Archive for May, 2012

The Two Man Gentlemen Band love “Pork Chops”

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Well these guys just keep releasing music so I’ll keep pointing it out. Miraculous really, that they have found a market for their old timey folk tunes in this world of modern day technology, indie rock, and autotune. Here’s the irreverent “Pork Chop” from The Two Man Gentlemen Band’s new record Two At A Time. The boys are currently on tour so check out their upcoming dates on their website here.

Pork Chops [Download]

Music from the new dB’s record – “Falling Off The Sky” – due in June

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

This blog shifts between a folk music blog, and americana music blog, on Friday’s a honky-tonk blog and occasionally, when the mood strikes, a kind of 80′s retro blog. Today we’re going back to the future with new music from the reformed band The dB’s. Their brand of smart power pop was all the rage in college radio in the early 80′s – The Smithereens may have had more hits and the Posies more critical acclaim – but it is the dB’s that everyone references when you talk about power pop from this era.

The talent of the band can be expressed by looking at the individual members and their long careers post breakup. Chris Stamey went on to become a preeminent power pop singer-songwriter and a first call producer, Peter Holsapple basically joined REM becoming their fifth member and Will Rigby is everyone’s favorite drummer playing with the likes of Steve Earle, Laura Cantrell, Matthew Sweet, Freedy Johnston, and Kelly Willis.

The new record Falling Off The Sky sounds great and should be available in June on Bar-None Records.

That Time Is Gone [Download]

Before We Were Born [Download]

Honky-Tonk Friday – JP Harris And The Tough Choices – “I’ll Keep Calling”

Friday, May 18th, 2012

So on this honky-tonk Friday I ignored everything in my inbox and went searching for the best new country music. When I saw that the Northhampton, Ma based label Cow Island had a new record I knew my search was done. After I listened to one song off the debut record by Nashville artist JB Harris and the Tough Choices I could see why the record debuted at #1 on the Third Coast roots radio chart. The title track “I’ll Keep Calling” hits all the right honky tonk chords of missed connections, lost love, and visits to honky-tonks and bar rooms with just the right amount of twang (pedal steel) and a choice guitar solo about halfway through.

Catch the band tonight at Johnny D’s in Sommerville. Lots more info, song samples and purchase info here.

I’ll Keep Calling [Download]

“Badly Bent” live video:

Great Recession Orchestra – “Double Shot”

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The Great Recession Orchestra is a western swing band that has just released a double record called Double Shot. Disc 1 is called The Forties In Fort Worth and the second Shaking The Sheiks is based on the music of Mississippi Sheiks.

Here’s a Mississippi Sheiks cover tune called “She Ain’t No Good”.

She Ain’t No Good [Download]

Originals by Mississippi Sheiks:

New record from Wisconsin chamber, indie, americana, folk singer Paul Otteson – “Robin Red” (May 30)

Friday, May 11th, 2012

One of the benefits of doing this blog for coming up on 8 years now is the fact that I have a lot of people I can continually follow up on. The Wisconsin singer-songwriter Paul Otteson is back with his second long player called Robin Red (I wrote about his previous EP here). These 10 songs shift between chamber folk and a more electric/eclectic americana. For a proud Wisconsonite Paul sometimes conjures up more of British sound with his clearly enunciated vocals which lilt and flutter within each song. Whatever you decide to call this – call it yours by ordering it here.

Oh Destiny [Download]

Video for “Oh Destiny w/Anna Vogelzang

Introducing…The Stray Birds

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

I wrote about John Fullbright this week partly because over the last two years I have seen his name in places I trust, referenced by artists I like, and playing clubs I wish I could go to. Of late the same can be said for the trio The Stray Birds. This simple acoustic trio is starting to make waves with their excellent musianship, stipped down songs and beautiful vocal harmonies. The band released an ep in 2010 and are prepping the summer release of their debut full length.

Pick up the ep Borderland here; and stay tuned to Songs:Illinois for news of the upcoming album.

Birds of the Borderland [Download]

Sparrow [Download]

“Birds of the Borderland” video

Now Serving…The Pornadoes (Western swing meets film noir)

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

And now for something entirely different. Here is the combination western swing, experimental jazz, and film noir soundtrack from the group the Pornadoes. This group of mostly mid-westerners stuck in Seattle has a new 7 song ep called Now Swerving…

Ballard Loafers [Download]

Dan Weber – “Ash And Bone” (June 5)

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Dan Weber is an up and coming singer songwriter in the mode of Todd Snider. He is also from the great Northwest and litters his songs with references to The Dead, Hank Williams, and liquor. His new album is called Ash and Bone. Here’s his song “Gravity” plus a video of his opus “Hank and Jesus”.

Gravity [Download]

“Hank and Jesus”

Walter Salas Humara and Frontier Ruckus House Chicago Concert – June 13

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

“Someday we’ll brag about them to our grandchildren, they’re that good.” Bill Flanagan Musician Magazine

The quote above is about Walter Salas Humara’s band The Silos but I’m fine with applying it to both bands playing our next house concert.

It’s been awhile but we’re back with a summer house concert (and we now have central air!). It’s actually a double bill of Walter Salas Humara of Silos fame and the Detroit based band Frontier Ruckus. The date of the show is Wednesday, June 13 at 7pm. It is a weekday so we’ll start early but school is out so we will be celebrating that and staying up late.

This show is a bit of the old (sorry Walter) and some of the new. Walter Salas Humara released his debut record in 1985. It was called “About Her Steps” and while I love it; it wasn’t til “Cuba” came out a year later that I discovered the band. “Cuba” was a revelation – in fact some credit it as the start of the americana movement in music. It was released independently by a record collective and received critical praise including Rolling Stone calling them “Americas’s best new band”. But it wasn’t until the band’s major label self-titled debut on RCA Records that the rest of the country heard about the band (this song performed on Letterman didn’t hurt). Over the last 25 years, whether it was with the Silos or with any of his solo records and project, Walter Salas Humara has been able to capture a slice of the American way of life with simple, direct songs that speak to the heart.

Frontier Ruckus on the other hand have only a few records under their belt. They are only in their early twenties but they have been praised as having some of the most poetic lyrics and unusual instrumentation (musical saw, odd toy pianos, etc.) of any band in the country. I have loved them since I first heard their 8 minute plus opus “Adirondack Amish Holler” several years back. Their record “Orion Town is already a classic to their fans. They have been touring for the last several years playing anything from a dive bar in Chicago to the über hip California festival Bonaroo to the streets of London (check out the video). They will release a double album this summer called An Eternity of Dimming. We’re lucky to have them.

So, please RSVP if you can come if you are in the Chicago area. Feel free to forward this or invite your friends, teenagers will love this. Anyone interested can RSVP to We will ask for a $20 donation but as always will provide some appetizers and beer and wine so you’ll probably break even. This one’s going to be special — hope to see you here.

Frontier Ruckus Mp3′s:

Adirondack Amish Holler [Download]
Orion Town 2 [Download]

Walter Salas Humara Mp3′s

For Always [Download]

Caroline [Download]

Praise for Frontier Ruckus:

“…delicate, finger-picked banjos, aching, oaky violin and the haunting voice of frontman Matthew Milia, who conjures what might happen had Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum been raised in a log cabin. Their songs are full of rich, rural details: frozen lakes, swaying trees, highway lights glowing in the deep night. Add to the mix baleful brass and trembling percussion, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for Gothic Americana.” – Rolling Stone

“(Frontier Ruckus) brings a contemporary angle to its music, eschewing traditional tales of trains, whiskey and rambling for reflections on suburbia, family and ‘life on the edge of the interstate.’” – NPR Music

“So what do banjos, dobros, trumpets, alto horn and a singing saw have in common? One wouldn’t think very much were it not for Frontier Ruckus, a citified quintet of rustic folkies whose name belies their mournful melodies. Though they hail from Detroit, their songs evoke the loneliness and isolation of a dust-blown prairie. It’s a feeling owed in large measure to vocalist Matthew Milia, a star in the making…However this is no downer. Even in the face of that pervasive yearning, Deadmalls & Nightfalls boasts an unassuming, unfettered appeal that grows more affecting with each successive hearing.” – Blurt

Praise for The Silos/Walter Salas Humara:

“The band’s austere style inflects the astringent twang of The Velvet Underground with the drone of R.E.M. and adds countryish echoes that recall Gram Parsons.” Stephen Holden The New York Times

“Powerful earthy pop that sounds like the result of Nirvana riding on R.E.M’s tour bus.” Buzz McClain The Washington Post

“Someday we’ll brag about them to our grandchildren, they’re that good.” Bill Flanagan Musician Magazine

New record from John Fullbright – the most acclaimed young artist in roots music

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Really, Hype Machine! Nothing on the new John Fullbright album yet. He’s only the most celebrated young artist in all of americanaland. The single from the forthcoming record has already been premiered by Paste, the Kickstarter campaign was a success, SXSW was dutifully conquered and the guy has Shorefire Media working hard (hardly working) as his PR machine.

I’m usually turned off by such a successful launch but it seems like John Fullbright is the real deal. Whether he’s playing guitar or sitting at his piano Fullbright rarely hits a wrong note. On “Gawd Above” Fullbright’s normal acoustic sound is fleshed out by a rollicking band – where this has often failed in the past for other artists; the fuller sound is not an encumberance to Fullbright’s songs. Quite simply he nails it.

Pre-order this May 8th release here at Amazon.

Gawd Above [Download]

Preview Jon Dee Graham’s new album “Garage Sale”

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Here’s a song off Jon Dee Graham’s upcoming record Garage Sale. While I know he is an Texas institution I don’t know much else about Jon Dee. I do like this song though. It’s theme of brotherhood in the light of having lost everything else is powerful.

Garage Sale is due out June 28.

The Orphan’s Song [Download]

“Best” video via Music Fog