the alphabet project is hot and humid…but i’m ok if you’re oh K
Going through the library and sharing things I like, and things you might. If you missed the earlier posts, find them on my page by clicking on my name or avatar, and then find my featured blogs. (To answer the questions as to why I’m not providing links, clips, videos or pictures…it takes too long and I figure if you want to know more, you’ll find it.)
Kasey Anderson is an artist that was first mentioned in No Depression back in 2002, and there was also a review of his second release in 2004. I’ve seen his name written within this community website a few times and while he may not be completely new to you, just consider this a reminder. Released last February on his own label, Nowhere Nights has been one my favorite releases this year and I describe him as being to Steve Earle as to what Todd Snider is to John Prine. There is a strong similarity in song structure, style and of course that voice, but Kasey is more of a reinvention and not a tribute if that makes sense. But if you like Earle, there’s nothing wrong in saying you’ll dig Kasey too. If you navigate to his website you’ll find a great offer: pick any four tracks of his and he’ll send you a download link for your own personal EP that he’d like you to share with friends.
Not the actress but the young twenty-something British singer, Kate Walsh is someone who probably wouldn’t make it to the pages of No Depression. But her 2007 release Tim’s House which she recorded for something like $250 and then shot up to being number one on iTunes UK is a fairly remarkable modern acoustic feat. I’m too lazy to check to see if it did well here in the US, but it was picked up by mega-corp Universal for distribution whatever that means. While these old ears finds her latest Light & Dark a bit more produced and pop for my taste, Tim’s House is stripped down with lots of open space surrounding her beautiful voice.
I’m going three for three with young artists here. Every time I hear a track from Kendel Carson I think that this is exactly the type of music Nashville should be making. It’s not alt and it’s not bluegrass but it’s just great country music without all the fancy studio tricks and over-production and over-hype. A classically trained violinist from Canada, Kendel developed a passion for folk, country and rock when her folks moved west. “There’s an amazing roots scene out in Victoria,” she says. “That became my primary influence. It’s a really community-minded spirit out there. It’s inspiring.” She already has two releases out and Rearview Mirror Tears was produced by Chip Taylor and featured the hit “I Like Trucks”. Her latest Alright Dynamite was recorded in a barn near Woodstock and is a warm roots production that features John Platania (Van Morrison), Bryan Owings (Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Shelby Lynne), Ron Eoff (The Band, Delbert McClinton), and Tony Leone (Levon Helm, Ollabelle).
It’s purely coincidence that as I write this we’re only a day away from a new release from Yukon Americana singer-songwriter Kim Beggs. If somehow you missed her two previous releases, Wanderer’s Paean from 2006 is a good start or you can just go get the new one as I’m sure it’ll be just as tasty. Blue Bones is produced by Juno Award winning producer Steve Dawson and features an all-star lineup of musicians including John Raham (Be Good Tanyas) on drums, Keith Lowe (Bill Frisell) on bass, Chris Gestrin on keyboards, and Gurf Morlix and Laurie Lewis contributing backup vocals. I love this snippet from her official biography: After moving up to the Yukon from Toronto in 1991, “with only fifty dollars in her pocket and a pawnshop guitar, Beggs spent more than a decade swinging a hammer, and working in the trades before she started performing away from the campfire and singing her own songs.” Yeah…this is the real deal right here.
While I doubt many of you went to see Coldplay’s last stadium tour, if you did you may have caught London siblings Kitty, Daisy and Lewis open for them…and if you could actually hear them above the din of the crowd…you might have thought you were back in the late forties at a smoky bar deep in Harlem. Their only album so far is available in the US at Amazon and maybe some indies and it’s a digital-free vintage swing session that mixes up everything from soul, blues, country and even Hawaiian. This family affair is all over You Tube and are featured in a documentary called We Dreamed American featured at SXSW in 2008. This disc will make you get up and move despite yourself.
Kristen Ward is just another reason to travel to Seattle. I first read about her here and it was a May 2009 review that caught my eye. You can go find it yourself or if you’re lazy I’ll just cut and paste some of it here for you: “Raised in Spokane, Washington, in a home where mom was a bluegrass singer and led family bedtime sing-a-longs to 70s folkies like Gordon Lightfoot, Carole King and John Denver, Kristen was always singing, be it the school choir or just around the house. My mom refused to let me have voice lessons, she says over the phone from her Seattle home, “because they’re gonna change your style. Just let your voice develop on its own, and when you’re older, then if you need some fine tuning, explore that”. Good motherly advice has paid off for Ms. Ward, who since grabbing her moms Guild guitar around the age of 14 and diving right in till her fingers bled, her course was pretty much set.” Anyway, there’s three titles up on her website you can sample and while I already have her first, I feel a purchase comin’ down for her latest Charles.