Old Settler’s Music Festival 2015 Edition

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My favorite weekend of the year has come and gone again.  A couple of weeks after the over-sized crowds, egos, and marketing campaigns of SXSW comes a music festival in the hill country outside Austin that’s just about the music.  With only 15,000 attendees, and a couple of stages, you can see at least a […]

Bernard Allison – In The Mix

Bernard Allison has a tough act to follow. The son of legendary bluesman Luther Allison, Bernard Allison has inherited his father’s energy and skill, but he has forged a sound of his own. When I saw the elder Allison perform live in the early 80s, it was like watching pure energy.  Luther Allison’s guitar work was […]

Mayer’s Playlist for February 2015

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Complicated Game, by James McMurtry Six years. That’s how long it has been since we last heard new music from McMurtry. While he hasn’t been missing during this time – he could always be found on the touring circuit – many of us were anxiously awaiting some new music. Well, that […]

JJ Grey & Mofro – Ol’ Glory

Southern swamp funk-blues band JJ Grey & Mofro have a unique sound forged in the backwaters of Florida.  Grey, the band’s leader, is well established as a songwriter, and the band’s recordings and live performances are among the most dependably enjoyable in the business. Grey & Mofro’s reputation grew steadily since the band recorded its first […]

Parker McCollum – The Limestone Kid

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One of the things I like about debut albums from singer-songwriters is they frequently have a much richer collection of stories than happens once the pressure mounts to get new material out to fans to keep things fresh.  That’s the case with the first album from Texas artist Parker McCollum.  Entitled The Limestone Kid it’s […]

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 […]

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 […]

Screen Door Porch – Modern Settler

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When I first listened to Modern Settler, the latest release from Wyoming band Screen Door Porch, I assumed the band’s core duo of Seader Rose and Aaron Davis had gotten some wanderlust and spent time traveling through the rural South.  Turns out the inspiration was closer to home, and came from a cassette Davis discovered […]

Shawn’s Top 10 Live Sets Of 2014

I’m fortunate enough to live in an area with a tradition of supporting live music.  It’s not Austin or Nashville, but Santa Cruz holds its own when it comes to getting some great Americana tour stops.  I’m also lucky enough to be able to travel to some music festivals every year.  So while I don’t […]

Eric Bibb – Blues People

Eric Bibb is one of a small number of elite blues musicians of his generation that define contemporary blues music.  Along with Keb’ Mo’, Otis Taylor, Guy Davis, Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood and a handful of others, Bibb has assumed the mantle from the great Mississippi Delta artists of the  early 20th century and the post-World […]