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 […]

MilkDrive – Places You’ve Not Been

MilkDrive cover

“Sophisticated” and “bluegrass”.  Not often you see those two words paired.  On Places You’ve Not Been, the latest album from Austin-based MilkDrive, however, the two adjectives clearly belong together.  The disc certainly holds its own blasting as background rolling down the highway on a sunny California day.  But it really rewards you when you take […]

Taarka – Making Tracks Home

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You could probably argue that all music, regardless of genre, falls into two categories.  There’s music celebrating (or bemoaning) the here and now, and there are songs that take you back to a time or place.  The latest release from Colorado-based Taarka, Making Tracks Home, does a superb job of exploring both of those buckets in […]

Kiss Off — A Special Twangville Playlist, Part 6

A few years back I put together a series of special playlists featuring my favorite kiss off songs. Despite what some may think, I’m really not that cynical. Rather, I just appreciate how some songwriters can tackle the topic with humor and bite. It’s kind of like a genre unto itself. Over the past year […]

Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys – Ionia

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In small rural towns across America Friday night is high school sports night.  Everyone collects at the field/gymnasium about 6:30 and watches the local kids take on the town-down-the-road kids.  In autumn it’s football, winter means basketball, and spring is for track & field.  Because the school is so small, all the kids play all […]

Hazy Shade of Winter — A Special Boston Playlist

Here is the latest installment in our periodic series highlighting Boston and New England artists. (View the complete series here.) FEATURED ALBUMS Barnstar! (from the Signature Sounds Records release Sit Down! Get Up! Get Out!) I don’t think that it is possible to listen to Barnstar and not crack a smile. Every performance, even the […]

Wood & Wire – The Coast

The Coast cover

A few years ago some members of a couple of different Austin-based bluegrass bands got together for some late night jamming and out of it came one of my favorite bluegrass albums of 2013, the self-titled Wood & Wire.  The boys are now releasing their follow-up album, The Coast. There’s an occasionally recurring theme that […]

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 […]

The Twangville 2015 Release Preview, Boston Edition

I expect that these releases are just the beginning of another great year of Boston music. MAKE TIME by THE SUITCASE JUNKET(6 January) Singer-songwriter Matt Lorenz knows how to make one heck of a racket. His one-man band sound leans heavy on fuzzy guitar and ragged percussion, augmented by occasional throat-singing that gives the songs […]