Archive 2006 -3

News Archive 2005
News Archive 2006 - 1
News Archive 2006 - 2
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"In the mirror", considered one of 2003´s best albums by the Spanish media, was Ainara LeGardon´s solo debut, featuring Chris Eckman (The Walkabouts) on production duties and, among other guest musicians, Joe Skyward (Posies, Sunny Day Real Estate, The Walkabouts) on bass. It was released in Spain by Winslow Lab and distributed by Dock. Summer of 2004 saw the re-release of this record focused on the international market.

After extensive touring all over Spain (where she opened for Thalia Zedek, Tara Jane O´Neil, Dayna Kurtz, Chris Eckman and Karate), and also in France, Germany (supporting The Walkabouts), Belgium and Holland, her second album,     "Each Day a Lie", was released past April.  Also produced by Chris Eckman, it was recorded at Estudio Brazil in Madrid (Feb-March 2005). Guest  musicians include several artists from the Spanish independent scene, and Al DeLoner from the acclaimed Norwegian band Midnight Choir.

The record has been received with excellent reviews by musical magazines all over Europe (Rock de Lux, Mondo Sonoro, Muzikalia, Bad Magazine, Undertoner, Fomp, Bokson, etc), as well as the most known Spanish diaries (El País, El Mundo, La Vanguardia, etc).
Anne McCues second album for Messenger Records, which follows 2004`s enthusiastically received Roll, represents an extraordinary leap made by an already impressive talent. It goes beyond affecting songs and inspired playing and singing, and creates its own world. The album is once again co-produced by Dusty Wakeman (Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam) and McCue at Mad Dog Studios in Burbank. Koala Motel finds the Australian-born, Los Angeles-based writer/singer/guitarist surrounded by the estimable rhythm section of bassist Wakeman and drummer Dave Raven, with keyboardist Carl Byron completing the lineup. This group effort from four simpatico musicians is further enhanced by strategic vocal contributions from Lucinda Williams, John Doe, Jim Lauderdale and Heart`s Nancy Wilson (who also plays mandolin on one track.) (Messenger Records)
...The producer of Less and Less, Alan Weatherhead, who has also worked with Cracker and Sparklehorse, somehow managed to eke every single last drop of energy, subtle nuance and simple brilliance out of this band. There are just as many stark ballads on Less and Less as there are barn burning guitar rockers. The album starts with the most frantic and frenetic song, "Stolen Blues," which is a great segue from their past material in to their new stuff, as it hits both sides of the spectrum, from the two guitar rock peaks to the quieter, more sensitive valleys. And that's not to say that the valleys are low points. Ballads such as the like titled "You & Them" and "You & Me" are exercises in restrained and understated beauty, showing there's much more to Little Princes than wailing guitars....
Wow! Last we heard from The Beltways it was another decade and we're heading into the second half of this one, but they are back with a strong, eclectic mix of just downright wickedly cool music. Leading off this 12 track is "Ellen I Was Only..." which, if you heard it blind, you'd swear it was Paul Collins' Beat. Next up is the honky-tonkin' "Phone Talking Woman" followed by the sing-a-along Stones-cum-rootsy-alt-country-bar-pop of "Living Room." What follows is a splendourous mix of varying music styles that all are woven and matched up into one neat, literally and figuratively, album. "The Beltways skillfully combines catchy pop tunes with hard-driving rhythms and a slightly rootsy sound for great results" [Rock Beat International]. Mixing power pop, blues-rock, honky-tonkin' alt-country rock and roots rock, The Beltways pull off 'the hard to imagine' with aplomb, confidence and style.

— Bruce Brodeen, Not Lame Recording Company, July 2006
...Like their last album, Route 23, this one contains two fantastic instrumentals that showcase the band's thoughtful interplay and impressive fingerwork-- "Savoy Special" goes for speed, while "Brice's Crossroads" is quiet, almost meditative, centered on trembling mandolin lines. Main songwriter Dave Wilson has penned a fine set for the band this time out, and his voice has the warm nasality needed to get his prison and mining narratives off the ground. Chugging numbers like "Company Blues" and "Coming Home" are fun, but the ballads are the album's meat...
Andy McAllister's heart grew three sizes after landing in Austin, TX. His ears were washed with local heroes Daniel Johnston and Townes Van Zandt, and he soon filled his nights romancing downtrodden country songs into an ill working 4-track. After celebrating his two-year anniversary of unemployment, McAllister tucked his tail and returned to his native Seattle where he connected with jack-of-all-trades Jordan Walton.

