Kevin Long is a Seattle based singer songwriter whose new record Buena Vista is out now. Kevin’s been compared to James Taylor by some; both for his rich vocals and his super sensitive songs (I would have gone with Richard Shindell but that’s just me). Live I imagine Kevin’s show is just him and his guitar but on this record the songs are imbued with a string section and on some a rhythm section.
You can download the new record here via Bandcamp. Check out the beautiful title track below.
The Will Callers are an Austin based band that combines the whole roots music genre into a big gumbo of folk, rock, and country. They’re basically a duo comprised of Jake Murphy and Daniel Slatton but on this recording they are joined by Austin man-about-town Scappy Judd Newcomb and Bukka Allen. The record is ably produced by Ray Wylie Hubbard.
The debut record from The Will Callers What Else Is Left is available now here via iTunes or here via Bandcamp.
The fine folks at Nine Bulletts have already covered the new record In The Throes from John Moreland. And their impassioned post will not see its equal here. Although I do have an opinion or two about the music of John Moreland and the malaise of the average music fan.
I’m sure that a comparison to early Bruce Springsteen will not shock John Moreland and company. His songs are honest like Nebraska era Springsteen and his voice has that same slightly husky delivery. The boss obviously has millions of fans but do you think even half of 1 percent is ever going to hear of the music of John Moreland. I’m afraid not. And why is that. I guess you can blame the decline of radio (esp formats suitable for music like this), the unadventurous listener, and tv shows like The Voice that reward stellar vocal performances without any substance (would it kill them to have the artist perform an original song somewhere in the competition).
I don’t know the answer but I’m just glad there are still folks like John Moreland writing songs like these and performing them in dives and juke joints across the country. Preorder the new lp or cd here.
This little blog rarely contributes much to the larger society. We don’t do any good works besides trying to spread the word about deserving artists. So when the chance came to both spread the word about Alastair Moock and point you in the direction of a great cause it was an easy post to write.
Last year one of Alastairs twin girls was diagnosed with Leukemia. They have been battling ever since. And one of the few ways Alastair knew how to help was through his music (and circle of musician friends). So he (along with his daughter Clio) put together an album of songs to help kids with cancer called Singing Our Way Through: Songs For The Bravest Kids. While you can buy the record; the plan is to use the record as a free resource for patients and pediatric oncology programs around the country. Therapists and child life specialists will be able to add this CD to their arsenal of tools aimed at helping kids cope with cancer.
You can buy the digital version of the record now here, or pre-order the cd here or just donate to the project here.
Here’s Alastair and Chris Smither performing the classic song of “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”
All my favorite Austin bands play at a place called The White Horse. Whether it’s Ramsay Midwood or Mike and the Moonpies or national acts like Elana James they all wind up at White Horse in one way or another. Now one of the “house bands” have created an ode to the White Horse and I think it accurately describes the charms of this place.
Here’s Them Duqaines with the song “Over At The White Horse” which should be available on the band’s upcoming record.
It goes without saying that you should catch the band tonight at 10pm…where else…but at the White Horse in Austin, Tx.
A love song performed as a duet from the perspective of the sea and the shore with a guest appearance from the moon doesn’t sound like the recipe for a breakout hit and I guess it won’t be to the larger music world. But to me, in my small corner of the music world, it’s in the running for song of the year. The song is credited to Amy Speace of course (since it’s on her new record How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat) but it is John Fullbright’s deep voice (as the sea) that kicks the song off. Fresh off his Grammy nomination Fullbright adds an amount of solemnity and gravitas that sets a somber mood for the song. Once Amy comes in (as the shore) with her apologies for hooking up with the moon I’m all in and completely hooked.
You can and should purchase the whole new release here. Other guests include Mary Gauthier and Ben Sollee.
Well this is fun and unexpected. The Backsliders have released a long lost recording as an EP called Hictopia. It contains five songs that were produced by the great Eric Ambel but left off their last record (Southern Lines, Mammoth Records, 1999). The music (and the promo photo above) bring me back to the day when there were fewer releases, more quality stuff, and vinyl. The band broke up shortly after this release but members went on to play in or form bands like Two Dollar Pistols and Whiskeytown.
As of 2012 the band is mostly back together and performing shows in and around their howetown of Raleigh, NC. Pick up the free ep (though tips are appreciated) here at Bandcamp.
P.S. It seems John Fullbright is the man of the moment. He’s been featured on a couple albums, was nominated for a Grammy and is even scheduled to appear at Bonnaroo. Here’s a duet he did with Amy Speace for her new record How To Sleep In A Stormy Boat. Buy it here. I’ve already heard talk of this tune for song of the year and although it’s early I can’t argue with that.
Over the years Howe Gelb has explored just about every nuance and every square inch of the rock landscape. With Giant Sand he has played noisy experimental rock, rootsy folk, instrumentals and choir music. He’s explored spanish music by collaborating with a Band Of Gypsies, country rock with his band Band of Blacky Ranchette, and as simply Howe Gelb he has performed solo in a style that could be called desert folk. The desert and the Tucson surroundings are always present in his songs whether it’s obvious through the lrics or more subtle through the soundscapes he employs. On the new Howe Gelb record Dust Bowl he has captured the lonely sounds of the desert through the use of reverb, piano, banjo and guitar. Here’s the title track. The album is availble on Bandcamp for $3.33.
The Quiet American is a husband and wife duo from the great northwest. Aaron used to be in the band Boulder Acoustic Society but left to get back to basics. On this new record they explore the story of “Wild Bill Jones”. Musically you’ll hear everything from ukelele to jug band sounds. There are similarities between this group and Pharis and Jason Romero – most notably they both are duos, both are exploring old time country music and both make their own instruments.
You can buy Wild Bill Joneshere via Elderly Instruments. Here’s the song “Keys To The Kingdom”.
David Ramirez is an acclaimed singer-songwriter based out of Austin, Tx who has somehow hovered just outside my awareness. With several full length albums and a couple of EP’s under his belt David has made a name for himself as an honest songwriter who captivates live and ensnares victims with his intimate songs.
The new record is an EP called The Rooster that will be available exclusively on iTunes on May 5. According to David he’s taken some sonic risks and altered his sound somewhat on this ep. As a new listener I hear some of that sonic experimentation but by and large it bubbles under the surface. On “The Bad Days” David sings about his love and how even on his bad days she is there for him.
Catch David on a co-headlining tour with Jay Nash from May 22-June 15.
Gina Villalobos is working on a new record which should make you happy. Sounds like it is being mastered as we speak. In the meantime she has released some b-sides that for some reason never made it on to disk. I’m partial to this song, “You Took all My Shine”.
Follow Gina on Twitter for her insights on music, lgbt issues and women’s soccer
This Kris Kristofferson cover of “Josie” is taken from the debut record from Canadiana band The Parlour Bothers. The bands melancholy style is just perfect for this song of innocence lost and a wayward soul. This is tasteful mid-tempo alt country from a band that will only improve over time.
I’m not exactly sure which level of the americana/roots stratosphere Nora Jane Stothers resides in. She is talented, beautiful, and a strong songwriter. Her music has equal parts bluegrass and sing-songwriter elements. That she is difficult to pigeonhole is a plus in my book. Her new record Carnival is due out April 16th. It’s the second full length from Nora Jane.
“Party Line” is a track from the forthcoming release and it showcases both her strong vocal presence as well as the top notch musicanship of her touring ensemble. Preorder Carnivalhere.
Well SXSW is over. I had a great time at all the day parties and a few of the events at night. I never see as much as I hope for but I was happy to see Drivin n’ Cryin, Steve Poltz, Spirit Family Reunion and bands I’d never heard of like Telekinis and Hurray For The Riff Raff.
Here’s a group that was not down in Austin but judging from their sound would fit right in any time of year down there. Stella! and their new record Sorry, Stella came out in 2012 but is just now picking up traction and considerable radio play. Stella! consists of singer-songwriters Jen Sygit, Diana Ladio, Laura Ann Bates and Jo Serrapere. It’s a Michigan supergroup of sorts put together by Jo Serrapere one of the founding members of Uncle Earl. You can buy the new record here via the band.
Branches haven’t left the West Coast very often. As a result I’ve never seen them. That will change this SXSW as they are one of my must see acts of the festival. Their 2012 release Thou Art The Dream has all the handclaps and singalong choruses you could hope to wish for in an indie folk collective. The strained vocals on top of banjos, guitars, violin, pump organ and odd percussion performed by this group of effervescent Californians will have you clapping and singing along.
Join me singing off key at either of their shows. Thursday at the All Together Now showcase at Bayou Lounge at 2pm or for Friday brunch at 11:30 am at the Hipstamtic Showcase located at 509 Brushy Street.
If you’re at all like me you had a hard time motivating this morning with the time change and Monday morning blues then you’ll need this as much as I did. The only thing that got me going was the new song from Austin based r&b singer and genre smasher Emily Bell. The fuzzy pulsating music topped off by Emily’s roaring vocals had me tapping my foot and clearing the sleepies from my eyes.
This song is available now along with a b-side from iTunes or from Emily’s website in the form of a 7″ vinyle single (with download card). You can catch Emily Bell at her official SXSW showcase at Creekside at The Hilton Garden on Friday the 15th. The new album In Technicolor is out on May 24th.
Whistling reminiscent of Peter, Bjorn and John, reverb-y americana a la Jim White and fuzzy guitars make this song by the Austin based band Crooks pretty darn likable. Add to that the fact that their showcase is at The White Horse along with the likes of Lincoln Durham, American Aquarium and Jason Eady and you have a pretty great combination. Catch the band Tuesday March 12 at 9pm at their official showcase at The White Horse.
Here’s the title track from their 2012 release The Rain Will Come.
Jonny Corndawg never had a chance. Not with that nomiker and not with his irreverent style of country. Now he’s back but this time as Jonny Fritz and on ATO Records. His new record Dad Country is due out in April. From the single it seems he has kept the wry humor along with the authentic country sounds.
Catch him at SXSW on Thursday at the ATO showcase at Maggie Mae’s or at Rachel Rays party; on Friday he’ll be at “South By Sapparo” and the Ground Control party at the Mohawk. Lots more info here.
Luke Winslow-King is a name that was on the periphery of my musical landscape. On a multiple choice questionaire I’d have been able to pick his name out as the one musician on the list but that’s about it. His music was mostly self-financed and self-released. That’s about to change with the re-release of his 2012 release The Coming Tide on Bloodshot Records. This is a great signing for Bloodshot as LWK is a perfect compliment to label mate Justin Townes Earl. Both have absorbed the New Orleans sound and made it their own. Both are photogenic, young and hip in a good way. And now both are on Bloodshot.
The title track is a good example of LWK combining and smashing genres. You’ll hear gospel, blues and folk on the track below. Bandmate Esther Kings’ vocals are a revelation on this song. Lots more info on Luke Winslow-King on Bloodshot here. Catch him and his band at SXSW at The Bloodshot official showcase Wednesday night at the Continental club.
I’m a fan of both of these artists. They’re americana mainstays, Austin luminaries and now a married couple. Their new record together is called Cheater’s Game. The Bruce and Kelly Show will be playing SXSW at KDHX’s Twangfest along with acts like Kelly Hogan, Mount Moriah, Pokey Lafarge and Dale Watson. Along with the Bloodshot party this is one of the must see parties. Here’a song off the new record that features Kelly Willis as a wounded participant in the game of love.
Glad you found me at my new url. Songs:Illinois is committed to writing about music that is under-appreciated and unique. I've found that the music I write about shares a couple of traits. And they are: lyrical integrity, musically diverse, and written/performed by compelling characters.
Most songs found here are free and legal and have been provided by either the artist or label. If for some reason you'd like to have a song removed, please email me at cbonnell (at) gmail.com.