Monday, December 23, 2013

Uprooted Music Revue's Favorite Audio Releases of 2013

Before we get to the rundown of Uprooted Music Revue's yearly "best-of" list, first, let me say that this has been a year filled with excitement, reflection, and ultimately, some new beginnings for me. Early on in the year things were heading towards some unforeseen and unpredictably exciting places.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Introducing Portland, OR-Based Songwriter and Guitarist Marisa Anderson

Marisa Anderson is a Portland, OR-based songwriter and guitarist who explores the complex fabrics of American folk, blues, and country. At 19 she left college to walk across the country (and in her words, "didn't stop for 19 years"). Marisa was a founding member of The Dolly Ranchers, before embarking on her own solo career. Her solo debut, Holiday Motel, was an Outmusic nominee for Best Female Debut Recording, and in 2011 she released The Golden Hour, her debut for the Mississippi Records label. Her latest album is called Mercury.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Robbie Fulks Spins His Tale Of "Gone Away Backward"

Robbie Fulks is a prolific artist that continues to be praised and respected by indie-classic-country fans with each new release he drops. His discography, although rooted in sharp-tongued wit and infectious classic country tendencies, almost always transcends expectations by even his most devoted fans, never mind the neat and tidy genre-classifiable record bins.

For his latest album, Gone Away Backward, Robbie Fulks put together a simplified lineup to help him cut through any excess to efficiently and effectively convey the folkie (not folky) feel of the new songs. I am very excited to be dusting this feature off (that was originally set to post earlier this year) and be able to share it with you now. Better late than never, right!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Archivist Greg Adams Talks Smithsonian Folkways' New "Classic Banjo"

On August 6th, Smithsonian Folkways released a fantastic new collection called Classic Banjo. The 30-track compilation is a wonderful tribute to the truly unique instrument via a diverse cross section of artists. I recently had the opportunity to speak with archivist Greg Adams about his work on putting together Classic Banjo.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Guitarist Steve Gunn On His New Record "Time Off"

As a fan and admirer of Hiss Golden Messenger, I first discovered guitarist Steve Gunn through his collaboration with HGM called Golden Gunn (Three Lobed Recordings). Shortly after obtaining a copy of that record, I discovered Steve's own new solo album called Time Off (Paradise of Bachelors).

Along with some of some other really great guitar records released recently by Marissa Anderson (Mercury, Mississippi),  William Tyler (Impossible Truth, Merge), Daniel Bachman (Seven Pines, Tompkins Square), Glenn Jones (My Garden State, Thrill Jockey) Lena Hughes (Queen of the Flat Top Guitar, Tompkins Square) and the forthcoming release from Nathan Salsburg, Gunn's Time Off is one not to be missed.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mark Kozelek and Phil Carney of Desertshore Discuss Their New Album

This week, the Caldo Verde label released Mark Kozelek and Desertshore, a new 10-song collection co-written by guitarist Phil Carney (formerly of Red House Painters), pianist Chris Connolly, drummer Mike Stevens, and Sun Kil Moon vocalist Mark Kozelek.

While Kozelek guested as producer, vocalist, and bassist on Desertshore's previously released and critically acclaimed albums Drifting Your Majesty and Drawing Of Threes, Mark Kozelek and Desertshore finds the singer songwriter bringing his unique sensibility and delivery as lyricist and vocalist to each of the band's songs. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Frank Fairfield Discusses "Ingleside" and "Turn Me Loose"

Frank Fairfield released his latest, limited edition, hand-printed, self-released CD last spring on his own new record label called Ingleside Records. It is a direct, no-nonsense recording, similar to his previous recordings issued by the Tompkins Square label (2009's Frank Fairfield and 2011's Out On The Open West), filled with carefully crafted fiddle, banjo, guitar, and vocal tunes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pokey Lafarge on "Pokey LaFarge"

In June, Pokey LaFarge released his fourth full-length studio recording, Pokey LaFarge. The album is his first long-player for Jack White's Third Man Records (who also put out his 7" single of "Chittlin Cookin Time in Cheatam County" as part of their Blue Series).

Mr. LaFarge and his partners draw from early country, western swing, traditional jazz, jug bands, and string band music. His traveling show continues to impress loyal listeners, as well as reel in newcomers wherever he performs. I'm putting my money on Third Man exposing Pokey to lots of new listeners and as a result,  I'm thinking his days of playing intimate clubs, sadly, may be coming to an end.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Rudi Schmidt and Huw Williams of The Melodic Introduce "On My Way"

Anti-, a label known for handling such legendary and groundbreaking artists such as Tom Waits, Neko Case, Calexico, and Mavis Staples, have recently been adding an impressive roster of  young artists blazing new and exciting territory far beyond the folk and americana realms. The Melodic is just one of the many exciting acts to have recently joined the label, along with recent signees The Milk Carton Boys and Saintseneca.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Luke Winslow-King on "The Coming Tide"

I first discovered Luke Winslow-King when I picked up his Old/New Baby album in 2009. Best known for his slide guitar playing, the New Orleans-based artist returns with his long overdue follow up and his Bloodshot debut. Mr. Winslow-King continues to mine genres such as traditional jazz, pre-war blues, delta-folk, ragtime, and good old-fashioned rock and roll. Luke & co. are very much attuned to the sounds of the past while constructing a sound and feel all their own in the here and now. And boy, are we lucky!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Chris King Discusses Lena Hughes, "Queen of Flat-Top Guitar"

Lena Hughes was born in Grape Grove Township, Missouri in 1904. Though she never recorded any 78s during her lifetime, she performed often at various fiddler conventions and folk festivals throughout the Ozarks. She played fiddle, banjo and guitar, mastering parlor pieces and the specialized tunings that were necessary to play them. She lived most of her life in Ludlow, Missouri and passed away in 1998. Lena Hughes did manage to record one full-length LP that has up until very recently, been a very elusive recording for anyone to own or even listen to.

Thanks to the Tompkins Square label, the recordings of Lena Hughes, that were originally captured in the early 1960’s in Arkansas and released only a very limited basis, is now available for collectors, as well as newcomers as Queen of the Flat-Top Guitar.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Glenn Jones Shares "My Garden State"

Guitarist and songwriter, Glenn Jones, returns with the follow-up to his Thrill Jockey debut, 2011The Wanting. For My Garden State, Glenn wrote a collection of reflective and evocative tunes in his childhood home in New Jersey while taking care of his mother who suffers from Alzheimers.

As a guitarist working in the American Primitivism tradition, Glenn employs a wide variety of alternate tunings and partial capos. Listening to Glenn’s expressive playing on his six-string and 12-string guitars, as well as his five-string banjos can be entrancing, exciting, and above all, inspiring. My Garden State is an instrumental album that will impress you in how it covers a spectrum of emotional terrain, without uttering a single word.

I am thrilled to offer my second in-depth interview with Glenn (the last time was when The Wanting was released).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dave and MorganEve of Brown Bird Talk "Fits of Reason"

Brown Bird released their excellent new album called Fits of Reason (via the Supply & Demand label) on April 2nd. The record builds upon the ever-expanding and shape-shifting instrumentation of Dave Lamb (guitar, banjo, percussion, drums) and MorganEve Swain (vocals, violin, cello, and upright bass).

Although Dave and MorganEve captured a lot of what's to love about their live sound on Salt for Salt, the duo have really hit upon a new stride, one that finds them maintaining some of the minimalistic rawness that has entranced spectators at their live shows, while also expanding their landscape with an increased variety of instrumentation. Fits of Reason is already one of my favorite albums of this year, and one I am confident will be elevating Brown Bird's profile to new and much deserved heights.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kurt Marschke of Deadstring Brothers Discusses "Cannery Row"

In the spring of 2012, two years since his move to Nashville from Detroit, Kurt Marschke connected with another Motor City transplant, JD Mack (formerly of Whitey Morgan & the 78s). After searching for new musical blood to make a new record with, Kurt and JD partnered up with Brad Pemberton (Ryan Adams & The Cardinals), Mike Webb (Poco), Pete Finney (Dixie Chicks, Hank Jr.), Kim Collins (Smoking Flowers), and Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson's harp player). The result of their labors is Cannery Row, a revelatory new chapter of the band's story.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

José González Tells The Story of Junip

Although José González may be best known for his acoustic solo albums (2007's In Our Nature and 2003's Veneer), his band Junip is not to be mistaken as a "José González and friends" kind of project. Instead, the trio has from the start,  always been equally composed of José Gonzaléz, Elias Araya, and Tobias Winterkorn. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood Talk "Black Pudding"

This week, enigmatic songwriter, vocalist, and frequent collaborator Mark Lanegan follows up his recent densely layered solo album, Blues Funeral, with a new project with British songwriter and guitarist Duke Garwood. The two met in 2009 at a Soulsavers show (who Lanegan has made two albums with) and the idea was born for the two to make a record together. The result, Black Pudding (Ipecac), is a mostly acoustic affair between Duke Garwood’s incredible guitar work with Mark Lanegan’s mysterious and smoky vocals.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hilary Hawke of Dubl Handi Talks "Up Like The Clouds"

Dubl Handi (pronounced “double handy”) is a Brooklyn-NY based string band named after the washboard company of the 1800's. Although the project originally began as a duo of banjo player and singer Hilary Hawke and multi-instrumentalist Brian Geltner, the two have recently added guitarist Ernie Vega, making DH a trio.

Embracing a worldly view of folk music, Dubl Handi draws from, as well as expands upon, the traditional tunes of the Northwest Appalachian region by employing percussion, guitar, drums, and banjo. These artists deliver their own unique interpretations of their favorite songs, while also throwing in a healthy dose of originals too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Founder Katie Vinson Discusses Wildwood Music Fest & Campout

The second annual Wildwood Music Fest will be held this summer in Willamina, OR on July 19-21st. This year the festival/ campout has expanded from a one-day to a two-day music event. Attendees can camp, take in some stellar performances, and enjoy some fantastic locally sourced food. Although new to may national festival-goers, Wildwood offers some of the best music, food, and communal camaraderie anyway.  Last year's inaugural gathering included such artists as Charlie Parr, Shovels & Rope, Sasspirilla, and many more. This year, Wildwood will feature Brown Bird, Deadstring Brothers, Hillstomp, The Harmed Brothers, Possessed By Paul James, among many others.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Woody Pines Takes Us Inside "Rabbits Motel"

Two months after my wife and I were married in the fall of 2009, we packed our bags and drove down to Nashville for a "roadtrip honeymoon adventure". The mission was to spend the week after Christmas with one of our best friends and cap off our exploits with the New Year's Eve show by the Old Crow Medicine Show at the historic Ryman Theater.

During our week-long stay in Nashville, we stopped in at an old-time jam and met a really friendly young fellow named Woody Pines. While enjoying the music by the local players while socializing with old and new friends, the fact that Nashville is the kind of town filled with famous icons, working musicians, studio players, and backyard players, I didn't even consider that some of our new friends might be some of the who's-who in Americana music.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messeneger on "Haw" and Golden Gunn

Hiss Golden Messenger have returned with a stellar, new length-album called Haw (Paradise of Bachelors). It is HGM's first set of new material since their much celebrated Poor Moon (Tompkins Square), not including Lord, I Love The Rain, which was composed of some of MC Taylor's unearthed home recordings, previously unreleased tunes, and covers. You can read more about these records by checking out my two previous interviews with MC Taylor on Poor Moon here and Lord, I Love The Rain here.

In addition to Hiss Golden Messenger's Haw, MC Taylor has another exciting release to offer us. It is a collaboration with Steve Gunn, called Golden Gunn (Three Lobed). I recently had the pleasure of speaking with MC Taylor again, this time digging into the making of Haw and Golden Gunn.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Jay Farrar Of Son Volt On The New "Honky Tonk"

The last time I interviewed Jay Farrar was roughly a year ago for his contributions to the Woody Guthie-inspired New Multitudes album he made with Yim Yames (Jim James of My Morning Jacket), Will Johnson, and Anders Parker.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Joey Ryan of The Milk Carton Kids Digs Into "The Ash & Clay"

Los Angeles-based duo The Milk Carton Kids have just released their much anticipated Anti- debut  The Ash & Clay. Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have been building a devoted following with the their live performances, while also offering free downloads of their two previous albums, Retrospect and Prologue to visitors of their website. The Milk Carton Kids have toured with an impressive roster of established acts such as Old Crow Medicine Show and Punch Brothers, and have appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series and Daytrotter.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Joey Ryan to discuss the duo's collaborative spirit, their philosophy behind offering music for free, and the making of their new album The Ash & Clay.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

William Tyler Discusses "Impossible Truth"

William Tyler is a guitarist and songwriter who has collaborated with Lambchop, the Silver Jews, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Charlie Louvin, Candi Staton, and many others. His first solo album, Behold the Spirit (Tompkins Square) dropped in 2010 to critical acclaim, establishing him as one of the most creative and innovative guitarists working today. William Tyler has a new album out called Impossible Truth (Merge Records), that was heavily inspired by Barney Hoskyns’ Hotel California and Mike Davis’ The Ecology of Fear.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with William to discuss his musical history, up to and including the making of Behold The Spirit and his new album, Impossible Truth.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pharis & Jason Romero on "Long Gone Out West Blues"

