Monday, December 9, 2013

The Grammy Nominations & Categories To Follow

The 2014 Grammy Nominations were just announced and their are several friends of and artists we've covered in the past nominated.  While viewing the categories we skimmed over some that we were interested in (Rock, Gospel) all the way down until we found #45 Best American Roots Song.  You can forget about the Pop divas and so called Country stars; here are the outstanding artists we care about.And special congratulations to artists we covered this year such as Della Mae, The Greencards, The Boxcars, Jim Lauderdale, Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott. Who's your favorite?

45. Best American Roots Song

  • Build Me Up From Bones
    • Sarah Jarosz, songwriter (Sarah Jarosz)
    • Label: Sugar Hill Records
  • Invisible
    • Steve Earle, songwriter (Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses))
    • Label: New West Records; Publisher: Exile On Jones St. Music
  • Keep Your Dirty Lights On
    • Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott, songwriters (Tim O'Brien And Darrell Scott)
    • Track from: Memories And Moments
    • Label: Full Skies Records
  • Love Has Come For You
    • Edie Brickell & Steve Martin, songwriters (Steve Martin & Edie Brickell)
    • Track from: Love Has Come For You
    • Label: Rounder; Publishers: LA Films Music/Brick Elephant Music
  • Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed
    • Allen Toussaint, songwriter (Allen Toussaint)
    • Track from: Songbook
    • Label: Rounder; Publishers: Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc/Marsaint Music, Inc.

46. Best Americana Album

47. Best Bluegrass Album

48. Best Blues Album

49. Best Folk Album

  • My Favorite Picture Of You
  • Sweetheart Of The Sun
  • Build Me Up From Bones
  • The Ash & Clay
  • They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration
    • (Various Artists)
    • Chris Strachwitz, producer
    • Label: Arhoolie Records

Friday, December 6, 2013

Who Wants Some Whiskey Kisses from Erica Blinn?

You will - after watching this video and checking out the latest CD Whiskey Kisses from Erica Blinn. The music is part pop-rock, part county, sometimes bluesy, and at times, jamming. My favorite track is Sexy Mess - which really showcases her band - The Handsome Machine - with plenty of rockn' guitar, harp, and drums.  They can also slow it down gracefully with Need Someone Tonight and How Lucky I Am. Then back to the her harp and some punk rock and Home. There's something for everyone with this CD. Did I say the harp and guitar rock? Pretty cool. Pair with a Greenbroad Leaf and Schlafly Bottleworks Session IPA.

Friday, November 29, 2013

On the Edge with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

After seeing Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen at Bristol Rhythm and seeing that banjo player Mike Munford was awarded the IBMA's Banjo Player of the Year, I decided to revisit On the Edge, released in the Spring 2013 in their Compass Records debut. Not sure why this CD got replaced in the regular cycle, it's one that should remain in close proximity to the player - all year round.  Solivan voice is much smoother in this release - displaying more emotion. This could be a result of highly passionate songs such as  Gone and On the Edge of Letting Go. And his mandolin is no slouch either. I don't know how anyone can play that instrument and Solivan is at his best. Munford shows off his talents throughout the CD, particularly in his M80 - a fast paced ride - and Bedrock.  Youngsters Dan Booth (bass) and Chris Luquette (guitar) round out the Dirty Kitchen gumbo with tight harmonies (see Wild Unknown and No Chance) as well as equilibrium and balance.  How else could the band cover The Box Tops classic The Letter and make it better than the original - and on hyperdrive. Pretty awesome stuff.  Pair with the closest winery to Solivan's Alexandria home -Paradise Springs Winery. Cheers.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Austin is Truly Weird and Blessed with The Nightowls - Good As Gold

I've been listening to several bands lately with a might horns section and another one falls in my lap courtesy of Austin based The Nightowls. In early December they are releasing Good As Gold and if you enjoy a mix of Motown and Memphis - this CD is for you. In fact, listening transports one back to the 60's and 70's where The Nightowls could easily assimilate into the great Soul and R&B bands of that time. Frontman Ryan Harkride provides that classic era's vocals along with harmonies from Tara Williamson and Ellie Carroll. But it's the band's vibe that entraps me- the encompassing of keyboards, guitar, bass, and horns that get ya bouncing in your seat - at least in the car. At a club would be much more preferable and the band will celebrate their CD release show December 7th at Stubb's BBQ.  Pair with Austin's music friendly Thirsty Planet Brewing. Cheers.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

First Look at Gypsy Sally's with Yarn & Blair Crimmins and the Hookers

A couple months back Gypsy Sally's opened in Georgetown with an incredible first month lineup. November has been no slouch either and I finally had no excuse to visit when our new friends Blair Crimmins and The Hookers  opened for old favs Yarn. We joined the hooker bandwagon in September after viewing their performance at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and a serious listen to their latest CD Sing-a-Longs. Yarn has been a staple musical diet since Floydfest, The Festy, Firefly Vodka, and Almost Home.  Seems like many folks had the same impression as me since the venue was nicely populated - more Yarnies then Hookers, but all saw a great night of music from both. The Hookers were tight, entertaining horns, some serious banjo and guitar work by Crimmins, and lyrics that won over the crowd. I heard one onlooker exclaim that "they've been transported to the French Quarter".   Yarn seamlessly opened bringing a stampede of diners to the dance floor where they remained the night dancing and singing to Yarn's now classic alt-country. A typical great set, this time, I believe, inspired by Andrew Hendryx's mandolin.   Looking forward to listening more to Shine The Light On with songs such as Angel Place That Halo, Bobby Weeks, and Take Me First. Cheers and pair with Breuckelen Distilling or New York Distilling Company Gin and Whisky.  Oh yea, I'll be a frequent visitor to Gypsy Sally's - great food; decent beer list; and solid lineups.

Blair Crimmins and the Hookers

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dom Flemons is the "American Songster" and our National Musical Historian

We were fortunate to have Grace & Tony (check out their new CD November) invite us to Jammin' Java to hear them open for the very talented Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.  Flemons bills himself as " the 'American Songster,' pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds". I have no argument with that description; all it takes is attending one performance or listening to American Songster. In fact he is our National Musical Historian. Who else has mastered the banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills? Who else covers lost musicians from the first half of the 19th century like Flemons and brings them to life as his own. Who else can get my son's undivided attention for an entire hour - now that's talent. (Truth be told, The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band can as well). Pair with Music Maker Relief Foundation and brews from Mystery Brewing Company.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Album Review: Grace and Tony - November

This past Saturday I was invited to my local music joint Jammin' Java to hear husband and wife duo Grace & Tony as they opened for Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops). The bio for Grace Shultz and Tony White suggests Punkgrass (She played bluegrass. He played punk..) to describe their music, but I think that undersells their wide repertoire of sound - gospel, bluegrass, folk, even Spanish styled guitar. That's how they started out the evening and unfortunately after a few songs they had to close out their set because of extremely tight time constraints.

Thus I revisited their upcoming CD November, that's due for a November 12th release. With the opening track Hey Grace, Hey Tony, you first notice the vocal harmonies, complete balance between sweet and earthy.  The title track and The Chamleon are my favorite songs, both interesting with plenty of finger picking, harmonies, and in the later, a surprise gospel styled sing-a-long.  Grassephomy and La Camera are other cool tracks - listen to the end.  Paired with DC Brau The Public™.

Monday, October 28, 2013

CD Review: Della Mae - This World Oft Can Be

Over the past couple of years I've seen Della Mae perform at a couple festivals, but it was their performances at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion which finally sparked a desire to really start following this quintet - first by purchasing their latest CD: This World Oft Can Be. The release was produced by esteemed Bryan Sutton and recorded at Cash Cabin Studio, Johnny Cash's former recording base in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  Just as their live performances reflect, the CD is filled with dazzling vocals and harmonies; some mighty fine picking; and traditional American music. Della Mae was founded by fiddler Kimber Ludiker, who assembled a cast of young but proficient players in vocalist and guitarist Celia Woodsmith, mandolinst Jenni Lyn Gardner, bassist Shelby Means, and lead guitarist Courtney Hartman. Ludiker is a two time national fiddle champion and her fiddle is prevalent throughout the CD - particularly on the long solo on the first track.  My favorite tracks are the fast paced Empire, Hounds (maybe because of my affection for greyhounds), and Like Bones - just concentrate on the vocals and guitar. They even cover one of my favorite Sarah Siskind tracks Pine Tree and the last track, Some Roads Lead On, is a beauty. For their show this Saturday November 2nd at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown Maryland, pair with Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Comus.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

CD Review: Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman: We Made it Home

