Keep scrolling down the page for our blog/program guide.
Pics, bios, reviews, album art and links to where you can purchase the music featured on the show!
Love At First Sight- Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts- “Call My Name”
Out Of Sight- Shannon Stephens- “Pull It Together”
Out Of Sight- James Brown- “Gold”
Love At First Sight- John Mellencamp- “No Better Than This”
Love At First Sight- The Cazanovas- “Just Gettin’ By”
The End Is Not In Sight (The Cowboy Tune)- The Amazing Rhythm Aces- “Too Stuffed To Jump”
Hot New Music:
Brand New Dance- Loudon Wainwright III- “Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet)”
The Simple Life- Annalise Emerick- “Field Notes”
Feelin’ Better- Jenna & Her Cool Friends- “I’m What You Get”
She (featuring Emmylou Harris)- Doug Seegers- “Going Down To The River”
Moonshine Chevrolet- Harmonicadave- “Box Full Of Blues”
Paper Bag- The Souvenirs- “I Ain’t Happy Yet”
Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble To Me- The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band- “Speed Of Life”
Sweet Sound In The Night- Diane Witherspoon- “L.A. After Dark”
Sound Of The Rain- Randy Thompson- “That’s Not Me”
Velvet Sounds- Holly Williams- “The Ones We Never Knew”
The Bright Sounds Of Big Moose- Barrelhouse Chuck and the All-Star Blues Band- “Got My Eyes On You”
Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness- John Prine- “Live”
** Keep scrolling down the page for our informative blog/program guide. Follow along as you listen! **
Love At First Sight- Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts
“YOU GOT TO LIVE IT TO GIVE IT”, states the first line from Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts’ latest CD, “Call My Name”. In their 12 years together, Ryan Hartt & the Blue Hearts have, indeed, lived it. They’ve logged countless gigs and countless miles in a Honda minivan, playing clubs and festivals throughout the Northeast and beyond. Being in a blues band in today’s music market is never easy. Nonetheless, the band keeps moving forward, outlasting musical trends and clubs that have come and gone.
Though the band will always be rooted in the Chicago and West Coast blues they have built their reputation on, “Call My Name” expands their sound with soul, proto-rock & roll and even ska.
Out Of Sight- Shannon Stephens
Shannon Stephens is a Seattle-based singer/songwriter. She began her career in 1993 as the voice of the Michigan folk-rock band Marzuki, co-led by Sufjan Stevens. When Marzuki disbanded, Stephens moved to Seattle and embarked on a solo career. Shortly after the release of her debut LP, she lost her taste for the business side of musicianship and retreated, spending the next eight years focusing on home, family, and the pleasures of an abundant garden. Those years of domesticity gave rise to 2009’s The Breadwinner – an album described by Exclaim! as “intensely relevant, lyrically incisive and richly deserving of your attention.”
In 2008, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy covered Stephens’ song “I’ll Be Glad” on his album Lie Down In The Light. In 2010, Asthmatic Kitty Records re-released her debut LP, which was included in the Paste magazine piece “Five Amazing Albums In My iTunes You’ve Never Heard Of”.
Stephens produced her third album, Pull It Together, in 2012 with the help of Grammy-award winning engineer Kory Kruckenberg. The album brought together a brilliant cast of musicians, and featured a duet with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, a collaboration with New York songwriter DM Stith, and backing vocals by Galen Disston of Pickwick. Pull It Together represented a leap in confidence and songcraft for Stephens. She received the award of “Best Female Vocalist of 2012” and was counted among the “Ten Best Seattle Albums of 2012″ by The Seattle Weekly.
Shannon Stephens’ third studio outing, the heartfelt, ragged, and stoic Pull It Together, is a far more ambitious affair than 2009’s austere Breadwinner. Opening with the dusty and dreamy “Wax and Feathers,” a bruised yet defiant distillation of faith and verisimilitude, Stephens establishes a narrator with a big heart and a steely gaze. She’s got attitude to spare, but it’s not misplaced.