The last time I spoke with Pharis and Jason Romero was when they released their last studio album A Passing Glimpse. As an admirer of their banjo-making company, J Romero Banjos, it was exciting to learn the behind-the scenes details of their passion for building instruments and making music. Since our chat last time, A Passing Glimpse has brought international acclaim to the duo, including landing them spots in some high-profile festivals, as well as earning them the Canadian Folk Music Award for best "New/ Emerging Artist of the Year".

Monday, March 11, 2013

Charlie Parr Discusses "Barnswallow"

The last time I spoke with Charlie Parr, we dug through his rich musical history and personal evolution as a songwriter. It was a lengthy chat that has stood as one of my favorite interviews. When I heard the news at the end of last year that Charlie had a new album in the works for spring of '13, I reached out to check in with him to line up another interview.

Not only did he happily agree to answering my questions, he send me an advance copy of the new album along with some unexpected treasures: a rare import CD and two beautifully printed limited edition vinyl records that have been out of print for some time now! This is just the kind of guy Charlie is: a generous soul who is eager to share his music with fans that love it. I am thrilled to share my new interview with Charlie about his new record, Barnswallow.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Andrew Bryant of Water Liars Discusses "Wyoming"

The last time I spoke with Andrew and Justin of Water Liars, we discussed their musical kinship and the writing and recording of their full-length debut called Phantom Limb (Misra Records). Since our chat, the boys have signed with the Fat Possum label and have just released one of my most-anticipated albums of 2013, Wyoming. I recently caught up with Andrew to discuss the making of the new album.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Conversation With Bror Gunnar Jansson

Bror Gunnar Jansson (a.k.a. Gunnes Enmanna) is a Swedish one-man band who unleashes a garage-style hybrid of blues, country, and folk. He is an enigmatic performer who can ooze backwoodsy and minimalistic laments as well as unleash ferociously angular and devastatingly powerful breakdowns. His first solo full-length album, Bror Gunnar Jansson is out now, and it is a killer.

I recently caught up with Bror Gunnar Jansson, purely out of my own curiosity stemming from how much I have been obsessed with this recording, and I am thrilled to share our conversation with you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Wayne "The Train" Hancock On His New "Ride"

Wayne "The Train" Hancock is a traditionalist juke-joint honky-tonker who incorporates rockabilly, western swing, blues, and old-time appeal into each song he writes and every live performance he gives. His influences are rooted in the classics, and the names "Hank Williams" and Jimmie Rodgers" often get dropped by his closest admirers. When I saw Wayne perform back in the early 2000's for the first time, I was in awe. I've been following his work ever since.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Colyn Cameron of Wake Owl on "Wild Country"

Singer-songwriter Colyn Cameron of Wake Owl is based between Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR. He was originally born and raised in southern California and about seven years ago he taught himself guitar and began writing songs.

After graduation, Colyn studied organic agriculture at Emerson College in England, worked on various farms throughout the UK, Germany, Chile and Canada, and then traveled the world. Upon returning to Vancouver, Colyn spent some time playing in bands before recording the songs he had written after his travels abroad. The result is Wake Owl's Wild Country EP (out now via Vagrant Records).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Black Twig Pickers Share Their Story Of "Rough Carpenters" & "Whompyjawed"

The Black Twig Pickers have a new recording out called Rough Carpenters (via Thrill Jockey). The album was recorded during the same sessions as their recent Whompyjawed EP (a sprawling 2-track jam), which was released last fall.

Since I interviewed the band when their last album, the magnificent Ironto Special, was released, a lot has changed. The biggest change for the Twigs (Mike, Isak, and Nathan) is that they added fiddle player/ dancer Sally Anne Morgan to the lineup for these new recordings.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Aborigine Singer-Songwriter Roger Knox Reflects on "Stranger In My Land"

