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  • Review: Shovels & Rope give fans a holiday gift with surprise album 'Busted Jukebox, Vol. 2'

    Review: Shovels & Rope give fans a holiday gift with surprise album 'Busted Jukebox, Vol. 2'

    As the holidays approach, thoughts turn to gift giving. For the second time in three years, Shovels & Rope has given their fans a holiday gift in a surprise album release, Busted Jukebox, Vol. 2, releasing Dec. 8. Following the formula of 2015's Busted Jukebox, Vol. 1, the new album sees the...
  • 'The Heat' by Mangoo: further proof that rock lives

    'The Heat' by Mangoo: further proof that rock lives

    Some people say rock is dead. Those are probably the same people that haven't sought out anything new since Led Zeppelin broke up. Whatever you do, don't believe those cynical folks. The Heat - the new album by Finnish band Mangoo - is further proof that rock and roll will never die. You can pick...
  • Review: Grayson Capps returns with 'Scarlett Roses', first album in 6 years

    Review: Grayson Capps returns with 'Scarlett Roses', first album in 6 years

    It's been six years since Grayson Capps has released a solo album. But that doesn't mean the Alabama-based Americana songwriter has been idle. He's maintained a rigorous touring schedule throughout, both on his own and with the supergroup Willie Sugarcapps. If his new album Scarlett Roses, out Dec...
  • Hans Chew defies easy classification on 'Open Sea'

    Hans Chew defies easy classification on 'Open Sea'

    A lot of artists defy easy classification. Guitarist/pianist Hans Chew shows that he is one of them on his new album Open Sea. The album begins with "Give Up the Ghost," a song that opens with just acoustic guitar and vocals. As the song progresses, you hear some piano also. With the dark and...
  • Re-issue of 'Born for You' by Rockie Charles is pure soul

    Re-issue of 'Born for You' by Rockie Charles is pure soul

    When you hear some soul singers, you realize that it would be odd for them to have any other profession. Rockie Charles had another profession as a tugboat captain, but on the album Born for You, he showed both that he was born to be a soul singer and why he was known as the President of Soul. When...
  • Keith Harkin shines as soloist on live set 'In the Round'

    Keith Harkin shines as soloist on live set 'In the Round'

    Keith Harkin performed with Irish super-group Celtic Thunder for over a decade, but the Derry native has always been a soloist at heart. The singer / songwriter took leave of his former group in April 2016 to focus on his individual journey again, issuing the introspective sophomore album On Mercy...
  • Popa Chubby blends rock, soul and blues on 'Two Dogs'

    Popa Chubby blends rock, soul and blues on 'Two Dogs'

    Popa Chubby is generally known as a blues artist and with good reason. He's a fine blues guitarist and vocalist. His new album Two Dogs is based in the blues, but it has many other aspects too. You get a good dose of one of the other aspects of the album in the opening track "It's Alright". This...
  • Psychedelic rock lives on 'Dirty Needles and Pins' by The Routes

    Psychedelic rock lives on 'Dirty Needles and Pins' by The Routes

    One thing you can say about The Routes is that it is a prolific band. Earlier this year, the band released In This Perfect Hell. Now the band has a new album called Dirty Needles and Pins, and it is full of the psychedelic sounds you've come to expect. Some bands are adept at grabbing the listener's...
  • Langhorne Slim finds appeal in solitude with 'Lost at Last, Vol. 1'

    Langhorne Slim finds appeal in solitude with 'Lost at Last, Vol. 1'

    One of the most common tropes in music is a feeling of being lost. This is usually expressed as a lament. But on his new album Lost at Last, Vol. 1 Americana artist Langhorne Slim wonders if, in a world where everyone is constantly connected via the internet and smartphones, getting lost might not...
  • Jim Byrnes sings soulful blues on 'Long Hot Summer Nights'

    Jim Byrnes sings soulful blues on 'Long Hot Summer Nights'

    One of the great things about music is that you never know when or from where your next good discovery will come. It might even come from an American-born Canadian singer-songwriter who has won six Juno awards and starred on television shows. On the new album Long Hot Summer Nights, Jim Byrnes shows...
  • Great songwriting drives 'Laughing with the Reckless' by The Contenders

    Great songwriting drives 'Laughing with the Reckless' by The Contenders

    When you see the term Americana, you only get a general idea of the kind of music you're about to hear although it could be bluegrass, country, or even alt-country. On the new album Laughing with the Reckless, The Contenders play Americana music that is pretty well steeped in country and rock...
  • The Haggis Horns play old-school funk and soul on 'One of These Days'

    The Haggis Horns play old-school funk and soul on 'One of These Days'

    When you get to know a particular band, you start to learn what you can expect from the band. If you're a follower of The Haggis Horns, you know to expect groovy melodies as well as songs that will make you think. You can expect some of each on the new album One of These Days. The album kicks off...
  • 'Death and The Blues' by Mark 'Porkchop' Holder: essential slide guitar

    'Death and The Blues' by Mark 'Porkchop' Holder: essential slide guitar

    Mark "Porkchop" Holder was one of the founding members of Black Diamond Heavies. He recently launched a solo career and has shown himself to be not only a prolific artist but also a very good blues musician. He gives another heavy dose of the blues on his new album Death and the Blues - Holder's...
  • 'Ain't No Pussy' by Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons: a sonic neck punch

    'Ain't No Pussy' by Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons: a sonic neck punch

    When you hear about a band called Pussycat and The Dirty Johnsons, you probably don't expect a really polished sound, and you'd be right. On the new album Ain't No Pussy, the band delivers 11 tracks of dirty, raucous rock and roll. If you're a believer in rock and roll howls, "Foreign Body" is a...
  • Voids build sound with 'No Character: No Crown'

    Voids build sound with 'No Character: No Crown'

    The metalcore scene is pretty packed and trying to stand out in a sea of bands isn't easy, but Maryland quartet Voids is doing their best with their debut release No Character : No Crown. The album is a heavy mix of brutal guitar sounds, swirling drum beats and growling vocals mixed in with tuneful...
  • Review: Lee Ann Womack finds her Americana stride with 'The Lonely, The Lonesome, and the Gone'

    Review: Lee Ann Womack finds her Americana stride with 'The Lonely, The Lonesome, and the Gone'

    When Lee Ann Womack first took the stage at the Americana Music Festival back in 2012, she was met with a fair amount of skepticism. The longtime mainstream country hitmaker seemed like an odd fit for Americana's fierce independent streak. Now, five years later, Womack has won over all but the most...
  • 'MEGAGEM' by Dopapod is your prescription for funky good times

    'MEGAGEM' by Dopapod is your prescription for funky good times

    Some bands don't fit neatly into any one category. No matter the genres their style covers a lot of musical ground. Dopapod is one of those bands and shows it on the new album MEGAGEM. The album begins with "Plaese Haalp", which is a pretty good microcosm of this band. In the intro and the first...
  • Review: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn find a beautiful 'Echo in the Valley'

    Review: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn find a beautiful 'Echo in the Valley'

    Legendary Warner Brothers animator Chuck Jones famously created nine “unbreakable rules” for his iconic Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons. Much of the humor in those shorts stemmed from the writers' attempts to find as many creative ways to do new things without ever breaking those rules. For their new...
  • Buffalo Killers are 'Alive and Well in Ohio'

    Buffalo Killers are 'Alive and Well in Ohio'

    With some bands, it seems like they have a new album at least once a year. Buffalo Killers is one of those prolific bands, and every new album is something to anticipate. The new album Alive and Well in Ohio is no different. Buffalo Killers has always had a retro psychedelic sound that is steeped in...
  • Find your groove with the self-titled album by Ozone Squeeze

    Find your groove with the self-titled album by Ozone Squeeze

    If you turn on the radio - no matter the genre - you're likely to hear a lot of music that sounds very similar. That being the case, it's nice to hear some music that doesn't fit nicely into any category. On its self-titled album, Ozone Squeeze shows that it is one of those bands who wants to create...
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