Leo “Bud” Welch – I Don’t Prefer No Blues

It’s hard to explain just what makes Leo “Bud” Welch so special. Yes, there is the fact that the 83-year-old made his recording debut in 2013. There is also the pure, rugged honesty of his delivery and the fact that, unlike some other country blues musicians who got discovered in their later years, Welch is […]

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 […]

Kiss Off — A Special Twangville Playlist, Part 6

A few years back I put together a series of special playlists featuring my favorite kiss off songs. Despite what some may think, I’m really not that cynical. Rather, I just appreciate how some songwriters can tackle the topic with humor and bite. It’s kind of like a genre unto itself. Over the past year […]

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 […]