Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's Not Too Early to Plan for the 2016 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Frequent readers will know that the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is one of our favorite music festivals. (See past coverage.) Where else can you enjoy live music at a large outdoor pavilion or inside a coffee shop or perhaps an historic theater or a billiards hall. Only in Bristol Tennessee and Virginia. And the price for a 3 day ticket ranges from an early bird $50 for three days to only $100 at the gate. In addition to headliners Loretta Lynn and Buddy Guy, the lineup is spectacular as listed below with special attention to Cracker, Hayes Carll, Darrell Scott, Scythian, Blair Crimmins & the Hookers, Mike Farris, and The Tillers. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Delfest Single Day Tickets Now Available

Delfest, the three day music festival running over Memorial Day Weekend is now selling single day tickets ($60) as their 4 day package is sold out. This Bluegrass-Americana based festival is held at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, MD (2.5 hrs from Baltimore and DC). The lineup is crazy good with Del McCoury and The Travelin' McCourys headlining as usual. Then I'd be following
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Railroad Earth, Sam Bush Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Wood Brothers The Infamous Stringdusters feat. Nicki Bluhm, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Cabinet, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Dale Ann Bradley, Elephant Revival, Aoife O’Donovan plus many more excellent artists.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Album Review: Hackensaw Boys - Charismo

The last two days I've listened to an advanced copy of the Hackensaw Boys upcoming album Charismo. It is produced by Larry Campbell who was the ringleader of Levon Helm's band it's last few years. The album will drop on Tax Day by Free Dirt Records and I recommend using your refund to procure this release. The band has evolved over the years with the current iteration a trio consisting of founder David Sickmenn, who returned after a long hiatus in 2012, festival favorite Ferd Moyse, and Brian Gorby, who inherited the album's namesake - the Charismo - from Justin Neuhardt. 

The songs on Charismo are all original written by Sickmen and Moyse and a good ear can distinguish them. There's more sophistication and maybe more seriousness to the songs, and not the jamming thrillers we loved at festivals. But the harmonies are still killer. The opening track "Don't Bet Against Me" is in my opinion the best track with "Happy For Us in the Down" and "Flora" two more favorites. Festival goers will want to listen to "Limousin Lady". As much as I'd like to pair this album with Veritas Winery, where the band plays often, but Starr Hill Brewery seems a better option. Cheers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why Does Christmas Remind Me of Johnny Cash - ' Hurt"

For some reason every Christmas season I think of Johnny Cash and lately his last few albums produced by Rick Rubin like the Grammy Award-winning American IV: The Man Comes Around.The second track, Hurt, is a powerful song written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, but seemingly fit more for the Man in Black.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Album Review: Mipso - Old Time Reverie

I'm still rather troubled that this year I missed all the major music festivals I usually attend like Merlefest, Floydfest, and Bristol Rhythm & Roots. However, I've found a North Carolina quartet that is helping alleviate that pain. Mipso is a modified bluegrass band that should be part of Floydfest's Emerging Artist Series. And I say modified since they are not a traditional bluegrass band - and not newgrass either. Their latest release Old Time Reverie showcases this unique Appalachian sound. My favorite track is Bad Penny, shades of Americana fused with old time country. Everyone Knows is close behind. Mipso consists of Jacob Sharp (mandolin), Joseph Terrell (guitar), Wood Robinson (bass), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle). The album showcases their tight harmonies and individual instrumentation. Pair with Chapel Hill's Top Of The Hill Brewery. Cheers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Album Review: Jason Boland & The Stragglers - Squelch

Based on attendance from shows in the DC area, Jason Boland & The Stragglers must have a solid national audience which should only increase after the band's eighth album, Squelch. Boland's signature gravelly vocals and the pedal steel guarantee a solid country sound; although there are other genre's mingled in. See The First To Know and the rockn' It's Alright to Be An A*Hole. Yet, the Texas Country vibe is what shines the brightest, songs like the opening track Break 19, Heartless Bypass, and Do You Love Me Any Less. And listen to the end, Bienville is a fine Texas waltz. Pair Squelch with Stillwater Oklahoma's Iron Monk Brewing Company. Cheers.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Album Review: Tellico - Relic And Roses

