AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE (WRISTBAND)

Wed Sep 21 2016 - Wed Oct 19 2016

6:00 PM (Doors 6:00 PM)

Mercy Lounge

One Cannery Row Nashville, TN 37203

$60 Wristbands

Ages 18+

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Wristbands allow access to all shows at each venue (Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, The High Watt, Basement, Basement East, City Winery, Family Wash, The 5 Spot, Music City Roots, Station Inn, 3rd & Lindsley, Third Man, plus various additional events to be announced) all five nights (check listings for nightly venue lineups). 

Each room is limited to capacity. A wristband or ticket does not guarantee admission to any specific artist. If there is a specific artist you wish to see, please arrive early to ensure you are allowed entry.

This does NOT include admission to the Americana Honors & Awards Show on Wednesday or the Ascend Amphitheater events on Tuesday and Thursday. You must purchase tickets to attend those shows.

For the full festival line-up visit: http://americanamusic.org

Wristband pickup location is The Cannery Ballroom box office at this address the week of the festival:

One Cannery Row

Nashville, TN 37203

Pickup times: 

Mon: Noon-6pm

Tues: Noon-10pm 

Wed - Fri: Noon-Midnight

AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE (WRISTBAND)

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  • The Americana Music Festival & Conference

    The Americana Music Festival & Conference

    Music

    THE MISSION OF THE AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION IS TO ADVOCATE FOR THE AUTHENTIC VOICE OF AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC AROUND THE WORLD.

    For four nights, the Americana Music Festival will feature approximately 165 live performances at over nine music venues in the vicinity of downtown Nashville.

    Our 15th Annual event will take place September 16-21, 2014, gathering thousands of artists, fans and industry professionals from all over the world in Nashville, TN. With planning already underway, our 2014 Americana Music Festival & Conference promises to once again be the must-attend event for anyone who loves great music.

    Please follow @americanafest on Twitter and LIKE us on Facebook for or sign up HERE to receive email updates. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

    "It's great to be considered to be part of the movement that is healthy and has some discrimination." -Robert Plant

  • Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

    Pop

    Celebrating their Golden (50th) Anniversary together, the iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in Country Rock and American Roots Music, continues to add to their legendary status.

    With multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top ten hits such as "Fishin' In The Dark" and "Mr. Bojangles", multiple Grammy, IBMA, CMA Awards and nominations, the band's accolades continue to accumulate.

    Their groundbreaking "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" album has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. NGDB’s recording of "Mr. Bojangles" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2014 "Fishin' In the Dark" was certified platinum for digital downloads by the RIAA.

    Today, NGDB (Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter, John McEuen) continue their non-stop touring in their 50th year together. Recent tour stops included Stagecoach, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and many more. The plans for their 50th Anniversary will be extensive! On September 14th, 2015 they played to a Sold out Crowd at The Historic Ryman Auditorium with some close friends to film a 50th Anniversary Special to air on PBS starting March of 2016.

  • The Infamous Stringdusters

    The Infamous Stringdusters

    Country

    The Infamous Stringdusters are at the forefront of a new movement in bluegrass music; a Bluegrass REvolution. Their virtuosity has enabled them to take their brand of acoustic music to a completely new level. They wield an expansive repertoire touching on masters from Bill Monroe to John Hartford, but their strength lies in their original compositions. Dedication to arrangements and extended improvisation makes every performance completely unique. The live Stringdusters experience is anti-formulaic, groove friendly, and mind‐expanding ‐ not your granddaddy's bluegrass. Unless your granddaddy was Jerry Garcia.

  • Cedric Burnside Project

    Cedric Burnside Project

    Blues

    The Cedric Burnside Project is the collaboration between Cedric Burnside and Trenton Ayers, both hailing from the hill country of North Mississippi. Cedric provides lead vocals, as well as guitar and drums. Trenton is CBP's lead guitar player and provides back-up vocals. The two come together to create a sound that is at once, both traditional blues and new-school funk.

  • Pony Bradshaw

    Pony Bradshaw

    Country

    "Songs and music for the Common man." Pony Bradshaw is an American roots band based out of Chatsworth, Ga. Heavily influenced by artists such as Lightnin' Hopkins and Townes Van Zandt, Pony Bradshaw looks to create the type of intoxicating, toe-tappin' music that fueled honky tonks and dance halls across the Mississippi Delta and American South, all the way down to the lonesome howls of disrepair that echo through a troubled mind.

    Their upcoming debut album, "Bad Teeth" is set to release during the Spring of 2016

  • BJ Barham

    BJ Barham

    Singer-Songwriter

    B.J. Barham was a long way from home when the tragedy happened.

    On November 13, 2015, the singer-songwriter - raised in a small North Carolina town called Reidsville - was in the middle of his fourth European tour with American Aquarium, the rising alt-country act he'd led for nearly a decade. They were in Belgium, less than two hours from Paris, when bad news began to arrive: a series of terrorist attacks, including one in a rock club, had left more than 100 dead. Family members, friends, and the fans American Aquarium had amassed from so many years on the road immediately reached out, making sure the band had been far away.

    "The onslaught of text messages, voicemails and everything that came in the next day sparked something in me," Barham remembers. "In the next two days, the entire record was written."

    The record he's talking about is Rockingham, Barham's remarkable and intensely personal solo debut. Not long after the wave of well wishes had passed, Barham found himself piecing together composites of people he'd known since childhood, of those folks and places who had impacted his life in fundamental ways. He sang into his cell phone and scribbled in notebooks, stealing away for quiet moments in order to put the melodies and characters floating through his mind into song.

    The shock of the moment and the distance from home seemed to give Barham a crucial perspective on the moments and circumstances that had helped shape him. Wolves, American Aquarium's much-lauded 2015 breakthrough, had contained Barham's most honest, vulnerable statements to date. But these songs took the next step, allowing Barham to share stories about those around him. In "O'Lover," he portrays a hard-working farmer forced to make some desperate decisions to support the ones he loves. In "Reidsville," named for the place he'd called his home until relocating to North Carolina's capital, he immortalized beautiful, sweet, doomed souls, stuck in love in the sort of small towns that are disintegrating all across America. You needn't have been to Reidsville to recognize these elegantly written, expertly realized protagonists.

    "This is the first record I've ever made that's not autobiographical - it's fictional narrative in a very real place," Barham says. "These songs are human condition stories set in my hometown, Reidsville."

    Barham made these songs his new priority. Not long after he returned stateside, he asked Bradley Cook, the musician and mentor who had co-produced Wolves, to hear them. By afternoon's end, they had hatched the plan to make Rockingham. Two months later, on January 31, Barham returned from another American Aquarium tour.

    On Monday, he and the band he'd built to record Rockingham - himself, Cook, Cook's brother and multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook, drummer Kyle Keegan, American Aquarium standbys Ryan Johnson and Whit Wright - met for the first time. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they rehearsed. And on Thursday and Friday, they cut all eight songs at Durham's Overdub Lane. They mixed the results over the weekend, between the sold-out hometown shows and various festivities of American Aquarium's annual pilgrimage, Roadtrip to Raleigh. The whirlwind kept the songs simple and the recordings human, reflecting a reality much bigger and less perfect than the vacuum of a recording studio.

    These tunes, after all, didn't need much tampering. Rockingham puts its scenes and scenarios front and center, the beautiful grain and twang of Barham's voice bringing it all to life. He limns lifelong romance and instantaneous tragedy during the paradoxically heartbreaking, heart-mending "Unfortunate Kind" and details the disappointments and dreams of the blue-collar laborer with "American Tobacco Company." With its acoustic guitars and pealing organs, ragged vocals and rugged characters, Rockingham is a stunning, personal portrait of small-town America, easily identifiable and familiar.

    For the album's sole autobiographical moment, Barham, now happily married and sober, penned a letter of sound advice and Southern attitude to his daughter-to-be, "Madeline." It's too personal to fall under a roots-rock purview, too singular to be swallowed by a larger situation. Like all of Rockingham, it's not the sound of Barham stepping away from American Aquarium but instead stepping confidently into the thoughts, stories, and feelings of his own thirty years.

    "This is just an outlet for a songwriter. It's me being able to do something different. This is like people who love their jobs, picking up hobbies," says Barham, "This is an exercise for myself."

  • Green River Ordinance

    Green River Ordinance

    Pop

    At the core of Fifteen, the third studio album from Green River Ordinance, is a simple message: hold fast to the things that are true. On album opener "Keep Your Cool," over slow, smoky guitars and a clear, bright church organ they advise, "Get your head out the clouds/ feet on the ground/ pride don't mean you gotta be too proud." If there's a single lyric that sums up the way Green River Ordinance have conducted themselves over the course of the last decade and a half, that's it - no matter what's going on around you, remember to stay grounded and focus on the things that are important. "We're at our best when we're challenging ourselves about why we're doing what we do," explains frontman Josh Jenkins. "The purpose can't be to sell a bunch of records - it has to be about something more."

     

    Finding that "something more" has been the core of the band's mission since they first came together as teenagers 15 years ago, and it has remained central ever since. All of the band members have pursuits outside of music: guitarist Jamey Ice and his wife co-own BREWED, a coffee shop/pub in Fort Worth that was named one of the best in the U.S. His brother Geoff, the band's bassist, is wrapping up his MBA. Drummer Denton Hunker designs leather and canvas bags for the company he founded, Hunker Bag Co. Guitarist Joshua Wilkerson is an avid cyclist who rides with the Fort Worth group Night Riders and Jenkins, in his down time from GRO, has co-written songs with some of country's most notable artists. But even more than their hobbies and entrepreneurial pursuits, Green River Ordinance are a band dedicated to making a lasting difference not only in the lives of their fans, but in the world at large.

     

    That was the mission behind their Hope GROs initiative, where each of the band members donates proceeds from concerts and album sales to a charity of their choice. And it informs the work Jamey and his wife do with The Net, a non-profit dedicated to providing a support system for homeless women. "This is the thing Green River Ordinance stands for," Jenkins explains. "We believe that you truly find yourself when you give yourself away. Any time we get the chance to do that, to us, that's what it's all about." That shared vision is made stronger by the group's close bond, built over years of playing and touring together. They're a family more than a group of musicians, and those strong ties come through in every chord. "There's got to be a collective humility," says Jenkins. "The reason we've been able to survive is that we're each able to see when we're at fault, and we're able to humble ourselves and have a conversation about it." Ice concurs: "In our band," he says, "you check your ego at the door."

     

    That honesty and closeness reverberates throughout Fifteen. The rollicking "Red Fire Night" begins with the band harmonizing a cappella: "Meet me under that red fire night/ …I'll bring the whiskey, you bring the wine." "That song is about just enjoying life," Jenkins says, "Just spending time with friends and celebrating." Ice agrees. "There are a lot of things that can bring you joy," he says. "You can watch Netflix for 20 hours and that can be fun. But really experiencing life, those good moments with friends and family - that's what brings the deeper joy." That same idea turns up again in the moving campfire country ballad "Simple Life," where Jenkins sings, "I love the simple life, front porch and my lover's eyes/ green grass and an open sky/ I love the simple life." The song opens to become one of the band's warmest and most graceful numbers to date, rich with pedal steel and twinkling piano. And "Life in the Wind," a see-sawing acoustic sing-along, celebrates casting off the mundane day to day in favor of a life that's fuller and more satisfying. "There's life in the wind," Jenkins sings in the chorus, "let yourselves out and jump right in."

     

    Much of the freedom found on Fifteen comes from the fact that the band recorded it on their own terms. After walking away from a contract with EMI in 2011, they set out to make the kind of music that was true to them, away from the demands and restrictions of commercial music. "In that world, everything is about the three minute pop hit," explains Jenkins. "We wanted the freedom to dig in and create our own sound." Their first experiment out of the gate validated their instincts: "Dancing Shoes" became a breakout hit for the group, landing in rotation on Sirius XM and selling upwards of 150,000 singles, bigger than anything they'd done while they were on EMI. For Fifteen, they continued making music on their own terms, writing the bulk of the record at the same cabin on Caney Fork River where they'd written their 2013 EP Chasing Down the Wind. "That cabin is a sacred place for us," Jenkins says. "When you're out there and your phone doesn't work and you can just jump in the river and relax - that environment really affects the things you want to write and sing about."

