Honeylark – Heavy


This time of year the shadows stretch long across the frozen landscape, adding a lightly brushed undercurrent of foreboding to everything.  It’s always there, lurking, feeding the darker human emotions, even when the event of the moment is a totally enjoyable holiday celebration.  When you put that feeling to music, you get what Honeylark calls […] more »


Music with a Purpose: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids

This post continues our series of posts about music that serves a higher purpose. This music reaches beyond pure listening enjoyment, raising awareness about important issues that affects countless people in their day-to-day lives. Alastair Moock had built a successful career as a folk musician when cancer struck. It didn’t strike him, but rather his […] more »


Old Settler’s Music Festival 2013


In the middle of April, a few weeks after the madness of SXSW, one of the more under appreciated events on the Austin music scene happens about 30 miles southwest of town; The Old Settler’s Music Festival.  Here are some of the highlights from this year’s festivities. Who Was That Band? Festivals like this always […] more »


Sons Of Fathers – Burning Days

Sons of Fathers cover

My first listen to the latest release from Sons Of Fathers, Burning Days, and I was tempted to just label it sophomore slump and be done with it.  I so liked their first release, though, that I had to go back and listen again and I realized it was my pre-conceived notions at fault and […] more »


The Stone Foxes – Small Fires

stone foxes

What is it in the current music industry that allows undeserving bands to become icons? Why is it that so many other bands that deserve to be icons do not get the notoriety they deserve? Why aren’t the Stone Foxes playing in large arenas in front of Lighter flames and screaming fans? They should be! […] more »


Mayer’s Playlist for Fall 2012, Part 3

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH In the Dusk of Everything, by Matthew Ryan There are many artists who are ambitious. Some pursue the thrill of live performances, others strive for financial success. While I can’t say that Matthew Ryan doesn’t harbor some of those motivations, he possesses a more powerful quality – ambition for his music. […] more »


La Resistance – Philosophy

Sometimes gaining momentum is better than a sprint. Greg Summerlin has passionately pursued his craft for years. As a solo artist his songs have been used in numerous TV shows. He has even owned his own record label. His new band, La Resistance, is an ambitious undertaking evocative of bands like Joy Division and Echo […] more »


Jim Hanft – Weddings Or Funerals


“You can’t judge a book by its cover” is such a well known saying that it’s become cliche.  But I was reminded of it listening to the lastest release from Jim Hanft, entitled Weddings Or Funerals.  The album starts off with Kerosene, that with it’s guitar and soft snare sound immediately made me think of […] more »


American Aquarium – Live in Raleigh


North Carolina’s American Aquarium has certainly made the most of their tenacious touring and effective self-promotion over the past few years. With their last two studio albums, Dances for the Lonely and Small Town Hymns possessing an irresistibly comfortable blend of country and rock, and the band’s live shows having gained a reputation for being […] more »


Heartless Bastards – Arrow


There’s something unexplainably exhilarating about a rapid and dramatic change in temperature.  In Russia and Scandinavia they go from a hot sauna to a leap into freezing cold water.  Where I grew up in the Midwest, we’d go from a hot, sweaty mosh pit in a club with ear-ringing decibels to the subzero outdoor environs […] more »


Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

Craig Finn has always had a reputation as an accomplished lyricist. In fact, he is as much of a poet as he is a Rock and Roll musician. His lyrics invoke an emotional connection that is evident as the crowd sings along at Hold Steady gigs. After all, this is the man who weaved the […] more »


Mayer’s Picks: Best Songs of 2011

I posted a best songs list for the first half of 2011 back in July (here). Rather than replicate that list for my full year review, consider this the addendum — the best songs from the second half of the year. When My Time Comes, Barnstar! (from the self-released C’Mon!) I somehow missed this song […] more »


Mason Jennings – Minnesota

Mason Minnesota Album

  Mason Jennings’ latest effort, Minnesota, is a lyrical romp with Jennings’ characteristic musical hooks that teeter on the edge of sappy but that work for him.  Every song on Minnesota is worth the listen.  The multi-instrumental Jennings opens with the subdued piano-based ballad “Bitter Heart” followed immediately with “Raindrops on the Kitchen Floor,” a […] more »


Q & A – Maps & Atlases


Chicago-based four-piece Maps & Atlases aren’t a math-rock band. O.K., good, we’ve got that out of the way now. Sure, there are some rather math-y elements to the band’s indie-folk informed sound, but not to the extent where those intricacies define their overall sonic contributions in the way that many would have one believe. While […] more »


Nick 13


By now, surely it’s no secret that country and punk go together about as good as peanut butter and chocolate. And typically, when these two classic American forms of music are welded together, the result seems to resemble a harder, thrashing product. Of course, the overall ethos attached to artists that practice either style in […] more »


Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson