Crawlin’ King Snake- Tim Too Slim Langford
Tim “Too Slim” Langford, with his band the Taildraggers, have created an eclectic style of Blues and Rock, that has become a genre all its own. Too Slim‘s ever evolving musical direction cannot be classified into any box or category. The eclectic nature of the band allows Too Slim and the Taildraggers to easily cross-over and appeal to audiences of various musical tastes.
Experiencing a Too Slim and the Taildragger concert is like taking a journey through the history of American music. Too Slim’s music style ranges from down home blues , funky blues rock, americana, southern swamp rock, and instrumental guitar styles. >> Read more…
Dean Davis Photography
Crawling Up A Hill- Katie Melua
When Georgian-born Katie Melua signed with Mike Batt’s Dramatico Records in September 2002, no-one could have imagined that by the release of her third album, Pictures, she would be the biggest-selling UK-based, female artist in the world that year. Her first two albums, ‘Call Off The Search’ and ‘Piece By Piece’ both became international number ones, and the story was to continue, after an exciting, record-breaking rollercoaster ride involving several massive world tours and many special moments – like Katie playing on stage for Nelson Mandela with her idols, Queen, or dining at Buckingham Palace with the real Queen and the American Ambassador.
It was American singer Eva Cassidy – who had tragically died aged just thirty-three – who first drew Katie and Mike together. Independently, both had discovered Cassidy’s posthumously-released album Songbird, and when they met, it was their mutual admiration for her phenomenal singing and communicative ability that led to their decision to work together. >> Read more…
English listeners went mad for Katie Melua with the release of her debut album in late 2003. Issued domestically in June 2004, Call Off the Search posits the lovely Melua pristinely in between pop, adult contemporary, and traditional American musical forms, with savvy marketing handling the finishing touches. (Think Norah Jones.) It’s a comfortable, lightly melodic affair that drinks red wine safely in the middle of the road. Raised in Soviet Georgia and the United Kingdom, Melua has a beguiling accent that colors the ends of her phrases, adding character to her velvety… >> Read more…
-Johnny Loftus, AllMusic.com
Crawling From The Wreckage- Graham Parker
Stereotyped early in his career as the quintessential angry young man, Graham Parker was one of the most successful singer/songwriters to emerge from England’s pub rock scene of the early ’70s. Drawing heavily from Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones, Parker developed a sinewy fusion of driving rock & roll and confessional folk-rock, highlighted by his indignant passion, biting sarcasm, and bristling anger. At the outset of his career, his albums crackled with pub rock energy, snide witticisms, and gentle insights, earning him a devoted following of fans and critics, who lavished praise …
-Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic.com
While he had a switchblade voice and a lyrical style whose bitterness rivaled that of Elvis Costello or his more abrasive contemporaries, Graham Parker was never really a punk rocker, or even a new wave guy — like his buddies Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwarz, Parker was at heart an unreconstructed pub rock man, and like his fellow pub rockers, he had a soft spot for country-rock in the manner of the Band, even if he didn’t air that enthusiasm very often. (Just cue up “Between You and Me” or “Back to Schooldays” for proof.) So it should be no great surprise that Parker has recorded a twang-friendly roots rock album for Chicago’s “insurgent country” label Bloodshot; what might surprise a few is that it’s a strong, intelligent, and compelling piece of work that shows Parker mellowing just a bit with age, but still maintaining the sharp eye that’s always been the hallmark of his songwriting. >> Read more…
-Mark Deming, AllMusic.com
Crawling Back- Roy Orbison
Roy Kelton Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 at 3:30 pm, in Vernon, Texas. Nadine, his mother, was a nurse. Orbie Lee, his father, a worker. Roy was their second child. For his sixth birthday, Roy asked for a harmonica, but fortunately his daddy gave him a guitar. Orbie Lee is generally credited with teaching Roy to play guitar. However, he also learned from Charlie Orbison, Orbie Lee’s brother, and Kenneth Schultz, brother of Nadine’s. Together with Clois Russell, Orbie Lee’s neighbor and workmate, they would often play and sing. The first song Roy ever played was the classic “You Are My Sunshine”. He learned very quickly, so that way he could stay up late with the grown-ups and sing. >> Read more…
Crawl Back- Frank Frost
Although the atmospheric juke joint blues of Frank Frost remained steeped in unadulterated Delta funk throughout his career, his ongoing musical journey took him well outside his Mississippi home base. He moved to St. Louis in 1951, learning how to blow harp first from Little Willie Foster and then from the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson, who took him on the road — as a guitar player — from 1956 to 1959. Drummer Sam Carr, a longtime Frost ally, was also part of the equation, having enticed Frost to front his combo in 1954 before hooking up with Sonny Boy.
Leaving Williamson’s employ in 1959, Frost and Carr settled in Lula, Mississippi. Guitarist Jack Johnson came on board in 1962 after sitting in with the pair at the Savoy Theater in Clarksdale. The three meshed perfectly — enough to interest Memphis producer Sam Phillips in a short-lived back-to-the-blues campaign that same year. Hey Boss Man!, issued on Sun’s Phillips International subsidiary as by Frank Frost & the Night Hawks, was a wonderful collection of uncompromising Southern blues (albeit totally out of step with the marketplace at the time).
Elvis Presley’s ex-guitarist Scotty Moore produced Frost’s next sessions in Nashville in 1966 for Jewel Records. Augmented by session bassist Chip Young, the trio’s tight down-home ensemble work was once again seamless. >> Read more…
-Bill Dahl, AllMusic.com
A master of swampy juke joint blues, Frank Frost brought his own version of deep south harmonica and vocals to a mix of Slim Harpo and Jimmy Reed-like tunes in a career that is notable both for its longevity and for its unfailing vitality. This release from Britain’s Charly Records is actually a great place to discover Frost, since it combines on one disc several of the tracks he did for famed Memphis producer Sam Phillips in 1962 for the Sun Records subsidiary, Phillips International, along with tracks Frost cut for Scotty Moore (yep, Elvis Presley’s old guitar player) and the Louisiana label Jewel Records a couple of years later. Sides from the two sessions fit together seamlessly, and having “Jelly Roll King” and “Big Boss Man” from the Sun date bumping up against “My Back Scratcher” from the Jewel date makes this arguably the best Frost comp out there.
-Steve Leggett, AllMusic.com
Baby, Can I Crawl Back To You- Blaze Foley
The colorful yet tragic life of Austin singer/songwriter Blaze Foley — who was shot and killed in 1989, at the age of 39, while trying to defend an elderly friend — reads like the most heart-piercing of country ballads. It’s no wonder then that extraordinary artists like Foley’s friend and hero Townes Van Zandt and Lucinda Williams penned odes to him (Van Zandt’s “Blaze’s Blues” and Williams’ “Drunken Angel”). As for Foley’s craft, no less than Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered Foley’s “If I Could Only Fly” in 1987. (Haggard would go on to re-record the song and make it the title track of his 2000 album.) Unfortunately, it seems that a good deal of Foley’s energies went toward the art of living; therefore, while he has left listeners with his vivid legend, his recorded output is frustratingly scarce.
Blaze Foley (born Michael David Fuller) was raised in West Texas and sang with his mother, brother, and sisters in a gospel act called the Fuller Family. Taking a pseudonym borrowed from Red Foley, Blaze performed in Houston, New Orleans, and Austin through the 1970s and ’80s, developing a strong following and respect from fellow musicians. But it was the Austin music scene, among friends like Van Zandt and Timbuk 3 — whose work Foley was an early champion of — that would become his spiritual and geographical home.
