Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dan Israel - Turning


A late release in 2007 that I almost overlooked is Dan Israel's Turning. Israel has been around a while from the Midwest to Austin and back again. He has opened for acts as diverse as Morissey, Spoon and Peter Himmelman. He has won songwriter awards in both Austin and Minneapolis, including Minnesota songwriter of the year in 2006. He has done albums solo and with his backing band The Cultivators. This album is a combination of friends and members of The Cultivators. The friends who join him are a who's who of the Midwest Music scene. Marc Perlman (The Jayhawks), Dave Boquist (Son Volt), John Munson (Semisonic) and Jesse Green (Foo Fighters and Wilco) just to name a few.

All of these different contributors come together under the singular vision of Israel to make a cohesive album. If you like roots rock there is something for you here. The first three songs on the album prove this. The album opens with "Triangle," which showcases Israel's singer-songwriter side. This leads into the lose rocking and rootsy "Counting on You." The next song "Hurt and Love" is an Americana song with a gentle banjo and fiddle inter-play the creates a musical metaphor to the tug of war in relationships that the song addresses. The album's highlight is the power pop anthem "News to Me." Also, the slide guitar work on "Song for Africa" makes that song stand out. In all honesty there is no weak link on this album. It is strong from start to finish.

Check out his MySpace page


This review also appears on Twangville

Monday, December 24, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Merry Christmas from Cracker !!!!




















Cracker sent an e-mail to music bloggers asking them to spread a little Christmas Cheer. This is the song they released around Christmas in 2001. They are now circulating an MP3 link for free.

So Merry Christmas I hope Santa brings you all some Cracker Soul!!!

Merry Christmas Emily Free MP3

Sara Lynn Single and Video to be Released to US Country Radio in early 2008

Steel Jack Music Group released Sara Lynn's debut album Thing for You on September 30th. However, they are going to do a major US radio promotion for the album and the first single, which is the title cut, in early 2008. The Canadian Country Diva has all of the ingredients to a popular mainstream country star in the US. The only problem is that she plays "real" Country music. However the recent success of Miranda Lambert and others offers hope to more traditional artists and suggests a new willingness on the part of Nashville to play more traditional music.

Sara Lynn both exemplifies and defies the typical Nashville formula. She exemplifies the formula because she is good looking and has a voice that is equally as stunning. She defies the Nashville formula in that she was not "created" by the industry. She is a truly well rounded and talented artist. In fact she wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, and co-produced it along with Todd Ostrowercha and Tim Hearsey. The album was recorded in her hometown of Vancouver, but was mixed and engineered in Nashville.

The songs she writes reflect on her personal experiences and feelings. The album is typified by catchy, high-energy tunes in which she mixes in fiddle and even some accordion to pump the energy into the album. Although she grew up on Country music she also sites The Band, Tom Petty and The Rolling Stones among her influences. I hope Nashville picks up on her. She certainly has what it takes and US mainstream audiences deserve the opportunity to experience her for themselves.

Check out her Website

Check out her video:


This review also appears on Twangville

Monday, December 10, 2007

Grammy Nomination for Some AWT Favorites

Although I don't really care for the Grammys, there are some AWT favorites that received nomination and I wanted to point them out

Feist - Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album
Paul McCartney - Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Solo Rock Performance
U2 - Best Pop Performance By a Group, Best Rock Performance By a Group
Plant & Krauss - Best Pop Collaboration
Beck - Best Solo Rock Performance
Bruce SpringSteen - Best Solo Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album
White Stripes - Best Rock Performance By a Group, Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Album
Wilco - Best Rock Album
John Fogerty - Best Rock Album
The Shins - Best Alternative Album
Alison Krauss - Best Country Female Vocal Performance
Miranda Lambert - Best Country Female Vocal Performance
Trisha Yearwood - Best Country Female Vocal Performance
Steve Earle - Best Country Collaboration
Willie Nelson - Best Country Collaboration
The Greencards - Best Country Instrumental
Jim Lauderdale - Best Bluegrass Album
Cherryholmes - Best Bluegrass Album
Tony Trischka - Best Bluegrass Album
Ricky Skaggs - Best Bluegrass Gospel Album
Bettye Lavette - Best Contemporary Blues Album
Doyle Bramhall - Best Contemporary Blues Albumn
Peter Case - Best Traditional Folk Album
Levon Helm - Best Traditional Folk Album
Charlie Louvin - Best Traditional Folk Album
Steve Earle - Best Contemporary Folk Album
Patty Griffin - Best Contemporarey Folk Album
Tom Waits- Best ContemporaryFolk Album

Tift Merrit is joining Teddy Thompson for Darfur


I'm passing this on from Tift Merrit's mailing list:

December 19th at the Highline Ballroom in NYC. Tift Merrit will be a part of Teddy Thompson's Evening with Friends to benefit Sudan (www.savedarfur.org). The evening will also include Rufus and Martha Wainwright and others. Sounds like a great show for a good cause.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ron Block of Union Station Finishing Production of Album by Mandolin Prodigy

As Allison Krauss tours with Robert Plant in Spring of 2008 members of Union Station are going to be working on various projects. One of these projects is currently under way. Ron Block is working on production of an album by 15 year old Bluegrass Mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull. The album will be released in the Spring of 2008 on Rounder. Contributing musicians include Tony Rice, Dan Tyminski and Rob Ickes. However, dont't think that she will intimidated sharing the studio with these legends. She has already shared the stage with Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, IIIrd Time Out and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. She also appeared on the Randy Khors video on CMT that has been previously featured here on AWT. She wrote several of the songs for the album, which will be her second release. She released her first album Angel Mountain in 2002 when she was only 10.

She has done all of this by the age of 15 and what have I done my life? Well to quote Jimmy Buffett "I'm an over 40 victim of fate."
Check out this video:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Wreckers release live CD/DVD


WAY BACK HOME: LIVE FROM NEW YORK is the new Live CD/DVD from The Wreckers it was released Tuesday. The recording was done at the Bowery in New York. They are an sign of life in "Mainstream" Country music. Also, let's face it they are as easy on the eyes as they are on the ears. They are both also planning on releasing solo projects next year that we can look forward to.


Here is their number 1 hit "Leave the Pieces"

Settin' the Woods on Fire - This Week's Charts

This is a bi-weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of November 26th
1) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
2) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
3) Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer
4) John Fogerty - Revival
5) Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck
6) Various - Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
7) Shooter Jennings - The Wolf
8) Ryan Bingham - Mescalito
9) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
10) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large

Debuts
35) Bridge - The Bridge
37) Bleu Edmondson - Lost Boy

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of Nov. 26th
1) John Fogerty - Revival
2) Emmylou Harris - Songbird
3) Legendary Shackshakers - Swampblood
4) The Sadies - New Seasons
5) Shooter Jennings - The Wolf
6) Cross Canadian Ragweed - Mission California
7) Jim Lauderdale - Bluegrass Diaries
8) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
9) Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck
10) Miles from Nowhere - Bloodlines

Debuts
None

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of Nov. 26th
1) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
2) Bruce Springsteen - Magic
3) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
4) Iron & Wine - The Shepherds' Dog
5) Mark Knopfler - Kill to Get Crimson
6) Neil Young - Chrom Dreams II
7) John Fogerty - Revival
8) Marc Cohn - Giving Up the Ghost
9) Ben Harper - Lifeline
10) Chuck Prophet - Soap & Water

Debuts:
28) Sea Wolf - Leaves in the River
29) Ween - La Cucaracha

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best of 2007 - Final

This is My final Best of 2007. Wilco is still #1. The debuts are Deadstring Brothers at #5, The Boss at #9, John Fogerty at #16, Larry Cordle at #22, Ryan Bingham at #25, Band of Horses at #33, Little Big Town at #39 and Levon Helm at #46 Also, as usual, I did some rearranging based on further reflection.

