Old Settler’s Music Fest – 2014 Edition


Every spring, a couple of weeks after the madhouse of SXSW, the music festival season kicks off with Old Settler’s Music Festival, about a half hour outside of Austin.  Started as a bluegrass festival, Old Settler’s now embraces a broad spectrum of Americana.  Organizer Jean Spivey has a magic touch for consistently mixing old with […] more »


Southern Soul Assembly at the Saenger Theatre, Mobile, Alabama

Southern Soul Assembly

So I’m in Mobile, AL this week for my day job.  As I’m eating lunch Tuesday I look up and see a poster for the Southern Soul Assembly, featuring JJ Grey, Luther Dickinson, Anders Osborne and Marc Broussard.  And it’s that night at the Saenger Theatre about a block from my hotel. I rush out […] more »


Levi Lowrey – Levi Lowrey

Lowrey cover

My favorite album of last year was Jason Isbell’s Southeastern.  It was an exploration of a man’s demons, some of them intense enough to sometimes weigh in on my decision whether to hit play or go for something a little lighter on the mind.  Levi Lowrey, with his second, self-titled, album, has also chosen to […] more »


Clay McClinton – Bitin’ At the Bit

McClinton cover

“I started out the night with good intentions, but ended up getting sideways drinking wine…”  Clay McClinton does a cover of his dad’s most famous song, Victim Of Life’s Circumstances, about halfway through his latest release, Bitin’ At the Bit.  It’s not only a welcome bit of deja vu, it also serves as a convenient […] more »


Steve Dawson – Rattlesnake Cage


Canadian roots music master Steve Dawson’s Rattlesnake Cage showcases Dawson’s astonishing guitar skills as they should be – intimate and acoustic.  Dawson, whose passion for roots music prompted him to found the Black Hen Music label in 1995, has been a force in the Canadian music scene and now, having relocated to Nashville, his star […] more »


Damon Fowler – Sounds of Home


Damon Fowler’s music captures his Southern roots as well as any up-and-coming artist today. A native of Brandon, Florida, Fowler’s sound encompasses swampy soul, blues, country and a measure of rockabilly. For his sixth and latest solo album, Sounds of Home, Fowler enlisted prominent Louisiana blues-rocker Tab Benoit to help produce a tasty helping of […] more »


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 »


Three Recent Gems

Sometimes records find their way to my inbox that I really enjoy, but for some reason I don’t get a review written up.  It could be  they’re an EP and short of material for a full review.  Or they showed up at the same time as a bunch of other good material.  Occasionally it’s the […] more »


The Deadfields – Often Wrong, Never In Doubt

Deadfields cover

Although by no means a required characteristic, it seems bands that have some sly humor in their songs manage to collect a fan base that sustains them over generations.  The Austin Lounge Lizards come to mind, as does Southern Culture On the Skids.  The legendary Little Feat even managed to soldier through the loss of […] more »


Eric Bibb – Jericho Road


Eric Bibb is one of the elite handful of African-American blues musicians who have built on the legacy of the great post-World War II generation of bluesmen who brought the music form from the back woods of the Mississippi Delta to the streets of Chicago and beyond. About a decade younger than Taj Mahal, who […] more »


The Howlin’ Brothers – The Sun Studio Session


The Howlin’ Brothers are a three piece acoustic band. I hesitate to call them a “String” band, because they don’t fit the stereotype. While they do play traditional music, their version has many facets. Beyond traditional and Bluegrass, they also employee Blues, Country and you may even hear a little Bourbon Street. Their music can […] more »




Pawtucket, RI. Truth be told, I’d never been. But Providence’s Americana breakthrough artist Deer Tick was throwing a party and I figured I would have to stop by. When the 20 somethings of Toy Soldiers, an up-and-coming band from Philly, walked on stage I immediately thought of a poor mans Panic at the Disco! But […] more »


The Sadies – Internal Sounds

Sadies cover

Twin lead guitars.  In the glory days of my misspent youth that was about all you had to tell me to get me to go to a show.  Internal Sounds, the latest release from The Sadies, reminded me of why I was so enamored of the Southern rock genre and gave me pause to consider […] more »


MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies


In those odd moments when you’re craving funk, I mean, the lost art of funk seventies style, with the rhythm and beat that make you want to groove, MonkeyJunk can fill that prescription. The Ottawa, Canada-based trio of Steve Marriner, Tony D and Matt Sobb are called blues rockers, but their latest release, All Frequencies, […] more »


North Mississippi Allstars – World Boogie Is Coming


North Mississippi Allstars has been tearing it up for 17 years. From their studio recordings, with their unique blend of traditional roots and edgy rock, to their thundering live performances, featuring drumlines and bizarre instrumentation from electric washboards to cigar box guitars and a stringed instrument made from a coffee can on a stick, the […] more »


Matthew Ryan benefit for John Anderson