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News Archive 2007 - 2

Ted Russell Kamp

by Johanna J. Bodde

Perry Keyes
 "The Last Ghost Train Home"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Last Train Home
"Bound Away"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Last Train Home
"Time and Water"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Southern Tenant Folk Union
"Southern Tenant Folk Union"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Bill Wence
"The Rocky Fork Tavern"

by Johanna J. Bodde
"Remember the River"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Patti Witten
"Tell the wind"

by Johanna J. Bodde
This is the album that we’ve all been hearing about the past few months. Finally all of the licensing has been cleared and the release can proceed. This single disc kicks off with fourteen covers of Tom’s songs from over the years. Artists include Johnny Cash, Doug Sahm, Joe Ely, Iris DeMent, Dave Alvin and many more. It also features a new recording of Eliza Gilkyson covering “Walking On The Moon.” But wait, there’s more: to round out the set Tom has recorded two new selections, included a live duet with Barrence Whitfield and also included the now out of print “Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall.” This is one stop shopping for old and new fans alike. Once it’s over you can begin to contemplate how one person could be responsible for so much great music. ...

Johnny Cash – Veteran’s Day
Dave Alvin – Blue Wing
Joe Ely- Gallo del Cielo
Iris Dement – Acres of Corn
Dave Van Ronk – The Outcaste
Laurie Lewis – Manzanar
Doug Sahm – St Olav’s Gate
Suzy Bogguss – Outbound Plane
Ian Tyson & Nanci Griffith – Canadian Whiskey
Doug Sahm – Haley’s Comet
Jerry Jeff Walker – Navajo Rug
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – The Sky Above
Lawrence Ferlinghetti – Stealing Electricity
Eliza Gilkyson – Walking on the Moon
Barrence Whitfield & Tom Russell – The Cuban Sandwich
Tom Russell - Who’s Gonna Build Your Wall?
Tom Russell - Home Before Dark
Tom Russell - The Death of Jimmy Martin

Teddy Thompson
Up Front & Down Low
Teddy Thompsons self-produced Up Front & Down Low offers distinctive readings of beloved country classics: George Jones She Thinks I Still Care, Ernest Tubbs Walking the Floor Over You and Merle Haggards (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers. Equally impressive, however, are such lesser-known songs such as Boudleaux Bryants regretful Change of Heart, the yearning Touching Home, Dolly Partons bittersweet My Blue Tears, the tongue-in-cheek Bob Luman hit Lets Think About Living and the Elvis Presley chestnut Im Left, Youre Right, Shes Gone. The album also features a lone Thompson original, Down Low, whose heart-on-sleeve lyrics take on added resonance in this context. (Verve)

Sam Baker
Pretty World
You can immediately file this album in that rare category of an artist who delivers a stunning debut and then tops it with his next recording. If you’re a fan of thoughtful, literate songwriting with more than a hint of melancholy then you’ve found you‘re new “go to“ album. Sparse, but effective backing from Gurf Morlix, Lloyd Maines, Fats Kaplan, Walt Wilkins and Joel Guzman among others make this one of the best listening experiences we’ve had around here. There’s a rough elegance to this one that grabs you from the packaging right through the last notes. Albums like this are why we do what we do.

Red Meat
We Never Close
J. Poet
Published: July 18, 2007

Red Meat's hardcore country music has been winning the band raves since it emerged from a Mission District garage 14 years ago. In the intervening decade-plus, the group became the late Buck Owens' local backing band, released three excellent albums, and scored a top-five single in France with "Texas Texas" from Meet Red Meat.

We Never Close is another solid display of Red Meat's diversity and the growing songwriting prowess of Scott Young and Jill Olson. For example, the band offers an amusing take on Toby Keith's nasty "High Maintenance Woman." Re-envisioned here by Young as a "High Maintenance Babe," the tune becomes a rollicking swing number buffeted by a faux trumpet intro and Michael Montaldo's sparkling guitar solo. Vocalist Smelly Kelly's dreamy, understated delivery makes "That Couple in Love" a real heartbreaker, as he describes watching young lovers and remembering a lost relationship of his own. But Red Meat has more than amour on the brain here. Olson's "Queen of King City" is a Tex-Mex-meets-Bakersfield tale of a small-town gal in L.A., while Montaldo shows off his chops on his instrumental, "Moonrock." The latter is a twang-fest with a moody pedal steel bridge by guest picker Doug Livingston. The album wraps on a high note with a bluegrass-flavored take on country gospel superstar Dottie Rambo's "I'm Gonna Leave Here Shoutin'," a glimpse into the band's version of honky-tonk heaven.
The band name doesn't lie. The Psychedelic Cowboys are fine practitioners of the rare art of Cosmic American Music. John Lefty Harlan's laid-back nasally vocals provide a hint of a pharma-induced state. Citing The Byrds, Beatles, Love, The Leaves, and Hearts and Flowers as influences, the Psychedelic Cowboys weave musical magic track after track. Ten years after "Tragic Songs and Hop-A-Longs" was released seems like a long time to wait for the follow-up. It will seem worth every minute after hearing the groovy sounds of Jangle Waltz. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (Taxim)

Patty Booker
Fire & Brimstone
Life may have gotten in the way of Patty Booker establishing a high-profile career, but life sure has provided her with plenty of subject matter on her forthcoming second disc. Because of a focus on raising her three children, Booker didn't release her debut (1999's "I Don't Need All That") until more than a decade after she had started singing professionally. Booker wisely took her time and has crafted a wonderful follow-up, with Wyman Reese (Chris Gaffney's Cold Hard Facts) and acclaimed singer-songwriter Walter Clevenger teaming up with her to produce "Fire & Brimstone" (set for release on July 10).

The 12-track set is filled with songs that range from the tender "Please Don't Lie to Me" and bluesy honky tonk "The One-Way Hula" to the Americana-styled "Don't Go Back to Sleep." There is genuineness to the collection, with an army of guest players such as drummer Shawn Nourse, singer Jann Browne, guitarist Danny Ott and multi-instrumentalist Clevenger (mandolin, guitar, percussion) lending their talents to the wide-ranging proceedings.
By William Michael Smith
Published: August 9, 2007

Like an Old Testament of folk music, these compilations — 42 songs in all — are both celebration and preservation. Artists ranging from faculty of the 50-year-old titular Chicago institution to Austin honky-tonk legend James Hand to alt-country chanteuse Kelly Hogan play 'em stripped and straight up, taking each performance beyond interpretation to almost worshipful tribute. Emily Hurd's menacing piano rendition of "Hard Travelin'" breathes hobo bravado and travelin' blues; Folk Uke's "Wildwood Flower" sounds as innocent and fresh as the day it was written; and Marvin Etzioni's raw "Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan" rains hellfire and brimstone on preachers of all denominations. Whether written in a prison chain gang or Tin Pan Alley, these songs are so well known, this project could easily have become an embalmed cliché; but the honesty of each performance makes it obvious why songs like "John Henry," "Trouble in Mind" and "When the Saints Go Marchin' In" have become not just American classics but precious cultural baggage in this iPhone and Maroon 5 age.