Because the list stopped growing at 50, some albums had to come off. My apologies to the artists. However, like the AP College Football Poll I have an others receiving votes type of honorable mention category at the bottom to recognize albums that came close to making it. For a year in which you hear so much negative press about the music industry, 2007 is a banner year. The major labels may have committed Pop suicide but the indie world is as or even more prolific as ever. Enjoy the list and feel free to tell me how you agree or disagree. Also, make no hesitation to trash me or my intelligence in any way you see fit. I'm used to it.

1) Wilco - "Sky Blue Sky"
2) Patty Griffin - "Children Running Through"
3) White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
4) Kelly Willis - "Translated From Love"
5) Deadstring Brothers - "Silver Mountain"
6) Lyle Lovett - "It's Not Big It's Large"
7) Wrinkle Neck Mules - "Wicks Have Met"
8) Jason Isbell - "Sirens of the Ditch"
9) Bruce Springsteen - "Magic"
10) Assembly of Dust - "Recollection"
11) Kane, Welch, Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
12) Hackensaw Boys - "Look Out"
13) The Shins - "Wincing the Night Away"
14) Ryan Adams - "Easy Tiger"
15) John Doe - "A year in the Wilderness"
16) John Fogerty - "Revival"
17) Son Volt - "The Search"
18) Peter Case - "Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John"
19) Oakley Hall - "I'll Follow You"
20) The Broken West - "I Can't Go on I'll Go on"
21) Elliot Randall - "Take the Fall"
22) Larry Cordle & Lonsome Standard Time - "Took Down & Put Up"
23) The Basement - "Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs"
24) Josh Ritter - "The Historical Conquests of"
25) Ryan Bingham - "Mescalito"
26) Paul McCartney - " Memory Almost Full"
27) Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles - "Diamonds in the Dark"
28) Kim Richey - "Chinese Boxes"
29) Joe Henry - "Civilians"
30) King Wilkie - "Low Country Suite"
31) Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before he Ship Ever Sank"
32) Giant Bear - "Giant Bear"
33) Band of Horses - "Cease to Begin"
34) Feist - "The Reminder"
35) Iron & Wine - "The Shepherds Dog"
36) Olav Larsen and the Alabama Rodeo Stars - "Loves' Com to Town"
37) Elizabeth Cook - "Balls"
38) Mary Gauthier - Between Daylight and Dark"
39) Little Big Town - "A Place to Land"
40) Dale Watson - "From the Cradle to the Grave"
41) Spoon - "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
42) The Gourds - "Noble Creatures"
43) The National - "Boxer"
44) Slider Pines - "Road, Avenue, Railroad"
45) Alberta Cross - "The Thief and the Heartbreaker"
46) Levon Helm - "Dirt Farmer"
47) Infamous Stringdusters - "Fork in the Road"
48) Adam Hood - "Different Groove"
49) Steep Canyon Rangers - "Lovin' Pretty Women"
50) Rocky Votolato - "The Brag and Cuss"

Other Notables (In no particular order):
Kevin Deal, Terri Hendrix, Plant-Krauss, Randy Khors, Chuck Prophet, Jim Lauderdale, Dwight Yoakam, Joe Ely, Josh Rouse, Grace Potter, Bettye LaVette, Charlie Louvin, Nathan, Steve Earle, Cadillac Sky, Eillen Jewell, Pieta Brown, 2 Cow Garage, Willy Mason, Pela, Brandi Carlisle, Martin Sexton, Okkervil River and The Derailers.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Deadstring Brothers Live @ Zydeco in Birmingham, AL

I always thought how inspiring it must be for a musician to walk on stage in fromt of 12,000 screaming fans. But what about when it is 12 fans? How inspiring is that? Pretty damn inspiring if the Deadstring Brothers are any example. In reality there were more than 12 people at Zydeco two nights before Thanksgiving, but to say there were 25 would be generous. What they gave the fans that night was an inspired set that had the feel of a private show for friends. It is so refreshing to see a band play because they love it, which clearly these guys do.

The cozy setting allowed the band to develop great rapport with the crowd. In fact , they were very curious about the Southern Phenomenon of the fried turkey. Which the lead vocalist Kurt Marschke is apparently willing to "eat the ass out of that bird." I don't think I would want to witness that but I bet they found some fried turkey on Thanksgiving to try. The musical highlights of the show included from the new album "Heavy Load" and "Queen of the Scene," which are consumate live songs. The best song of the evening though was "Sacred Heart" from Starving Winter Report. Another highlight came in the encore when they did a steeple rockin' version of the gospel song "Uncloudy Day."

Check out these video clips I shot at the show. The audio isn't the best but you will get the idea:

"Tennessee Sure Enough"


"Queen of the Scene"


"Singing Gospel"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Apparently McCoury Music Only Thinks it Knows Bluegrass

Check this out on Twang Nation

The Grammy nominating committee would not consider Merle Haggard's Bluegrass Sessions for a nomination in the Bluegrass category because they felt it wasn't Bluegrass.

Let's look at the facts. It was produced by McCoury (as in Del) Music, who decided to call it Bluegrass. It features Bluegrass musicians and it was recorded at Ricky Skaggs place. That sounds a lot like Bluegrass to me. Also, if you go to any Bluegrass fstival you will see that the Bluegrass community casts a pretty wide net as to musical styles. I definitely think there is room in that net for this album.

Talk about hypocricy! If you can't call Haggard's album Bluegrass then please don't call Faith Hill or Shania Twain country.

Alison Krauss, Robert Plant and T-Bone Burnett on Charlie Rose

Many thanks to Ashley. Whose comment let me know about T-bone, Robert Plant and alison Krauss on the Charlie Rose show today.

Here is an excerpt from the interview

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hope for an Indie Artist - Randu Kohrs gets grassroots support on CMT

Defying the odds, resophonic guitarist Randy Kohrs' video "Who's Goin' With Me" (from his excellent album Old Photograph) has risen up to number 3 on the listener picked CMT Pure 12 Pack countdown show. He is also starting to get a bit of notice from radio outlets. Anyone who understands how things work in Nashville can understand how difficult it is for an independent label and artist to get this kind of play. I take this as a sign of life for the Nashville mainstream music scene. Maybe they are willing to try something new in the wake of declining sales. If the Nashville music industry's greed and desire for revenue begin to favor "real" and indie country artists for a change, that will be the ultimate irony. We can only hope.

See the article on Cybergrass

Give him a vote on CMT

The Results Are In!!!!

Winners of the Americana Music Honors & Awards held November 1st at the Ryman in Nashville:

• Album of the Year-Patty Griffin/Children Running Through

• Artist of the Year-Patty Griffin

• Duo Group of the Year-Avett Brothers

• Instrumentalist of the Year-Buddy Miller

• New/Emerging Artist of the Year-Avett Brothers

• Song of the Year-"Hank Williams' Ghost"-by Darrell Scott


Additional Awards went to:

• Lyle Lovett - Trailblazer Award

• Joe Ely-Lifetime Achievement for Performance

• Mavis Staples - "Spirit of Americana" Free Speech Award

• Ry Cooder-Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist

• Willie Nelson-Lifetime Achievement for Songwriter

• Jim Dickinson-Lifetime Achievement for a Producer Engineer

• Townes Van Zandt-The Presidents Award

Settin' the Woods on Fire- This Week's Charts

This is a bi-weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of November 5th
1) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
2) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
3) John Fogerty - Revival
4) Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer
5) Various - Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
6) Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck
7) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
8) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
9) Emmylou Harris - Songbird
10) Shooter Jennings - The Wolf

Debuts
32) Will Hoge - Draw the Curtains
33) Neil Young - Chrome Dreams II
39) Iron & Wine - The Shepherds' Dog

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of Nov. 5th
1) John Fogerty - Revival
2) Emmylou Harris - Songbird
3) Shawn Camp & Billy Burnette - The Bluegrass Elvises
4) Cross Canadian Ragweed - Mission California
5) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
6) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
7) Toni Price - Talk Memphis
8) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
9) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
10) Korby Lenker - King of Hearts

Debuts
45) Shooter Jennings - The Wolf
46) Blue Rodeo - Small Miracles
47) Miles from Nowhere - Bloodline
48) Matt Powell - New Kind of Something

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of Nov. 5th
1) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
2) Bruce Springsteen - Magic
3) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
4) John Fogerty - Revival
5) Mark Knopfler - Kill to Get Crimson
6) Ben Harper - Lifetime
7) Iron & Wine - The Shepherds' Dog
8) Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquest
9) Various - Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
10) Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

Debuts:
17) Neil Young - Chrome Dreams
19) Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer
27) Ingrid Michaelson - Girls & Boys

Monday, November 5, 2007

North By Northwest

Recently I have run across some music by a few artists from the Northwest and Canada. Canadian artists are often ignored in this country, but there is a healthy music scene in Canada. Canada's music roster includes a wide ranging group of songwriters, from the obscure country of Corb Lund to musical Icons like Bruce Cockburn and Hank Snow. Bands hailing from Canada include legends Rush and The Guess who as well as current progressive groups like Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. So I would like to take a few moments to introduce you to a couple of lesser known Canadian artists as well as one artist from the Seattle area, which is close enough I guess.

