Archive 2006 - 2  

News Archive 2005
News Archive 2006-1


Don Michael Sampson
Shadow Horses

From the swampy feel of "Restless Train" to the easyroll of "Dreaming Wine," Shadow Horses is another strong album from Don Michael Sampson. Featuring great musicianship, powerful lyrics, and two solo tracks - one of which is a tribute to Johnny Cash and the other "Broken Empty Stars" deals with the meth problem, a metaphor for the darkness that continues to cover America. (Red Horse Productions)

Don Michael Sampson - Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Percussion
Ben Keith - Pedal Steel Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Warren Haynes - Electric and Acoustic Guitar
Michael Rhodes - Bass Guitar
Barry 'Byrd' Burton - Electric Guitar and Dobro
Larry Knechtal - Piano
Chad Cromwell - Drums
Clyde Brooks - Drums
Vickie Hampton - Vocals
Kim Fleming - Vocals

Allison Moorer
Getting Somewhere
Getting Somewhere offers exactly the kind of varied roots-rock/pop record you might expect of its producer, Steve Earle. Though perhaps not what you would expect from Allison Moorer, whose previous 5 releases expose musings of a sweet country gal in despair. The fragile treatments of impending heartbreak give way to a heartier sound on this, her first disc to feature a full set of her own material. Looking inward, and outward, for clues on how to get "somewhere," Moorer has put her best foot forward in order to reclaim inner strength. And she wastes no time doing it with this tight 33 minute rocker that - while not without its country heart having been kicked around a bit - definitely takes a bold step towards recovery. An empowerment for her as strong as it sounds. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Sugar Hill)

The Blind Robins
Panorama Valley

"You've gotta love these guys... they are lovers of the nitty gritty real stuff country: the Johnny Cash, the Merle Haggard, with a healthy dose of Ramones... and they're very, very funny, in the way The Bottle Rockets have always been."
- Jim DeRogatis, Sound Opinions, WXRT-FM Chicago

Rolling Blackout Records is proud to present Panorama Valley, the 2nd album from The Blind Robins. Panorama Valley follows the band's highly acclaimed debut The Origin Of The Wasteland with a fresh serving of stinging roots rock, inspired musicianship, and sardonic and compassionate songwriting. Featuring musical turns from special guests Jessica Billey (The Mekons, Smog) and the legendary Bud Melvin, Panorama Valley builds on the solid foundation created on The Origin Of The Wasteland and takes them in exciting new directions.

Cary Hudson
Bittersweet Blues

This record captures Cary Hudson and his music in an acoustic setting proving to be his most introspective to date. The tracks emphasize the unique yet powerful songwriting that has made Hudson`s music so vital and timely. (Black Dog)

Chris Knight
Enough Rope
Chris Knight`s fourth album, Enough Rope, solidifies his place along premier heartland songwriters like Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. In fact, Knight, a Kentucky-native, might have most in common with Mellencamp`s exploration of life in the unglamorous small towns that inhabit the middle of the US. Knight`s finest moments of this album - "Jack Blue", "Dirt", and "William`s Son") - showcase a highly skilled writer who paints an aural picture so explicit you can smell the dirt being turned by heavy machinery. Like his peers, Knight writes songs that are both mini-dramas and hook-filled. This is a keeper. -- Jeff Weiss, Miles Of Music (Drifter`s Church)

Chip Taylor
Unglorious Hallelujah

Unglorious Hallelujah/Red Red Rose is Chip Taylor`s first solo album in 5 years. And even better, it`s two albums in one! The first CD, Unglorious Hallelujah, leans more towards his take on the big issues. The second CD, Red Red Rose And Others Songs of Love, Pain & Destruction, features more of Taylor`s straight from the heart and gut songwriting. (Back Porch)

Golden Smog
Another Fine Day
There no mistaking the magic when Dan Murphy, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Kraig Johnson and Jeff Tweedy come together as Golden Smog. It`s every bit the mash up of Soul Asylum, Wilco and The Jayhawks as you would expect...and much more! Mustering every bit of classic pop as they`ve been bred to emulate, and scanning the spectrum from Gram Parsons to The Eagles, Led Zeppelin to The Buzzcocks - the boys have now taken to heart more contemporary acts like The Flaming Lips and Gorillaz. The initial recording was done at producer/engineer Paco Loco`s studio in Puerto Santa Maria in the south of Spain. Joining the core group of multi-instrumentalists is the fantastic Linda Pitmon, drummer for Steve Wynn`s Miracle 3 and Zuzu`s Petals. Great melodies and fantastic harmonies not withstanding, Another Fine Day is more than just another fine album. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Lost Highway)

Johnny Cash
American V: A Hundred Highways
Free Cash swag while supplies last. In the months leading up to his passing on September 12, 2003, Johnny Cash had been recording new material with producer Rick Rubin. American V: A Hundred Highways is the all-new Johnny Cash album featuring tracks taken from those sessions, including "Like The 309", the last song Cash wrote and recorded. As eclectic as any of the others in this series, American V contains tracks written by folks like Hank Williams, Rod McKuen and Bruce Springsteen, among others. Track Listing: Help Me/God`s Gonna Cut You Down/Like The 309/If You Could Read My Mind/Further On Up The Road/The Evening Train/I Came To Believe/Love`s Been Good To Me/A Legend In My Time/Rose Of My Heart/Four Strong Winds/I`m Free From The Chain Gang Now (Lost Highway)

For The Best Of Us
Sorry, this is not John Doe`s new album. Originally an EP called For The Rest Of Us (1998, Kill Rock Stars), Yep Roc`s new version is a full-length, now entitled For The Best Of Us. The new, expanded version includes five previously unreleased songs recorded during the same sessions that gave us the original EP. Track Listing: A Step Outside/Let`s Get Lost/The Unhappy Song/Bad, Bad Feelings/This Loving Thing/Criminal/Broken Smile/Come Home/Zero/Vigilante Man (Yep Roc)

Julie Holland
Springtime can kill you
Jolie Holland’s second studio album, Springtime Can Kill You” is a 12 track song-cycle—a crossroads where haunting meets joyful—a voice from the heavens singing stories of the underworld. Holland’s songs rise and fall like heavy eyelids and convey the peace of that place between asleep and awake, creating a special place for you to be. There sounds from past and present-tense waltz together to a never-ending melody that flickers between folk, jazz, blues and pop. Holland’s lyrics conjure characters and situations one might find in the surrealistic celluloid of Jim Jarmusch. As with all good dreams, there is an anything-goes spirit leading the way.

... Springtime is a remarkable statement for an entirely self-trained singer-songwriter whose first dalliance with music was with a toy piano (a harbinger of her love for classic instrumentation) and whose musical identity manifested while playing itinerant songwriter throughout the South. It bears both the rustic grain of her work with the Be Good Tanyas (which she co-founded and departed after their debut album, Blue Horse - a subject she confronts on "Mexican Blu") and the self-reliance of Catalpa, her much-adored debut. As well, it expands on the not-so-hidden charms of Escondida, which earned raves from the press and fans like Tom Waits....
Texican trio Los Lonely Boys are a kick-ass band that can set a simple melody on fire. On this energetic sophomore set, the Garza brothers churn out one catchy beach anthem after another, but instead of polishing their hooks, they stick to an organic live sound that showcases their outstanding musicianship. From the sun-drenched leadoff "Diamonds"—a rough-edged reprise of their breakthrough single "Heaven"—and the grinding, bilingual "Oye Mamacita" to the soulful ballad "I Never Met a Woman," the trio manages to turn standard feel-good tunes into electrifying jams. Tightly packed with flawless harmonies, "Sacred" is driven by guitar hero Henry Garza's fiery fretwork that channels Hendrix and Santana into rootsy rhythms and soaring solos. As a country-rock footnote, "Outlaws" reunites the brothers with their father, Ringo Garza Sr., who trades vocals with Willie Nelson. —Sven Philipp

Mike Dumovich

"Mike's songs are some of the most beautiful I've heard. Like big snowflakes, they fall slowly in front of you, making you wonder where such lovely things could come from, and how they could melt into the pavement leaving you standing naked and alone, staring in wonder at the cold, quiet world."
- Laura Veirs, Musician

vocals: Laura Vers, Anne Marie Ruljancich and Olivia Mendez

Indian Summer

“Who could have predicted this? Earlier this year, Percival was nothing more than an obscure project . . . known to only a few. This changed rapidly when the cult-producer and recognized Guru, JP Bowersock - Ryan Adams, The Strokes - took this trio in hand and flew them over from Lawrence, Kansas to New York City this February. The result of this collaboration is 'Indian Summer' (Territory Records), an EP to establish Percival - and, as far as I'm concerned, that's a sure thing.
That Bowersock gave his approval is quite a coup, but aside from that it has to be said that we can hail Percival as a very talented Country-Rock band of the métier. . . . Percival delivers outstanding songs. [Next year] we also expect the awaited debut CD, (who knows on Lost Highway?). I know I am looking forward to it.”
**** 4 stars (out of 5) (Netherlands) (June 12, 2006)

Ramblin Jack Elliott
I Stand Alone

"There is no one, and I mean no one who has covered as many miles, sung as many songs, and made as many friends as Ramblin' Jack Elliott" -- Johnny Cash
An intimate gem of a recording - like a poem - a classic Ramblin’ Jack run-on sentence I Stand Alone could not be more appropriately titled. The freewheeling, well-traveled singer is one of the final archetypal representatives of America's underground folk tradition, a self-made wayfarer whose fifty-plus years of experience resonates through every tune captured here. The consummate song collector, Elliott has assembled a full deck of titles characterized by a wild mixture of graphic imagery, old time sentiment and Americana tradition. An intimate experience recorded by one of America's original folk icons.
Nearly seven years have passed since Jack last released a new album. The world is a different place, but Jack still views the world from his vantage of grizzled folk legend. Covering familiar themes of old times, hard drinking, and faithful companions, this terrific album bears the "authenticity" missing in many contemporary folk albums. With a strong and mostly in-key voice Jack laments the loss of his good ol` dog Blue, his inability to stop drinking even though it will kill him, and friends and favorite places. This collection never veers towards the coffee house, instead it stays decidedly on the dusty back roads of an ancient art form. -- Jeff Weiss, MOM (Anti-)

Cold Morning light
Saltflat originate from the west midlands in the uk with a history of a t-shirt, been there, done that. Spat out many years ago Neal Cook (The Wildflowers) along with trusted friends Bill Morris (The Wildflowers) and Paul Sharp (Head of David) formed a band that would grow with them. Now joined by guitarist Paul Connop here comes another twist to the story, the band re-invents itself time after time. Inpired always by a love of americana our sound is now expanding into something akin to "The Replacements" meets "Wilco" and have just completed work on our new album 'Cold morning light'. For more of an insight into the band you can find us at:

Sam Bush
Laps In Seven

Sam Bush started many years ago in traditional bluegrass before turning that world on its ear and, in the process, became the godfather of what would eventually become known as Jamband music. With Laps In Seven, Bush is still leading the charge.

Laps In Seven captures the energy of Bush’s live performance with a batch of songs new to his stellar live show—pairing freshness with chops to make this a must-hear for all fans of progressive acoustic music. “I wanted to try something different,” Bush says of how he approached the new record, inadvertently defining his lifelong approach to music. “I wanted to shake things up a bit while still displaying the live sound of the road band.”

Bush has always had an excellent ear for song … Laps In Seven, includes songs by Darrel Scott, Julie Miller, Leon Russell, Robbie Fulks, and John Hartford and a cover of It’s a Beautiful Day’s classic “White Bird”!

Stellar guests include Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Jean-Luc Ponty, Tim O’Brien, and Shaun Murphy (Little Feat).

1.The River’s Gonna Run
2. Bringin’ In The Georgia Mail
3. The Dolphin Dance
4. On The Road
5. Riding That Bluegrass Train
6. I Wanna Do Right
7. Where There’s A Road
8. New Country
9. Ballad For A Soldier
10. River Take Me
11. White Bird
12. Laps In Seven

The Starlings
The nucleus of this folksy, bluegrass infused Americana combo is the duo of Joy Mills (guitar, mandolin) and Tom Parker (guitar, harmonica). The engaging Mills sounds a bit like Kelly Willis on a folk binge, while Parker`s plaintive, mellow voice warms the many harmonies with a most pleasing effect. The supporting players tastefully add Dobro, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, etc., keeping a lively feel throughout. Songbook offers 12 earnest and organic original tunes - most of which penned by Mills - and a straight version of the classic "Long Black Veil", on which the two duet. Capturing the ageless quality of The Carter Family, as in the two Parker penned duets, "Working Man Blues" and "Acorn", The Starlings clearly have a deep appreciation for the classics but are by no means a retro act. Simply a terrific one. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (self-released)
Pete Seeger America's Most Successful Communist

Bill Chambers
Frozen Ground
THE patriarch of the Chambers clan is Australia's premier alt-country guitarist. As fans of the Dead Ringer Band and daughter Kasey well know, he is a master of delicate picking on dobro and lap steel and a demon on slide guitar. On this solo second album, Chambers also stamps himself as a singer-songwriter of note. Falling Like The Snow presents life as a cocaine rush that ends when ``they lower you down into the frozen ground''.

In Chasing Rainbows the singer is haunted by a bad affair that hurts him ``like an open wound that never heals''.

Much of this album leans towards Texas-style honky tonk but Chambers is also in love with New Orleans and the funky blues of Tony Joe White. This Ain't Louisiana is about a girl in a Queensland bar but his thoughts soon turn to Bourbon Street and Jackson Square.

There is some tasty support work. Pedal steel maestro Michel Rose sings beautifully on Randy Newman's Rider In The Rain, while Kevin Bennett swaps lines with Chambers in a stirring version of Johnny Cash's Big River. Shane Nicholson, Kasey's husband, shines on backing vocals. His sweet, high voice helps balance his father-in-law's gruffness and lack of range. This is a rough diamond of an album, honest and uncontrived.

Brigitte DeMeyer
Something After All

No Depression, #63
May/June 2006
Brigitte DeMeyer surrounds herself with some big names, including Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, Daniel Lanois, but the most significant contributor is drummer/producer Brady Blade. His thoughtful arrangements, built upon organic and atmospheric elements, provide the perfect setting for DeMeyer's soulful vocals. The results sound something like Sheryl Crow backed by Emmylou Harris's Spyboy band, no surprise as Blade served as Spyboy's drummer. While DeMeyer is Bay Area-based, her music is rooted in the American south. You can hear it in the gospel-infused "Honey Darlin'", the banjo-paced country-rocker Mama's on a Mission", and the stirring album closer "Ruby". DeMeyer also sommands attention on two slow, contemplative numbers, "Good As Gone" and the title track. Impressive from start to finish, this disc should be DeMeyer's breakout effort.

The Cowlicks
Psychedelic Service Station
 Is it possible to run a twangy Dobro sound backwards and blow folk`s minds? The Cowlicks say "yes!" and prove it on the title track of their second album, Psychedelic Service Station. While this track sounds a bit like They Might Be Hillbilly Giants, The Cowlicks aren`t going for the hardcore mindbening action you might expect with a title like this. But there are just enough off-center moments and clever pop diversions as to tweak your sensibilities. Throw in the occasional twangy retro country number or jangle-pop ditty and this Bay Area countrified skiffle group have whipped up a good time. And quite nice is the their roots-pop take on The Beatles` "Sexy Sadie" and the rollicking twang-spun cover of Alanis Morissette`s "Hand In My Pocket" that bring the album to its heady conclusion. This supergroup`s members include bassist/vocalist Mike Anderson (Big Blue Hearts), drummer Peter Tucker (The Waybacks), pedal-steel and Dobro player Dave Zirbel Mother Truckers), guitar/mandolin/banjo player Michael Hanna (elementary school music teacher!!), and songwriter/lead singer/guitarist Todd Novak (The Schramms) -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Tres Payasos)

David Lowery and Cracker have nothing left to prove on their first new record in over three years; and that`s to the benefit of the band. With no attempt to keep up with the likes of contemporary modern rock, they are content to offer up some good ol` Cracker soul, replete with Lowery`s oblique wit and slants toward the darker side of rock. And maybe even some pre-Cracker quirk, with the addition of Camper Van Beethoven bassist Victor Krummenacher to the line up. Factor in the added talents of guests such as David Immergluck (CVB, John Hiatt), Caitlin Cary and Sparklehorse`s Mark Linkous and Alan Weatherhead, among others, Greenland proves a pleasantly familiar bit of territory with enough destination spots of mystery to keep it interesting. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Cooking Vinyl)

The Derailers
Soldiers Of Love
Soldiers Of Love is the sixth album from the Derailers, a band whose sound celebrates equally the legacies of Buck Owens, George Jones, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Charlie Rich and The Beatles! The 14 track disc Soldiers Of Love includes the Texas anthem-in-the-making "Cold Beer, Hot Women And Cool Country Music", a straight-up honky-tonker that would have been right at home on the Derailers' 1996 debut, Jackpot. This track was the first song co-written by Buzz Cason (legendary songwriter-publisher and member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame) and Derailers' front man and lead guitarist Brian Hofeldt. The two co-wrote several songs together for this rockin' record which was produced by Cason. (Palo Duro)
Take only one glance at the cover of O.C.M.S., the debut album from Old Crow Medicine Show, and you'd be forgiven for thinking the band was comprised of bit players from Johnny Knoxville's Jackass troupe -- skinny guys with messy hair sporting ratty T-shirts, sunglasses, and Converse sneakers. Take a closer look and you'll discover these same hip guys toting their instruments: upright bass, fiddle, banjo. Surely, then, these guys play tongue-in-cheek bluegrass covers of rock 'n' roll songs, à la Hayseed Dixie. Nope. Old Crow Medicine Show may look irreverent, but they have old souls.

These guys -- fiddler Ketch Secor, guitjoist Kevin Hayes, upright bassist Morgan Jahnig, guitarist Willie Watson, and banjoist Critter Fuqua -- have definitely got the back porch vibe down cold. Their knowledge was earned the hard way -- through incessant van touring and a stint in North Carolina, where they soaked up the culture and wound up playing the roots music mecca MerleFest when Doc Watson's daughter happened to stumble across them playing in front of a pharmacy. It sounds more like a story fit for the Soggy Bottom Boys than a quintet of 21st century upstarts, but when you're old school, you earn your stripes the old school way.

Pilgrim: A Celebration Of Kris Kristofferson - Various
The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson is American Roots Publishing`s second release in the New Great American Songbook Series and is in honor of Kristofferson`s 70th birthday. Proceeds from The Pilgrim will be used to sponsor songwriting workshops. As a non-profit organization their mission is to preserve American culture through music, literature and art. Track Listing: The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 - Emmylou Harris & Friends (Sam Bush, Jon Randall, Byron House, Randy Scruggs)/Maybe You Heard - Todd Snider/The Circle - Marta Gmez/Lovin` Him Was Easier (Than Anything I`ll Ever Do Again) - Rosanne Cash/Come Sundown - Rodney Crowell/For The Good Times - Lloyd Cole & Jill Sobule/Jesus Was A Capricorn - Marshall Chapman/The Silver Tongued Devil - Shooter Jennings/Sunday Morning Coming Down - Gretchen Wilson/Sandinista - Patty Griffin & Charanga Cakewalk/Darby`s Castle - Russell Crowe & The Ordinary Fear Of God/Me And Bobby McGee - Brian McKnight/Smile At Me Again (instrumental) - Randy Scruggs/The Captive - Jessi Colter w/Vance Haines/Help Me Make It Through The Night - Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis/Why Me - Shawn Camp/The Legend - Willie Nelson/Coda: Please Don`t Tell Me How The Story Ends - Kris Kristofferson (demo recording, circa 1970) (American Roots Publishing)

Slaid Cleaves
On Unsung, Austin singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves delivers a treasure trove of songs from some of his favorite writers - some undiscovered, all less-known than deserved. These are poignant stories, not unlike Cleaves` own songs, that feature poets, lovers and underdogs struggling to win. Cleaves brings these stories to life with the same eloquent grace and grit that have made his past recordings so valued. Track Listing: Devil`s Lullaby/Another Kind Of Blue/Everette/Oh Roberta/Racecar Joe/Call It Sleep/Millionaire/Fairest Of Them All/Flowered Dresses/Gospel Moment/Working Stiff/Getaway Car/Song For June (Rounder)

Son Volt
From Transmit Sound/Legacy comes 6 String Belief, a DVD of Son Volt`s performance at The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. Although some of the night`s footage was released to HDNet and Music Choice, the DVD will feature an expanded 31 songs from the evening which span Farrar`s career with Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt and as a solo recording artist. (Sony)

Vivian Linden
Watch The Light Fade

Vivian Linden's debut full-length album, Watch the Light Fade, is a haunting, country-tinged homage to love, lust, lonesomeness and loss that hangs suspended in the ether between heaven and earth; between the landscape of the soul and the physical world...

... Under the guidance of producer Beck Henderer Pena, Vivian was joined in this endeavor by a capable crew of musicians, many of whom play in other acclaimed Seattle bands: Eric Eagle (Johanna Kunin, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, Laura Veirs), Jon Hyde (Transmissionary Six) and Bill Herzog (Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter, JRL PHelps, Citizen's Utilities). Other collaborators include distinguished jazz organist Wayne Horvitz (Bill Frisell, Elliott Sharp, John Zorn) and up-and-coming composer/arranger Charlie Smith.

(Tarnished Records)
... Although banjo and mandolin still figure quite prominently within the group’s music, it is abundantly clear that Yonder Mountain String Band has its eye on reaching a much broader (and larger) audience. Both the arrangements and the harmonies are tightly knit, and the collective’s newfound emphasis upon melody pushes its songs ever closer towards radio-friendly, mainstream-minded fare. Atmospheric echoes of U2 envelop the opening Sidewalk Stars, while How ’Bout You? offers a hybridization of the Dave Matthews Band and Son Volt. Elsewhere, the group submerses itself within the southern-fried textures of the Charlie Daniels Band (Angel), and frequently throughout the self-titled endeavor, it imbues its folk rock with a mixture of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and New Grass Revival. There’s no question that beneath the surface of its material, Yonder Mountain String Band’s bluegrass heart still beats with a vengeance, but while its rebirth as a pop-oriented outfit isn’t always successful, its growth and maturity are readily apparent.

Iron & Wine
The Gourds
Kevn Kinney
Boris McCutcheon & The Saltlicks

Stuart A. Staples
Steve Wynn & Band
Tim Easton
Tracy Bonham

Blue Highway Festival
Utrecht, NL
April 22, 2006
The Pics

The Be Good Tanya's

Thad Cockrell & Caitlin Cary
Scott Miller & The Commonwealth
Dar Williams (and Band)
The McKay Brothers
Hayes Carll
Jeffrey Foucault
Adam Carroll with Scrappy Jud Newcomb
The Drams (w/ Brent Best)
Tift Merritt
Grayson Capps
Joy Lynn White
Guy Clark (w/ Verlon Thompson)

Neil Young
Living With War
... Mr. Young half-jokingly describes "Living With War" as his "metal folk protest" album. It's his blunt statement about the Iraq war; "History was a cruel judge of overconfidence/back in the days of shock and awe," he sings, strumming an electric guitar and leading a power trio with a sound that harks back to Young albums like "Rust Never Sleeps" and "Ragged Glory."
Some songs add a trumpet or a 100-voice choir, hastily convened in Los Angeles for one 12-hour session. During the nine new songs he sympathizes with soldiers and war victims, insists "Don't need no more lies," longs for a leader to reunite America and prays for peace.
In a song whose title alone has already brought him the fury of right-wing blogs, he urges, "Let's Impeach the President." It ends with Mr. Young shouting, "Flip, flop," amid contradictory sound bites of President Bush. But Mr. Young insists the album is nonpartisan.
"If you impeach Bush, you're doing a huge favor for the Republicans," he argued, speaking by telephone from California. "They can run again with some pride." ...

I See Hawks In L.A.
California Country
This isn't tidy, genre faithful music, folks.  "California Country" is a dark and daring turn for the Hawks, with stellar guest pickin' by Chris Hillman, Rick Shea, and Cody Bryant, with lead vocalist Rob Waller's familiar wry charm. The record covers a terrain as varied as California:  a honky tonky lament on the paving over of farm and desert;  a rock anthem tale of a poser's showdown with Slash from Guns N' Roses; a fiddling waltz valentine to cranky Senator Robert Byrd's heroic anti-war moment; and coming home with the tour money blown in Jackpot, Nevada. William Michael Smith of The Houston Press says, "Seldom has there been an album with such joyous music-making, such corrosive, acid-etched lyrics. Way cosmic." This is songwriting that breaks any current mold:  playful, deeply but obliquely political, flirting with despair but innocent at the core, literate and complex--and it's (California) country. (Western Seeds Record Co.)

En Este Momento

Cordero`s En Este Momento is an intoxicating concoction of gritty, rambunctious NYC garage rock and sexy southwestern stylings. Its an inspired, cross-cultural pollination that is both dead on sexy and full of punkish abandon. There`s smoking guitar work that jangle the rafters and reference everything from rockabilly to Gang of Four, hair-raising trumpets at once mariachi-fied and full of longing, and percussion that`ll animate the dead. Fronted by Ani Cordero and her nail-it-to-the-back-wall voice, their Bloodshot debut sets the scene for a golden, reverby, south of the border sunset or an ill-conceived encounter with a stranger in the back booth of a dimly lit bar. This potent mix will have you snake-charmed with its sassy sensibilities and romantic flair. (Bloodshot)

Alejandro Escovedo
The Boxing Mirror

Blue Rose Records:
By any musical and artistic measure, "The Boxing Mirror", Alejandro Escovedo's first new studio album in six years, is a triumph. That it comes after his near-fatal struggle with and recovery from the effects of Hepatitis C only underscores that fact.
To be released as the first album under his new record deal with Back Porch Records, "The Boxing Mirror" unites Alejandro with one of his longtime musical inspirations and heroes: John Cale of Velvet Underground fame, who produced it and helps open new artistic facets for the artist that Rolling Stone declared is "in a genre all his own."
Recorded in Los Angeles in December 2005 with his band it is suffused with the wisdom gained since he was hospitalized in 2003 on the brink of death in songs like "Arizona," "Break This Time," "I Died A Little Today" and the title track. With a newfound wellness also firing his muse alongside Cale's encouragement to explore new musical ground, like the funk groove of "Take Your Place" - which Alejandro co-wrote with his entire band - and refine his own traditions, as on the Tex-Mex-influenced song "The Mirror." The album also features lyrical collaborations from his wife, poet Kim Christoff, on such songs as "Dear Head on the Wall" and "Notes On Air". Ranging from moments of sweet delicacy ("Looking For Love") to balls-to-the-wall, roof-raising rockers (a blistering new studio take of "Sacramento & Polk"), "The Boxing Mirror" is rife with everything Alejandro's fans have come to cherish in his music as well as new dimensions that augur for continuing brilliance in his artistic future.
The Chicago Tribune calls Alejandro's latest "the album of his life" and "a sprawling survey of all the styles of music that have interested him: punk velocity, Latin balladry, string-stoked chamber pop, howling guitar rock -- all done with a Cale-honed cutting-edge twist that makes Escovedo sound more commanding and contemporary than ever."

Eric Hisaw
The Crosses

"Many people, including millionaire rock stars, write about working class life, but Hisaw has an edge on all of them, authenticity. This is powerful stuff."
-- John Conquest, Third Coast Music

"In the wake of great teachers like Joe Ely and Steve Earle, Eric has surely found the right course to mold a style that is all his own."
-- Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazzio Italy

"Like the true son of the New Mexico desert that he is, Eric Hisaw delivers Western roots music that's as real as a backyard full of rusting cars and as edgy as a smuggler's knife. If Chris Knight had grown up in New Mexico, he'd sound like this."
-- WM Smith, Rockzillaworld
Sail Away: The Songs Of Randy Newman pairs this iconoclastic songwriter with artists both young and, er...let's say "more established" to breath new life - and newfound relevance to modern times - into the eternal song craft of Randy Newman. Track Listing: Tim O'Brien - Sail Away/Sonny Landreth - Louisiana 1927/The Del McCoury Band - Birmingham/Reckless Kelly & Joe Ely - Rider In The Rain/Allison Moorer - Marie/Steve Earle - Rednecks/Béla Fleck - Burn On/Sam Bush - Mr. President (Have Pity On The Working Man)/Guster - Memo To My Son/The Duhks - Political Science/Marc Broussard - You Can Leave Your Hat On/Kim Richey - Texas Girl At The Funeral Of Her Father (Sugar Hill)

Tim Easton
... The sound, cultivated in a variety of studios, could be described as spare, but that would undersell the boldness of the lyrics, which Easton delivers with an empathetic and seasoned voice. Eight of the tracks were made by Tim working alone, recording all the parts. Elsewhere, he’s joined by multi-instrumentalist Doug Pettibone, drummer Don Heffington and Lucinda Williams on harmony vocals. Three tracks were co-produced by Gary Louris of the Jayhawks, with whom Easton has toured. Chance and timing allowed for certain visiting musicians to join in: Don Heffington playing floor toms on the album-opening “Black Dog” and North Carolina heavyweight Tift Merritt who adds her voice to “Next to You.” ...

Wrinkle Neck Mules
Pull the Brake

The Wrinkle Neck Mules are an Americana styled five-piece that celebrate the blue-collar, gritty realities of everyday life.  For Pull the Brake, chief songwriters Andy Stepanian and Chase Heard eloquently weave themes of guns, forbidden love, death, rodeo, and cold beer.  While these might not be novel concepts, it’s definitely one of lasting interest, because we never grow tired of hearing the stories of classic characters.  On the opening track “Liza,” Stepanian sings of a persistent suitor taking fatal measures to sweep his love out of town.   After repeated listens, the songwriting reveals a depth that goes beyond the typical country themes.  “When Things Unravel” explores the difficulty of continuing life after the shit hits the fan.  On “Put Your Guitars Where Your Mouth Is,” the albums final song, Heard disapproves of using the guitar as a prop, perhaps expressing the bands discontent for the present country music scene.  Keep a lookout as the Wrinkle Neck Mules plow their way into the music field.  

American Songwriter -Silas Bankhead-

Dave Alvin
West Of The West
West Of The West is Dave Alvin`s tribute to the songs and songwriters of California. It`s the fourth-generation Californian`s latest excursion into the sounds and history of his home state, continuing the high standard he set with King of California and Blackjack David. Produced by Greg Leisz (Wilco, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Brian Wilson), the new album mixes much loved songs by Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, Jerry Garcia, Kate Wolf, Robert Hunter and Los Lobos` David Hidalgo and Louis Perez, with unearthed gems from such previously overlooked talents as Blackie Farrell and Jim Ringer. Track Listing: California Bloodlines/Redneck Friend/Kern River/Blind Love/Here In California/I Am Bewildered/Sonora`s Death Row/Down On The Riverbed/Between The Cracks/Don`t Look Now/Tramps And Hawkers/Loser/Surfer Girl (Yep Roc)

Markus Rill
The Price Of Sin

Ctrl.Alt.Country , April 2006
CD Of The Week: Markus Rill - The Price Of Sin
On his fifth album, The Price Of Sin, Markus Rill from Germany once again proves himself to be a truly great artist. On this album, recorded in Nashville in the company of class acts like George Bradfute, Fats Kaplin, Dave Jacques, Bryan Owings, and Dave Coleman, the man concentrates mainly on ballads. With his sandpaper voice as his trump card he leads the way through twelve original songs that are simply excellent.
He expressly focused on giving these songs an acoustic treatment. We hear a gently moaning pedal steel, a carefully picked acoustic guitar, an elegantly buzzing bass, and gently played drums and percussion topped off with a little dobro, banjo, mandolin, and cello with occasionally emerging accordion, harmonica and piano - more is not necessary to establish that Rill is playing at the top of his game on this record.
It is simply stunning how in Wash Away The Stain he manages to perfectly set the universal feeling of "contrition after the sin" to music, or how in The Price You Pay For Sin he ponders on the strange feeling that takes hold of him after seducing his best friend's wife. He evokes these emotions so vividly that the listener cannot help but be touched and experience what he's singing about. Rill describes it, you feel it ... spectacular! We do not know a better word to describe this. This is Americana of the highest order: warm, full of integrity, and lasting.
5 of 5 stars (absolutely brilliant)

Shannon McNally
North American Ghost Music: Live
Shannon McNally is an alluring performer who has enchanted folks with her soulful blend of Americana and rock. Her previous releases (Jukebox Sparrow, Geronimo), as well as a collaboration with Neal Casal, have placed her in league with the best of `em. The tracks on North American Ghost Music: Live were drawn from two performances; one recorded on July 13, 2005 at Schubas Tavern in Chicago, IL, and the other on July 14th, 2005 at High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI. Shannon is joined by Dave Easley (guitar), Sam Price (bass), David Stocker (keyboards), Sean Staples (mandolin) and Wallace Lester (drums) Track Listing: Bolder Than Paradise/Weathervane/The Last Lonely Eagle/Sweet Forgiveness/My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys/Pale Moon/Down And Dirty/Leave Your Bags By the Door/Geronimo (Back Porch)

West Coast Grand
West Coast Grand

miles of music:
The self-titled debut from West Coast Grand offers a diverse, thoroughly pleasing and immediately engaging set of alt. country tracks. The Los Angeles quintet`s compositions are collaborative; the outcome is organic and rich and topped off with a terrific harmony mix from primary vocalists and guitarists Jimmy Harrison and Bobby Gonzales. The scope of the band`s sound begins with the heartland roots-rock of "Back To School", an exhilarating and twangy toe-tapper. Along the way through this 11 track set you`ll find some rockin` honky-tonk ("City Lights"), sweeping California country ("Last Train Home"), chooglin` acoustic harmony-filled folk ("All For Nothing") and some gorgeous ballads, like the waltzing acoustic tune "So Far Away" and album closer "West Coast Grand". The Lennon-esque piano pulse of their namesake number exposes some of the classic pop elements that grace these terrific songs. Other notable cuts include "Second Chance", which is reminiscent of the soulful, groove heavy West Coast country-rock with kick-ass harmonies The Mother Hips are known for. Proving nothing is to tough, they smoothly move into some classic Texas roadhouse with the hitworthy "You Think Were Still In Love (But We`re Still In Texas)". It`s all good. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Grand Coast Records)

Wade Bowen

Lost Hotel
Anew record from a new record company means Wade Bowen’s“Lost Hotel” comes with a lot of hopes and expectations.The 28-year-old has been playing 200-plus gigs a year and releasedhis third album, his first since 2002.

Fresh froma rehearsal to take his new material on the road, Bowen said last weekthat this album is important for both him and Sustain Records —“Lost Hotel” is the first release on the newKerrville-based record label. The album went on sale on Tuesday,although the first single, “God Bless This Town,” hit theairwaves a few weeks ago.

God, this a great record!!!
One of the best records of the year so far!

Straight To Hell
...The lap steel that punctuates "Things YouDo to Me" and the lyrics detailing the woman that got away and thedrinking that follows sounds like pretty cut and dry, cliché country,but the sneer is evident in III's lyrical stylings. Hank III's voice ismuch closer to the high twang of his grandfather than that of hisboisterous father and the loneliness and feeling inject the songs witha feeling of loss and sadness that no production tricks ever could."Thrown Out of the Bar" and "Country Heroes" pay tribute to the artiststhat got Williams to where he is now and lament the loss of the countryoutlaw. "Low Down" bounces and jaunts along as a rolling country balladthat wouldn't sound out of place on a Marshall Tucker record. Thelyrics, however, stick to familiar subject matter for III-the wild,self destructive life style he embraces so enthusiastically. Whiledrugs and debauchery rule the day, things never get too heavy, andsongs like "My Drinkin Problem" and "The Pills I Took" recall JohnnyPaycheck, Coe, or even the early humorous songs of Dr. Hook. "CrazedCountry Rebel" throws an absolute middle finger in the face of thesqueaky clean image of modern Nashville with its tales of drugs anddrifting. It's country alright, but not today's country...
Here it is, the all new Tom Russell disc that you've been hearingabout. Tom has returned to the studio and emerged with his first albumof all originals in a decade. The title tells you all you need to know.This one's a meditation on love and fear and everything that comes withthem. Fans of "Borderland" will enjoy the return to his "Tex-Mex" vibethat he's been perfecting over the years. There's no shortage of newclassics on this one. As an added feature early copies will come with abonus disc that has three songs from the new album as well as twocovers not found anywhere else. One of Emmylou Harris's "Red Dirt Girl"and Leonard Cohen's "Tower Of Song." Order quickly to assure yourselfof getting this little gem.

Bruce Springsteen
We Shall Overcome
The Seeger Sessions
Columbia Records will release Bruce Springsteen's twenty-first album,We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, on April 25. The album featuresBruce's personal interpretations of thirteen traditional songs, all ofthem associated with the legendary guiding light of American folkmusic, Pete Seeger, for whom the album is named. Speaking of theorigins of the new music, Springsteen said, "So much of my writing,particularly when I write acoustically, comes straight out of the folktradition. Making this album was creatively liberating because I have alove of all those different roots sounds... they can conjure up a worldwith just a few notes and a few words."

1. Old Dan Tucker 2. Jessie James 3. Mrs. McGrath
4. Oh, Mary, Don't You Weep 5. John Henry 6. Erie Canal
7. Jacob's Ladder 8. My Oklahoma Home 9. Eyes On The Prize
10. Shenandoah 11. Pay Me My Money Down
12. We Shall Overcome 13. Froggie Went A-Courtin'
Bonus Tracks: 14. Buffalo Gals 15. How Can I Keep From Singing

Little Willies
(w/ Norah Jones)
The Little Willies
Forget the silly name this is a side project of Norah Jones and some ofher friends. Think Traveling Wilburys for the alt-country set here.Jones and this band have come up with a wonderful recording of mostlycovers from the country and Americana scene. Working from the songbooksof Hank, Kris, Townes, Willie, Tompall and a few cool originals this isone fine album. The sound is relaxed and they put their own uniquestamp on some time tested songs.

Townes van Zandt
Be here to love me
The soundtrack album came out late last year when the film debuted.This is the DVD debut of the film. He was a complicated guy, but aflawless songwriter and performer. In this expanded documentary you'llget to know a bit more about him and what made him tick. Tons of neverbefore seen footage and interviews make this one of the moreexceptional biographies. Includes interviews and or performances fromKristofferson, Emmylou, Steve Earle, Joe Ely, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffithand more.
On his third solo effort Miller has really hit his stride and has comeup with his best yet. This all new set was recorded in Memphis withlegendary producer Jim Dickinson. This is American roots music at it'sfinest. No frills, no posing just music at its most basic andaffecting. This is for those of us who fondly remember the days whenthe Band would come out with a new album.

Jesse Dayton
South Austin Sessions

JesseDayton`s South Austin Sessions is a compilation of some studio outtakesand a few songs that just didn`t fit other albums. But mostly it is anacknowledgement of some of his influences and includes tunes fromartists like Townes Van Zandt, ZZ Top, The Supersuckers, Jim Lauderdaleand Waylon Jennings. Plus there are tunes from newer writers here tooincluding Vic Gerard and Herman Brock Jr. Dayton has called on some ofhis South Austin based musical cronies to put the spit shine on sometunes that have become live show mainstays, and a few that will be forsure. Track Listing: Loretta/Mexican Blackbird/Why Do I LoveYou/Sometimes/Roadworn & Weary/Cornbread, Peas & BlackMolasses/Swan Song/Waymore`s Blues/Coco Loco/Where The Beer KeepsFlowin` (Stag)

John Langford
Gold Brick
Devilishly crafted and scarily melodic, Gold Brick is Langford`s thirdsolo album and the proper follow-up to 1998`s Skull Orchard. It findshim back with Roir, the pioneering New York label that released TheMekons` classic New York album in the late `80s. Collaborating with aband that includes Pine Valley Cosmonauts John Rice & Pat Brennan,Waco Brother Alan Doughty, Jean Cook and Dan Massey, this is probablyLangford`s most consistent and coherent recording to date. While 2004`sAll The Fame Of Lofty Deeds took about a week to record and wasdescribed as "an Alt-Country Ziggy Stardust" Gold Brick is a far morelush and expansive project that draws parallels between the bloodybirth of America and the seismic shifts of today`s globalization.Sub-titled Lies Of The Great Explorers and Columbus At Guantanamo Bay,it`s just as much about America and its way of life as it is aboutLangford`s own search for community within those bounds. Jon taps intouniversal themes of exile, exploitation and extremism by observing andparticipating in quintessentially American activities as a Welshexpatriate - from the strip joint to the strip mall and every bar inbetween. He even has balls enough to cover Procol Harum`s classic "ASalty Dog". The albums closing track, "Lost In America", was writtenfor National Public Radio`s This American Life and features members ofOne-Day Band, the ensemble Langford put together from the ChicagoReader`s Musician`s Wanted ads. (Roir)


German Indy/Roots Magazine
#20featering Johnny Dowd, Silver Jews, Roland Heinrich, Jeb Loy Nichols,Greenhorns, Steve Wynn , The Rogers Sisters and many more.

Floyd Westermann
The Land is Your Mother
Custer Died for Your Sins

InKevin Costner´s movie "Dancing With Wolves" he was Chief TenBears, and he is the Navajo linguist whose arcane knowledge keeps "TheX-Files" open. But long before those triumphs he had alreadyestablished himself as a singer and activist fighting against theoppression of his people.

Song Of The Traveling Daughter
... OnSong of the Traveling Daughter, Washburn sings simple haunting songsand plays the banjo. Musically, the album is one of the most bare bonesdebuts in recent memory. Washburn and fellow producers Reid Scelza andBela Fleck keep the focus where it belongs: on the singer and the song.The arrangements were built around Washburn’s evocative vocalsand clawhammer banjo style, and Ben Sollee’s cello, an instrumentthat brings a dark, primeval feel to songs that sound likethey’re hundreds of years old. The sparse instrumental work ofguitarist Jordan McConnell (of The Duhks), upright bass player AmandaKowalski, fiddler Casey Driessen, percussionist Ryan Hoyle (ofCollective Soul), keyboard and accordion player Tim Lauer, along withFleck’s national steel guitar and banjo, add subtle grace notesto Washburn’s timeless tales...

Antje Duvekot
Boys, Flowers, Miles

"AntjeDuvekot is Boston's next great favorite new poet.. therare artist that can write about the social and the personal in thesame breath. She is as understated as she is wise and her songs go downmentally as well as soulfully."
Ellis Paul - singer-songwriter

"When ifirst heard Antje I knew i was witnessing something very special. Shecreates an entire, detailed world in verse, and takes you there withbeautiful and understated melody. Her songs are stunning paintings ofcolor and shade and always generate the heat and light that real artshould. In an unpoetic and 'in your face' world, she is lyrical andsubtle"
Neil Dorfsman - producer Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Dire Straits

Garden Ruin

Calexico's upcoming new release is titled 'Garden Ruin'. It wasproduced by JD Foster and will be out in the US on Quarterstick Recordson April 11, 2006. It will be released in Europe on City Slang Records.