No River City
Wolves and Fishes
No River City is the band that opened that night, and I have been hooked on the Atlanta natives ever since. One of the reasons is that I love a good story, and Drew deMan is one of the best songwriting storytellers since Whiskeytown. In fact, if you're a fan of the croonings of the Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary pair, I think you'd like deMan's music. It gives one a feel for his love of all things western, all things beat culture, and all things egalitarian. That means calling up the wandering spirits of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and at times the defiant mood and it's-all-out-on-the-table morality of Henry Miller. In short, it's a gem for those of us who appreciate neo-folk and good storytelling.
The fourth album is airier, more spacious, and more relaxed than its jackhammer predecessors. In general, Carl Newman`s songwriting is slightly more scrutable this time around; his lyrics still ring with wry perception and political metaphor, but they betray some of the magnanimity that comes with new love.
There is an undeniable twang in the music Moonshine Hangover makes - a twang steeped in the souls and calloused hands of America`s everyman. There is an unmistakable grit to this sound; Rock n Roll and bourbon and blood and bone. There is an unwavering connection to the people and places where each of these men have been, and to their histories.. deftly balancing and defying their roots in country, 70`s era rock and Gospel music. Producer/Steel Guitar Extraordinaire, Paul Brainard (Richmond Fontaine, Alejandro Escovedo, Fernando) co-produces and lends his extraordinary steel guitar work to the band`s most mature and personal effort to date. (Drunkard`s Dream)

Mendoza Line
30 Year Low
Breaking up sucks! Nonetheless, a lot of good music has come out of crumbling relationships. The latest victims: primary Mendoza Line songwriters Tim Bracy and Shannon McArdle have dissolved both their marriage and their musical collaboration. To, um, celebrate, they will release the mini-album 30 Year Low on August 21 on Glurp. In addition to the songwriting talents of the ex-couple, it features a Jimmy Silva cover and Okkervil River's Will Sheff duetting with McArdle on the Bracy-penned "Aspect of an Old Maid".

Upon its release, Low will come packaged with a second disc titled The Final Remarks of the Legendary Malcontent. Final Remarks is an odds and sods collection of sorts, featuring live tracks, demos, and covers of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Richard Thompson, and Arab Strap, among others.

Since forming from the same Leeds punk scene as Delta 5 and Gang of Four, the Mekons have released so many good and spectacular albums every few years that many listeners outside their reliable fanbase might take their innovations for granted. "Dickie, Chalkie and Nobby", from the group's forthcoming Natural, doesn't exactly avoid its own legacy; "Corporal Chalkie" was a song on 2004's Punk Rock later covered by member Sally Timms on her own In the World of Him. Still, the song's earthy, genre-straddling arrangement, with hand percussion and what sounds like ukulele, shouldn't make it difficult for newcomers to see how the band could've paved the way for the likes of Uncle Tupelo. Singer-guitarist Jon Langford speak-sings about "trying to fulfill childhood dreams," and a child's backing vocal eventually underscores his theme. Of course, Langford grew up. The Mekons are now 30 years young.

Jeff Kanzler
Black Top Road's Dan Wilkinson gave Black Top Road 9/10 Stars saying, "'Black Top Road' is an essential album in a year of very few essential albums." Jeff Kanzler offers a beautifully understated collection. Gently strummed acoustic guitars, soft harmonica, muted trumpets, and brushed drums all contribute to the mellow vibe. With a warm vocal style resembling Steve Forbert, Kanzler tells tails of lost love and trying to do better next time. This album is delicate, but not fragile as Kanzler allows the vocals and lyrical emotion to carry the show. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (self-released)

Noble Creatures
On Noble Creatures songwriters Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith continue their quirky ramble down the mountain, past dusty delta back porches and through the hanging moss of southwest Louisiana. In classic Gourds fashion the Mussel Shoals rekindling of "How Will You Shine" rides shotgun with the honky-soul of "Moon Gone Down," but on Noble Creatures it`s Russell`s ballads that mark the album as an epaulet on the shoulder of an already mighty career. "Promenade" soars with a from-the-gut tale of squandered happiness and courses with Danko-like emotion. In "Steeple Full of Swallows" the desolate yet hopeful bandy of banjo and guitar trickles along a delicate dream-song, cut by the acid of Russell`s sharp yet tuneful holler. (Yep Roc)

Greg Brown
Yellow Dog
This live concert from 2005 takes its name from the Yellow Dog Watershed in Michigan, for whose benefit Greg Brown was performing. The set mixes selections from his robust catalog, including a couple numbers from The Evening Call, his stellar album of last year. There are also three new numbers, all of which are perfectly matched with the issues at hand, as corporate desires are being fended off by citizens concerned with the resulting damage to their area’s ecosystem. Applicable in a wide variety of settings and times, “Better Days” is about good triumphing over evil, while “Oily Boys” points fingers with an unblinking stare. The third, “Canned Goods” simply delights in life’s small, vital pleasures. The simple directness of Brown’s presentation and earthy voice is the perfect vehicle for such emotionally rich vignettes. Also, be sure and stick around for a hidden final song, sung by a diminutive guest.
By David Greenberger

Felice Brothers
Tonight At The Arizona
Time Out called The Felice Brothers, "Scruffy and scratched Americana that recalls Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and early Springsteen." Add to that an authentic dust-bowl sensibility and you begin to get the feel for this band of brothers. Effortlessly, the Felice Brothers capture the spirit of The Band working out in the basement with Dylan. Drowned in Sound magazine captured it best when they said, "Tonight At The Arizona documents the reality of happy endings not being one of lifes guarantees. From teenage pregnancies and the study of your firearm as you contemplate suicide, to being arrested for the drugs you were dealing to pay for your mothers medical bills, the gritty contents are delivered with a wavery-voiced nod to all-time greats Dylan and Guthrie, backed by wailed group choruses liberated from hick bars and films set in the Deep South." This release is highly recommended. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (Loose)

Eilen Jewell
Letters from Sinners and Strangers
Eilen Jewell: Letters from Sinners and Strangers (Signature Sounds) -- Even if she hadn't covered Bob Dylan's Walking Down the Line, Jewell would still seem, on the evidence of these songs, to be gunning for an opening slot on the Never-Ending Tour. Not only does her signature sound consist of the sepia-tinted blues, shuffles and gypsy jazz of which Dylan is enamored, but her gender-role-reversing persona would make her an ideal Joan Baez-like foil for the 21st-century Dylan stage. A confessed Bessie Smith worshiper whose singing attests to the influence, Jewell is easier on the ears than Baez ever was and entirely convincing in the claims she stakes to traditionally male terrain: she's a "rambler," has "19 men" and wants "one more," hops box cars. Meanwhile her electric guitarist Jerry Miller knows his Hank Marvin, and her cover of Charlie Rich's "Thanks a Lot" is so sweet you'd swear it was an Everly Brothers cover instead.

Dustin Bentall
Streets With No Lights
by Eden Munro
Dustin Bentall’s Streets With No Lights feels like the slightest breeze drifting through the open desert, providing the slightest relief from a sun that’s burning down hot from above. Bentall and his band have a sound that’s sparse, yet the terrain it covers is wrought with peril. A driving acoustic guitar sets the title track off, punctuated by a pedal steel guitar ringing out like a missed train far off in the distance, while “See it Comin’” begins as a relaxed country tune, just before Bentall cranks the tension up and keeps it building on a shuffling groove until it explodes into the chorus.

The songs are heavy with sorrow, but they aren’t about dying so much as they are about surviving, and that’s captured in the music. “Such a Shame” is a song of love and loss, with heartbreaking lyrics, but there’s also a slide guitar solo that continues the story near the end of the song, taking it to unexpected places. On other tracks, Molly Guldemond and Debra-Jean Creelman provide harmonies that round out Bentall’s raspy vocals, giving the songs another shade of color. At times, Bentall’s mix of rock and country recalls Neil Young, Gram Parsons and Steve Earle, but he finds his own voice in that mix, both lyrically and musically.
Adam Rich
talks about
"You can't escape life"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Alex & Hannah Elton-Wall
(The Redland Palomino Company)

talk about
"Take Me Home"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Jason Wilber
talks about
"Lazy Afternoon"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Chuck Melchin
(The Bean Pickers Union)
talks about

by Johanna J. Bodde

Steve Robinson
talks about
"Away for the day"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Steve Robinson

by Johanna J. Bodde
Doug Ploss
"Cowgirl Tattoo"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Jim Hoehn
"Deadline Penitentiary"

by Johanna J. Bodde
New Radioshow !
RADIOGIRL on Radio Winschoten, The Netherlands
Host/Producer Johanna J. Bodde
Jeff Plankenhorn
by Johanna J. Bodde
Oliver Buck
"Rust Belt Blues"

by Johanna J. Bodde
David Hillman
"Americana Hour"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Rick Danko
"Cryin' Heart Blues"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Richard Manuel
"Whispering Pines"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Bill Noonan Band
"Catawba City"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Donna Beasley
"Good Samaritan"

by Johanna J. Bodde

The Wrinkle Neck Mules
"The Wicks Have Met"

The Wicks Have Met and nowhere near the square

The Wrinkle Neck Mules' third release is the oddly named ‘The Wicks Have Met’- Visiting their web site gives little information on the band, but in brief it's Drive By Truckers territory.

This thirteen track record was self-recorded, self penned and lead singer/guitarist Andy Stepanian, who once described their sound as ‘a rock skeleton, bluegrass blood & country skin’ – who am I to argue with that? Despite that description it’s the ‘blood & dust’ of Americana. These guys (five piece I think) write and play blistering country rock. Picking up their influences from various touch points of the last 30 years such as The Byrds (Sweetheart of the Rodeo), Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, My Morning Jacket, Steve Earle & Todd Snider.

Whether they are playing straight ahead rock and more contemplative ballads such as the brilliant ‘Ringing In the Days’ the WNMs show that they have found their niche.

Whilst there’s nothing new here, try not tapping your feet to the ‘Cumberland Sound’ & ‘Black Skies & for the High Mighty’.

Clocking in at just under the hour The Wrinkle Neck Mules kept me hanging in there, with their mix of country rock and country ballads on this hugely enjoyable record.
Townes Van Zandt's music doesn't jump up and down, wear fancy clothes, or beat around the bush. Whether he was singing a quiet, introspective country-folk song or a driving, hungry blues, Van Zandt's lyrics and melodies were filled with the kind of haunting truth and beauty that you knew instinctively. His music came straight from his soul by way of a kind heart, an honest mind, and a keen ear for the gentle blend of words and melody. He could bring you down to a place so sad that you felt like you were scraping bottom, but just as quickly he could lift your spirits and make you smile at the sparkle of a summer morning or a loved one's eyes - or raise a chuckle with a quick and funny talking blues. The magic of his songs is that they never leave you alone.

Townes Van Zandt wasn’t in good health in late 1996, but his death on January 1, 1997 still came unexpectedly. He was only 52 years old.

There’s A Hole In Heaven… pays tribute to the man and his music. Music that still is being played in the Glitterhouse headquarters frequently. Songs that never fail to move.

Of the 17 tracks on this tribute only 5 were previously available (mostly rare b-sides etc.), one has been completely remixed and 11 were recorded exclusively for this project. The cover was painted by Jon Langford, a respected artist and musician (Mekons etc.). There will be a limited 180-gramm-double-vinyl edition (available April 30).

True West
Hollywood Holiday Revisited
"Dont recognize the name True West? Shame on ya! Straight outta Davis, Calif., the combo was one of the key players among the so-called Paisley Underground during the early/mid 80sthat most Amerindie fraternity of psychedelic-tinged guitar slingers who drew inspiration equally from the Nuggets 60s and the punk explosion of the late 70s even as they plundered their record collections for such disparate stimulation as Syd Barrett, Gram Parsons, the Beatles and the Velvet Underground." -- Fred Mills, HARP (Atavistic Records)

Sarah Borges
Diamonds In The Dark
Some folks make music because they want to -- others do it because they have no choice. Sarah Borges clearly falls into the latter category, the kind of person whose DNA would read like a musical chart if you mapped it out on paper. Diamonds in the Dark, Borges second album -- and first for Sugar Hill -- spells that out in lush detail, with every plaintive vocal twist and every rollicking guitar turn offering up proof that the Massachusetts native knows her way around American musics roots (and has her own roots planted firmly in some mighty fertile soil). That terrain, like the landscape she and her band, The Broken Singles have traversed over the past few years, is plenty varie -- taking in scenes as diverse as the roadhouse melancholy of `Belle of the Bar` to the unashamedly guileless romanticism of `The Day We Met.` Diamonds in the Dark -- produced, like its predecessor, by studio whiz Paul Q. Kolderie (whos helmed classics by Radiohead, the Pixies and Uncle Tupelo) -- harbors impossibly infectious hooks secreted in each and every song. The disc has the rare ability to ensnare those drawn to both unvarnished floors and lace curtains, sweetly-spun pedal steel lines and bare-knuckled drums. (Sugar Hill)

Ryan Adams
Easy Tiger
by Benjy Eisen | 05.16.2007

The most profound truths in life can't be expressed; the rest are put into song. Like everyone I know, Ryan Adams finished out his 20s confused as fuck. He tried being all things to all people; then he released an album (appropriately titled 29) that was pretty much nothing to no one. Well, fear not--our hero of Whiskeytown has returned.

Focused and fortified, Easy Tiger will likely be adored by many, but it will hit home the hardest with all American kids who woke up one day to find themselves in their early 30s. When you're a young adult, disenchantment breeds rage. By the time you reach your 30s, it leads to song titles like "Oh My God, Whatever, Etc." and "I Taught Myself How to Grow Old." This is a forlorn and melancholic--but ultimately cathartic--album.

"If you get scared," Adams sings on the opening number, "Goodbye Rose," "just hold my hand/Tomorrow is yours and who knows/Maybe we'll win the whole shebang." He sounds sincere, but not convinced, and the songs that follow are all tied together by a prevailing sense of resignation. These are tunes about things falling apart, or else just fading away, as we grow older--passion, romance, hopes, dreams.  It's an album about being damaged, albeit beautifully so. On "Tears of Gold" Adams confesses: "Where we are strong/By tomorrow we will grow weak and disappear."

Easy Tiger's bittersweet epiphany is delivered in the second-to-last track, "Rip Off."  Our troubadour notes that, despite lives filled with desperation, heartbreak and experiences that leave us a little broken, nobody struggles to put the pieces back together anymore; right or wrong, adults accept discontentment as a part of growing up. "So if I'm being honest with you/And it seems like I'm being cruel," he sings, "At least you didn't get a rip off." Easy there, fella. Easy Tiger is the real deal.

Richard Shindell
South of Delia
We are happy to be included in the limited distribution of this all new recording by Shindell. On this one he tackles some of his favorite songs by other writers from over the years. It’s a well thought out and paced set of songs that will leave you wanting more. Artists covered include Dylan, Woody Guthrie, The Band, Josh Ritter, Jeffrey Focault and more. It’s an eclectic set of a dozen songs that he manages to make his own. The backing band includes Richard Thompson, Larry Campbell, Eliza Gilkyson and many others. You won’t find this in stores for a couple more months so here’s your chance to be the first on your block.
Recorded at the Springe Theater, 2006. Track Listings: Born in 1947/Walk to the End of the World/Loser`s Lullaby/Tell the King the Killer`s Here/Jack`s St. Pete Blues/Broke Heart Blues/Hope Fades/The Twist Came from Tampa/Room 100/No More War.

Porter Wagoner

Graeme Thomson
Sunday May 20, 2007
The Observer

Porter Wagoner is proper country. A ludicrously garbed, extravagantly quiffed beanpole from the Ozarks who has served due time in the saloons, asylums, divorce courts and - lately - hospitals of America, at 79 he wouldn't know how to reinvent himself even if confronted with a Smith & Wesson. Wagoner cut 'Satisfied Mind' in 1954, inspiring covers by everyone from Bob Dylan to Jeff Buckley; joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1957; and recorded 'The Green Green Grass of Home' while Tom Jones was still interrogating his pussycat. He discovered Dolly Parton in 1967, squiring her to stardom via countless duets on his hugely successful TV show. When Dolly went solo, she wrote 'I Will Always Love You' about him, although at the time the feeling wasn't mutual.

Article continues
Lately, Wagoner's sad, sleepy dog's voice has been working for the Lord, but a prolonged gospel kick hasn't messed up his honky-tonk feng shui. Wagonmaster plugs directly into the organic weirdness that lies at the heart of all great country music, covering everything from sonorous recitations about oddball barbers to 'hot wired' women to the boiling depths of Satan's River with equal conviction. Magnificent, mawkish, occasionally plain mad, it emphasises Wagoner's thoroughbred pedigree throughout. A moving reverie on watching Hank Williams in the flesh re-enforces his links with the golden age of country, while Johnny Cash chimes in from the great beyond with 'Committed to Parkview', a blackly comic tale of psychological dissonance written for Wagoner in 1983, acting as a sequel to Porter's own off-the-wall rehab classic 'The Rubber Room'.

Both men know this dark terrain well, but comparisons only muddy the waters. Despite a hip record label, recent gigs at Joe's Pub in Manhattan, and appearances with Neko Case, Wagonmaster won't inspire the Lazarus-like resurrection Cash latterly enjoyed. Refusing to tilt at contemporary songs or styles, the music doesn't possess that kind of boundary-blasting reach, while Wagoner lacks the monolithic presence required to unite a variety of disparate audiences. And anyway, when did you ever see Cash in a jewel-encrusted lavender Nudie suit?

There's really no need to impose such unrealistic expectations upon Wagonmaster. An eccentric, heartfelt, often brilliant album from a country music giant is reason enough to celebrate.

Mark Olson
Salvation Blues
Mark Olson spent the past two years doing one thing -- traveling the world. During this time, the singer/songwriter and Jayhawks co-founder came to grips with some of the most painful moments of his life, including a divorce that resulted in the loss of the home he`d built in the California desert. Such life-altering events inspired him to dig somehow deeper, writing the kind of album that makes adjectives like introspective seem tired and utterly useless: the aptly titled `The Salvation Blues Recorded over a three week period in October 2006. Producer Ben Vaughn assembled a top-flight band, including guitarists Tony Gilkyson (formerly with X and Lone Justice, Randy Weeks and Mike Stinson) and Greg Leisz (noted for his work with k.d. lang, Lucinda Williams, Dave Alvin, and many others), keyboardist Zac Rae (a sideman for Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple), percussionist Danny Frankel (a former member of the Creekdippers and a well-traveled L.A. session man), and Vaughns own d
 rummer Kevin Jarvis. Bassist David J. Carpenter and vocalist Cindy Wasserman were recruited from the L.A. roots-rock band Dead Rock West. Also present to sing harmony on three songs was Gary Louris, Olsons old partner in the Jayhawks. Please note the packaging is beautiful, made to look like a book! (Hacktone)

Kelly Willis
Translated from love
Once Willis' big, intent voice and impeccable simplicity made her a textbook country shoulda-been. But with four kids and a decade of marriage to fellow shoulda-been Bruce Robison in the bank, her good taste tethers her to the old homestead on her first album since 2002, taking off only once: on an unlikely cover of Iggy Pop's "Success," brought to her by producer Chuck Prophet and arranged for a ghost version of the Sir Douglas Quintet.
(by Robert Christgau)

Jimmy Lafave
Cimarron Manifesto
Jimmy LaFave possesses a wanderer's soul, and when he crosses America today he's often disappointed in what he sees. Conspicuous consumption. Senseless warfare. Disappearing freedoms. Crippling poverty. Artificial love. Reckless disregard for the truth. Thankfully, LaFave is not one to sit idly by and watch society wither away. Cimarron Manifesto is his powerful plea for a renewed civil society, a place where people respect one another and protect universal rights. "This Land" forms the central argument in LaFave's complaint — a catalog of injustices peppered with one request: "I simply want my country back again." The blues rocker "Truth" and a folksy cover of Bob Dylan's "Not Dark Yet" help flesh out the societal grievance. But Cimarron Manifesto isn't just one long socio-political screed. In fact, my favorite song — just as on 2005's Blue Nightfall — is a love-letter from parent to child. No matter how much we love our children, inevitably they drive us crazy at times too. "Lucky Man" is a beautiful reminder of just how fortunate we are to have them here with us. And similarly, in this age of corporate consolidation and profiteering music conglomerates, we're extremely lucky to have independent labels like Minnesota's Red House Records. Home to LaFave and fellow free-thinking Austinite Eliza Gilkyson, among others, Red House remains true to its vision of providing a safe-haven for artists who make great music that also speaks to the common good.

