I knew a few things about Nataly Dawn before I went to see her short set at the Hotel Cafe the other night. She has been in a band named Pomplamoose, which shouldn't be confused with Huffamoose, and I liked the several songs I had heard of hers, but I wasn't prepared to be so thoroughly impressed with her performance.
On stage, the pixie-haired Dawn sparkled while delivering a smart set of songs (some originals, some covers) that was full humor and heart. Her original…Continue
Jack Carty first caught my attention earlier this month when I came across his wonderful tune “She’s Got A Boyfriend.” This self-deprecating uptempo lament about losing a girlfriend to another holds an ingratiating charm that suggests a young, lovelorn Billy Bragg.
Investigating further, I discovered that Carty is an up-and-comer singer-songwriter from Down Under. Since 2009, the impressive twenty-something troubadour has released an EP and a pair of full-length albums. Both…Continue
Added by Michael Berick on March 25, 2013 at 10:00am — No Comments
Two major figures in the Chicago music scene passed on last week. Cleotha Staples, who was the eldest daughter of Pops Staples, died on February 20 on the South Side of Chicago at the age of 78. She had been afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease for around the last dozen years. While she had not performed recently, Cleotha was…Continue
Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson have dusted off the Replacements name to do their first band recording since 1990. Why now? It has to do with helping out their pal, and longtime bandmate Slim Dunlap. Last February, Dunlap suffered a major right brain stroke and spent 9 month hospitalized. While he is home now, he needs constant care from his family and a team of health care professional. Needless to say, insurance isn’t going to cover the long-term…Continue
The story about Bob Dylan and the Band is a fascinating one with many compelling chapters. The folk king Dylan going electric. A longtime backing band coming into their own known simply as The Band. Dylan’s motorcycle accident and the Woodstock years. Their re-teaming on the Before The Flood tour and the Band’s Last…Continue
Added by Michael Berick on October 2, 2012 at 11:00am — No Comments
It would be easy to call Jim Lauderdale, "Mr. Americana." The perennial host of the Americana Music Awards has been putting out nearly an album a year (sometimes more) since 1998. And this year is now exception with two more albums scheduled for release by year's end.
The first one up is Carolina Moonrise, which marks his fourth collaboration with frequent…Continue
The beginning of May marks a special and busy time for Sara Watkins. On May 3, Sara and her brother Sean orchestrated another of their Watkins Family Hour shows that was part of the L.A. Bluegrass Situation at Los Angeles’s Largo at the Coronet. This uniquely eccentric event, now in its third year, brings together adventurous acoustic musicians and music-loving performers, like Steve Martin and fest organizer Ed Helms. The fest returns to Largo at the…Continue
Added by Michael Berick on May 4, 2012 at 1:30pm — No Comments
It was surprising to find, amidst the glitz and glitter of Las Vegas, a band playing with honest passion and emotions. However, that’s what Vintage Trouble, a band from Los Angeles (no less) displayed during their near 90-minute set of hot ‘n’ sweaty rock ‘n’ soul music.
The band is led by charismatic singer Ty Taylor. His muscular soulful singing recalls Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and other Stax men, while his…Continue
This year’s Record Store Day is all about the vinyl exclusives, limited edition CDs and a coloring book. What? A coloring book? Yes, and not just any coloring book but a vintage 1970 Buck Owens and the Buckeroos coloring book!
Here’s the story. Last year, the folks at Omnivore Recordings released a 45 of rare Buck Owens (“Close Up The Honky…Continue
Having just read the No Depression interview with Afie Jurvanen, I thought I'd share the review that I had recently done on his new album.
Jurvanen, who goes by the moniker Bahamas, creates music that radiates a laidback coolness. The Toronto-based musician (who spent several years playing in Feist’s band) blends together blue-eyed soul, home-crafted indie rock, and ‘60s rock - and then gives it all a dose of echo to create something…Continue
Vince Gill’s return to the legendary Los Angeles club, the Troubadour, might not be as celebrated as James Taylor and Carole King’s reunion show back in 2007, which spawned a DVD and subsequent tour. However, it did make for a memorable evening.
Walking out on stage with his 8-piece band, Gill - dressed in a plaid shirt, jeans, short hair and black-rimmed glasses - looked more like the guy next store rather than a Nashville superstar. Stating that it had been 35 years since…Continue
Lionel Richie, the man who gave us such pop standards as “Say You, Say Me” and “Three Times A Lady,” is readying his country debut. Next March, Mercury Nashville will release Tuskegee, Richie’s country duets album. His singing “pardners” will include Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Jennifer Nettles, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Billy Currington, Little Big Town, and…Continue
At some point, you’ve probably heard someone say about a band, “you’ve got to see them live.” The Band of Heathens is one of those bands. The Austin-based outfit has put out three fine albums over the last few years and have garnered a pair of Americana Music Association award nominations. But - “you’ve got to see them live.” On stage, you get to fully appreciate their group’s three frontmen (Colin Brooks, Ed Jurdi and Gordy Quist) in action and how well the band (which also includes…Continue
Although his name is mainly a footnote today, Phil Ochs was one of folk music’s headliners in the early ‘60s, rivaling Bob Dylan in the spotlight of fame for a while. Demonstrating a profound talent for taking the news and transforming it into an anthem-like song, Ochs penned such political-charged tunes as “I Ain’t Marching Anymore,” “Draft Dodger Rag” and “Power and the Glory.” While Dylan moved on to be an international, iconic music superstar, Ochs never enjoyed wide popular success and…Continue
Well, Brian Setzer hasn't gone all Appalachian but he will be covering the bluegrass classic "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" on his upcoming release Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL (out April 19 on Surfdog Records). Having given it a listen, the one-time Stray Cat definitely Setzer-izes "Blue Moon" with some slick guitar licks; however, the tune's roots remain present. Other tracks on this disc, Setzer's first all instrumental album, include "Cherokee" and "Be-Bop-A-Lula.” You…Continue
Added by Michael Berick on February 10, 2011 at 11:28am — No Comments
I first heard Alexa Woodward in 2009 with her impressive album, Speck. The New York City-based Woodward makes spare, rustic music that feels drawn from her Southern roots (she grew up in Virginia and South Carolina).
Her latest offering It's A Good Life, Honey If You Don't Grow Weary (available online in February) is a joy to listen to. She does a terrific job of gently fleshing out her sound while retaining its delicate Americana feel. Woodward plays banjo…Continue
Added by Michael Berick on January 20, 2011 at 3:30pm — No Comments
Despite it’s rather vanilla title, “Eric Clapton: The 1960’s Review” does make for interesting viewing. The 2-hour documentary, which came out last year, covers arguably the most exciting time in Clapton’s illustrious career – his formative years from the start of the Yardbirds to Cream and Blind Faith and ending with Derek And The Dominos. The era when “Clapton Is God” was a familiar rallying cry.
Even without the advantage of new Clapton material, the filmmakers utilize…Continue
Christmas CDs have turned into something of a cottage industry, although the results are often cottage cheese. This year, however, several Americana artists are serving up some rather tasty musical treats for the holidays.
Shelby Lynne – Merry Christmas (Everso Records). On this 11-song set, Lynne gives a torchy touch to some holiday standards (“Silent Night” and “Sleigh Ride/Winter Wonderland”) with her rendition of “Silver Bells” a really shining effort. The disc’s…Continue