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My TOP Thirty 2005

01 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - Cold Roses

02 Iron and Wine / Calexico - In the reins
03 Eliza Gilkyson - Paradise Hotel
04 Nickel Creek - Why should the fire die?
05 Pieta Brown - In the cool
06 Ryan Adams - Jacksonville City Nights
07 Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
08 Bob Dylan - No Direction Home: The Soundtrack
09 James McMurtry - Childish Things
10 Arizona Amp and Alternator - same

11 Mike McClure Band - Camelot Falling

12 Wilco - Kicking Television
13 Son Volt - Okemah and the Melody of Riot
14 Marah - If you didn't laught you'd cry
15 Blaze Foley - Wanted more dead than alive
16 Eddie Spaghetti - Old No.2
17 The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash - Mile Markers
18 Neil Young - Prairie Wind
19 Tim Grimm - The Back Fields
20 Patty Loveless - Dreaming my dreams

21 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl

22 John Hiatt - Master of Disaster
23 Steel Train - Twilight Tales from the Prairies of the sun
24 Freakwater - Thinking of you
25 Stoney LaRue - The Red Dirt Album
26 Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell - Begonias
27 Black Water Gospel - same
28 Graham Brown - Stand your ground
29 Hayes Carll - Little Rock
30 South Austin Jug Band - Dark and weary world

My TOP Thirty 2005

For A Decade Of Sin
11 Years Of Bloodshot Records

Bloodshot Records:
Tocelebrate the improbable accomplishment of surviving in this racket,we’ve bypassed the usual retrospective route and hammered out a 42 song, 2 disc collection with a 24-page color booklet featuring only NEW and PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED TRACKS. On board are current and past members of the Bloodshot family like Bobby Bare Jr., The Bottle Rockets, Waco Brothers, Kelly Hogan, Old 97s, Wayne Hancock and Graham Parker, good friends we’ve made along the way like SixteenHorsepower, Richard Buckner, Minus 5, Crooked Fingers, Mary Lou Lord,Cordero, Blanche, Handsome Family and My Morning Jacket, and a few folks we’ve long admired like Dr. Ralph Stanley, John Doe, Hank Williams III and Petty Booka.

Los Lobos
Acoustic En Vivo (Live)
Acoustic En Vivo - that pretty much translates to "Acoustic Live" forany gringos out there. And that is exactly what this CD is: a 13-tracklimited edition CD containing live acoustic tracks. This special CD wasonly available at Los Lobos` shows on their 2005 acoustic/folkloricotour and through the band`s site. Track Listing: Canto AVeracruz/Colas/El Cuchipe/Two Janes/Maricela/Saint Behind The Glass/LaGuacamaya/La Pistola y El Corazn/Los Ojos de Pancha/MexicoAmericano/Volver, Volver/Teresa/Guantanamera (self-released)

Alejandro Escovedo
Room Of Songs (Live)

Miles of Music:
Recordedlive at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, TX on February 28th and March 1st,2005, Room Of Songs is packed like an old-fashioned LP gate-fold cover- one CD on each side. The Alejandro Escovedo String Quintet iscomprised of Alejandro Escovedo, naturally, on vocals and guitars,Susan Voelz (Poi Dog Pondering) on violin and background vocals, BrianStandefer on cello, Matt Fish, also on cello, and David Pulkingham onguitars and background vocals. Track Listing: Baby`s Got New Plans/WayIt Goes/By Eleven/Everybody Loves Me/Sex Beat/Bury Me/Thirteen YearsTheme/Wave/Juarez/Rosalie/I Was Drunk/Velvet Guitar/Put YouDown/Gravity/Falling Down (More Miles Than Money)

The Winter Blanket
Prescription Perils

"There are records that will get far more attention than this, but havenowhere near the same shining content." — Comes With a Smile

"A perfect name, and a truly moving album, The Winter Blanket rollscold over you, and soft, white, sparse, it warms you and comforts.Reminiscent of bands like Low and The Red House Painters, withsometimes a little Galaxie 500-dreaminess seeping in."
— The Big Takeover

Uncle Earl
She Waits For Night

The New York Post:
At Telluride, the most important bluegrass festival in the U.S., anall-girl string band called Uncle Earl shook the Rocky Mountain resorttown with a mix of catchy songs and musicianship that soared withvelocity and virtuosity.
Like that career-making set, their new disc "She Waits for Night" is amix of originals and old-time tunes that illustrate how this quintet isbound by tradition but not shacked to it. Just take the inclusion ofthe gospel a capella song "Divine." Sandwiched between fiddles andbouncing banjo plucks it's out of place - but the album would be lessif it wasn't there.
Same could be said of "Old Bunch of Keys," a number whose percussion is provided by fancy, clogged footwork.


The terminology we use to reference country and space-rock makes themseem as far apart as two styles of popular music could get, but thesounds that characterize each genre are just waiting to be combined, asexhibited by the sophomore album from Dameon Lee's Lowlights. Theband's debut album was a stately collection of elegant, nocturnalsoundtracks for interstellar travel. Dark End Road has the two-steprhythms of classic country-- edges hung with fiddle, harmonica, andpedal steel-- and it also glows with spectral organ and washes ofastral guitar and flute, all of it marinating in about a million cubicmiles of reverb...

 Youve heard all the comparisons before, from old-timers (GramParsons, Lee Hazlewood) to contemporary icons (Giant Sand, Wilco),applied ad nauseam to many so-called young bucks, but this upstartdeserves the praise [lowlights] seem to drift in from across the oceanand out of another era, with a haunting, under-your-skin appeal. Themore you listen, the more you think, and the more you think, the morelost you become in the mysterious sonic reverie of Lowlights.
-Fred Mills
Waves gathers timeless songs by many of Eric Anderson`s "friends andacquaintances" and presents them in contemporary but intimatearrangements. The range of writers and material that Andersen haschosen to cover reflects the creative explosion of the Sixties: TimBuckley`s shimmering, ethereal "Once I Was", the folkish elegy"Ramblin` Boy" by Andersen mentor Tom Paxton; Happy Traum`smetaphorical trad-folk "Golden Bird" is preceded by an understatedreading of Lou Reed`s bittersweet Velvet Underground ballad "Pale BlueEyes". Other songs include Phil Ochs` "Changes"; Fred Neil`s bluesy"I`ve Got A Secret"; a jauntily rocking rendition of Tom Rush`s "On theRoad Again"; and the dreamy "Coconut Grove", written by the Lovin`Spoonful`s John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky. There are also twoforceful, snarling anti-war/anti-imperialism songs - Dylan`s "JohnBrown" and the late Richard Faria`s "Bold Marauder" - and a pair ofAndersen`s own early signature songs, "Today is the Highway" and"Thirsty Boots", the latter a live bonus track featuring Eric, JudyCollins, Tom Rush and Arlo Guthrie, that previously appeared on theJudy Collins Wildflower Festival CD. Joining Andersen (vocals, electric& acoustic guitars, harmonica) are his longtime producer andarranger Robert Aaron (bass, keyboards, woodwinds; fellow Appleseedartists The Kennedys; Greenwich Village alumni Happy Traum and JimGlover, and an attuned core of funk/jazz/rock sessioneers. (AppleseedRecords)
The New York City trio know as The Dark Horses sound more aproduct of Austin upbringing, where regular sojourns into late `60s,early `70s So-Cal country come as natural as ordering another LoneStar. And, as they frequently utilize their sidemen, Erik Kristiansenon acoustic guitar and Jon Graboff, whose pedal-steel work is keenlyfeatured throughout, you hear a far heartier mix than any trio mightoffer. This self-titled recording is really the follow-up to theirterrific 2001 release, Come Along. Elements of early Flying BurritoBros. still haunt their material and quality songwriting definitelyprevails through this easy mix of honky-tonk, ballads and alt. countrytwang rockers. As is their forte, it`s all about the broken heart, asis made clear in songs like "Lonesome Again", "If It`s All The Same"and "(I Pity) The Poor Bastard". And some that profess that "thereain`t nobody ever gonna love ya baby Like I Do," and get away with itwith taste. (Going Nowhere Music)

Kasey Anderson
Dead Roses

"The folk-based melodies are solidly arranged -- you could teach a songwriting class with them..." - No Depression

"The album's blend of storytelling, twang and street-savvy Stratocasterstrut is most reminiscent of Ryan Adams' Whiskeytown, back when theband was young, hungry and had something to prove." - The Oregonian

Ryan Adams
 due Dec. 20 via Lost Highway

While the first two projects were credited to Adams and his newband, the Cardinals, "29" is billed as a solo album. The set wasproduced by longtime collaborator Ethan Johns and featurescontributions from the Cardinals' J.P. Bowersock as well as bassistJennifer Condos, who previously played on Adams' "Gold."

Roger Hoover
Panic Blues

Miles of Music:Roger Hoover displays a brash, full-force vocal that recalls thewarm, throaty tone of John Fogerty. At other times, he's inpossession of Southern-rock drawl that's uncommon for these times.During the first few cuts here, you get the feeling that this bandcould've easily been a radio staple alongside such rootsy fairsuch as The Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, CCR, and The Band.Hoover's songs possess a humbled sense of maturity and honestywhether he's working an intimate or fiery mood, and this finerelease works everything in between.

Micky and the Motorcars
Ain't  in it for the money
Normally outfitted in scruffy cowboy boots and t-shirts, the guys ofMicky and the Motorcars have a laid-back, friendly, 'let's allhave fun' attitude that's all about good music and good times.Lead singer Micky Braun, bassist Mark McCoy, lead guitarist JosephDeeb, drummer Shane Vannerson, and harmonica player/guitarist GaryBraun bring a unique voice to the Texas music scene. Mixing upa cocktail of Americana, Rock 'n Roll and traditional Countrymusic these boys are sure to give you quite a buzz.

Donna Hopkins
Free To Go

Creative Loafing Vol. 31, No. 48
...It's on this highest level that singer/songwriter/guitarist DonnaHopkins presents us with "Free To Go," her independent debut CD.The recording introduces us to a girl who grew up poor in ruralAlabama, who found a haven in music from her early teens, who kneweven then that music was her life's calling. On "Free ToGo," Hopkins, 39, speaks of what she knows. Several of her songs,including "Dirty Alabama Road," are set amid the moonshine stillsand front porch swings of her youth. Cut with bandmates CindyAdler (bass) and Kevin Thomas (keyboards), and a host of musicalallies, it's a record that belies the "blues" label sometimesapplied to Hopkins as thoroughly as her broad, potent voice beliesher slender 5-foot-6-inch frame...

Paula Frazer
Leave the sad things behind

Paula Frazer established herself as the quintessential high lonesomevoice of metropolitan alt. country when she fronted SanFrancisco`s Tarnation during the mid-`90s. Her third solo releasefinds her once again, and delightfully so, expressing a wistful,yet somber brand of moving, twang-touched Americana. With hints ofWestern noir, baroque and Brill Building pop, all shaded with hernatural, melancholic voice, Leave The Sad Things Behind feels bothintimate and timeless; it`s a series of haunting recollections ofprevious lives and loves. Frazer boasts an angelic quality thatreflects her experiences singing in the choir of herfathers church in her youth. Yet her passion for darker, post-punkforces like Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and The Tinderstickinfluence her sound in subtle ways. Helping her fulfill the soundthis go around are Court & Spark`s rhythm section, Scott Hirshand James Kim, and long-time keyboardist Patrick Main, also ofOranger. Not to mention several other of San Francisco`s finest,including various string players and pedal-steel favorite TomHeyman. - Robinson, Miles Of Music (Birdman)

Delta Moon

“Their explosive mix of Delta blues, R&B, boogie-woogie,gospel, and blues-rock is innovative and daring. But most strikingis the way their slide guitars interlock in each song, resultingin a swampy, loose-limbed sound that buzzes with passion.” Blues Revue

Somthing to believe in

Produced by Mark Addison (Bob Schneider), Something To Believe In isHoneybrowne`s first studio release in over 3 years. The album refinesthe new twist that Honeybrowne has brought to the booming Texas musicscene since the late `90s. They build their sound from a roots musicbase while drawing on strains of everything from classic tocontemporary singer/songwriter rock. Something To Believe plays likeyour favorite radio station broadcasting from a sweet spot in-between agreat country and rock station. (Compadre)

Mendoza Line
Full of light and full of fire equal measure the passion and soul of early Pretenders, the wreckedmajesty of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon`s Pussy Cats album, and thehumor and indignation of the great Mekons, The Mendoza Line`s Full OfLight And Full Of Fire is a meditation on the abuse of power and thosewho are left in its wake: the spiritually and economicallydisenfranchised, the isolated and ruined, those who are lost or aresimply trying to disappear. Seven albums into their career, The MendozaLine`s rollicking sound is unmistakable; Full Of Light And Full Of Firedoesn`t alter much of the Mendoza Line`s musical blueprint, anelaborate alchemy of classic sounds with contemporary pop sensibility.(Misra)

Funeral Dress
Downplaying the fact that the band contains Chuck Cleaver, the leaderof the Ass Ponys, Wussy is really a collaborative effort that includesDawn Burman, Mark Messerly and Lisa Walker, who splits and shares leadvocals with Cleaver. The nucleus of the group formed spontaneously whenit was agreed that Chuck and Lisa`s harmonizing for a one-off showproved to be a hit. Songwriting between the two followed and thus wasborn a band. Their dirty lo-fi rock and roots sound is much in leaguewith the Ass Ponys` quirky, gritty vibe. Stark lyrics and melodies arefilled with unhinged passion and mild desperation, spinning overmusical influences that span from the VU to Sparklehorse. Playful, butominously dark, folk-pop jangles alongside fuzzy indie roots-rock songsenriched with lyrical poetry that expose small town disillusionment andtedium. Good stuff!! -- Robinson, Mile Of Music (Shake It)

Six Mile Grove
Bumper Crop
There is a comfortable ease throughout Bumper Crop, the fourth releasefrom Six Mile Grove. Honest and mature, this Midwestern quartet seemsto have nothing to prove other than a quality song with a good vibe isthe way to go. Their acoustic based twang-rock has "regular Joe" heartand down-home soul. Self-recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by theband, Bumper Crop is all charm and no pretense; it`s a vibrant musicaloffering that`s a bit introspective and a little confessional, butmostly full of strong characters and passionate story telling. Creditlead vocalist, guitarist and lyricist Brandon Samson for the strongsong appeal and the talents of the rest of the band for plucking out ahumble, organic country-infused rock sound that`s colored with theoccasional banjo, mandolin, organ and harmonica. -- Robinson, Miles OfMusic (self-released)

Mike McClure Band
Camelot Falling

Smith Music Group:
Mike McClure is the epitome of a musician and is quite arguably the most influential force in the Red Dirt music scene today. He is a writer, a performer and a producer. He has a tremendous appreciation for the troubadours that came before him, particularly those that chose the road less traveled, and he embraces that same spirit on his own journeys...  When not on the road or working on his own music, Mike is working on other projects in the studio. Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Stoney LaRue, Scott Copeland, the Dedringers and many others comprise McClure’s list of production credits. Mike McClure may not be the “Father” of Red Dirt music (he crowns Bob Childers with that title) but he most definitely will be one of the troubadours that many after him look to for direction.

The Jayhawks
Live From The Women's Club
Here are 17 tracks of a live acoustic performance from The Jayhawks asrecorded at The Women`s Club in Minneapolis, MN on April 26, 2002.Stripped down to a trio of Tim O`Reagan, Marc Pearlman and Gary Louris,they run through their most popular material from records likeHollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass. As an added bonus,there are two demo recordings from the Smile rehearsals. Track Listing:I`m Gonna Make You Love Me/Nothing Left To Borrow/Drivin` Wheel/CrowdedIn The Wings/Say You`ll Be Mine/Save It For A Rainy Day/TwoHearts/Smile/Trouble/Bottomless Cup/Tailspin/I`d Run Away/Break In TheClouds/Blue/Waiting For The Sun/Sound Of Lies/Sister Cry/DesperateSerenade/Someone Will (Official Jayhawks Bootleg)
Here we have the second release from The Jayhawks live acoustic bootlegseries with selections from the 04/26/02 Women`s Club acoustic show inMinneapolis, MN. Includes here are four extra demo tracks and outtakes!Track Listing: One Man`s Problem/What Led Me To this Town/The Man WhoLoved Life/Tampa to Tulsa/Somewhere in Ohio/Settled Down LikeRain/Angelyne/Jennifer Save Me/Clouds/All The Right Reasons/Reason toBelieve/Gypsy in the Mood/Okhee`s Theme/Save Me From Myself/Boston Maid(Official Jayhawks Bootleg)

Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
Wilco`s double disc collection Kicking Television: Live in Chicago wasrecorded over four nights in May at The Vic Theatre. "It`s really thebest it`s ever felt," said Jeff Tweedy to the Detroit Free Pressearlier this year. "I would say at this point, I don`t think I`ve everbeen in a band that`s felt this connected and unified with thiscollective vision." To document that collective vision that band calledupon veteran mixing engineer Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Red Hot ChiliPeppers, Dave Matthews, Johnny Cash) to capture the energy, excitement,clarity and musicality that has earned Wilco continued praise for theirlive shows around the world. Track Listing: Misunderstood/Company in MyBack/The Late Greats/Hell Is Chrome/Handshake Drugs/I Am Trying toBreak Your Heart/Shot in the Arm/At Least That`s What You Said/WishfulThinking/Jesus, Etc./I`m the Man Who Loves You/Kicking Television/ViaChicago/Hummingbird/Muzzle of Bees/One by One/Airline to Heaven/RadioCure/Ashes of American Flags/Heavy Metal Drummer/Poor Places/Spiders(Kidsmoke)/Comment (Nonesuch)

Copyright C.P. Vaughn

"This CD is remarkable. Right off the bat it's because it is a rarestudio recording done by an eccentric but totally committed artist whowas shot dead in the prime of his young life. I knew Blaze and heardhim create and perform these songs and the thing that so got yourrespect was the pure way he sang the things inside him. He could at anytime and in any shape pick up his guitar and get in the "bubble," youknow, where suddenly he is doing art and you just want to look at thatspace where he is, because something is going on there in the aura hehas created. This CD is remarkable because that "bubble" is there."
Calvin Russell, Austin, Texas, September 2005.

Blaze Foley - lead vocals and acoustic guitar
Joe Gracey - acoustic guitar
Charlie Day - acoustic guitar
Kimmie Rhodes - backup vocals
David Waddell - bass guitar
Leland Waddell - drums

"I like to drink beer, hang out in the bars.
Don’t like buses, and I don’t like cars.
Don’t like presidents, don’t like stars.
Never had stitches, but I do got scars.
Love to go to parties. I love my friends.
Got no books, but got bookends.
Think I’m crazy, but that depends.
I don’t seem that crazy to me."

by Blaze Foley, © 2005 Waddell Hollow Records,
Texas Ghost Writers Music
Townes Van Zandt - Live At Union Chapel London England
In some ways Townes Van Zandt`s live albums provide the best (or mosthonest) representation of the artist`s affectingly intimate, heartfeltapproach, which makes this a great addition to his discography. VanZandt`s introspective front-porch Americana transmits nicely from thestage of London`s Union Chapel, and the set includes some of his besttunes. Excellent performances like this one from 1994 help fill the gapleft by the artist`s tragic early passing. Track Listing: If I NeededYou/Mr. Gold & Mr. Mudd/Katie Bell/Tecumseh Valley/BlazesBlues/Railroad Blues/Rex`s Blues/Tale of Two Penguins/You Are NotNeeded Now /Snowing` on Raton/Kathleen/Still Looking for You/DeadFlowers/Loreta/Fraulien/Catfish Song/Lovers Lullaby/SongFor/Hole/Shrimp Song/Poncho & Lefty/Ira Hayes/Marie/ThunderbirdWine/No Place to Fall/My Starter Won`t Start/To Love Is to Fly/BuckskinStallion/Tecumseh Valley/Catfish Song (Tomato Music)

High Times:
After a pair of developmental EP's, the New York-based quintet SteelTrain emerges with the 67-minute country rooted, Latin-tinged epic,Twilight Tales from the Prairies of the Sun (Drive Thru). Anunderstated dreamy eloquence breezes through such acoustic, folk-basedserenades as the gently jangling opener "Better Love"; the somberagrarian ballad "Dig" (featuring former Byrd and Flying Burrito BrotherGene Parsons on pedal-steel; mandolin maven David Grisman lends a handon two other tunes); and the narcotic travelogue, "Road Song". Thelaid-back collective handily diversifies , mood, tempo and textures,giving Jack Antanoff plenty of room to maneuver. "Cellophane and Glass"has the same sublime, Western influenced ambience as the Eagles"Desperado" or Neil Youngs "After the Gold Rush," and Santana-styleinstrumental jams (The Lee Baby Simms show: Episodes 1&2) mix upthe pace. A funky haze insulates "W.95 street High" which ends with thepresident banning all music. Stoners will especially appreciate "TwoO'Clock" where a chick called Scarlett turns up to "smoke our hash".Fill a healthy bowl and medicate to these versatile inhalers.
-John Fortunato

Bloodshot Records:
... Not unlike Exile-era Stones, the Deadstring Brothers deliver amenacing sound that draws equally on the melancholy of country balladsand the abandon of rock and blues. The band’s music is deeplyrooted in the storytelling and instrumental traditions of HankWilliams, Johnny Cash, and the “Outlaw Movement,” but isalso informed by the song structure and understated aggression commonlyassociated with Detroit bands. Their haunting melodies reveal theinfluence of early ‘70s rock icons like The Band and GramParsons, while Kurt Marschke’s vocals betray the more moderninfluence of outré singer/songwriters like Jeff Buckley, LeonardCohen, and Nick Cave. Deadstring Brothers’ live performances havethe energy of lo-fi guitar rock, but sophisticated arrangements keepthem from being “just another Detroit band.”

Bloodshot Records:
Crawling out from the weed-choked lots of the once proud town, TheDetroit Cobras whip out ass-shaking anthems to good times, wild times,and the high and lows of L-U-V-E; you best believe it and you best notmess with it. Singer Rachel Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez are the badgirls by the exit doors at the school dance, all leather and heels,sneaking smokes and passing the flask. They have no time for dewy-eyedlove songs or girl group decorum; they’ll take care of businessthemselves with a bat of the eye or an elbow to the kidney.Rachel’s warm as the bourbon under the seat of your car voice canboom to the back pews (Did we say "pews?" We meant "barstools") andMary’s riffs let you know that love and good times can be foundin the tilt of a hip or at the end of a fist.