Half Knots
Color Them Blue
St. Louis scene veterans Half Knots return in 2007 with another collection of grand, soulful, melancholic twang pop. Acoustically driven, but never without forward momentum. The Half Knots have weaved together 11 tracks that carry forth the glorious moments of the Jayhawks, while imbuing the tracks with a bit of St. Louis blues. The accolades for their 2005 debut were warranted. Color Them Blue delivers as a beautifully executed follow-up. Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (self-released)

Fourteen Feet
Running Hearts
This NY-based band draws its inspiration from the country-esque rock of Uncle Tupelo and The Bottle Rockets. This release captures the spontaneity of the performance, leaving in the honesty and soul of the songs. Steve Welner`s slighty- reedy vocals, similar to Brian Henneman`s vocal work with the BRox, works well with both the barnstorming electric tracks as well as the more sensitive country songs. This CD is jukebox-ready from start to finish as it creates a smoky bar vibe by going from heart-felt weepers to rockers and back again. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (self-released)

David Olney
One Tough Town
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Over his four-decade career, David Olney has built a reputation not as a kind-hearted troubadour but rather as a performing songwriter possessed of a sharp literary mind that cuts to the bone of the human condition. Whether the subject matter is heartbreak or armed robbery, Olney’s cinematic style and fearless approach to lyric writing have won him renown as kind of a musical outlaw. Listening to his latest CD, One Tough Town, due out on June 5 on Red Parlor, is like watching a Sergio Leone Western: It’s gritty, smart and dangerous, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen.

One Tough Town takes us on a back-roads tour of American music, and while totally entertaining, shows us a side that isn’t always pretty. The dark-edged title track, for instance, while totally entertaining, shows us a side that isn’t always pretty. It’s the kind of song that can only be written from first-hand experience and years on the road. But as Nietzsche’s old saw reminds: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And on One Tough Town, Olney is stronger than ever.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Over his four-decade career, David Olney has built a reputation not as a kind-hearted troubadour but rather as a performing songwriter possessed of a sharp literary mind that cuts to the bone of the human condition. Whether the subject matter is heartbreak or armed robbery, Olney’s cinematic style and fearless approach to lyric writing have won him renown as kind of a musical outlaw. Listening to his latest CD, One Tough Town, due out on June 5 on Red Parlor, is like watching a Sergio Leone Western: It’s gritty, smart and dangerous, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen.

One Tough Town takes us on a back-roads tour of American music, and while totally entertaining, shows us a side that isn’t always pretty. The dark-edged title track, for instance, while totally entertaining, shows us a side that isn’t always pretty. It’s the kind of song that can only be written from first-hand experience and years on the road. But as Nietzsche’s old saw reminds: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And on One Tough Town, Olney is stronger than ever.
David Olney - One Tough Town
" ...Over his four-decade career, David Olney has built a reputation not as a kind-hearted troubadour but rather as a performing songwriter possessed of a sharp literary mind that cuts to the bone of the human condition. Whether the subject matter is heartbreak or armed robbery, Olney`s cinematic style and fearless approach to lyric writing have won him renown as kind of a musical outlaw. Listening to his latest CD, One Tough Town... is like watching a Sergio Leone Western: It`s gritty, smart and dangerous, and you can`t take your eyes off the screen." -- (Red Palor)

Adrienne Young
Room To Grow
Adrienne Young has delved deep into the collective soul to find inspiration for her new cd, `Room To Grow`. True to her post-modern blending of country, folk, pop and bluegrass woven throughout her first two cds, this sustainable agriculture champion dons modern spectacles through which to view timeless questions, choosing traditional instruments to communicate her contemporary compositions, joining forces with uber rockers Mike Gordon and Will Kimbrough, among others. (Addie Belle)

Anchored In Love
A Tribute to
June Carter Cash

Anchored In Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash was conceived and produced by John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny and June, and features songs written by or associated with the beloved singer, and performed by an eclectic collection of family and friends that range from Elvis Costello to Billy Bob Thornton, Sheryl Crow to Willie Nelson. John Carter recorded Anchored In Love:A Tribute to June Carter Cash throughout 2006, primarily at the fabled Cash Cabin Studio on the Cash property in Hendersonville, TN.
Track Listing: If I Were a Carpenter - Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson/Jackson - Carlene Carter and Ronnie Dunn/Wildwood Flower - Loretta Lynn/Far Side Banks of Jordan - Patty Loveless and Kris Kristofferson/Keep On the Sunny Side -Brad Paisley/Wings of Angels - Rosanne Cash/Ring of Fire - Elvis Costello/Road to Kaintuck - Billy Bob Thornton and the Peasall Sisters/Big Yellow Peaches - Grey De Lisle/Kneeling Drunkard Plea -Billy Joe Shaver/Will the Circle Be Unbroken -Ralph Stanley/Song to John - Emmylou Harris. (Dualtone)
Michael Weston King
talks about "A New Kind Of Loneliness"

by Johanna J. Bodde

Michael Weston King
Concert Review
In The Woods (NL)

by Johanna J. Bodde
Michael Veitch

by Johanna J. Bodde
Jeff Talmadge

by Johanna J. Bodde
Crooked Roads
"Love, again"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Carol Laula
"To Let"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Rebecca Hall
"Sunday Afternoon"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Mark Merryman and the Canyon Rats
"Scenic Byways"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Cowboy Jack Clement
"Guess Things Happen That Way"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Cary Hudson
"Cool Breeze"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Angel Dean & Sue Garner
"Pot Liquor"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Alastair Moock
"Let it go"
"Fortune Street"

by Johanna J. Bodde
June Carter Cash
"Wildwood Flowers"

by Johanna J. Bodde

Janette & Joe Carter
"Last  of their kind"

by Johanna J. Bodde

Various Artists
"Unbroken Circle"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Richard Gilpin
"Beautiful Mistake"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Don Rigsby
"Hillbilly Heartache"
"A Midnight Call"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Audrey Auld Mezera
"Lost Men And Angry Girls"

by Johanna J. Bodde
by Johanna J. Bodde
by Johanna J. Bodde
by Johanna J. Bodde
The Detroit Cobras
Tied & True
Stretching out in the studio like never before, and including contributions from top line players like Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound) the Cobras have created a versatile and formidable wall of Spector sound. Be it eerie or orchestral, or pure rock and roll rough up, Tied and True puts the Cobras on a whole new level of many sources but a genus all its own. Soul lives below the belt, and whether youre looking to be grinding it slow or shaking it up good, the Cobras bring it tough and tender, savage and sweet. (Bloodshot)

Elizabeth Ames & the Countrypolitans
Anytime Ultrapolitan
Despite the band name, this owes far more to Rodney Crowell, k.d. lang and the Eagles than it does to Charlie Rich or Ronnie Milsap. A likeable debut so smooth it’ll ruffle no one’s feathers, Anytime offers up Elisabeth Ames as a sort of Norah Jones for the pickup truck set. The arrangements are tasteful, the playing professionally sturdy, and the songs pleasant if not memorable. Ames’ voice is strong but lacks the character of those of peers like Paula Frazer, Jenny Lewis or even Carrie Underwood. There’s beers and tears, but even the faux-Owen Bradley production can’t make the dirt stick. Country, at its most effective, needs some motivating ache, be it to wail or kick up its heels, and this is just too relaxed, too polished and too polite to tap into those deep wells.
By Dennis Cook

Elana James
Elena James
Elana James (nee Fremerman) has the kind of misfortune anyone would welcome. Her longtime trio, Hot Club of Cowtown, was touring with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan when the band broke up. Soon, though, came offers to play on Nelson's next album and to tour with Dylan. Now comes her solo debut, and while the events of the last two years leave traces in James's music - most obviously with the inclusion here of a Dylan original, "One More Night"- the HCC sound lives in James's violin and voice.

For most, that will be good news. James's throwback music is sprightly and enjoyable. Brilliant? Well, no. Her vocals are a mere complement for the instrumental work, and even her violin tends to blend in. The mood is the thing here, but that is fine and dandy. One almost expects Curly might come riding up in his surrey at any moment, except, of course, that this is swing and string, not Rodgers and Hammerstein. James gains some distance from the HCC sound on "All the World and I," which she wrote after reading about the Carter Family. A.P., Maybelle and Sara would be pleased, too. (Box 685335, Austin, TX 78768)

Joe Ely
Silver City
As wonderful as The Flatlanders are, this all-star trio sometimes obscures the greatness of its individual members, which makes this such a surprisingly welcome revelation. It's an all-acoustic work, with Joe Ely singing, playing guitar and adding a little harmonica and percussion in various places.

Joel Guzman also contributes accordion. These 10 songs remind us once again what a truly commanding singer Ely is. One is tempted to call him the Chuck D. of country music because he sings with so much authority. But it's doubtful that most country music fans are eclectic enough to recognize this unlikely similarity.

Best of all, Ely never wastes his authoritative vocal presence on fluff. The opening title track tells the sad tale of one man who ends up losing nearly everything after taking his chances in the big city, while "Wounded Knee" offers up historical narrative in song. Butch Hancock may be the most esteemed songwriter in The Flatlanders, but Ely is no slouch himself. He wrote everything (the songs were actually written pre-Flatlanders, but recently recorded), and except for the sing-song feel of "Windy Windy Windy," there isn't a dud in the bunch. With "Silver City," Joe Ely comes up golden.

John Prine & Mac Wiseman
Standard Songs For Average People
Reviewed by Steven Freedman

Pairing fine wine with a delectable entree is the province of the restaurateur. Bringing together John Prine and Mac Wiseman to record an album of duets was a stroke of genius initiated by country music legend "Cowboy" Jack Clement. Prine and Wiseman are in total sync with each other. Whether trading off vocals or harmonizing, they bounce off each other nicely.

The amazing aspect about this 14-track compilation of cover songs is that it spans a wide array of musical genres running the gamut from pure C&W to folk, easy listening, rockabilly and bluegrass.

Both principals are adept at making these songs their own, and at the same time, they preserve the integrity of the original hit versions.

A laid-back and mellow style lends itself well to their renditions of classics such as Elvis Presley's 1955 hit "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" and Lefty Frizzell's "Saginaw Michigan." They also sparkle on Ernest Tubbs' "Blue Eyed Elaine" and Tom T. Hall's "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine."

The only place they falter is with Bing Crosby's "Where the Blue of the Night." That said, here's hoping for a sequel.

Jon Rauhouse
Steel Guitar Heart Attack
The pedal steel/Hawaiian wizard, who has contributed his alternately swashbuckling and swoony stylings to recordings by -- among others -- Calexico, Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, Giant Sand, Sally Timms and the Waco Brothers, lets fly his third CD, Steel Guitar Heart Attack. Hitting all the hotspots between Harlingen and Honolulu, Jon and his band (featuring Calexico and Jon`s longtime guitarist/ co-conspirator Tommy Connell) swing, sigh, giggle and charm their way into even those with hearts of tar. There are performances by a few of the top notch singers of our day: Neko Case (`East of the Sun`), Kelly Hogan (`Big Iron`), Rachel Flotard of Visqueen (`Harbor Lights`) and Sally Timms (`Ill Be Seeing You`). Jon even steps to the mic for one (the theme to the Andy Griffith Show `The Fishing Hole` (Bloodshot)

Just One More
A Musical Tribute To
Larry Brown

Larry Brown’s business card listed his occupation as “Human Being”. Like many other professional human beings, Larry loved music. He felt music and it showed in his writing. As he moved through the world, Larry got to know a lot of musicians, and a lot of musicians got to know Larry, either personally or through his work.

Just One More, A Musical Tribute to Larry Brown is a compilation of tunes by artists who were his friends, fans and peers. With 18 tracks, 12 of which are previously unreleased, the album has contributions from a wide range of critically acclaimed artists, among them Alejandro Escovedo (whom Larry performed with periodically), T-Model Ford, Vic Chesnutt, Jim Dickinson (with Duff Dorrough), Robert Earl Keen, Cary Hudson (Blue Mountain), Brent Best (Slobberbone, The Drams) and the North Mississippi Allstars, to name a few. Some of these songs were written for the project, songs for Larry and about his characters, such as Caroline Herring’s “Song For Fay”, exploring the title character of Fay, a novel published in 2000. The album closes with a song performed by Larry himself, accompanied by Clyde Edgerton, a Southern novelist of great renown.

Blackwing Yalobusha by Roger Holland
Blackwing Yalobusha is the first really good record of 2007. It’s been a long time coming. Despite five albums of melancholic otherworldly charm and vivid Southern Gothic grotesqueries, Melissa Swingle’s previous band, Trailer Bride, never fully realised the vision that inspired it. And while the Moaners’ 2005 debut, Dark Snack, certainly ripped up plenty of shit and generally kicked serious posterior all over town, it was still more a promise of things to come than a fully rounded work. Blackwing Yalobusha, however, hits the spot.

Melissa Swingle opens “Yankee On My Shoulder” with a sustained power chord that’s immediately underpinned by King’s ever-precise drumming. As her first chord fades into decay, Swingle peels off a series of looping bottleneck blues guitar lines, and then, finally, she begins to sing.

    “I’ve a Yankee on my shoulder, and an angel on my sleeve.
    The Yankee says have another. The angel says you’d better leave.”
    - “Yankee On My Shoulder”

God, I’ve missed this voice. All the Ds, it’s a dry, detached, deadpan drawl that comes in roughly equal measures of beauty and ... ahem ... could-care-less-ness. I often have absolutely no idea what Swingle is singing about, but it scarcely matters because her voice transcends her material to the extent that the only thing that matters is that she’s singing at all. Melissa Swingle has one of those voices you’re either going to love or hate. And here in Holland, Texas, we love her deeply. We love her guitar playing too. During a simple three-and-a-half minute story of Yankees, angels, and the apparently corrupt cops of Yalobusha County, Swingle moves from blues-sidewinding to the measured monotony of slow metal, and then on to a final series of extended solos that are all about the punk rock math guitar pieces bands like the Buzzcocks used to do so well. It’s another music in a different kitchen, right enough, effectively releasing the Moaners to explore and experiment as they see fit.

Key Principles by Aarik Danielsen
Having earned critical accolades and multiple awards in its native Canada, Nathan (a four-piece band, not a male solo performer) is heralded as being among the cream of that country’s crop of contemporary folk artists. With its roots in the soil of traditional folk, and its branches extended toward ‘60s guitar jangle, shimmering pop/rock and even jazz idioms, Key Principles, the group’s third offering, is a perpetually spirited, often tender album with the potential to push the band’s music beyond regional borders and in the direction of widespread success.

With the ability to gravitate toward a range of sounds, Nathan relies on tightly coiled musical threads to keep its work consistent. The most central and compelling feature of the group’s sound comes in the energy derived from the vocal interplay between principal songwriter Keri Latimer and multi-instrumentalist Shelley Marshall. Stylistically, both singers are reminiscent of the tone and quality realized by Sixpence None the Richer’s Leigh Nash or the Dupree sisters of Eisley. Achieving a near familial connection, their often overlapping vocals result in harmonies which are alternately celestial and sprightly. Devin Latimer and Damon Mitchell comprise the group’s rhythm section and give the dual vocalists the necessary room to explore such a variety of musical textures and techniques.

The members of Nathan certainly excel within the constructs of straightforward folk/pop blends whether relaxed ("Ordinary Day”, “Malorie”, or a bit more insistent,"Let Them Look"). However, slight deviations from these structures tend to lead to wonderful possibilities, including gems like “Daffodils”, a track which begins a simple pop song and ends a spinning, twirling crescendo of vocals, horns and handclaps. Songs like “You Win” and “The Boulevard Back Then” present a slightly modern take on way back sounds, using elements found in jazz and country standards that certainly influenced the group. Possibly the most apt description of the band’s music and the worldview it expresses comes in the form of a lyric included on the track “Key Principles of Success”: Latimer writes, “Lift me out of this dustbowl and hand me a champagne.” At times, Nathan’s songs sound earthy and desperate, at others, fanciful and brimming with a buoyant optimism.

The songs on Key Principles are beautiful and challenging, not simply because of the band’s aptitude for blending together traditional and contemporary musical languages. The themes discussed and images conveyed manage to be both universal and specific in application; the sentiments expressed and the narrators expressing them could reside halfway around the world, or in the house next door. On a grand scale, people identify with coming-of-age accounts of youthful indiscretion and the gradual passing of innocence. When expressed through a Latimer lyric: “Campfire fueled by some old fence and skies like planetariums / And I’m too shy to kiss your neck, so I kick dirt at Curtis” (from “John Paul’s Deliveries"), wistful feelings of nostalgia gain shape and form, take on flesh and blood. Listeners can understand why small town kids would beg each other to “take me away where the lights start fading and darkness erases potential I’ve wasted,” as the narrator of “Trans Am” does. When such a desire is coupled with lyrics that discuss the motivation for flight, such as being late for work or an important payment, the yearning becomes increasingly more relatable.

In eras past where oral tradition was the primary means of storytelling, tales would often evolve as they were passed down from generation to generation, elements and details added and altered to preserve the sanctity of the message and ensure their appeal to a fresh audience. Perhaps a similar turn of events is occurring in the folk/Americana tradition (the most closely related musical cousin to the written/oral narrative) with new blood like Nathan and its label mates, Old Crow Medicine Show (though OCMS is more steeped in traditional songs than Nathan). These acts are attempting to take the doctrines of songwriters and artists who came before them and alter the method of communication ever so slightly, translating them for a generation seeking authenticity from their art. Key Principles suggests the members of Nathan have both the talent and the vision to assume a leadership role in this effort.

American Lo Fi
The song cycle is so strong on this collection that Toronto Star journalist John Sakamoto made two tracks his top pick in his Anti-Hit-List column, ""#1. `Surrender` & `Miss Idaho`- Unable to choose between these two songs from the Vancouver band`s follow-up to the stunning Dust Bowl Revival, We finally gave up and picked both of them. The former is an unlikely loping country re-make of Cheap Tricks`s signature tune; the latter is a melancholy, Neil Young-ish original that is reminiscent of the sound that Jay Farrar has refined both on his own and with Son Volt, Wilco, and Uncle Tupelo. `Miss Idaho` certainly holds its own with anything those two gentlemen have done in years." Shain Shapiro wrote in View Magazine, ". . . Ox has returned with American Lo-Fi, a set that is even better than Dust Bowl Revival. A drunken, impressively personal expose in song -- one that shakes the demons in all of us. Brooding, bacchanalian, repressively sweet, good natured and smart, Ox has once again reached the acme in `Canadiana`." All, told, a fantastic collection of roots pop. (weewerk)

Rachel Harrington

Bootlegger`s Daughter
The challenge is finding only one outstanding area to highlight. Rachel Harrington`s bittersweet and mournful voice, her melancholy story telling, the exemplary musicianship courtesy of some of the finest players, and terrific song production are all competing for top billing in the "oh, I like that part the best!" contest. This full-length debut is a terrific, intimate folk/bluegrass record. --- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (Skinny Dennis)

Richie Furay
Heartbeat of Love By Jim Caligiuri
Richie Furay is the pastor of Calvary Church in Boulder, Colo. He's also a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, having been inducted as an integral part of Sixties supergroup Buffalo Springfield, and is equally well-known as one of the driving forces behind seminal country rockers Poco. In 1974, Furay was born again, began making Christian music, and has released several such albums since. That's not to say he's turned away from his rock past.

In fact, 2006 is shaping up as a busy year for Furay. His autobiography, Pickin' Up the Pieces, comes out in April and he'll follow it with a new CD, Heartbeat of Love.

"Once music gets in your blood, it's hard to get it out," he explains. "Though I'm a pastor now and most of the music I've been making for the past 10 or 15 years has been devotional, along the way I've been writing a lot of mainstream songs. I decided to record them and I've gotten a lot of my old friends to play with me."

It's quite a lineup, including Neil Young and Stephen Stills, Poco's Rusty Young and Paul Cotton, the Eagles' Timothy B. Schmidt, as well as Kenny Loggins and the Turtles' Mark Volman.

"Over the past four or five years, I'll do 10, 15 shows in the summer and a guest spot here or there, sometimes in churches, sometimes in clubs. I'm really motivated to go out and play again. It's kind of nostalgic, but we play some of the new songs too."

Asked about rumors of a reunion with Young, who's also at SXSW this week, he chuckles, "You know the rumors like I know the rumors. I've got a medley of Buffalo Springfield songs that we play and if he wants to sit in, it'd be a thrill."
Richmond Fontaine
Thirteen Cities
Uncut magazine called Willie Vlautin, "..the laureate of the lost, the lonely, and the rootless." Thirteen Cities is filled with characters on the fringes desperate to survive. The overall sound, more upbeat than Fitzgerald, their relentlessly dark masterpiece, captures an ambient, shimmery desert rock noir feel. Richmond Fontaine are riding an upward creative arc that shows no signs of abating. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles of Music (Union)

The Sandinista Project
A Tribute to The C lash
Sandinista!, recorded by The Clash in 1980, was one of the most ambitious records in the history of rock `n` roll. According to one of its biggest fans, author and journalist Jimmy Guterman, "It wasn`t necessarily their best record, their best-selling record, or even their most enjoyable record, but it`s an exciting, sprawling mess that I return to constantly." Guterman liked it so much, in fact, that he took it upon himself to amass a tribute as ambitious as the album itself 36 tracks by nearly as many different artists. 00:02:59 - a label named after a lyric from the Sandinista! song "Hitsville U.K." - has released The Sandinista! Project as a two-CD set, with profits split between two charities - Amnesty International (heartily supported by The Clash) and the Joe Strummer Memorial Forest, which is a division of Future Forests, an organization fighting global warming.

Track Listing Disc 1:
The Magnificent Seven, Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers/Hitsville U.K., Katrina Leskanich/Junco Partner, Jon Langford and Sally Timms with Ship & Pilot/Ivan Meets G.I. Joe, Jason Ringenberg and Kristi Rose/The Leader, Amy Rigby/Something About England, The Coal Porters/Rebel Waltz, Ruby on the Vine/Look Here, Jim Duffy/The Crooked Beat, Wreckless Eric/Somebody Got Murdered, Matthew Ryan/One More Time/One More Dub, Haale/One More Time (One More Time), Ted Harris/Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice), London Calling of Chicago/Up in Heaven (Not Only Here), The Smithereens/Corner Soul, Ethan Lipton/Let`s Go Crazy, Storybox/If Music Could Talk, Steve Wynn/The Sound of the Sinners, Bill Lloyd.

Track Listing Disc 2: Police on My Back, Willie Nile/Midnight Log, Soul Food with Mick Gallagher/The Equaliser, Sunset Heroes/The Call Up, The Lothars/Washington Bullets, Phil Rockrohr and the Lifters/Broadway, Stew/Lose This Skin, Jim Allen/Charlie Don`t Surf, The Crunchies/Mensforth Hill, Bee Maidens/Junkie Slip, Mark Cutler/Kingston Advice, Camper Van Beethoven/The Street Parade, Dollar Store/Version City, Tim Krekel/Living in Fame, Lou Carlozo/Silicone on Sapphire, The Blizzard of 78 featuring Mikey Dread/Version Pardner, Sally Timms and Jon Langford with Ship & Pilot/Career Opportunities, Sex Clark Five/Shepherds Delight, The Hyphens. (00:02:59)

The Seldom Scene
Different Roads  by Dave Bagdade
From its inception in the early 1970s, the Seldom Scene has been one of the most consistently interesting and quietly progressive bands in modern bluegrass. This 14-track compilation highlights the band's classic original lineup of mandolinist John Duffey, guitarist John Starling, Dobro star Mike Auldridge, banjoist Ben Eldridge (the lone original member in today's roster) and bassist Tom Gray.

The puzzling thing about this compilation is why it exists. The Seldom Scene released 8 albums on Rebel between 1972 and 1978, and "Different Roads" collects tracks from 3 of them: "Act Two" (1973), "Old Train" (1974) and "The New Seldom Scene Album" (1976), respectively, the second, fourth and sixth of the Rebel releases. Therefore, it's not a "best-of," nor is it a collection of highlight tracks from consecutive releases or songs with any particular unifying theme.

That being said, "Different Roads" offers an always-welcome opportunity to remind listeners just how groundbreaking the original Scene really was. From well-known classics like "Old Train" and "Wait A Minute" to the more obscure "I've Lost You" and "Pictures From Life's Other Side," this disc serves as a fine (if mystifying) introduction for newbies as well as a reminder of the original Scene's greatness.
Two Cow Garage
Two Cow III
"Two Cow Garage`s new full length recording, III, presents the band`s continued progression. While retaining the high octane rock of their previous releases, it`s not difficult to appreciate the band`s maturation both lyrically and musically. While a departure to some degree, expect existing fans to love it, and new fans to be drawn in. For fans of Lucero, Drive By Truckers and Drag The River! Guest appearance and co-produced by Brent Best (Slobberbone, The Drams)" -- (Suburban Home)

Sky Blue Sky
Wilco would be a pretty fine prospect even if Jeff Tweedy were happy to be just the exemplary country balladeer he has been since his days in Uncle Tupelo. 'I survived, that's good enough for now,' he keens, all too plausibly, on the gentle title track, while 'What Light' comes on like an old Woody Guthrie battle hymn for those bruised souls who are 'strung out like kites'. It's lovely, lilting stuff, all right, but what makes Wilco genuinely great is the fact that Tweedy isn't content to leave it at that.

Three years on from A Ghost is Born, at first Sky Blue Sky sounds rather reluctant to step into the spotlight. The closer you listen to the jazzy guitars, Beatles touches and easy, shuffling rhythms, however, the more it transpires that Tweedy is simply allowing the songs sufficient room to speak up for themselves. With successive listens, Sky Blue Sky - the perfect title for this fresh, wide open record - is transformed from a shy, pleasant kid into a camera-shy prodigy.

Rarely is a song allowed to go directly where expected. What might begin as a soft country lament as often as not ends in a Beatles-esque blitz of stomping pianos. Offbeat twists and dizzying instrumental passages abound, and the varying influences on display make agreeably odd bedfellows: the prolonged, twin guitar attack at the end of 'Impossible Germany' sounds like a duel between Thin Lizzy and Television, while the loose, Sticky Fingers-era country-soul of 'Hate it Here' grins wolfishly at the heartfelt, dead man's pop of 'Please Be Patient With Me'.

Somehow, it all works. Wilco have got all the sharpest angles covered, and these 12 essays in excellence are up there with their very best.

Light Divides
Novelist and music writer Jonathan Lethem says: "The Light Divides ups the ante on Winterpills` shimmering, resonant, heartbroken pop glory. These songs, as musically sophisticated and delicate as any of songwriters Philip Price`s career, and given otherworldly treatment by band members Flora Reed, Dave Hower, Dennis Crommett, Jose Ayerve and Brain Akey, nevertheless feel essential, even familiar, like old friends. The hooks and harmonies have been burnished so they glow from within - it`s as if Winterpills has brought to light songs you were already humming to yourself, but didn`t know it." (Signature Sounds)
Scott McClatchy
talks about "Burn This"
(LIB Recordings)

by Johanna J. Bodde
Aldous Orwell Project

by Johanna J. Bodde
Marybeth D'Amico
"Waiting To Fly"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Edwin Jongedijk (Taneytown)
talks about "Taneytown"

by Johanna J. Bodde
Michael De Jong
  "23, Rue Boyer"
(CoraZong Records)

by Johanna J. Bodde
Iris DeMent
(Flariella Records)

by Johanna J. Bodde

*Anddon't forget*
JerryGarcia, 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