Chicago-based indie label Bloodshot Records has, despite a myriad of changes in the industry, managed to survive — and, more importantly, thrive — for two decades. With more than 200 releases to its credit (most of them terrific) Bloodshot has become a respected fixture on the music.
“As an indie label operating on the fringes, we try to keep our eyes forward and ignore and avoid the chaos, distractions, inanities and indifference on the peripheries of the biz and bring to bear our ingrained, Chicago stacker-of-wheat work ethic,” label co-owner Rob Miller explains. “The pay is low, but at least the hours are long, and there’s never been an expectation of longevity; there’s always been some new hurdle to climb over or problem to solve.”
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration, Bloodshot has put together a phenomenal compilation in “While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records.” There’s a nice twist to the usual compilation formula in that the two-CD set features 38 songs from the Bloodshot catalog covered by non-label acts.
The Blitzen Trapper cover of Ryan Adams’ “To be Young (Is to Be Sad, Is to Be High)” is the perfect lid lifter and additional keepers come courtesy of Chris Shiflett & Dead Peasants (Justin Townes Earle’s “Look the Other Way”), Into It. Over It. (Neko Case’s “Deep Red Bells”), Tim Kasher (The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir’s “Aspidistra”), Carolyn Mark (Alejandro Escovedo’s “Last to Know”), Frank Turner (Cory Branan’s “The Corner”), The Handsome Family (The Bottle Rockets’ “1000 Dollar Car”), James Leg (Dex Romweber Duo’s “Is That You in the Blue?”) and William Elliott Whitmore (Case’s “I Wish I Was the Moon”). This is a testament to Bloodshot’s enduring legacy. (Jeffrey Sisk)