"Anunremittingly fantastic record of the sort we're told they don't makeany more. Irresistible Motown rhythms push dirty-rock riffs, leansoulful licks and Rachel Nagy's sassy vocals through 13 tracks, each ofwhich leaves you wanting more." The Sunday Times London


we'll put a clamp on your old fret
we'll recharge the battery in your tremulator
we'll tune up your rusty machine head
we'll get right to it sooner or later
if you all feel mostly misunderstood
through it all you know it?s too good
to just nix it
well... if it aint broke
don't fix it

if the white one thinks your black
and the black one thinks your white
and the country man thinks you're rock
and the rocker says you're just not right
if the yellow one thinks you're green
and the green one says you're yellow
and the kind one thinks you're mean
and the mean one says you're mellow
does the red one think you're true blue
and the blue one thinks you're well read
well what were you to do ?
compromise your hue instead ?
do you alternate somewhere in between
with the best old sound anyone has seen ?
then that is your country.
that is our zone.
------------------------------- -- --- - -- - -
- - - - - - HEAD MECHANIC howe gelb
Arizona Amp & Alternator - Arizona Amp & Alternator
Arizona Amp And Alternator is the latest installment in a long historyof recording projects by Howe Gelb. In case that name isn`t enough toget your attention, here are a few more: Scout Niblett, M. Ward, JeremyGara (Arcade Fire) and Grandaddy. Most of the tracks on Arizona Amp AndAlternator were recorded in Denmark or Modesto, but some recording wasalso done in Howe`s hometown of Tucson. David Cowling says of this adventurous and multi-leveled recordingthat it`s "another journey with Howe, one full of short-cuts,cul-de-sacs, repetitions, break-neck chases and leisurely cruises.(He`s) a kind of John Ford figure who deals in the iconic possibilitiesof his chosen genre, playing around with convention...a complete masterable to take the basics and improvise around it , the choice beingwhether or not you`re willing to follow where he takes you." (ThrillJockey)
Contrary to textual appearances, Black Water Gospel is not a gospelband. As it proves again and again throughout its self-titled debut,this Austin-based quartet is firmly rooted in the alt.rock/alt.countryhybrid space inhabited by such roots rockers as the Drive-By Truckers,Ryan Adams, and the Old 97s.
Stillhouse is a North Carolina super-group, of sorts, established backin the late `90s by singer-songwriter Dave Wilson. Wilson, along withStillhouse`s pedal-steel and key man Greg Readling, found a successfuldiversion since then with Chatham County Line. But this long overduedebut veers off considerably from Chatham`s acoustic country/folk charmby exploring groovy and deep `70s-era roots-rich rock. Wilson`soutstanding material is heartfelt, organic and moving as heck, sweetlyvibed with the addition of bassist Jay Brown (Tift Merritt), drummerZeke Hutchins (Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnnie Irion, Tift Merritt,Thad Cockrell) and the talented Johnny Irion on guitar. Hints of TheBand are heard in the stirring "It`s The Shame", while some tunes burstout with gritty rock swagger ("Waiting To See", "Changes") in The Facesvein. Whispery strains of Southern-rock and power-pop can be heard hereand there, as well as some contemporary garage blues, as in the dirtyrocker "Home". But the strength and allure of "Through The Winter" isWilson`s voice, along with everyone else`s harmony vocals. This coupledwith the fantastic performances from the band, set this effort apartfrom anything else like it. So exceptional is this record it mighttemporarily knock your Ryan Adam`s discs down a peg or two. --Robinson, Miles Of Music (Vella Recordings)

Posted by Arlo Guthrie:
"Okay so Iwanted to call this new recording "He's Only Mostly Dead." Whateverit's called, it's the first new release from me in a few years. Theconcert is on 2 CDs with the words to all the songs and storiesincluded. I'm thankful for all the great reviews and for the interestfrom all over the world. Along with me on this are Abe Guthrie andGordon Titcomb. The three us of had a wonderful time in Oz and hope toreturn soon. Meanwhile, we're doing some of the material from the CDson our current "Alice's Restaurant Massacree 40th Anniversarty Tour."So come out and hear us, and you can pick up a copy of "Live In Sydney"at the gigs, if you haven't got it already."
The songson this release range from Arlo's own originals, including earlierpieces like "Chilling of the Evening", and brand new ones like thebittersweet "My Old Friend"; songs from his father's generation byCisco Huston, Woody Guthrie and others; and a couple of songs from somecontemporaries of Arlo's, Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan, and SteveGoodman.
…Also lauded at Kerrville as a New Folk winner in '03, Colin Brooks isperhaps best known for his work as a guitarist for Ruthie Foster, ToniPrice, and Hal Ketchum. His second effort as a songwriter, Blood andWater (Skywater), is spare and ragged, but full of skillfully toldtales and wistful melodies. Fans of John Hiatt are sure to find lots toappreciate in Brooks' bluesy take on Americana…

"asongriting genius...can write danceable power roots songs just asexpertly as he composes his masterpieces of dark atmosphere"
Kell Waddle,

"Old No. 2" is the second solo release from lead singer and bassplayer for legendary rock-n-roll renegades, The Supersuckers. Recorded atStudio Litho in Seattle with engineer and co-producer David Fisher, Spaghetti"went all crazy" and indulged himself with 5 whole days torecord and mix Old No. 2. (one more than his first release"The Sauce!") Michael Murderburger returns on drums andpercussion and Spaghetti also up and splurged for a ringer to help make itsound "more like real music" (as he puts it). The incredible,multi-talented comic genius, Jordan Shapiro who lends his guitar, dobroand pedal steel talents to "Old No. 2," making it bigger and evensweeter than "The Sauce."
by Shannon Taylor
... Rebellious countrified rocker Eddie Spaghetti, of Supersuckers fame, has turnedin a great performance with Old No. 2, his hybrid album of classic coversand brand new originals. ...
... From the opening chords of Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here WithYou",it's clear that the point of this record wasfor Spaghetti to pay homage to his influences, while having a lot of fun with somegood time music. Spaghetti's treatment of the aforementioned Dylan songemploys the use of a lazy pedal steel which allows the song to exist in amellow yet upbeat country groove. With "All Along" we are treated tothe first of the four Spaghetti originals that make up the rest of thedisc. The songs, while fun and immensely listenable, crumble slightly when putup against songwriters such as Dylan, Tom Waits and Willie Nelson, however theystill allow for Spaghetti's primary purpose of entertaining the audience toshine through. ...
TheNew York Times says of her talent, "(Eliza) Gilkyson doesn`t pull anypunches. She graces the music with her lush and passionate voice; adark and lonely sound, hope and satisfaction, and edgy lyrics withpiercing imagery round out the whole." Paradise Hotel is a stark andmoving example of just that. Perfection from song to song as the GrammyNominated songstress embraces a rich array of Americana, blessing eachsong with a smoky voice that stirs the soul. The influences are many,exemplified in the lullaby-like title track, where she sneaks in ahummed refrain of the opening organ melody to Procol Harums "WhiterShade Of Pale". Gilkyson brings in brother Tony for some fiery guitarwork on the ironic gospel number "Man Of God". Later on she paystribute to World Party by offering a brilliant rendition of "Is It LikeToday". Paradise Hotel features special guest vocal appearances byShawn Colvin, Jeff Plankenhorn, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ana Egge, MarciaBall and Slaid Cleaves, among others. (Red House)

"Gilkysondoesn't pull any punches. She graces the music with her lush andpassionate voice; a dark and lonely sound, hope and satisfaction, andedgy lyrics with piercing imagery round out the whole." ­ NY Times

Now available in Europe.

Once againDusty Records comes to the rescue to release Joe Fournier's third CD,"Three Chord MacGyver" in Europe. The disc will be available as ofNovember 1st and can be ordered through their website .

"...those who enjoy Edmunds, Springsteen, Ronny Elliott and the greasy,rootsy feel of Creedence will love these songs and appreciate theireccentricities. I know I do" - Americana UK

"... JoeFournier is a funky Canadian singer/songwriter whose music is swampy,greasy and loaded with wry social commentary. There's a musical debtevident to Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Bobby Fuller and Buddy Holly,mixed with serious blues, R&B and country twang influences." - TheRiver Reporter,,3299792,00.html

Where didthey find this thing? Recorded in Sausalito as part of the Live at theRecord Plant series, Mayhem Aforethought is Kinky Friedman & theTexas Jewboys at their rawest. The gig was a finishing touch on theband's successful weeklong stand in the Bay Area with Commander Cody.Kinkymania was at its peak in 1973; the band had been playing sold-outshows in Texas and at Max's Kansas City in New York. The audience forthe evening included Jerry Garcia and Ken Kesey. All the "hits" arehere, from "We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You," "Get YourBiscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed," "Sold American," and(of course) "Ride 'Em Jewboy." The band, which included Billy Swan, isin fine form here, playing authentic Texas barroom honky tonk withlyrics guaranteed to offend everyone at the time; it's politicallysavvy and incorrect, sexist and rowdy, and alternately hilarious,smart, and obnoxious. As a historical document Mayhem Aforethought'sworth is unquestionable, and it's more consistent than any of theband's studio recordings on Vanguard. ~ Thom Jurek, All Music Guide