-James Christopher Monger, AllMusic.com
Out Of Sight- James Brown
“Soul Brother Number One,” “the Godfather of Soul,” “the Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Mr. Dynamite” — those are mighty titles, but no one can question that James Brown earned them more than any other performer. Other singers were more popular, others were equally skilled, but few other African-American musicians were so influential over the course of popular music. And no other musician, pop or otherwise, put on a more exciting, exhilarating stage show: Brown’s performances were marvels of athletic stamina and split-second timing.
Through the gospel-impassioned fury of his vocals and the complex polyrhythms of his beats, Brown was a crucial midwife in not just one, but two revolutions in black American music. He was one of the figures most responsible for turning R&B into soul and he was, most would agree, the figure most responsible for turning soul music into the funk of the late ’60s and early ’70s. After the mid-’70s, he did little more than tread water artistically; his financial and drug problems eventually got him a controversial prison sentence. Yet in a sense, his music is now more influential than ever, as his voice and rhythms have been sampled on innumerable hip-hop recordings, and critics have belatedly hailed his innovations as among the most important in all of rock or soul.
Brown’s rags-to-riches-to-rags story has heroic and tragic dimensions of mythic resonance.
-Richie Unterberger, AllMusic.com
Love At First Sight- John Mellencamp
Born October 7, 1951 in Seymour, Indiana, John Mellencamp fell in love with music at an early age and was gigging in local bars and fronting a soul band by the time he was 14. His professional music career began in earnest in 1976 when MCA Records released his first album, The Chestnut Street Incident. His manager dubbed him Johnny Cougar out of his belief that nobody would buy a record by anybody named Mellencamp. John protested but was overruled and eventually, of course, reclaimed his birth name as his public name.
After releasing a few albums, he broke out in 1979 with his first hit, “I Need A Lover” In 1982 his fifth album American Fool was the year’s best-selling album on the strength of two huge hits, “Hurts So Good,” and the number 1 single “Jack & Diane,” The albums that followed in the 80’s, Uh-Huh, Scarecrow, Lonesome Jubilee, and Big Daddy, were released under the name John Cougar Mellencamp. Hit singles during this period included “Crumblin Down,” “The Authority Song,” “Small Town,” “Rain On The Scarecrow,” “Lonely Ol Night,” “”R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.,” “Paper In Fire,” “Check It Out,” “Cherry Bomb,” “Pop Singer,” and “Jackie Brown.”
Mellencamp took the music on the road with a band that many considered the best in the business, playing approximately 1,000 shows around the globe during the decade. In 1985, John’s concern for the plight of the American farmer, which had been voiced in the Scarecrow album, brought him together with Willie Nelson and Neil Young in launching Farm Aid. It became an annual event and has helped make people aware of the issues farmers face and how they affect on the entire nation.
By the early 1990’s “Cougar” was finally gone from John’s name and a string of successful albums as John Mellencamp–Whenever We Wanted, Human Wheels and Dance Naked (including the number 2 single “Wild Night”)–were released. In 1991 John made his film debut, starring in and directing Falling From Grace, a modest box office success that was well received by critics.
The first thing that grabs the listener about John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This is its sound: mono — recorded live to an Ampex 601 tape recorder circa 1955, with a single microphone without mixing or overdubs. It’s warmth and presence are immediate and engulfing. Mellencamp and T-Bone Burnett cut the album while on tour supporting, Life Death Love and Freedom, Mellencamp’s celebrated precursor. This album was cut in some very famous locales: First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA (the first African American Christian church in North America), Sun Studios in Memphis, and in Room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, TX, where Robert Johnson recorded “Stones in My Passway” in 1936. While Mellencamp’s last album was celebrated for its wonderfully crafted songs, it nonetheless reflected Burnett’s dictatorially heavy-handed production style. This set feels far more like the artist. The songs are rooted in country, rockabilly, folk, country-gospel, and an even rawer Midwestern rock–Mellencamp’s brand. The band is equal parts his standard road group and Burnett’s studio crew, but the latter plays more of a supporting role than a guiding one; this set, with its brilliantly pruned songwriting, is Mellencamp at his focused best.
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
Love At First Sight- The Cazanovas
The Cazanovas bring you their own incomparable “Kick Ass Blues” for each and every show, melding timeless blues style that every audience relates to with a fresh energy that keeps them hungry for more. And more they get.
Well known blues standards are infused with new groove-driven power, and original tunes are immersed in musical passion and intensity, with lyrics that speak to the force of shared experience.
