Thursday, April 30, 2015

Album Review: The Lonesome Band - Running Alone

For the past couple of weeks I've been fixated on the debut album for the Austin based The Lonesome Band. Titled, Running Alone, this all original album sounds a bit like Hank III, a bit like Robert Earl Keen, both backed by a jam band. The Lonesome Band consists of Anthony Lucio (guitar), Sam Whips Allison on lead guitar, Barrett O’Donnell on bass, and Miguel Gilly on drums. On the album, the band is augmented by Alex McMahon (pedal steel), Chojo Jaques (fiddle), and Larry Eisenberg (keyboard).

It was the drum beats (actually Bill Payne on the album) on the opening track - Agree to Disagree - that captured my attention. Then I noticed that the vocals sounded a bit like Hank III, with the storyline reminiscent of REK. But it was their rockin' jam band sound that kept my attention. Check out that lead guitar; Danny Gatton would be proud. Other REK-like tunes are Halfway There (perhaps my favorite track), Love I've Never Known, and Make 'Em Dance. That's Just Me is another great song with excellent instrumentation as is Running Alone, where the jam band really comes alive. And they wouldn't be a Texas band without a waltz - The Lonesome Waltz. These guys need to come to Hill Country BBQ or Gypsy Sally's. Pair with Austin's Uncle Billy's Brew & Que, located just over the river from 6th Street. Cheers.

Update: Forgot to include the release date for "Running Alone": May 12th, 2015.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Album Review: Trout Steak Revival - Brighter Every Day

It didn't take long to warm up to Colorado's Trout Steak Revival and their just released album Brighter Every Day. The appeal definitely starts with the band's orchestration and performance of the songs;  I had noticed a Stringduster-like quality even before I read that the album was produced by Chris Pandolfi. Another asset is that all five members [Steve Foltz (mandolin & guitar), Casey Houlihan (standup bass), Will Koster (dobro & guitar), Travis McNamara (banjo), and Bevin Foley (fiddle)] contribute vocals and songwriting so the album is a diverse ride through various landscapes. And interestingly, there's no particular favorite track; each is solid. Although if forced to choose the opening track, Union Pacific is pretty tight. Pair the album with Colorado's Songbird Cellars and Elevation Beer Company, where the band is scheduled to perform in May. Cheers.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Album Review: Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers - Loved Wild Lost

Anyone ever listen to the Van Sessions (usually covers of iconic songs) on Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers YouTube site? Well you should. And these sessions are a good introduction to the 1960's folk-pop sound infused with a little rock, country, and blues from their latest album, Loved Wild Lost. Bluhm's soulful vocals elevate the songs, whether they are soft ballads, easy listening country, funky blues, or straight rock. Me and Slim and Hearts Gets Tough are examples of the later where The Gramblers (Tim Bluhm, Deren Ney, Dave Mulligan, Steve Adams, & Mike Curry) strut their stuff. This is one tight outfit. Mr. Saturday Night is one of my other favorites and listen to the end to hear Bluhm's sweet vocals in High Neck Lace and Heavy Hey Ya. She is quite impressive. Pair with San Francisco's 21st Amendment. Cheers.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Album Review: Sam Lewis - Waiting On You

Last week we posted about a marketing strategy from Nashville based singer-songwriter Sam Lewis for his upcoming release, Waiting On You, on April 21st. Well I've been listening to a preview version and straight up - this album is phenomenal; perhaps my favorite of the year so far. It captures a blues and soulful side of Lewis  that I don't remember from his self titled debut album. Now, this isn't a blues album - although the blues piano in Reinventing the Blues is close - just Lewis and many excellent players which include Kenny Vaughan, guitarist Darrell Scott, guitarist Will Kimbrough, pianist Gabe Dixon, and backup vocals from The McCrary Sisters. Seriously, what a supporting cast; plus the album was produced by Oliver Wood, of The Wood Brothers. Talk to Me and 3/4 Time are my favorite tracks, but in reality, there are no sub-standard tracks. Just listen to the pedal steel in Never Again or the orchestration in Texas. Powerful stuff.Pair this gem with Nashville's brewery and live music venue Tennessee Brew Works. Cheers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Album Review: The Honeycutters - Me Oh My

Asheville based The Honeycutters are ready to release their third album, Me Oh My, later this month and after listening continuously the last few days; there is still no sign of fatigue.  From the opening track, Jukebox, the band exudes the rootsy country flavor of the album with front women and songwriter Amanda Anne Platt delivering genuine songwriting and vocals.  I found myself following the advice of that song "it's only a song, so for heaven's sake won't you sing along" and singing along with the rest of the album. The orchestration from the band is quite  pronounced throuhout with Tal Taylor (Mandolin), Rick Cooper (Bass), Josh Milligan (Drums), and Matt Smith (Pedal Steel, Dobro, Electric Guitar). These guys can play. The title track and Ain't It The Truth are two powerfully themed songs followed by one of my favorite tracks: Carolina. Little Bird is also a must listen as it was a finalist in MerleFest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Want something more upbeat? I'll Be Loving You is for you; but Lucky may bring you back down. Pair with Asheville's music loving brewery, the French Broad Brewing Company. Cheers to this highly recommended album.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sam Lewis Debuts a Dozen Live Videos on 12 Outlets in 1 Day

In preparation for his upcoming release, Waiting On You, Nashville based singer-songwriter Sam Lewis has released a dozen live videos on 12 different outlets in a single day.  Great concept; increases exposure to both the sites and Lewis. Looking forward to the April 21st release date, but in the meantime I'll be surfing. Cheers.

01 - "3/4 Time" - Folk Alley
02 - "Love Me Again" - The Bluegrass Situation
03 - "Waiting On You" - Diffuser
04 - "She's A Friend" - Elmore Magazine
05 - "Things Will Never Be The Same" - Guitar World's Acoustic Nation
06 - "Talk To Me" - Culture Collide
07 - "Reinventing The Blues" - The Boot
08 - "Never Again" - Acoustic Guitar Magazine
09 - "Texas" - Music Times
10 - "Little Time" - PopMatters
11 - "Virginia Avenue" - NKD Magazine
12 - "I'm Coming Home" - Artist Direct