Taarka – Making Tracks Home

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You could probably argue that all music, regardless of genre, falls into two categories.  There’s music celebrating (or bemoaning) the here and now, and there are songs that take you back to a time or place.  The latest release from Colorado-based Taarka, Making Tracks Home, does a superb job of exploring both of those buckets in […]

Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys – Ionia

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In small rural towns across America Friday night is high school sports night.  Everyone collects at the field/gymnasium about 6:30 and watches the local kids take on the town-down-the-road kids.  In autumn it’s football, winter means basketball, and spring is for track & field.  Because the school is so small, all the kids play all […]

The Mavericks – Mono

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As I noted before, The Mavericks have a kind of timeless sound to them.  Their previous album, In Time, evoked a particular moment in history when you listened to the whole thing.  Their latest release, Mono, doesn’t seem to have  quite the same thematic focus, but all the elements that make the band so ageless are […]

Parker McCollum – The Limestone Kid

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One of the things I like about debut albums from singer-songwriters is they frequently have a much richer collection of stories than happens once the pressure mounts to get new material out to fans to keep things fresh.  That’s the case with the first album from Texas artist Parker McCollum.  Entitled The Limestone Kid it’s […]

Screen Door Porch – Modern Settler

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When I first listened to Modern Settler, the latest release from Wyoming band Screen Door Porch, I assumed the band’s core duo of Seader Rose and Aaron Davis had gotten some wanderlust and spent time traveling through the rural South.  Turns out the inspiration was closer to home, and came from a cassette Davis discovered […]

Wood & Wire – The Coast

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A few years ago some members of a couple of different Austin-based bluegrass bands got together for some late night jamming and out of it came one of my favorite bluegrass albums of 2013, the self-titled Wood & Wire.  The boys are now releasing their follow-up album, The Coast. There’s an occasionally recurring theme that […]

Shawn’s Picks – Best Albums Of 2014

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 1. Parker Millsap – Parker Millsap This album wasn’t Millsap’s first, but nonetheless it was twenty-some years in the making.  Full of stories tied to his roots in Oklahoma, his self-titled second album is a microcosm of Americana.  2. Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy Although it’s hard for me to put my finger on […]

Shawn’s Top 10 Live Sets Of 2014

I’m fortunate enough to live in an area with a tradition of supporting live music.  It’s not Austin or Nashville, but Santa Cruz holds its own when it comes to getting some great Americana tour stops.  I’m also lucky enough to be able to travel to some music festivals every year.  So while I don’t […]