Arkansas Dave’s debut album features a variety of influences including blues, rock and indie and features 13 tracks. The self-taught musician recorded the album in only eight days at Muscle Shoals’ infamous Fame Studios where legendary musicians such as Will McFarlane, Clayton Ivey and Bob Wray all recorded music.
Arkansas Dave may be releasing his debut record but he’s no stranger to the performing scene, having performed on several stages ranging from Austin to overseas in Hamburg, Germany. He’ll be hitting the road again in support of his newest effort, starting out in Little Rock, Ark. on Feb. 6. His late winter tour with several spring and early summer tour dates will conclude on June 22 in Switzerland. Top festivals he’s billed on include the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, Miss.
It’s a romantic cliché to find an escape in music and the blues, but living that life is a different matter. Ask Arkansas Dave about growing up in a broken home, with fundamental Christianity on one side, and crippling drug-addiction on the other, and you can see in his eyes that this is no easy ride, and that at times music really was his only friend.
Chasing his dream of music, Dave played in bands, funding his music with a succession of jobs where he had to find his feet quickly – from busboy to assembly-worker in a trash-bag factory.
His wake up call came at the edge of a breakdown with a cataclysmic weekend epiphany. He headed home for a rare visit, and was persuaded to play a few songs to his family. The response he got from his grandfather sent his mind racing, only for him to find out the next week that his grandfather had died 24 hours later.
Determined to clean himself up, and sort his life, Arkansas Dave enrolled on an audio engineering course at Media Tech in Austin Texas, driving into town with a trailer loaded with all his possessions, ‘like something out of the Beverly Hillbillies’. And that’s where everything changed – the college was housed at that time in the famous Arlyn Studios, home to sessions from Willie Nelson, Neil Young and Ray Charles. Dave with his musical co-horts took the night shift at the studios – laying down tracks and learning the ropes.
A succession of bands followed, picking up a strong local following around Austin. The final part of his musical education saw Dave touring North America as a member of old bluesman Guitar Shorty’s band, where he learned ‘what it took to be a professional musician’
Fast forward to 2016 and Dave has written the album he’s always wanted to create – a wide ranging blues-rock based record that tells the story of his life, but resonates with all of us.
The project just needed one more ingredient, so enter the Swampers, the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. In a blistering eight-day recording session at Fame Studios the band laid down the backing tracks, and Dave returned to Arlyn to complete the vocals.
So the next chapter of Dave’s life is about to be written as he pulls his band together and takes his album out on the road – this time on a road that he’s building….
“A compact collection of cool, airy but caring songs about relationships in different stages of development or deterioration.” – Associated Press
“…intoxicating in an un-bummed-out Beck’s Sea Change sort of way.” – Paste
Today, singer-songwriter Josh Rouse releases Love In The Modern Age via Yep Roc Records.
Similar to his work on his album 1972 where he captured the aesthetics of a specific moment in time, Josh’s new album Love in the Modern Age takes inspiration from the sound and production of early 1980’s releases by The Blue Nile, The Style Council and Prefab Sprout. Also serving as inspiration were Roxy Music’s Avalon, Leonard Cohen’s Various Positions and I’m Your Man. Non-ironic touches like sax, handclaps, reverbed guitar, backing vocals and keyboards give the moody but infectious songs a New Romantic flair.
Brooklyn Vegan premiered the album track “Salton Sea,” along with an early demo of the song. Forbes premiered “Businessman,” calling the album “a sterling collection that is joyous, upbeat and, most importantly, feels completely authentic. …There is no retro gimmick to Love in the Modern Age. This is a masterful storyteller celebrating the nostalgia of his youth with his own feel.”
Josh Rouse has solidified his status as one of his generation’s most acclaimed songwriters in both the US and Europe, where he’s lived on and off since 2004. Spending the better part of a year touring behind his critically acclaimed eleventh album, The Embers of Time, Rouse was ready for a change. “Coming off such a heavy record, I wanted to try something different,” he explains. “I wanted to explore new sounds and write with a fresh backdrop.” Trading in his trusty acoustic guitar for a synthesizer, Love in the Modern Age still bears Rouse’s distinct fingerprints even as it pushes his limits and forges a bold new chapter more than twenty years into his celebrated career.
Josh Rouse will kick off his tour in Europe in April, followed by North America in May. Click HERE for a full list of European/North American dates.
Opening Dates for Jack Johnson and Playing Summer Camp, Mountain Jam, and Pickathon Festivals this Summer
“The lovechild of Mitch Hedberg and John Prine…”
– The Stranger
Portland, OR-based singer-songwriter John Craigie shared “Scarlet,” the lead single from his new full length Scarecrow. The completely analog album, out 4/21, was recorded live to a 2 inch tape, mastered to tape, and cut straight to be pressed to vinyl.
“These are songs written for last year’s No Rain, No Rose, but were cut from the album because they’re slower and softer in feel than the rest of that album,” Craigie explains. “They are sort of homeless songs, which is one reason why I used the name Scarecrow. They are songs that are out alone in a field.”
The Vinyl District shared “Scarlet,” along with an essay from Craigie about his love for vinyl. “I have always loved records as a whole,” he writes. “Even when I was a kid it was very important for me to hear the whole record, in order, from start to finish. I liked going through the journey, some songs good, some songs bad. Seeing where the artist would place the ‘hits’ vs. where they would place the deep cuts. What songs they would open with, and which songs they would close with.”
Craigie’s music is connecting with both audiences and various famous folks. Fellow troubadour Todd Snider notably hand-delivered a gift on-stage, and action hero Chuck Norris remarkably sent Craigie fan mail. Most notably, Craigie caught the attention of Jack Johnson, when his 2016 live LP Capricorn in Retrograde… Just Kidding… Live in Portland landed in Johnson’s car stereo during a California coastal road trip. Immediately becoming a fan, Jack reached out and Craigie soon found himself opening for him. This spring Craigie will play three amphitheater shows with Johnson. Other upcoming tour stops for Craigie include headlining shows in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and festival performances at Summer Camp, Mountain Jam, and Pickathon.
Craigie truly has a unique live performance; between nearly each song of the set, there’s a “bit” he’s written that thematically leads into the next track. This moved Seattle weekly The Stranger to dub him “the lovechild of John Prine and Mitch Hedberg.”
Craigie recently released his second live album LIVE – Opening for Steinbeck, a perfect example of his craft. Featuring his wry observational humor interwoven in both story and song, The Bootcalls the album “a prime example of how Craigie mixes comedic tales and his musical storytelling in his live shows.” Stream Live – Opening For Steinbeck on Spotify and Apple Music, or purchase the CD here.
Most people who know Phil Madeira know him as one of the most seasoned players in Nashville. Since his arrival in 1983, Madeira has seen success in a plethora of different ways. He has quietly released five solo critically-acclaimed records and has shared the stage with Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Leon Russell, and Jack White. If you can think of it, Phil Madeira has probably lived it; but that’s what most people don’t know about Phil Madeira – his own story – and he’s finally ready to tell it.Released on April 6, Providence is a rare look at the man behind the music, a chance for listeners to get to know Madeira’s own stories, after having spent decades helping other songwriters and musicians tell theirs. Click here to read Madeira’s interview with Rolling Stone Country + watch the video for “Gothenburg,” a song that celebrates his family’s immigrant experience.
Comprised of 10 songs, Providence gives listeners a closer look at Madeira’s life and the inner conflict of being raised in New England, yet feeling an undeniable attraction to the music of the South, “It’s an album full of love songs to where I’m from and where I’ve come to.” Songs like “Rich Man’s Town” reflect on his childhood in Barrington, a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island. Others, like “Dearest Companion” with the words “We’re Dixon and Mason, lost in translation. If love ain’t frustration, I don’t know what is,” make the connection between where he was raised and Nashville, his home of over 30 years.
Independently produced, the album is a complete change from anything he’s ever done, “I don’t know what happened, but I fell in love with piano again.” The record straddles his iconic Americana style and jazz, more specifically, a sixties jazz piano style. Made at Nashville’s Sound Emporium Studios, the live album features “three quarters” of The Red Dirt Boys, with Chris Donahue on bass, Brian Owens on drums, and Madeira providing lead vocals and piano. Will Kimbrough (also a Red Dirt Boy) lends guitar work on one songs, and jazz icon John Scofield adds guitar to another. Touches of brass and reeds round out the sound, but it all hinges on the trio of Madeira, Donohue, and Owens.
If Madeira has proven anything to the world, it’s his ability to bring people together in whatever capacity he’s working in. Though he didn’t intend on the “feel good” record having one overarching theme, he says the most important message is evident in the last track, “Gothenburg”, the Swedish city from which his maternal grandparents immigrated to America from. “It’s a reminder that most of us are immigrants. Most of us picked out a city and trusted that the community was going to embrace us, which is what Nashville has been to me.” Just like Nashville embraced Phil Madeira, Providence embraces the ultimate universal truth – we all have our differences but are, inherently, the same.<
As an instrumentalist, playing electric guitar, lap steel, accordion, dobro, or a Hammond B-3 with icons like Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Sixpence Pence None the Richer, Mavis Staples, and Garth Brooks — to name a few. As a producer, producing tracks for Keb’ Mo’, Emmylou, The Civil Wars, Humming People, The Band Perry, and the 2012 release of Americana Paul McCartney covers, Let Us In: Americana. As a songwriter, with a cut list that includes Alison Krauss, Amy Grant, Toby Keith, and The Civil Wars’ 2014 Grammy-winning single, “From This Valley.”
About Phil Madeira:
The last of three children, Madeira was born in Rhode Island to a Baptist minister and a church pianist. He’s lived and breathed music since he can remember, but that didn’t always coincide with his religious family. By high school, he had joined the school band and eventually began to write songs and dabble in piano. From then on, Madeira continued on his own path. He left Rhode Island for Taylor University, a conservative, religious school in small town Indiana, to study art. He continued to write and play songs in his free time, but everything changed when he met popular Christian guitar player Phil Keaggy. “When I met Phil, he said, ‘I think you’re gonna be in my band someday,’ and sure enough, three years later, I was playing with this guy.” He joined Keaggy’s band in 1976, but after recording just one record, the band broke up. Five years later, he made the move to Nashville and was immediately embraced by the Christian world, but always knew that he belonged elsewhere. In the early nineties, Buddy Miller hired him for studio work, which eventually led to him joining Miller’s band and finding his place in Americana.
In 2008, Madeira joined Emmylou’s famed band “The Red Dirt Boys”, a group with alumnus like Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Al Perkins, and Buddy Miller himself. During the first campaign for Barack Obama, he became disheartened with the political climate and approached Emmylou with an idea. “I went to Emmylou and said, “You know? I want to do kind of a Gospel record. I want to do a record that says God loves everybody.” Shortly after, the two began working on what would become Mercyland: Hymns for the Rest of Us. The critically-acclaimed album, released in 2012, featured an all-star track listing – beginning with The Civil Wars’ “From This Valley”. The album featured songs from the likes of Shawn Mullins, Buddy Miller, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mat Kearney, Amy Stroup, John Scofield, Emmylou, and Madeira himself. The same year, the Americana Association asked Madeira to perform Mercyland at the legendary Downtown Presbyterian Church, as part of the AmericanaFest. A second volume was released in January 2016, that included Americana staples Will Kimborough, The Wood Brothers, John Paul White, and The McCrary Sisters; as well as newcomers like The Lone Bellow and Humming People, among others.
Given the label, you’re probably expecting a blues album. There are traces of that here, but Long Tall Deb and Colin John move in several directions, sometimes blending genres within the song. But even when it is not clear what kind of music you re listening to, it’s a compelling even intoxicating mix. This is not entirely new for this pair as it follows their 2015 EP Streets of Mumbai, which similarly used a bedrock of blues and soul accented by rock n roll, surf, spaghetti western, noir jazz, pop, Americana, and world. The couple seems intent on musically reflecting their travels throughout America, Europe, India, and Nepal.
These are all original songs save the cover of Townes Van Zandt’s Lungs. The wide range of instrumentation primarily come from Colin John, with Deb singing. John (who also sings) is credited with all acoustic guitars, baritone guitar, baby sitar, lap steel and occasional bass and piano. Numerous guests add vocals and instruments throughout with Michael Landolt (Coldplay, O.A. R.) producing. The title is symbolic of change and transformation. You ll hear the familiar strains of a lap steel to kick off the album, a crunchy blues shuffle in On the Way Down, pop in the radio-friendly title track and resounding electric guitars in the quietly rendered Lungs.
According to Deb and John, they re mostly creating a series of sounds you might associate with a car radio. In other words, songs full of choruses that you want to sing along with. This is especially the case in I ll Be the One and Trouble. Remember Why (It s Good He s Gone) is rife with spaghetti western motifs. Pull the Pin begins quietly with spooky chords before Deb becomes balladeer, perhaps the album s best example of her pure, soulful vocals. Horizontal Lightning is surf music in slow motion. Lights That Shine is a slow-building tune, with another of their patented sing-along choruses.
Credit Long Tall Deb and Colin John for forging their own unique sound. It s refreshing and captivating.
’Widdershins’ is an arcane word meaning counterclockwise or against the sun’s course. It’s considered unlucky. Grant-Lee Phillips revives it to question our path in turbulent times.
Although in his own career he has made unexpected lurches from country to 80s covers, this ninth album since he parked the Grant-Lee Buffalo band name sees a return to what he’s best at: emotional rock songs that marry grandeur and raw punch. Working again as a trio (with bassist Lex Price and drummer Jerry Roe) and recording mostly live over four days in Nashville, he’s activated his strongest instincts of urgency and intensity. Whether it’s sideways social comment blazing with guitars (Unruly Mobs), or poignant self-reflection with undulating melodies (King Of Catastrophe), this showcases his soulful, vulnerable voice, which never fails to catch every colour in a song. Locating the sweet spot where spontaneity and polish meet, Widdershins swings in all the right directions.
North Carolina has produced its’ fair share of honey-tinged, golden-voiced, singer-songwriters.Going back a ways to the heydays of folks like James Taylor and Randy Travis to exploring the sounds of more contemporary performers like Ryan Adams and Tift Merritt, the Tar Heel State more than holds its’ own in resident songcraft.Furthermore, the state’s vibrant arts scene has brought performers from around the globe to prime stages from the mountains to the coast, giving North Carolina residents a first-hand glimpse at many of the masters at work while also giving aspiring performers a blueprint for success.
In recent years, a bevy of those hopeful artists from North Carolina have risen in stature.One such individual, Caleb Caudle, hailing from Winston-Salem, has been plucking at things for quite a while now.From playing tightly cramped coffeehouses with few engaged patrons to sweating out queries for opening gigs, Caudle has certainly paid his dues in pursuit of his musical calling.Recently, things have been gaining momentum.His work has gotten widespread praise from celebrated critics atRolling Stoneand NPR as well as comparisons to like-minded contemporaries such as Jason Isbell.He is also fresh off a gig on the acclaimed Cayamo Cruise, where he performed alongside folks like John Prine and Brandi Carlile.
Musically, the album finds Caudle directing things slightly away from the traditional country sounds he’s favored in the past.In its’ place are more multi-faceted sounds that span a variety of styles and arrangements.The unfussy melodies are still a bit twangy but come across a bit softer around the edges and more soulful than some of his previous recordings have allowed.The musicianship is all first rate and befitting of the all-star cast he’s assembled.Joshua Hedley’s fiddle, Megan McCormick’s electric guitar, and Brett Resnick’s pedal steel don’t overtake the songs, but rather subtly glide them to sweepingly inventive heights.There are also lush touches of cello and jazzy keyboard chords flowing in and out of the album tracks, adding even more of a rich sonic palette to the album tracks.
In other instances, Caudle mourns things and people long gone, surrenders to emotions, and hopes that some wayward souls find lost potential.Sung with a warmly inviting and sweetly textured voice, Caudle has recorded an album’s worth of songs that continue to grow in the soul upon each repeated listen.Though a single track may not stand out amongst the others, the songs’ overall messages and delivery will continue to resonate with both compassion and conviction.
Dougs new album has everything a country/ americana album needs. Small Montana towns,Heros Of The Lost Highway,Dirt Roads and Fence Lines Never Ending and of course Not Enough Whiskey.
It also has wonderful musicians, crinkly crackly gravelly voices and excellent production. Oh and the songwriting on Doug’s 11th album is high-calibre.
After spending more than a decade touring Europe Doug hasnt lost his Montana accent or his memory as the album is almost a “auto-Biography” of life in Montana.
To be released on 30 April I have had the pleasure to have had a copy to play on the radio for a few weeks now in fact the album is that good we made it Album of the Month for March. Hopefully by the time of release “Dirt Roads and Fence Lines” will have appeared in the RMR charts which it fully deserves and will get him noticed in his home country.
go to https://www.dougadkins.com and pre order your copy of “Dirt Roads and Fence Lines” and get practicing you line dancing.
So to sum up one has to wonder just how much longer Doug will be living in obscurity in the good ol’ U.S of A. He has all the hallmarks of an exceptional singer/songwriter, “Dirt Roads and Fence Lines” is poised to be a vessel for his lyricism that will garner him a much more substantial fan base.
An interview with Doug will be appearing when I have finished preparing the questions ( Doug will probably released his 12th album by then).
The debut album from Appalachian songwriter VIVIAN LEVA has been released today on Free Dirt Records (Dori Freeman, Anna & Elizabeth). Leva taps into the bitter-cold veins of old country songwriting, harkening back to the mountain music she was born into. Let me know if you’d like a hard copy and didn’t receive one!
VIVIAN LEVA’S VOICE IS THE SOUND OF LIVING TRADITION. Raised by parents who absorbed ancient tunes and ballads during visits to legendary old-time musicians, Leva grew up steeped in the Appalachian and country music of her Lexington, VA home. On TIME IS EVERYTHING (coming spring 2018), her label debut, Leva earns a spot in the lineage of great neo-traditional songwriters like Gillian Welch and Sarah Jarosz. And much like these singers, Leva finds inspiration in the past without being stifled by it.
“a young artist but a mature storyteller, finding inspiration in the likes of Gillian Welch and Kitty Wells.”
“age-old country aesthetics delivered with a new voice that feels mightily compelling, the simplicity of the composition belying the evocativeness that lingers long after it’s departed.”
–Gold Flake Paint
“offers rich playing (lots of good fiddling) with a focus on Leva’s songs, but even more so her terrific voice, which never falters.”
–The Vinyl District
Though still in college, Leva’s musical roots run deep. She grew up going to fiddle festivals with her parents, both acclaimed roots musicians themselves who perform as the duo Jones and Leva. Her father, James, is a respected multi-instrumentalist who learned knee-to-knee from old-time legends like Tommy Jarrell and Doug Wallin, while her mother, Carol Elizabeth, picked up bygone songs from a now lost generation of singers and recorded with the pioneering bluegrass duo Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. Leva soaked up this influence at a young age, and, at age 9, began penning songs and performing with her father at venues like the prestigious Carter Family Fold.
Traditional American music was an early influence on her songwriting. Her time at music festivals (she’s never missed a Clifftop) regularly landed her in jams with roots music heavyweights like Dirk Powell, Caleb Klauder, and Pharis & Jason Romero. “The biggest part of traditional music has always been the community,” she says. “It’s really special that you can travel almost anywhere and share tunes with a group of people that you’ve never met.” In this spirit, she joined The Onlies, a young stringband that won the coveted traditional band competition at the 2017 Clifftop festival in West Virginia. Add to this performance resumé teaching stints at The Swannanoa Gathering, The Big Sur Fiddle Camp, and Centrum’s “Voice Works” and her roots music bonafides are obvious, but it’s Leva’s songwriting that’ll bowl you over.
The sonic and lyrical palette of Time Is Everything, which was recorded at Joseph DeJarnette’s Studio 808A in Floyd, VA, is influenced in equal parts by classic storytellers like Kitty Wells and Texas Gladden, the harmony singing of the Stanley and Everly Brothers, and the pop sensibilities of Mandolin Orange. Leva’s writing effortlessly shifts between archaic ballads, classic country and honky tonk, and the best of contemporary Americana. For her first solo record, she enlisted the talents of multi-instrumentalist RILEY CALCAGNO (The Onlies) as well as other top notch collaborators (Jack Devereux, Eric Robertson, Nick Falk, and Joseph “Joebass” DeJarnette) to add fiddle, banjo, pedal steel, and percussion to the album’s tastefully minimal production, imbuing each story of love and heartbreak with a hearty emotional punch.
The album’s title didn’t come easily until she noticed a lyrical through-line: the passing of time. “The phrase ‘Time Is Everything’ encompasses the main theme of all of the songs,” she says. “It’s really about how everything in a situation can seem right but it all comes down to timing. That’s especially true in a relationship.” The tasteful Americana rendition of the title track, a co-write with musical partner Riley Calcagno, exemplifies this ephemeral longing. However, stories of wandering eyes or missed connections also show up in the straight-ahead honky tonk of “Why Don’t You Introduce Me As Your Darling,” the country shuffle of “Bottom of the Glass” (a song she wrote at age 14), and the old-time stringband-influenced “No Forever.”
The album features eight originals plus a cover of Paul Burch’s plaintive waltz “Last Of My Kind,” and a re-composed version of Virginia ballad singer Texas Gladden’s “Cold Mountains” with a new chorus written by Leva and Calcagno.
For Leva, the kernel of a song often appears spontaneously—a story from a TV show, a new guitar tuning. “If I specifically sit down to write something, I usually don’t like it. But I play around with different starting places.” Once the scene is set, however, the song is often complete in less than an hour. “It’s always hard to express real feelings without being overly sentimental, to balance a specific story and the universal.” Rest assured, this album strikes the balance perfectly.
It’s rare to find such a mature and confident voice in a young artist—someone whose music springs so organically from a grassroots connection to the traditional music community in which she was raised. Time Is Everything is indeed a bold statement from this rising star of deeply rooted American music. Vivian Leva is a voice that deserves to be listened to in the coming years.