The Deep Dark Woods - Hailing from Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, they have just released their sophomore album Hang Me Oh Hang Me on Black Hen Music. According to the band they drew their inspiration from the long, depressing Saskatchewan winters. However, this is far from a depressing album. The songwriting is diverse and covers many genres. The music features rich vocal harmonies and the melodies draw you hypnotically into each song.

Check out the Title Cut

Jim Armstrong - Toronto based singer - Songwriter Jim Armstrong makes his debut with Mudtown He is an accomplished producer who has worked with number of independent Canadian artists. Although the comparison may not be fair, He is clearly influenced by John Hiatt. After working all of these years with other artists he is finally releasing a solo album of his own. In fact to call it a solo album is an understatement since Armstrong wrote or Co-wrote all of the songs, produced the album and played most of the instruments himself. The result of this tightly controlled process is an infectious hook laden Americana album.

Visit Jim Armstrong's MySpace Page

David Bavas - Originally from the Appalachian foothills, David Bavas now lives in Seattle. His style is unique, although his Appalachian upbringing definitely influences his music. However, his sound owes as much to Indie Rock as it does Roots Music. His newest album Songs of Love, Death and Trains was released on October 2nd by Proud Mountain Records. The album was mixed by Kevin Suggs (The Shins, Minus 5, Cat Power). Among his original tunes is an excellent cover of the Townes Van Zandt song "No Lonesome Tune."

Listen to All the Trains

Sunday, November 4, 2007

CONGRATULATIONS PATTY GRIFFIN!!!!

Patty Griffin won artist of the year at the Americana Music Honors and Awards show on November 1. The Awards show was held at the Ryman auditorium in Nashville. In fact, it was a busy week for Griffin. She released a new DVD on Tuesday, Live from the Artists Den. It was recorded in New York in January of this year.

Check out this live video recorded at Lizard Lounge:

The Decmberists Cancel Remainder of Tour.


The Decemberists have canceled the remainder of their current North American tour. A total of 27 dates have been canceled! Accouring the band's website:

"One of our band members has been ill for a while but we thought all would be well in time for these tour dates. After a couple shows, though, it has become clear that the illness is much worse than we had initially realized. We need to return home so our friend can mend.

It saddens us to disappoint our fans. We hope everybody understands it is only because of an extreme situation that we had to cancel a tour we've all been excited about doing since the idea was originally hatched."

I hope all turns out well for their freind whatever his illness. They certainly put on a good live show.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Merle Haggard - The Bluegrass Sessions

It seems a lot of artists are jumping on the acoustic bandwagon and putting out Bluegrass albums these days. So it would be real easy for such an album to get lost in the shuffle. Not so when the artist is Merle Haggard. In fact, you have no choice but to listen. Recorded at Ricky Skaggs place in Hendersonville, Tennessee; The Bluegrass Sessions features an all-star lineup:

Marty Stuart - Mandolin
Carl Jackson - Guitar
Rob Ickes - Dobro
Charlie Cushman - Banjo
Aubrey Haynie - Fiddle
Alison Krauss - Voclas on "Mama's Hungry Eyes"

In recent years Haggard has experienced a renaissance and has released some albums that could rank up there with his classics. Too bad the Nashville brass has failed to notice. Unfortunately that is the current reality of mainstream country radio. Legends like Merle Haggard don't get airplay. His songwriting has been served well by the years and lyrically he is writing introspective songs characterized by depth and honesty. For example, on "Learning to Live with Myself" he sings, "I learned to live with my darlin' God took my darlin' away. Down through the years he took all my peers and left me here in the clay ... Til he gives me the call the hardest of all will be learning to live with myself." Or consider the words from "Pray", "Get your eyes off yourself. Think of somebody else. Imagine how hard life could be. Count your blessings again. Kiss the lips of your friend and pray, pray, pray. Not that Haggard leaves the honky tonk behind, as evidenced by "Runaway Momma," but I think this introspective journey is one we will all take before the end of our lives. After all he has come through in his life, it is good to see Haagard look back and realized he enjoyed the journey.

Watch this in Studio video of "Holding Things Together:



This review also appears on: Twangville

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Wagonmaster Passes On

Country legend Porter Wagoner died at 8:25 on October 28th. The 9513 has a good post about it.

Steve Earle Sings City of Immigrants on Letterman

Settin' the Woods on Fire- This Week's Charts

This is a bi-weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of October 15th
1) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
2) John Fogerty - Revival
3) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
4) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
5) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
6) Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck
7) Bruce Springsteen - Magic
8) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
9) Various - Goin' Home a Tribute to Fats Domino
10) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger

Debuts
29) Duncan Earl Walters - Guardian
34) Gougers - A long day for the Weathervane
36) Doyle Branhall - Is it News
39) Chuck Prophet - Soap and Water

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of Oct. 15th
1) Various Artists - Song of America
2) Various Artists - Wounded Heart of America Songs of Tom Russell
3) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun
4) Shawn Camp & Billy Burnette - The Bluegrass Elvises
5) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
6) The Derailers - Under the Influence of Buck
7) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
8) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind
9) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
10) Lee Rocker - Black Cat Bone

Debuts
48) Gougers - A long day for the Weathervane
49) Billy Joe Shaver - Everybody's Brother
50) The Sadies - New Seasons

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of Oct. 15th
1) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
2) Ben Harper - Lifetime
3) Bruce Springsteen - Magic
4) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
5) John Fogerty - Revival
6) Mark Knopfler - Kill to Get Crimson
7) Iron & Wine - The Shepherds' Dog
8) Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquest
9) Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight
10) Jose Gonzales - In our Nature

Debuts:
30) Radiohead - In Rainbows

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time - Took Down and Put Up




Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time have recently released an excellent Bluegrass album Took Down and Put Up on Lonesome Day records. The album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts and will certainly move toward the top before it is through.

Most widely known as a songwriter, rural Kentucky native Larry Cordle has had songs recorded by Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks, Alison Krauss, Alan Jackson, George Strait, Rhonda Vincent and Trish Yearwood among others. Founded in 1990, Lonesome Standard Time was formed by long-time friends Larry Cordle and Glen Duncan. Success came quickly for the band, yielding a Grammy nomination for the group’s debut album. However, in 1995 they took a hiatus because Cordle's songwriting skills were needed in Nashville and Duncan devoted more time to studio work. Larry Cordle put Lonesome Standard Time back together in 2000.

The feature song on Took Down and Put Up is "Rough Around the Edges" with Travis Tritt on lead vocals. On this song he shows he is not politically correct or ashamed of who he is. The style of the album is primarily traditional Bluegrass with excellent musicianship accompanying superb songwriting. Cordle's songs give us everything we could want from a Bluegrass or Country album. We get Cheatin,' Lyin,' revenge and women who leave. We have a train robbery and a muscle car. He even mentions mama a few times so all of the ingredients are in place to make David Allan Coe proud.

Listen to The First Train Robbery

This revie also appears on Twangville

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Deadstring Brothers - Silver Mountain

The Deadstring Brothers Have expanded their sound and released the best pure Rock and Roll album of the year. The new Bloodshot records release is entitled Silver Mountain. Sounding like The Rolling Stones and Black Crowes at a Honky Tonk bar fight, this album kicks ass! Starving Winter Report their previous release was excellent and difficult to top, but they did it by bringing in some fresh guns. Namely Spencer Cullum, on Pedal steel, Lap steel and Dobro; and Pat Kenneally, on Piano and B3 Organ. They hooked up with these new musicians at the Heavy Load nightclub in England. The Heavy Load is apparently a hipster club in England that features classic and progressive American Rock of the 60's and early 70's. It is also inspiration for the albums anthem, "Heavy Load."

The album comes out of the gate at full speed with the rave up "Ain't No Hidin' Love," then it move straight into the aforementioned "Heavy Load." "If You Want Me To" channels the Rolling Stones Circa 1968-69 when they cut Let it Bleed then headed to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to begin work on Sticky Fingers. In fact, much of the album seems to have been influenced by the Stones of the late 60's. However, they also go country on "You Look Like the Devil." The song "Rolin' Blues" sounds right out of the Delta especially with Cullum tearing up his Dobro on the solo. Of course they also showcase a little Southern Rock on "Queen of the Scene." The album comes with a Suregeon General's warning. Listening might be habit forming.

Listen to "Heavy Load"

Or Watch the Video:


This review also appears on: Twangville

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ryan Bingham Video

Take a few minutes to get to know Ryan Bingham then go get the Album. You won't regret it! His new album Mescalito was released recently by Lost Highway Records:

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Best of 2007


This is My updated Best of 2007. Wilco is still #1. The debuts are Lyle Lovett at #5, Oakley Hall at #16, Josh Ritter at #20, Iron & Wine at #30, Mary Gauthier at #33, Bettye Lavette at #38, Slider Pines at #40, Alberta Cross at #41 and finally Steve Earle at #45. Also, as usual, I did some rearranging based on further reflection.

Since I vowed last month to stop at 50, some albums had to come off. My apologies to the following artists, Hoots & Hellmouth, Eillen Jewell, Pieta Brown, 2 Cow Garage, Willy Mason, Pela, Brandi Carlisle, Martin Sexton, Okkervil River and The Derailers. For a year in which you hear so much negative press about the music industry, 2007 is a banner year. The major labels may have committed Pop suicide but the indie world is as or even more prolific as ever. Enjoy the list and feel free to tell me how you agree or disagree. Also, make no hesitation to trash me or my intelligence in any way you see fit. I'm used to it.

1) Wilco - "Sky Blue Sky"
2) Patty Griffin - "Children Running Through"
3) White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
4) Kelly Willis - "Translated From Love"
5) Lyle Lovett - "It's Not Big It's Large"
6) Wrinkle Neck Mules - "Wicks Have Met"
7) Jason Isbell - "Sirens of the Ditch"
8) Assembly of Dust - "Recollection"
9) Kane, Welch, Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
10) Hackensaw Boys - "Look Out"
11) The Shins - "Wincing the Night Away"
12) Ryan Adams - "Easy Tiger"
13) John Doe - "A year in the Wilderness"
14) Son Volt - "The Search"
15) Peter Case - "Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John"
16) Oakley Hall - "I'll Follow You"
17) The Broken West - "I Can't Go on I'll Go on"
18) Elliot Randall - "Take the Fall"
19) The Basement - "Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs"
20) Josh Ritter - "The Historical Conquests of"
21) Paul McCartney - " Memory Almost Full"
22) Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles - "Diamonds in the Dark"
23) Kim Richey - "Chinese Boxes"
24) Joe Henry - "Civilians"
25) King Wilkie - "Low Country Suite"
26) Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before he Ship Ever Sank"
27) Giant Bear - "Giant Bear"
28) Josh Rouse - "Country Mouse, City house"
29) Feist - "The Reminder"
30) Iron & Wine - "The Shepherds Dog"
31) Olav Larsen and the Alabama Rodeo Stars - "Loves' Com to Town"
32) Elizabeth Cook - "Balls"
33) Mary Gauthier - Between Daylight and Dark"
34) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - "This is Somewhere"
35) Dale Watson - "From the Cradle to the Grave"
36) Spoon - "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
37) The Gourds - "Noble Creatures"
38) Bettye Lavette - "The Scene o the Crime"
39) The National - "Boxer"
40) Slider Pines - "Road, Avenue, Railroad"
41) Alberta Cross - "The Thief and the Heartbreaker"
42) Charlie Louvin - "Charlie Louvin"
43) Infamous Stringdusters - "Fork in the Road"
44) Nathan - "Key Principles"
45) Adam Hood - "Different Groove"
46) Steep Canyon Rangers - "Lovin' Pretty Women"
47) Rocky Votolato - "The Brag and Cuss"
48) Steve Earle - "Washington Square Serenade"
49) Joe Ely - "Happy Song from Rattlesnake Gulch"
50) Cadillac Sky - "Blind Man Walking"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

John Fogerty - Revival



John Fogerty releases his new album Revival this week. Fogerty's career comes full circle on this release. He connects the present to his past, and in doing so kicks off a party at the roadhouse. In fact, he seems to be having as much fun as ever on Revival. Even his political songs sound more fun than serious. Not that what he is saying isn't serious. It is as if the years have made him wise enough to know that Rock and Roll is first and foremost a good time.

Fogerty embraces his past on songs like "Summer of Love." Although there seems to be some tongue in cheek cynicism when he is referring to the truth everyone was searching for and asks, "Will they find it or just an excuse?" Fogerty also pays another tongue in cheek tribute to his past. In this case he references his own musical history in "Creedence Song." I have to think he had in mind people who come to his solo shows just to hear CCR tunes and are not familiar with his great solo work. After all, he has probably heard people scream, "Play some Creedence" as much as Lynyrd Skynyrd has heard "Freebird." The first single off the album is "Don't You Wish it Was True," which is more of a mid-tempo rocker. As mentioned before there are a few political songs on the album. However, on songs such as "Long Dark Night" and "I Can't Take it No More" Fogerty reminds us that the best protest songs are the ones you can dance to. So listen, enjoy and even dance a little.

Full Album Stream

"Don't You Wish it Was True" Video:

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss to release duet album on October 23rd

Modern day Bluegrass is expanding in directions that would make Bill Monroe Squeamish. I don't know that any Genre of music has seen more creativity, innovation and great musicianship at one time as Bluegrass is experiencing this decade. When I heard the idea of taking Bluegrass' ultimate diva and getting her to record a duet album with Robert Plant it seemed to be pushing the limit too far. Would they work together well? Would their voices be compatible? I have to admit I was skeptical. However, after hearing one cut off the album and listening to the video below on the making of the album, I am sold. Raising Sand is going to be a great ablum.

Prodeuced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring collaborators such as Norman Blake and Greg Leisz, they cover a wide variety of the American songbook. They sing songs from Tom Waits, Gene Clark, Sam Phillips, Townes Van Zandt, The Everly Brothers, and Mel Tillis. The album will release on October 23rd and I would not miss it.

Settin' the Woods on Fire- This Week's Charts

This is now going to be a bi-weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. I began to notice there wasn't much of a change week over week. Thus the change in frequency. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of Sept. 24th
1) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
2) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
3) Subdudes - Street Symphony
4) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
5) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
6) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raisning Sand
7) John Fogerty - Revival
8) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun
9) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
10) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind

Debuts
15) Emmylou Harris - Songbird
19) Tom Gillam - Never Look Back
20) Red Stick Ramblers - Made in the Shade
29) Mary Gauthier - Between Daylight and Dark
31) Ben Harper - Lifeline
35) Jim Lauderdale - Bluegrass Diaries

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of Sept. 24th
1) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun
2) Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
3) Blackie & the Rodeo Kings - Let's frolic
4) The Derailers - Under the Influence of Buck
5) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind
6) Tab Benoit - Power of the Ponchatrain
7) Kevin Deal - Roll
8) Various Artists - Wounded Heart of America Songs of Tom Russell
9) Bob Childers - Ride for the Cimaron
10) Eilen Jewell - Letters from Sinners and Strangers

Debuts
50) Red Stick Ramblers - Made in the Shade

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of Sept. 24th
1) Ben Harper - Lifetime
2) Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight
3) Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquest
4) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
5) K. T. Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic
6) Subdudes - Street Symphony
7) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raisning Sand
8) New Pornographers - Challengers
9) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
10) Ben Lee - Ripe

Debuts
19) Betty Lavette - Scene of the Crime
21) Jose Gonzales - In our Nature

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mary Gauthier - Between Daylight and Dark

When you think of the great storyteller songwriters certain names come to mind. Names like, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Robert Earl Keen, Townes Van Zandt, Kris Kristofferson, Jerry Jeff Walker and Chris Knight just to name a few. These people have one thing in common. They are all men. I have news for these gentlemen. The doors to the "old boys club" have been busted down and Mary Gauthier has just ordered a round for the house.

The best story songs, though often tragic, can be redemptive and healing to the listeners as they get lost in the narrative of the song. While the listeners may not directly relate to the extremity of the situations in which the characters on Between Daylight and Dark exist, they can still find plenty of common ground among less extreme but common circumstances in their own life. Sadness and tough circumstances come into contact with everyone at some point. Some people have more than their fair share of heartache.

The brokenness that scatters the landscape of this album is offset by characters who maintain some form dignity in their circumstances. Out of their sadness hope begins to grow. For example, "Last of the Hobo Kings" sings of the life of a man who was part of the train hopping sub-culture that no longer exists. Gauthier seems to suggest that the end of the Hobo era points to a greater loss of spirit and adventure in our country. She points to the wisdom that the hobo gained in his travels by saying he "knew how his nation was doing by the size of a sidewalk cigarette butt." "Thanksgiving" follows a grandmother taking her grandchild to see her father in prison on Thanksgiving. Growth is seen in "I Ain't Leavin." In this song the main character decides to stay and fight for a relationship when previously she would run away. "Broken on the inside is what I used to say. Then I'd pack my bags raise a white flag and drive away. I thought that's what made me strong, but I was young and I was wrong."

Every song on this Lost Highway release has similar impact. She wrote or co-wrote all the songs on the album. My favorite collaboration on the album is "Snakebit," which she co-wrote with Hayes Carll. Joe Henry produced the album and kept things simple and understated in a way that lets Gauthier shine in a way that makes this the best release of her career.

Listen to the Full Album Stream

This review also appears on: Twangville

Monday, September 24, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Releases September 25th

There are a number of good releases slated for Sept. 25th but here are a just a few I am most excited about:

Bettye LaVette with Drive-By-Truckers - Scene of the Crime. Recorded at the vaunted Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The combination of Lavette's soul and the Truckers' grit is a recipe for success.
Click to Hear Samples


Billy Joe Shaver - Everybody's Brother. This album was produced by John Carter Cash. From the samples I have heard, he did a nice job of adding production value without taking away Shaver's live feel.

Video of "Get Thee Behind Me Satan" with John Anderson:


Iron & Wine - The Shepherds Dog. Judging by the first single, "Boy with a Coin," Sam Beam is at again with his atmospheric folk music and transcendent lyrics.
Stream at Sub-Pop

Pieta Brown - Remember the Sun. Read my previous review to see what i thought of this mesmerizing release by the daughter of Greg Brown.




Sunday, September 16, 2007

Under the Radar: Oakley Hall & Alberta Cross

There are a couple of recent releases by Indie rock bands that have a significant Americana Alt-country influence. I am referring to Oakley Hall’s I’ll Follow You on Merge records and Alberta Cross' The Thief and the Heartbreaker a seven song EP on Geffen records.

Oakley Hall was formed in 2002 by Pat Sullivan, who plays guitar and sings vocals. After going through a few lineup changes, the Brooklyn based band has settled on a combination that gives them a very tight electrical sound with heavy fiddle in the mix. Female vocalist Rachel Cox completes the lineup. The vocal interplay between Sullivan and Cox is reminiscent of John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X. The songs range from Countrified Indie Rock like, “Rue the Blue”, the psychedelic influenced title cut “I’ll Follow You,” and even the chamber pop intro of “First Frist.” While the album shows the alt-country influences of Son Volt, Old 97’s and others; Oakley Hall has their own formula that really works. Fresh off a tour with Bright Eyes, Oakley Hall may not be under the radar too much longer.
Stream the Album

London based Alberta Cross is the brainchild of songwriters Peter Ericson Stakee and Terry Wolfers. The EP The thief and the Heartbreaker was released on september 11th. They have a clear Americana influence. Influences of Blues, Folk, Gospel and Country abound. However, they mis these influences with atmospherics not unlike the Shins or the Decemberists. The result is something that sounds very original and will almost certainly lead to bigger and better things.

Check them out on myspace: http://www.blogger.com/MySpace

Check out the video to "Hard Breaks"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Settin' the Woods on Fire: This Week's Charts

This is a weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of Sept. 3rd
1) Subdudes - Street Symphony
2) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
3) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
4) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
5) Doug Spartz - The One Who's Leaving
6) Gourds - Noble Creatures
7) Kane Welch Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
8) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun
9) Lori McKenna - Unglamorous
10) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind

Debuts
11) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
34) Jason Eady - Wild Eyed Serenade

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of Sept. 3rd
1) The Gourds - Noble Creatures
2) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
3) Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
4) Blackie & the Rodeo Kings - Let's frolic
5) Kevin Deal - Roll
6) Various Artists - Wounded Heart of America Songs of Tom Russell
7) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun
8) Richard Thompson - Sweet Warior
9) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind
10) Subdudes - Street Symphony

Debuts
None

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of Sept. 3rd
1) Ben Harper - Lifetime
2) Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquest
3) Subdudes - Street Symphony
4) Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight
5) SPOON - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
6) RYAN ADAMS - Easy Tiger
7) Over the Rhine - Trumpet Child
8) New Pornographers - Challengers
9) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
10) Toots and the Maytals - Light Your Light

Debuts
11) Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade
25) Mark Knopfler - Kill to Get Blood

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Twang Nation exposes Big Label Fraud

Twang Nation has posted a link to a Wall Street Journal article that exposes a major label scam that makes music pirates look like saints. They tried to create buz about one of their signed artist artists bypassing him off as an unsigned artist on YouTube. Are the big labels so hard up for record sales. Apparently they are. Well in my opinion the major labels made thir bed and now they need to sleep in it. In this case it is Hollywod records owned by none other than Disney. I am so glad they got exposed.

http://www.twangnation.com/2007/09/07/more-big-label-idiocy/

See the story from WSJ online video:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Teddy Thompson - Up Front and Down Low

Teddy Thompson's new album Up Front & Down Low is a self-produced collection of classic country covers released by Verve Records. Thompson is a folk singer by trade and birthright. He is the son of legends Richard and Linda Thompson. Teddy says his parents raised him on country music. He says, "it's the music that is closest to my heart." Even in these genre bending days, country cover albums can often go awry even turning into parody. But Thompson's love of country music is apparent. He respects the songs as he interprets them. He uses string arrangements on most of the songs that add a richness to the traditional tunes. He doesn't simply re-record the songs and he also doesn't throw tradition away in his revisions. These are all versions the original creators would approve.

He does songs like George Jones' "She thinks I Still Care," Ernest Tubb's "Walking the Floor Over You," Merle Haggard's "(My Friends are Gonna be) Strangers" and a Lesser known Dolly Parton song "My Blue Tears." He also has one original tune "Down Low." Guests on the album include Greg Leisz on Pedal Steel and Dobro. Guest vocals include Iris Dement, Tift Merrit and Jenni Muldaur. Thompson is a crooner who can sing with Nashville's best and the musicianship and arrangement of the album are superb. If you love the classic Country Country this is one to own. If you don't then by this album and you will learn to love it.

Listen to Teddy sing George Jones:




Check out his interview on CMT:
http://www.cmt.com/news/articles/1568447/20070828/thompson_teddy.jhtml

This review also posted on: http://twangville.com

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Highlights of Upcoming Releases

Sept. 11th :

Joe Henry - Civilians

Supposedly more stripped down than his previous efforts this album I am hearing is an instant classic. Scott Register of Reg's Coffeehouse and the Coalitoin of Indepndent Music Stores says it is incredible and played great song off of it this morning on his show.

http://www.joehenrylovesyoumadly.com/listen.php

Oakley Hall - I Will Follow You

One of my favorite releases back in early 2006 was their album Second Guessing. This is their debut on Merge Records. It was produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol). Stream it on the Merge records site.

http://www.mergerecords.com/index.php

Sept. 18th
Mary Gauthier - Between Daylight and Dark




Gauthier just keeps getting better I am sure this one will not disappoint.





Jim Lauderdale - Bluegrass Diaries

Supposedly Lauderdale is going to release 3 albums in the next year. This is the first of the three. It was debuted on XM14 Bluegrass Junction to rave reviews. 2008 already looks like a good year.

Stream blue Mule Below:

http://www.yeproc.com/upload/media/view_media.php?id=499

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Peter Case: I wish I was there

I have received 2 Voice Mails in the last week from friends going to the Peter Case show at The Nick, which is going on as I write. Too bad I am out of town. Have a good time gang. Sorry I couldn't join you. Bummer!!!

Best of 2007 a Video Companaion

Here is some video to go along with some newer entries into my Best of 2007 List:

First is a promotional video for giant Bear:


Here is some video of Grace Potter from LA. Tom over at Twangville is responsible for turning me on to her:


Eilen Jewell live at the Lizard Lounge:


The Derailers doing Buck Owens:


Brandi Carlile Video of "The Story:"


Okervil River on Conan:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Best of 2007

This is My updated Best of 2007. Wilco is still #1. The highest debuts are Peter Case at #14, Giant Bear at #23 and Josh Rouse at #24. I expanded the list to 50 this time but it will get no longer for the rest of the year. Things are going to have to start coming off with any further additions. Also, as usual, I did some rearranging based on further reflection. I finally got the Brandi Carlile album so it is a late entry to the list at #40. However, even in a year full of great releases by female singer songwriters it deserved a spot. Lyle Lovett released this week. However, I have only listened to part of the album so it will wait until next month. Enjoy the list and feel free to tell me how you agree or disagree. Also, make no hesitation to trash me or my intelligence in any way you see fit. I'm used to it.

1) Wilco - "Sky Blue Sky"
2) Patty Griffin - "Children Running Through"
3) White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
4) Kelly Willis - "Translated From Love"
5) Wrinkle Neck Mules - "Wicks Have Met"
6) Jason Isbell - "Sirens of the Ditch"
7) Assembly of Dust - "Recollection"
8) Kane, Welch, Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin
9) Hackensaw Boys - "Look Out"
10) The Shins - "Wincing the Night Away"
11) Ryan Adams - "Easy Tiger"
12) John Doe - "A year in the Wilderness"
13) Son Volt - "The Search"
14) Peter Case - "Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John"
15) The Broken West - "I Can't Go on I'll Go on"
16) Elliot Randall - "Take the Fall"
17) The Basement - "Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs"
18) Paul McCartney - " Memory Almost Full"
19) Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles - "Diamonds in the Dark"
20) Kim Richey - "Chinese Boxes"
21) King Wilkie - "Low Country Suite"
22) Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before he Ship Ever Sank"
23) Giant Bear - "Giant Bear"
24) Josh Rouse - "Country Mouse, City house"
25) Feist - "The Reminder"
26) Olav Larsen and the Alabama Rodeo Stars - "Loves' Com to Town"
27) Elizabeth Cook - "Balls"
28) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - "This is Somewhere"
29) Willy Mason - "If the Ocean Gets Rough"
30) Dale Watson - "From the Cradle to the Grave"
31) Spoon - "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
32) The Gourds - "Noble Creatures"
33) The National - "Boxer"
34) Charlie Louvin - "Charlie Louvin"
35) Infamous Stringdusters - "Fork in the Road"
36) Nathan - "Key Principles"
37) Adam Hood - "Different Groove"
38) Steep Canyon Rangers - "Lovin' Pretty Women"
39) Rocky Votolato - "The Brag and Cuss"
40) Brandi Carlile - "The Story"
41) Eilen Jewell - "Letters from Sinners and Strangers"
42) Pela - "Anytown Graffiti"
43) Joe Ely - "Happy Song from Rattlesnake Gulch"
44) Cadillac Sky - "Blind Man Walking"
45) Martin Sexton - "Seeds"
46) The Derailers - "Under the Influence of Buck"
47) Piets Brown - "Remember the Sun
48) Two Cow Garage - "Three"
49) Okervil River - "The Stage Names"
50) Hoots & Hellmouth- "Hoots & Hellmouth"

Friday, August 31, 2007

Settin' the Woods on Fire: This Week's Charts

This is a weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of August 20th
1) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
2) Subdudes - Street Symphony
3) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
4) Doug Spartz - The One Who's Leaving
5) Gourds - Noble Creatures
6) Marty Stuart - Anthology of Duets
7) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun
8) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind
9) Lori McKenna - Unglamorous
10) Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch

Debuts
28) Kevin Deal - Roll
32) Peter Case - Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John
36) Lyle Lovet and His Large Band - It's Not Big It's Large
40) Mike Farris - Salvation in Lights

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of August 20th
1) Various Artists - Just One More: A Tribute to Larry Brown
2) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
3) Blackie & the Rodeo Kings - Let's frolic
4) Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadors- Trailercana
5) Kevin Deal - Roll
6) The Gourds - Noble Creatures
7) Various Artists - Anchored in Love
8) Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
9) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
10) Hackensaw Boys - Look Out!

Debuts
48) West Coast Grand - West Coast Grand
48) Dollar Store - Money Music
50) Jason Eady - Wild Eyed Serenade

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of August 20th
1) RYAN ADAMS - Easy Tiger
2) SPOON - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
3) Ben Harper - Lifetime
4) Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquest
5) Subdudes - Street Symphony
6) SUZANNE VEGA - Beauty and Crime
7) Crowded House - Time on Earth
8) Over the Rhine - Trumpet Child
9) Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
10) GRACE POTTER - This is Somewhere

Debuts
20) New Pornographers - Challengers
21) Peter Case - Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jason Isbell Live: Sloss Furnace Birmingham, AL

Jason Isbell put on a great show at the Stokin' the Fire Barbecue Festival in Birmingham this weekend. The festival was held at Sloss Furnace, which can be a challenge for a sound tech. For those unfamiliar with the venue it is a big metal roofed and walled structure with a stage in front of an old blast furnace. It has nice atmosphere and is a big part of the history of the Birmingham area. However, all that metal does tend to create a little reverb; but in this case it wasn't too bad. Something about Southern Rock and Barbecue that just goes together. Isbell mostly played songs from his solo effort Sirens of the Ditch. However he also mixed in a few Drive By Trucker classics he penned, including a great version of "Outfit" one of my favorite Truckers mid-tempo songs.

Isbell's band the 400 Unit do a nice job channelling the Southern Rock ethos. No doubt about it, when they rock it is a full on assault. However, they also do well on the slower tunes which show Isbell's songwriter side. For example, "Dress Blues," which is one of the most moving songs I've heard in years, was great live like it is on the album. My favorite song of the evening was "Try" which was one of those aforementioned full on assaults. For the closer they played the crowd pleaser "Jailbreak," a cover of the Thin Lizzy tune that the Truckers have made part of their live performances.

