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 […]

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 […]

Monday Morning Video – Dietrich Strause Serenades Some Ducks

Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow last week, signaling six more weeks of winter. Sure enough, Boston is in the midst of a three day snowstorm. Perhaps Phil would have acted differently if singer-songwriter Dietrich Strause serenaded him instead of these two ducks. The song is called “Sling and Stone” from his 2013 release […]

Kristin Andreassen Takes on a Grateful Dead Classic

Even if you don’t buy into the culture that emerged around the Grateful Dead, it’s hard not to appreciate the songs that they created. Kristin Andreassen responded to a fan request and turned out this exquisite version of the Dead’s “Brokedown Palace.” “I might not have had the courage to tackle this epic Grateful Dead […]

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 […]

Wood & Wire – The Coast

The Coast cover

A few years ago some members of a couple of different Austin-based bluegrass bands got together for some late night jamming and out of it came one of my favorite bluegrass albums of 2013, the self-titled Wood & Wire.  The boys are now releasing their follow-up album, The Coast. There’s an occasionally recurring theme that […]

Mayer’s Playlist for January 2015

ALBUM OF THE MONTH Fear and Saturday Night, by Ryan Bingham Bingham sets the tone for his latest album right out of the gate. “I’ve been carrying my troubles in this pack strapped to my shoulder,” he confesses in the opening “Nobody Knows My Trouble.” What follows are twelve songs that are filled with life […]