Thursday, March 26, 2015

Album Review: Chubby Knuckle Choir - Reveille

Most music lovers correctly associate Texas music with Americana, but there's also a deep Texas blues tradition. And a new band out of Texas, has merged these two styles into an excellent album. I'm referring to Chubby Knuckle Choir and their upcoming release Reveille. At times it feels like I'm listening to several different bands as the album starts with a fiery Americana then oscillates into a softer Robert Cray styled blues and eventually returns to country and swamp blues. Hungry Hollow Road is the must listen to track, then the next tracks, Black Motel and Trouble, segues into solid Americana songs. The band is composed of Slim Bawb, Perry Lowe, Tres Womack, and Rory Smith with all contributing singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists. Some cool instruments too: bass fiddle, frottoir, congas, Brazilian box drum cajón, African drum djembe, mandolin..... You don't see these very often. The album concludes with a live track recorded at the Dosey Doe. This will encourage you to check out their tour schedule. The album will be released April 21st and we will post reminders as that day creeps closer. Pair with hometown brewpub Bastrop Brewhouse. Cheers.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Album Review: Anthony Gomes - Electric Field Holler

I love blues guitar, thus I also love Electric Field Holler, the latest release by Canadian born, Chicago trained, bluesman Anthony Gomes. Not only does this release rock, but Gomes' gritty vocals add texture and depth. The opening track, Turn It Up!, is an autobiographic history through his mentors; debut CD, Blues in Technicolor; and showcases his rockin' 6-string guitar. Blues traditionalists may lament the rock n' roll sound; but I completely digg it. Whiskey Train, Blueschild, and Tilt-A-Whirl also highlight this guitar prowess, well, you could probably pick any song for that. Pair with Toronto's Steam Whistle Brewing to ride with freight train of an album. Turn It UP! Cheers. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Album Review: Frank Viele - Fall Your Way

If you enjoy the funky side of blues, then check our New England based Frank Viele and his latest release Fall Your Way. The opening track, Broken Love Song, features Joe Bonamassa on guitar and pulls you in and the horns in Kalifornia close the trap door. Afterwards, the tracks express a sense of love gone very bad with How Dare You Say You're Sorry, Alexa, and When You Gonna Come Home. In between Easy Money retains the horns, but is much more laid back and Tonight I Must Leave Your Arms may be my favorite track with it's powerful lyrics and subtle guitar. Or the funk in Kick Up Your Heels. Pair with the funky Belgian styled beer from East Haven's Overshores Brewing Co. Cheers.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Album Review: Two Gallants - We Are Undone

At the NY Times Press Play site, I encountered a rather entertaining duo, Two Gallants, through their latest album: We Are Undone. Frontman Adam Stephens plays a wicked guitar while drummer and boyhood friend, Tyson Vogel, provides percussion balance. You may think the group is a Black Keys knock off, but they've been performing as a duo for the past decade. The guitar in the opening title track grabbed my attention and the mid-jam in the second song, Incidental, kept it.  Fools Like Us has a catchy melody; Invitation To The Funeral, the best vocals; and My Man Go, my favorite track. The last song, There’s So Much I Don’t Know focuses on Stephens' view that his hometown of San Francisco has lost some identity. Pair with a local brewery that has retained it's identity: 21st Amendment. Cheers.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Album Review: Elana James - Black Beauty

Hopefully if you're a fan of Austin based or Texas music you are familiar with the Western Swing and Jazz sound of Hot Club of Cowtown. If not you will.  Last month the band won Western Swing Group 2015 in the Ameripolitan Awards and their front lady, Elana James,  won Western Swing Female 2015.  You can hear these talents firsthand, through her latest solo album: Black Beauty.  And I mean talent. Check out her violin in Ayriliq (an Azerbaijani folk song by Ali Salimi) or Waltz of the Animals and her vocals in Hobo's Lullaby. The arrangement in that Waltz of the Animals outstanding; Who Loves You More and All I Need Is You gives us some sexy jazzy vocals; but my favorite song is High Upon the Mountains which incorporates western swing into a spirited song.  Or perhaps the soft sounds of Ripple. As you can see, there's plenty of good music in this release. There are many players on this album with the major being Dave Biller (guitar), Chris Maresh (bass), Mark Hallman (guitar, percussion), Ryan Gould (bass), and Cindy Cashdollar (steel guitar) among several others. Pair with Aubrey Vineyards from her hometown area of Overland Park - just outside of Kansas City. Cheers.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Album Review: Gill Landry's Self-titled New Release

Hopefully you are already familiar with Gill Landry from his work with Old Crow Medicine Show, but if not, start catching up by listening to his upcoming self titled album Gill Landry. Landry recorded and self-produced the album in Nashville, playing most of the instruments. There are some guest appearances, notably Robert Ellis playing a mean guitar in Fennario, Mumford and Sons trumpet player Nick Etwell in Lost Love, and Laura Marling in Take This Body. Yet the album is uniquely Landry; honest, soft spoken, and descriptive - based on his wandering experiences across this country. The aforementioned Take This Body is reason enough to procure this release, with the easy melody in Just Like You and the overall impact of Fennario, close seconds. Born in Louisiana, pair this album with Louisiana Spirits, makers of Bayou Rum situated not far from Landry's hometown of Lake Charles

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Langhorne Slim Solo at Jammin Java with Jonny Fritz

We regularly hear stories about how dedicated fans are to artists (traveling a certain amount of miles to see a show); but not that often about the reverse. Well this week, Langhorne Slim proved his meddle in his own version of Trains, Planes and Automobiles just getting to a sold out show at Jammin' Java. He and opening act, Jonny Fritz were planning to fly cross country Sunday morning after a show in Seattle; but an ice storm changed those plans. While Fritz was able to get a later flight to DC; Langhorne Slim was booked on a red-eye to NYC, then drove the 5 hours to Vienna - arriving mere minutes before showtime. Ironically, Fritz and Langhorne Slim were scheduled to play in NYC the following night.

Not knowing this situation I arrived to the largest crowd I've scene at the venue just as Jonny Fritz took the stage. This was the first I heard Fritz, but after his set, I felt this was someone who the audience would like to hang out with. He's personable, likeable, a folksy voice, and composes songs about love and life that we all can related to. I plan on posting a review of his upcoming album, Dad Country - but as a preview - I can't think of anyone that can take a subject, like taking out the trash on Monday, and making that the focus of a workable song. Well done. These are songs with clever lyrics such as "packing the van like playing tetris". I'm looking forward to listening more to Jonny Fritz.

By the time Langhorne Slim took stage, we were aware of his travel situation and were just hoping he had enough energy to play a decent set.  He seemed to provide more banter and introductions between songs (his introduction to Fire was probably three times longer than the song itself); but when he sang - he was all in. For those unfamiliar with Langhorne Slim, he writes the most interesting and compelling love songs - and as usual Collette was a constant fan request. These songs are not sappy; they're clever and interesting and sung from the heart. And his raspy - bluesy voice and modest demeanor give it cred.   I was most impressed with the live version of Song for Sid, his dedication to his grandfather. That song, Fire, and many others he performed are available on his previous album Langhorne Slim & the Law "The Way We Move".  He also played several songs off their upcoming release - looking forward to that June 2015 release and another tour with the entire band. Cheers.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Album Review: Ryan Culwell - Flatlands

Before last week Ryan Culwell was completely off my radar; but after listening to Flatlands, he's won a new fan. Culwell is now based out of Nashville, but the album's all about his boyhood roots in the Texas panhandle. These are serious songs; some ballads, some rootsy, others almost folkish - but all play through the heart. Just listen to the last track Horses. For me, that's what makes the album; no two songs are similar - yet all are powerful. Listen to the anguish in Red River or the personal journey in the title track. Piss Down In My Bones is a favorite track with it's staccato rap as is Won't Come Home (a slow ballad). Pair with the opening track Amarillo's hometown brewery, Big Texan Brewery. Cheers.