While Foley recorded a now impossible to find studio album in the early ’80s at the famed Muscle Shoals studios, he’s remembered more for his vivid character. He was known as much for his kindness and philanthropy, even in the face of his own poverty, as he was for his drunkenness, ornery nature, and downright weirdness. Foley was also known for his uncanny fascination with duct tape, which he used to hold the various pieces of his life together, most notably his shoes (as immortalized in the lyrics of Lucinda Williams’ aforementioned “Drunken Angel”). >> Read more…
-Erik Hage, AllMusic.com
Omar’s Boogie- Omar and the Howlers
Austin, besides being the Texas state capital, is home to much of the best in American roots music. Since the 1970s, gutsy blues players, renegade country pickers, and raw-voiced rockers have mixed & matched their musical styles in Austin ’s thriving club scene. And that’s where Kent “Omar” Dykes holds court too.
He hails from McComb, Miss. , a town with the distinction of being home turf for Bo Didley. Omar started playing guitar at seven, took to hanging out in edge-of-town juke joints at 12, joined his first band at 13 – the next youngest player being 50 – and started honing his music. He was still Kent Dykes in those days, but by the time he hit 20 he had hooked up with a crazy party band, called the Howlers, looking back, he says, “We had two saxophone players on baritone and tenor who wore Henry Kissinger masks. They were called the Kissinger Brothers. Not on every song, mind you. Sometimes it was Dolly Parton playing saxophone. Or Cher. And we had these cardboard cutouts from record stores for skits.” They even did fake ads for Sunshine Collard Greens and Howlers’ Fried Chicken – “for that old-fashioned taste that tastes just like Grandma.”
It was a crazy time, but a lot of fun too, with the rough & tumble Howlers playing R&B, Rock & Roll and even the occasional polka and western swing tunes. But Kent Dykes mostly just wanted to play blues. And by then the other Howlers had taken to calling him “Omar Overtone” because he tended to let his guitar feedback on stage while he dropped to the floor to spin on his back in a spontaneous, Big & Tall Store take on break-dancing. As he says, those performances were “sometimes fueled by, a-hmm, alcohol.”
By 1976, the Howlers decided to move and relocate to Austin, where such clubs as the Soap Creek Saloon, the Broken Spoke, the Armadillo World Headquarters and Antone’s had created a haven for renegade music. >> Read more…
Heart First- Halie Loren
The first thing you notice is that voice: deep and rich and warm, gorgeous, graceful, and somehow earthy and ethereal at once. It is an instrument perfectly pitched and primed to each line, with each audible breath. Just as warm and familiar and frankly right as the needle hitting the groove on vinyl.
And so it goes. In describing the vocal talents of Eugene-based singer/songwriter Halie Loren, the adjectives just start piling up. Heartfelt is one. Confident yet vulnerable, strong but inviting. Authentic is another adjective that rushes to mind—emotionally authentic, which, really, is the key to great jazz and great art in general. Not the play-it-safe jazz of mall-bound Musak, but the real deal. Think Peggy Lee and Billie Holiday and Joni Mitchell, or, more recently, Diana Krall, Norah Jones. But such comparisons are only historic reference points, a means of entry. What’s important to understand is that when Halie Loren sings, you not only hear the music. You feel it. She’s right there, in the room with you, filling the space with intimate stories of love and heartbreak, memory and hope, experience and passion—in a word, life.
Were Loren’s resume to end here, with her vocal talents, it would be more than enough. Singing of that quality is rare, a gift. But Loren is no mere interpreter of standards (though she does that with refreshing facility). Having cut her songwriting teeth when, as a teenager, she spent an educational year rubbing elbows with some of Nashville’s top composers, this young artist—she is but 27—has penned original numbers that are stunning for the depth and maturity they show. >> Read more…
Photo by Sally Sheldon
Hambone Blues- The Great Recession Orchestra
THE GREAT RECESSION ORCHESTRA is a Fort Worth-based coalition of experienced musicians who have banded together to celebrate the WESTERN SWING tradition in general and the MILTON BROWN legacy in particular. >> Read more…
Idiot Heart- Carsie Blanton
“If I had an all-encompassing rule for life, it’d be that you have to follow your heart.” Carsie Blanton says. “It doesn’t mean that everything it tells you is going to be smart, but you have to follow it anyway.”
