Archive for the ‘Album Reviews’ Category

Album Review: Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers – “Rare Bird Alert” (Rounder)

Album Review: Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers – “Rare Bird Alert” (Rounder)

Yes. That Steve Martin. Many of you may have seen Steve play the banjo on Saturday Night Live or have heard it on his comedy albums, although these were novelty performances at best. Rare Bird Alert is not a novelty. After winning a Grammy for best bluegrass album in 2010 for The Crow: New Songs […]

Album Review: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – “Here We Rest” (Lightning Rod)

Album Review: Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – “Here We Rest” (Lightning Rod)

Jason Isbell‘s solo debut, “Sirens of the Ditch,”  was a record that was four years in the making, recorded when Isbell’s schedule with Drive-by Truckers would allow, and it did feel like a bit more of a patchwork than Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s eponymous 2009 release, all of which was recorded with just […]

Album Review: Buried Beds – “Tremble The Sails”

Album Review: Buried Beds – “Tremble The Sails”

Over the past few years the airwaves have been flooded with indie rock duets. The partition keeping the distinctive qualities of each act apart has blurred as the indie-folk genre has become increasingly popular amongst television commercials. I find with many of these duets, the band creates an intriguing sound that is worthy of a […]

Album Review: Andy Friedman – “Laserbeams and Dreams” (City Salvage)

Album Review: Andy Friedman – “Laserbeams and Dreams” (City Salvage)

Rare is the album that grabs you from the start, from the first plucked notes, the initial poetic sentence, with promises of deeply felt stories and engaging tunes. This album is one of those, and like the proverbial metaphoric onion, the layers are many. Laserbeams and Dreams, Andy Friedman‘s third studio release, opens with the […]

Album Review: Over the Rhine – “The Long Surrender” – (Great Speckled Dog)

Album Review: Over the Rhine – “The Long Surrender” – (Great Speckled Dog)

Karin Bergquist (half of the husband/wife duo at the core of Over the Rhine since 1991) could sing a grocery list and make it compelling, so just imagine her smoldering vocals and unique phrasing on such lines as “I sing the bebop apocalypse/Lean into you, God’s hands on my hips/Grip the midnight microphone/Steel every cell […]

Album Review: Amos Lee — “Mission Bell” — (Blue Note)

Album Review: Amos Lee — “Mission Bell” — (Blue Note)

Amos Lee is one of those rare artists possessing both a soulful and a gifted voice. Nothing against Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson (two of our very favorites), but when engaged in duets with Lee (which they are on Mission Bell) their vocals pale in comparison — he’s just that good. Lee sets the tone […]

Album Review: Kill County – “The Year of Getting By”

Album Review: Kill County – “The Year of Getting By”

It doesn’t get much more “stripped down” than Kill County, from the sparse arrangements to the creaking chairs and boots scraping on wooden floors in the quiet song intros. The Year of Getting By, the band’s second release, was recorded in two weeks at a friend’s house in Lincoln, Nebraska, and is a minimalist work […]

Album Review: The Essential Highwaymen – (Columbia)

Album Review: The Essential Highwaymen – (Columbia)

Four Big Guns If one were to parse the entire pantheon of country music heroes for a quartet that embodies all that is great and good in country music, it would be hard to imagine a line-up more epic than Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. It was with this notion in […]

Album Review: Young Circles – “Bones” – (Independent)

Album Review: Young Circles – “Bones” – (Independent)

Young Circles are playing Art Basel in Miami tonight (Dec. 4th). Those of you who are planning to go or are at the festival already must know that I am swallowing a huge amount of jealousy to urge you to see this band at the White Room. I’ll be there in spirit — that crazy […]

Album Review: The Sunshine Factory – “Sugar” – (Independent)

Album Review: The Sunshine Factory – “Sugar” – (Independent)

The Sunshine Factory’s new EP, Sugar, is just the thing I have been looking for. I’ll admit it, I’ve been disenchanted with a good bit of my music lately. Sugar is a much-needed shot in the arm that must be cranked up loud to get the full heady, narcotic effect. Blending 60’s psychedelia with early […]

Album Review: Bastard Lovechild of Rock n’ Roll – “Bim Bom” (Self Released)

Album Review: Bastard Lovechild of Rock n’ Roll – “Bim Bom” (Self Released)

Bastard Lovechild of Rock n’ Roll (BLORR) are the humbuckin’ pickups on an old reliable Telecaster and the bottleneck sliding up and down the fretboard. But they’re also the melancholy chords that take you back to a certain summer in a certain secret garden with a certain someone you lost long ago. Oh, and this […]

Album Review: Way Yes – “Herringbone” – (Independent)

Album Review: Way Yes – “Herringbone” – (Independent)

By Lindsey Austin Herringbone, the debut EP by Way Yes is just waiting for the goofy impromptu dance parties that sometimes happen when long-missed friends reunite for the holidays. Glenn Davis and Travis Hall hail from Columbus, Ohio and refuse to be anything but true to their weirdo selves in their self-released EP. Way Yes […]

Charlie Louvin: The Battles Rage On

Charlie Louvin: The Battles Rage On

New Album The Battles Rage On — Interview with the Legend Himself — Music Video for “Weapon of Prayer” A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the longest living member of the Grand Old Opry, Charlie Louvin is a true legend of country music. His work has influenced The Beatles, Gram Parsons, […]

Album Review: Led to Sea – “Into the Darkening Sky” – (Eleven Records)

Album Review: Led to Sea – “Into the Darkening Sky” – (Eleven Records)

From the opening pizzicato notes of “Dark Like Night,” Seattle-based violist/vocalist L. Alex Guy (Led to Sea is her solo project) guides us to a very organic world full of icy skies, rocky shores, rust, forests, and mountain streams heeding the the ocean’s call. Guy’s vocals are captivating — and she plays a mean glockenspiel. […]