allow frontman Evan Felker to sort out some personal demons. The band reunited about a year ago and good grief are they making up for lost time. 

Earlier in the week, Turnpike had played in front of something like 75,000 people at the Houston Rodeo and Livestock show which, I’d imagine, is something like Texas’ version of St. Patrick’s Day in Boston. And while that’s a level of nerve-wracking that I can only begin to wrap my head around, it probably has to be a different sort of nerve-wracking to be main support for a long-running Boston Irish punk rock band on their home turf on THEIR day, particularly when you’re A) not from around here and B) playing a style of music that doesn’t always translate to the rowdy, occasionally finicky Boston punk crowd. But make no mistake – Turnpike killed.

The band took the stage and immediately dove into “Long Hot Summer Days,” a boot-stomping cover of a John Hartford track that Turnpike have made their own over the last decade-or so. The song leans heavily into the fiddle and even heavier into multi-part vocal harmonies, and I heard someone up along the barricade comment once the song was done that it was probably the most “punk rock” moment they’d see tonight, and in many respects, that sentiment wasn’t wrong. But at it’s core, “Long Hot Summer Days” is a blue-collar working song and Dropkick Murphys are one of the last local vestiges of a blue collar core that is all but falling by the wayside, and so maybe Turnpike as a band are not unlike Dropkick’s cousins from Oklahoma. From there, the band ripped through a total of ten songs of love and heartache and rebellion. “7&7” and “Gin, Smoke & Lies” and “A Tornado Warning” were particularly well-received by the crowd that, sure, was chock-full of scally caps but was also not without it’s own share of cowboy hats. In Boston!

From there, obviously, it was time for the main attraction, the one-and-only Dropkick Murphys. As per usual, the band took the stage to the Sinead O’Connor/Chieftains rendition of “Foggy Dew” before immediately ripping into “State Of Massachusetts” from their 2007 classic The Meanest Of Times. Frontman and founder Ken Casey handed off live bass playing duties to longtime touring member Kevin Rheault years ago, leaving him free to endlessly, tirelessly pace the stage and interact with the crowd from both behind and atop the barricades at stage front.

Dropkick Murphys have had a bit of a nebulous lineup over the years, and the 2022/3 edition is no different. With Al Barr still sidelined to tend to his ailing mother, the current lineup finds Casey joined longtime drummer Matt Kelly, guitarist James Lynch, multi-instrumental virtuosos Tim Brennan (that’s him on accordion on the right) and Tim Brennan joined by Rheault on the bass and Campbell Webster on bagpipes and tin whistle and maybe percussion during some of the Woody Guthrie songs? It was a little tough to tell because the high-energy show was filled a constantly changing pre-programmed digital backdrop and the stage was replete with myriad moving parts, barely two songs goind by without some change in instrumental duties for at least one if not more Dropkicks.

The band was also joined on stage by a host of special guests on the evening. Erin McKenzie (seen at left), most notably of The Doped Up Dollies but also collaborator with the likes of Big D and The Kids Table and Lenny Lashley and, of course, the Dropkicks, joined for a charged-up rendition of “The Dirty Glass.” Turnpike Troubadours’ Evan Felker came out for “The Last One,” the track he lent his vocal talents to on record on This Machine Still Kills Fascists. They were also joined on stage by Woody Guthrie’s grandson Cole Quest on dobro.

Dropkick Murphys have done a lot of good for both the music community and the community-at-large, particularly here in Massachusetts, over the course of the last quarter-century. Even if you strip away some of the over-the-top garish green shamrock imagery in the crowd (and out on the street), St. Patrick’s Day weekend serves as a way for the community to come together and both celebrate with the band and, ultimately, celebrate the band and what they stand for and to repay the favor to the band who now carry the torch for the punk music scene in Boston. It’s like old home day but for a full, unofficial long weekend, and I’m glad to say I finally shot the weekend’s crown jewel event. See below for more slideshows from each of the bands performances!

The Rumjacks Slideshow


Turnpike Troubadours Slideshow


Dropkick Murphys Slideshow

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Dying Scene Record Radar: New punk vinyl releases & reissues (Descendents, Rancid, Joe Strummer & more)

Hello, loyal readers! Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of the Dying Scene Record Radar, where we cover all things in the world of punk rock vinyl. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home, because it’s time to run through this week’s releases. I hope you’re feeling spendy, because there’s […]

Hello, loyal readers! Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of the Dying Scene Record Radar, where we cover all things in the world of punk rock vinyl. Kick off your shoes and make yourself at home, because it’s time to run through this week’s releases. I hope you’re feeling spendy, because there’s a lot of good stuff that might find its way into your record collection. Let’s get into it!

Up first, we’ve got 1-2-3-4 Go! Records with another killer exclusive pressing of a classic record. This time it’s the DescendentsEverything Sucks, limited to 1,000 hand numbered copies on blue vinyl. This will be available on their webstore Friday, August 5th at 8am Pacific (11am Eastern). Join 1-2-3-4 Go!’s mailing list to be among the first to know when it goes up.

