Friday, June 19, 2015

Album Review: Tellico - Relic And Roses

I'm an admitted dobro and pedal steel junky, so it shouldn't be surprising that I totally enjoyed Tellico's dobro and steel laced debut release: Relic And Roses. Of course there's more to this album then just Aaron Ballance on the aforementioned instruments; Jed Willis contributes solid  mandolin and clawhammer banjo; Jon Stickley (producer) of the Jon Stickley Trio; and then there's Anya Hinkle (guitar, fiddle) and Stig Stiglets (bass). You may be familiar with these names from their Dehlia Low days and the two wrote all tracks except the Neil Young White Line-River of Pride medley. Their songs are rootsy and full of life, whether uplifting or sorrowful. The album starts with an authentic Appalachian sound in Backstep Blues but its Can't Go Home Again where the album hits its stride. Just hear those instruments. Would love to hear the playful Hawkeye Pierce and Honeycutt Blues live, and Farewell Winds is the most powerful track - until you hear Mexico 1995. This is a tremendous debut effort; suburb orchestration and songwriting. Well done. Pair with Blonde Whiskey from Asheville Distilling Company. Cheers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Album Review: Sour Bridges - Entertaining Americana Rock

Austin-based band Sour Bridges proves that Americana-rock bands need not fear the banjo or fiddle. Brothers Bill and Matt Pucci have combined their love of bluegrass with electric guitar and bass and an occasional keyboard to create a funky, vibrant sound. Last month the band releases their self titled album, the third in their portfolio. My favorite songs are those where the fiddle and banjo are prevalent such as Teddy, Cocaine Lorraine, and Workin' Boy.  Kat “Mama Kat” Wilkes (fiddle), Dalton Chamblee (drums), Jack Bridges (vocals, bass guitar) and "hired gun" Ben Morgan (keys) round out the team. The waltzy Meet You There showcases the band's tight harmonies and Bumble Bee their rustic pickin' ability.  This is an impressive release; all songs diverse and entertaining. Pair with Richmond Virginia's Hardywood Park Craft Brewery where the band performs June 28th. Cheers.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Album Review: Robyn Ludwick - Little Rain

Last year the "Queen of Modern Texas Country Soul", Robyn Ludwick, released Little Rain and recently I finally got around to purchasing a copy. The descriptor is spot on, as the album combines a bit of bluesy soul to that Texas Americana sound. The album was produced by Gurf Morlix who also featured his considerable talent on the guitar, keyboards, banjo, pedal steel, and backing vocals. Husband John Ludwick (electric and upright bass) and Rick Richards (drums) round out the musical cast. The opening track,  Longbow, OK, sets our high expectations for this release with it's tale of love gone bad. Seems like a constant theme as the Heartache continues with her soulful vocals - at times backed by haunting music. Lafayette is a favorite track where Ludwick displays more range and Little Weakness all Americana. If you are still not convinced, consider that Ludwick is the sister of Charlie Robison and Bruce Robison. Would love to hear the singing at that family reunion. Pair Little Rain with the Lost Maples Winery, the closest winery to Ludwick's Bandera Texas hometown. Cheers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Album Review: Kym Warner - Everything That Brought Me Here

Last month I attended another great house concert, this time featuring Kym Warner and Warren Hood, where the duo thoroughly entertained the captive audience. You should know Warner as a founding member of the Grammy nominated bluegrass outfit The Greencards. And Hood has an impressive following among The Waybacks fans as well as anyone from the Austin area. The duo were brilliant; entertaining with stories, humor, and music - many of these derived from Warner's debut solo album "Everything That Brought Me Here". Simply, this album is fantastic - the all acoustic release displaying Warner's mastery of the mandolin as well as the impressive musicianship of his guest musicians: Andy Hall (dobro) of the The Infamous Stringdusters, Tommy Emmanuel, Jedd Hughes, Carl Miner, Jake Stargel, Bill Whitbeck, David Beck, Brian Standefer, Jeff Taylor, Eric Darken and Dan Dugmore. I've had the album running continually during the day for the past few weeks and never tire with particular standouts in City to the Bay, El Paloma, Start Your Engines, San Leanna, and the highly relevant Great Falls. You won't be able to see Warner solo or with The Greencards this summer as he is touring with Robert Earl Keen as a member of his bluegrass band. In any event, pair Everything That Brought Me Here with Austin's (512) Brewing Company. Cheers.