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 […]

Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love

Tinsley Ellis came up as a hard-rocking guitar slinger in the mold of Stevie Ray Vaughan.  He was always known as a great axe-man, but as the decades passed and his art matured, he also became an accomplished songwriter and interpreter of the many shades of blues.  Kanye West might even be a little impressed with […]

Kristin Andreassen Takes on a Grateful Dead Classic

Even if you don’t buy into the culture that emerged around the Grateful Dead, it’s hard not to appreciate the songs that they created. Kristin Andreassen responded to a fan request and turned out this exquisite version of the Dead’s “Brokedown Palace.” “I might not have had the courage to tackle this epic Grateful Dead […]

Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Fat Man’s Shine Parlor

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King have been playing together for 25 years, and it shows.  The Dallas, Texas native Kubek and Delhi, Louisiana-born King met in the late 1980s, and collaborated with Kubek as the band leader and King a featured player.  Over the years, the terms of the partnership have evolved until King became […]

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 […]

Mayer’s Picks – Best Songs of 2014

I posted a best songs list for the first half of 2014 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. An Anthem for the Broken and A Song to Learn and Sing (Until Kingdom […]

Mayer’s Playlist for November 2014, Part 2

Tennessee Mud, Trigger Hippy (from the Rounder Records release Trigger Hippy) There seem to be a rash of Americana “super groups” making headlines these days. Lest anyone think that Trigger Hippy is jumping on the bandwagon, consider that they’ve been around since 2009. Singers Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene, along with Black Crowes drummer Steve […]