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 […]

While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years Of Bloodshot Records

Insurgent country.  Twenty years ago, when Nan Warshaw, Rob Miller, and Eric Babcock founded Bloodshot Records in a spare bedroom to promote the copulation of country and punk music, they chose that name over alternative country or Americana.  While their choice of nomenclature didn’t have the lasting impact of the other two, it’s a microcosm […]

Billy Strings & Don Julin – Fiddle Tune X

Fiddle Tune X is for bluegrass fans with attention deficit problems.  The new album from Billy Strings and Don Julin nearly captures an entire bluegrass festival in 59 minutes.  The Michigan based duo, with just a guitar, a mandolin, and their vocals, cover ground from speed-picking, self-written tunes all the way to slow gospel harmonies. […]

Lac La Belle – A Friend Too Long

As I sit here starting to write this review, I  realize it’s somewhat appropriate that tonight is Halloween, when costumed children pretend to be someone they wish they could be and costumed adults pretend to be someone (or something) they don’t want to be.  The latest record from Detroit-based Lac La Belle, A Friend Too […]

Americana 2014, The Sounds, Part 3

Every fall, The Americana Music Association gathers members, artists and music fans together in Nashville for its annual conference. Starting with the annual Americana Music Awards and continuing through four days of showcases and panel discussions, it is a tremendous celebration of Americana music. Here are my highlights among the many live performances I saw […]

2014 Americana Music Awards

On September 17th, the glitterati of the Americana Music Scene gathered at the historic Ryman Theater for their annual Awards show and presentation.  Mayer and I were lucky enough to procure a seat to the festivities.  You can get a full list of the award nominees and winners here, but these are the highlights from our […]

Front Country – Sake Of the Sound

Six one, half dozen another.  That old saying is supposed to be all about things being the same, but I think there’s a perspective difference that gets lost.  As an example, many bands have a wide range of genres on an album in part because they’re still looking to find their sound.  A few, relatively […]