Engineering recordings for the likes of Damien Jurado and Denison Witmer as well as playing sessions with Bosque Brown, Walton brought his own take on housegrown country - adding pedal steel, banjo, bells and omnichord.  The two hit it off and quickly began recording underneath a motorcycle repair shop in the summer of 2005.  With support from friends Ben Strehle (keys - Blessed Light/Honey Hush) as well as James van Leuven (drums - Plan B), they emerged with their first full-length Don't You Miss Yourself.  They handed the reels over to producer/engineer Phil Ek (The Shins' Chutes Too Narrow) to mix at Avast Studios, and are now awaiting its release.

Most recently, they enlisted the help of multi-instrumentalist April Sather (Wurlitzer, trumpet, melodica) and drummer Nathanael Butler to bring their sound to a live setting.  They took their name from the stark characters captured by cinematographer Conrad Hall and the big skies of western film director John Ford. Crafting cold tales to warm the heart, Conrad Ford is a soundtrack for the lonesome.  ( Seven Angels On A Bicycle is the first solo effort from Carrie Rodriguez, who, up until this time, had shared billing with her mentor Chip Taylor on several previously well received records. And while this is a solo release, she hasn`t completely separated herself from Taylor, with whom she co-produced and co-wrote many of the songs. The tunes range from moody Americana with ethereal Daniel Lanois-like production touches to lively bluegrass and old-timey folk, showcasing her rich fiddle playing and earthy voice. `I Don`t Want To Play House Anymore` and `50s French Movie` find a dirtier rock groove working to the record`s advantage. The disc concludes with the moving `St. Peter`s`; which emotes some of the raw honesty of a Lucinda song.
-- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Back Porch/Train Wreck)
Rock energy coexists with old-time mountain soul. Spooky backwoods melodies combine with hip hard-hitting beats. Raw, searing blues riffs intermingle with high heavenly vocals. Sound good? Here`s the catch: no electricity. No drums. Meet Crooked Still, the hot young alternative bluegrass group on a mission to bend the boundaries of traditional music. Four very unique musical personalities merge to form Crooked Still. Aoife O`Donovan`s refined, sultry vocals float over Rushad Eggleston`s rumbling cello riffs, Dr. Gregory Liszt`s futuristic four-finger banjo rolls and Corey Dimario`s pulsing bass lines. The resulting acoustic fusion can warp a traditional American tune to the brink of unrecognizability without sacrificing the authenticity of the original sources.
(Signature Sounds)
The Drams are three-fifths of a band formerly known as Slobberbone. Their debut album, Jubilee Dive, is jam packed with brawny, spirited, hands-in-the-air rockers. These are stirring anthems and harrowing ventures which explore a culture sapped by hollow heroes, soul-killing and high-tech crapola. The Drams careen out of Texas with Jubilee Dive - a welcome jolt of rock `n` roll. 
(New West)
Produced in Nashville by bluegrass and folk veteran Tim O`Brien and co-produced, as was their last disc, by Grammy award winning engineer and producer Gary Paczosa, the songs on Migrations reflect The Duhks` growing experience, group maturity, and sense of self. That growth is reflected in the upbeat, anthemic first single, `Out of the Rain,` and in the surprising gospel song `Moses, Don` Get Lost,` which, in its last of several twists, finds the Duhks` working quintet vocal harmonies out of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Georgia sea Island traditions. Fiery instrumentals reflect the same knack for artfully embellished simplicity, and the band`s unflinching unity. (Sugar Hill)
Gaucho Gil is a mythological, tragic but heroic figure in the struggle against injustices in Argentina. His legend has grown so large that the humble person asks his spirit to work as an intermediary to God. Los Angeles music vet Jerry Giddens (Walking Wounded), along with producer Dusty Wakeman, offer up a song cycle -- mostly written or co-written by Giddens -- dedicated to this legendary figure. Gidden's emotive vocals provide a gravitas to the stories of a man who gave of himself to help other. Dale Daniels, Chris Lawrence, Luis Ruiz, and Michal Packard provide excellent support, creating a twangy, roosty, country blend that draws on the storytelling cowboy tradition without succumbing to its nostalgic lure. Together they tell a compelling legend that has gone largely unheard north of the equator. (Sputnik)
The Evening Call the first CD of all original material in over four years. His 23rd album in a nearly 30 year career is one of the most realized creations to date, mixing rough country, sweet folk, dark blues and slow grooves. Recorded in Memphis with long time co-producer and sideman Bo Ramsey, The Evening Call is great collection of heartfelt and powerful songs. Utne calls Greg Brown, "One of the truly great musicians of our time. His quirky profound songs and rootsy musicianship makes him the peer of Lucinda Williams, U2, Johnny Cash..."
(Red House Records)
...It’s time to add another act, Ghost Buffalo, to the long line of Denver alt-country heroes. More traditional alt-country – or country-rock as they used to call it – than most of its hometown neighbors, Ghost Buffalo saddles up the alt-country ponies, but makes no bones about its love for rock’n’roll. Led by singer/guitarist Marie Litton, who sports a delivery that’s something like a hip and aware twist on Emmylou Harris’ classic pipes, Ghost Buffalo wraps up all the morose longing, energetic abandon and pop-friendly hooks of its country-rock brethren in Litton’s vocals alone. Demonstrating the sort of range that should make her a favorite of everyone from grumpy No Depression hard-liners to casual alt-country pop heads, Litton invests Ghost Buffalo with a slew of charms. With a grasp on everything from torch-ballad soul (“Pick Me Up”)and a rocker’s poise and confidence (“Crawl”) to a dyed-in-the-wool country crooner (“Hell Here” and “Ruin Everything”), Litton’s vocals add an easy immediacy none of her Colorado cow-punk contemporaries can match...
Autographed! Workbench Songs, the 2006 album from the legendary Guy Clark is his tenth studio recording and a continuation in the evolution of his mastery of song and craft. The man who gave us L.A. Freeway, Desperados Waiting For a Train, Old No. 1,That Old Time Feeling and The Randall Knife, has delivered another song collection every bit as timeless as the best music of his career. (Dualtone)

Large River Music:
For the Living of These Days finds Kate Campbell returning to the rich, deep wells that have sustained her musical journey since 1995`s Songs from the Levee. An abiding fascination with storytelling, race, religion, history and the day-to-day happenings of people`s lives continue to fuel Kate`s creative pursuits on this collection. Similarly, an ongoing love affair with the musical traditions and folkways of her native South led her to once again record at the hallowed Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and choose the legendary Spooner Oldham as her musical partner for the project. (Large River Music)
Starting in the early '70s, Kinky and his band, The Texas Jewboys, broke out of the stifling, often prejudiced, Nashville mold. Last Of The Jewish Cowboys: The Best Of Kinky Friedman, a mixture of live and studio recordings, includes many of his controversial hits, such as "Asshole From El Paso," "Sold American" and "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore. Tracks:Sold American/Before All Hell Breaks Loose/The Ballad of Charles Whitman/Waitret, Please, Waitret/Get Your Biscuits In The Oven & Your Buns In The Bed/Asshole From El Paso/People Who Read People Magazine/Something's Wrong With The Beaver/We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To You/Homo Erectus/Ride 'Em Jewboy/The Take-It-Easy Trailer Park/Rock And Roll Across The USA/Ol' Ben Lucas/They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore.(Shout! Factory)
Meet me at the monument to Big Dog. So proclaimed Dan Stuart to the scattered members of Green On Red: Chuck Prophet, Chris Cacavas and Jack Waterson. Using the cover of a 2005 anniversary celebration of a fashionable hotel in Tucson Arizona, Green On Red gathered at the Rialto Theater to honor the memory of a fallen comrade, drummer Alex MacNicol. Sharing the stage for the first time in nearly two decades, Green On Red played an emotional set of sloppy brilliance, meandering into territory best left to those who have climbed the mountain and talked to the elephant. (Brink)
With great surprise and pleasure, The Killer still has the verve that made him so scary to parents across the country. Performing duets with Jerry Lee Lewis on Last Man Standing are: 
Jimmy Page - Rock and Roll
B.B. King - Before The Night Is Over
Bruce Springsteen - Pink Cadillac
Mick Jagger & Ronnie Wood - Evening Gown
Neil Young -You Don`t Have To Go
Robbie Robertson -Twilight
John Fogerty -Travelin` Band
Keith Richards -That Kind of Fool
Ringo Starr -Sweet Little Sixteen
Rod Stewart - What`s Made Milwaukee Famous
Toby Keith - Old Glory
Eric Clapton -Trouble In Mind
George Jones - Don`t Be Ashamed of Your Age
Willie Nelson - A Couple More Years
Buddy Guy - Hadacohl Boogie
Don Henley - That`s What Makes The Irish Heart Beat
Kris Kristofferson - The Pilgrim: Chapter 33
Kid Rock - Honky Tonk Woman
Little Richard - I Saw Her Standing There
Merle Haggard -Just-a-Bummin` Around
Delaney Bramlett - Lost Highway. (Shangri-La Entertainment)
Mono is the Lonesome Brothers 6th record, and couldn`t be more aptly named. The reason being that only one `fatass` mic was used to capture this live recording. Clearly it was a heck of a mic `cause every element of this acoustic quintet`s set is presented with depth and clarity. Monophonic source, monophonic singularly terrific record with no tricks or overdubbing. When employing this process you better have tight material though. And with both Ray Mason and Jim Armenti trading tunes it`s immediately apparent there`s not a lemon between `em in this 12 song collection of folksy Americana. Well, 13 if you count the hidden bonus track, "The Bush Doctor", a waltz-y sing-a-long about `shrubbery` (`Yeah, right!`) and other political concerns.
-- Robinson, Miles Of Music (Captivating Music)
Lucas third full-length release, is a departure into edgier indie-pop territory than on his previous recordings -- 2005s You Win Again and 2004s Little Town. On the new record, the band (Nick on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Chris Giambelluca on bass and Paul Ellis on drums) and a bunch of notable guests illustrate what really makes Luca tick: hook-heavy songwriting, stellar musicianship and that special desert-noir that infuses their previous work. Dreamin cowboy Jon Rauhouse (Neko Case) adds his trademark pedal steel flights of fancy to several tracks; rootsy indie-rocker M Ward sits in on piano and guitar on others. Also adding magic to the mix are Tucson compatriots Joey Burns and John Convertino (Calexico) and Howe Gelb (Giant Sand); guitar badass Tony Furtado, and BR549 whiz-kid Chris Scruggs.All wrapped up and tied with a bow at home base, Wavelab Studio. (Funzalo Records)
Here’s a big shout out to my good buddy Bob Mitchell who turned me on to Micky and the Motorcars back in late 2004. (Bob, if you’re reading this, thanks for all the great music! I appreciate it). Bob was working the band to Americana radio for the Smith Entertainment folks and I've always respected his musical tastes and the label always seemed to put out great music (see Keith Gattis, Randy Rogers, and Stoney LaRue just to name a few). So when the Motorcars record hit my desk (their sophomore release entitled "Ain’t In It for the Money"), I ripped it open, headed out to the truck, popped it in the CD player, and hit the road. I should mention that I always do my best listening when driving; if an album hits me while I’m behind the wheel, usually it’s a keeper. And when working in radio, you should always remember that good car music is typically good radio music and that’s just the way it is...or so I believe.

