Monday Morning Video – Randy Newman & Friends

Randy Newman is one of my favorite songwriters, as adept at breaking your heart with a meditation on loss as he is at riling you up with satirical commentary on the state of politics and society. Of course there’s also his impressive array of movie soundtracks, from “Toy Story” to “the Natural.” Here he is […]

Mea Culpa! A Special Summer Playlist, Part 2

Devil in Me, Anderson East (from the Low Country Sound/Elektra Records release Delilah) There’s something special about that old-school soul sound. It’s all the more impressive when it is created by a young whippersnapper like Anderson East. The Nashville by way of Alabama singer-songwriter serves up an exhilarating debut album that is steeped in Muscle […]

Monday Morning Video – Whitney Rose with Raul Malo

Last month we featured Eilen Jewell and the Sweetback Sisters paying tribute to the Ronettes with a performance of the “Be My Baby.” Not surprisingly the legendary song is a favorite of many artists. Singer-songwriter Whitney Rose recorded the song for her new release Heartbreaker of the Year. Joining her on the track is album […]

Mayer’s Picks: The Best of 2015, So Far (the Songs), Part 2

Everybody Talkin’ ’bout the All American, JD McPherson (from the Rounder Records release Let The Good Times Roll) Let’s just call this the dance hit of the year. One listen and you’ll know what I mean. You Got To Me, James McMurtry (from the Complicated Game Records release Complicated Game) On a given day I’d […]

Mayer’s Picks: The Best of 2015, So Far (the Songs), Part 1

For me, at least, this year has been more about songs than albums. Here are just a few of my favorites from the first half of 2015. If Still It Can’t Be Found, Joe Pug (from the Lightning Rod Records release Windfall) A melancholy ode to perseverance and pursuing one’s dreams. Simply magical. Don’t Let […]

Mayer’s Picks – the Best of 2015 (So Far), the Albums

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite releases from the first half of 2015. COMPLICATED GAME by JAMES MCMURTRY As he celebrates the release of his first album in six years, there’s a part of me that wishes that McMurtry was more prolific. Then I remember that it takes time to craft […]

Monday Morning Video – Last Bandoleros

I stumbled across this trio at SXSW earlier this year. I only caught the tail end of their set but am eager to see more. As this video illustrates, their live shows are a whole heap of fun. What’s not to like about tasty pop songs served up in a tex-mex package?

Twangville’s Shaky Knees 2015 Recap

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A new location brought a special surprise – no rain. Rain, often torrential, is a Shaky Knees tradition. From year one’s mudfest to last year’s lightning storm, the weather has never been kind to Shaky Knees. Until this year, that is. The sun shone bright (perhaps too much at times, but I’m not complaining), making […]

Monday Morning Video – Vintage Los Lobos

Let’s kick it old school this week with a classic from one of rock music’s true legends. These guys can do it all, from the Mexican music of their heritage to blues to rock and everything in-between. Here’s a full concert from 1989 that proves the point. Over the course of an hour-long show they […]

Mayer’s Playlist for March/April 2015, Part 3

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH The Firewatcher’s Daughter, by Brandi Carlile For some, the process of getting off the major label merry-go-round can be a traumatic experience that results in musical purgatory. Not for Carlile, who shifted to ATO Records and returns with another stand-out release. Her voice is as radiant as ever, beautifully complimented by […]