The last time I saw Butch Walker — sometime last year, at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Massachusetts — he did a bunch of new songs and talked about how they were going to be on a new EP he was releasing called Peachtree Battle. I really enjoyed all of the songs and was very much looking forward to the release of the EP. (I was also relieved that the songs weren’t quite in the vein of the material on the Butch Walker and The Black Widows album The Spade, which is Butch’s only album that I don’t like. I love all of the others, but don’t care for that one at all.) And then the EP was released. And I found myself thinking, there are only five songs here but I could swear he did seven when I saw him. I knew one of the missing songs was a duet and the other was called “The End of the World” or something like that. They’d actually been two of my favorites among the new songs he’d done that night so I was a little disappointed. To stop dwelling on it, I told myself that Butch must be working on a new full-length album already, and that those two songs must be going on that. Well, apparently that is not happening, BUT Butch decided to release the two songs as a ten inch record on Record Store Day this past Saturday (the 19th) and, of course, I was one of the first people to line up outside my local independent record store, Newbury Comics in Nashua, NH, on Saturday. And, yes, I did get the record…
The A-side is “End of the World (One More Time)” and it’s one of Butch’s most rocking, upbeat songs to date. A killer. The massive drums are slamming, the slick guitars are infectious and Butch sings it with a whole lot of enthusiasm, the song overflowing with energy and emotion. It’s also an inspiring song, proving that Butch remains a brilliant songwriter. To be honest, I do think this one might have fit on The Spade, but if it was on there then it would have easily been the best song. I’m just saying that it’s slightly in that vein.
Butch does a duet with Nikki Lane on the B-side, “Battle vs. The War,” an instant classic of the country variety. Yes, country. From the steel guitar right down to the vocals, this tender ballad is 100% country. I could easily hear Willie Nelson covering it with Norah Jones. To my ears, it sounds like Butch even accentuates his Southern accent a bit while singing this one. Here’s the chorus: “So I’ll sing us down the river / We’ll pick up and carry on / Even though we never really knew what for / I took a good long look at failure / Until we couldn’t anymore / I won the battle / but we lost the war.” Precious, right? Butch should persuade his pal Taylor Swift to cover it on her next album. Not that a cover could ever be as wonderful as the original. But if she covered it, more people would get to know the song and Butch’s songwriting. And Butch would get royalties from her for having written it and we all want our favorite singer/songwriter to have money to finance his next record, right?
If you have Peachtree Battle, I suggest you buy this 10″ and make a playlist adding these two songs because they really should have been on there. I did this and I even played with the tracklist a bit, putting the songs where I think Butch would have put them if they’d been done in time for Peachtree. But I know my fellow music nerds will have their own ideas about where these two tracks should fit in there so I’m not going to waste my time telling you where I put them.