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Old Settler’s Music Fest – 2014 Edition

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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 »

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DBT Slays Boston

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50 years old. At that age, you’d think that most people would be settling into their career. Yet Patterson Hood still seems like he’s got lots new to say. He and Mike Cooley may be a little bit older, but they’ve definitely still got a hard-edged guitar attack and a heck of a lot of […] more »

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Readers’ Pick: JOAN OSBORNE, Love & Hate

You picked JOAN OSBORNE, Love & Hate as your favorite for the week of April 8, 2014. Readers’ Top Picks (last 4 weeks) LUTHER DICKINSON, Rock ‘n Roll Blues (11) JOHNNY CASH, Out Among The Stars (9) JOAN OSBORNE, Love & Hate (8) VARIOUS ARTISTS, Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne (8) HOLMES […] more »

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Jesse Winchester, In Memoriam

April is shaping up as a difficult world in the world of music. This past week we lost Jesse Winchester, whose soft-spoken style belied the power of his songs. Here are two magical Winchester performances. The first is an early (and often covered) classic “Defying Gravity.” The second is the celebrated appearance on Elvis Costello’s […] more »

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SXSW 2014 — The Sounds, Part 2

DAVE AND PHIL ALVIN I’m a big Dave Alvin fan. Unfortunately for me I discovered the Blasters, the seminal band co-founded by Dave and his brother Phil, after they went their separate ways. I was hooked, though, on their encyclopedic knowledge of American music — everything from folk to country and from blues to vintage […] more »

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SXSW 2014 — The Sounds, Part 1

THE HOLD STEADY While I may not be as crazy the friend who chased the band around Austin for the band’s 7 planned shows, I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to see the Brooklyn rockers celebrate their first album in 4 years. I accompanied said friend to the front of the stage where […] more »

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SXSW 2014 — The Scene

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For me, the true harbinger of spring is the arrival of the SXSW Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas. Or rather, spring begins for me when I arrive in Austin for SXSW. With upwards of 2,500 bands and 20,000 attendees from around the world, SXSW is the world’s premiere music conference. Even better, it […] more »

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Readers’ Pick: VARIOUS ARTISTS, Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne

You picked VARIOUS ARTISTS, Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne as your favorite for the week of April 1, 2014. Readers’ Top Picks (last 4 weeks) LUTHER DICKINSON, Rock ‘n Roll Blues (11) JOHNNY CASH, Out Among The Stars (9) VARIOUS ARTISTS, Looking Into You: A Tribute To Jackson Browne (8) HOLMES BROTHERS, […] more »

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In Memoriam – Dave Lamb

Dave Lamb of the Providence, RI-based duo Brown Bird passed away this past weekend. The circumstances are heart-wrenching. Lamb fell ill with mysterious symptoms while touring Texas last year. In a tale that is all too familiar, Lamb had no insurance. Fortunately, he was able to get home and secure insurance for what became a […] more »

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Southern Soul Assembly at the Saenger Theatre, Mobile, Alabama

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So I’m in Mobile, AL this week for my day job.  As I’m eating lunch Tuesday I look up and see a poster for the Southern Soul Assembly, featuring JJ Grey, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard.  And it’s that night at the Saenger Theatre about a block from my hotel. I rush out […] more »

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Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line

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Nine year itch? Well nine years can’t come fast enough. Nickel Creek albums have instrumental brilliance throughout, folky, experimental, bluegrass, and true band dynamics. The albums can be uneven at times, but such sheer brilliance shines through each album. So I thought that a reunion album would be the diet coke of Nickel Creek. Strangely, […] more »

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Readers’ Pick: JOHNNY CASH, Out Among The Stars

You picked JOHNNY CASH, Out Among The Stars as your favorite for the week of March 25, 2014. Readers’ Top 10 (last 4 weeks) DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS, English Oceans (23) LUTHER DICKINSON, Rock ‘n Roll Blues (11) JOHNNY CASH, Out Among The Stars (9) SIMONE FELICE, Strangers (7) JOHN GORKA, Bright Side of Down (7) THE […] more »

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Monday Morning Video: Ray Charles and Willie Nelson

Two legends. ‘nuf said. more »

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The Annie Ford Band

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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 »

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Mayer’s Playlist for Feb/Mar 2014, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTHS English Oceans, by Drive-By Truckers I suppose that this review could be titled “Cooley Steps Out.” The band co-founder, who has historically contributed only a couple of songs per release, is credited with six songs on English Oceans. Ever better, they are some of his strongest songs in years. The opening […] more »

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Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson