Samson And Delihah’s Beauty Shop (Live)- Steve Forbert
As a young man from Meridian, Mississippi, Steve traveled to New York City and played guitar for spare change in Grand Central Station. He vaulted to international prominence with a folk-rock hit, “Romeo’s Tune,” during a time when rootsy rock was fading out and the Ramones, Talking Heads and other New Wave and punk acts were moving in to the public consciousness. “Those styles didn’t really synch with my musical approach,” reflects Forbert. Still, critics raved about Forbert’s poetic lyrics and engaging melodies, and the crowds at CBGB’s club in New York accepted him alongside those acts. “Ive never been interested in changing what I do to fit emerging trends,” Forbert observes. “Looking back on it, I was helping to keep a particular American songwriting tradition alive at a time when it wasn’t in the spotlight.”
After his first two records came a plethora of well-crafted, unforgettable songs on such albums as Little Stevie Orbit, Streets of This Town, The American in Me, Mission of the Crossroad Palms and Evergreen Boy. His tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, Any Old Time, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004.
Forbert’s lengthy discography has established him as an American icon. His music was pure Americana before that genre was recognized. The road and the changing landscape are an integral part of the hard-working Forbert’s life and songwriting. >> Read more…
Mexican Beauty- Rebecca Valadez
A full time dreamer and two time Grammy Award Winning Vocalist….Rebecca Valadez earned her very own Grammy nod a few years ago with her first self titled album. Rebecca began her career singing locally for major events around San Antonio. She has been seen on Star Search, where she made it to the final rounds. She then moved to California where she landed an amazing position as backup vocalist for Multi-Platinum artist Janet Jackson on the Worldwide Velvet Rope Tour.
Since then Rebecca has followed up singing with artists such as Luther Vandross, Brian McKnight, Sheila E., Thalia, Selena (Rebecca also was a lead vocalist on the Selena Broadway Musical) , Robin, Jay Perez, Joe Lopez, and Jimmy Gonzalez. She has appeared on the Jay Leno show, and has written songs for multiple recording artists.
Beauty Queen Sister- The Indigo Girls
While they came into prominence as part of the late-’80s folky singer/songwriter revival, the Indigo Girls had staying power where other artists from the same era quickly faded. Their two-women-with-guitars formula may not have seemed very revolutionary on paper, but the combination of two distinct personalities and songwriting styles provided tension and an interesting balance. Emily Saliers, hailing from the more traditional Joni Mitchell school, boasted a gentler sound, was more complex musically, and leaned toward the abstract and spiritual. Meanwhile, Amy Ray drew heavily from the singer/songwriter aspects of punk rock, citing influences such as the Jam, the Pretenders, and Hüsker Dü for her more abrasive and direct approach. Throughout two decades of music, they managed to garner respectable mainstream success and maintain their rabid core following. >> Read more…
-Chris Woodstra, AllMusic.com
Those who preferred the Indigo Girls’ second, acoustic disc in 2009’s double Poseidon & the Bitter Bug will find themselves instantly comfortable with the material on Beauty Queen Sister. The album represents a reunion of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers with producer Peter Collins, who helmed Swamp Ophelia and Rites of Passage. Its musical meld of contemporary folk, country-ish sounds, and aching harmonies are the pair’s trademark. >> Read more…
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
The Beauty Way- Ray Wylie Hubbard
(Buy at Amazon) (Buy at iTunes)
A leading figure of the progressive country movement of the 1970s, singer/songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard remains best known for authoring the perennial anthem “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.” Born November 13, 1946, in Soper, Oklahoma, Hubbard and his family relocated to Dallas during the mid-’50s; there he learned to play guitar, eventually forming a folk group with fellow aspiring musician Michael Martin Murphey. Befriended by the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Hubbard later formed a trio named Three Faces West, which regularly performed at the Outpost lub in Red River, New Mexico, a musical hotbed also trafficked by artists including Steve lb and Bill & Bonnie Hearne. Upon the breakup of Three Faces West, Hubbard toured the southwestern coffeehouse circuit as a solo act before forming another group, Texas Fever; they too proved short-lived, and he returned to New Mexico to again take up residence at the Outpost.
While in Red River, Hubbard rekindled his friendship with Walker, who in 1973 recorded Hubbard’s most famous (if least representative) composition, “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” on his acclaimed Viva Terlingua LP. The success of the album guaranteed Hubbard instant cult status within progressive country circles, and at the same time, he set about organizing a new backing band, dubbed the Cowboy Twinkies. Considered by many the first cowpunk group — their regular set lists included everything from Merle Haggard songs to a show-stopping cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown”… >> Read more
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
All singer-songwriters like to occasionally set aside their own work and do a few melodies they admire that others have written. With this disc, Ray Wylie Hubbard’s remarkable, rough-textured voice takes on songs written by Roger Tillison, Woody Guthrie, Slaid Cleaves, and James McMurtry as well as including a number of his own amazing tunes. The result? Wow. >> Read more…
-Kathy Coleman, countrymusic.about.com
Photo by: Todd Wolfson
Beauty- Kate Ashby- Craft
The release of a three singles in May,2012 by Canadian independent recording artist Kate Ashby-Craft is a culmination of performing the role of June Carter Cash. For the past several years Ashby-Craft has been performing this role in the musical tribute show “The Legend In Black” which is a tribute to the music of the late Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. It is while performing this role that Ashby-Craft fell in love with Alternative Country/Americana music and decided she wanted to pursue this genre. Ashby-Craft therefore teamed up with legendary UK Record Producer Charles Foskett to produce three singles in this genre using the who’s who in musicians.
From Guitar Player, Jerry Donahue (Fairport Convention, Elton John), Stand Up Bass, Malcolm Creese (Sting, Cleo Laine), Drums, Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), Harmonica, Paul Jones (Manfred Man), Violin, Scarlet Rivera (Bob Dylan, Indigo Girls) and UK Singer/Songwriter Lauren Field on Back Up Vocals.
The first of the three songs “Keep On The Sunnyside” a classic Americana song is also Ashby-Craft’s philosophy” no matter how dark things get…says Kate…there is always a brighter side”. The second song “Home Lights Shining” is an up beat song about true love. The last song “Wonder Woman” is a powerful ballad that could be every woman’s anthem.
Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Kate Ashby-Craft started off as a classical voice and theatre major in University but wanting to experience other kinds of music Ashby-Craft went on the road performing everything from country, rock to folk and blues and jazz touring Canada and the U.S.A.
Louisiana Beauty- The River Zydeco Band
The River Zydeco Band is a six-piece band from the southern parts of the Netherlands. Whether it’s a Jazz, blues or even a country- festival, you will find the River Zydeco Band giving their best. And their best was and will always be: Zydeco Music. Zydeco has it’s origin in Louisiana, an American state right at the Crossroads of all streams, still existing in modern day music.
In this melting pot of cultures Zydeco is strongly rooted, and is a mixture of Celtic, blues and Latin. Bands from the U.S.A., but also from Europe, succeeded in evolving this traditional style of music into a more modern kind, that nowadays is appreciated all over the world.
Right after the first Concert of the River Zydeco Band in 1990, a couple of friends, infected by the zydeco virus, decided to organize a zydeco festival.
Mile Zero- Mark Selby
Mark Selby is a native of Oklahoma and Kansas now based in Nashville. He has established himself as a rare triple-threat talent: a gifted songwriter with serious guitar chops and a voice to match.
SONGWRITER: Selby has written more than 10 top-40 singles and four #1 hits, including the Dixie Chicks’ Grammy-winning “There’s Your Trouble” and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s “Blue On Black” – Billboard magazine’s 1999 Rock Track of the Year. Wynona, Trisha Yearwood, Lee Roy Parnell & Keb Mo, JoDee Messina and many others have recorded Selby’s songs. >> Read more…
“As a singer/songwriter, Mark Selby’s in the same league as Bruce Springsteen, with meaty words, a compelling voice, and tracks that have more groove than a vintage vinyl record.”
– AMERICAN SONGWRITER
“An electrifying performer.”
– BLUES REVUE
“Mark Selby makes some of the most soulful noise coming out of Nashville.”
– THE TENNESSEAN
“Simply put, 11 tracks of the best rock and roll we’ll hear this year…”
– VINTAGE GUITAR
A Thousand Tender Recollections- Amanda Pearcy
Amanda Pearcy’s soulful and country-leaning Americana music took root in her hardscrabble history, authentically grounded in a raw and earthy, soulful voice. Testifying to her southeast Texas upbringing, with the region’s multicultural mix, its Gulf of Mexico coastline, and its shared border with Louisiana’s Acadiana, the songs on Pearcy’s second CD, Royal Street, carry a sense, and the sensuality, of the South, weaving themes of home and its loss; love, both surrendered to, and longed for; the casting of spells; the ties that bind old friends; and our human experience’s collective memory. Produced by Tim Lorsch, Royal Street is a true album, a collection of songs that settle in for the ride through Texas to New Orleans and back again; the journey being a testament of life’s tougher lessons learned too young, and the insight that comes with getting to the other side of them. >> Read more…
Down In Louisiana- Bobby Rush
The creator of a singular sound which he dubbed “folk-funk,” multi-instrumentalist Bobby Rush was among the most colorful characters on the contemporary chitlin circuit, honing a unique style which brought together a cracked lyrical bent with elements of blues, soul, and funk.
Born Emmit Ellis, Jr. in Homer, LA, on November 10, 1940, he and his family relocated to Chicago in 1953, where he emerged on the West Side blues circuit of the 1960s, fronting bands which included such notable alumni as Luther Allison and Freddie King. However, as Rush began to develop his own individual sound, he opted to forgo the blues market in favor of targeting the chitlin circuit, which offered a more receptive audience for his increasingly bawdy material; he notched his first hit in 1971 with his Galaxy label single “Chicken Heads,” and later scored with “Bow-Legged Woman” for Jewel. >> Read more…
-Jason Ankeny, AllMusic.com
Bobby Rush has been cranking out albums cut from the same cloth for so long that it’s fair to ask what’s the difference with 2013’s Down in Louisiana. As it turns out, the answer is plenty. Departing from his signature slicked-back soul-blues, Rush strips his band down to the basics — guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, accentuated with a little accordion on occasion — abandoning the horns and getting down and dirty, a shift that’s evident even on his standard glad-handing charmers like “I Ain’t the One.” Too often, that glossy veneer and showboating obscured Rush’s considerable skills as a guitarist and vocalist, so the switch on Down in Louisiana does him some considerable favors. Down in Louisiana packs a gut-level punch that feels even more bracing after years, even decades, of glossy grooves, so this is a sheer sonic pleasure, but what makes the record really work is that Rush doesn’t abandon his signatures. >> Read more…
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
Take These Chains- Madeleine Peyroux
Madeleine Peyroux [pronounced like the country Peru] was born in Athens, Georgia, she grew up between Brooklyn, Southern California and Paris, though it was in the City of Light where she found her voice. As a teen she was drawn to street music, and in 1989 she started to perform with a group of buskers. She then joined the Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band, becoming the only female in the group, which toured around Europe for several years.
Madeleine burst onto the recording scene in 1996, with her stunning debut album Dreamland. Madeleine was greeted with a veritable torrent of gushing reviews. Most raved about her smoke-and-whiskey vocals, often comparing her to the late, great Billie Holiday. Others wondered how someone so young could perform classic songs by Holiday, Bessie Smith and Patsy Cline so convincingly as to make them sound like her own. Time magazine pronounced the groundbreaking Dreamland “the most exciting, involving vocal performance by a new singer this year.”
Madeleine, then an American who had been living in Paris as a street musician, suddenly found herself on the fast track to fame. >> Read more…
On The Blue Room, her second Decca recording, Madeleine Peyroux and producer Larry Klein re-examine the influence of Ray Charles’ revolutionary 1962 date, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. They don’t try to re-create the album, but remake some of its songs and include others by composers whose work would benefit from the genre-blurring treatment Charles pioneered. Bassist David Pilch, drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Dean Parks, and pianist/organist Larry Goldings are the perfect collaborators. >> Read more…
-Thom Jurek, AllMusic.com
All Over Again- The Mavericks
“It took life for us to get to this point – Everybody was so free.
From the first notes, it sounded like an explosion of sound;
We went where the songs took us with a singularity of purpose.
We came in to make music as grown-ups, to make music as men.”
– Raul Malo, lead singer of The Mavericks
The Mavericks are back. The country-steeped garage band with a Cuban American lead singer that had emerged from Miami in 1989 with their sultry debut that was equal parts innocence, intensity, and vintage influences has reunited in 2012 after an eight-year hiatus. Time has a way of melting when you’re busy living life – and two decades have passed since their polyrhythmic brand of post-modern country has given the world “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” “Here Comes The Rain,” and “Dance The Night Away.”
With their new album, time melts once again, and the band that defied definitions, blurred genres, and made everybody feel good is back. The “most interesting band in the world” has captured the infectious energy and robust sound from their live shows on their new Valory Music release In Time.
Dreaming My Dreams- Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell
It might have seemed a risky move for rhythm guitarist/songwriter Rodney Crowell to leave the comfort of Emmylou Harris’ terrific Hot Band back in 1977. In Harris he had a near perfect vocal vehicle for now classic tunes such as “Ain’t Living Long Like This” and “Till I Gain Control Again.” But the gamble ultimately paid off with Crowell becoming a successful solo crossover country/roots artist who now returns to share the marquee with his old boss… after a 36 year absence. From Gram Parsons to Linda Ronstadt and Mark Knopfler, Harris has historically thrived with duet partners. The result is this sublime album that features a handful of new Crowell tracks, some well-chosen, obscure covers, production from Brian Ahern (Harris’ ex-husband and early producer) and members of the original Hot Band. Every track features both distinctive voices, the playing shimmers and it’s all as tasteful as anything in the twosome’s bulging catalogs. >> Read more…
-Hal Horowitz, February 27, 2013, americansongwriter.com
Save Your Breath- Detroit Women
The Detroit Women Were
Rhonda Bantsimba, Lady T, Stacia Petrie, Founder and Bandleader Kate Hart, Karen Vesprini, Valerie Barrymore and Cheryl Lescom
The Band (not pictured) are Susie Woodman (keyboards), Wayne Schomaker (guitar),
Rick Zeldes (Bass) and Steve Kohn (Drums)
Something about the Motor City … its struggle, its evolution, its emotion, its culture … fuels and inspires its artists like no other place in the world.
Detroit Women – a seven-woman, energy-infused rockin’ blues group – embody the gritty determination, the kinetic force that drives the Motor City. These women – white, black, young to “it’s not polite to ask,” wild, willful, sweet, curvaceous and petite – are led by four-time Grammy-nominee Kate Hart, who created the group in 2003 after returning to her native Detroit from the West Coast.
Hart tapped the crème de le crème of the area’s female vocalists from a wide-range of genres – blues, R&B, folk, funk, country, rock, swing, hip-hop and even a tinge of gospel to create a sound as diverse as the region the Women represent. >> Read more…
You Leave Me Breathless- Eden Atwood
“In the vanguard of the best is Eden Atwood, a pretty, willowy woman with a lovely, refreshing voice, perfect intonation, ineffable swing, and a talent for writing and composing.”
–Leslie Gourse, author of Louis’ Kids.
Eden Atwood began singing jazz in Memphis, TN, at Shakey’s Pizza Parlor at age three years old.
Singing jazz came naturally to Eden. Her father, Hub Atwood, was a writer and arranger for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Harry James, Stan Kenton and Nat King Cole.
When Eden was five years old, divorce split the Atwood family and Eden moved to Montana with her mother, the daughter of Pulitzer Prize winning author, A.B. Guthrie, Jr. Eden’s mother kept her love of music alive by encouraging her participation in musicals.
At 15, Eden was fronting a busy band of musicians twice her age in her hometown. Eden left two years later to attend the University of Montana’s drama department.
At 19, Eden’s father died and Eden, keenly feeling the loss, set out for Chicago.
In Chicago, Eden attended the American Conservatory of Music.
Eight years of classical piano had provided her with a solid musical foundation but Eden wanted to able to write and arrange her own material. She produced a demo tape that caught the attention of Bill Allen at Chicago’s legendary, now defunct, Gold Star Sardine Bar, co-owned by Bobby Short.
At 21, Eden became the headliner. She would stay for eight years with breaks to accommodate her acting and modeling jobs in New York, Los Angeles and Paris.
