In 2011, Chris Isaak took the long overdue step of recording an album at Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn. It wasn't just any album, it was faithful interpretations of classic songs by his musical mentors and heroes: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. It didn’t take much of a leap of imagination to predict that the album would be something fine. It captures the spirit of those sessions from so long ago with respect, but also…Continue
Added by Terry Roland on July 27, 2014 at 6:00pm — No Comments
For the groundbreaking L.A. punk band X, the move to do a brief summer acoustic tour -- including a stop at the Belly Up in Solano Beach, Calif. on July 20 -- may seem a bit out of place. Known for their uncompromising and inspired punk rock, born in the late '70s in Los Angeles in the wake of the punk British invasion, X was among the most original, raw, and passionate groups to emerge from the early days of the durable genre.…Continue
Sam Bush tells a story about how bluegrass Founding Father, Bill Monroe, after hearing the tradition-bending sound being touted as progressive bluegrass, once saw young Bush coming his way. “Here comes that mother.” So, the story goes, that is how Bush became known as "the Mother of Bluegrass."
During a recent conversation with Bush from his home in Nashville, he laughed. “Well, actually that is apocryphal. That story…Continue
Jeffery Halford and the Healers have been around a while. With a string of fine blues-rock albums the San Francisco-based band reflects the kind of musical fortitude and collaboration that brings to mind the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Al Kooper and Barry Goldberg. Their latest album,…Continue
Added by Terry Roland on June 26, 2014 at 7:00pm — No Comments
Otis Taylor is melodic and hypnotic, making trance-like music that awakens those who listen with open ears and soul, to sadness and joy, loss and gain, all that cuts to the deepest musical bone of his and our ancestry. His people have been enslaved and freed, beaten, broken and triumphed in the way of the underground that runs through the bloodstream of our culture, in its most influential places -- its music, the voices of the forgotten, the disenfranchised, the redeemed. When he…Continue
What do Downey, Calif., the Ash Grove, Big Bill Broonzy, and the Mississippi Delta all have in common? The answer is easy to anyone close to the heart of Southern California Americana music; the Downey-bred brothers, Phil and Dave Alvin. In a rare move, the brothers have re-united and collaborated on a new album on Yep Roc Records, Common Ground:…Continue
When the Orange County punk band the Vandals first released the song “Johnny Two-Bags” from their 1995 album, Live Fast Diarrea, it must have felt like some kind of backhanded recognition to punk musician Jonny (Two Bags) Wikersham.
Lyrics like, “You ain't black and you ain't blind / You're girlfriend's not the cheating kind / Well you're cleaned up and you're off the booze / Maybe you weren't meant to sing the blues,” were a kind of affectionate put-down directed…Continue
The story is, by now, a worn-out cliché. It even shows up on network television shows like Nashville: the influential elder statesmen who helped found a form of music popular today, is granted meetings with record label A&R executives "out of respect" to hear their newest, vital work, only to be told "no" regarding label support for release, promotion, and distribution. Oh, they love the music, mind you. “It’s great,” they say. “The best of your career," they add.…Continue
Unearthed recordings from shelved sessions can be mixed blessings. The new release from the Cash estate, Out Among the Stars, pulls from restored and completed sessions from 1983 when, as his son John Carter Cash states on the liner notes, “he had found recovery and he was in perfect voice.” The sessions do reflect the kind of new energy and re-birth that frequents artists who make their way out of the struggles found in addiction. By 1983, Cash was well-versed in the…Continue
He is a kindred spirit. He’s seen the land from coast to coast. Eastern waters and the western, Pacific shores are familiar to him. So is the music, from the soul songs of Detroit, to the urban blues of New York City. The easy pop texture of his brother’s legendary band the Lovin' Spoonful is there, but so is the lush blue Pacific harmony of the Wilson brothers. He’s played the clubs, bars, and festivals haunting the shadows of legends. He holds his own legend in his story. In the…Continue
