For millennia, humans have traced out meaning in the constellations. The stars have been watched and wondered at by poets, farmers, and astrologers looking for guidance and inspiration. On a summer night in 2016, these same constellations hung over the forests and rivers of Horsefly, British Columbia. Down below, a host of friends and family members were camped out in tents on the acreage of Pharis & Jason Romero. Since the release of their last album, the Juno Award-winning musicians and celebrated instrument makers had taken a year-long sabbatical from touring and recording to welcome their second child, build some banjos, and tear down their house and build a new one with the help of their local and extended community. But the stars had other plans in mind. As a fire came in the night to claim their shop, the Romeros found themselves surrounded by the community that came to support them. “I think being ‘pushed to the edge’ is a perfect way of of describing how that summer felt. The day after the fire, support just started pouring in,” says Pharis. “It was overwhelming, this sense of receiving when we had absolutely nothing to give other than love and thanks.” And in the midst of the chaos of building and rebuilding, taking care of children, and feeding everyone, Pharis says, “music and songwriting were hovering at the edge but never came inside. There was no space to just sit and be and let thoughts, melodies, and ideas ferment.” These experiences and the growing sense of gratitude would soon be connected and drawn together through music, becoming Sweet Old Religion, Pharis & Jason’s first album made up of entirely original songs.
“Just weeks after everyone left all the music, all of the songwriting, it just began to flow immediately as if a tap was opened,” says Pharis. “There was suddenly this space for all those months of really big feelings–having our son, dealing with loss and change, and receiving so much love and support–to be gathered into this big swirl of ideas, feelings, and melodies. It just all started coming out like crazy.” Having been together for a decade, making music together, working together, and parenting together, the Romeros are at their strongest and most free on Sweet Old Religion.
It really is, we now have the server and are in the process of installing everything and checking everything and doing everything else we have to do before transferring domain so in a few days we will be back. Fingers crossed.
’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).
Indie folk-pop duo Big Little Lions are set to turn helpless apprehensions into hopeless optimism with their latest album, Alive and Well, a collection of songs that manage to capture this moment in time in a way only songwriters can. The group’s third studio album, set for worldwide digital release on February 23rd release (Far Flung, via The Orchard), features 13 original songs that deliver their signature folk-pop shimmer with a hint of Americana twang and a new lyrical edge inspired by the growing polarity of our world.Alive and Well is currently available for pre-order in the iTunes store.
The album’s title track, released earlier in January as a single, is also an instant-gratification track and will be available for immediate download when a pre-order is placed; two additional songs will be delivered to pre-order customers before album release (“Find Your Tribe” on February 9th and “Static” on February 16th). In addition to the digital worldwide release, fans can get physical copies of the new album atwww.biglittlelions.com. Fans can also check out the brand new video (directed by Greg Otten) for the first single and title track on B-sides and Badlands.
Big Little Lions’ most cohesive project to date, Alive and Well dances from songs that acknowledge human frailty and modern preoccupations to anthems of hope and resistance. It turns the duo’s illuminating songwriting to the tasks of buoying spirits, inspiring sing-a-longs, and lighting candles of optimism in difficult times. Watching Big Little Lions on the stage, audiences will understand what the closing lyrics of “Alive and Well” proclaim so clearly, when people gather to share music, “love is all there is.” The duo will kick off its Canadian tour in Red Deer, Alberta on February 23rd, followed by over 20 stops north of the border. Big Little Lions will then head down to the U.S. for a run from Ohio down to Florida in the month of April. The U.S. tour dates will be announced soon. Confirmed tour dates are listed here.
Big Little Lions is Helen Austin and Paul Otten, two successful songwriters and musicians who have also found collaborative success after joining forces in 2013. Since roaring onto the music scene, Big Little Lions has won an armful of awards for its work including first place in the International Songwriting Competition, Song of the Year in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, and Ensemble of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.
With Austin based in Canada on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and Otten based in Cincinnati, Ohio, the duo has been bridging geographic and cultural distances since their first collaboration when Otten produced Austin’s 2014 Juno-winning album Colour It. The legions of loyal fans they’ve gathered since agree: Austin and Otten have stumbled on a powerful musical chemistry. Big Little Lions has played renowned festivals including Shelter Valley, Islands Folk Fest, Mariposa, Summerfolk, the Alianait Arts Festival, the Paper City Music Festival, and the Vancouver Island Music Fest. The duo’s songs have also been featured across Canada on CBC and in the United States.