Following her heart has worked out pretty well for Carsie, earning her widespread critical acclaim and a coast-to-coast fan following for her clever wordplay and indelible melodies. The remarkable new Idiot Heart represents the Philadelphia-based singer/songwriter’s finest work thus far, a panoramic collection of exuberant, expansive folk-pop, crafted with uncommon spirit and ingenuity. Songs such as “Together Too Long” and “Backbone” are given breath by producer Oliver Wood’s warm, unaffected arrangements and Blanton’s remarkable vocal stylings, at turns coy and confident, sly and sensual. Idiot Heart reveals Carsie Blanton to be a preternaturally gifted storyteller whose extraordinary life experiences fuel her open, knowing lyricism, using finely etched characterizations and a deeply personal perspective to touch a truly universal chord.
“I feel like my strength as a lyricist is not poetry, it’s telling the truth,” she says. “I say the things that everybody wants to say but doesn’t usually get to.
Carsie was surrounded by music while growing up in the Shenandoah Valley town of Luray, Virginia, instilling in her a lifelong love of the classic singer/songwriter canon. The Blantons advocated the educational philosophy known as unschooling, allowing Carsie to learn through natural life experiences as opposed to the traditional school curriculum. >> Read more…
Sober On The Weekends- Jason Eady
“There has always been pop music, but country music was always the avenue out of adolescence and into the grown up world with grown up issues like responsibilities and family. Someone’s got to keep it alive, to preserve that kind of sound. That was our aim with this record.”
Jason Eady’s extensive background in “grown up issues” is what explains why the word “poet” is so frequently associated with his name. A six-year stint in the US Air Force as a translator placed him in a slew of foreign cultures giving him a universal look into the nature of human beings and a good jumping off point for his comprehensive lyrical translations. The Mississippi native and Texas transplant has spent the last seven years in an incubation period undergoing a musical metamorphosis that has led him through lonesome delta blues, inspirational church house harmonies, poetically spun tales of Americana and into the naked and honest regions of good ole’ country music. >> Read more…
Blues Stay Away From Me- Lisa Biales
Weaving a Tapestry of Americana, Folk, Blues and Original Music
Lisa Biales (Be-Alice) sings from the heart and writes playful music about the simple things in life. She weaves a down home blues vernacular with finger style guitar to create songs that feel like they have been around forever.
A native of Ohio, Lisa grew up in a musical family and began her career as a performing songwriter at the age of thirteen. Lisa has independently released six albums of music under her own Big Song Music label, and is heard on radio stations around the world. Lisa’s music is popular in Belgium, Luxembourg and France. Her song “Playing With Angels” went to #1 in Australia on the Independent Folk Radio Charts. In the US, Lisa’s song “Where The Buckwheat Blooms” went to #32 on folk radio stations, and “I Believe” was featured in the popular TV show “Girlfriends” on the CW Network. Lisa’s latest CD “Closet Hippie” is being played on Sirius XM’s The Coffee House . . . where up-and-coming singer-songwriters are discovered.
“Lisa Biales is a real gem.” – Freddy Celis, Rootstime, Magazine, Belgium
A graduate of Ohio University with Master’s in Theater, Lisa makes her film debut in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Twixt Now And Sunrise” a murder mystery based on a short story written by Coppola, where Lisa portrays a waitress named Ruth. >> Read more…
Slide and Dip It- Beau Joque and the Zydeco Hi-Rollers
Beau Jocque’s fifth album for the Rounder imprint is a wide and varied effort showing musical growth and a depth previously unexplored on his previous outings. The High Rollers can still crank it out with a vengeance on tunes like “Come Go With Me” and “Like a Pot of Neckbones, ” and Bo’s ear for a great cover like “Tequila, ” “Tighten Up, ” and “Keep A Knockin’” is just as well informed as ever. But musical surprises abound at every turn on this disc with the snaky slow blues “Going to the Country, ” the soul ballad “What You Gonna Do?” and a hip-hop mix of “Slide and Dip It” being particular standouts. >> Read more…
-Cub Koda, AllMusic.com
Downhill Slide- Dallas Wayne
Dallas Wayne considers himself lucky to be able to make a living doing something he loves. Some people might say it has more to do with talent than luck. Throughout a career that has taken Dallas around the world as a songwriter, singer, actor, voice-over artist, music producer and radio deejay, he claims he’s never had a real job.
