Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 3

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH The Firewatcher’s Daughter, by Brandi Carlile For some, the process of getting off the major label merry-go-round can be a traumatic experience that results in musical purgatory. Not for Carlile, who shifted to ATO Records and returns with another stand-out release. Her voice is as radiant as ever, beautifully complimented by […]

Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Down To Believing, by Allison Moorer Real life is often the best inspiration for art, notably when it is created in response to heartache and sorrow. Such is the case for Allison Moorer, who channels her emotions into a collection of songs that is by turns sad, angry, regretful and defiant. […]

Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Windfall, by Joe Pug It has been three years since Joe Pug’s last release, a time that found the singer-songwriter coping with the burn-out that comes from years of continuous touring. Sharing one’s music with audiences around the world may be joyous, but the life can be arduous. In that context, […]

SXSW 2015 — the Sounds, Part 2

THE STONE FOXES This San Francisco-based rock band added a new drummer since the last time that I saw them. The change enabled original drummer Shannon Koehler to step out as the band’s primary front-man. It’s a role that suits him well as he fired up an afternoon crowd, bounding around the stage and through […]

SXSW 2015 — The Sounds, Part 1

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TRAPPER SCHOEPP The Milwaukee-based rocker used a raucous early afternoon set to preview songs from a forthcoming album. With Hold Steady guitarist Steve Selvidge in tow, Schoepp and his band the Shades provided an electric jolt to all those in attendance. Count me among those eagerly awaiting Schoepp’s new release — it’s gonna be a […]

Mayer’s Playlist for February 2015

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Complicated Game, by James McMurtry Six years. That’s how long it has been since we last heard new music from McMurtry. While he hasn’t been missing during this time – he could always be found on the touring circuit – many of us were anxiously awaiting some new music. Well, that […]

Hazy Shade of Winter — A Special Boston Playlist

Here is the latest installment in our periodic series highlighting Boston and New England artists. (View the complete series here.) FEATURED ALBUMS Barnstar! (from the Signature Sounds Records release Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out!) I don’t think that it is possible to listen to Barnstar and not crack a smile. Every performance, even the […]

Mayer’s Playlist for January 2015

ALBUM OF THE MONTH Fear and Saturday Night, by Ryan Bingham Bingham sets the tone for his latest album right out of the gate. “I’ve been carrying my troubles in this pack strapped to my shoulder,” he confesses in the opening “Nobody Knows My Trouble.” What follows are twelve songs that are filled with life […]

Mayer’s Playlist for December 2014

THE PLAYLIST I Can’t Do Crazy (Anymore), Willie Nile (from the River House Records release If I Was a River) Nile has been letting his guitar do the talking for the past several years, throwing down rock records that should be the envy of musicians a fraction of his age. This one is a little […]

Tom’s Picks: Best of 2014

Album of the Year: Noah Gundersen, Ledges My pick for album of the year is Noah Gundersen’s Ledges. The up and coming singer-songwriter from Seattle, nails it with Ledges. It’s a family affair as his sister, Abby, joins in on vocals including album opener “Poor Man’s Son” which simply stops time as it blends effortlessly into […]