Miles of Music:
StoneyLaRue is a singer/songwriter who has risen from the Red Dirt musicmovements. Count Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland & theStragglers and The Red Dirt Rangers among other members. His first soloalbum is appropriately titled The Red Dirt Album. The seeds of Red DirtMusic germinated some 25 years ago in the area of Stillwater, OK. LaRueis a maverick performer who could easily please the fans of those withwhom he`s shared billing; Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver, CharlieRobison and Cross Canadian Ragweed just to name a few. (Smith MusicGroup)

Miles of Music:
The WacoBrothers seventh CD shows their usual subtlety at leaving genre aftergenre in smoking ruins. They`ve been called everything from saviors tobutchers and Freedom And Weep is a decidedly rockin addition to theirformidable canon, a swaggering return to form. There are tunes aboutcrafty little Christians dismantling democracy, going for a drink,golfers disguised as national leaders, appearing stupider than youreally are, watching your carbs the night before they strap you to thegurney, election night jitters, and models throwing themselves out offirst floor Motel 6 window. The Waco Brothers legendary line-upincludes an alumni of musicians, originating from the most diverse ofbands: Jon Langford (Mekons, Pine Valley Cosmonauts) Deano (Wreck,Dollar Store), Steve Goulding on Drums (Graham Parker & the Rumour,Mekons), Alan Doughty on bass (Jesus Jones), Mark Durante on steel(Revolting Cocks, KMFDM), and Tracey Dear on Mandolin. (Bloodshot)

Bloodshot Records:
... Duringthe past decade in the blood-bucket roots underground, The Wacos havebeen called everything from saviors to butchers and Freedom and Weep isa decidedly rockin’ addition to their formidable canon, aswaggering return to form that hits all your g-spots and leaves youpanting. Cuts about crafty little Christians dismantling democracy,going for a drink, golfers disguised as national leaders, appearingstupider than you really are, watching your carbs the night before theystrap you to the gurney, election night jitters, and models throwingthemselves out of first floor Motel 6 windows show that the Brothersare still able to meet the enemy head on with a good, hair-raisingboozy cackle.
No, theyears have not dimmed the Wacos zeal for looking into the face of thegrotesque cultural and social forces that are forever trying to turn usinto placid drones devoid of outrage. Sure, you can dismiss these assongs shouted from the end of the bar by some sozzled cranks. Butbeyond the pounding of the drums, the shrieking of the steel and theknee-jerking hedonism, outrage stumbles about, there is madness andrage, and the joke is over and the laughter is hollow and tired.
WadeBowen’s writing has always been solid, and his performances arecrowd-pleasing and energetic.  It’s exciting to watch, orlisten to, the progress of this young Texan as his career continues togrow.  With his band, West 84, Bowen offered his debut in 2000with “JUST FOR FUN” and it was largely a fun disc, recordedfor the fans with little attention paid to formulas or the whims ofsome record label suit.  If nothing else, this is a nostalgic lookat Bowen and how things were.  Personally, I think theperformances are genuine and a testament to the talent of thisgroup.  Bowen offers his sophomore release, “…TRY NOTTO LISTEN” in 2002 and it is a coming-of-age for Wade and theband.  Alex Lipsitz produces again, showing maturity aswell.  This disc captures the energy of Bowen’s lyrics andmelodies, and is the perfect disc for listening on the way to ashow.  It will get you fired up and ready for the Wade Bowen andWest 84 experience.  Texas radio had a small love affair with thisdisc, but fans had a deeper affinity as Bowen played to packed venuesmoving mountains of product to his faithful following.  Now comesthe pinnacle-to-date of Bowen’s releases, “THE BLUE LIGHT:LIVE” recorded, you guessed it, live at The Blue Light. Wade Bowen is an excellent performer, and it was evident that no disccould ever capture the true essence of a WBW84 show unless it wasrecorded live.  Well, here it is!  There’s no way youcan call yourself a true Texas music fan without this disc in yourlibrary.  Not only is the disc a fabulous release, but a brilliantcareer move as well.  The next studio CD will be achart-topper.  Lipsitz is back as producer along with J.R.Rodriquez, and they have done well.  Bowen would do good to keepthis team together, or as Grandma used to say, “Dance with whobrung ya.”  This is by far the best live CD I’ve heardin at least two years.  A definite candidate for album of theyear, but you’ll never know unless you hear it, and we’vegot it right here, right now, for the lowest price anywhere! 
Wade Bowen Interview

Milesof Music: Don`t be fooled by the quaint, folksy, back porchfootstomper that ushers in the debut disc by Cincinnati`s 500 Miles ToMemphis. When "Before The Sun Rises" finishes with its "MandolinWind"-esque cheeriness, with birds a`chirpin`, you are hit by thedisc`s true first track, the appropriately named "Ton Of Bricks".Touting themselves as "country punk at its absolute finest," the band,whose name states the relative distance from their hometown toGraceland, curiously combine punk`s power, emo`s passion and country`stwang. Fabulously melodic in an anthemic way, this disc is exactly asMichael Snyder of the Cincinnati Enquirer described it: as "a recordthat`s invigoratingly brash and heartrendingly honest." The crunchingguitars still leave space for the lap-steel and mandolin...barely. Butsurely this is fun stuff - sometimes loose about the nuts and bolts -that comes on hard and rarely lets up. (3rd Silo Records) - Robinson,Miles Of Music

His music, which catches audiences’ ears only a littlefaster than it captures their hearts, has been compared the music ofPaul Simon, John Prine, Tom Waits, and James Taylor. He has just movedto beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia (the folk capital of the south),and is currently celebrating the release of his debut self-titledalbum, which features the production and performance of Andrew’s friendand teacher, Tom Prasada-Rao. He tours East Coast playing listeningrooms, bars, coffee houses, and colleges. Markers is the third full-length release from BSOJC. As its titlesuggests, the album is steeped in the highway tradition of Americanmusic. While loath to channel the Man in Black directly, the BastardSons do give a courteous nod to a few of his roadbound compatriots:"King of the World" is a catchy tune that might be a lost Tom Pettytrack, "No Easy Road" is a rollicking outlaw number with Waylon'sdistinctive swagger, and "Night Comes Down" finds Stuart doing his bestSpringsteen sneer. Homage notwithstanding, Mile Markers is a strongcollection of original songs that do not feel overwhelmingly derivative. Markers is the third full-length release from BSOJC. As its titlesuggests, the album is steeped in the highway tradition of Americanmusic. While loath to channel the Man in Black directly, the BastardSons do give a courteous nod to a few of his roadbound compatriots:"King of the World" is a catchy tune that might be a lost Tom Pettytrack, "No Easy Road" is a rollicking outlaw number with Waylon'sdistinctive swagger, and "Night Comes Down" finds Stuart doing his bestSpringsteen sneer. Homage notwithstanding, Mile Markers is a strongcollection of original songs that do not feel overwhelmingly derivative. this album, they continue their pattern of songs about thedowntrodden, losers in love and dead babies; in other words, fairlystandard fare for the kind of Appalachian folk and honky-tonk in whichthey specialize. They revel in clever wordplay and the exploration ofclassic country cliches as well. In the opening track, "RightBrothers," they lament, "I thought that I could get by/with the rightbrothers at the wrong time/but that thing never, just plain never/wasgonna fly."

"StandYour Ground is the third solo release from Canadian alt. country androots-rocker Graham Brown. His previous group, The Happyman, had alsorecorded for Stomp Records. Full of twangin and janglin rockers, StandYour Ground displays Browns easy going manner and roots-popsensibilities through a lively set of gritty and biting tunes. Someshow tenderness to great effect, such as the slow and glistening "Gone,Gone, Gone". Ever on the road, Graham Brown & The Prairie Dogs haveimbued these 11 tracks with the brash warmth of the live stage. Itseverything right about melding country with rock n roll - honest andmoving."
(Miles Of Music)

"GrahamBrown is a Canadian guitarist/songwriter who already has two decades ofreleases and respect in the music world. He began his professionalcareer in 1984 by forming a group called (Jr. Gone Wild),then moved to Vancouver and form (Brilliant Orange) which wouldrelease two albums then came the formation of (Happyman) which wouldrelease three critically acclaimed albums. In 1998 Graham began his solocareer the release of (Brand New Smile ) and followed by (Good 'nBroke ) in 2001 which began to break in Europe with the song"Prairie Smile" on many radio stations. His band is called (The PrairieDogs) - Mark Gruft - Drums, Dave Bridges Bass & Vocals, Ford Pier -Hammond and Graham - Vocals, Guitars, Mandolin, Harmonica.
Thisline-up furnishes the new CD "Graham Brown - Stand Your Ground", an albumthat affirms what has already been said. Brown and his telecasterbring back the flavours of (Green on Red, Guadalcanal Diary,True West, or even The Long Ryders). Graham is a Wicked guitar playerthat touches on rock & country. Starting with the beautiful song(Morning Light) with it's lovely hammond and harmonica, then (Gone,Gone, Gone) which is such a excellent ballad, then (Alberta BoundHomestead) with an infectious refrain and guitar line and the deliciousballad (Pebble In My Shoe). The final three songs like the opener area tasty country-rock stew. With "Stand Your Ground" Graham Brownbrings us a great and richly varied album, well worth the time to bediscovered." -
(BD)MazzMuzikas Magazine - ( Belgium )

Little Rock is the first self - released cd to make it to# 1 on the Americana charts.....

Hayes was given an award in Nashville for being the first self releasedartist to reach #1 on the Americana Chart.

The Idaho Falls
Concrete Prairie

 TheIdaho Falls make breezy, pedal-steel filled, west coast country. Theyalso make nice twangy retro-country. Factor in some light folk-rock andindie-pop and a band like this becomes hard to peg. Thats Americana forya. Theres even something Dylan-esque (the early electric years) aboutthe rockin skiffle of Lipstick Eagle. Concrete Prairie is a loose butmighty fun trip thats both new and old-school and never falls flat inthe middle. Heather Goldberg and Raymond Richards trade and combinevocals with classic effect. Perhaps no better than on the terrific GramParsons-like closing number, My Favorite One. On top of every thingelse cool about this release, each copy comes with a hand-paintedplantable illustration of the concrete prairie the city that willactually produce wildflowers if you plant it. Sweet! (self-released)

In the first of what we can only hope will become aseries ofcollaborations between Calexico and Iron & Wine, this seven songeffort features the minimalist Sam Beam approach floating on neo-folkand country-western waters.

Tucson mariachi singer Salvador Duran lends someoperatic vocalsopposite Beam’s gentle voice in the lush opener, “He Lays In TheReins.” Narrative lyrics lead the story-lined “Prison On Route 41, andPaul Niehaus’ steel guitar, along with some pop group melodies andhorns, spurs “A History of Lovers” to a nice centerpiece statement. Hispurring steel guitar rises once again in the haunting tale of lost love- “Sixteen, Maybe Less” – which provides Beam’s whispery words a senseof grandness. And Joey Burns chimes in to harmonize on the bluesyrocker “Red Dust,” which trembles like a classic Aerosmith cut.

It’s a cliff note record, but “Dead Man’s Will”reaffirms thestrength in this unique partnership, offering just a taste and leavingyou thirsty for more from Sam, Joey and Co.

Milesof Music:

JamesMcMurtry proves to be ever reliable, and consistent, when it comes tosharply written songs in a distinctive style that is unmistakably his.The title track on Childish Things, his first studio album in 3 years,begins with a line that`s as idiomatic as anything he`s every written:"Aunt Clara kept her bible right next to the phone in case she needed aquote while she talked to someone." He gets the most from every lineand each one draws interest and imagery. This self-produced releaseoffers 12 consecutive examples of his lyrical mastery, with edgymusical performances of rootsy rock that are understated yet mightyflavorful. While he shies away from more overt political ranting acrossthe board, he does funnel the whole load into the fantastic "We Can`tMake It Here", which plays like the "true" state of the union accordingto James McMurtry. It`s one of the most backhandedly poignant andpertinent songs he`s ever written. - Robinson, Miles Of Music(Compadre)

Jan Smith
29 Dances

Jan Smith's new record, 29Dances, will be released to a hometown crowdon Saturday, Sept. 24 at Starr Hill Music Hall in Charlottesville,Virginia. It will be available online in October and with luck will bedistributed to retail stores nationally in early 2006. Produced by BilVornDick at Mountainside Audio in Nashville, the album featuresperformances by Johnny Hiland on guitar; Pat McInerney (Nanci Griffith)on percussion; Byron House (Sam Bush) on bass; Mark Fain (Ricky Skaggsand Kentucky Thunder) on bass; Randy Kohrs on dobro; David Talbot (theGrascals) on banjo; Robert Bowlin (Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys) onfiddle; Patty Mitchell on harmony vocals; and Smith's longtime musicalpartner Jeff Vogelgesang on mandolin.

Performing Songwriter magazine, December 2004  Top 12 DIY Picks:

Flavors of bluegrass and alt-country dominate the debut release byKentucky native Jan Smith. Honest and heartfelt, Tin Heart is asdown-home as a slice of apple pie, with heaping helpings of mandolin,guitar, pedal steel, upright bass and high, lonesome harmonies providedby Mary Lucey and Terri Allard.

Her bio mentions the unavoidable comparisons to Gillian Welch and IrisDeMent, but Smith's deceptively simple tunes sparkle with freshness andoriginality. Years of collaboration with her band yield arrangementsthat expand and contract around the vocal in a way that sounds naturaland organic, while the lyrics paint poignant pictures of Americanaranging from liquor stores and open highways to wild mountain blueberrypatches and stars in the Arizona sky. But it's Smith's delivery that'sthe real jewel on this album. Pick it up now and say you knew her when.

Miles of Music:
"These nine breezy, acoustic - based twang-pop tunes take hisdistinctly strong and melodic vocals into long, lazy days of endlesssunshine. (WTSLL)..has all the warmth, brilliance and wonder that comeswith its title."

With influences ranging from Bad Brains to the Bob Dylan,this Atlanta based singer/songwriter is reminiscent of Johnny Cash andBilly Bragg, all the while letting his punk roots shine. Recommendedfor fans of folky upstarts like Woody Guthrie and Nick Drake.

NYC's Village Voice writes, "This upstate New York quartetoffers passion-fueled songs full of lush harmonies and edgy, grippingmelodies. They share similarities with the great Vic Chestnutt andlocal favorites Clem Snide. And as far as their hearts go, they seemmore intent on surviving than their name suggests..."

"Thisgroup is spot-on...meandering melodies on a spool of reflective vocallines,and sometimes unorthadox song structures that are cause for pauseand deep exhale. 'Bloody Coat' is the standout song to be reckonedwith, like an up-tempo visit to Scarborough Fair." -Rockpile

Milesof Music:

Thelatest release from So-Cal roots-pop quartet Limbeck keeps exhilaratingmomentum as it wends its way from one memorable gem to another. Afterkicking off with a couple of punchy and twangy roots-rock burners, eachlightly honed with pop flourishes, the band eases into a bristlingwarmth that flirts with dark introspection yet never looses its senseof joy, not unlike the Old 97`s. Urgency mixes with pop reverence, andwith strong undercurrents of Southern and California country-rockLimbeck strive to be an amalgam of that which they love; and in theprocess reveal their own vibe. The disc`s sonic sharpness and theband`s irresistible and organic energy may be attributed to theirworking with the production team of Ed Ackerson (Juliana Hatfield, TheWallflowers) and the Jayhawks` Gary Louris, both of whom contributeinstrumental and vocal flair throughout. Be it there or back on life`slong road of mystery and wonder, this terrific record proves to be amore than amiable co-pilot. (Doghouse)

 in America, which debuted Sept. 16 at the CMJ Festival in NewYork, is the first DVD to take a look inside one of best bands you’venever heard of — at least until now.

