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 […]

While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years Of Bloodshot Records

Insurgent country.  Twenty years ago, when Nan Warshaw, Rob Miller, and Eric Babcock founded Bloodshot Records in a spare bedroom to promote the copulation of country and punk music, they chose that name over alternative country or Americana.  While their choice of nomenclature didn’t have the lasting impact of the other two, it’s a microcosm […]

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. […]

Lac La Belle – A Friend Too Long

As I sit here starting to write this review, I  realize it’s somewhat appropriate that tonight is Halloween, when costumed children pretend to be someone they wish they could be and costumed adults pretend to be someone (or something) they don’t want to be.  The latest record from Detroit-based Lac La Belle, A Friend Too […]

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 […]

Mayer’s Playlist for Oct 2014, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Boxers, by Matthew Ryan Boxers is an album of discontent. Life, love, work — you name it — the characters that inhabit this collection of songs are dissatisfied. There is rage, resentment and restlessness. Through it all, however, Ryan manages to find a glimmer of hope — sometimes it’s a lyrical […]

Americana 2014, The Sounds, Part 3

Every fall, The Americana Music Association gathers members, artists and music fans together in Nashville for its annual conference. Starting with the annual Americana Music Awards and continuing through four days of showcases and panel discussions, it is a tremendous celebration of Americana music. Here are my highlights among the many live performances I saw […]

Americana 2014: The Sounds, Part 2

Every fall, The Americana Music Association gathers members, artists and music fans together in Nashville for its annual conference. Starting with the annual Americana Music Awards and continuing through four days of showcases and panel discussions, it is a tremendous celebration of Americana music. MATTHEW RYAN This was, hands-down, the highlight of the week for […]