• NOW PLAYING

Tom Brosseau – North Dakota Impressions

Tom Brosseau’s unique tenor is instantly recognizable, and it imbues his
songs with a palpable feeling of loss, regret and nostalgia. His
phrasing, the emotional quiver in his voice and the bare-bones
production evoke the feeling of a late-night, working-class living room
with friends sharing their most intimate secrets.

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2sO3dpc

Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms – Innocent Road

“On their new album Innocent Road, Caleb Klauder and Reeb Willms stake a
claim as two of the finest traditional musicians in America. Their
sound is a throwback to the heyday of rural American dance-hall music.”

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2s6JTa0

Pierce Edens’ Gritty Appalachian Roots

Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up, is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge-roots, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.

Pierce Edens
Stripped Down Gussied Up
June 2, 2017

Life is the intersection of empty and full, dark and light. This relationship, inherent in all things, is the underpinning of Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up dropping June 2nd.  Over the last ten years, Edens has been drawing on his roots in Appalachian songwriting and blending them with the gritty rock and roll sounds that captivated him in his teenage years. Here again, Edens pulls together light and dark— Stripped Down Gussied Up is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.
 


 

His fifth fully independent album, Edens has taken his singular voice back home to Western North Carolina. Edens recorded Stripped Down Gussied Up in his childhood home, which he stripped and renovated into a studio a few years back. Even the environment, thus, is an incarnation of the album’s crux. Edens said, “Recording often feels paradoxical; like taking a song and distilling it down, then building it back up from the bare bones.  It’s like pulling your skin off your back and then putting a nice shirt on, maybe a coat too. This is me doing that. Stripping down, gussying up.”

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2rLRH0C

Pierce Edens’ Gritty Appalachian Roots

Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up, is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge-roots, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.

Pierce Edens
Stripped Down Gussied Up
June 2, 2017

Life is the intersection of empty and full, dark and light. This relationship, inherent in all things, is the underpinning of Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up dropping June 2nd.  Over the last ten years, Edens has been drawing on his roots in Appalachian songwriting and blending them with the gritty rock and roll sounds that captivated him in his teenage years. Here again, Edens pulls together light and dark— Stripped Down Gussied Up is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.
 


 

His fifth fully independent album, Edens has taken his singular voice back home to Western North Carolina. Edens recorded Stripped Down Gussied Up in his childhood home, which he stripped and renovated into a studio a few years back. Even the environment, thus, is an incarnation of the album’s crux. Edens said, “Recording often feels paradoxical; like taking a song and distilling it down, then building it back up from the bare bones.  It’s like pulling your skin off your back and then putting a nice shirt on, maybe a coat too. This is me doing that. Stripping down, gussying up.”

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2rLRH0C

Pierce Edens’ Gritty Appalachian Roots

Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up, is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge-roots, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.

Pierce Edens
Stripped Down Gussied Up
June 2, 2017

Life is the intersection of empty and full, dark and light. This relationship, inherent in all things, is the underpinning of Pierce Edens’ new release, Stripped Down Gussied Up dropping June 2nd.  Over the last ten years, Edens has been drawing on his roots in Appalachian songwriting and blending them with the gritty rock and roll sounds that captivated him in his teenage years. Here again, Edens pulls together light and dark— Stripped Down Gussied Up is both haunting and fiery; a concoction of psychedelic-grunge, with Eden’s raw, tortured country bray at the helm.
 


 

His fifth fully independent album, Edens has taken his singular voice back home to Western North Carolina. Edens recorded Stripped Down Gussied Up in his childhood home, which he stripped and renovated into a studio a few years back. Even the environment, thus, is an incarnation of the album’s crux. Edens said, “Recording often feels paradoxical; like taking a song and distilling it down, then building it back up from the bare bones.  It’s like pulling your skin off your back and then putting a nice shirt on, maybe a coat too. This is me doing that. Stripping down, gussying up.”

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2rLRH0C

Quiles & Cloud

When Maria Quiles (vocals and guitar) and Rory Cloud (vocals and guitar) met in 2011, both were adrift. Maria had quit her job, given up her San Francisco apartment, and moved in with her uncle in order to pursue music full-time. Rory had left behind a stable schedule of gigs and music lessons in Southern California to seek a new music community elsewhere. He eventually wound up living out of his Toyota Corolla in San Francisco, where he first heard Maria at an open mic. “As a lead guitar player, I could immediately hear myself in her songs.” Rory remembers.

