The Blackberry Bushes String Band – Three Red Feathers

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I love it when music transports you to another time or place.  Some musicians do it with their stories.  We wrote about Kevin Gordon last week.  John Prine and Robert Earl Keen also come to mind.  Other musicians do it with the music itself.  The Mavericks always make my short list for that, as does […]

Route 128 on a Dark and Lonely Night – A Special Boston Playlist

Here is the latest installment in our periodic series highlighting Boston and New England artists. (View the complete series here.) Jambalaya, Girls Guns and Glory (from the self-released A Tribute to Hank Williams – Live!) Girls Guns and Glory’s annual Hank Williams tribute shows have rapidly become a New Year’s tradition. With the help of […]

Zac Harmon – Right Man Right Now

Good music speaks for itself. Long-time session- and side-man Zac Harmon, who produced and wrote music for artists as varied as Black Uhuru and The O’Jays, has made some good music after launching his young solo blues career. Hailing from Jackson, Mississippi, Harmon spent a number of years playing with soul-blues artists like Z.Z. Hill and […]

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” […]

Monday Morning Video – Randy Newman & Friends

Randy Newman is one of my favorite songwriters, as adept at breaking your heart with a meditation on loss as he is at riling you up with satirical commentary on the state of politics and society. Of course there’s also his impressive array of movie soundtracks, from “Toy Story” to “the Natural.” Here he is […]

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 […]