Sunday, May 29, 2011

HA HA Tonka - Finally Getting Their Props

Bloodshot artists HAHA Tonka, are getting a lot of attention with their new release, "Death of a Decade"

Check the links below to discover this band, if you haven't already.

NPR Song of the Day -

Washington Post:
A couple of rootsy, passionate, scruffy groups such as Mumford & Sons did their thing at the Grammy Awards this year, exposing their music to a relatively vast audience in one fell swoop. Mumford’s music is fine, but it’s a shame that Ha Ha Tonka couldn’t have taken that group’s spot. The Missouri quartet is not only authentically scruffy, it tears at the heart of American roots music with every chord like Mumford only pretends to, and its new record, Death of a Decade, basically oozes passion for the craft.

Featured on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations":

Featured on MTV's The Seven:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Old Californio - Sundrunk Angels

“Cosmic American Music” is what Gram Parsons called his own music. I think the term also fits Sundrunk Angels, the new release by Old Californio. The length of the songs puts them in Jam Band territory. In fact, it is a bit odd that the Jam Band crowd hasn’t widely discovered these guys yet. “Jewels and the Dross” certainly channels the ghost of Jerry Garcia. Old Californio would have fit nicely into the California music scene of the late 60’s and early 70’s, but they are not just a throwback band. Their music intertwines their influences with an original and contemporary approach. They have a strong following in their home state of California and are expanding their fan base eastward. Sundrunk Angels should increase their following in both number and geography.

Songs like “Allon Camerado” start with a mid-tempo hook and then gradually migrate into full on high speed Jam.  It is not uncommon for the studio to fence in a group of improvisational musicians, but that is not the case here. The production of Sundrunk Angels has a live feel no matter if the song has a mellow vibe like the title cut, or an upbeat Country-Rock Jam such as “A Cool Place in the Light”. The time is right to jump on the bandwagon and take a ride.

This Post was first published on Twangville

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Overlooked and Under the Radar Releases

There has been an early flood of great releases in 2011. Below are a few that should not get lost in the shuffle:

Robyn Ludwick - Out of These Blues: Produced by Gurf Morlix, This Rock and Blues album has an All-Star supporting cast. She is the younger sister of Bruce and Charlie Robison. She provides a gut punch of Blues and Rock that should not be overlooked. Download on CD Baby.

Exene Cervenka - The Excitement Machine: See my Review on Twangville.

Brian Wright - House on Fire: This Sugar Hill release features excellent songwriting. Wright even plays all of the instruments himself. An all around Talent! Order on Amazon.

The Only Sons - American Stranger: Country Rock from a band of Middle Tennessee State University students. Their influences are varied, but their future is bright. Website.

Bennet Brier - Scorpio and Me: An Austin Native that delivers raw and, at times, emotionally dark songwriting. The album is a deep soul-searching experience. Website.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tara Nevins - Wood and Stone

When we last saw Tara Nevins, do her own thing, outside of the Donna the Buffalo "herd", it was an award winning Bluegrass album, but it has been over 10 years since Mule to Ride. On her new release, Wood and Stone,  she showcases a broader stroke of the Americana landscape. On the surface it invokes a similar territory travelled by Donna, but on her current solo project Nevins puts aside the jams. Instead she delivers a Country leaning effort that conjures up a time before the Opry. An era just before Nudie began making his sequined suits for Little Jimmy Dickens and Hank Williams (and a long time before he made the infamous gold lame' suit for Elvis). It is the music sung by and to the rural poor, who lived on the margins of the Post-Depression era economic recovery. People whose lives were defined by their broken relationships.

The earthy tunes on Wood and Stone are captivating. Nevins takes the past and utilizes drums and a steel guitar, to ensure the album is still contemporary. However, the real bridge between past and present is a voice, so singular and beautiful, that it must be heard to be appreciated. Ask any one of the "herd" who has followed her for years, and they will back me up. It has been too long since we heard from Tara Nevins as an individual artist, but the wait was worth it.