Mayer’s Playlist for June 2014, Part 2

ALBUMS OF THE MONTH Trouble, by The Howlin’ Brothers The Nashville-based Howlin’ Brothers expand their musical palette with their latest release. Sure, it has plenty of the traditional bluegrass upon which they’ve established their reputation. The unexpected treat, however, are the shades of reggae and pop that make an appearance. They kick things off in […]

The Nighthawks – 444

DC-based blues-rockers the Nighthawks seem to be undergoing a late-career resurgence, winning their first Blues Music Award with Last Train to Bluesville (acoustic album of the year, 2011), and following that up with a solid effort on Damn Good Time! in 2012.  With 444, front man Mark Wenner and the boys continue to crank out high-energy, […]

John Mayall – A Special Life

A Special Life, indeed.  John Mayall is often called the “Godfather of British Blues,” but his legacy may include more than just pioneering the British blues; he arguably had a hand in saving the blues as an active music form by introducing the music to a new audiance at a time in the 1960s when elderly bluesmen were […]

Keb’ Mo’ – BLUESAmericana

Over the past 20 years, Keb’ Mo’ has been among a small group of African American next generation musicians widely considered to be the future of blues music. Along with contemporaries like Corey Harris, Eric Bibb, Guy Davis, Otis Taylor and Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb’ Mo’ has carried the torch of blues music passed on […]

The Holmes Brothers – Brotherhood

The Holmes Brothers have spread their special brand of joy for years. Brothers Sherman and Wendell, along with drummer Popsy Dixon, have established a special kind of soul-blues that is part gospel, part soul. Although the Holmes Brothers had performed together throughout the 1980s, it wasn’t until the 1990s that they started getting widespread recognition […]

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 […]

Southern Soul Assembly at the Saenger Theatre, Mobile, Alabama

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 […]

Levi Lowrey – Levi Lowrey

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 […]

Clay McClinton – Bitin’ At the Bit

“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 […]

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 […]