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” […]

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 […]

Trampled By Turtles – Wild Animals

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Perhaps as a side effect of a misspent youth where I had friends who leaned toward torn clothing, homemade piercings, and 5 minute rock songs played in under 2, I’ve always kind of liked really fast bluegrass.  Several years ago I stumbled across Trampled By Turtles, who didn’t just speed up bluegrass songs, they wrote […]

Elephant Revival – Sands Of Now

To listen to Elephant Revival is to hear everything you’ve ever heard in acoustic music and yet nothing you’ve ever heard in acoustic music. The Colorado-based quintet will bring you to the edge of your chair in a pristine listening room, trying to capture every nuance.  They will force you back in your lawn chair […]

Short Takes – Three Gems For Summer

There has been a lot of good music cross my desk in the last couple of months, and I’ve finally internalized I’m not going to get to all of it.  Summer’s here, though, and it’s important to have some new music in your player.  So here are some short takes on albums I’m really enjoying, but […]

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 […]