Monday, December 26, 2011

Uprooted Music Revue's 25 Most Memorable Interviews of 2011

I started Uprooted Music Revue in March of 2010. But something very significant occurred early on in 2011 that changed my commitment and motivation to becoming more serious about music writing. I interviewed Lucinda Williams.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Discussion With Author And Music Historian Bill C. Malone On "Music From The True Vine: Mike Seeger's Life and Musical Journey"

Bill C. Malone is an American music historian, author, teacher, radio host, guitarist, and celebrant of traditional American country music. His groundbreaking 1968 work, Country Music U.S.A., is still very much regarded as the definitive academic work exploring the history of country music, and the volume is currently available in its third revised edition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Uprooted Music Revue's Favorite 50 Audio Releases of 2011

2011 has been a year that has been absolutely flooded with a staggering number of memorable releases. I can recall many instances throughout the year when I wish there were more hours in the day, as well as more money in my pocket, in order to give all of these records the time and attention they so rightfully deserved.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Uprooted Music Revue's Favorite Books of 2011

For as long as I can remember, I have always been someone who has been CONSUMED by music. By "consumed", I, like many of you, listen to A LOT of music every year. And in addition to listening to lots of music, I, like many of you, think a lot about music. I'm sure that we can all agree that this usually leads to all of us discussing the music that excites us, borrowing and lending of albums, practicing and playing an instrument, and even spending some time reading about music.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

NYC's Roosevelt Dime Wants You To Join Their Party

Roosevelt Dime is a new New York City based band that combines a mix of jazz, old-time, country, swing, big band, and bluegrass. The group was one of the first artists to get funding via Kickstarter to help finance their work, and the band has just released their fantastic new album called Steamboat Soul.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Boys of Pert Near Sandstone Discuss Their New Album, "Paradise Hop"

Pert Near Sandstone, a stellar string band that hails from the West Bank area of Minneapolis, has just released their excellent new album, Paradise Hop. Although the band is currently out on tour supporting their new record, the boys generously devoted a significant chunk of their precious down-time between gigs to participate in a lengthy, in-depth, career-spanning discussion.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Interview: Rock The Cause Discusses "Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt" Tribute LP

Minnesota Remembers Vic Chesnutt is a new memorial tribute album that features an impressive turnout or artists, each performing Vic Chesnutt classics. Contributors include Dan Wilson, Haley Bonar, Trampled by Turles' Dave Simonett, Charlie Parr, Ben Weaver, Wendy Lewis, JoAnna James, Alpha Consumer, Luke Redfield and more. Minnesota nonprofit organization Rock the Cause just released the compilation on its own label on November 8, 2011, in partnership with The Orchard.

Rock the Cause will donate proceeds from the album and release show to Lifeworks Services to directly benefit innovative programs for people with disabilities. Proceeds will also benefit Sweet Relief to provide financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. For more information, please visit

Monday, November 14, 2011

Light In The Attic's Matt Sullivan Talks The Louvin Brothers' "Satan Is Real" Deluxe Reissue

Light In The Attic Records has just released the deluxe Satan Is Real / Handpicked Songs 1955-1962 (LITA 075, 2xCD + Audio Commentary Download), which pairs the Louvins’ landmark 1959 album Satan Is Real with a star-studded curatorial “best of” set featuring classic original Louvin Brothers recordings “handpicked” by the likes of Beck, Emmylou Harris, Will Oldham, Kris Kristofferson, Will Oldham, Mark Lanegan, Jim James, Dolly Parton and many more. 

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mark Sullivan of Light In  The Attic about the deluxe set. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Alex Battles: Crooner, Charmer, and Brooklyn Country Trailblazer

Alex Battles is a singer/songwriter living in Brooklyn, NY. Since 2001, he has appeared throughout New York City as a solo artist, and with his band The Whisky Rebellion, which plays his tunes in the fatback spo-dee-dee style. He also performs with Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues and is the latter half of the duo Foster & Bananas.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Doug Paisley on his "Constant Companion"

I have been listening to Doug Paisley's new album, Constant Companion, so much that I felt embarrassed that I did not reach out sooner to his label, No Quarter, for an interview. After the first couple of spins of the album, I was quickly compelled to grab his debut self-titled album, and then his remarkable Daytrotter session. Once my discography was up to date, I thought I would be able to just sit back and enjoy the work of an artist who is new to me. Or so I thought...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Aoife O' Donovan of Crooked Still Shares Memories While Looking Ahead

Aoife O'Donovan was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule (and as you will read, I mean BUSY) to share some of her most memorable experiences with her band, Crooked Still, as well as share some news of a few things she already has in the works.

With her band officially now on hiatus, and with a staggering number of projects in the works, it seems like the perfect time to discuss some of Ms. O' Donovan's past achievements with Crooked Still, as well as get the skinny on all of the exciting things she has in store for faithful listeners and loyal fans.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jesse Sykes Discusses The Creation Of "Marble Son"

This is my interview with Jesse Sykes regarding her new record, Marble Son, which was recorded with her band, The Sweet Hereafter. For me, three simple words come to mind when I listen to Marble Son: spellbinding, entrancing, and expansive. It's a master work for Ms. Sykes, as well as an incredibly rewarding gift to her followers and admirers. As a fan, I wanted to learn more and share it all with readers. Here's our conversation:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Red Heart The Ticker Share The Story Of "Your Name In Secret I Would Write"

Red Heart the Ticker is Robin MacArthur and Tyler Gibbons. As a duo, they have released two previous albums: 2009’s Oh My!  Mountains Below and 2005’s For The Wicked. For their new album, Your Name In Secret I Would Write, Red Heart The Ticker have crafted an inspiring and remarkable collection that spans generations, and, as you will read, it also has a great story.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pharis And Jason Romero Generously Share Much More Than Simply "A Passing Glimpse"

Pharis and Jason Romero met in 2007 at an old-time fiddle jam and have been making music and building banjos together ever since. They both had been playing music for decades, and they were each drawn to early country, old time, blues, bluegrass, and fiddle-banjo music. In addition to performing and recording their own music, Jason and Pharis also build a wide variety of exquisitely beautiful and finely crafted banjos at their family run company, the J Romero Banjo Company, in Horsefly, British Columbia.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chris & Stefanie of Big Harp Discuss "White Hat"

Big Harp is the husband and wife duo of Chris Senseney (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Stefanie Drootin Senseney (bass, vocals). Stefanie has toured with bands including Bright Eyes, The Good Life, and She & Him, and Chris has played in Art in Manila. The Los Angeles-based act's brand new record, White Hat, is a fantastic mix of indie, pop, folk, and classic country. The album has just been released this week by Saddle Creek Records.

I recently had the opportunity to correspond with the duo regarding their musical experiences, biggest influences, sources of inspiration, and their creative process as a married couple and as parents.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lydia Loveless On "Indestructible Machine"

Drawing from classic country, punk rock, pop, and gospel, 21 year-old Lydia Loveless has delivered a highly addictive and very rewarding sophomore album called Indestructible Machine. Ms. Loveless arrived on the scene with her debut, last year's The Only Man, and while she was still recording that record, she already began to shape the tunes that would ultimately become Indestructible Machine.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interview: Michael Connolly Opens Up The "The Mandolin Casefiles"

Literally while Hurricane Irene was hitting the east coast and touching ground in Brooklyn, I was digging through an incredible set of promotional releases from Devon Leger and the good people at Hearth Music that got me so excited, I was compelled to fire off an email pleading to interview one of the artists. This ignited a spirited and mutually enthusiastic set of emails back and forth (maybe more spirited for me since the rain and wind of the hurricane was sweeping down my street), in which we not only made arrangements for an interview, but we also struck a common bond: the mandolin.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Interview With Asheville, N.C.'s Red June

Red June is an acoustic trio from Asheville, North Carolina which includes Will Staughan on steel guitar, Natalya Weinstein on fiddle, and John Cloyd Miller on guitar. The band has been receiving an impressive, and well-deserved amount of acclaim lately for their mixture of bluegrass, country, roots, and rock sensibilities. As the group's excellent debut album, Remember Me Well, continues to circulate and increasingly generate more appreciation for the band, Red June are not a collective to sit still.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Interview: On The Road With Dex Romweber

Dex Romweber is a man on a mission. His first band, Crash Landon and The Kamikazes, was started when he was 11, and he later started the legendary and highly influential Flat Duo Jets with Chris "Crow" Smith. The Duo Jets were together for 15 years and have been described as a significant influence by such artists as Cat Power, Neko Case, and Jack White.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Uprooted Album Revue 8/21/11

  The Uprooted Album Revue highlights new releases, reissues, and my own latest discoveries. 

