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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Album Review: The Honey Dewdrops - Tangled Country

Five years ago this summer I heard the The Honey Dewdrops for the first time at Floydfest 9 and came away very impressed with the acoustic duo. Now Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish are set to release their 4th album Tangled Country - an original collection of rootsy folk and blues. The album was recorded in their Baltimore hometown, produced by Nicholas Sjostrom (also playing bass and piano) and featuring Dave Hadley on pedal steel and E.J. Shaull-Thompson on drums. Wortman and Parrish have been performing together since 2003 and their stripped down sound is powerful starting with Wortman's vocals. She's simply impressive, then combine Parrish's soft harmonies as in LowlandsHorses, and Numb and you have some excellent songs. Loneliest Songs and Parrish's lead in Fair Share Blues are my two favorite tracks. Listen to the end because the musicianship in the last track Remington pretty much sums up this enjoyable release. Pair with my favorite Baltimore brewery, Brewer's Art. Cheers.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Album Review: Todd Grebe and Cold Country - Citzen

I followed Bearfoot many years ago and then lost track of the band after a few member changes. Last week, however, Hearth PR provided a recollection of the bluegrass band by sending me the newest release from Todd Grebe and Cold Country, titled Citizen. It appears that Grebe joined the band in their final years, then married longtime member, Angela Oudean, and returned to Alaska to form the new band.  They also left their bluegrass sound in Nashville for this album is all honky-tonk country and Americana and its a good one. (Although I should note that they returned to Nashville to record this album at The Butcher Shoppe studio with Grammy-award winning recording engineer David Ferguson). The musicianship is excellent with Oudean, harmonies and of course fiddle, Nate May (telecaster), Larry Atamanuik (drums), Mike Bub (bass) with special  guests Steve Hinson (pedal steel), renowned Nashville session pianist Jimmy Wallace (piano) and Bearfoot alumni Megan McCormick (guitar). But it's Grebe's dusty vocals and songwriting that makes this release unique. Some of the lyrics have a John Prine quality with one of my favorites on the title track: "freedom isn't free; but I'm pretty sure it ain't costing for me". Other favorite tracks are Luckiest Man Here On Earth, Ain't That Fine, and You'll Never Find Me. Pair with one of my favorite beers, the Smoked Porter from Alaskan Brewing Company. Cheers.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Steel Wheels Presents the Red Wing Roots Music Festival - A Phenomenal Lineup

For the past few years, MyJoogTV alum The Steel Wheels have hosted the Red Wing Roots Music Festival and this year the event is being held July 10th-12th at Natural Chimneys Park in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley Virginia. Each year the lineup rivals many of other local festivals such as Floydfest and 2015 is no exception. The headliners are outstanding, but its the local talent that elevates this lineup and should encourage your participation. First, there's The Steel Wheels, an extremely talented source of roots music and generally great guys. Then there's fellow Virginians or Appalachians Scott Miller, Bryan Elijah Smith & The Wild Hearts, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Sunliner (Travis Book and Sarah Siskind), Missy Raines & The New Hip, Chatham County Line, and Jon Stickley Trio. Then there are the imports such as Eric Lindell, The Brothers Comatose, Cahalen Morrison & Eli West, Billy Strings & Don Julin, Spirit Family Reunion, and Nikki Lane. Oh yea, the headliners. How about Robert Earl Keen featuring his bluegrass band, the Punch Brothers, The Wood Brothers, Elephant Revival, The Travelin’ McCourys, and Sara – Sarah – Aoife (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O’Donovan). Pretty impressive. Tickets are reasonable at $129 for three days of great music. The area is also an outdoors man paradise with bike trails, hiking, fishing caverns and local wineries and breweries.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Album Review: Retro Soul from Major And The Monbacks

I've always had a soft spot for bands with horns and that trend has continued with the eight-piece band Major and the Monbacks. After performing together for seven years, they have finally come around to recording their debut, self titled album (release date May 12th). And it's a good one.  There's horns a plenty, a sophisticated sound, high energy dance tunes, and tight vocal harmonies. While in high school in Norfolk, VA, twin brothers Neal (guitar, vocals, keys) and Cole (bass) Friedman formed the precursor of what would eventually become Major and the Monbacks with classmates Michael Adkins (guitar, vocals, harmonica, keys), Harry Schloeder (guitar, vocals, keys), and Tyler Wes (percussion, hype). Nate Sacks (saxophone), Bryan Adkins (drums), and Aaron Reeves (trumpet) round out the eight pieces. Pair this excellent album with Norfolk's Smartmouth Brewing Co. Cheers.

  • I Can Hardly Wait - slow start to the album, then.....
  • Somedays - an instant classic; best track
  • Annabelle - starts slow but gradually gains a full head of steam
  • Don't Say A Word - hear a little JJ Grey in this one
  • She Don't Knock - sophisticated soul
  • Sunshine - vocal harmonies abound in this pop song
  • Be My Baby - starts with 1950s do whop pop; leans towards Holy Ghost Tent Revival
  • Magnolia - notice the keys and guitars
  • Fool - there's some St. Paul and The Broken Bones
  • I Do - fast pace finale