Check out the link below to My Music Birmingham for almost 12 min of high quality video shot
that evening starting out with the "Try":
http://www.myfoxal.com/myfox/pages/Entertainment/Detail?contentId=4179685&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=VSTY&pageId=7.3.1

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Settin' the Woods on Fire: This Week's Charts

This is a weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of August 13th
1) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
2) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
3) Subdudes - Street Symphony
4) Marty Stuart - Anthology of Duets
5) Doug Spartz - The One Who's Leaving
6) Gourds - Noble Creatures
7) Terri Hendrix - The Spiritual Kind
8) Adrienne Young - Room to Grow
9) Eilen Jewell - Letters from Sinners and Strangers
10) Walt Wilkins and the Mystiqueros - Diamonds in the Sun

Debuts
20) Derailers - Under the Influence of Buck
35) Sam Baker - Pretty World
38) Kim Richey - Chinese Boxes
39) Various Artists - Wounded Heart of America - Tom Russell Songs
40) Red Meat - We Never Close

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of August 13th
1) Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
2) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
3) Various Artists - Anchored in Love
4) Swampdawamp - Swampdawamp
5) Blackie & the Rodeo Kings - Let's frolic
6) Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadors- Trailercana
7) Kevin Deal - Roll
8) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
9) Richard March - Levee Road
10) Jeffrey Halford & the Healers - Broken Chord

Debuts
31) Various Artists - Wounded Heart of America - Tom Russell Songs
42) Eliza Gilkyson - Your Town Tonight
44) The Melroys - Walls Will Fall
45) Brad Colerick - Lines in the Dirt
46) Red Meat - We Never Close
47) Teddy Thompson - Up Front & Down Low
48) Sam Baker - Pretty World


FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of August 13th
1) RYAN ADAMS - Easy Tiger
2) SPOON - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
3) Subdudes - Street Symphony
4) SUZANNE VEGA - Beauty and Crime
5) Crowded House - Time on Earth
6) GRACE POTTER - This is Somewhere
7) Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquest
8) Ben Harper - Lifetime
9) WHITE STRIPES - Icky Thump
10) KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic

Debuts
22) Fionn Reagan - The End of history
24) Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
25) Josh Rouse - Country House City Mouse

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Blog: The Gobblers Knob

Just found this new blog. It focuses on Americana, Texas music real country etc. If you like AWT and the other blog I write for, Twangville, this one is one you will enjoy also.

http://www.thegobblersknob.com/

Under the Radar: Giant Bear

Giant Bear just released there self-titled album on August 14th and it will rank up there with Elliot Randall as one my surprise favorites of the year. They are an Americana outfit with Indie Rock sensibilities. Based in Memphis the Commercial Appeal says they are "somewhere between cowboy noir and the best band to ever play on a front porch." The Source Weekly in Eugene, OR calls it "Orchestral Funk-a-Billy." I call it awesome. These guys could follow Lucero's rise from Memphis to the Alt.Country circuit.

The album starts out with the line "There are no honky tonks left in Nashville" musing about the current state of Music City from the perspective of a guy who "Wants to drink the old time way." The album also has the coolest cover since The Gourds did "Gin 'n Juice." They do a quirky Americana version of "Head Like a Hole" by Nine Inch Nails. Some of the songs are dark like "Devil in the Wall" - "There was blood on your wrist and a Bible on your reading list. I tried to fix you with my towel. You clenched your fist and woke me with a growl." Mostly though, the album is an upbeat good time. Also, Luther Dickinson from North Mississippi All-Stars contributes slide guitar on the album to give it the local Memphis "Street Cred."

The album is streaming for free on: http://redwaxmusic.net/ check it out for sure!

This review also appears on: http://twangville.com

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Fats Kaplin - Kane Welch Kaplin

Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Fats Kaplin will be releasing a new album on September 11, the album is self titled Kane Welch Kaplin. Not exactly a creative title but after the first listen it is obvious they spent their time making the album not naming it. Their previous album Lost John Dean went number one on the Americana charts. So they have a lot to live up to and they succeed. In fact, I expect the new album will also spend some time at number one.

Like the last album this album is very rootsy with heavy folk, blues and gospel leanings. This time however they have added a fourth member. Fortunately they did not have to rename the band because it is Kieran's son Lucas Kane on percussion. Kane and Welch's history from Dead Reckoning Records allows them to mesh together even though their voices seem contrasting. It is the songwriting that is the glue that holds things together. If the songwriting adds cohesion, then Kaplin's musicianship gives the record its soul. Apparently Kaplin has a tendency to work whatever instruments that happen to be lying around into songs. That tendency gives the album its improvisational feel.

The songs come at you from a lot of different directions. There are Blues and Gospel numbers as well as story songs that weave a tapestry that is a little darker than their previous work. For example, "Dark Boogie # 7" is a spoken word folktale that goes inside the head of a mentally ill murderer. A more uplifting song is the closer "What are They Doing in Heaven Today," which was put on the album because all three have lost their moms in the last few years.

Sample the songs at:
http://compassrecords.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=520

This review als appears on: http://twangville.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Michael McDermott & Pieta Brown upcoming releases






Well Folks, I am back from another round of R&R and I wanted to let you know about One Little Indian Records out of San Francisco, which has two upcoming Singer-songwriter releases that I feel are worth noting. The first on August 28th is Michael McDermott's Noise from Words. McDermott is a Chicago based Songwriter. Musically, the album is fairly standard singer-songwriter fare. Lyrically McDermoot is a poetic and powerful voice. His songs are candid and deal with regret ("Mess of Things") but also redemption ("Tread Lightly"). In "No Words" he expresses hope when he declares "The night has come undone and the world has just begun" He also has a famous fan in writer Stephen King who calls McDermott "the greatest undiscovered rock & roll talent of the last 20 years."

Download the free MP3 below:

For my local Birmingham readers Pieta Brown is even more interesting. Her new album Remember the Sun releases on September 25th. She is the daughter of well known Grammy nominated folk singer Greg Brown. After being born in Iowa she and her mother moved here to Birmingham. While growing up in Birmingham Pieta began writing poetry and composing songs for the piano. Her exposure to traditional folk music shows through. However, her gift for composition is really shown with each successive listen to the album. What at first seems very simple is beautifully composed and lands her somewhere between traditional folk and more contemporary female songwriters. The music is rooted in tradition while exploring new boundaries. She is totally mesmerizing!
Download the free MP3 below:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Deadstring Brothers to Release New Album

According to The 9513 The Deadstring Brothers will be releasing their new album on Bloodshot on October 9th. The Album will be titled Silver Mountain and I am definitely looking forward to it.

Check out this and other news:
http://www.the9513.com/brad-paisley-vs-kellie-pickler-you-be-the-judge/

Settin' the Woods on Fire: This Week's Charts

This is a weekly feature in which I post on AWT the top albums and debuts in the airplay charts from Americana Music Assoc., XM Cross Country and FMQB Non-Commercial Adult Alternative chart. Links to all of these charts are found to the right in the AWT favorite links list.

Americana Music Association - Airplay Week of July 30th
1) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
2) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
3) Marty Stuart - Anthology of Duets
4) Doug Spartz - The One Who's Leaving
5) Sarah Borges and The Broken Singles - Diamonds in the Dark
6) Subdudes - Street Sympho
7) Adrienne Young - Room to Grow
8) Jimmy Lafave - Cimmaron Manifesto
9) Eilen Jewell - Letters from Sinners and Strangers
10) Gourds - Noble Creatures
Debuts
24) Teddy Thompson - Up Front Down Low

XM Ch.12 Cross Country - Cross Checking week of July 30th
1) Various Artists - Anchored in Love
2) Various Artists - Just One More A tribute to Larry Brown
3) Jeffery Halford and the Healers - Broken Chord
4) Swampdawamp - Swampdawamp
5) Peter Berwick - Ain't No Train Outta Nashville
6) Avett Brother - Emotionalisn
7) Jeff Finlin - Angel in Disguise
8) Kelly Willis - Translated from Love
9) Antsy McClain and the Trailer Park Troubadors- Trailercana
10) Jimmy Lafave - Cimmaron Manifesto

Debuts
None

FMQB AAA Non-Commercial - Airplay Week of July 30th
1) RYAN ADAMS - Easy Tiger
2) SPOON - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
3) SUZANNE VEGA - Beauty and Crime
4) Subdudes - Street Symphony
5) Crowded House - Time on Earth
6) GRACE POTTER - This is Somewhere
7) WILCO - Sky Blue Sky
8) WHITE STRIPES - Icky Thump
9) FEIST - The Reminder
10) Ben Harper - Lifetime

Debuts
None

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Under The Radar: 8/7/07

Here are a few artists I have come across lately that I think have potential to be much bigger in the future:

The first is Intensive Care an Indie Rock band out of Montreal. They have the atmospherics not uncommon to other Indie bands; but these guys also understand the importance of a good Rock hook as well. Their self released EP is available through iTunes and CDBaby. Check out the MP3s below:
http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/5/29/1124526/2-Break_Me_Up_Machine.mp3%20http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/5/29/1124526/3-dls.mp3
Here is a Youtube video


Next is The Mountain Pearls. Their sel-released debut is very lo-fi rough edged Roots Music that sounds like a hillbilly version of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This is toe tappin' front porch music.

Check them out on EMUGGA:
VISIT
The Mountain Pearls




Also, The Steep Canyon Rangers winner of the IBMA energing artist award for 2006 are coming out with their new record Lovin' Pretty Women on Rebel Records August 14th. If you like traditional Bluegrass you don't want to miss this one. Below is a video biography of the band:

Monday, August 6, 2007

Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House

The new Josh Rouse album Country Mouse, City House is more city than country and it is also great. What else do you expect from Rouse. This album is very Jazz influenced in the vein of his Under the Cold Blue Stars release. "Sweetie" and "Hollywood Bass Player" will be the fan favorites but the coolest song on the Album is "Pilgrim" which I swear had to be produced from the grave by Miles Davis.

See the video for "Hollywood Bass Player" and a live acoustic version of "Sweetie." Also there is an interview done on the DL on AOL Music.




Emuga Launches

The folks over at AmericanaRoots.com have launched a social networking site for Americana and alt-country artists and fans it is called emugga.com. It is sort of a MySpace for the world of Americana. I have joined. I hope it takes off and I encourage you all to join.

Check it out:
http://emugga.com

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Putumayo Presents - Americana


Whenever someone puts together a compilation CD choosing the songs can be difficult. When the compilation is of something like Americana Music, the very definition of which is elusive at best, the job is near impossible. If anyone could do it Putumayo, who has developed an entire international catalog of impossible compilations over the years, can. This compilation of 12 songs, which I outline below, was well chosen. In truth the songs lean more to the "Alt" side of Americana than the "Roots" side. However, to criticize Putumayo for this would be nitpicking.

Here is a listing of the song with a word on each. 1) Robinella - "Down the Mountain" provides a nice mix of Jazz and Old Time. 2) Mulehead - "Frankie Lee" was an odd selection considering they are not even together any more and were a flash in the pan at best. However, the song is a good example of alt-country so it works well. After all, picking the right songs is more important than the artists when putting together a compilation. 3) The Little Willies - "It's Not You It's me" has a real juke joint feel to it. 4) Robert Earl Keen - "Ride" has twin dobro slide guitars played in traditional blues fashion. If that does not impress nothing will. 5) Eliza Lynn - "Sing a New Song" see the video below and you will understand. 6)OCMS - "Wagon Wheel" an old timey feel provided by the young men in Old Crow. 7) Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez- "Sweet Tequila Blues" a mix of old and new. 8) Tim O'Brien- "House of the Risin Sun" a lesson by the professor of Americana. 9) Alison Brown - "Deep Gap" features Brown on guitar and with more tradition than Jazz. 10) Terri Hendrix - "A Prayer for My Friends" her distinctive voice is a good example of the powerful female voices that are so important to the Americana scene. 11) Josh Ritter- "Harrisburg" there is no Americana album complete without a story song. 12) Ruthie Foster - "Hole in My Pocket" last but not least a Gospel singer.

Check out the web site:
http://www.putumayo.com/en/catalog_item.php?album_id=243

Eliza Lynn Video:




This review also appears on:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Best of 2007


**UPDATED 8-1-2007**
Due to a Blogger glich 16 items got deleted when I posted. This is the corrected list. However, the list still only includes releases through July 14th.
This is My updated Best of 2007. Wilco is still #1. The highest debuts are Kelly Willis at #4, Jason Isbell at #6 and Ryan Adams at #10. I expanded the list to 40 this time and dropped 5 from the previous list. My apologies to anyone offended the list was getting to big. Also, as usual, I did some rearranging based on further reflection. Reviews are coming for Kelly Willis and Elliot Randall who debuted at #14. Another notable debut is Spoon at #25. Enjoy the list and feel free to tell me how you agree or disagree. Also, make no hesitation to trash me or my intelligence in any way you see fit. I'm used to it.

1) Wilco - "Sky Blue Sky"
2) Patty Griffin - "Children Running Through"
3) White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
4) Kelly Willis - "Translated From Love"
5) Wrinkle Neck Mules - "Wicks Have Met"
6) Jason Isbell - "Sirens of the Ditch"
7) Assembly of Dust - "Recollection"
8) Hackensaw Boys - "Look Out"
9) The Shins - "Wincing the Night Away"
10) Ryan Adams - "Easy Tiger"
11) John Doe - "A year in the Wilderness"
12) Son Volt - "The Search"
13) The Broken West - "I Can't Go on I'll Go on"
14) Elliot Randall - "Take the Fall"
15) The Basement - "Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs"
16) Paul McCartney - " Memory Almost Full"
17) Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles - "Diamonds in the Dark"
18) Kim Richey - "Chinese Boxes"
19) King Wilkie - "Low Country Suite"
20) Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before he Ship Ever Sank"
21) Feist - "The Reminder"
22) Olav Larsen and the Alabama Rodeo Stars - "Loves' Com to Town"
23) Elizabeth Cook - "Balls"
24) Willy Mason - "If the Ocean Gets Rough"
25) Dale Watson - "From the Cradle to the Grave"
26) Spoon - "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
27) The National - "Boxer"
28) Charlie Louvin - "Charlie Louvin"
29) Infamous Stringdusters - "Fork in the Road"
30) Nathan - "Key Principles"
31) Adam Hood - "Different Groove"
32) Elizabeth Cook - "Balls"
33) Rocky Votolato - "The Brag and Cuss"
34) Pela - "Anytown Graffiti"
35) Joe Ely - "Happy Song from Rattlesnake Gulch"
36) Cadillac Sky - "Blind Man Walking"
37) Martin Sexton - "Seeds"
38) Two Cow Garage - "Three"
39) The Gourds - "Noble Creatures"
40) Hoots & Hellmouth- "Hoots & Hellmouth"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Under the Radar: Elliot Randall


Elliot Randall is gaining notoriety on the West Coast and is becoming a popular act in the San Francisco Bay area. He is also getting love from the California press. Recently, he was featured on legendary Bay area radio station KFOG’s local scene and is going to be appearing at the station’s local scene kickoff party on August 3rd. The national exposure has not come yet. However, he was recently featured on an AmericanaRoots podcast, which is an AWT favorite. Hopefully more exposure like this will come for Randall. He certainly deserves it. Based on my correspondence with Elliot he seems like a heck of a nice guy and I am certainly rooting for him.

Though he lives in the Bay Area, he is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and told me he spent most of his time growing up in the Carolinas. His Southern roots really show as he mixes Roots Rock with a more Classic Rock and Roll sound. He is an excellent songwriter whose musical style has the ability to appeal to a wide audience. On his new album Take the Fall Randall plays mid-tempo songs like “How to Grow Old” as well as full out rockers like “Second Time Around.” Both musically and lyrically Randall’s music is very accessible to the listener. All of the songs on the album show the various influences he has. Whether the listener’s preferences lean more toward Rock or Roots or Singer-Songwriter, this album will satisfy.

MP3 Links Below:

http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/5/29/1124526/01%20How%20To%20Get%20Old.m4a

http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/5/29/1124526/03%20Second%20Time%20Around.m4a

This review also appears on: http://twangville.com