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 […]

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 […]

Jonathan Fox Band – 20 Something Runaway

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The subtitle for the new Jonathan Fox Band record, 20 Something Runaway, could easily be “A Young Man And His Guitar”.  Although he’s recorded solo efforts before and made a choice to put more emphasis on the band this time, the songs are really about Fox and his guitar. Fortunately Fox got a lot of […]

Markus James – Head For The Hills

Markus James has travelled to Timbuktu to unlock the secrets of the blues and found a connection between what he heard in the deserts of Mali to the fife and drum music of northern Mississippi. Like Corey Harris and the Dickinson brothers, James’ preoccupation with exploring the drum-based blues of North Mississippi has led to […]