     

    That sense of freedom - what the Eagles once called a "peaceful, easy feeling" - radiates throughout Fifteen. It is the work of the band making music on their own terms, and keeping the focus on the things that matter most. "We don't let the world define us," says Jenkins. "Those opinions are like leaves in the wind, so easily blown from here to there. We try instead to speak truth into our lives." By doing that, they're bringing truth to their legions of devoted fans as well. "I hope people make great memories to this record," says Ice. "It's not about us, and it's not about the music - it's about how the music enhances their lives. If anybody can listen to the record and know that they can experience life through this record, and hopefully have a better perspective on what matters and what doesn't - at the end of the day, that's the biggest thing that we could hope for."

  • Liz Longley

    Liz Longley

    Pop

    For painters, the joy and challenge of creation begins with a blank canvas. For Liz Longley, it started in an empty room. 

    "I was living in Boston and my roommate had just moved out, so I paced the hardwood floors of her room with my guitar," Longley recalls. "I walked back and forth until the songs were done. It was as though they were stuck in the apartment walls." 

    Longley has a gift for culling musical treasures as though straight from thin air. And now, the Berklee College of Music graduate and award-winning songwriter is set to share them with listeners on her self-titled album-her first after signing with Sugar Hill Records in December 2014. 

    The collection of 11 songs was recorded in Nashville with an all-pro band-and in a pulse-quickening fashion so rare in today's world of overproduced, airbrushed records. "I love being in the studio and feeding off the energy of other musicians. It's not something I get to do often on the road because I've mostly toured solo." 

    While Longley's songs and vocals invite complimentary comparisons to Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole and Nanci Griffith-all artists she's supported live-her latest effort spotlights a style and confidence that's all her own. You can hear it in the subtle-yet-soaring vocals on "Memphis," the dagger directness of "Skin and Bones," the bittersweet farewell that drives "This Is Not the End" (featured in the 2012 season finale of Lifetime's Army Wives). They're all cuts that dare you to hold back the goosebumps.

    In fact, Longley's singing never fails to thrill and enthrall. Her voice and tone, touched with the slightest of country inflections, pours out like clean, crystalline water. Still, she can roar like a waterfall or flow effortlessly along the bed her backing band lays down, as on "Peace of Mind." The track showcases Longley yearning after silence and stillness to beat back demons of self-doubt. 

    The new songs grew amidst a period of transition and travel in her life; moving between Boston and New York before finally settling in Nashville, and spending much of her life on the road in a succession of minivans. To that end, the songs have been road tested at Longley's live shows, their power to connect with fans beyond question.

    These numbers pack the punch of pages torn from Longley's journal. And fans have rewarded her transparency with tangible loyalty. For while many acts have no clue how an album will be received, Longley started her project knowing just how much her fans wanted her to succeed. 

    It's like this: Her Kickstarter campaign, which set $35,000 as an album-funding goal, exceeded that amount by nearly 60 percent, raising $55,000. "We reached the mark so quickly and I'm just really, really lucky to be connected to my fans," she says. " I feel like they've adopted me-like I have this big supportive family."

    And to that end, Longley confides with you as though you're sitting on the sofa with her in a talk that's intimate and vulnerable. "Bad Habit" strides the valley road of heartbreak, its pounding toms and plaintive electric guitar providing an ideal frame for Longley's vocal, the very portrait of love's rock bottom: "I couldn't stand the smell of smoke 'til he lit that cigarette/ Never felt the temptation 'til I smelled it on his breath."

    "I wrote it after dating a guy who had a lot of bad habits, and somehow he became my bad habit," Longley recalls. "He was just one of those people-a smoker and a drinker who also had a habit of cheating. When I broke up with him and wrote the song, it was hugely therapeutic for me. It cleansed him from my system. And when I started playing it live, I realized that so many others had toxic people in their lives." 

    Why write and sing songs so transparent and confessional? For Longley, it boils down to the simple truth of authenticity. "I just try to be myself," she says. "If I feel like a song is not genuine to me, I absolutely do not present it because people see right through it. It's all about the honesty, and I try not to overthink it-then it would lose some of the magic."

    Longley first felt the magic while growing up outside of Philadelphia. A song she wrote in ninth grade-her first ever-earned a standing ovation when she performed it for the student body: "I was unprepared for that sort of reaction and it was life-changing moment," she says. "That's when I knew it was what I wanted to do with my life." 