Several years of touring and spending nearly every day together allowed Quiles & Cloud to develop a unique sound—one that is characterized by soulful melodies, close harmonies, and interweaving guitar lines that owe as much to jazz and classical music as to folk and bluegrass. The addition of Oscar Westesson (upright bass) in 2013 pushed them even further as songwriters, resulting in darker, more complex, and more dissonant arrangements.

Their sound has struck a chord with audiences all over the country. Folk Alley has lauded the group’s “continued ability to combine subtle precision with stark grit and creative exploration.” Acoustic Guitar has called them “a compelling new voice on the Americana scene.” Quiles & Cloud have now played hundreds of shows, won the 2014 FreshGrass Duo Award, and caught the attention of GRAMMY Award-winning banjo player Alison Brown—who produced their third album SHAKE ME NOW, which comes out on Compass Records 3/17/17.

SHAKE ME NOW is stripped-down, yet dense. There are musical and lyrical traces of the blues, bluegrass, folk, rock, soul, and classical music. Their songwriting stands out on the title track, “Shake Me Now” as well as the upbeat and hopeful “One My Way Tonight”. In addition to their original songs, there are reinterpreted versions of the traditional blues number “Deep Ellum Blues”, the traditional folk tune “Worried Man Blues”, and Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”. One gets the feeling of being on a widescreen road trip through America’s past and present, with multiple eras and traditions folding in upon each other. The result sounds familiar and roadworn, yet completely new—a quality that Quiles & Cloud share with some of American music’s greatest innovators.

Quiles & Cloud have already traveled far. As they see it, though, this is only the beginning of a lifelong journey—one of exploring connection, deepening their partnership, and examining the threads that tie us all together.

 

Noam Pikelny

Universal Favorite is the fourth record Noam Pikelny has released under his own name, but it’s truly his solo debut. His previous efforts—including 2011’s Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail and 2014’s landmark Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe—were full-band affairs that revealed his abilities as a dynamic bandleader while reinforcing his reputation as an inventive accompanist. The new release features only the man himself, playing lovely originals and covers that showcase his unique approach to the instrument and compositional flair. He recorded them live in the studio without accompaniment, coaxing a wide array of sounds and colors out of his instruments, embracing the challenges and exploring the new possibilities of the solo setting.

And, for the first time in his long and illustrious career, Pikelny even sings. It turns out he has a striking deadpan baritone that conveys humor and melancholy in equal measure. This album, he says, is “my musical manifesto. It’s the most personal statement I’ve put forward. The setting couldn’t be more stark and I think it lays bare my musical core. At times it’s autobiographical, as these songs I gathered illuminate the path I’ve traveled so far. Most importantly, it’s an incredibly honest solo album, in that there are honestly no other people on this record other than me.”

The idea for this sort-of-debut was born out of a solo tour Pikelny launched in early 2016. Punch Brothers—the Americana supergroup he co-founded in 2006 were taking a break after the release of their innovative 2015 album Phosphorescent Blues, and he took the opportunity to play some shows by himself. “It’s hard to say whether I started doing the one-man solo show because my bandmates were starting families, or if they were starting families because I was doing solo shows and were then inspired to seek greater meaning in their lives as well? We’ll never know, because when someone tells you that they’re having a baby, the proper response is not, ‘Why?’”

It was, however, not simply a case of a sideman taking centerstage. Pikelny may be a seasoned musician—arguably the finest banjoist of his generation, a three-time Grammy nominee and the winner of the first annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass—but he realized that his experience was solely with duos, trios, quartets, and quintets. “I had never played solo on stage—not even for a song. Not once in my life. I never really thought of the banjo as much of a solo instrument; I thought it shone best in collaboration. It began to dawn upon me that if I was instead playing piano comfortably in a five-piece band, I would likely see the piano as an unsuitable solo instrument. Eventually I realized that this was a cop-out and that any good musician, if he finds himself in front of a room full of people, should be able to hold his own with just his instrument and his voice. It was clear to me: If I can stand on stage with a five-piece band to a sold-out Beacon Theater, why couldn’t I stand on stage solo and play to a nearly empty bar?”

He proved that much and more with the tour, for which he assembled a loose set list of new originals and carefully chosen covers by Josh Ritter, Elliott Smith, Roy Acuff, and Roger Miller. “Taking the show on the road really helped break the ice for me. I was able to see the reactions on people’s faces and test the material to see what worked and what didn’t. Having an audience to teach me how to do this was crucial to the process. It confirmed that there was something here, something special and personal that I could deliver in this intimate setting.” Playing solo allowed Pikelny to reconsider the banjo and how he played it, to develop new techniques and new compositional strategies. During a solo set, “you get to hear the banjo in so much detail, and I think there were some surprising elements that people don’t expect. Most people think the banjo is such a staccato instrument where the notes just die immediately, but I had a rare opportunity to exploit the warmth and sustain a banjo can have.”

