Twangville


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SXSW 2014 — The Sounds, Part 2

DAVE AND PHIL ALVIN I’m a big Dave Alvin fan. Unfortunately for me I discovered the Blasters, the seminal band co-founded by Dave and his brother Phil, after they went their separate ways. I was hooked, though, on their encyclopedic knowledge of American music — everything from folk to country and from blues to vintage […] more »

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Mayer’s Playlist for Feb/Mar 2014, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTHS English Oceans, by Drive-By Truckers I suppose that this review could be titled “Cooley Steps Out.” The band co-founder, who has historically contributed only a couple of songs per release, is credited with six songs on English Oceans. Ever better, they are some of his strongest songs in years. The opening […] more »

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Mass Ave – A Special Boston Playlist

FEATURED ALBUMS Good Luck, by Girls Guns and Glory Girls Guns and Glory have always been a fun live band, mixing up originals with choice covers ranging from Elvis Presley to Hank Williams. They’ve captured that energy – and then some – on their latest release. The Boston quartet traveled to Brooklyn to record the […] more »

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Damien Jurado/Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

I once made my fiancé a mix CD of Damien Jurardo songs that she refused to listen to because of the songs of his I’d played for her before. She liked a lot of them, but stated they were “so sad.” A few months later I was having a discussion with her dad about Jason […] more »

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Mayer’s Playlist for January 2014, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Alexandria, by Chris Mills I have wandered in the wild places,” sings Mills in the opening track of his latest release. It is a fitting line for a musician whose music continues to evolve in exquisite fashion. Mills has always impressed on many levels. His songwriting has always had a romantic […] more »

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Mayer’s Playlist for January 2014, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Hard Working Americans, by Hard Working Americans ‘Ya gotta love this album on principle. A veritable super-group of Americana and jam-band artists* get together for, well a jam-session. They forgo writing their own songs and instead champion some of their (and my) favorite songwriters. Like I said, how can you not […] more »

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Monday Morning Video: Chris Mills

Brooklyn (by way of Chicago) singer-songwriter Chris Mills passed through Boston yesterday. It had been awhile since I’d seen him but it took only one song to remind me why I enjoy his songwriting. Mid-set he pulled out this older tune that has long been a favorite. Yes, it’s a bit maudlin. but damn if […] more »

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Mayer’s Picks: Best Songs of 2013

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I posted a best songs list for the first half of 2013 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. Closed Hand, Full of Friends, Foy Vance (from the Glassnote Records release Joy of […] more »

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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 »

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Mayer’s Picks: Best Albums of 2013, 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 2013. That said, taken together they make a great statement on the vibrancy of the Boston music scene. KINGSLEY FLOOD, Battles […] more »

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Mayer’s Picks: Best Albums of 2013

This has been a great year in music, a feast for the ears but a challenge when it comes to picking my favorite albums for the year. A good problem to have, I suppose. Without further ado…. #1. JASON ISBELL, Southeastern The demons in these songs are no match for a songwriter of Isbell’s talent. […] more »

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Still Love That Dirty Water: A Boston Playlist

FEATURED ALBUM Common Courtesy, by Rusty Belle I don’t often quote artist bios, but this was too good not to share: They were raised on the Beatles and the Band, went to high school with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, dated Miles Davis and Tom Waits in college and keep a Lightnin’ Hopkins, Kinks or […] more »

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Mayer’s Playlist for Fall 2013, Part 3

ALBUMS OF THE SEASON Stay Reckless, by Austin Lucas Some may disagree with my classification, but this is my kind of country. It starts with Lucas’s voice, which has just the right amount of relaxed drawl. When he sings, “I don’t want to be alone in Memphis, I don’t want to be alone in New […] more »

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Stephen Kellogg’s Song of Thanksgiving

I’m sure many are familiar with “Alice’s Restaurant,” Arlo Guthrie’s legendary Thanksgiving opus. Clocking in at nearly twenty minutes, it is a touchstone in the folk story-telling canon. Well, it is time to start a new tradition. Stephen Kellogg’s “Thanksgiving,” from his recent Blunderstone Rookery, is an uplifting reflection on life and its blessings. Acknowledging […] more »

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Mayer’s Playlist for Fall 2013, Part 1

ALBUMS OF THE SEASON Joy of Nothing, by Foy Vance Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance spent his childhood years traveling the American Midwest and South with his preacher father. He soaked in the rich American musical traditions that he encountered during these travels, which later infused his music upon his return to Ireland. This rich musical […] more »

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Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson