Old Settler’s Music Fest – 2014 Edition


Every spring, a couple of weeks after the madhouse of SXSW, the music festival season kicks off with Old Settler’s Music Festival, about a half hour outside of Austin.  Started as a bluegrass festival, Old Settler’s now embraces a broad spectrum of Americana.  Organizer Jean Spivey has a magic touch for consistently mixing old with […] more »


Trevor Alguire – Miles Away


Staring out the window, it’s only the middle of the afternoon and yet darkness has started creeping in.  A cold wind howls out of the north and  the trees seem to be wrapping their branches around themselves in a futile attempt to stay warm.  Even the good things going through your mind seem to have […] more »


The Annie Ford Band

Annie Ford

The PR blurb that came with the release talks about how Annie Ford was reared in the “sparse, rustic darkness of rural America.”  One of the notes from my first listen to the release was, “what David Lynch would have used if he chose bluegrass for Twin Peaks.”  From those two comments I think you […] more »


Lost & Nameless, Cody Jasper

Empty Spaces, the latest EP from Lost & Nameless opens with a title track that is perhaps best described as an Americana tango.  So right from the get-go you know this is going to be an interesting listen.  The remainder of the record does not disappoint.  Lost & Nameless is an Austin-based group composed of […] more »


Eliza Gilkyson – The Nocturne Diaries

Gilkyson cover

When you question successful artists in almost any field, one of the common themes that emerges is a belief that what you resist the urge to add to a composition is every bit as important, if not more so, as what does end up in the final mix.  Eliza Gilkyson and her son, Cisco Ryder, […] more »


Katie Glassman & Snapshot – Dream A Little Dream


When I first ran across Katie Glassman a couple of years ago (review here), I noted her album was exploring a lot of genres.  Her latest release, Dream A Little Dream, hit the streets earlier this week featuring her now-permanent band, Snapshot.  She’s taken a significant step forward as a recording artist with this project. […] more »


Levi Lowrey – Levi Lowrey

Lowrey cover

My favorite album of last year was Jason Isbell’s Southeastern.  It was an exploration of a man’s demons, some of them intense enough to sometimes weigh in on my decision whether to hit play or go for something a little lighter on the mind.  Levi Lowrey, with his second, self-titled, album, has also chosen to […] more »


Clay McClinton – Bitin’ At the Bit

McClinton cover

“I started out the night with good intentions, but ended up getting sideways drinking wine…”  Clay McClinton does a cover of his dad’s most famous song, Victim Of Life’s Circumstances, about halfway through his latest release, Bitin’ At the Bit.  It’s not only a welcome bit of deja vu, it also serves as a convenient […] more »


Kathryn Caine And The Small Band

Caine and Small Band Cover

From the opening chords of the first song on Kathryn Caine’s latest album, Kathryn Caine And The Small Band, there’s a definite throwback feeling.  That song, Beacon, has a rock feeling that’s rooted in the style of soaring vocals set to guitar ala the Wilson sisters in Heart or LInda Ronstadt when she was topping […] more »


Chase Gassaway – Certain Circles

Gassaway Cover

Certain Circles, the latest release from Austin musician Chase Gassaway, should be listed as a treatment for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Although he writes about typical songwriter topics like love and angst, he manages to put an optimistic sound to them.  And then add to that a few of his songs are just unabashedly happy […] more »


Honeylark – Heavy


This time of year the shadows stretch long across the frozen landscape, adding a lightly brushed undercurrent of foreboding to everything.  It’s always there, lurking, feeding the darker human emotions, even when the event of the moment is a totally enjoyable holiday celebration.  When you put that feeling to music, you get what Honeylark calls […] more »


Favorite Live Sets Of 2013

In addition to all the recorded music that finds its way to me, I was fortunate to hear a lot of really great live music last year.  Here were some of my favorite sets of 2013. Session Americana featuring Kevin Gordon – Session Americana headlined the first night of our Twangville music festival with earlier […] more »


Shawn’s Favorites of 2013


Some years it’s easier than others to pick my favorite albums of the year.  (I’ll refrain from calling them the best since I know there’s a lot of good music I didn’t hear.)  This year wasn’t really one of them; the top 5-6 were still on top of my playlist, some of them for the […] more »


Three Recent Gems

Sometimes records find their way to my inbox that I really enjoy, but for some reason I don’t get a review written up.  It could be  they’re an EP and short of material for a full review.  Or they showed up at the same time as a bunch of other good material.  Occasionally it’s the […] more »


The Deadfields – Often Wrong, Never In Doubt

Deadfields cover

Although by no means a required characteristic, it seems bands that have some sly humor in their songs manage to collect a fan base that sustains them over generations.  The Austin Lounge Lizards come to mind, as does Southern Culture On the Skids.  The legendary Little Feat even managed to soldier through the loss of […] more »


Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson