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 […]

Mayer’s Playlist for November 2014, Part 1

ALBUM OF THE MONTH Chasing Beauty, by Ellis Paul Ellis Paul long ago established his credentials as a folk musician. He is an astute observer of the world around him who excels at transforming stories into song. In recent years he has shifted a bit from his folk roots, flexing more of his acoustic pop […]

Dream On — a Special Boston Playlist

Here is the latest installment in our periodic series highlighting Boston and New England artists. (View the complete series here.) 1-2-3, Amy Fairchild (from the self-released Amy Fairchild) There’s something to be said for only speaking when you have something to say. Just ask Amy Fairchild who has just released her first album since 2002. […]

Markus James – Head For The Hills

Markus James has travelled to Timbuktu to unlock the secrets of the blues and found a connection between what he heard in the deserts of Mali to the fife and drum music of northern Mississippi. Like Corey Harris and the Dickinson brothers, James’ preoccupation with exploring the drum-based blues of North Mississippi has led to […]

Mayer’s Playlist for October 2014, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH And the War Came, by Shakey Graves Austin-based Alejandro Rose-Garcia — Shakey Graves — makes a mighty fine racket. His live performances, generally just him on the stage playing guitar and percussion, are captivating. And the War Came is the rare studio album that captures this energy while simultaneously showcasing the […]