Rancid‘s Let’s Go is getting repressed, this time as a red and black splatter LP. It’s limited to 1,000 copies, and is only available from Newbury Comics. Head over here to get your hands on this one.

Brooklyn Vegan has an exclusive green 2xLP pressing of Social Distortion‘s Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes up to pre-order on their webstore. It’s limited to 300 copies and the color is pretty cool. Not a huge Social D fan myself, but this album’s alright. Also, if you join Brooklyn Vegan’s mailing list, you’ll get 10% off your order! Very nice.

Asian Man Records has brand new pressings of two classic Alkaline Trio LPs available right now. These new variants of Goddamnit and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire are limited to 1,000 copies each. Head on over to Asian Man’s webstore to order.

It’s been a long time coming but No Trigger has finally announced a follow-up to their fantastic sophomore album Tycoon. The new record’s called Dr. Album, and it’s being released next month on Red Scare. Check out the first single below, and pre-order the LP here.

Power pop singer/songwriter Geoff Palmer has re-recorded Dee Dee Ramone’s “rap” album Standing In The Spotlight. The first single, his cover of “Emergency” (my favorite song off the record), can be heard below. Stardumb Records is releasing this on vinyl; head over here to pre-order it.

The Mugwumps just released a new live album, recorded at Italy’s premiere punk festival Punk Rock Raduno in 2021. Check it out below – it kicks ass! My fellow Americans can get this here; our European friends can buy it here.

Mom’s Basement Records has announced their upcoming Queers tribute compilation God Save The Queers Vol.2 will be available to pre-order this Friday, July 29th, at Noon Eastern. Head over to their webstore to grab your copy. Canadians can get this one from Insipid Records, and our Bri’ish mates will wanna hit up Council-Pop Records.

Hardcore punk supergroup OFF! has announced a new record! Free LSD is the band’s first new studio album in eight years. They’re describing it as “a heavy punk industrial free jazz soundtrack recording”. Watch the music video for the first single “War Above Los Angeles” below, and pre-order the record here. There’s also an orange variant available from Brooklyn Vegan.

Making their second Record Radar appearance in three weeks, it’s the Dropkick Murphys with a Newbury Comics Exclusive variant of their upcoming album This Machine Still Kills Fascists. This one’s due out on September 30th, it’s limited to 500 copies on red vinyl, and you can pre-order it here.

British punk pioneers The Vibrators have announced their final album Fall Into the Sky will be released on August 12th through Cleopatra Records. Listen to the first single below, and pre-order the record on pink or blue vinyl here.

Santa Cruz pop-punks Too Bad Eugene just announced their first new album in 20 years! Distance is due out September 14th on People of Punk Rock Records. Listen to the title track below, and pre-order the record here.

Italy’s Radiation Records has reissued two LPs from Los Angeles punk veterans The Generators: 2005’s The Winter of Discontent, and 2007’s The Great Divide. Get ’em here. These are available in the US through Merchbar, too, but the price after shipping is basically the same as importing from Italy.

A decade after the downfall of The Clash, frontman Joe Strummer would spend the last three years of his life making new music with his band The Mescaleros. A box set compiling the band’s three albums and a bonus LP of demos, outtakes, rarities, has been announced. This is due out on September 16th, and can be pre-ordered here. These records go for $100+ each on the resale market, so this is actually a pretty great deal.

Reminder! If you are attending SBAM FestBrackrock Festival, or Punk Rock Holiday over the next few weeks, Fat Wreck Chords is going to have exclusive new variants of a shitload of records at their merch booth. Titles include Lagwagon‘s Hoss, Strung Out‘s Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues, the new Face to Face album, and many others. These European festivals are the only place in the entire world these will be available. Check out Fat’s Instagram for more info.

Canadian friends, check out Forbidden Beat! They’re a punk distro that always has good shit going up on their Instagram page, at very good prices. They also seem to be the only place in North America with copies of the new Screeching Weasel LP in stock, so if you’re looking for that, hit ’em up!

Now that all the new and upcoming releases have been covered, I thought I’d share what I’ve been listening to lately! I saw my favorite band Less Than Jake for the 19th(?) time last week, so I’ve been on a LTJ kick lately. I got Losers, Kings, And Things We Don’t Understand at a show in Orlando back in… 2012? And this red pressing of See The Light was one of two Christmas variants limited to 100 copies. It had been a while since I listened to either of these, so I gave them a few spins.

That’s all, folks! Thanks as always for tuning in to the Dying Scene Record Radar. If there’s anything we missed (highly likely), or if you want to let everyone know about a new/upcoming vinyl release you’re excited about, send us a message on Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll look into it. Enjoy your weekend, don’t blow too much money on spinny discs. See ya next week!

*Wanna catch up on all of our Record Radar posts? Yype “Record Radar” in the search bar at the top of the page!

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