A native of Springfield, Missouri, Dallas began performing professionally while in high school, and by the age of 18 he had toured throughout the entire U.S. and Canada. After moving to Nashville, he further developed his vocal style singing demos for many of the top publishing houses in the music industry.
While touring Europe in 1991, Dallas signed a deal to record an album for Texicalli Records. One album soon became six, and Dallas moved to Scandinavia where he became a staff writer for Warner/Chappell Music.
After four years living and touring in Europe, Dallas returned to the U.S. and signed a record deal with HighTone Records. In addition to recording two albums of his own on the HighTone label, Dallas was a part of the honky-tonk supergroup, the TwangBangers.
Dallas moved to Austin, Texas in early 2003 where he has enjoyed a vibrant country music scene. In 2005 he released the CD I’m Your Biggest Fan, marking his debut on the Koch Records Nashville label.
Dallas embarked on a new facet of his career in mid-2005 when he joined the family of on-air personalities in Outlaw Country on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. >> Read more…
Slippin’ And Slidin’- Justin Townes Earle
The son of maverick Texas songwriter Steve Earle (and carrying the middle name of his dad’s mentor, Townes Van Zandt), Justin Townes Earle shares just a hint of his father’s vocal style in his voice, and like the elder Earle, he writes his own songs, but aside from the fact that both Earles fall to the country side of the Mason-Dixon Line, there are probably far more differences in their musical approaches than there are similarities. The younger Earle grew up in Nashville and took up music early, playing in the bluegrass/ragtime combo the Swindlers and the hard-rocking Distributors; he also toured (playing guitar and keyboards) with his father’s road band the Dukes, picking up a few of the elder Earle’s old bad habits in the process, but like his father, he eventually kicked his drug habit and put his life in order. Developing his own writing and playing style, a hybrid mixing folk and blues with strong early country leanings…
-Steve Leggett, AllMusic.com
Slide Off Those Satin Sheets- Johnny Paycheck
The first time that many people ever heard of Johnny Paycheck was in 1977, when his “Take This Job and Shove It” inspired one-man wildcat strikes all over America. The next time was in 1985, when he was arrested for shooting a man at a bar in Hillsboro, OH. That Paycheck is remembered for a fairly amusical novelty song and a violent crime (for which he spent two years in prison) is a shame, for it just so happens that he is one of the mightiest honky tonkers of his time. Born and raised in Greenfield, OH, Paycheck was performing in talent contests by the age of nine and riding the rails as a drifter by the time he turned 15. After a Navy stint landed him in the brig for two years, he arrived in Nashville, where he performed in the bands of Porter Wagoner, Faron Young, Ray Price, and George Jones. He recorded several singles under the name Donny Young, then, in 1965, cut his first sides as Johnny Paycheck for the Hilltop label. A year later, he and gadfly producer Aubrey Mayhew started the Little Darlin’ label, for which Paycheck recorded his greatest work. Marked by Lloyd Green’s knockout steel guitar and Paycheck’s broad, resonant vocals (not to mention his rounder’s sense of humor) his Little Darlin’ records of the 1960s have since become cult favorites. After splitting with Mayhew (and after running his life into the gutter) Paycheck made a celebrated comeback on Epic in the 1970s. “Take This Job and Shove It” was the most famous result, though ballads like “She’s All I Got” and “Someone to Give My Love To” are far more indicative of his stylistic range.
