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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Our new full-length record on limited-edition vinyl.

    Pressed on coke-bottle clear vinyl, featuring original jacket art by Indiana-based artist Kyle Boyer and all lyrics included in Joshua's handwriting.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Alyosha via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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about

Indianapolis-based folk collective Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery are poised to release their best and broadest record to date. Alyosha, their third full-length record, was produced by Jonathan Class at Varsity Recording Co. in Anderson, IN, and encapsulates the group’s tonal shift, from the rustic Appalachian Americana of Man Is Born for Trouble, to a new, psychedelically-tinged, deeply textural electric brand of avant-garde folk. Alyosha was released in digital outlets and on vinyl on October 16th.

After playing 400+ shows across 40+ states, Powell had plenty of experiences to funnel into the creative process of making Alyosha. Abandoning the traditional folk trappings of the band’s previous material, he sought to put aside the fans’ expectations in favor of making the record he wanted to hear. This was expressed through experimentation with electric guitars, effect chains, and keyboard sounds, but also in Powell’s vocal delivery, which is at its most unaffected and lucid. The lyrics, as ever, are central to the work and cover a variety of themes: from controversial drone politics and Hoosier post-industrialism, to Aesopian fables and witch trials. Eleven Magazine praises its “allegorical heft” and “beautiful bleakness.”

As Powell and his transiently shifting backing band have extrapolated their sound, they have opened for such national acts as Mike Mains & the Branches, Seabird, and The Soil & the Sun, recorded sessions at Daytrotter, and played festivals like Indy Folk Fest, Starry Night, Midpoint Music Fest, and Lincoln Calling. Powell continues to tour regionally and is fast becoming a loudening voice in the Midwest’s independent music community.

credits

released October 14, 2015

All songs written and recorded by Joshua Powell

Joshua Powell - guitars, vocals
Jacob Powell - drums
Jonathan Class - keyboards and auxiliary

additional guitars performed by Jason Barrows
horns by Luke Stafford and CJ Lukas

Produced by Jonathan Class at Varsity Recording Co. in Anderson, IN
Engineering by Alex Dobbert

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about

Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery Indianapolis, Indiana

The Great Train Robbery was born in Anderson, IN in 2011. After years on the road, Powell refocused his energy into the Midwest. Here, he funneled his experiences into his most ambitious record yet, Alyosha: a psychedelically-tinged electric folk trip. Evoking comparisons to Sufjan Stevens and Neil Young, t's been described it as “lushly-composed chamber folk…revival-in-the-river folk mysticism.” ... more

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Track Name: Gunfighter Ballad for the 21st Century
I saw you with a boy/I saw the crowded real estate beneath his denim
And I was in the right/so I wrote it in a bill and paid all the right people to plant a seed
I’ve got the coordinates/that’s all they need

While you were holding hands/the backroom wizards loaded more than six into my chamber
As you looked me in the lens, you said, “Do what you have to do and do it quickly.”
I thought you clever to quote our Lord, but there is no Peter in the garden with a sword

Now I know what you are, (droning on, droning on)
Love travels far but modern bullets travel farther

Well Marty had it wrong/I’m safe behind these walls of burnished pedigree
I’ll never hang tonight/already paid the flight with the tax dollars in my pocket
Honey, there is nothing you can do to stop it

Now I know what you are, (droning on, droning on)
Love travels far but modern bullets travel farther

Modern bullets travel faster
Modern bullets travel far
Track Name: Petrichor
All/grand mal epileptic sex
Auras in your orangeade
Secondhand weathervane
Pedestrian magic

Lore/petrichor
Catch the devil (catch the devil)
Do, in silver dew
Twist the twigs into a trap/step back

Lay her body down/into the sugarcane
The foxes run, the day is done
The day is done
The flowers speak/winter wheat antique
Superimposing oceans
The day is done

Still/roadkill, signposts
Southern in your sigh
Low, I get alone
And suddenly all my thoughts seem worth speaking
Track Name: Cave of Clouds
This far north, the air is not without a set of teeth for cutting through your clothes
The spirits of the lusher trees are steadily canvassing the cliffs
They’re at the cabin door

It’s not all bad to be alone
It’s not all bad to be alone

From the lip of the cave of clouds, casting mountains in the sea to watch the ripple moon
We disregard the sinking sounds anymore, pretty little creatures that we are

