Archive for the ‘Album Reviews’ Category

“Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs Shel Silverstein” (Various Artists) Sugar Hill

“Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute to the Songs Shel Silverstein” (Various Artists) Sugar Hill

You never know what to expect with a tribute album.  They have a tendency to be very hit and miss.  Often, the biggest downfalls are that the songs don’t sound all that different from the original and they just aren’t quite as good.  While there are some songs on this album that don’t add too […]

Roland White “I Wasn’t Born to Rock ‘n Roll” Tompkins Square

Roland White “I Wasn’t Born to Rock ‘n Roll” Tompkins Square

It took thirty-four years for “I Wasn’t Born to Rock ‘n Roll” to be reissued on cd, and we should be thankful to Tompkins Square for seeking out lost treasures like this. Roland White may not be as immediately recognizable outside of bluegrass circles as names like Bill Monroe or Lester Flatt, but he has […]

John Prine – In Person & On Stage – (Oh Boy Records)

John Prine – In Person & On Stage – (Oh Boy Records)

John Prine is a national treasure. No one writes and sings quite like he does. His wry, poetic genius spills over with the precise amount of irreverence needed to pull his fans through hard times. One line can be the funniest thing in the world, followed by a quietly heartbreaking image. His smiling voice, especially […]

Declan McGarry – Self-Titled Debut – (LT Records)

Declan McGarry – Self-Titled Debut – (LT Records)

Declan McGarry is obsessed with summertime and being seventeen again. That’s what you might think on on the opening “Summer Heat” and subsequent songs like “Seventeen” and “Summers of My Life.” But hold on. This 25-year-old Canadian who hails from Winnipeg — hometown of the legendary Neil Young and an early influence — has much […]

Willie Nelson “Country Music” Rounder

Willie Nelson “Country Music” Rounder

“This is my definition of real country music.”  That’s what Willie Nelson says about his new album, and, with that in mind, it’s interesting that he chooses to close the album with “Nobody’s Fault but Mine” – which comes from the blues tradition, rather than country.  It was the only song that Willie added to […]

Jim Lauderdale – Patchwork River – (Thirty Tigers)

Jim Lauderdale – Patchwork River – (Thirty Tigers)

Jim Lauderdale is a musician’s musician, an artist’s artist, a songwriter’s songwriter. In short, he’s not a household name. That is unless your household contains music by Elvis Costello (Lauderdale sang all of the harmony vocals on Costello’s superb Secret, Profane and Sugarcane from 2009), Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Shelby Lynne, John Mayall, George Strait, […]

Derek Hoke – Goodbye Rock ‘N’ Roll (Electric Western Records)

Derek Hoke – Goodbye Rock ‘N’ Roll (Electric Western Records)

Like any good realist, Derek Hoke knows you can’t be a rocker forever — it’s painful to watch (e.g., The Stones, The Who, Aerosmith). But good country and roots artists — like whiskey and leather boots — only seem to get better with age. The title track opens this debut with a playfully bittersweet sayonara […]

The Reverend John DeLore – Ode to an American Urn – (Independent)

The Reverend John DeLore – Ode to an American Urn – (Independent)

What does it mean when an unsigned artist releases an album whose songwriting utterly outshines those of the established and elite, arena-filling Nashville mega-stars? It means big labels need to open their eyes because there’s a plethora of real talent out there — you just have to know where to look. Like Brooklyn, NY. When […]

Sarah Jaffe – “Suburban Nature”

Sarah Jaffe – “Suburban Nature”

Sarah Jaffe is easily a charmed singer/songwriter. Her obvious talent draws you in and takes care of you. Nurturing melodies and charming deliveries float effortlessly throughout the entirety of Sarah’s newest, “Suburban Nature.” Rarely is there an album that makes one feel as if they are in the studio with the artists. Experiencing intimately ideas […]

The Sadies "Darker Circles"

The Sadies "Darker Circles"

Darker Circles, possibly alluding to an even increased lack of sleep, is what seems to be afoot in the methodically constructed new album by The Sadies. The obvious hard work rings noticeably down to the bone, and at first listen you can tell that these Alt Country Rockers worked long and hard on this short […]

Johnny Gimble – Celebrating With Friends – CMH Records

Johnny Gimble – Celebrating With Friends – CMH Records

Some music is simply meant to make you feel good. Western swing certainly does that, and Johnny Gimble, one of the genre’s fiddle and mandolin virtuosos, is still swingin’ at 84. Celebrating With Friends is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and set your boots to tappin’. The consummate sideman, Texas-native Gimble is […]

Johnny Cash "American VI: Ain't No Grave" Review

Johnny Cash "American VI: Ain't No Grave" Review

Gone, but certainly not forgotten. Three days before what would have been his 78th birthday, Lost Highway Records released the last part of the “American Recordings” sessions between Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin. It’s the final Cash album to be released. “American VI: Ain’t No Grave” is dark, mysterious and, honestly, flat-out morbid; but hey, […]

Great American Taxi “Reckless Habits” Thirty Tigers

Great American Taxi “Reckless Habits” Thirty Tigers

Listening to the band’s second release, it is no wonder why Great American Taxi has become a favorite on the jam band circuit, and it’s not because they happen to be led by Leftover Salmon frontman Vince Herman (Although, I’m sure that doesn’t hurt.).  These guys play with skill and an infectious energy that deserves […]

Review: Sidewalk Dave – “Gold Liquid Mischief” (Sidewalk Dave)

Review: Sidewalk Dave – “Gold Liquid Mischief” (Sidewalk Dave)

Sophomore efforts are often notoriously inferior to a band’s successful debut (think Spin Doctors, Georgia Satellites, Hootie and the Blowfish). Only the very best artists avoid the Sophomore Slump, the dreaded second album, by releasing a more compelling effort than the first. Sidewalk Dave have grabbed that old albatross by the throat and throttled it […]