For the past 10 years The Cazanovas have evolved into the current line up which is fresh and new. The distinctive powerful sound of the band is influenced by diverse styles of music and the background each member brings into the mix. The music of The Cazanovas is always rooted in Blues and includes styles ranging from straight ahead Chicago Blues, West Coast Swing Blues and Rockin Texas Blues, but also contemporary modern styles as well.
The End Is Not In Sight (The Cowboy Tune)- The Amazing Rhythm Aces
Thirty years ago in a Memphis recording studio The Amazing Rhythm Aces™ made their first album, “Stacked Deck”. It was simply American music – a mixed bag of influences that had drawn them together. Fans didn’t seem to care about labels, either. For more than two decades, songs like “Third Rate Romance”, “Amazing Grace (Used To Be Her Favorite Song)” and the Grammy-winning “The End Is Not In Sight” would remain etched in the hearts and minds of a generation as benchmarks of popular music’s better days. After recording six more albums and touring with everyone from Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffet to Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles the group disbanded in 1981, but its songs lived on as radio staples and its albums were coveted by collectors.
Brand New Dance- Loudon Wainwright III
Loudon Wainwright III grew up in the town of Bedford in wealthy Westchester County north of New York City, the son of Loudon S. Wainwright, Jr., a writer and editor at Life magazine and a direct descendant of colonial governor Peter Stuyvesant. Wainwright became a folk singer/songwriter in the late ’60s, singing humorous and nakedly honest autobiographical songs. Signed to Atlantic Records, he recorded Album I (1970) and Album II (1971), accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, before switching to Columbia Records, for which he made the folk-rock Album III (1972), which featured the Top 40 novelty hit “Dead Skunk.” Attempted Mustache (1973) and the half-live Unrequited (1975) did not continue that commercial success, though Wainwright’s humor and engaging stage persona made him a cult figure and a concert favorite.
Meanwhile, his songs were recorded by others, notably Kate (his wife, later divorced, who died in 2010) and Anna McGarrigle, and Wainwright appeared in the off-Broadway show Pump Boys and Dinettes and played a featured role on the successful M*A*S*H television series.
-William Ruhlmann, AllMusic.com
Loudon Wainwright III has enjoyed a remarkable career in music dating back to 1970 and sits as the patriarch of a musical dynasty of considerable standing. There’s his sister Sloan, his daughters Martha and Lucy Wainwright Roche and son Rufus. The extended family runs to Suzzy Roche and the McGarrigles, although sadly Kate (Loudon’s first wife) is no longer with us. Throughout his life, Loudon’s often fractious relationships have fuelled his natural songwriting gift. Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet), proves that he’s as sharp as ever, witty and wise and given wonderful musical support, making this a classic amongst the 25 plus records he’s made to date.
-Simon Holland, July 28, 2014, folkradio.co.uk
The Simple Life- Annalise Emerick
“I’ve reconciled the fact that I’ll never live a simple life,” she says plainly, “and that’s alright with me. This is the life I chose for myself.” For Annalise Emerick, it isn’t just a brush-off. The self-starting, twenty-something, singer-songwriter has been on the road virtually non-stop for three years solid. This summer alone, she plays to sold-out crowds at over 150 shows in 90 different cities with the aid of nothing but a guitar. Choosing to leave behind any semblance of a normal life for the day-to-day of a traveling independent musician, however, was always a no-brainer for the Nashville spitfire. “It’s all about building on something and getting out there in front of people,” she explains. “If you’re going to do it, then you have to really go for it.” And that’s precisely what she’s done.
Gathering material from her life experiences and seemingly infinite travels, Emerick conceived the aptly named Field Notes, her debut, full-length album and subsequent road diary. Recorded with her heart on her sleeve and a collection of autobiographical tunes in her pocket, the album exhibits the raw vocals and heartfelt lyricism that have situated her among fans of Brandi Carlile, Patty Griffin, and Natalie Maines alike. For Field Notes, it’s Emerick’s effortless aptitude to blend pop songwriting sensibilities with pristine Americana overtones that really shines through, highlighting her incredible penchant for spinning tales both uniquely personal and universally recognizable.
Eternally a free spirit with an insatiable wanderlust, Emerick comes by it honestly.
“If you try to put Emerick’s music in a box, you just might be wasting your time. ”
“A lovely arrangement that falls somewhere between folk and country.”
“Annalise Emerick is a rising star in the Americana side of the Country music world.”
“if you invest in any new artist this year, Annalise Emerick should be one of them.”
- For the Country Record
“Emerick’s music is relatable and undeniably good.”
“Annalise Emerick breathes new life into a classic tune.”
-Boston Band Crush
“Annalise has a rare gift of appealing to all generations.”
-Indie Music Reviewer Magazine
Feelin’ Better- Jenna & Her Cool Friends
Jenna Jefferson has come into her own, being touted as one of the best singer/songwriters to spring out of the South in decades. When coupling herself to some of Knoxville, Tennessee’s prestige musicians and old friends, the collaboration led to an album that swerved from traditional blues and became a body of work that was undeniably infused with the edge of southern rock, gritty soul of Detroit, foot-stomping of the Delta and spiritual vibe of the Deep South.
She (featuring Emmylou Harris)- Doug Seegers
Release Date: October 7
It’s just your typical Music City story.
A frequently homeless, 62-year-old singer-songwriter-guitarist gets discovered at a Nashville food pantry by a Swedish country music star, who helps him from the streets to superstardom in a country best known for Abba’s “Dancing Queen” and the like. “What’s Abba?” asks Doug Seegers, in a voice free of irony.
Seegers isn’t much into pop music. He grew up on the hard-country sounds of Hank Williams, and came to adore the heart-first country-rock that Gram Parsons made with the assistance of young harmony vocalist Emmylou Harris.
Those influences are present on Seegers’ remarkable debut album, Going Down To The River, a fully realized version of the music he has been making on Nashville streets for decades. Before that, he was making it in New York, Austin and other locales.
“I’ve made a ton of money playing out in the street,” he says, slight Southern flair dosing the accent of his Long Island youth and his post-grad years in the Big Apple, where he lived in abandoned buildings, “ate and breathed everything John Lennon” while playing for tips in downtown Manhattan.
Maybe you’ve passed him on a downtown sidewalk. Maybe thrown a couple bucks his way.
Doug Seegers, 62, is a street singer. He’s been in town for 17 years. He’s been homeless and addicted. He’s been singing on Second Avenue, outside The Old Spaghetti Factory, and on Charlotte Avenue, outside the Goodwill store.
Gray hair. Guitar case open for thrown change. Sign that says, “Out of work. Anything helps.”
He sits on the ground when he plays. Talks in a voice still colored by his New York upbringing. Sings with a drawl colored by the Hank Williams records he heard as a child. His parents liked country music.
Maybe you’ve seen him.
Maybe you’ve heard him.
Anyway, he’s country music’s newest international superstar.
He’s in Sweden right now, breathing crisp air instead of Nashville’s summer sauna. He’s playing festivals, sharing stages with Neil Young and Dwight Yoakam and signing his name on the cover of his just-released debut album, an album that finds him duetting with Country Music Hall of Famer Emmylou Harris.
She called him about a month ago, Emmylou did. She said a few nice things about his singing. Country music’s newest international superstar choked out a few words of thanks, then he hung up the phone and wept.
-Peter Cooper, June 7, 2014, tennessean.com
Where to start with Doug Seegers? There’s his backstory: often homeless, the 62-year-old singer landed a record deal in Sweden in roundabout fashion, after a Swedish country singer heard Seegers singing at a food pantry in Nashville. Then there’s his voice, a weathered instrument that sounds as robust as it does lived-in on his haunting version of Gram Parsons’ “She,” which premieres today on Speakeasy.
Emmylou Harris, Parsons’ duet partner in the early ’70s, was impressed enough with Seegers to contribute vocals to the track, from Seegers’ upcoming debut, “Going Down to the River.” Harris says in press notes that she was “stunned” when she first heard Seegers sing. “This man has lived these songs, not in his imagination but every long day over many hard years,” Harris said.
Seegers, a Long Island native, has drifted around the country over the years, playing music in New York and Austin, Tex., before moving to upstate New York, where he got married and raised two children. Eventually, Seegers made his way alone to Nashville, where he played on the street and battled the temptations of drugs and alcohol. He says he got clean, and became a regular at The Little Pantry That Could, a West Nashville charity that holds regular songwriter nights. That’s where the Swedish singer Jill Johnson heard Seegers sing, when she was in town making a documentary about hard-luck musicians, which led soon enough to a record deal in Sweden.
-Eric R. Danton, July 29, 2014, wsj.com
Moonshine Chevrolet- Harmonicadave
Harmonicadave (aka: Dave Hunt) is back with his great new album ‘Box Full of Blues’, a collection of Southern blues anthems, cool swamp tunes, and harmonica driven rockers. This 10-track album was produced by Andy Littlewood, and features guest musician spots by Mick Simpson, and The MEP Collective.
It all started for Harmonicadave about 100 years ago as a little kid playing drums to “The Little Red Rooster”. Dave turned pro at the age of 18 and toured Germany, during that trip to Frankfurt the singer was so ill she had to return to the UK, so Dave took over vocals, he soon got the front man bug and never went back to playing the drums again.
In 1971 Dave formed the band ‘Grecco’, with Rick Woogar, Lee Baker, Andy Dransfield and Mick Clark. They had a great following and managed to reach the finals of the Melody Maker Rock Competition, coming in second place. In the mid 70’s, Dave played in the blues band ‘Snatch’, along with Steve Wilkinson, Craig Laing, Colin Wight and John Laforge. Dave took to playing harp after some great tips from Tony Wilkinson of the Bamboo Beat Band.
Dave’s travels then took him to Spain, where he worked with ‘The Blue Thunder Band’, and played at prestigious Harley and Fiesta gigs, performing to huge sell out crowds.
Paper Bag- The Souvenirs
Between their western roots and shared affection for classic country music, the Souvenirs bring life to a style of country all its own. These sisters draw you in with harmony-laden lyrics reminiscent of an earlier era with the promise of taking you back to a slower, simpler life. This vintage country band displays a chemistry that can only be attained by sisters and dear friends, original songs that can only be crafted out of tender love and a style of performing that can only be cultivated through years of singing and playing their hearts out in front of anyone who would watch.
Golden-voiced Salt Lake City songstresses Marie Bradshaw, Kiki Sieger and Corinne Gentry have been involved in so many music projects with ties to Utah that it wouldn’t hurt to have a Venn diagram handy to keep them all straight.
They started out as The Folka Dots; all three recently contributed backup vocals to top-shelf albums by influential singer-songwriters Jay William Henderson and Ryan Tanner; sisters Bradshaw and Sieger front electric Americana/country quartet The Hollering Pines; and the trio are also the three-part voice of Americana/country outfit The Souvenirs.
It’s an impressive résumé for three musicians who started playing together around 2009 without any plans of being part of an actual band. Back then, they chose a breezy name, The Folka Dots, to reflect the fact that the project wasn’t much more than a group of longtime friends getting together to play music for the fun of it. But to their surprise, The Folka Dots—a mostly acoustic five-piece that drew from folk, blues and Americana influences—started to get a following.
-Kolbie Stonehocker, September 10, 2014, cityweekly.net
Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble To Me- The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in Country Rock and American Roots Music, continues to add to their legendary status.
With multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as “Fishin’ In The Dark” and “Mr. Bojangles”, multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations, the band’s accolades continue to accumulate.
Their groundbreaking “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” album has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. NGDB’s recording of “Mr. Bojangles” was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.
Founded in California during 1965, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has lasted longer than virtually any other country-based rock group of their era. Younger contemporaries of the Byrds, they played an almost equally important role in the transformation from folk-rock into country-rock, and were an influence on such bands as the Eagles and Alabama. the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s beginnings lay with the New Coast Two, a folk duo consisting of Jeff Hanna (guitar, vocals) and Bruce Kunkel (guitar, washtub bass), formed while both were in high school in the early ’60s. By the time the two were college students, they were having informal jams at a local guitar shop. It was there that they met Ralph Barr (guitar, washtub bass), Les Thompson (vocals, mandolin, bass, guitar, banjo, percussion), Jimmie Fadden (harmonica, vocals, drums, percussion), and Jackson Browne (guitar, vocals). This lineup became the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in late 1965, and began playing jug band music at local clubs. At that time, Southern California was undergoing a musical renaissance, courtesy of the folk-rock movement and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fit in with these other folkies-turned-rockers.
-Bruce Eder, AllMusic.com
Speed of Life is the first studio album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in five years and celebrates the group’s 43rd anniversary with three of its original members still intact (and no, the number 43 was not a typo). It also finds them reduced once more to a quartet with the departure of multi-instrumentalist Jimmy Ibbotson. That said, the band has lost none of its immediacy, power, or expert presentation of both original material and songs from some of Nashville’s finest. Released by Sugar Hill Records (who distributes their NGDB Records imprint), the group recorded the set live in the studio. Produced by veterans George Massenburg and Jon Randall Stewart, this set sounds inspired, fresh, and like the NGDB has been utterly rejuvenated. It combines the old-/good-timey feel of their concert performances — without adding American folk or country standards — and the poignancy of their best studio recordings.
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
Sweet Sound In The Night- Diane Witherspoon
Singer, composer and producer; Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, now residing in Las Vegas, NV; Diane began singing as a child (with 8 siblings), and often performed in her church choir. She attended Saint Olaf College and the University of Minnesota. Diane has taught music and conducted workshops for students in California public schools and in Tokyo, Japan. Inspired by her sister, Shirley Witherspoon, a former Duke Ellington vocalist, and second cousin, Jimmy Witherspoon, a legendary blues singer, Diane is now an international singer with over 20 years experience.
Singer Diane Witherspoon has worked with the brother and sister lyricist team of John and Paula Hackett for over two decades, and this is the second CD in which they have collaborated. With a rotating cast of supporting musicians, which includes tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards, pianist Art Hillery, bassist John Heard, and drummer Roy McCurdy (among others), Witherspoon makes the most of each track. Her richly textured vocals are never overblown but convey sincerity throughout the disc.
-Ken Dryden, AllMusic.com
Sound Of The Rain- Randy Thompson
Virginia’s Piedmont region has provided a backdrop for some of our history’s most turbulent and formative events and produced an uncommonly rich variety of compelling musical styles and voices, from blues to country to bluegrass and beyond. It’s a heritage that Virginia-based singer/songwriter Randy Thompson intuitively understands and brings vividly to life. His work lovingly embraces the past even as it pulls it – kicking, picking, singing, rocking – all the way into the 21st Century.
Now five CDs into an eclectic and powerful career that has included 3 top 40 Americana CDs, Randy Thompson continues to make his home in small town Virginia and his music on the wings of a flooded soul. His arrangements reflect the diverse roots music influences he has sought out through the years. Like his musical antecedents, he tends to draw inspiration directly from his own experience and the world around him, creating starkly drawn musical and lyrical pictures. Thompson says, “Song craft isn’t what turns me on. It’s the blood and the soul that you put into those words, the feeling you get when you hear the rhythm and the melody — that’s what it’s about for me. I don’t want people to hear my songs and say, ‘Wow, that’s well-crafted.’ I want them to hear a song, and say, ‘Man, I know how he feels.’ ”
People are always talking about “authentic” country music, but when pinned to the wall, most never come up with a good definition of what they mean. I know better. When I find myself heading down the slippery slope decrying the sorry state of contemporary country music, I just put on Randy Thompson’s new CD That’s Not Me. Randy captures the essence of “authentic” country music without working up a sweat. His music has swagger with substance, twang with meaning.
With musicians you can tell a lot by the company they keep. Randy Thompson surrounds himself with some fine fellow travelers.
-Steven Stone, enjoythemusic.com
One of the real perks of being a reviewer is getting to hear new artists. Randy Thompson is a new artist that is a stand out.
The crippling losses which country music has suffered since the turn of the century have resulted in the diminishment of the genre, as so few are coming forward to fill their shoes. Recently, we’ve heard from Josh Turner, who has been compared to a young Johnny Cash. Now here’s Randy Thompson, and I have to say, he’s worthy to try on the boots of Ol’ Hoss himself.
Randy doesn’t sound LIKE Waylon Jennings. But there is a similarity, something that struck me as I listened to this disc. There’s a lonesome growl in the low tenor voice, a cry in the Telecaster, a plaintive quality to the lyrics and a country-blues beat that just feels like Waylon. Randy Thompson presents his music without excuses, he simply sings his songs.
-Kathy Coleman, countrymusic.about.com
Velvet Sounds- Holly Williams
Part of the key to Holly Williams’ success as a singer-songwriter is that it’s never been her mission to try and live up to the legacy cast by her famous and prolific father and grandfather – Hank Jr. and Sr., respectively – nor has she spent a lot of time trying to live it down. The respect that Holly has garnered as an artist over the course of many years spent building an international fan base, and the release of two acclaimed albums, 2004’s The Ones We Never Knew (Universal South) and 2009’s Here With Me (Mercury Records), has come on her own terms, based on her own sound. Indeed, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a last name is just a last name.
Most country artists talk about their long journey to Nashville, but Holly Williams was born and raised in country music’s capital. Most country artists speak of some music-loving elder who almost made it, but Holly Williams comes from country royalty. Hank Williams was her grandfather, Hank Jr. her dad, and Hank III her half-brother. Despite all this — and a couple songs she wrote at the age of eight — when growing up Holly wasn’t interested in music, and dreamed of a career in modeling. Hank Jr. and Holly’s mother had separated when Holly was young, but in her teen years her father was taking his daughter to more of his shows. Perhaps that’s why, at the age of 17, Holly finally tried playing one of the guitars in the house. Within a week she was writing introspective, somewhat dark, songs.
After graduating from high school, she gave herself a year to try the music business before she would settle for college. Three months in Los Angeles to study piano, write songs, and attend concerts by the Rolling Stones, Elliott Smith, and Neil Finn helped her focus. Her songs had landed in the hands of Ron Sexsmith, who immediately offered Williams a support slot on his European tour.
-David Jeffries, AllMusic.com
The Bright Sounds Of Big Moose- Barrelhouse Chuck and the All-Star Blues Band
2014 Living Blues Magazine “Piano Player of the Year” winner, 2010 Grammy Award nominee, 2013 and 2014 BMA Pinetop Perkins piano player of the year nominee, Barrelhouse Chuck is the only Chicago blues pianist to have studied under Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Blind John Davis, Detroit Junior and Little Brother Montgomery. Barrelhouse Chuck draws on this distinguished lineage to create a blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano style that places him at the forefront of this celebrated tradition.
Born in Ohio (Columbus, OH – July 10, 1958) where he first learned to play the drums at the age of 6, Barrelhouse Chuck, whose real name is Charles Goering, later switched to the piano and was living Gainesville Fla when he heard his first Muddy Waters record with Otis Spann on piano. This was a major turning point in Chuck’s life.
After that Chuck started buying the records of every blues artist he could find. A quick study on the keyboards, it wasn’t long before Chuck had formed his own band and began opening for Willie Dixon, B.B. King, and Muddy Waters and Chuck was playing with the great Bo Diddley. It was also during this time (the middle 70’s) that Chuck and some of his friends began following Muddy Waters around to get some first hand exposure to both Muddy and his then current piano player, Pinetop Perkins.
Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness- John Prine
An acclaimed singer/songwriter whose literate work flirted with everything from acoustic folk to rockabilly to straight-ahead country, John Prine was born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, IL. Raised by parents firmly rooted in their rural Kentucky background, at age 14 Prine began learning to play the guitar from his older brother while taking inspiration from his grandfather, who had played with Merle Travis. After a two-year tenure in the U.S. Army, Prine became a fixture on the Chicago folk music scene in the late ’60s, befriending another young performer named Steve Goodman.
Prine’s compositions caught the ear of Kris Kristofferson, who was instrumental in helping him win a recording contract. In 1971, he went to Memphis to record his eponymously titled debut album; though not a commercial success, songs like “Sam Stone,” the harsh tale of a drug-addled Vietnam veteran, won critical approval.
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
With years of experience playing club dates, John Prine has evolved into a very entertaining live performer, and this album, originally a double-LP and now a single CD, presents him at his intimate best, telling funny stories and performing his most impressive material in unadorned arrangements.
-William Ruhlmann, AllMusic.com