Otis Taylor is a fascinating artist. Each of his albums, at least over the past few years, have some theme – some linkage between the songs or the listening experience Taylor is trying to create. With his Hey Joe Opus in 2015, Taylor tossed out the rule book by including Billy Roberts’ classic “Hey Joe,” made […]
Session Americana, my hometown faves, sure know how to throw a party. Here’s a clip of them bringing their revelry to Nashville last year.
For avid fans of a particular musician or band, it’s usually the case that through interviews and side projects you can hear the influences that set them down the path to create their own unique sound. That’s hard to do for a particular branch of the musical genre tree, however. There are just too many […]
It has been seven years since we heard from Romantica. Of course we have heard from front man Ben Kyle in the meantime. He has done two acclaimed albums. One was a duet with Carrie Rodriguez and the other was a solo project. The wait for new material from Romantica was well worth it. The […]
The catalog that Jim Croce created during his short life and career is awe-inspiring. From the entertaining storytelling of “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” to the heart-tugging beauty of “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” he demonstrated a mastery that leaves us wondering what could have been if he hadn’t died in a […]
Several years back I did a series about music released with an eye towards social impact or change. Called Music With a Purpose, it was one of the more enjoyable series that I’ve written. The starting point was some great music, made all the more significant given the underlying meaning. Well, the time has come […]
Peanut butter and jelly, Luxardo cherries and good rye whiskey, banjos and mandolins. Some things go well together, like Justin Ahmanson and Emily Villareal, a duo that goes by the name The Traveling Ones. Their debut album is called Meet Me There and offers plenty of proof that this couple belongs together musically. Philosophically the […]
My original plan was to share a version of Jimmy Cliff covering his classic “The Harder They Come.” Until I stumbled across this version of Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros rockin’ it right.
There’s an old saying about blues musicians who had no formal training and yet could unload a gut-wrenching, soulful composition about life or love or maybe just an old dirt road: “it in him, and it got to get out.” There’s a country outlaw version of that in the first full-length album from California native […]
In the 1970s, John Mayall, O.B.E., was, along with Bob Dylan, John Prine, David Bromberg, Loudon Wainwright III, Shawn Phillips and Jerry Jeff Walker, one of my musical heroes. Now at 83 and still touring and recording albums, Mayall is an inspiration. Mayall, often called the “Godfather of British Blues,” is so much more than […]