Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jon Langford Going Solo with Here Be Monsters

I hadn't followed Jon Langford since The Waco Brothers released the awesome Great Chicago Fire; but on April 1st, he releases his newest solo project: Here Be Monsters. I was able to listen to a couple tracks that are included in hos Mars EP available on Noisetrade. I mean where else can you find country folk tinged with edgy punk. Looking forward to the release as well as the artwork; "the album will also feature a unique piece of artwork, painted by Langford himself, specific to each track on the album". Pair with Chicago's 5 Rabbit Cerveceria.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nickle Creek Returns with A Dotted Line

Photo by Brantley Gutierrez
I was completely surprised last week to learn that Nickle Creek has regrouped to release a new CD - A Dotted Line. I've enjoyed following the careers of Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, and Chris Thile since the "tragic" disbandment - when was that, early 2007?  Each have proven that the prodigy label was no fluke, by continuing their solo careers and successfully fronting other bands.  Now they are back with a release that accentuates each performer's strengths - gliding between each of their instruments and then punctuated with stellar harmonies. The songs oscillates between traditional and non-traditional so this isn't the bluegrass you were accustomed from hearing from the 2000's era Nickle Creek. Just check out the punkish Hayloft or the gospel-ish 21st of May where Sean Watkins' guitar sounds a bit like Larry Keel. The album grabbed my attention with Destination, which has it all - Sara Watkins wonderful voice, tight harmonies, and catchy picking. They nail the two instrumentals (Elsie & Elephant in the Corn) and Thile fronts a couple sure winners in Love of Mine and You Don't Know What's Going On. The trio are touring all Spring in support of A Dotted Line so get your tickets soon as some venues have already sold out - like the Nightclub 9:30. Pair with Carlsbad California's Witch Creek Winery.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Album Review: Greg Trooper - Incident On Willow Street

Recently I was sent the SoundCloud link for Greg Trooper's Incident On Willow Street and it's been making me wonder why I hadn't been following this singer songwriter earlier.  There's nothing to really fault about this release. The songwriting makes you pay attention to learn how his distraught or luckless characters fare in the end; there's no laid back mindless listening here. The musicianship is first rate (check out Good Luck Heart) and why not with multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell on hand. Sadly, makes me miss Levon Helm even more. Also appearing on the album are Kenneth Blevins, Texan Jack Saunders, Oli Rockberger, and harmony vocals from Lucy Wainwright Roche. Not bad. Other favorites are Steel Deck Bridge and One Honest Man. Pair with Trooper's hometown brew: Brooklyn Brewery.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Album Review: The Blushin' Roulettes - Old Mill Sessions

Anybody else ever heard of The Blushin' Roulettes? I came across their latest release - Old Mill Sessions - from Hearth Music and I strongly encourage you to seek out this act. Their tag line is "The Blushin’ Roulettes deliver old-time tunes with a modern twist"; and they are true to form. Modern twist - yea, check out Coffee Black Night or the exquisite Sadness Thief. Whereas Angie Heimann (guitar) leads most songs, and has a beautiful voice, the best comes when Cas Sochacki (dobro) adds his baritone voice to the duet in Let It Roll. Heimann's solo in Jillian is another favorite accompanied by fine instrumentals from Buddy Stubbs (lead guitar). One sad note is that drummer Jubal Stedman passed away suddenly right before their mid-February release. God bless.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Album Review: The Howlin' Brothers - Trouble

It seems like The Howlin' Brothers keep popping up on our radar; first with their debut CD Howl, then their Sun Sessions and now a new CD, Trouble. This album is due to be released April 29th, but I received an early link and have been enjoying their old style Americana. And point blank, I love this release. Why? Well I love blues and there's plenty of that in Night and Day. I love zydeco, and there's a little of that in Monroe and Louisiana. Gospel - you bet: Yes I Am!; Old time country roots - World Spinning Round. They round the bases, nailing each genre and delivering a powerful, powerful release. This is how music should be performed - at least in my world. Pair with home town Ithaca Beer Company. Cheers.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Album Review: Katie Glassman and Snapshot - Dream a Little Dream

Thanks to McGuckin Publicity, I've been following fiddler champion Katie Glassman for a couple years now. That interest was solidified when she named grand champion at the 2014 Colorado Fiddle Championships in February of this year. This on the heals of winning fiddle competitions at Rockygrass and Walnut Valley Festival in 2013. Obviously, she can play.

Then came along word that her latest album, Dream a Little Dream, was released March 4th. Glassman's new band, Snapshot, includes Eric Moon on piano and accordion, Greg Schochet on guitar, and Charlie Mertens on bass as well as guest appearances by Tim O'Brien and John Macy (pedal steel). Nice supporting cast. The music is a combo of old-time western swine augmented with some early 20th century jazz; a sound which is far from surprising since Glassman is also a trained jazz violinist. The result is a new style of music that melds these influences together into an enjoyable sound from the first track to the last. I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine, Little Dream of Mine, and Jubilee Stomp are two of the clearest examples of this blending of styles.  Glassman's songwriting and vocals shine in Sweet Lies, one of those powerful songs that linger long after the last note; Good Times Gone By is another favorite track. Cheers to fiddle music.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Album Review: Matt Andersen - Weightless

The first think anyone notices when listening to Matt Andersen is his deep, powerful, soulful blues voice. For those unfamiliar with Anderson, he's quite popular in his native Canada as in Europe where he received the the 2013 Euro Blues Award for Best Solo /Acoustic Act. He's making his U.S. debut as his latest album, Weightless, will become available to the U.S. market April 1 via True North Records. Fortunately I received a streaming copy which I've been listening to all week.  The title track rocks - plenty of harp, but check out his vocals in My Last Day - unbelievable. He can also play the blues guitar - check out The Fight or slowed down in Between The Lines. This Spring Andersen will be touring the U.S. in support of the album, with some dates opening for Jonny Lang and Los Lonely Boys. I plan on attending his May 15th solo show at IOTA Club. Pair with New Brunswick's Pump House Brewery. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Album Review: Robert Sarazin Blake

I noticed that Blue Ridge Outdoors had included Robert Sarazin Blake song Dingle To Tralee in their March Trail Mix and I had forgotten that I had received the self titled album in which this song is the opening track. This is definitely an appropriate song to include in the compilation since its my favorite track - as the remainder of the CD is hit or miss. At times Blake uses the spoken tradition of folk, and these seemed to incorporate most of the misses. Yet throughout, he delivers intricate guitar and it's obvious each song is written and performed from the heart. Jefferson Hamer, Eamon O’Leary, Jacob Silver, and Rob MacMillan provide the msuical support, but don't miss Anaïs Mitchell's harmonies in Our Winter in New York. Pair with Bellingham Washington's Boundary Bay Brewery beer and live music provider. Cheers. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Album Review: Lost & Nameless - Empty Spaces

Lost & Nameless - basically that was my expression when I first received their Empty Spaces CD. Who are these guys and gal? Well, they are Patrick Conway, Chris Peterson, Nathan Quiring, and Kimberly Zielnicki and they play an interesting style of folk rock bordering on Pop and Americana. Interesting also describes their musical pairings - organ, fiddle, guitars, lap steel, mandolin, accordion, banjo, bass - basically you never know what you will get in any one song.  Little Tornado is a good representation of their sound as is the next track, Proud. They also prove that they can slow it down in Aiden's Lullaby which showcases Zielnicki's vocals and then Coffee/Lime Rock showcases her fiddle. This probably isn't a release that I would seek out; but I'm glad that it landed on my doorstep because it's entertaining - and my son really enjoys it. I'd guess their shows are quite entertaining as well. Here's how you can get to know the band a little more before the March 18th release date. Cheers.