Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bill Callahan Bumps Up Release of "Apocalypse" to April 5th and Announces Tour


According to Drag City, Bill Callahan's new album Apocalypse, has just gotten it's release date bumped up from April 19th to April 5th! Mr. Callahan will tour across Europe and the US beginning with two Austin dates in April (one of which is a book reading).

Daniel Martin Moore Sheds Some Light On "In The Cool Of The Day"



Before I even played In The Cool Of The Day I was in love with the idea behind it: Mr. Moore was going to be revisiting gospel numbers and spirituals from his younger years by memory, while re-arranging, and re-contextualizing them from his own perspective as an adult. It's a record that I just haven't been able to stop talking up since I first listened to it, and have been returning to often.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brian Wright Discusses His New Album: "House On Fire"


Brian Wright's new album, House On Fire, is an engaging listen filled with a wealth of enigmatic storytelling and a brilliant assortment of musical arrangements. Stylistically, the record covers a lot of ground- which is quite an accomplishment considering that Mr. Wright played all of the instruments on the album himself.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Introducing Bloodshot Records Recording Artist: Maggie Bjorklund, Pedal Steel Songstress


Maggie Bjorklund's first solo album, Coming Home, is a rich, earthy listen, filled with gorgeous pedal steel guitar, and contributions by an impressive list of guest vocalists and musicians. Ms. Bjorklund, who is originally from Denmark, and was a member of The Darleens and Miss B Haven, took up the pedal steel after going her own way, and spent time in Nashville and Seattle respectively, to hone her craft with the masters. She has played with Mark Pickerel (formally of the Screaming Trees) and Exene Cervenka (of the band X) among many others.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, 3/19/11 at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn


I wasn't sure quite what to expect Saturday night when I went to see Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers. My guess was that there would be a mixture of fans of Mr. Martin's bluegrass albums in attendance, as well as folks who have never heard any of his music, but enjoy his comedy and film career.

I half-expected Mr. Martin to do his best to play it straight. But what he and his partners delivered however, was a surprisingly rich evening filled with one-liners and witty stage banner that was tastefully woven through a set of virtuosic and traditionally-rooted bluegrass music.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ben Hall Arrives with "Ben Hall!"


The first time Charlie Louvin discovered the young, Merle Travis-style guitarist Ben Hall playing he asked, “When can you go to work with me?” When Hall replied that he couldn’t just yet, as he was studying music at Belmont University, the elder statesman was none too pleased to be turned down, huffing, “You don’t need to be in school, you are meant to be playing that guitar.”

Fortunately, Hall reconnected with Louvin at his 80th birthday on July 7, 2007 and was invited to play with him that night, and then on the Grand Ole Opry, and later on tour. Now, Hall is releasing his debut, Ben Hall! March 29, 2011 on Tompkins Square. Produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel and recorded in New York City, the album showcases his extraordinary guitar skills on classic songs by Merle Travis, The Louvin Brothers, Roger Miller, and Woody Guthrie, as well as jazz standards, and one original melody.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Live: Tony Trischka's Territory, 3/11/11 at Rockwood Music Hall, NYC


Tony Trischka is a living legend. He has an incredibly long list of accomplishments and is a true innovator of the banjo. He is currently working on a new musical project inspired by aspects of the Civil War and he produced Steve Martin's new bluegrass album, Rare Bird Alert. In addition, he is also the musical consultant for The Banjo Project, an upcoming PBS special. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Patterson Hood of The Drive-By Truckers Talks "Go-Go Boots"



The new album by The Drive By Truckers, Go-Go Boots, was easily one of the most exciting releases to kick off early 2011, as well as a collection that finds the band stretching out in new directions. It's an easily enjoyable and addictive album, like all good vices should be, and it's a record full of what Truckers' fans return for each time around- along with some new surprises. The band's brand of unique storytelling is here, but this time around, the group offers a fresh new helping of southern sounds into their songwriting, namely, soul.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Live: Lucinda Williams, 3/12/11 at Webster Hall, NYC


I've been to quite a few shows billed as "sold out" at Webster Hall. Well, on Saturday night, which was the second evening of two "sold out" NYC appearances by Lucinda Williams, it easily put the other crowds to shame. Thinking I would have the same amount of leisurely personal space around me for this show, I was sadly mistaken. To call the joint "packed" would be a gross understatement.

Simply put, when Lucinda Williams and her band took the stage Saturday night in lower Manhattan, the seasoned songwriter led her mates through over two hours of music that spanned her prolific and poetic discography. It was a rewarding and lasting performance that allowed Ms. Williams to dig deep into her stirring catalog, while her well-oiled band of musicians set the scene for her to shine throughout.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Rebel Records Give Al Wood and Bill Grant & Delia Bell The Digital Reissue Treatment


This month Rebel Records will unearth two excellent, but less well-known LPs as part of its campaign to digitally reissue classic albums. Sing A Bluegrass Song by Al Wood & The Smokey Ridge Boys and Rollin by Bill Grant & Delia Bell hit digital retailers on March 22nd.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jason Isbell & 400 Unit: New LP, Spring Tour Dates, Free Song Download


Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit have announced dates for their 2011 Spring Tour in support of their upcoming new album Here We Rest, which will be released via Lightning Rod Records on April 12th. You can head over to the band's website here to download the new tune "Codeine". The tour crosses the U.S. from March 12th through April 23rd, including a performance at South By Southwest in Austin, TX on March 17th.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome To Daytrotter: An Interview With Sean Moeller


One of the most exciting developments to emerge from the independently-minded online music community has to be Daytrotter. Since 2006, Daytrotter has been inviting touring artists to stop by their studio in downtown Rock Island, Illinois, called the The Horseshack. All performers are invited to visit for a two-hour recording session block, and to simply record a handful of songs of their choice, however they choose.

For some artists, it is an opportunity to strip down their material to its bare essence, while others choose to completely rework their compositions stylistically into fresh, new arrangements. Still, those that choose to remain faithful to their own recorded work are always welcome to do so.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Chris Thile & Michael Daves Drop "Sleep with One Eye Open" LP On May 10

 
Nonesuch releases Sleep with One Eye Open, the debut album from mandolin-virtuoso Chris Thile and guitar maven Michael Daves, on May 10, 2011. Recorded live to tape over four days at Jack White’s Third Man studio in Nashville, the album is a collection of 16 traditional tunes by bluegrass legends like The Monroe Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Jimmy Martin, and Flatt & Scruggs. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Morning Jacket To Offer 5 Live Songs + New Single


My Morning Jacket will release their highly anticipated sixth studio album this spring, entitled Circuital. In celebration of the forthcoming full-length, the band will give away six weekly downloads beginning March 3rd. 

Emmylou Harris To Deliver Her "Hard Bargain" On April 26th


Hard Bargain, the new album from musical icon Emmylou Harris, will be released April 26 on Nonesuch Records. The album follows Harris’s acclaimed 2008 release, All I Intended to Be, which received widespread acclaim—Newsweek called it an album that “shows that Harris is still the stalwart songbird at the top of the roost.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Live: Sean Rowe 2/24/2011, Rockwood Music Hall, NYC


The shaggy-haired and bearded Sean Rowe, dressed in black from head to toe, was a lumbering figure who first emerged with his large acoustic guitar, as an intriguingly and darkly lit mystery on stage of Rockwood Music Hall last Thursday night. 

Alone on the dimly lit stage, in a dark room, with only his guitar, his presence commanded a hush before he said a word, or hit a string.