It’s the best music documentary DVD since Sam Jones turned his lens onWilco for I am Trying to Break Your Heart.

In fact, it tells a similar story in many ways, but Dreaming in Americahas a powerful poignancy going for it that the Wilco documentary doesnot, and by nature, cannot. That poignancy lies in the fact that it’s astory about a band that is almost there, but not quite there yet, andthat takes the underdog spirit of Wilco and multiplies it by 10.

Through a series of live and studio clips of the band in action,intermingled with interviews (mostly with lead singer and guitarist BenNichols), filmmaker Aaron Goldman paints a masterful picture of what ahard-working, van traveling band, scratching for their break and theirplace in this tumultuous industry, is all about.

Dreaming is an honest film that portrays a band that wears their truestlove of playing music in front of people on their checkered flannelsleaves and it’s about time someone took notice of Lucero.

— Brian F. Johnson

Milesof Music:

MackStarks attributes the underlying tension of Blind Spot to "our hero"who "is paranoid that the one he loves is lurking in that place ofmystery. Because not all of her is seen, he doesn`t really know whather intentions are." That feeling comes through well enough on BlindSpot, but it`s coated with sprinkles of rock sugar. This 10-song setwas crafted along with fellow Nashvillian Neilson Hubbard, who handlesthe guitars, keys, loops and backing vocals, as well as co-writing halfof the tunes with Starks. There`s also a track co-written with DireStraits co-founder David Knopfler and a Neil Young tune ("DepressionBlues") for good measure. Starks sings with a Jeff Tweedy-likeweariness/coarseness, and on the opening title track it seems a mostnotable comparison. The music shares a bit of Wilco`s penchant forbaroque infused roots pop while mostly sustaining a hushed and breezyhopefulness, ala Josh Rouse. But Starks has his own thing for sure andwe urge you not to let this one get lost in your rear-view mirror.(self-released)

MattMays was originally in the Guthries, a band thatenjoyed some success with a few albums. On this, his sophomore soloalbum, the singer has utilized an almost pristine balance ? fusing attimes the jagged, loud garage rock of Neil Young into a tighter, morepolished Tom Petty format. This gorgeous combination makes it easilyone of the more impressive albums you'll hear, exemplified to a T onthe rollicking opener, "Stand Down at Sundown." The nearly six-minutetrack grabs you by the throat and dares you not to hit the replaybutton time and time again, mixing Young's flair with a crunchy openinggroove that is a distant cousin of Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes YouHappy." "Travellin'" takes the tone down a notch with its midtemporoots feel as Mays nails the chorus. It's not quite Petty-esque, butproducer Don Smith, who previously worked with Petty, produced severaltracks on this album, including this one. However, nothing sounds morelike Petty than the light but delectable "On the Hood," resemblingsomething cruelly omitted from Into the Great Wide Open. "They're alllooking for hits/I'd rather lay on the hood," he sings. He alsodelivers "St. George's Lane" and the world-weary "Good People" with apretty country-rock flavor featuring some organ and pedal steelaccents. However, the first single, "Cocaine Cowgirl," is a full-borerock tune, one that hits the ground running and continues to shift intoa higher, lovelier gear with great work from Mays, guitarist JarrettMurphy, and bassist Andy Patil. But just as pretty is the softerAmericana feel of "The Plan," with sweet give-and-take harmonies fromKathleen Edwards. There are also some pure pop nuggets, especially themelodic "Ain't So Heavy" and the slightly deliberate but powerfulpayoff during "Move Your Mind." Even the tracks that have the feel ofcoming down resonate, particularly "What Are We Gonna Do Come the Monthof September?," with its slow and methodical roots vibe that soundslike a young and sneering Blue Rodeo or Wilco. Another plus is how thesongs aren't anywhere near the cookie-cutter variety, often going five,six, or even seven minutes deep. Mays gives one of the better ofseveral Grade A performances with "It Don't Matter," a tight, melodicparty tune that winds itself around a country guitar arrangement. Theanthem-like closer, "Wicked Come Winter," caps off this albumperfectly. "The northern lights in the skies at night/Making music withmy friends," he sings on a simply stellar offering. An hourlong albumthat will take you three hours to listen to.
- AllMusic Guide ( Martha Berner,working under the Friend of Howard moniker, debuts with a maturecollection of strummed college pop in the singer-singwriter vein. Herstrong vocals are the center point of attention, and producer JakeJohnson gives the disc an indistinct but solid sound, perfect for radioand, surely, TV programmers. If Friend of Howard doesn’t shift a lot ofunits, Berner could always settle on a career writing songs for MelrosePlace. “Or Anyway” is a finely crafted 10,000 Maniacs meets NatalieMerchant number, and is the disc’s standout track, along with theclosing track, “Tuesday.” Berner delivers on every song; she knows herscope and songwriting prowess and sticks to her established blueprint.This is probably a good idea considering how well she does this kind ofthing. This is a solid EP of uptempo radio pop...instantly likeable. along at Young’s patented 4am drawl, “…when everyone getstired enough to play at my(Young) speed,” Prairie Wind invokesan Americana sound born of a simple life, rising from the dust on thefarms, just as Harvest and Harvest Moondid years before. The addition of Emmy Lou Harris’s pure country voiceon “Far From Home,” “This Old Guitar” and “No Wonder” give the album astamp of approval with her sweet authentic Nashville sound. It seems tofind the soul of rural American, in much the way that The Band did ontheir first two albums and begs to ask the question, “Why do Canadiansseem to play ‘Americana’ music better than Americans?” While somequestions require much thought and deep pondering, this is not one ofthose questions. In this case one should just be thankfully that it wastime for Neil Young to release another masterpiece.

Just an old sweet song

... treating you to atreasure trove of classic songs from the 1930s and 40s.

"the sweetest voice and some of the finest songwriting to come out ofVermont in the last 25 years" (Vermont Public Radio)

a year 2000 winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folksongwriter's competition

Pieta Brown
In the cool

The press release that accompanies Pieta Brown's In the Cool claimsthat her voice is "altogether her own, without artifice or gimmick". Itthen suggests comparisons with Chrissie Hynde and PJ Harvey, butconcludes nonetheless that "Brown doesn't sound like anyone else".


The truth is that while Pieta Brown is actually the eldest daughter ofsinger-songwriter Greg, she sounds exactly like the secret lovechild ofthe young Bob Dylan (circa Bringing It All Back Home) and mid-periodLucinda Williams. Factor in Brown's musical collaborator, the veteranguitarist Bo Ramsay -- best known in my house for his landmark workwith Ms. Williams -- and it's hard to resist the temptation to comparePieta Brown with the greatest of the best. Unfortunately andinevitably, In the Cool doesn't quite live up to the billing hersinging suggests.

At first hearing, Brown's vocals actually count against her. Listening,say, to "Fourth of July", it's hard to get past her extended Dylanmannerisms to appreciate the song below. Some of her vowel sounds lastso long that the "Fourth of July" doesn't end until Labor Day. But livewith In the Cool for a week or so, play it twice a day every day, andyou slowly begin to discover Brown's strengths. This is music rooted inall the same good fertile soil that Dylan and Williams plough, andwhile Brown's songs are seldom a match for those of America's twogreatest song-writers, her best work stands up well in the company of,say, Lori McKenna or Mindy Smith.

As consumers, we are lucky to be living at a time when there are somany talented singers working in those same fields fed by the riversthat flow from the folk, country and blues hinterlands. Performers likePieta Brown, however, may feel a little less blessed because theaccomplishments of their peers only highlight their own blemishes.
— 13 September 2005


It’sunderstandable that so many compare Rosie Thomas to SarahMcLachlan. Both write confessional piano ballads, have a knack forcrafting beautiful melodies and sing like nobody's business. But whileMcLachlan appeals to the corporate everywoman who buys three CDs ayear, Thomas’ target audience is the indie chick who keeps her hundredsof records arranged alphabetically and by genre. The big difference?Thomas’s heart breaks cerebrally, not just emotionally. She sees lifeand love through stark, gritty eyes that examine harsh realitiesMcLachlan simply glosses over.

