Free Music Friday! Get a raspy acoustic track from Chuck Ragan

Social Distortion (music group)Hampton ColiseumJack KerouacDropkick Murphys (music group)Frank Turner

What do the punk rockers do when they get too old to rage against machines? Some of them refocus their anger and creativity in a different direction. Some of them turn to acoustic folk.

Put Chuck Ragan in that category. The former leader of Hot Water Music -- an unusually intense punk band I remember from an incindiary Warped Tour performance at Hampton Coliseum -- has unplugged and embraced a lower-volume form of rebellion.

Ragan's newest album, "Covering Ground," is set for a Sept. 13 release.

Today's free track, a new song from Ragan, shows where his mind is these days. Ragan and his bluegrass-flavored band opened for Social Distortion at The NorVa earlier this year. He'll be back in the area on Sept. 15 opening for the Dropkick Murphys at Portsmouth's amphitheater.

"Nomad By Fate" is yours in exchange for an e-mail address.


Listen to the song here: 

Here's a press release about the new album:

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SideOneDummy is proud to announce the third studio album by Chuck Ragan, Covering Ground will be released on September 13, 2011. The latest album from the longtime frontman of Hot Water Music sees him continuing in the tradition of 2007’s Feast Or Famine and 2009’s Gold Country while also further developing his unique blend of folk music, americana and punk rock, proving once again that Ragan is one of the most honest and versatile singer-songwriters today.

Featuring longtime collaborator Jon Gaunt on Fiddle and Joe Ginsberg on upright bass in addition to guest appearances from the Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon, Blind Melon’s Chris Thorn, Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Chris Phillips, Frank Turner and Audra Mae, the album is the sonic equivalent to Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and could only be written by someone who has spent the last seventeen years traversing the country playing music and lifestyle that entails. “The majority of these songs were written on the road and a lot of them over the last year,” Ragan explains. “I feel like I’ve written more these past five years than I have my entire life.”

Since Gold Country Ragan has toured with everyone from Social Distortion to the Gaslight Anthem in addition to his own headlining appearances and his work on the Revival Tour, a traveling road show that he began in 2008. “The tours we’ve done over the past few years have been incredible because we’ve played for a wide range of folks who wouldn’t normally have any idea that we’re around and that’s a huge opportunity,” Ragan explains. “I feel like if people spend their time, money and energy to give us the time of day then we’re going to give them everything we’ve got every night.”

That energy and enthusiasm is present on every note of Covering Ground from the impassioned hymns such as “Meet You In The Middle” to gospel-infected numbers like “Right As Rain” and instantly recognizable tunes like “Nothing Left To Prove,” all of which prove how much Ragan’s range and arrangements have grown since he embarked on his solo career five years ago. “Making this music is our passion but at the same time it’s our livelihood,” Ragan summarizes. “It’s easy to get jaded on the road and the struggle is always trying to find that balance between work and passion.”

Covering Ground is the sound of that harmony brought to life—and, trust us, it sounds pretty damn good.

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