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 »


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 »


Mayer’s Playlist for Feb/Mar 2014, Part 1

I suppose that Lydia Loveless could have gone in two directions after 2011’s outstanding Indestructible Machine... more »


Mass Ave – A Special Boston Playlist

FEATURED ALBUMS Good Luck, by Girls Guns and Glory Girls Guns and Glory have always been a fun live band, mixing up originals with choice covers ranging from Elvis Presley to Hank Williams. They’ve captured that energy – and then some – on their latest release. The Boston quartet traveled to Brooklyn to record the […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for January 2014, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Alexandria, by Chris Mills I have wandered in the wild places,” sings Mills in the opening track of his latest release. It is a fitting line for a musician whose music continues to evolve in exquisite fashion. Mills has always impressed on many levels. His songwriting has always had a romantic […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for January 2014, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Hard Working Americans, by Hard Working Americans ‘Ya gotta love this album on principle. A veritable super-group of Americana and jam-band artists* get together for, well a jam-session. They forgo writing their own songs and instead champion some of their (and my) favorite songwriters. Like I said, how can you not […] more »


Mayer’s Picks: Best Songs of 2013


I posted a best songs list for the first half of 2013 back in July (here). Rather than replicate that list for my full year review, consider this the continuation — the best songs from the second half of the year. Closed Hand, Full of Friends, Foy Vance (from the Glassnote Records release Joy of […] more »


Still Love That Dirty Water: A Boston Playlist

FEATURED ALBUM Common Courtesy, by Rusty Belle I don’t often quote artist bios, but this was too good not to share: They were raised on the Beatles and the Band, went to high school with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, dated Miles Davis and Tom Waits in college and keep a Lightnin’ Hopkins, Kinks or […] more »


Hear It First – Susan Cattaneo’s “Lies Between Lovers”

After several years of writing songs to be sung by others, Susan Cattaneo decided to write for herself. The result is an album that has a classic feel, filled with songs that sound like timeless standards yet are infused with a contemporary freshness. From the heart-wrenching “Done Better” to the country swagger of “Worth the […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for Fall 2013, Part 3

ALBUMS OF THE SEASON Stay Reckless, by Austin Lucas Some may disagree with my classification, but this is my kind of country. It starts with Lucas’s voice, which has just the right amount of relaxed drawl. When he sings, “I don’t want to be alone in Memphis, I don’t want to be alone in New […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for Fall 2013, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE SEASON The Death of the Self-Preservation Society, by Two Cow Garage Two Cow Garage have a well-earned reputation as road warriors who put on ferocious live performances. Their shows are always intense, sweaty and raucous, the way rock is meant to be enjoyed. What sets these guys apart, however, is the strength […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for Fall 2013, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE SEASON Joy of Nothing, by Foy Vance Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance spent his childhood years traveling the American Midwest and South with his preacher father. He soaked in the rich American musical traditions that he encountered during these travels, which later infused his music upon his return to Ireland. This rich musical […] more »


Song Premiere: “Shady Grove” by Whiskey Shivers

Whiskey Shivers (photo by Cody Hilder)

Are you ready for a holiday weekend? I’m more than ready. And, well, I can’t think of a better way to ease into the home stretch than with some fine new music from Austin’s Whiskey Shivers. The bad-ass bluegrass quintet recently visited San Diego’s Lost Ark Studios to record a track for the Studio’s singles […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for July and August 2013, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Close to the Floor, by Patrick Sweany They say that great art is often the result of pain and adversity. It is a blessing and a curse. A blessing that we get to share in the work that results, a curse that the artist’s suffering lies at the root of the […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for July and August 2013, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH American Ride, by Willie Nile Willie Nile is on a roll. After playing the major label game twice in his nearly 35-year career, Nile quietly self-released 1999’s outstanding Beautiful Wreck of the World. Since then he has delivered three more compelling albums filled with high energy rock songs and touching ballads. […] more »


Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson