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 […]

Otis Taylor – Hey Joe Opus … Red Meat

Otis Taylor likes to experiment. As architect of a mesmerizing style of blues music christened “trance blues,” Taylor’s albums tend to have an atmospheric, dream-like quality. Taylor’s style might sometimes be described as Muddy Waters meets Shawn Phillips or Pink Floyd. Taylor’s career, like his musical style, has been unconventional. He was active in the […]

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 […]