Sometime in the past, I was fortunate that my email address entered the mail listing for Hearth Music, for they have provided me with some awesome music - including Melody Walker and her CD Gold Rush Goddess. Recently they sent me Walker's latest collaboration with partner Jacob Groopman -- We Made it Home -- which is also produced by folk icon Laurie Lewis.  The result is pure entertainment. There's great guitar picking (such as in the title track, Retinue, and Little Blue Caboose); beautiful harmonies (Retinue again and Black Grace); and great balance between songs lead by Walker and then Groopman. His Come on Mule and Sweet Sunny South may be my favorites - both with Levon Helm-ish qualities. There's also a moving song about "Billy the Champ" and two unique covers: Paul Simon's Graceland and Mississippi Moon from Peter Rowan.  This duo has shown that winning the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest was no fluke.  Pair with a 21st Amendment Bitter American. Cheer.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Apparently Not-So-Farewell Dr. Ralph Stanley Farewell Tour

Since I started following the bluegrass scene on a fairly regular basis, it's been a personal goal to see perhaps the last living founder of old time mountain music, Dr. Ralph Stanley perform live. And when the good doctor stated that this was his farewell tour I targeted their show on October 20th at The Birchmere. In order to prepare for the evening I watched the Clinch Mountain Boys perform the previous week at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. Over multiple viewings of the festival archives I saw that the band was extremely tight and fronted effortlessly by Stanley's 21 year old grandson Nathan Stanley.  While the youngest Stanley sings lead on many songs; there are plenty of vocals and harmonies from his grandfather as well as most of the Clinch Mountain Boys.

And this was very close to what we saw at The Birchmere; Dr. Ralph was in great form, the band was tight, and as a bonus former frontman, and son, Ralph Stanley II joined in for a few songs. They played old Stanley Brother's songs, popular songs such as Orange Blossom Special, and requests from the audience as if they were planted. This is one professional outfit. We even got to hear fiddler Dewey Brown play the Shofar - a biblical horn instrument made from a ram's horn. Pretty impressive. But the evening was all Dr. Ralph as he sung O Death, Man of Constant Sorrow, and Angel Band - repeating the verses for the last two multiple times as the crowd cheered him on.  Although he seemed to tire on occasion, he is 86 after all, he hung tough the entire evening and stated at the end that he's not done yet. He told us that at the time he announced his farewell tour he meant it; but now, he aims to keep performing as long as the good Lord allows. Thus, we hope to see the entire Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys next year; same place, same time. Or perhaps earlier at the Stanley conclave for the 44rd Annual Memorial Bluegrass Festival held Memorial Weekend and a new version slated for Labor Day weekend. We also plan on catching Ralph II and his band at the Lucketts Community Center December 7th. Cheers to a great night of old time mountain music.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Album Review: Up The Chain - Seeds & Thorns

I first saw Reed Kendall of Philly's Up the Chain perform solo at a distant Dewey Beach Music Conference and immediately added him to my follow list. Vocals, interesting lyrics, rockn' guitar and that's what you get from their debut CD "Holy, Open, Drying Road" and the just released Seeds & Thorns. This latter is more soulful than rock based and a bit more sophisticated for the palette. It's starts with the clever tune Seasick Sailers but the mid-palette is the CD's strength - songs like A Ground, The Horse's Course, and Something New. This is a good listen - pair with anything from  Chaddsford Winery, Philadelphia Distilling, or Triumph Brewing Company. Cheers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Album Review: Michelle Malone - Day 2

I've always liked Guitar World's description of Michelle Malone "equal parts badass guitar slinger and sweet songstress"; and you get both of these qualities in the first two tracks of her latest release: Day 2. The first track, Other Girls, is badass guitar whereas the titel track is sweet songstress. The entire CD oscillates between these extremes including some clever lyrics. favorite tracks are particularly in  Immigration Game, St. Peter, and Chicken Lickin Boogie for some good ole blues. Pair with a snifter of Thirteenth Colony Distilleries Southern Corn Whiskey. Cheers.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Chris Smither - 2013 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Here's a clip of Chris Smither at the 2013 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. If you are unfamiliar with Smither he is an excellent blues guitarist and songwriter. His latest CD, Hundred Dollar Valentine is worth a listen.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Blair Crimmins and The Hookers "It Don't Have To Rain" during a Rainy 2013 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

One of the coolest acts we stumbled upon at the 2013 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion was Blair Crimmins and The Hookers, an old-time jazz outfit based out of Atlanta, Georgia. In fact, Crimmins is so beloved in the Atlanta area, he was just named Best Songwriter by Creative Loafing, this after being voted onto the same outlet's Lustiest list. So what makes Crimmins and the Hookers this popular? Could it be that the 1920's ragtime, blues, and jazz are timeless, particularly when given a little rockn' edge?  Could it be that people are tiring of simple pop melodies? Or could it be that Crimmins and the Hookers are extremely entertaining. Probably all of the above.