Eden Atwood exhibits a confidence that few jazz vocalists of her generation seem to have in standards. While others seem to be opting for lightweight rock hits from the 1970s and 1980s, Atwood is able to find new approaches to old chestnuts that seem to be overlooked in the early 21st century. She shines in pianist Bill Cunliffe’s loping arrangement of “Without a Song.” Atwood restores the frequently omitted verse to “This Is Always,” then steps back to feature Tom Harrell’s brilliant, fragile trumpet, while conveying the lyrics with a sincerity that few singers seem able to convey. >> Read more…
-Ken Dryden, AllMusic.com
Breathe- The Conor Gains Band
Songwriter and blues guitarist extraordinaire, Conor Gains has performed with the BB King All stars, in Nashville and Memphis, and was invited by the late Les Paul to join him on stage at New York’s Iridium Jazz Club – all before his 16th birthday! Now, still 18 years of age, Gains has been collaborating with fellow Cambridge, Ontario musicians Vic Freitas (Drums) and Jeremy Patey (Bass) for the past two years. The results have been staggering. The trio has consistently sold out venues across southern Ontario including The Boathouse in Kitchener, Cafe 13 and The Groove Kitchen in Cambridge. They are also becoming fixtures around the Toronto area performing at The Horseshoe, The Rex Hotel and other legendary venues. But the highlight so far occurred on July 3rd, 2011 when the trio headlined the blues stage at the ‘Montreal International Jazz Festival’. >> Read more…
Breathe Easy- Rachel Sermanni
Debut albums are never easy, but when you have a voice as good as Rachel Sermanni, it must make the whole process a great deal easier. The Scottish newcomer’s debut album, entitled Under Mountains, revolves hugely around her mesmerising voice, which dominates the album from the very off and continues to take centre stage throughout. Yet, there is more to Under Mountains than just Sermanni’s vocals.
It becomes apparent very early on that Sermanni has taken great care with her debut LP and the end result is a blissful collection of 12 songs, which at no point feel forced or overcomplicated. It’s easy to see why Sermanni has already supported Mumford And Sons, Michael Kiwanuka and Elvis Costello on tour, with her subtle arrangements providing the perfect accompaniment to her stunning vocals. >> Read more…
-Andy Baber, September 17, 2012, musicomh.com
This has been quite a year for Highland born songsmith Rachel Sermanni. 2012 has seen her steadily build as an important new talent from the folk side of things. Debut album Under Mountains will surely go a long way to cementing her place in the folk market and beyond.
‘Ever Since The Chocolate’ is a masterfully woven song that showcases Sermanni’s eccentric lyrics: “I had a chocolate bar, the finest you could find/ It swallowed up my mind and I was free to find you/ Keepers beckoned from their doors/ Syrup glass, marshmallow floors but I slipped through the alleys/ Wanting something more.” Oddly, it’s reminiscent of more delicate offerings from Kate Bush, not only in lyrical content, but its thoughtful and varied production, which is of the highest quality.
Despite the often complex arrangements, the songs on Under Mountains unfold with ease and seem to have an organic air about them. >> Read more…
-James McGarragle, September 18, 2012, strathclydetelegraph.com
Breath Taking Boogie Shaking- Angela Brown, Albert C. Humphrey, Christian Christi
Just Breathe (with Lukas Nelson)- Willie Nelson
As a songwriter and a performer, Willie Nelson played a vital role in post-rock & roll country music. Although he didn’t become a star until the mid-’70s, Nelson spent the ’60s writing songs that became hits for stars like Ray Price (“Night Life”), Patsy Cline (“Crazy”), Faron Young (“Hello Walls”), and Billy Walker (“Funny How Time Slips Away”) as well as releasing a series of records on Liberty and RCA that earned him a small, but devoted, cult following.
During the early ’70s, Willie aligned himself with Waylon Jennings and the burgeoning outlaw country movement that made him into a star in 1975.
Following the crossover success of that year’s Red Headed Stranger and “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” Nelson was a genuine star, as recognizable in pop circles as he was to the country audience; in addition to recording, he also launched an acting career in the early ’80s. Even when he was a star, Willie never played it safe musically. >> Read more…
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
It’s not unusual for Willie Nelson to share the stage. He has performed with some of the industry’s best voices including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, even Snoop Dogg.
But now Nelson has been performing with a new voice, one that sounds eerily similar to his own. It’s his son, Lukas Nelson, and he wrote several songs on his dad’s latest album.
Lukas says that he’s learned a lot from his father, who has grown wise with age.
“He’s grown throughout his life,” Lukas says, “When he was very young he was a struggling musician, and then he became famous and now he’s become wise. So I feel lucky to have this incarnation of him because he’s the most wise and I’ve been able to absorb some of that.” >> Read more…
-Briana Duggan, wfae.org