MilkDrive – Places You’ve Not Been

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“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 […]

SXSW 2015 — the Sounds, Part 2

THE STONE FOXES This San Francisco-based rock band added a new drummer since the last time that I saw them. The change enabled original drummer Shannon Koehler to step out as the band’s primary front-man. It’s a role that suits him well as he fired up an afternoon crowd, bounding around the stage and through […]

SXSW 2015 — The Sounds, Part 1

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TRAPPER SCHOEPP The Milwaukee-based rocker used a raucous early afternoon set to preview songs from a forthcoming album. With Hold Steady guitarist Steve Selvidge in tow, Schoepp and his band the Shades provided an electric jolt to all those in attendance. Count me among those eagerly awaiting Schoepp’s new release — it’s gonna be a […]

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 […]

Sons of Bill – Live at Bottletree Cafe, January 15th

The Sons of Bill played for an intimate and enthusiastic audience at Bottletree Café in Birmingham, Alabama. Ironically the next day they boarded a plane to England for a European tour, in which one of the stops in the UK will also be Birmingham. That should set the table for an intriguing linguistic study comparing […]

Chip’s Best of 2014

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As usual it was a tough year to pick the top albums. This year was particularly tough; in that there were a number of top notch releases, but no clear standouts. Thus the conundrum, how to separate albums that are all deserving and uniquely their own. Here is an attempt to rank my top ten. […]

Mayer’s Playlist for December 2014

THE PLAYLIST I Can’t Do Crazy (Anymore), Willie Nile (from the River House Records release If I Was a River) Nile has been letting his guitar do the talking for the past several years, throwing down rock records that should be the envy of musicians a fraction of his age. This one is a little […]

Mayer’s Picks – Best Songs of 2014

I posted a best songs list for the first half of 2014 back in July (here). Rather than replicate that list for my full year review, consider this the continuation — the best songs from the second half of the year. An Anthem for the Broken and A Song to Learn and Sing (Until Kingdom […]

Mayer’s Picks – Best Albums of 2014, Boston Edition

This has been a great year for music in and around Boston. I hesitate to break these out into a separate regional list as they would all feature prominently on my overall Best of 2014. That said, taken together they make a great statement on the vibrancy of the Boston music scene. GIRLS GUNS AND […]