So there I am cruising in the mountains with the radio cranked up to the appropriate Spinal Tap level of "11", listening to Micky and the boys and thoroughly enjoying their straight ahead brand of Texas country rock. Then it hits me. I’m hearing something familiar in these guys but I can’t quite put my finger on it...but wait...I’ve got it!!!...Reckless Kelly...these guys sure do sound like Reckless Kelly. So I grab the CD case, rip out the liner notes and start scanning through looking for special thanks, guest musicians, etc...all while keeping ol’ Black Beauty (that’s my truck) between the white and yellow lines. (If this dangerous practice of driving and reading sounds familiar to some readers, please see my David Rodriguez review from earlier this year...and kids please don’t try this at home). Immediately I find the name I’m looking for...Braun. Yep I was right...I know this had to have...but wait this isn’t Cody and Willy...this is Micky and Gary...Braun...same last names as the Reckless fellas but with just a touch more rock with a little less polish...and yet still solid all the way through. Very interesting. Turns out that Micky and Gary and Cody and Willy share more than a last name...they share a family musical history and these four brothers from Stanley, Idaho are starting to make a name for themselves. Cody and Willy have Reckless Kelly in high gear after two successful releases on Sugar Hill records and now Micky and Gary and the rest of the Motorcars are back with their third release "Careless", as they look to further build on their own rising star. Looks like it’s time to saddle up Black Beauty and go for a spin...let’s check out the newest musical fare from Micky and the Motorcars.
"Careless" opens with the album’s title track written by lead guitar player Joseph Deeb. The music is driving, the hooks are clear, and the sound is tight. Deeb’s guitar grinds throughout while Mark McCoy on bass, Shane Vannerson on drums, and Gary Braun on guitar hold down the rhythm. Front man Micky Braun carries the vocals with a touch of swagger and a slight growl on this love-lost rocker. Micky and the Motorcars aren’t trying to re-invent the alt. country wheel; they just play it straight from the hip and the opening cut sets the tone for the rest of the album’s twelve tracks. This is, as I’ve mentioned before, no fuss, straight ahead Texas country rock.