This edition of the Uprooted Album Revue includes the O Brother, Where Art Thou 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, With Body and Soul: A Bluegrass Tribute to Bill Monroe, Let The Light Shine Down: A Gospel Tribute to Bill Monroe, Blue Moon of Kentucky: An Instrumental Tribute to Bill Monroe, as well as Nikki Lane's Gone, Gone, Gone EP.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kris Delmhorst Discusses Her New Album "Cars"

From the opening acoustic guitar lines of the album's first track "You Might Think",  I was immediately struck with memories of that landmark video by the Cars back in the 1980's when videos still ruled MTV. But make no mistake, Cars by Kris Delmhorst is not a simple nostalgia trip, but a enjoyable, fun, and tight set of respectful renditions.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dave Simonett (of Trampled By Turtles) Discusses Dead Man Winter's "Bright Lights" LP

A lot has been happening with Trampled By Turtles since I last spoke to singer, guitarist, and songwriter Dave Simonett in November of 2010. TBT has been touring consistently, including an extensive round of summer festivals, and winning over crowds filled with newcomers and loyalists alike. As the momentum continues to build for TBT, Mr. Simonett has something else up his sleeve: Dead Man Winter.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Uprooted Album Revue 8/14/2011

  The Uprooted Album Revue highlights new releases, reissues, and my own latest discoveries.

This edition of the Uprooted Album Revue includes releases by Richard Buckner, Dex Romweber Duo, Maiden Radio, Dead Man Winter, and Kris Delmhorst.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

D. Charles Speer (David Charles Shuford) Talks About "Leaving The Commonwealth"

Leaving The Commonwealth was released earlier this year and is the third album by D. Charles Speer & The Helix. Guitarist and songwriter D. Charles Speer (David Charles Shuford) along with the band members of The Helix, which includes Hans Chews, Marc Orleans, Ted Robinson, and Steve McGuirl, have - in my opinion - crafted their best album yet.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Interview: Maiden Radio Sing "Lullabies"

The women of Maiden Radio have just released their second effort, Lullabies, on Daniel Martin Moore's brand-new record label called Ol Kentuck. It's the first official release for the label and Lullabies is already generating an exciting buzz.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Unexpectedly Lively & Spirited Chat With Frank Fairfield

Frank Fairfield may live in Los Angeles, but his heart and soul belong to the mountains, dusty roads, and open lands of another time. He was discovered on the streets in 2008, was picked to open for the Fleet Foxes and put out a couple of singles on the Tompkins Square label. The following year, Fairfield delivered his self-titled debut album, filled with 11 traditional tunes. Since his first record, he has toured extensively around the globe and is even the subject of a new documentary film.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Interview, Part Two: Richard Buckner Tells The Arduous Journey To Deliver "Our Blood"

In Part One of my interview with Richard Buckner, we discussed the writing and recording processes of his early albums: Bloomed, Devotion & Doubt, Since, and The Hill.

In Part Two of this interview, Richard and I picked up with a film score project he began shortly after touring for 2006's Meadow, and then go explore his long and artistically-challenging journey to finish what would become his new studio album, Our Blood.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview, Part One: Richard Buckner On His Musical Philosophy & Early Albums

I discovered Richard Buckner back in 1998 with the release of his third album, Since. At the time, I was listening to a lot of records from the Thrill Jockey label, which at the time, was the home of such fiercely independent bands such as Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and Trans Am, among many others. I was also getting more and more into alt-country acts like Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and Whiskeytown, but had little to go on and was hungry for something else. I was seeking some kind of intersecting place between my love for indie-rock, my insatiable draw to the world of alt-country and No Depression, and my growing appreciation for unique acoustic songwriting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Conversation With The Black Twig Pickers

The Black Twig Pickers are keeping the tradition of old-time music vibrantly alive by releasing their own recordings and performing live whenever they can. The Pickers: Isak Howell, Nathan Bowles, and Mike Gangloff, listen to field recordings and old-time records, study with local old-time masters in Southwest Virginia and West Virginia respectively, and continue to challenge  themselves musically by exploring new instrumentation with each release.

With a deep respect for the old-time music and Appalachian life they so clearly admire, The Black Twig Pickers have collaborated with such contemporary masters and visionaries such as the late guitarist Jack Rose and songwriter Charlie Parr. In addition to their own individual side projects that each member contributes to outside of The Black Twig Pickers, the group has released an impressive lot of releases together, including their most recent long player, 2010's Ironto Special (one of my own personal top picks from last year).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Live: The Del McCoury Band Takes NYC!

The last week or so is what I have been calling the "Week of Del" for some time. The Del McCoury band came to New York City to play their own show on Saturday, July 16th, at City Winery, as well as to join The Preservation Hall Jazz Band for two special performances on Wednesday, July 20th: a live afternoon taping for WNYC's Live in The Greene Space as part of NPR's Soundcheck (which also included a set by Chris Thile and Michael Daves). The two groups would later reconvene as one that evening for a special performance at City Winery to perform selections from their new collaboration, American Legacies.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meeting Robert Ellis & Talking "Photographs"

Robert Ellis released his second album, Photographs, in April. The record, his first for the New West label, is by definition, a classic "Side-A / Side-B album". It's a full length that is cut down the middle, and divided into two distinctive parts.