In Fall 2016 he took those songs into the studio with his fellow Punch Brother, Gabe Witcher producing and longtime Punch engineer, Dave Sinko recording. Otherwise, Universal Favorite is all Pikelny. Opener “Waveland,” named after a street behind the leftfield wall of Wrigley Field, is the sound of a curtain rising, his fingers spidering over the frets, notes like scalloped edges of a great proscenium arch, leading into “Old Banjo” like a dramatic monologue. While he has never been tied to a whipping post after buying wine in Lynchburg, Virginia, the song has personal meaning for the player, as it is one he has been listening to and playing for most of his life. “That song was the very first track on the very first album I ever personally owned. When I was eight, my dad took me to a record store and he bought me this record by a Chicago folk singer named Fleming Brown, called The Little Rosewood Casket… and Other Songs of Joy. That should give you a picture of how my musical life started. It explains a lot. I still have a copy of that album, with my eight-year-old’s handwriting on the back: Property of Noam Pikelny.”

These are highly personal songs—not in the confessional mode, but in a way that maps his adventurous and wide-ranging tastes. He first performed Josh Ritter’s “Folk Bloodbath”—a clever and ultimately heart-rending mash-up of several old murder ballads—when Punch Brothers opened for the Idaho-born singer-songwriter in Boston a few years ago, and joined him on stage for the encore. Understated and thoughtful, Pikelny’s version hinges on his deep voice and thoughtful choice of instrument. “I’ve been told many times that the key to singing is finding material that suits your voice. Well, my voice has been described as funerary, and this song offers some serious bang for its buck. Exceptional funerary value.”


To convey the sense of mystery in that song, he chose an unusual instrument: a resophonic four-string guitar made by National in the 1920s. “It has three metal cones acting as the soundboard. I stumbled upon one once at a guitar shop and was impressed with its ethereal and velvety tone. I did some research on it, and one of the experts on these instruments said this model, when it was introduced in the 1920s, ‘served no musical purpose and that remains true to this day.’ So of course, I had to have it!”

An obsessive collector of vintage instruments, Pikelny is fascinated by the insights they provide into bygone days—the way these objects connect the present with the past. He chose the instruments on Universal Favorite carefully, including the ’53 Fender Telecaster on “My Tears Don’t Show” and the ’38 Kalamazoo KG-11 flat-top guitar on “Sweet Sunny South.” Most of the album was performed on a Gibson banjo that was made in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1941, but was found in the 1980s in a pawnshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, and repatriated back to the U.S. Its tone is rich and earthy, and its tale is captivating: How did this object travel halfway around the world and back again? “Each of these instruments has a unique story and has known the world much longer than I have. Picking them up makes me feel more connected with generations that have come before. Perhaps this bond with old instruments that are filled with character and charisma makes performing solo feel less lonely.”

In fact, the album title was inspired by a banjo made around the turn of the century by the S.S. Stewart company. It was their most popular model of the era, so they named it “Universal Favorite”—a bold marketing move that more than 100 years later elicited a laugh from Pikelny. “I stumbled upon an old catalog of theirs and saw the words ‘Universal Favorite’ and thought, ‘That is the most audacious thing I’ve ever seen. Who would have the gall to make a product and officially name it ‘Universal Favorite?’’”

Universal Favorite carries a great deal of history, yet it remains relevant and bears the artist’s own innovative touch. “I’ve always loved the ability of a great bluegrass or country song to conjure up days gone by but simultaneously be current and ripe for reinterpretation. And the real power is that when music really does its job, when it fully resonates, our world becomes more interconnected. It cultivates a community of people who share in that response. That community can be encapsulated on stage within an orchestra or within a five-piece band. That bond can be between one person standing alone onstage and the people in audience.”

https://www.facebook.com/noampikelny

 

Rayna Gellert

Rayna Gellert grew up in a musical family, and has spent most of her life immersed in the sounds of rural stringband music, heartfelt gospel songs, and old ballads. After honing her fiddle skills playing at jam sessions and square dances, Rayna fell into a life of traveling and performing. Her fiddle albums are widely celebrated in the old-time music community, and she has recorded with a host of musicians in a variety of styles – including Robyn Hitchcock, Tyler Ramsey, Sara Watkins, Loudon Wainwright III, John Paul Jones, and Abigail Washburn. From 2003 through 2008, Rayna was a member of the acclaimed stringband Uncle Earl, with whom she released two albums on Rounder Records and toured like mad. In 2010, she met songwriter Scott Miller, and they began performing and recording together. In 2012, Rayna released her first vocal album, Old Light: Songs from my Childhood & Other Gone Worlds, on StorySound Records. She lives in Swannanoa, North Carolina.