On track two, we get a little more of the country feel on the tune "Carolina Morning" written by Pinto Bennett, another songwriter from the Braun brothers’ home state of Idaho. For my tastes this is one of the album’s strongest tracks and it features the steel guitar work of one of the Lone Star state’s finest musicians, Mr. Lloyd Maines. "Carolina Morning" is another song from the broken heart category, but as in the preceding cut, Micky and the Motorcars take heart break and turn it into a steel guitar driven road trip song. And when the band finally slows it down a bit, they don’t miss a step as evident by two of the album’s moodier cuts, "Desperation", written by Micky’s older brother Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly fame and on Micky’s own song "Long and Lonely Highway" which comes along at the album’s midpoint. "Highway" is without a doubt the most poignant song on this new collection, as the electric guitars are toned down and replaced by an acoustic arrangement and guest appearances by Earl Poole Ball on piano and Mickey Raphael of Willie Nelson’s band on harmonica.

The rest of the album pretty much holds to form with soaring guitars, a strong back beat, and Micky’s vocals rolling out over the Texas hills. Other highlights include Micky’s "Louisiana Baby" and nice version of Kip Attaway’s "Rocksprings to Cheyenne". The only real disappointment is the tune "Pretty" as the lyrics just seem to fall short and the rock n roll seems more suited for a college frat party. That said...the album doesn’t disappoint, but it doesn’t break any new ground either. The reason we keep driving the familiar back roads is because they’re just that...familiar. "Careless" will please old fans and won’t disappoint new listeners just coming on board. As I turn for home and my truck rumbles up the drive, the last guitar chord fades out, the lights go down, and the motor lies quiet. The new release from Micky and the Motorcars might not drive away your heartache, but an hour on the highway with these twelve songs might just do you some good.
Old Crow Medicine Show is a young five piece rollicking, punkified old-time acoustic band, combining the earliest traditions of jug band and travelling shows, back porches and dance halls, southern Appalachian string music and Memphis blues. Big Iron World, produced by David Rawlings, is the sophomore collection of songs by Old Crow Medicine Show, who once again dive headlong into the musical past and return with a few time-tested themes for the present. These themes spring from the hardest hitting notes of Americas music vernacular, tapped from sources deep in the ground but refined and redefined by fresh new voices. Work Songs, Play Songs, Blues Songs, Drug Songs, Protest Songs, Killin Songs, Love Songs, and more than a few songs about Spiritual Renewal. (Nettwerk)
Children of Coal Miners, Southern Preachers and Mormon Immigrants don't usually make for good rock music candidates, but in the case of Palodine they bring with them an underlying power and intensity which tests the boundaries of dark American music. Before meeting each other, guitarist Michael Aryn and singer Katrina Whitney had virtually parallel music experiences. Both had dabbled in shoegazer, gothic, experimental, folk and country projects. When they began playing together, their musical kinship became readily apparent and their influences quickly formed into their own unique sound. They met Jason Brooks only a few months later whose southern spirit and ability to play multiple instruments as well as sing harmony was exactly what was needed to complete their vision. Within a few months of forming, enough material had been written for a full-length record and they began laying down material on an archaic 8-track analogue recorder. They self-produced and mixed the record on an unheated floating barge in Seattle's Lake Union during one of the coldest weeks in the city's history. Alternating in mood from fierce to somber, Desolate Son is an edgy and provocative portrayal of violence, remorse, and final words. (myspace/Palodine)
Meadow the 8th full-length from Richard Buckner was recorded in and around Brooklyn, NY, the album marks the auspicious reunion of Buckner and J.D. Foster, producer of Buckner classics Since, Devotion + Doubt and Impasse. The album was recorded in rather Spartan environments -- Buckner’s apartment, JD`s hallway and an old pencil factory. Meadow soars and swells around Buckner`s signature trifecta of enigmatic poetics, swirling melodies, and that voice -- a soothing drawl that`s somehow haunting and buoyant all at once. The melodies are fleshed out by a band that reads like an all-star line-up: Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices, Cobre Verde, solo); Kevin March (GBV, Those Bastard Souls, Dambuilders); JD Foster, and Steven Goulding (Mekons, Gram Parker, Waco Brothers). Doug Gillard’s guitar work is especially poignant, as he and Buckner play off one another beautifully to add an element to the recordings that is refreshing and new. (Merge)
Ladies and gents, steel your beings for the twin guitar sensory assault of Canada`s masters of all things rock, surf, country, psychedelic, and otherwise on their first ever live album -- two discs featuring over 40 tracks! Recorded by none other than Steve Albini on soft, supple analog two-inch tape! Featuring a cavalcade of melodious compatriots such as Neko Case, Gary Louris of The Jayhawks, Jon Spencer, Garth Hudson of The Band, Jon Langford, Kelly Hogan, and more or less The Sadies` entire immediate family. (Yep Roc)
News Archive 2005
News Archive 2006 -1
News Archive 2006 - 2
News Archive 2006 - 3
*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