For me, what makes their music more impressive is that, as the award above suggests, is all original music - just wrapped in an old time theme. Crimmins can concoct some clever lyrics indeed - "Cause it don’t have to rain to be a rainy day" - "Talking off each others heads while I’m just sitting here stuck in mine" - or the entire Roll Over Bessie.  This is good stuff so check out their newly released CD Sing-a-Longs or our four, rather poorly shot, videos from BRR. Here's their song, "It Don't Have To Rain" in the midst of a rainy afternoon in Bristol. Cheers.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Paul Thorn Rocks the 2013 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Perhaps one of the best performances given at the 2013 Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. was by Paul Thorn as he performed songs from throughout his portfolio and then waded into the crowd on his closing number. I first heard Thorn many years ago when XM Radio played his song 800 LB Jesus. Like many, I was attracted to his folksy and disarming demeanor. But in the end, his songs are heartfelt, meaningful, clever, and always a good listen.   

Thorn will be in the D.C. area November 21st as he opens for Joe Ely at The Birchmere. And here are two videos from the festival, the first of 800 LB Jesus and the second, of Thorn working the crowd. Cheers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Album Review: Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line - Carnival

I first crossed paths with Nora Jane Struthers when sent her self titled CD a few years back and quickly realized this was one artist who was on the rise. Since then I've followed her at a distance, as see joined and fronted the now defunct bluegrass outfit Bearfoot and then struck out with her own band Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line. And I finally was able to see her live and in person at this year's Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion plus purchase a copy of her latest CD Carnival.

What a treat. Carnival is all original music, straight out of the old style country-Americana tradition. And with the assistance of The Party Line - P. J. George, Joe Overton, Aaron Jonah Lewis, and Drew Lawhorn - their sound is like a fine wine: a fresh nose, structure, a little earthy dirt, and a long finish. My favorite tracks are a few they played at the festival: The Bakers Boys, Carnival, Bike Ride, and my ultimate favorite, Travelin On. Percussionist Laworn displays some major skills maintaining rhythm with his hands, thighs, and beatbox. Pretty cool. Check out this CD or see the band on tour now. I'll be at their D.C. stop at Gypsy Sally's on October 15th. Cheers.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Album Review: The Coal Men - Escalator

Like Americana music like me? Then you need to get a hold of the The Coal Men - Escalator. Along with longtime drummer Dave Ray, Nashville based Dave Coleman knows how to write songs with meaning, not the gobblygook that passes for pop-county today. This CD has some blues tendencies, outlaw country, and pure rock - what's not to like. Just have a listen to Broken Heartland or Tennessee. The CD was recorded live at the studio so it also as that raw - live music feeling. Need more validation? The CD is released from Todd Snider's Aimless Records and The Coal Men will be opening for Snider during an October tour.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Catching up with Holy Ghost Tent Revival and a Gumbo of Cabinet

Hard to believe that it's been three years since our MyJoogTV video with Holy Ghost Tent Revival and Flying Dog Brewery. Since I hadn't seen the band live in quite a while, jumped at the chance to catch up with the guys when they came to Jammin' Java during a mini-tour with Cabinet.  During this time, there has been a slight personnel change, Patrick settled down with marriage, but Stephen, Matt, Kevin, Hank, Charlie, and Ross have continued to crank out tight and sophisticated music. The sound has changed slightly, still some 20's dixieland (love the horns) and more classic rock. This evening Matt and Kevin fronted a few songs which augmented the diversity in their portfolio. Since our video, HGTR has continued to mature and grow stronger; make sure you check out their remaining dates on this tour and keep alert to a CD release in early Spring 2014.

As for Cabinet, what more can you say about this act? They had the entire club dancing and singing from the first song. And why not, acoustically they are a gumbo of that old time string sound, mixing bluegrass and old time country, with music bellowing from throughout the stage. And then when they went electric - watch out - they can play.  I really need to get down to The Festy to see these guys again. Cheers.

MyJoogTV Episode 2: Holy Ghost Tent Revival at Flying Dog Brewery from MyJoogTV on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mobile Apps for the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

In preparation for the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, there are two mobile applications that will increase your already high enjoyment level even further.They are theCompass winery and brewery locator and the Rhythm and Roots Reunion mobile app. theCompass will help you find wineries, breweries, and distilleries on your travels to Bristol and a demo is available here.  We always take a side trip on our trip down and theCompass makes planning much easier.

The Bristol Mobile Application will guide you through the festival schedule and allow your to share your plans, comments, photos, through various social media sites. The most impressive features are the ability to create alerts to remind you when a favorite artist is performing and even use geo-location to guide you to the stage or venue. Pretty cool.They also provide biographic information about all the performers as well as videos so that you can research acts that are unfamiliar.  Highly receommended.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion - Celebrating the Birthplace of Country Music

This weekend I'll be in front of some stage; whether standing, sitting, or dancing; whether outside, inside a tent, or in a pool hall. All the time enjoying the incredible array of musicians that the organizers of the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion assemble each year.  For the past four years, this has been a family tradition, navigating the six hours of Route 81 visiting local wineries, viewing the schedule and complaining about conflicts, and then disembarking at the Birthplace of Country Music:
Nashville may be country music’s capitol, but Bristol is the birthplace. It was on State Street in 1927 that talent scout Ralph Peer made the very first country music recordings with The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest Stoneman, and others, for the Victor Talking Machine Company. The recordings known as The Bristol Sessions are recognized internationally as the “Big Bang” of country music.

As much as I anticipate the our annual ritual and agonized over schedules, I wondered (1) how some of this year's performers view the festival and (2) whether they might provide some insight on whom we should watch perform.

Frank Solivan
(1) The musical heritage of Bristol is pretty amazing. It was a melting pot of musical influences. "The first family of country music" was from that area. The Carter family that is. I feel pretty honored to be able to perform in the area where country music and it's off-shoots started.

(2) I definitely want to hear Lucinda Williams! Also want to check out Deer Tick. It'd be great to see The Masters of Bluegrass... [J.D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury, and Bobby Osborne] what a heavy combo of legends!

The Black Lillies
(1) Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion is exactly what it claims to be. A reunion, a homecoming, a celebration, and a world class music festival. It's an opportunity for fans and musicians to meet once a year on the grounds of the Birthplace of Country music and celebrate what we all cherish and hold in common, a love and respect for the roots of country music. As a country music artist, playing in Bristol ranks right up there with playing The Opry, The Ryman, Tootsies, and all the other sacred country music sites.

(2) The Bristol lineup is always stellar. I have a long list of artists to see this year. In no particular order This Mountain,Folk Soul Revival, Erick Baker, If Birds Could Fly, Uncle Lucius, Chatham County Line, Pokey LaFarge, Paul Thorn, Defibulators, Shovels and Rope, Della Mae, JD McPherson, Dave Eggar, Hayes Carll....aaannnnd....that's about all!

Jenni Lyn Gardner of Della Mae
(1) We are honored to be asked back to play and be part of history in the making that takes place every year at the RRR. The rich musical heritage that was born and still do this day takes place in Bristol in unmatched and we go there hoping to be inspired and inspire others with our music.

(2) Oh there are so many other bands I'm going to try and see perform this year. Shovels and Rope, The Masters of Bluegrass, Chatham County Line, The Black Lillies, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen... There are seriously too many to name.

Paul Thorn
(1) The list of talented artists that came from Bristol is astonishing. The Carter Family, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Jimmy Rogers are all household names. They all left behind great bodies of work that would make any town proud. I am so happy that I will get to perform at this great festival that honors them.

(2) When you are a performer you rarely get to see the other acts. It's always ''set up tear down, set up tear down, set up tear down............"

Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival
(1) This festival is certainly an important festival given the musical heritage, and given that its a blast to be at.  To be walking the border of Tennessee and Virginia with great music and vendors on both sides is a great scenario amidst life.  Important enough for us to return consecutive years!!

(2) Last year I walked around without any expectations of who to listen too.  It was kind of nice to not know many of the bands there, and to just stop where the music pulls you in.  That's the beauty of Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

Enter the Haggis

1) Editor's note: This will be the band's first foray into the Bristol area, so they will be learning about it's rich musical heritage along with us.

2) There are a few acts we're excited about. Hey Rosetta is at the top of the list - they're a Canadian band and they're incredible. Getting to see them up close on a festival stage is going to be a real thrill for us!
Elephant Revival is another act we've heard great things about but never seen. We'll be sharing a stage with them, so that should be fun. Some friends of ours will be joining us at the festival as well: The Steel Wheels, Burning Bridget Cleary and Scythian are all great bands we've played with numerous times, and they'll all put on great shows.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Album Review: Katie McNally - Flourish

Like listening to the fiddle? Gaelic styled music? Then Katie McNally's Flourish is the CD for you.This is all instrumental, all the time - Katie's fiddle backed by the flat guitar, upright bass, piano, and cello. It's soothing music, but also I can't seem to get the final sequence of Napoleon Dynamite out of my mind while listening. Not sure why. I guess its cheerful and soothing. Pair with a pint of Harp or Aberlour Scotch. Cheers.

As a new generation breathes new life into the old tunes, and as young musicians are joyously pulled between multiple traditions, Boston fiddler Katie McNally has arrived as a driving force behind Celtic fiddling in New England. Pushing ever deeper into the Scottish fiddle tradition, Katie’s new album, Flourish, brings both Scottish and Cape Breton music together around the central core of her new compositions in the Celtic tradition. Katie’s a formidable fiddler, capable of drawing forth the unspoken emotions from the old melodies, but also capable of dazzling runs on her instrument. As a tune composer, there’s a real sense of playfulness to her compositions. She writes angular rhythms into her tunes in the subtlest ways, and delights in racing through these rhythms, her fiddle bow bobbing and weaving along the tracetrack she’s created. There’s a lift in her bow, a kind of weightlessness that only the best players have. It’s remarkable to hear this kind of maturity in a so young a fiddler.

Monday, September 2, 2013

CD Review: Patricia Vonne - Rattle My Cage

Let's skip all the small talk. Rattle My Cage, the latest CD from Patricia Vonne rocks. Scheduled to be released this September 10th, the title track sets the pace in a Pat Benatar sounding jam. But let's not forget this is a Texas CD, with collaborations from Alejandro Escovedo, Rosie Flores and the Doyle Bramhall.  And this shows through the next four tracks - particularly in Que Maravilla - my favorite track. She has that sexy, mesmerizing voice when singing in Spanish. Then there's the simple, but powerful Bitter Need, just Vonne and the piano.The last three tracks are pure fun, starting with the jazzed up Paris Trance and then transitioning to some Tex-Mex in Tequileros and the instrumental Mexicali De Chispa. Pretty cool stuff. Cheers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Album Review: The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

I generally associate old time string music with the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains, but sometime fail to realize the significance of music culture on the western side. Particularly the music emanating from the northwestern edge of Appalachian coal country. But after receiving a copy of The Tillers Hand on the Plow, no longer. These former punk rockers become historians, cover the coal mining history of the area, the loss of farmland, the unionization caused by abuses from the coal companies, even going back into the Indian wars and the conflicts with Tecumseh and the Shawnee in Ohio.

Brothers Sean and Aaron Geil, along with Michael Oberst deliver a moving compilation of songs, from Old Westside to Weary Soul - a powerful finale for the CD.  In between you will be captivated by the musicianship and the lyrics - all raw and recorded straight to tape. This trio nails it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion -> One Month Out and Counting

Here is your one month reminder that the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion is coming up quickly - September 20th-22nd in Bristol VA\TN to be precise. This is always our favorite music festival, well organized, great musicians, great venues, and quality beer. Want to see Lucinda Williams on the main street stage, check. Want to see Scotty Melton in a small bar, check. Want to see American Aquarium in a rockn' beer bar, check. Like to camp out at one stage for the entire day? Then checkout Scythian, Chatham County Line, Paul Thorn, Shovels and Rope, Hayes Carll, and Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis all on the State Street Stage. Like a historic venue? Then nothing beats Jim Lauderdale or Chris Smither  at The Paramount Center for the Arts. Got the idea? Plus, tickets are a complete bargain - a weekend pass is only $50; that's correct - $50 until September 1st. Then it rises to $70. Here is the total lineup but to help organize your schedule I would suggest the Bristol Mobile App - it makes festival life so much easier. And to make your road trip more enjoyable - theCompass mobile app will find wineries and breweries along your trip route. Cheers.