It’s not all bad to be alone
It’s not all bad to be alone
Track Name: The Farmer and the Viper
Kentucky snow/and my bones are fairly shaken
in the winter and its waking on the land I’m cultivating
and I watch a detonation of crows
Out of the dogwood/where the leaves all quit attempting
and the witchhazel is empty just like everything is dead
exempting me, out in the cold

And there he lay/like the devil was a cropper
on my family’s farming proper, tiny bones and head of copper in the loam
shivering to death
He wasn’t moving, and I knew the antidote
pity rose up in my throat, and so I put him in my coat to get him warm
and carry him back home

Well why should I oversimplify? It’s good to be alive
So logically, all living things are good if not misunderstood
and I will not play God, arbitrating, arrogantly designating who should live

Well then it happened—I bet you already guessed
when I called the cursed blessed he sank his fangs into my chest and through my shirt
and put his venom in the veins
As I was dying, I thought it rather fitting
that my heart produced the pity and that’s the spot the snake bit me
and I know nature doesn’t want changed

Well I should have compromised—I didn’t realize the demon at my doorstep
But with one slash of Sheol’s knife, he cut down the tree of life
And stacked the wood for kindling and the laughter that I’m sure will follow after this life
Track Name: Indiana
From the salvage yard, there are two black dogs who run
through the post-harvest fields of winter wheat as stalks
running on last legs

From the GM plant and the empty storefronts’ lull
all the finches, quick, are undressed inside their song
of a sad place to love

Well the houses are matchsticks after everyone left
but the soil is good and we’re not dead yet

Open up the motorbike/burning down the turnpike
Perfect lines, effortless

Keep me in your hidden thoughts/where every road that ever crossed
had council held with the snow/resting easy—this is home


This is home

With the husk of Delco heavy in the loom
will there always be as many empty rooms
or eyes?
Track Name: Birth Control
I, insistent, follow blindly
on the buckle of the Bible belt
with a two-bit axe in my pack, and my baby boy on my back
as I track you on the mountain

It’s not the first time we met
“Light a fire,” he said,
“Send your boy out to destroy the saplings, gathering sticks.
”
Well I spit and I cuss
because I have issues with trust
“But I might as well avoid the hellfire I can control,” I told myself.

So I raised a cairn in honor
and I scanned the sky for Gabriel
and I made your sign with oil on his head
and wept

You snatched the knife from my fist
and checked me off of your list
“It was a test, you’re highly blessed and I am proud that you passed,”

Well you judge the dead and the quick
but that was awful and sick
to flicker like a candle, I am not a man that gambles

What if no ram came?
Track Name: Decalogue
Emma, I wish you weren’t married
Emma, I’m sorry that I brought it up
and put you in an uncomfortable situation
now the boy you love will almost certainly not be my friend

Emma, I wish you weren’t married
It’s a dilemma existing only in my psychic glade
the record is an example of your contentment
and I’ve got nothing on your husband ‘cause he’s also in a rock band

I’m sure you’re happy, and you don’t think of me
and that’s right

But I never had lucid dreams before I met you
and I still don’t, technically,
but on a parallel continuum, I’m sure I met you years ago
because I can imagine with such clarity you letting me hold your hand

Well I’m sure you’re pissed—
you didn’t ask for this and I’m sorry, Emma
Track Name: Telekinesis
Witches never look like witches do in your mind’s eye
and when blackbirds peck out your green eyes, I won’t be able to act surprised

Well I wish I knew a way out, but the woods are closing in on you
and your coven is all around, and I’m stuck holding the matchbook now

Your veil is frost-soaked and shining
as it skirts your low neckline
Put it off, my offbeat acolyte—
when you die, do it beside me

The left wing has been clipped like a shrub and the right wing is on designer drugs
But don’t mind me—I’m just a man who began to suspect he was made out of glass

Your veil is frost-soaked and shining
as it skirts your low neckline
Put it off, my offbeat acolyte—
when you die, do it beside me
Track Name: Ernest Hemingway
Strung along, careless fires
and the vertebrate of fences
Loft of a ruined choir
and the counterpoint of vague assemblies

In a copse of birch trees
I dream of Iceland
and drink the snowmelt

Avalanches, slick as sharks
in the fossil record
In Colorado
bliss of Christmas lights and air travel

In a copse of birch trees
I dream of Iceland
and drink the snowmelt

So, brother, pour me a drink
and watch for eyes beyond the fire ring
Track Name: Left the Academy
Back in high school, my dad took me out
in the pine scrub with a rifle
and I bagged one with a bruised shoulder
and I couldn’t eat
and in my mind I’m still covered in deer blood