On Stranger In My Land (Bloodshot Records), Aborigine singer-songwriter Roger Knox delivers a collection of folk tunes that are rare, unrecorded, and/ or handed-down by his peers and predecessors. Knox is joined by an incredible roster of guests including Bonnie Prince Billy, Kelly Hogan, Dave Alvin (X, Blasters), Sally Timms, Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers), The Sadies, and Andre Williams. As if all these artists were not enough to intrigue new listeners as to who Roger Knox is all about, Stranger In My Land also includes one of the great Charlie Louvin's last known recordings. Stranger In My Land is sure to appeal to fans of Alan Lomax's field recordings, as well as to the contemporary folk and alt country fans who have an ear for music of the people by the people.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Justin Paul Lewis on "Rinse, Repeat, Rewind"

Justin Paul Lewis a Louisville, KY-born and based singer-songwriter who fuses Americana and soul (check out his Daytotter session for a taste). Rinse, Repeat, Rewind is his new recording, which is a collaboration with cellist/ producer Ben Sollee. Justin connected with Ben while he was working with Daniel Martin Moore and Jim James (My Morning Jacket) on their Dear Companion album (2010). Since then, Justin and Ben remained friends, awaiting the right opportunity to work together.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bro. Stephen (Scott Kirkpatrick) on Louisville, "Baptist Girls", & The General Store

Scott Kirkpatrick is the singer-songwriter behind Bro. Stephen. The debut album, Baptist Girls, was recorded in a chicken coop and, in addition to Scott's partners for the project (Mike Adams and Adam Jessup), the album also includes appearances by Cheyenne Marie Mize (Yep Roc recording artist and member of Maiden Radio).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cheryl Pawelski of Omnivore Recordings On Townes Van Zandt's "Sunshine Boy"

Collectors of rare and unearthed recordings know Omnivore Records well. The label has released remarkably crisp and clear sounding editions of never-before heard material and rare recordings, which are often thoughtfully packaged in stellar deluxe editions.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

JD McPherson Tells How His Art, Film, and Music Add Up As "Signs & Signifiers"

JD McPherson is a Broken Arrow, OK-based singer-songwriter, filmmaker, and visual artist. His album, Signs & Signifiers (originally released by Hi-Style Records in 2010, and re-released by Rounder last year) is an album that fuses equal parts classic rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and rockabilly, with the man's own unique charismatic swagger. The video for the single, "North Side Girl" exploded, and JD has been off and running ever since. One of the most enjoyable rock n roll records to be widely released last year, Signs & Signifiers is a record that gets your fingers tapping, feet stomping, and face grinning.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with JD McPherson regarding his many modes of artistic expression, including the making of Signs & Signifiers.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Author Brian T. Atkinson on "I'll Be Here In The Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt"

I'll Be Here In The Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt by Brian T. Atkinson digs deep into the art of one of music's best and most influential songwriters. Mr. Atkinson retraces the artist's creative steps, as well as shares a wealth of interviews with some of Townes' biggest fans- who also happen to be some of today's best songwriters. He also chats up an impressive selection of some of the countless artists who have been and continue to be inspired by the many facets of Townes' brilliant and timeless body of work.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Get to Know The Stray Birds

I discovered The Stray Birds last fall as they were getting lots of love from NPR, including having their self-titled album, The Stray Birds, topping NPR's Top 10 Americana/ Folk Albums of 2012. The group's single, "Dream In Blue", has attracted a lot of attention and has managed to get a lot of roots and folk fans excited. I have to admit, after listening to the album a few times, I quickly realized that the trio is arguably one of the most exciting young Americana bands out there right now. In fact, I chose The Stray Birds as one of Uprooted Music Revue's Favorite Audio Releases of 2012.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sam Doores & Riley Downing on The Tumbleweeds and "Holy Cross Blues"

Sam Doores is songwriter and multi instrumentalist from New Orleans. He put together the original line up of the Tumbleweeds together in 2010 with Dan Cuter, Tony Fricky, and Matt Bell. The band soon gained a following in local bars and clubs, toured through Canada and the North East, and then embarked on a national tour with Hurray For The Riff Raff.

Shortly following these chain of events, Sam met up with an old friend, Riley Downing and the two rekindled a personal and musical friendship, resulting with Riley joining the Tumbleweeds. With Riley in the fold, the band added more original material and then made a few trips to Nashville where they recorded songs with Andrija Tokic (who recorded Alabama Shakes and Hurray For The Riff Raff).

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray For The Riff Raff on "Look Out Mama"

One of my favorite discoveries of last year was Hurray For The Riff Raff's Look Out Mama. Singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra, who is originally from the Bronx, NY, left her home at 17 and traveled all over the country, ultimately settling in the vibrant musical community of New Orleans.