Rising Americana and bluegrass stars Mandolin Orange have released “Time We Made Time,” a track from its upcoming album ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’ (February 1, 2019 on Yep Roc). The duo has revealed a splendid video for the single.
Mandolin Orange is based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It includes Andrew Marlin on vocals, mandolin, guitar, banjo and Emily Frantz on vocals, violin, and guitar. Mandolin Orange is known for its beautifully constructed vocal and instrumental interplay.
Calexico’s 9th studio album, The Thread That Keeps Us (Anti- records), is a slight detour from their usual Americana–Mexicana sound, but is no less captivating. Three years since their last release, the southwest duo of Joey Burns and John Convertino bring us 15 new tracks, written while on a self-imposed reconnaissance to northern California. They revisit their own musical youth and inspirations, the nostalgia of old haunts, favorite bands and family. It seems these inspirations are the thread, but the album is simultaneously a lament for the current world climate. This is reflected in a more chaotic sound than previous albums.
Opening track, ‘End of the World With You’ is pure pop, engulfing you in jangly guitar that becomes wilder as the song progresses. ‘Voices in the Field’ is raw and distorted with grittier vocals from Burns, whereas ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ is a haunting beauty showcasing his higher range. ‘Under the Wheels’ experiments with synth beats and dub, while grieving US policy, “…deep in the war regime, always someone else’s scheme…”.
Burns’ musical tastes are laid bare with the cool funk of ‘Another Space’, the edgy Pixies sound of ‘Eyes Wide Awake’, and 60s Cramps-like garage punk of ‘Dead in the Water’. All different territory for Calexico, but great tributes to their experimentation and eclectic musicianship.
‘Girl in the Forest’ and ‘Music Box’ are two heartfelt tributes to Burns’s twin daughters, clearly central to his purpose in life and love.
Jairo Zavala Ruiz provides lead vocals on groovy ‘Flores y Tamales’, the sole Spanish track on this album, bound to be a favorite at their live performances.
Followers know the band love a bit of the obscure, their albums always punctuated by atmospheric instrumental tracks. There’s classic Calexican eeriness in ‘Spinball’, and wafting psychedelia in ‘Shortboard’.
A highlight of the album is ‘Thrown to the Wild’, a broody slow-build reminiscent of ‘All Systems Red’ (2006) or ‘World Undone’ (2015). Beautiful musical chaos.
These guys are seriously talented. On most albums Burns plays no less than ten instruments. Convertino’s drums and percussion are unmistakable – quintessential to the whole Calexico sound.
The current lineup of Burns, Convertino, Martin Wenk, Jacob Valenzuela, Sergio Mendoza, Jairo Zavala Ruiz, and Scott Colberg tour Europe and the US in Spring 2018.
The U.S. release date for The Thread that Keeps Us is January 26, 2018. Album art by Ryan Trayte.
Echo in the Valley is the second album by husband and wife duo Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn. Both musicians are banjo innovators and Echo in the Valley is a real treat for banjo music fans.
Most of the material on Echo in the Valley is new, innovative material composed by the duo along with a handful of arrangements of traditional songs and material from other composers.
This is definitely not traditional bluegrass, but instead exquisitely-designed new acoustic music, rooted in American traditions, from bluegrass to folk and jazz.
Throughout Echo in the Valley, Fleck and Washburn use a wide-range of banjos (seven in total) that are plucked and bowed, along with Abigail’s mesmerizing and expressive vocals, and percussive dance on one song.
The physical CD version is beautifully packaged with a cut out shape of the two musicians and includes lyrics and credits.
Savannah Music Festival has announced its 2018 programming. The festival will take place March 29th through April 14th, 2018, at several venues throughout Savannah’s Historic District.
In the American roots area, bluegrass sensations Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and Claire Lynch Band will share the stage on opening night, followed the next day by the Mission Temple Fireworks Revival with Paul Thorn Band and the Blind Boys of Alabama.
Songwriter-guitarist Margaret Glaspy is set to perform on a double bill with Argentine composer, singer and guitarist Juana Molina.
Tulsa’s John Moreland will share an alt-country bill with Nashville songwriter and guitarist Aaron Lee Tasjan.
New acoustic music projects include Hawktail and the Savannah Music Festival debut of Kittel & Co., guitarist Tommy Emmanuel plays on a co-bill with Jayme Stone’s Folklife and the original production The Voice is a Traveler features Moira Smiley and Anna & Elizabeth.
Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal will return to the Lucas stage as a duo and Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives are set to play Ships of the Sea, as do the North Mississippi Allstars.
Recent MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient Rhiannon Giddens will present her first theater show at Savannah Music Festival, and Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn return with music from their new album, Echo in the Valley.
For ticket information and the rest of the programming, including classical music, world music, jazz theatrical productions and films go to www.savannahmusicfestival.org.
The debut album of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real showcases the talent of one of the rising stars of American roots rock. Lukas Nelson and his colleagues incorporate country, gospel and blues and combine it with rock, creating a captivating set of songs.
If Lukas’ voice reminds you of Willie Nelson, this is no coincidence, as Lukas is one of Willie’s sons.
To celebrate this debut album, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real are joined by an impressive cast of guests: Willie Nelson, members of Lucius, and Lady Gaga.
Promise of the Real includes Lukas Nelson on lead vocals and guitars; Tato Melgar on percussion; Anthony LoGerfo on drums; Corey McCormick on bass, vocals; Jesse Siebenberg on steel guitars, Farfisa organ, vocals; and Alberto Bof on piano, Wurlitzer, Hammond B3.
Guests include Bobbie Nelson on piano; Willie Nelson on guitar; Jess Wolfe and Holly Lessig of Lucius on vocals; Micah Nelson on piano and banjo; Lady Gaga on background vocals; Dave Palmer on piano; and John Grange on lap and pedal steel guitar.
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real is an excellent debut album containing a fine example of rock rooted in American traditional sounds.
Calexico is an influential band that plays border music, a mix of Tex-Mex and southwestern music, country and rock. Although the band founders, Joey Burns and John Convertino, originally met in California, Calexico was formed in Tucson, Arizona.
Each of their albums attracted attention, from their debut Spoke (1996) to The Black Light (1998), the breakthrough, mariachi-infused Hot Rail (2000), to their highly successful Feast of Wire (2003), that ventured into ambient electronica and Gil Evans influenced jazz.
In early 2004, Calexico released a live DVD, Calexico – World Drifts In, taken from a remarkable performance at the Barbican in London.
In 2006 Calexico released Garden Ruin, officially the band’s fifth album, aside from their numerous tour-only CDs. Written in Bisbee, Arizona; recorded in Tucson, Arizona; mixed in Brooklyn, New York; and mastered in California.
The Avett Brothers is a folk-rock act based in Mount Pleasant, North Carolina. Brothers Scott and Seth Avett grew up in Concord, North Carolina. They had success with their 2009 major label release, “I and Love and You,” that reached No. 16 on the Billboard Top 200.
In 2012, the critically ac claimed “The Carpenter” was No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200. The group appeared on the American late night show Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! twice in a few months’ time. During their second performance, the Brooklyn Philharmonic joined to pay tribute to Brooklyn with “I and Love and You” at Mr. Kimmel’s request.
The Avett Brothers’ eighth studio album, “Magpie and the Dandelion,” reached No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. The band performed on various significant American TV shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and accompanied Chris Cornell for a Pearl Jam tribute on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The band also supported The Rolling Stones concert in Raleigh, North Carolina, during 2015’s Zip Code Tour.
The album “True Sadness” was released in 2016. It reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Albums Chart, No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums Chart, No. 1 on the Digital Albums Chart and No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200. The Americana Music Association named it the No. 1 Most Played Album of 2016.
Members in 2017 include Seth Avett on lead and backing vocals, guitar, hi-hat, piano, drums, tambourine; Scott Avett on lead and backing vocals, banjo, kick drum, harmonica, guitar, piano, drums; Bob Crawford on backing and lead vocals, double bass, bass guitar, trumpet, violin; and Joe Kwon on cello, musical saw, backing vocals.
String band Dave Rawlings Machine has added MerleFest to its “Nashville Obsolete” tour. The new album, the second full-length release for Dave Rawlings Machine, highlights the outstanding musicianship of Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch on lead vocals and guitar, Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) on bass, Willie Watson on vocals and guitar, and guest appearances from Brittany Haas (fiddle) and Jordan Tice (mandolin).
MerleFest 2016 is scheduled for April 28 – May 1, 2016 and will take place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
Tickets for MerleFest 2016 may be purchased at MerleFest or by calling 1-800-343-7857.
Casualties of Cool is a fascinating project by Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist and composer Devin Townsend. Up to now, I wasn’t very interested in Townsend’s heavy metal music so it was a great surprise when I listened to Casualties of Cool and watched one of their videos. This band features a mixture of North American roots music along with electronic ambiance and effects.
This recording is a three disc set with two audio albums and a DVD with video. Disc 1 was intended to be the main disc and disc 2 is the B-sides. However, the B-sides are just as god as disc 1.
The music on Casualties of Cool includes galloping country rhythms, memorable blues guitar echoing solos, folk-rock passages and beautiful ballads along with exquisitely crafted electronic music soundscapes and vocal effects such as reverb and drifting delays. Townsend provides some of the mesmerizing lead vocals, but he is also joined by the gorgeous voice of Ché Aimee Dorval.
“The idea is to take a typical folky aesthetic and wrap it in a moody, kind of haunted David Lynch type aura. It’s great fun and Che is brilliant,” says Townsend.
The bonus live DVD was shot at London’s beautiful Union Chapel and also includes an interview and two music videos.
Live version of ‘Daddy’ taken from the Live DVD:
Casualties of Cool is an absorbing ambient folk album that showcases the talent of Devin Townsend.