"All this drinkin' and being on drugs, I'd like to say I've had enough..."
Tractor Kings' Jacob Fleischli returns with his sophomore effort, Gone To Heaven.
Jake explains, "At the time I began recording, I had written over 40 songs. The song "Gone to Heaven" seemed to be a song that set the tone& The backbone of the songs on [the album] deal with death and abandonment and how a person can deal with that. Maybe the person takes comfort in drugs and alcohol, or gambling, or a computer."
Recorded at Matt (Centaur/Hum/Honcho Overload) Talbott's Great Western Record Recorders in Tolono, Illinois - the same town that his family's forefathers settled in upon immigrating to the US. "The main influence during the recording was the location. Growing up as a kid in Springfield Illinois, I was constantly hearing stories from my mom. She was one hell of a story teller! My mother has always lived in extreme pain and has always tried to carry the weight of the world. The stories that seemed to give her the most happiness were the stories of spending every summer in Tolono as a kid with her brother Joe and staying at Uncle Tom's. She talked about running around the corn fields and watching the sunset and being happy. My mother's family on her dad's side settled in Tolono directly from Ireland in the late 1880's. Eventually some of my family moved to Springfield. When I heard Matt Talbott was building a studio in Tolono I knew I was going to record there and I knew that I had to reinvent the Tractor Kings."
Bred in the Land of Lincoln and true as old Abe himself, this record is a fitting homecoming pairing Jake's obsession with death and the ghosts of his past, merging his Bob Dylan fixation with Talbott's sonic expertise. This is indeed a special album.
Gone To Heaven is a dark journey, wrought with peril, yet well-worth the trip.
The band that Jake assembled for this outing includes Matt Filippo (The Mezzanines) on bass, Angie Heaton (Corndolly/Liquorette) on drums, R.M. Racky on pedal steel, Matt Talbott (Centaur/Hum/Honcho Overload) on guitar, tambourine, and vocals, Steve Ucherek (The Blackouts/Land Camera Sound) on guitar and vocals, and Lyle Hodges (Amphibian) on synthesizer.
Exclaim Magazine: "The Tractor Kings' Gone To Heaven is one of those records that has felt like a lost classic from the moment it was first pressed. The album plays like a forgotten Steve Earle demo tape that was recorded while he was strung out on scag and free of inhibition. Each song chooses mood over proficiency, giving the tracks a loose and fragile feeling. This is accentuated by the lyrics that articulate a separate problem on each track while never losing sight of a central sadness that rules the album's emotion. It's this sadness that gives the disc its depth. The band's crossing of Flaming Lips and Meat Puppets influences with their loosely woven country/folk style gives this feeling a perfect casing. So, despite having a name that would be better suited to a Kim Mitchell cover band, the Tractor Kings display a cross of songwriting proficiency and stark reality that make Gone to Heaven a truly vital album." - Exclaim!
Chicago Tribune: "Well-crafted tunes mingle the Americana of Bob Dylan and Gram Parsons with elements of psychedelia, distortion-flecked rock and other influences. On the Tractor Kings' latest CD, Gone To Heaven, all of those styles cohere with surprising grace into atmospheric, rustically melodic roots-rock that's both heartland pure and subtly adventurous."