Added by Terry Roland on May 2, 2014 at 12:30am — No Comments
Yes. This is unofficial business. A fictional Americana-Roots Music Hall of Fame. So, now that we’ve made it past the latest 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I thought it would be a good time tally those old votes from last September’s No Depression Forum titled What Ten Artists Would You Induct Into the Americana-Roots Hall of Fame, and see…Continue
There’s something deep into the core of New York City singer-songwriter Riley Etheridge Jr.’s new release, The Straight and Narrow Way, that carries with it a deeply Stax/Muscle Shoals realized sonic bloodline. It’s this sense of the music from these sessions that celebrates, travels, dances, thinks, feels, dreams and, at times bleeds, that links it to the finest soul music of the last several decades. It’s a roadhouse romp and big city blues jam fused with South Louisiana…Continue
Added by Terry Roland on April 8, 2014 at 12:00am — No Comments
Five Years ago I had the pleasure of talking with legendary singer-songwriter, Jesse Winchester. Our conversation was beyond pleasant. We connected and found a great time of laughter together. I'm still no veteran when it comes to interviewing artists, especially those I admire. But in 2009, I was just plain green. He was kind, funny, open and self-effacing about his own legacy.
Jesse Winchester and especially his first…Continue
If any Texas born country singer-songwriter could be considered a cosmic cowboy it would have to be Michael Nesmith. After even a brief perusal of his 70’s solo albums it becomes clear if Gram Parsons coined the term “Cosmic American Music,” Nesmith certainly defined and expanded it. A listen to his current album, Rays, solidifies his credentials as a surveyor and journeyman in the American music landscape extending beyond any label, which he believes only limits the…Continue
By day, Ernest Troost is an Emmy award winning composer of film and television music. His best known score is for the camp-horror classic, Tremors. But, by night, his blood is filled with the blues of the Piedmont region of the deep South, the folk songs and tales of the Appalachians and the eccentric stories of Flannery O’Connor with just a twist of the big city folk-pop sensibility of Paul Simon. The mix is a good one. Throughout his songwriting career and on his new…Continue
Added by Terry Roland on March 28, 2014 at 8:30pm — No Comments
Her voice is smokey, rough, and sweet at the same time. She’s has been described as one part bourbon; two parts honey. Her path to success has been strewn with personal tragedy. It’s been an earthbound trail of loss that has parallelled her success. Even so, her songwriting stands out from the overpopulated world of singer-songwriters in her refusal to allow self-indulgence, introspection, and self-pity to seep into her work. At 61, Louisiana born singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams…Continue
“The reason man created stringed instruments: David touched them with a lover’s fingers and they moaned that true love right back at him. Wood and wire and flesh spoke.” —Jerry Jeff Walker
Every American artist worth their salt has a story to tell. Many from our musical heritage have left us in flames of self-destruction. Others have lived long, had their downturns, returned restored, and have given back the hope they found in the depth of…Continue
If Louisiana native singer-songwriter Rod Melancon's debut solo album, My Family Name, was a Valentine to Hank Williams and the Outlaw Movement of the 70's, then his outstanding new album, Parish Lines, released March 4th on Medina River Records, is certainly a love letter to Bruce Springsteen and the alt country movement of the last 20 years.
That's a very good thing when…Continue
There is a point, when listening to a music created with a specific vision where looking back connects us to the present and the shows us the road to the future.Continue
“He passed away, that doesn’t mean he’s gone.” Arlo Guthrie
Sometimes it seems life spins us through a series of circles and cycles. Along the way we find the wise ones; heroes we call them. Our cultural heroes sit uncomfortably on a pedestal we make for them. When we have the opportunity to get to know them, the once famous legends in our eyes, become human with strengths and flaws like the rest of us. Of course, that’s because they are the ‘rest of us.' This has…Continue
Added by Terry Roland on February 21, 2014 at 10:30pm — No Comments