Mea Culpa! A Special Summer Playlist, Part 3

Hard Work, Christopher Paul Stelling (from the Anti Records release Labor Against Waste) Count Labor Against Waste among the most powerful albums that you’ll hear this year. Wandering troubadour Stelling uses his songs to offer taut social commentary, peering into human intentions and sharing pointed perspectives on life’s opportunities and challenges. The mesmerizing ballad “Scarecrow” […]

Mea Culpa! A Special Summer Playlist, Part 2

Devil in Me, Anderson East (from the Low Country Sound/Elektra Records release Delilah) There’s something special about that old-school soul sound. It’s all the more impressive when it is created by a young whippersnapper like Anderson East. The Nashville by way of Alabama singer-songwriter serves up an exhilarating debut album that is steeped in Muscle […]

Peace, Love and Twang at the Philadelphia Folk Festival

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The Philadelphia Folk Festival, which has been around for 54 years, isn’t your grandfather’s folk festival. While there is still a smattering of venerable acoustic solo folksingers on its program like Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Cockburn and Tom Paxton, the festival has become a great platform for Americana artists of all flavors as well as for […]

David Ramirez – Fables

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With raw emotion, David Ramirez delivers a collection of songs that shows the uneasy coexistence of a person’s true nature and best intentions. Each song on “Fables” is a candid vignette that demonstrates that the line between the two is unclear without honest examination. Relationships are explored with vocals and melodies that maintain harmony with […]

Mea Culpa! A Special Summer Playlist, Part 1

Mea culpa! So last year I made a commitment to myself to write a monthly playlist and publish it within the month for which it was named. I gave myself a hearty pat on the back when I met that goal. Thankfully, I didn’t set the same goal this year as I would have failed […]

Ana Egge – Bright Shadow

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In New York, Chicago, San Francisco, you can still find dimly lit, low-ceiling basement clubs, surprisingly full even on a weeknight, where you can get a stiff drink and a soberingly good jazz band.  You can’t smoke in them anymore, but that smoky sound still comes from a singer whose voice seems earned from whisky and cigarettes […]

Elephant Revival – Sands Of Now

To listen to Elephant Revival is to hear everything you’ve ever heard in acoustic music and yet nothing you’ve ever heard in acoustic music. The Colorado-based quintet will bring you to the edge of your chair in a pristine listening room, trying to capture every nuance.  They will force you back in your lawn chair […]

Mayer’s Picks: The Best of 2015, So Far (the Songs), Part 2

Everybody Talkin’ ’bout the All American, JD McPherson (from the Rounder Records release Let The Good Times Roll) Let’s just call this the dance hit of the year. One listen and you’ll know what I mean. You Got To Me, James McMurtry (from the Complicated Game Records release Complicated Game) On a given day I’d […]