 

 

It’s taken Rayna Gellert some time to follow up on that album, though, but this new seven-tracker, Workin’s Too Hard, has clearly been worth the wait.

David [email protected]”FRUK”

While accepting the importance of her role in conserving and protecting the old-time tradition, Rayna didn’t want to fall into the same trap as her father in becoming obsessed with traditional music to the exclusion of finding her own voice. “Eventually I realised that my job is to play music I love, which is bigger than protecting any one concept of tradition. I realised I was an artist, and I wanted to claim that.” The light-bulb moment came with the creation of the Old Light album, where Rayna showed that deep immersion in our musical past can bring a collision between cultural and personal memory, giving rise to a new tradition of her own devising. As evidenced in the disc’s title song, where her imagination is triggered by the memory of lyric snippets from a 1937 Kentucky field recording. One of the disc’s standout tracks for me is the wistful waltzer River Town, where the collision of heartbreaking personal memories is at its most haunting. It’s one of two songs which turn out to be jointly penned by Rayna Gellert and her co-producer Kieran Kane – the other being Grey Bird, which draws additionally on traditional lyrics for its expression of timeless yearning. Strike The Bells poignantly explores old age, and both complements and contrasts with Perry, which simply but powerfully distills the essence of a universal truth.

Perry is the disc’s other major triumph in a whole disc of high points, and, coincidentally, it’s one of only two songs to include the sound of the fiddle in its instrumental backing. Here, it’s joined by just a lone piano in a distinctive departure from the muted, largely guitar-and-soft-keys-based scoring of the rest of the record. Its primitive, yet slightly eerie retro signature sound owes much to the low-key, intensely live real-time feel of the recording (all credit due to engineer Charles Yingling) and the empathic playing of long-time musical friends Kai Welch, Jamie Dick and Kieran Kane. As well as three of Rayna’s own compositions and the two aforementioned co-writes, the album also contains two traditional songs, Oh Lovin’ Babe and I’m Bound For The Promised Land; the former is given a mysterious, almost reverential aura with gentle supporting vocal harmonies, whereas the latter, rather intriguingly, comes across like darkly grungy and surprisingly dirty rockabilly and sports a raw, grinding fiddle solo.

 

Workin’s Too Hard is a warmly inclusive and rather special record, with a feeling of back porch intimacy that at times recalls (but nowhere apes) Gillian Welch’s landmark Revival sessions. But Rayna’s vision has its own unique perspective and atmosphere. The distinctive and memorable music and songwriting on Workin’s Too Hard sure left me wanting much more, and I do hope Rayna can get it all together again soon.

 

Abigail Lapell – Hide Nor Hair

 

“On her beautiful, subtly bold sophomore album, Hide Nor Hair, Toronto songwriter Abigail Lapell explores themes of love and loss through a lens of geography and travel, visiting places urban and wild, local, near-local and far-flung; evoking the transience of time – day and night and the changing seasons – so that her songs belong in the here and now as much as they would in the anywhere, anytime.

An indie-folk veteran of the mid-2000s Montreal scene, she’s shared stages with tUne-yArdS, First Aid Kit, Rae Spoon, Jim Guthrie, The Lowest of the Low and Andy Shauf. Lapell’s spirit is consummately DIY; her acclaimed, Earshot!-charting 2011 debut Great Survivor was recorded in a bedroom by Heather Kirby (of Ohbijou) and hand-assembled at home out of letterpress by Trip Print Press.

Lapell chose a different tack for Hide Nor Hair, working with mood wizard Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Ohbijou) at Union Sound in Toronto – incredibly, over her decade-and-a-half long career as a singer and guitarist, this was Lapell’s first time collaborating with a producer.

A recent recipient of the 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, piano ballad “Jordan” is one of a handful of tunes written on a retreat at northern Michigan’s Crosshatch Artist Residence. “Diamond Girl” and its more atmospheric counterpart, “Indigo Blue,” are both anti-love songs, whose protagonists believe they are unsuited for domestic life. Lapell goes belatedly topical on “Hostage Town,” recounting the surreal experience of trying to get around Toronto during the G20 Summit in 2010. And, in one of the most playful moments on the album, Night Bird and Morning Bird features a whistle solo (care of drummer and vocalist Benjamin Hermann) that momentarily lands the record in cinematic western territory.

