The Holmes Brothers – Brotherhood

Holmes Brothers

The Holmes Brothers have spread their special brand of joy for years. Brothers Sherman and Wendell, along with drummer Popsy Dixon, have established a special kind of soul-blues that is part gospel, part soul. Although the Holmes Brothers had performed together throughout the 1980s, it wasn’t until the 1990s that they started getting widespread recognition […] more »


Mikey Junior – Traveling South


Philadelphia, known more for its rhytm & blues than traditional blues, is nevertheless the home to some outstanding blues musicians including harmonica virtuoso Steve Guyger, the sultry young singer Gina Sicilia, and the up-and-coming, hardworking blues harp standout Mikey Junior. Mikey Junior, who often homesteads at the Twisted Tail in Philly’s South Street area, has embraced a musical style […] more »


Old Settler’s Music Fest – 2014 Edition


Every spring, a couple of weeks after the madhouse of SXSW, the music festival season kicks off with Old Settler’s Music Festival, about a half hour outside of Austin.  Started as a bluegrass festival, Old Settler’s now embraces a broad spectrum of Americana.  Organizer Jean Spivey has a magic touch for consistently mixing old with […] more »


Southern Soul Assembly at the Saenger Theatre, Mobile, Alabama

Southern Soul Assembly

So I’m in Mobile, AL this week for my day job.  As I’m eating lunch Tuesday I look up and see a poster for the Southern Soul Assembly, featuring JJ Grey, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard.  And it’s that night at the Saenger Theatre about a block from my hotel. I rush out […] more »


Nick Moss Band – Time Ain’t Free


Nick Moss paid his dues, working as a side man for veteran Chicago bluesmen, including Buddy Scott, Jimmy Dawkins, Jimmy Rogers and former Muddy Waters drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Those blues chops, hard earned, provided the backbone for Moss to lead his own formidable blues outfit for more than a decade. A student of […] more »


Happy Valentine’s Day: Radio Sweetheart from Sarah Borges


Every once in awhile, there is an artist whose album is so anticipated by everyone in the Twangville Posse that a few of us pile on for a team review. Put Sarah Borges’ “Radio Sweetheart” into that category. SUZANNE’S TAKE There’s one word to describe Sarah Borges: BADASS. When I was growing up, I always […] more »


Steve Dawson – Rattlesnake Cage


Canadian roots music master Steve Dawson’s Rattlesnake Cage showcases Dawson’s astonishing guitar skills as they should be – intimate and acoustic.  Dawson, whose passion for roots music prompted him to found the Black Hen Music label in 1995, has been a force in the Canadian music scene and now, having relocated to Nashville, his star […] more »


Mark T. Small – Smokin’ Blues

Mark T Small

New Englander Mark T. Small’s lightning fast guitar picking skills are on display on the all-acoustic Smokin’ Blues.  Small, whose background includes a stint in the 1980s with the Indiana-based “newgrass” band called The Brown County Band and a dozen years as leader of Chicago-style electric blues band The Lonesome Strangers, has managed to fuse the extraordinary dexterity required […] more »


Damon Fowler – Sounds of Home


Damon Fowler’s music captures his Southern roots as well as any up-and-coming artist today. A native of Brandon, Florida, Fowler’s sound encompasses swampy soul, blues, country and a measure of rockabilly. For his sixth and latest solo album, Sounds of Home, Fowler enlisted prominent Louisiana blues-rocker Tab Benoit to help produce a tasty helping of […] more »


Mayer’s Picks: More Favorites from 2013

I had a tough time narrowing down my list of favorite albums to just ten. So here, in no particular order, are a few more favorites from 2013. Blunderstone RookeryStephen Kellogg Close to the FloorPatrick Sweany Stay RecklessAustin Lucas StudebakerMando Saenz The MooringsAndrew Duhon Truth Be SoldLeeroy Stagger ElectricRichard Thompson American RideWillie Nile Small Town […] more »


Macy Blackman & The Mighty Fines – I Didn’t Want To Do It

Macy Blackman

Macy Blackman’s piano playing is a treat for those who enjoy swampy, down home boogie-woogie. His new album, I Didn’t Want To Do It, takes a page from Dr. John’s playbook, featuring spirited New Orleans style boogie-woogie piano – but without the trippier side of the Dr. John experience. Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Blackman did […] more »


Monday Morning Video: Stevie Ray Vaughan

‘Cause sometimes you need a little Stevie Ray Vaughan to start your week off right. Here’s a vintage Vaughan mini-set from 1989, featuring classics like “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “Couldn’t Stand the Weather” and “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).” more »


Eric Bibb – Jericho Road


Eric Bibb is one of the elite handful of African-American blues musicians who have built on the legacy of the great post-World War II generation of bluesmen who brought the music form from the back woods of the Mississippi Delta to the streets of Chicago and beyond. About a decade younger than Taj Mahal, who […] more »


Johnny Rawls – Remembering O.V.

Johnny Rawls_

Soul blues is a form of blues that, as its name implies, fuses soul music with traditional blues music.  It is a form of blues that was pioneered by African-American musicians in the South.  Among the music form’s early champions were the late Bobby “Blue” Bland and Z.Z. HIll.  Although a number of prominent blues musicians, such […] more »


Listen Up: Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, Toy Soldiers and the Silks


There’s been something of a resurgence of 1970’s rock of late. The three bands highlighted below are among the finest purveyors, each adding their own distinctive stamp to the classic sound. TOY SOLDIERS When I first saw this Philadelphia-based quintet live I was tempted to put them in the indie rock category. The Maybe Boys, […] more »


Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson