Twangville’s Shaky Knees 2015 Recap

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A new location brought a special surprise – no rain. Rain, often torrential, is a Shaky Knees tradition. From year one’s mudfest to last year’s lightning storm, the weather has never been kind to Shaky Knees. Until this year, that is. The sun shone bright (perhaps too much at times, but I’m not complaining), making […]

Trout Steak Revival – Brighter Every Day

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There’s something about bluegrass that always seems slanted toward picking up your spirits.  It’s not that the genre doesn’t have its share of good murder ballads–a couple of doozy’s come immediately to mind–but as a rule it’s not somber music. That’s true in spades in the debut album from Colorado-based Trout Steak Revival. Entitled Brighter […]

Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 3

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH The Firewatcher’s Daughter, by Brandi Carlile For some, the process of getting off the major label merry-go-round can be a traumatic experience that results in musical purgatory. Not for Carlile, who shifted to ATO Records and returns with another stand-out release. Her voice is as radiant as ever, beautifully complimented by […]

Old Settler’s Music Festival 2015 Edition

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My favorite weekend of the year has come and gone again.  A couple of weeks after the over-sized crowds, egos, and marketing campaigns of SXSW comes a music festival in the hill country outside Austin that’s just about the music.  With only 15,000 attendees, and a couple of stages, you can see at least a […]

Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Down To Believing, by Allison Moorer Real life is often the best inspiration for art, notably when it is created in response to heartache and sorrow. Such is the case for Allison Moorer, who channels her emotions into a collection of songs that is by turns sad, angry, regretful and defiant. […]

Shawn Nelson – The Devil’s River

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In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I like this music review gig.  While mainstream “country” has become nothing but American Idolized pop delivered with a nasaly inflection or high school stereotyped Bro’ Country, there’s still a strong undercurrent of lyrically rich, musically infectious Americana releases available if you look for them.  Luckily, a […]

Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Windfall, by Joe Pug It has been three years since Joe Pug’s last release, a time that found the singer-songwriter coping with the burn-out that comes from years of continuous touring. Sharing one’s music with audiences around the world may be joyous, but the life can be arduous. In that context, […]