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 ( 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

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


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

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