Mayer’s Playlist for February 2015

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Complicated Game, by James McMurtry Six years. That’s how long it has been since we last heard new music from McMurtry. While he hasn’t been missing during this time – he could always be found on the touring circuit – many of us were anxiously awaiting some new music. Well, that […]

JJ Grey & Mofro – Ol’ Glory

Southern swamp funk-blues band JJ Grey & Mofro have a unique sound forged in the backwaters of Florida.  Grey, the band’s leader, is well established as a songwriter, and the band’s recordings and live performances are among the most dependably enjoyable in the business. Grey & Mofro’s reputation grew steadily since the band recorded its first […]

Tinsley Ellis – Tough Love

Tinsley Ellis came up as a hard-rocking guitar slinger in the mold of Stevie Ray Vaughan.  He was always known as a great axe-man, but as the decades passed and his art matured, he also became an accomplished songwriter and interpreter of the many shades of blues.  Kanye West might even be a little impressed with […]

Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Fat Man’s Shine Parlor

Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King have been playing together for 25 years, and it shows.  The Dallas, Texas native Kubek and Delhi, Louisiana-born King met in the late 1980s, and collaborated with Kubek as the band leader and King a featured player.  Over the years, the terms of the partnership have evolved until King became […]

Shawn’s Top 10 Live Sets Of 2014

I’m fortunate enough to live in an area with a tradition of supporting live music.  It’s not Austin or Nashville, but Santa Cruz holds its own when it comes to getting some great Americana tour stops.  I’m also lucky enough to be able to travel to some music festivals every year.  So while I don’t […]

Mayer’s Picks – More Favorites from 2014

Here, in no particular order, are a few more favorites from 2014. And the War CameShakey Graves The Shipwreck From the ShoreAnthony D’Amato HealStrand of Oaks Parker MillsapParker Millsap All or Nothin’Nikki Lane Common Ground: Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill BroonzyDave Alvin and Phil Alvin Eli Paperboy […]

Eric Bibb – Blues People

Eric Bibb is one of a small number of elite blues musicians of his generation that define contemporary blues music.  Along with Keb’ Mo’, Otis Taylor, Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood and a handful of others, Bibb has assumed the mantle from the great Mississippi Delta artists of the  early 20th century and the post-World […]

Markus James – Head For The Hills

Markus James has travelled to Timbuktu to unlock the secrets of the blues and found a connection between what he heard in the deserts of Mali to the fife and drum music of northern Mississippi. Like Corey Harris and the Dickinson brothers, James’ preoccupation with exploring the drum-based blues of North Mississippi has led to […]