Along with Lapell, Stringer and Hermann, Hide Nor Hair features Rachael Cardiello on viola; Joe Ernewein on bass; longtime friend and collaborator Jessica Moore on backup vocals and Mike Eckert on pedal steel.

Lapell has toured Canada, the U.S., Europe and the U.K. and played at North By Northeast, SappyFest, Pop Montreal and In The Dead of Winter.

John Craigie and his January 27, 2017 release, No Rain, No Rose,

If John Prine and Mitch Hedberg had a baby, the resulting product would resemble something very close to Portland, OR singer-songwriter John Craigie. Musically comparable to Prine, with the humor and wit of Hedberg, the humble, gracious, and hilarious Craigie is one of the best storytellers of our time. It’s no wonder that Chuck Norris sends him fan mail, and Todd Snider brings him gifts on stage.

The vagabond troubadour has charmed audiences in all 50 states and throughout much of Europe, with a DIY spirit seldom seen these days. 075A0827While touring solo and with the likes of Todd Snider, the Shook Twins, Nicki Bluhm, and ALO, Craigie has taken the stage at festivals, sold out venues, intimate house concerts, center camp at Burning Man and even Gregory Alan Isakov’s farm. Although based in Portland, Craigie’s true home is on the road, and just like that he’s on to the next town, playing and singing and telling stories to everyone who wants to listen.

He’ll make you laugh and make you cry, all in the same song. With a fan-base that is more of a continually-expanding circle of friends, John Craigie’s true passion is connecting with people through shared experiences, stories, and song.

As Portland-based Americana songwriter John Craigie says, “It is the job of the folksinger to present someone to the audience that is relatable. To
dissolve the wall between performer and listener as much as possible. People want to hear your story, that in turn, is their story too. Music is not about making you feel
better. It’s about making you feel that you’re not alone.” With the songs on his January 27, 2017 release, No Rain, No Rose, Craigie does just that—brings together
talented friends, many staples of Portland’s music scene, beneath the umbrella of his cozy, well-crafted songs. John Craigie’s life in Portland is the impetus for much
of the material on No Rain, No Rose, which has the same easy and down-to-earth feel of the old Victorian home where Craigie gathered to record with his community:
Gregory Alan Isakov, The Shook Twins, and Tyler Thompson and Jay Cobb Anderson of Fruition. Even the title of the album, No Rain, No Rose is an ode to
Portland. “I took it from an old Buddhist saying ‘No Mud, No Lotus’, which basically means, you need the bad things to make the good things. I changed it to reflect
my rainy city of roses,” says Craigie.The album’s also inspired by the folk torch bearers of the sixties and seventies and attempts to follow in the
era’s footsteps. Especially, Craigie strives for the quality of the informal recording style of that era that more closely mirrors his heart as a performer. On No Rain,
No Rose, Craigie left the tape rolling in-between takes,capturing the banter and jokes between close friends just as the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did on their classic
album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. “On that album you have a group bringing a bunch of outside musicians in the studio to help them create a sound that is larger than
what they could create on their own. The loose sound on this album is inspired by that record immensely,” says Craigie.

 

No Rain, No Rose pulls together essential members of Portland’s creative community, like Jay Cobb Anderson and Tyler Thompson from Portland’s
rootsy, string-centric band Fruition, as well as Katelyn and Laurie Shook, and mandolinist Niko Daoussis from Shook Twins. Other staples of the Americana
music scene, Bevin Foley from Trout Steak Revival, and Gregory Alan Isakov, make an appearance as well. All of these musicians support Craigie’s languid
vocals and rattling guitar throughout No Rain, No Rose, quite literally capturing the interdependence among members of Craigie’s tightknit music community.
In a world of polished pop songs and hyper-production, the organic brush of John Craigie’s pick against the strings and the unity within Portland’s rich roots music
family makes No Rain, No Rose blush with lifelike warmth.
Virgin Guitar (3:47)
Broken (2:55)
Highway Blood (4:27)
Rough Johns (3:53)
Savannah (5:16)
Bucket List Grandmas (3:48)
Tumbling Dice (5:14)
Michael Collins (3:43)
Live With Less (3:25)
Light Has Dimmed (4:10)
I Am California (5:13)
Interlude (1:00)
All the Salt (4:59)

Save