1. Cruel 4:01
2. Yours And Mine 2:32
3. Bisbee Blue 2:50
4. Panic Open String 4:11
5. Letter To Bowie Knife 3:08
6. Roka (Danza de la muerte) 3:44
7. Luckey Dime 2:35
8. Smash 3:47
9. Deep Down 4:33
10. Nom De Plume 3:21
11. All Systems Red 6:09

Carrie Yury
Six-song EP. Written by Carrie Yury. Music performed by Carrie Yury, Colin Gagon, Will Oldham, Paul Oldham, and Richard Schuler.
...Recorded in Shelbyville, Kentucky in May, the disc is tender andfragile in the most human of ways ? a 23-minute collection of folk-popgems that are as a beautiful as they are beautifully understated. Farfrom the cold and well-plotted precision of the LA Design Centerinstallation, the disc is warm and disarming and clearly benefits fromthe comforting charms of contributors Will and Paul Oldham, ColinGagon, and Richard Schuler. While Schuler's able drum work may be bestknown from King Kong and the early days of Louisville punk heroesSquirrel Bait, it's the musical context brought to the table by Gagonand the Oldhams that may be most identifiable by listeners, acolloquial kind of folk-pop that may have defined itself best onpost-Palace outings like Joya or Ease Down The Road...

The Dixie Bee-Liners
The Dixie"FrontwomanBrandi Harts songwriting is something beyond urban country... it`sBible Belt noir, bleak and gorgeous" - Trifectagram, May 2005 "NewYork`s Dixie Bee-Liners demonstrate some classy picking, which you`dfigure with the practiced bluegrass and country rock vets in the band,but it`s their voices that really stick with you ...steeped intradition, but with tones and rhythms that are very 21st century." -Barry Mazor, Senior Editor, No Depression "...fresh... all the guts andemotion that makes Bluegrass music so special and that makes the NYBGOTscene the place to be." - Lou Giampitruzzi, New York Blue Grass &Old Time Forum. "Sly, gorgeous vocals... sizzling chops... by allrights, the next Kasey Chambers or Laura Cantrell." - Trifectagram,November 2004 (self-released)

Drew Landry
Tailgaten Relief  & Hurricane Companion Ep
Drew Landry:
Well, Ican’t say my music is any better than the next guy, but I know myroots. To me the best music ever made came from the fields, dirt roads,& dancehalls of Texas and Louisiana. I really don’t feelthere has been much truly original music written since Woodie Guthrie,Leadbelly & Jimmie Rogers, But I do admire Blaze Foley, Townes,Clifton Chenier & Waylon. I’ve had the pleasure of sharingthe stage with Dale Watson, Billy Joe Shaver, Hank 3, & SonnyLandreth. Friends that have helped me along the way & recorded withme include Horace Trahan, Scott H. Biram, Tony Daigle, The Weary Boys,Lil’ Buck Senegal, Josh Caffrey, Brennen Leigh, Porter Yax, andall the dirty Cajuns. Bout the best time I ever had playin music waswith the prison band at last years rodeo. Them boys at the State Penntold me, “Music is Music- Maybe you got something to say.”

Drive by Truckers
A Blessing and a Curse
The Drive-By Truckers are purveyors of a new kind of  southern rockstorytelling - dense, dark, majestic and intelligent. Featuring threeabsolute ace songwriters, their albums are stronger for the naturalcompetition. One of the hardest working live bands in the businesstoday, Drive-By Truckers' performances are epic and cathartic. This 7thalbum, A Blessing and a Curse, is their most concise to date. While inkeeping with their now recognizable sound, they have made somesignificant changes: the songs were all freshly written with thisrecord in mind and without a specific theme. The result is very thoughtout and deliberate with a decided air of sophistication (Truckersstyle!).

Gibson Brothers
Red Letter Day

"There'sa certain timelessness to their sound; even their rock 'n' roll covers(Bobby Womack's "It's All Over Now", Ray Charles's "I Got a Woman")have a kind of fresh-faced enthusiasm, as do their judicious selectionof other writers such as Kieran Kane. In this heady mix, their ownsongs don't sound out of place, which is a tribute in itself."
Joe Breen, Irish Times

Follow that Trail Of Dust Back Home

"This Hooverville music lies at the intersection of theStanley Brothers of the late ‘50s, the Louvin Brothers, earlyJohnny Cash, the Carter Family, Alice & Hazel, and a littlesprinkle of those two remarkable Gram and Emmy Lou records. It takesguts to sing. These guys, Bemis and Hanson, have guts. Their singing isreal and true. They apply their voice to these lovely, crafted songsthey’ve written. This is old-time country, the music JimmieRogers invented and the Carter Family developed and Hank Williamsperfected – and which official Nashville seems to have garroted.Vocal old-time music is alive and well."

The Old-Time Herald, Bill Hicks

James Talley
Got No Bread, No Milk, No Money,
But We Sure Got a Lot of Love

No Depression

March-April 2006
by John Morthland

JamesTalley's debut sounds as revelatory now as it did then [1975]. Withfamily roots in Oklahoma, Talley writes simple, straighforward, folk'n' western workingman songs that embrace and extend the Woody Guthrietradition. But they're not protest songs. They celebrate love andfamily and hardwon pleasures ... His voice is straight from the DustBowl, his melodies are built to last, with some sizzling hot fiddlefrom Johnny Gimble. Talley is sometimes sentimental but never preciousor cloying, sometimes nostalgic but never starry-eyed ... this quietlyproud album evokes a time and place and a way of life like very littleother music before or since.

JJ Baron
Brand New Stranger

"It'shard to believe someone so young could be so talented. JJ reminds me ofmyself 20 years ago. Except he has a lot more talent than I did. JJ'sgot the gift. He knows how to craft songs that give you the goosebumps, he plays a mean guitar, and he has a great attitude. In the nextfew years, the folk world will come to know JJ Baron, and I'll besaying, 'I told you so!' "
-Slaid Cleaves

Kensington Hillbillys
Bones In The Backyard

NOW Magazine
September 15, 2005, by Tim Perlich

Thenotable presence of local twang scene ringers Burke Carroll, ChrisQuinn, James Gray and Clive MacNutt on the Kensington Hillbillys' newBones In The Backyard disc may lead some to wonder if Steve Ketchen andcrew are straying from their freewheeling approach to roots country.They've gotten tighter, maybe, but not slicker. Signing up forstring-bending duty with these Hillbillys seems to bring out thehayseed in everyone. On Bones In The Backyard -- piled high with solidoriginals -- the skilled support adds a little zip while maintainingthe loose rockin' charm of their beer-parlour frolics. It'll go downwell with whatever you're drinking.

London Free Press
September 24, 2005, by Dave Clarke

Four yearsis a long time between releases, but Bones in the Backyard by Toronto'sKensington Hillbillys is well worth the wait. Eleven originals in thetradition of the honky tonk music of Hank Williams and Merle Haggardand a fantastic cover of the Clash's Straight to Hell. Led by vocalistSteve Ketchen, the seven-piece Hillbillys provide a whole variety ofcountry textures with pedal steel, mandolin, fiddle and banjo.Highlights include the knees-up instrumental TKX138 and the weeperMemories of You. Great songwriting and musicianship make this just thething for your next jamboree.

Neko Case

Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
(due 3/7/2006)

Miles of Music:
 Itsa regular you-know-whos-who affair when Neko Case gets together withher friends. And never a disappointing one at that! How can you gowrong with The Sadies, Calexico, Howe Gelb, Paul Rigby (Bocephus King),Kelly Hogan, Jon Rauhause, Tom V. Ray, Rachel Flotard (Visqueen) andGarth Hudson as friends? Fox Confessor Brings The Flood finds hersingular, beloved voice in crystalline form - always seductive with ahint of forlorn -- and quite in contrast to the powerhouse pop shebrings to The New Pornographers. Here she keeps an enticingly dark andhaunting musical edge, in line with the gothic country-gospel charm ofher past solo work. But in creeps a fascination with Russian andUkrainian folk tales to solidify a theme. As each song unfolds - likethe next grim tale in an obscure collection of poetic lore -- Casebrings to life the mystery of a feeling, a foe, a fear, a fable. --Robinson, Miles Of Music

Trace Wiren
Johnny's Cafe
When thetunes are coming out of Salt Lake City, it's hard to resist a littlecomparison: "I'm a little bit country, I'm a little bit rock and roll."Trace Wiren has that in common with Donny and Marie, that's for sure.However, she's also a little bit folksinger, a little taken with theblues, and a whole lot fresh. Download "Trouble at Home" now and startpreparing your summer roadtrip mix.

About whiskeytangomusic
WhiskeyTango Winners Of The 2005 San Diego Music Awards, hails from the cornerof a "real," small American town called La Mesa California, not farfrom the U.S. Mexican border. These guys are seasoned Alt-CountryRockers, and collectively have recorded, or worked with musical gurussuch as , Lucinda Williams, Shooter Jennings, Cactus Jim Soldi OfJohnny Cash Band, Tony Sharedon and Peter Gordon of The Beatles,Producer Josquin Des Pres co writer with Bernie Taupin, The BastardSons of Johnny Cash, The Beat Farmers, Dusty Wakeman, and TheDamnations Austin TX. Whiskey Tango is Keeping it real, "keeping itsimple, and hacking with conviction," while serving up a little sliceof Hot Rocking Alt Country Americana. 

Claude Diamond
Highway Of Life

In2004, at the age of 65, singer/songwriter Claude Diamond released hisdebut album Diamond Dust on the Vettset label. The CD reached #21 onthe Roots Country airplay chart and #51 on the Americana chart. Now hehas released his second album, Highway of Life. The new album includeseleven original Americana/Roots songs that are a diverse mix of musicalstyles including bluegrass, Cajun, blues and country. In the manner ofBilly Joe Shaver and John Prine, he writes and sings about therealities of life using both humor and sadness to tell his uniquestories. Claude writes and performs music you wish you could hear onmainstream radio - but can't. If you are looking for some greatoriginal stories written in a fresh style, you will love this album!Some are funny, some are sad and all are a pleasure to hear. Once youstart listening, you will keep riding until the highway ends.
It's never too late!

Buck Page
Right Place to start

Buck Page is a legend in the music industry. He is the founding member of his Riders of the Purple Sage est. 1936. Buck and the music he loves represent a cherished era unique to the History of America that will endure forever.

Buck is determined to share his love of Western Music. His life continues to be dedicated to help ensure that this powerful style of “AMERICAN MUSIC’ is sent out with the class that has been Western Music’s timeless signature.

Van Morrison
Pay The Devil

VanMorrison has made a classic album that sounds like Nashville at itsfinest and stands as tall as anything that’s come out of the townin recent years. Pay The Devil is not just great country music,it’s great music – whatever country you happen to comefrom. We’ve come to expect no less from Morrison. Finally, the Belfast Cowboy has come home.

Tres Chicas
Bloom, Red & The Ordinary Girl
“WhenCaitlin Cary (ex-Whiskeytown), Tonya Lamm (ex-Hazeldine) and LynnBlakey (Glory Fountain) bring their voices together, they conveysweetheartache and the world-weary acceptance that comes to insightfulgalson the tall side of thirty,” raves Rolling Stone. Thesophomoreeffort from Tres Chicas was recorded in London and features theproduction work of Neil Brockbank and Robert Trehern and guestappearances by Nick Lowe and Geraint Watkins.The broadened instrumentation and musical range found on thenew record serves to better highlight the impeccable interplaybetween their voices and thepassionately romantic, soulfully earthbound stories of lovecontainedwithin their lyrics. Says No Depression, “It’stempting tofocus on the beauty resulting from the harmony of these threevoices,but the truest strength is the songwriting.”

The SubdudesBehind the Levee

Allnewstudio album from one of our favorite bands. This time around theyare produced by Keb’ Mo’ at the legendary DocksideStudios nearLafayette Louisiana. Their sound remains a mix of American and NewOrleans with a bit of rock here and there. This band’s nofrills,no gimmick approach to music is always welcome around here forsure.

Solace For The Lonely
Solace forthe Lonely was produced by Doug Lancio and recorded at The Revolutionin Nashville. The album contains 12 new original songs written orco-written by RobinElla, and a cover of Melanie`s classic, "Brand NewKey." She is joined on the album by her band, featuring Cruz Conteras(mandolin), Billy Conteras (fiddle), Hans Holzen (guitar), DavidPeeples (bass) and Daryl Johnson (drums). Christian Bordal from NPRexclaims "RobinElla has a sweet, sophisticated approach that neverpushes or strains, just glides Billie Holiday-like..." (Dualtone)

Patty Hurst Shifter
Too Crowded On The Losing End
TooCrowded On The Losing End is the second full-length from Raleigh`s pubfriendly, bristling roots-rock purveyors Patty Hurst Shifter. Withasound that`s been likened to everyone from The Heartbreakers toTheReplacements, R.E.M. to the Rolling Stones, they find their ownstrength and style through the words and performance of guitaristandvocalist J. Chris Smith. Some of the band have moved on - andsubsequently replaced - since their outstanding debut,Beestinger Lullabies. But they continue to infuse their highspiritedguitar-driven rock with passion and power. Tight, with just a hintofswaggering recklessness and a twangy finish, Patty Hurst Shifterbrazenly combine rootsy honesty and anthem heavy hooks to anundeniablyvibrant end. For as much punch as they are capable of they alsoprovethat here and there a slow-burning tempo is equally as effective.Theself-produced record was engineered by Greg Elkins(Hazledine, ChrisStamey), and special guests include Ian McLagan on Hammond B3 foratrack and the meshed backing vocals of Caitlin Cary and Tonya Lamm ontwo others. -- Robinson, Miles Of Music (EVO Records)

Leslie Woods
Sounds Like

Sparselyarranged, mysterious and dark, as if Nick Cave was a redneckand even more bad-tempered than he already is anyways. Folkin its darkest styleof play, traditional but seductive, precipitous and alluring.- -GQGermany**** Woods' music recalls likeminded artists likeGillian Welch,Tom Waits and nick Cave -- perhaps more in terms of emotionalimpactand lyrical content than the actual music. Woods combines theclassiccountry vocal style of Patsy Cline or Loretta Lynn withlyrics thatcould rival those of The Louvin Brothers, TheVelvet Underground orauthor Erskine Caldwell. - John Sewell

Jeffrey Foucault
Stripping Cane
(4 Stars)
Classic country-blues from rising Midwestern wordsmith

He'snotexactly tearing up the rulebook, but the music of Wisconsin nativeFoucault is the kind so many aspire to but never attain: beat-uptroubadour folk whittled to dolorous perfection by the likes ofTownesVan Zandt, Guy Clark and Chris Smither. The fact that this 27-yearoldrasps and picks guitar like a veteran Avalon bluesman, pullingacutesketches of Nowheresville USA from the faces of his fire, is thereasonwhy. This sophomore LP - after the critical plauditsafforded 2001'sself-released Miles from the Lightning - shifts him into thesame time-ruffled league as Smither and Richard Buckner. Smithercollaboarator and producer David Goodrich draws every bend, rollandscratch from Foucault's exquisitely nimble fretwork while addingflashing slide and mandolin of his own. The voice, meanwhile,soundslike it's been dredged up from the bowels of a centuries-old creekbed.The Delta hangs heavy over "Mayfly" and "4 & 20 Blues", theformerquickening the easy ramble of Mississippi John Hurt intothe chuggingbeat of a midnight special, shadowed by the harmonies ofShwang's AnitaSuhanin. Foucault is clearly a student of Bill Monroe, too, asevinced by the precise plucking of "Pearl Handled Pistol." Itslyric, like muchof the LP, is gripped by American mythology, a narrative hue oftragicomedy: "[Buffalo Bill] said I'm off to fight the Indians /Andtake a little off the top / When I get home we'll all dress up /Aroundthe old big top." "Doubletree" shrouds the common murder ballad inmodern ambiguity, its protaganist pouring guilt overthe accidentaldeath of his best friend in a winter horseback wager. The poetry'sso crisp you can smell snow on the air. But perhaps Foucault'spainedwisdom is best served on "Northbound 35": "Anything frail,anythingwild / It's the price of living motion / What's beautiful isbroken /And grace is just the measure of a fall."  

The Woman That Ended the World

For TheWoman That Ended the World to live up to the promise of itspackaging—a gut-wrenching cover by Mona Superstar and adevastating title—the guys in Hillstomp would have to make thebest blues album of the 21st century. And that's exactly what they havedone. Here, on the band's sophomore release, these guys turn the tranceblues of R.L. Burnside into their own. Henry Kammerer's running guitarlines betray his age, John Johnson's booming percussion betrays thephysics of his ramshackle kit, and the stomping "Shake It" betrays thegenre a bit by introducing a disco beat. But the vocals (deliveredmostly by Kammerer) are pure, true blues, the sound of a wronged manbreathin' through his teeth. We all owe that woman a drink.
FrankCarillo & the Bandoleros offer roots music that moves and lyricsworthy of reflection.  His singing voice is a cross between whatBob Dylan might have sounded like had the folk icon refined his vocalsand what Bruce Springsteen might sound like in the morning, before hisfirst cup of coffee.  Carillo speaks with excitement and wonderabout the evolution of the recording process that created hisBandoleros CD, ''Bad Out There."  "The sound just developed," hesaid. "It was like falling off a mountain. It just happened." 

Ass Ponys
Okra Years
Presentingthe long-awaited 2CD reissue of the early Ass Ponys` OkraRecords releases, Mr. Superlove and Grim. Some material has beendropped while some unreleased and out of print tunes have beenadded, all of whichhas been remastered. Its a night and day listening difference overmuchof the 2 CDs, especially those tracks that were taken from Grim.Included are the unreleased tracks "Is it Blood?", the live "Go GoKitty", "All Tomorrow`s Parties" (As Chuck sez in the liner notes"Yeah, we did a Velvets cover. Kill us now.") the now out-of-printPereUbu cover "Not Happy", some more alternate versions and more.  

The Ashtrays
Perfect Halves
PerfectHalves is the second long-player from the Ashtray Hearts. The albumwas recorded at Sacred Heart Studios, a landmark nineteenthcenturycathedral overlooking Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota.Recording atthe old church during a typical cold and snowy Duluth winterproved tobe ideal for the creation of this subtle assembly of woundedsongs. OnPerfect Halves, the band continues to refine the lush texturesfirstexplored on their debut. Recorded on vintage analog equipment,theserecordings capture the Ashtray Hearts as they sound live, with theadded warmth and natural reverb offered by the high ceilings ofSacredHeart. The songs, written and refined over the last three years,once again explore the timeless themes of love and loss.

Leaving TX
100 Miles to Sunday
Travel afew miles south of alt-country and turn right at cow punk and you findLeaving TX.....a gritty, dusty, whiskey-soaked hell-hole just outsidethe gates of purgatory. Formed in late 2004 by songwriter ChisPatterson and bassist Garry Cecil, Leaving, TX has rapidly come to lifein the Washington, D.C. music scene, earning comparisons to bands likeDrive By Truckers, Steve Earle and Reckless Kelly.
SnowisCurt Kirkwood's first solo album, 25 years after he began thelegendary Arizona trio the Meat Puppets with his younger brotherCris Kirkwoodand friend Derrick Bostrom, and ten years since the band'soriginallineup was last heard from. After 1995's No Joke, Cris Kirkwoodspiralled into a long, dark period of drug addiction and legaltroubles, sidelining the band indefinitely. But Snow is far fromthefirst time Curt has attempted to move on with a new project. In fact,it's his 4th album under a different name in the past 5 years.
The songson Snow frequently recall different eras of Kirkwood's past. The steadyand somber gallop of "Box Of Limes" sounds like a cousin of MeatPuppets II's "Lost". And several songs travel the same territory as thebright, sunsoaked melodies of No Joke. Kirkwood's guitar solos havealways been one of his greatest strengths, but Snow unfortunatelyskimps on them, although the two gorgeous solos on "In Bone" nearlymake up for it.

The Elected

Sun, Sun, Sun
Recordedlargely in motel rooms while singer/songwriter Blake Sennett was ontour with his other band, Rilo Kiley, the songs in Sun, Sun, Sun,arepropelled by the kind of unsettled, exploratory impetus that isonlynative to the American open road. While portions of the album wereformed in proper studios like the all-analog Hard Drive studio inSouthern California, Sennett self-recorded and self-produced themajority of his masterfully soulful creations in environmentshe waspassing through. And, it`s evocative of those places and perspectives:"I`ll listen to it and think, `That was recorded in a hotel inMissoula! That, we did in the van!`" The dichotomy between feelingcompletely at home and at the same time homeless on the road fuelsSennett`s biting, reflective lyricism and grand, sweepingcompositions- after all, out there, there`s plenty of time to reminisce andlookforward. At times treating grit with slide guitar, tambourines andkid gloves ("It Was Love"), and at other times spittingheart-wrenchingdeclarations with grace ("I`ll Be Your Man", "Did Me Good"), Sun,Sun,Sun is Sennett`s newest gem. (SubPop)

Tortoise & Bonnie Prince Billy
The Brave & The Bold
This firsttime collaboration between Tortoise and Will Oldham features covers ofsuch artists as Bruce Springsteen ("Thunder Road"), The Minutemen("It`s Expected I`m Gone"), Elton John and Bernie Taupin ("Daniel"),Lungfish ("Love Is Love"), Richard Thompson ("Cavalry Cross") and more.The songs are almost unrecognizable to their original versions, yeteach was chosen with care and reverence with no sense of irony. Therecord is undeniably both a Tortoise and a Bonnie "Prince" Billyrecord, and yet altogether something completely new and exciting.(Overcoat Records)

Iron & Wine
Passing Afternoon (EP)
"PassingAfternoon" was taken from Iron & Wine`s wonderfully titled 2004release, Our Endless Numbered Days. The EP`s title track is backed with2 non-album tracks, "Communion Cups" and "Dearest Forsaken", live fromKCRW. (Sub Pop)

The Gourds
Heavy Ornamentals
WithHeavyOrnamentals, The Gourds welcome you back on to their porch foranother drink from "the jug" and another helping of theircritic-confoundingmusical gumbo. Led by a pair of songwriting savants in the vein ofDougSahm and Lowell George, The Gourds create an infectious blend ofrock,country, Zydeco, soul, Tex-Mex, folk and blues which has promptedtheWashington Post to say, "It`s hard to resist the contagious goodtimethat the band seems to be having on every song." Flanked by a fullvanof guitars, violins, banjos and accordions, "This Austininstitution,"says the Austin Chronicle, "is as tough, colorful, and sometimesaswarty as the vegetable they`re named for," and with a lyrical castofcharacters running the gamut from panther-killingchildren, trash-carrying new roommates and tobacco-skinned womento the Devil himself, Blender says, "The Gourds are strange evenwhen they`reserious." (Eleven Thirty Records)

April Verch
Take Me Back
Emergingfrom the thick of the traditional music scene, the fiddling of22-year-old April Verch is a breath of fresh air. Though she has deeproots in the fiddling of her native Ottawa Valley in Canada, April`sbroad repertoire features traditional and contemporary tunes ranging insource and inspiration from Quebec to the Appalachians, from EasternEurope to Brazil -- not to mention her own colorful compositions.EnRoute magazine says "April`s strings burn with energy, whether she`splaying waltzes, airs, reels, or polkas. This is the hottest old timemusic of the year." No matter what you call it, April`s music isbeguiling in the way it brilliantly balances contemporary elan andtraditional resonance. (Rounder)
PeterCaseis one of America`s most gifted singer-songwriters. For over 30 years- from street singer to soul-punk bandleader to solo acousticperformer -Case has used his songs to crash through the barriers of popularmusic.This 3-disc, 47-song tribute is a "case for Case," an argument insupport of the talent of one of America`s most prolific,under-rated,original, and best songwriters. The all-star Americana and poprosterthat comprises this impressive set is capped off with a bonus liveperformance from Case himself. All proceeds from the sale of thisCD will benefit Hungry For Music`s musical instrument donationprogram for underprivileged children. Track Listing Hayes Carll -Beyond theBlues/Maura O`Connell - Blue Distance/Lester Chambers - WalkingHomeLate/Tom Russell - A Little Wind (Could Blow Me Away)/Sam Baker -Still Playin`/Chuck Prophet - Three Days Straight/Jackie Greene -IceWater/Susan Cowsill - Honeychild/Mark Winsick Band - Rise AndShine/Chris Smither - Cold Trail Blues/Jode Manross & LaithKeilany- Green Blanket/Bob Neuwirth - Power, Lust & Money/RichardBuckner- Poor Old Tom/Kim Richey - First Light/Timothy Bracken - Turnin`Blue/Victoria Williams - Drunkard`s Harmony/Dave Alvin - On My WayDowntown/Joe Ely - Put Down The Gun/Todd Snider - Travelin`Light/JamesMcMurtry - Old Part of Town/Ronny Elliott - Horse & Crow/MaryBattiata - Paradise, Etc./Last Train Home - Baltimore/Amy Rigby -Beautiful Grind/Will Kimbrough - Moves Me Deeply/Pieta Brown -Spell OfWheels/Gurf Morlix - Evening Raga/Amilia K Spicer - Never ComingHome/Jesse DeNatale - I Hear Your Voice/Claire Holley -Two Angels/Peter Mulvey - Hidden Love/Gary Heffern - I Shook HisHand/Timothy Bracken/The Kennedy`s - Great Big World/Chris Gaffney-Zero Hour/Western Electric - When You Find Out/Brindley Brothers -Oldest Story In The World/Steve Wynn - Million Miles Away/BradRice -Something`s Coming/Mark Mulcahy - Small Town Spree/John Prine -SpaceMonkey/Steven Jackson - Crooked Mile/Bill Kirchen - This Town`s ARiot/Mike Martt - Wake-up Call/Kevn Kinney - Walk In TheWoods/MarvinEtzioni - Old Blue Car/Jeffrey Foucault - Entella Hotel/Peter Case-Beyond the Blues (live) (Hungry For Music)
*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