-Dan Cooper, AllMusic.com
Slip, Slidin’ Away- Paul Simon
During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards, three of which (“Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Still Crazy After All These Years” and “Graceland”) were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of their Johnny Mercer Award and is in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song “Mrs. Robinson” from the motion picture “The Graduate” was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute’s 100 Years 100 Songs. He was a recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2002 and was named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 People Who Shape Our World” in 2006. In 2007, Mr. Simon was awarded the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin, this newly created award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture, and is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwin’s. In 2011 Mr. Simon was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Of Mr. Simon’s many concert appearances he is most fond of the two concerts in Central Park in New York (with his partner and childhood friend Art Garfunkel in 1981 and as a solo artist in 1991) and the series of shows he did at the invitation of Nelson Mandela in South Africa: the first American artist to perform in post-apartheid South Africa. In 1998, his performance on center field at Yankee Stadium celebrating the unveiling of Joe DiMaggio’s monument is a treasured memory for this lifelong Yankee’s fan.
Paul Simon’s philanthropic work includes the co-founding of The Children’s Health Fund with Dr. Irwin Redlener. The CHF donates and staffs mobile medical vans that bring health care to poor and indigent children in urban and rural locations around the United States. Since it’s inception in 1986 it has provided over 3 million doctor/patient visits. In the wake of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina it was the primary health care source for those communities decimated by the storms. Mr. Simon has also raised millions of dollars for worthy causes as varied as AMFAR, The Nature Conservancy, The Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa and Autism Speaks and The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation. >> Read more…
Slidin’ Delta- Doc and Merle Watson
In the latter half of the 20th century there were three pre-eminently influential folk/country guitar players: Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, and Arthel “Doc” Watson, a flat-picking genius from Deep Gap, North Carolina. Unlike the other two, Watson was in middle age before gaining any attention. After 1960, though, when Watson was recorded with his family and friends in Folkways’ Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley’s, people remained in awe of this gentle blind man who sang and picked with a pure and emotional authenticity. The present generation, folkies and country pickers alike, including Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, the late Clarence White, Emmylou Harris, and literally hundreds of others, acknowledge their great debt to Watson. Watson provided a further service to folk/country by his encyclopedic knowledge of many American traditional songs.
While Travis and Atkins started on acoustic guitars and moved to electric, before Watson’s “discovery” during the folk revival in the early ’60s, he played electric in a local all-purpose band that played current rock, swing, country, and of course folk music. He gained recognition gradually, first from the Clarence Ashley album, which led to a rave performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1963. Folkways soon recorded an album of Watson, followed in 1964 by a series of albums by Vanguard, nearly one a year through the decade. No sooner had interest in folk music waned than Watson was back in great demand because of the three-disc Will the Circle Be Unbroken, a watershed album in 1972 that was created by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It featured Watson, Travis, Roy Acuff, and a who’s who of country greats. Merle, Watson’s son and a talent in his own right, began appearing with his father regularly. The result was good enough for them to win two Grammys for traditional music, in 1973 and 1974. Father and son played beautiful music together for over 15 years, until Merle died tragically on the family farm in 1985. Following his son’s death, Doc continued with his appearances, showcasing his beautiful voice, his great instrumental talent, and his mastery of traditional material. He was an American treasure.
Early in his childhood in Deep Gap, Watson was struck by an illness that restricted the blood flow to his eyes, resulting in his blindness at an early age. As a child, he was surrounded by music and was given a new harmonica every Christmas. When he was ten, his father gave him a homemade fretless banjo, which Doc played consistently for the next three years. Around the same time he picked up the banjo, Watson began attending the School for the Blind in Raleigh, North Carolina. At the age of 13, Doc began playing guitar after being introduced to the instrument by his cousin. Six months after receiving his guitar, Doc and his older brother Linney began busking on street corners, singing traditional numbers. By his late teens, Watson had learned how to fingerpick from his neighbor Olin Miller.
-David Vinopal, AllMusic.com