I'm an admitted dobro and pedal steel junky, so it shouldn't be surprising that I totally enjoyed Tellico's dobro and steel laced debut release: Relic And Roses. Of course there's more to this album then just Aaron Ballance on the aforementioned instruments; Jed Willis contributes solid  mandolin and clawhammer banjo; Jon Stickley (producer) of the Jon Stickley Trio; and then there's Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle) and Stig Stiglets (bass). You may be familiar with these names from their Dehlia Low days and the two wrote all tracks except the Neil Young White Line-River of Pride medley. Their songs are rootsy and full of life, whether uplifting or sorrowful. The album starts with an authentic Appalachian sound in Backstep Blues but its Can't Go Home Again where the album hits its stride. Just hear those instruments. Would love to hear the playful Hawkeye Pierce and Honeycutt Blues live, and Farewell Winds is the most powerful track - until you hear Mexico 1995. This is a tremendous debut effort; suburb orchestration and songwriting. Well done. Pair with Blonde Whiskey from Asheville Distilling Company. Cheers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Album Review: Sour Bridges - Entertaining Americana Rock

Austin-based band Sour Bridges proves that Americana-rock bands need not fear the banjo or fiddle. Brothers Bill and Matt Pucci have combined their love of bluegrass with electric guitar and bass and an occasional keyboard to create a funky, vibrant sound. Last month the band releases their self titled album, the third in their portfolio. My favorite songs are those where the fiddle and banjo are prevalent such as Teddy, Cocaine Lorraine, and Workin' Boy.  Kat “Mama Kat” Wilkes (fiddle), Dalton Chamblee (drums), Jack Bridges (vocals, bass guitar) and "hired gun" Ben Morgan (keys) round out the team. The waltzy Meet You There showcases the band's tight harmonies and Bumble Bee their rustic pickin' ability.  This is an impressive release; all songs diverse and entertaining. Pair with Richmond Virginia's Hardywood Park Craft Brewery where the band performs June 28th. Cheers.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Album Review: Robyn Ludwick - Little Rain

Last year the "Queen of Modern Texas Country Soul", Robyn Ludwick, released Little Rain and recently I finally got around to purchasing a copy. The descriptor is spot on, as the album combines a bit of bluesy soul to that Texas Americana sound. The album was produced by Gurf Morlix who also featured his considerable talent on the guitar, keyboards, banjo, pedal steel, and backing vocals. Husband John Ludwick (electric and upright bass) and Rick Richards (drums) round out the musical cast. The opening track,  Longbow, OK, sets our high expectations for this release with it's tale of love gone bad. Seems like a constant theme as the Heartache continues with her soulful vocals - at times backed by haunting music. Lafayette is a favorite track where Ludwick displays more range and Little Weakness all Americana. If you are still not convinced, consider that Ludwick is the sister of Charlie Robison and Bruce Robison. Would love to hear the singing at that family reunion. Pair Little Rain with the Lost Maples Winery, the closest winery to Ludwick's Bandera Texas hometown. Cheers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Album Review: Kym Warner - Everything That Brought Me Here

Last month I attended another great house concert, this time featuring Kym Warner and Warren Hood, where the duo thoroughly entertained the captive audience. You should know Warner as a founding member of the Grammy nominated bluegrass outfit The Greencards. And Hood has an impressive following among The Waybacks fans as well as anyone from the Austin area. The duo were brilliant; entertaining with stories, humor, and music - many of these derived from Warner's debut solo album "Everything That Brought Me Here". Simply, this album is fantastic - the all acoustic release displaying Warner's mastery of the mandolin as well as the impressive musicianship of his guest musicians: Andy Hall (dobro) of the The Infamous Stringdusters, Tommy Emmanuel, Jedd Hughes, Carl Miner, Jake Stargel, Bill Whitbeck, David Beck, Brian Standefer, Jeff Taylor, Eric Darken and Dan Dugmore. I've had the album running continually during the day for the past few weeks and never tire with particular standouts in City to the Bay, El Paloma, Start Your Engines, San Leanna, and the highly relevant Great Falls. You won't be able to see Warner solo or with The Greencards this summer as he is touring with Robert Earl Keen as a member of his bluegrass band. In any event, pair Everything That Brought Me Here with Austin's (512) Brewing Company. Cheers.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dom Flemons Offers Free Download of "What Got Over" EP

Carolina Chocolate Drops alum and talented multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons is offering a free download of his What Got Over EP through May. After the free download period, the EP will be available in the following stores. Here's Flemons describing how the EP evolved.
When I recorded Prospect Hill back in January 2014, I knew from the beginning that I would have a lot of extra songs. Overall, we recorded about 30 tracks and I was only able to include a portion of these on the final album. On my What Got Over EP I present a few tracks that I felt were too good to leave in the vault. Included on this EP are also a few alternates to the main tracks I picked for Prospect Hill—versions in which I experimented with the sound and instrumentation but in the end they didn’t make the final cut.
Enjoy this companion as one more testament to 2014: The Year of the Folksinger with the hope that the music will push on! We all can use a few extra sets of hands to help in the cause of making good honest music. I want to present this collection as a thank you to all the fans and lovers of good music. This one is for you! Catch you all down the road!
And these songs are too good to leave in the vault. First timers would never guess these are contemporary songs; full of old time instruments and a throwback vocals. The harp laced electric blues in Clock on the Wall is an exception; actually a terrific exception and a new side to Flemons I've never heard.  The remainder of the EP is pure Flemons the historian. Go listen.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Album Review: Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds - The Weather Below

If you're planning on attending Floydfest this year, then get a preview of one of the scheduled artists, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, through their latest release The Weather Below. Produced by Ryan Hadlock and recorded at Bear Creek Studio just outside Seattle, WA; the album's rock and soul tinged sound merits a listen. The attraction starts with Arleigh Kincheloe's sultry and powerful vocals and is augmented by vibrant horns (Phil Rodriguez (trumpet), and Brian Graham (saxophones)). Then the harmonica (Jackson Kincheloe) merges with the guitar (Sasha Brown) and blends seamlessly with the bass (Josh Myers) and drums (Dan Boyden). Just check out Don't Be Jealous. That's a tight track. So is Cold Blooded - love the opening guitar riff.  The title track, Borderline, We Need A Love, and Catch Me If You Can are also favored songs. Pair with NYC's Kings County Distillery - home to an awesome band - Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Album Review: Grant Dermody - Sun Might Shine on Me

If you are a fan of acoustic country blues and harmonica, then the latest from Seattle blues harmonicist Grant Dermody is for you. Sun Might Shine on Me was recorded in Southwest Louisiana at the studio home of Dirk Powell (Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Balfa Toujours) and the release is reminiscent of historic recordings whether from the Mississippi Delta, Appalachia, or Cajun country. Dermody is joined by a fleet of talented players in Creole fiddler Cedric Watson (Pine Leaf Boys), Creole swamp-pop elder drummer Jockey Etienne (Slim Harpo); Seattle-based blues and folk guitar master Orville Johnson (Laura Love), and Texas-based blues mandolinist Rich Del Grosso (Howard “Louie Blouie” Armstrong). When You Left pretty much exemplifies the album; slow and steady acoustic guitar, harp, and Dermody's raspy vocals. Check out So Sorry To Leave You and J'ai Passe as well. Pair with Southwest Louisiana's Bayou Teche Brewing. Cheers.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lockn' Music Festival - Best Lineup in 2015?

The lineup for the 2015 Lockn' Music Festival is hard to ignore. Held September 10-13 at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington,Virginia; this camping festival has perhaps the best lineup of 2015. Just look at the opening night with The Doobie Brothers joining The String Cheese Incident as The Doobie Incident, Little Feat, Galactic, and Deer Tick. The rest of the weekend continues with a who's who of jam band and classic bands: Widespread Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Robert Plant, Phil Lesh & friends (Warren Haynes, Carlos Santana) , The North Mississippi AllstarsAnders Osborne, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Umphrey's McGee, Hot Tuna, Melvin Seals, and soon and so on. You get the picture. A four day pass is $285 with various camping options.  There will be plenty of beer food venders as well along with activities such as mountain biking courtesy of CAMBC (Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club) and swimming through Water Lockn'. Hope to see you there.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Album Review: Woody Pines Upcoming Self Titled Release

If you are a fan of Old Crow or Pokey LaFarge, Woody Pines upcoming self titled album on Nashville’s Muddy Roots Records label should be your thing. In fact, Woody Pines and Gill Landry toured together previously as a jugband.  The album combines that sound with a little country blues and rootsy country to create one special release. Pines is augmented by Skip Frontz Jr on bass and Brad Tucker on electric guitar, with the album produced by Grammy-winner Mitch Dane and mixed by Vance Powell. Two tracks you must seek out are Little Stella Blue and Make It To The Woods; one soft, the other rough and bluesy - but both excellent songs. Delta Bound is another great blues song; Walking Stick and Black Rag Swing will be festival favorites. The album is due out May 28th and pair with the several breweries where the band is performing this summer: Triumph Brewing Company, Bearwaters Brewery, and Marietta Brewing Company. Cheers.