Infact, Thomas’s songs - check out “Guess It May” and “Death Cameand Got Me” - are so bleak she often incorporates a comedy act in herlive shows to temporarily lighten the mood. That said, probably thebest track on If Songs Could Be Held is a cover of theeternally sweet “Let It Be Me.” Thomas’s duet version is moresaccharine than the Everly Brothers’, but no matter. It‘s damn finemusic. So good, really, that it more than excuses some of the tracks -most notably, “Say What You Want” and “Time Goes By” - that blendtogether anonymously. In all though, Thomas's fans will be pleased toadd this to their collection.

What’s more remarkable on Jacksonville City NightsisAdams’ very real attempt at putting interesting twists on the classiccountry formula. He adds his thin, off-key vocal nod to Jerry Garcia on“A Kiss Before I Go,” and the tune comes off like some long-lostouttake from Workingman’s Dead. He borrows the melody ofDylan’s Nashville Skyline-era “I Threw it All Away” for thealbum’s best song, “Hard Way to Fall.”

As contrived as Adams’ best tunes are, he sings themwith all thepassion in his restless country soul, sliding into a Jeff Buckleyfalsetto for horn-drenched story-song “The Hardest Part,” and spittingout the words to the harrowing, Irish folk-tinged “Peaceful Valley”like Violent Femme Gordon Gano.

"SilverCity (Blue Corn), is straight-up American roots rock performed withimmeasurable heart and stunning confidence."

- JimCaligiuri, Austin Chronicle

Writing songs like a slow breeze on a desert afternoon,Albuquerque's Shine Cherries bring you songs of simmering introspectionand slow, slow twang. Founded in the tumultuous year of 2001,Albuquerque's Shine Cherries takes the quiet road less traveled. Like aslightly twangier version of the band Low, Michelle Collins (guitar,vocals), Johnny Cassidy (bass, vocals) and Jeffrey Richards (guitar,drums, vocals, banjo) produce music perfect for a hot desert afternoon;like vapor off the mesas after a summer rain. Shine Cherries haveshared stages with bands such as Cat Power, Victoria Williams, TheCzars, and Richard Buckner. Previous members of Venus Diablo,Hazeldine, Vic Chesnutt, and Young Black Sabbath Teenagers. ShineCherries first release, on the baby-faced Little Kiss label, was justreleased January 2005. Like momma said after whippin up a bunch of bluecorn hotcakes..."Get em while they're hot!" (available Here's a Review of the Album courtesy of Miles OfMusic... From Albuquerque, NM, each of the trio that comprises ShineCherries have individually worked with the likes of Nels Andrews, VicChesnutt, Venus Diablo and Hazeldine. Mixing indie rock lethargy withdownbeat mountain folk, they have delivered, on their debut 6-track EP,a moody and spare offering of hypnotic splendor. Singer/guitaristMichelle Collins breathes a slow, almost childlike air of longing intoevery word while a lazy tempo lumbers along musically with sorrowfulbeauty. This will interest fans of Transmissionary Six, Low, JesseSykes & The Sweet Hereafter and anyone looking for the perfectsoundtrack to a fever dream. (Little Kiss Records)

Sid Griffin's long awaited second solo album, his first ineight yearsand a very personal and intimate glimpse into his private life.Released Sept 25, 2005 this is melodic acoustic alt-country at itsfinest although one track, Just Let Her Go, is a Western Electricreunion and not only features the powerful drums of Dave the RaveMorgan but is an unreleased song from the late Doug Sahm (Sir DouglasQuintet, Texas Tornadoes) and features ex-Small Face Ian MacLagan onkeyboards. Recorded in Sid's living room and in Louisville, Kentucky noother Sid music explains him better than the balladry heard herein., because we have come to associate country so strongly with theWest, and the West, in turn, with travel -- covered wagons, sun-beatennomads, men and women on big, beautiful horses and comic little donkeys-- it's difficult not to think of country bands in terms of ways towalk, or run, or ride, or roll. Sounds Like Fall, for instance, strollslowly and casually. Wilco, if you were wondering, do a lot of cheerfuljogging, though they've been known to saunter, strut, and even gallop.Clem Snide, just to make certain we have our parameters in place, alsofavor a slow and steady stroll, but they make such insightfulobservations about their surroundings as they walk that it hardlymatters how slowly they're moving. The same cannot be said for JoeYoung, the man behind Sounds Like Fall. His vocal delivery is warm,friendly and slightly somber, but lacks urgency. He isn't an overlygifted vocalist, either, which certainly doesn't help.
 DarkAnd Weary World is the South Austin Jug Band`s second album and firstfor Blue Corn. They`ve been wowing audiences coast to coast for thelast three years and boast a huge fan base in their hometown of Austin,where they won the 2005 Austin Music Award for Best Bluegrass Band.This one is a big leap forward from their self-titled debut album.Original members are joined by mandolin and fiddle players, and, inaddition to the group`s own material, the album features songs fromBruce Robison and George and Ira Gershwin. Perhaps this eclecticism,and the fact that they are mighty fine players, justifies their winningthe "Best New Band" competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.(Blue Corn Music)

"A band to see"
The Independent Weekly, Durham, NC
"This trio from Johnson City, Tennessee leaves many a believer andGillian Welch comparison in its wake. the everybodyfields debut album"half-way there: electricity and the South" is what some in thebusiness might call a quiet, sneaky little record, equally suitable fora "Mountain Stage" appearance or a slow wake up on a Sunday."
When the Parkas released their debut album NOW THIS IS FIGHTING intothe Canadian wild,
CBC Radio called it “one of this year’s biggest debut surprises, ”while Chart Magazine declared that the Parkas were “seemingly out torescue not only the pop beast, but the entire kingdom.”

In Fall of 2005 the Parkas will drop their second record THE SCARS TOPROVE IT. With less bounce-in-their-step and more knife-in-their-pocketthis time around, the Parkas' sophmore release will show the world whatwould've happened if John Fogherty had started the Clash.'ve been sitting on The Roulette Sisters,not literally, I think they're safe in NYC. But I bookmarked `em a longtime ago and then they just sat. So I'm in the middle of a spring (Ican dream, can't I?) computer cleaning and it's time to spin thatwheel. The other bit of impetus I've got to share them with you is theone item of news on their site and that is that Laura Cantrell playedtheir record on her WFMU show RadioThrift Shopthe other day. I like it when a band gets all geeked up about being onWFMU since it is my favorite station and one of the best in the country.

The Wiyos

"The band, whichshares it's name with an infamous gang from New York City (circa 1880)is quickly becomeing one of the most in-demand old time groups on theEast Coast - and their willingness to approach all manner of Pre-warAmerican music as merely different Limbs on the same body has struckquite a chord. With a joyous, exuberent sound that draws on ruralblues, hot jazz, early swing, and appalachian jugband music of the1920's and 1930's for inspiration, The WIYOS' visages probably wouldn'tseem too out of place on the side of a boxcar rolling slowly throughthe delta. The three share an affinity for the musical forms of earliergenerations, but the sound is not contrived as some observers might betempted to assume."

-Jim Reed, Connect Savannah

Archive 2005
*Anddon't forget*

, Townes van Zandt

Gram Parsons,Hank Williams,
Bill Monroe,Lowell George
TammyWynette, Rose Maddox,
WoodyGuthrie, Carter Family
Carl Perkins, Jimmie Rodgers, 
Roy Huskeyjr., Shel Silverstein,
Hoyt Axton,Doug Sahm, 
Rick Danko,John Hartford,
Fred Neil, John L. Hooker,
ChetAtkins, Mimi Farina
Dave vanRonk,Waylon Jenning,
Alan Lomax, Dave Carter, WarrenZevon,
June Carter, JohnnyCash

and so many others