The first half offers five songs that paint an intimate portrait of an emerging talented singer-songwriter working within a deliberately sparse setting. Armed with only a guitar and his voice in the studio, Ellis later accentuated the set with a layering of minimal arrangements to flesh the tunes out. In contrast, the second half is a full band effort, filled with a set of tunes inspired by classic country, Texas swing, and rousing honky-tonk.

Monday, July 11, 2011

William Elliott Whitmore Talks "Field Songs"

William Elliott Whitmore hails from his farm in Lee County, Iowa. His story begins when he was drawn to the DIY lifestyle and culture of punk rock and hardcore music, and began hitting the road opening up for his friends' bands, armed with his banjo. He soon found himself with a three-record deal from Southern Records, and spent time opening for such eclectic acts as The Pogues, Clutch, Murder By Death, and Converge to name a few.

In 2009, William Elliott Whitmore signed with Anti- Records and released Animals In The Dark. He has also continued to tour, most notably with Chris Cornell on his last sold-out solo acoustic tour.

William Elliott Whitmore drops his highly-anticipated new album, Field Songs on July 12th. Throughout the record, Mr. Whitmore projects his distinctively earthy and powerful vocals to conjure up tales of the American landscape and it's people who work it. His impassioned vocal performance is matched with instrumentation rooted in country, folk, bluegrass, and protest songs.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Catching Up With Ari Picker of Lost In The Trees

Lost In The Trees is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and led by composer and songwriter Ari Picker. The band combines elements of symphonic classical music with American folk and modern pop, creating a sound that is intimate, ambitious, and lasting. 
Mr. Picker, who has already composed and publicly debuted his first symphony with members of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, draws band members from prestigious music schools such as Berklee, Eastman and University of North Carolina, as well as the rich, indie-rock community in North Carolina.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Uprooted Album Revue 7/5/2011

 The Uprooted Album Revue highlights new releases, reissues, and my own latest discoveries. 

As a full-time teacher who balances music writing and playing the mandolin on top of employment responsibilities, sometimes it can all just get a little overwhelming. I have been fortunate enough to share a wealth of exciting artist interviews during the last few months time, but sadly, writing album reviews and posting news features have just gotten away from me during the conclusion of the school year.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

An Informative Q & A With Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz burst onto the musical landscape with her excellent debut, 2009's Song Up In Her Head. She quickly followed it up with a 2-song single called The New 45, and recently dropped her sophomore album, Follow Me Down, in May.

There's been extensive coverage written about Ms. Jarosz's debut album, the fact that each of her releases have included an impressive roster of legendary virtuosos, and how her new full length effort is already one of the best records of 2011. Although it was great corresponding via email for my first interview with Sarah last year, it was even more of a pleasure to speak with her directly for this one.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Checking In With Jerry DeCicca Of The Black Swans

The Columbus, Ohio-based band, The Black Swans' have recently released their stellar new album, Don't Blame The Stars (Misra Records). I recently had the opportunity to catch up with singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jerry DeCicca, to ask him about the band's history, his production work, and the band's new album.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrated Songwriter Jim Lauderdale Shares "Reason And Rhyme"

Jim Lauderdale is one of the most respected artists working in the bluegrass and country music communities today. His reputation as a remarkable and multi-talented composer, studio musician, live performer, and collaborator is undeniable. Start asking the who's who of the music community, and you will quickly learn that most folks place Mr. Lauderdale upon the highest tier amongst Nashville's very best songwriters.

Mr. Lauderdale has recorded an impressive collection of solo albums and has had his songs recorded by such artists as Patty Loveless, George Jones, The Dixie Chicks, Solomon Burke, Mark Chesnutt, Dave Edmunds, John Mayall, Kathy Mattea, Lee Ann Womack, Gary Allan, Blake Shelton and Vince Gill. In addition to his own prolific writing and recording career, he has also toured with such legendary artists as Lucinda Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rhonda Vincent and Elvis Costello.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ned Oldham of Old Calf Discusses His New Band and Their Debut LP: "Borrow A Horse"

Ned Oldham, brother of Will Oldham (aka Bonnie Prince Billy), is a multi-talented artist that is followed closely by longtime devoted fans and critics alike. Mr. Oldham has recorded and collaborated with his brother (both as Bonnie Prince Billy and Palace Music) on several albums, has released his own solo material, and has delivered a rewarding collection of longplayers with his previous band, Anomoanon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bahamas (Afie Jurvanen) Talks "Pink Strat"

Afie Jurvanen is a Finnish-Canadian from Barrie, a working class town in rural Ontario. Since 2009, Mr. Jurvanen has been making music as Bahamas. He toured with Feist for three years before working on what become his debut album, Pink Strat. The record was originally released in Canada in 2009, and was finally released in the US in April.