    The track record she's assembled since shows just how much Longley grew into her dream. She's taken home top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, the International Acoustic Music Awards and the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition.

    But it all traces straight back to Longley's first song. She says she'll continue to open her soul in the service of her art because that's what matters most to her. "Every time I get into these songs they resonate with me, lock with me, because they're based on something I went through," she says of the new collection. "I hope they connect with people and that they'll help with whatever they've gone through. That's what music does for me, and I hope I can do that for someone else."

    After all, what better way to fill an empty room than with fully realized music?

  • Dori Freeman

    Dori Freeman

    Country

    Dori Freeman is a twenty-four-year-old singer and songwriter from the southwestern hills of Virginia. Dori comes from a family rooted in art and tradition. Her grandfather is an artist and guitar player, and her father, a multi-instrumentalist and music instructor. While her style subscribes to no one genre, the influence of her Appalachian upbringing lies at the core of her music - heard especially in the lulling mountain drawl of her voice. She sings without affect and with striking clarity, delivering each song carefully and earnestly.

    Dori's style was shaped by American Roots music:  Bluegrass, Rhythm and Blues, and Old Country. Her early introduction to musicians like Doc Watson, The Louvin Brothers, and Peggy Lee have heavily influenced her modern yet timeless sound. Dori learned how to play the guitar at fifteen and began writing her own material a few years later, citing Rufus Wainwright and his haunting melodies and achingly honest lyrics as the spark that inspired her to pen her first song. Her songs often center on heartache and pining; unrequited and sometimes unconventional love are common muses for her melodies and lyrics.

    Dori currently lives in Galax, VA.

  • Dwight Yoakam

    Dwight Yoakam

    Country

    "In another time and place," sings Dwight Yoakam on the buoyant "In Another World," the opening track on Second Hand Heart, the brilliant new album that takes the pioneering honky-tonker back to Warner Bros./Reprise, where he began his major-label recording career thirty years ago. Yoakam's distinctive, supple vocals, accented with his Kentucky croon, sound as strong today as they did on his debut, 1985's Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc. Its release immediately yielded hit singles, and over the course of some 21 albums - totaling more than 25 million in sales worldwide - Yoakam has continued to passionately sing, write, and play music brimming with hard country and rock & roll. Second Hand Heart was self-produced by Yoakam, and reflects where he's been, but even more so, where he's going: "'In Another World' guided the rest of the album," says Yoakam. "It became its statement - about surviving and hope."

    "When you're around Dwight, you get this sense of urgency," explains Warner Bros. VP of A&R Lenny Waronker, executive producer of Second Hand Heart. "He's like somebody who's just starting his career - almost like this is his first record. He's on ‘rewind' in a way. There's a certain kind of energy, power, that makes it sound so youthful. It's very unique. A lot of it goes back to his main strengths: his vocal, which is unchanged, and his songwriting. Plus, the power of the guitar playing and the power of the songs add up to a really wonderful record."

    Following a stint at New West Records and 2012's well-received 3 Pears on Warner Nashville, Yoakam reconnected last year with Warner/Reprise. He took his killer touring band into L.A.'s venerable Capitol Studios, Studio B, where artists like Buck Owens, Gene Vincent, The Beach Boys, and Ray Charles cut classic sides in the ‘50s and ‘60s. "This record's made completely without auto-tune or time correction," vouches Chris Lord-Alge, the multiple Grammy-winning engineer who mixed Second Hand Heart and co-produced (with Yoakam) three of the LP's tracks.  "Nobody really sings like this guy, and no one sings as in tune as he sings. His work ethic is from an era before technology made everyone lazy."

    "Dwight wears so many hats but doesn't get in his own way," Waronker points out. "It's hard to write the song, perform the song, play the song, and produce it. He's a great guitar player and comes up with riffs that make a song. And you can tell he's having fun doing this." The catchy "She," one of eight originals, is a textbook case of Yoakam's Epiphone Casino leading the way.

    His deep knowledge of music history seeps into his own sonic playbook, with hints of Elvis, The Everly Brothers, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, among other influences, coloring the album's songs. Yet once Yoakam "puts his hillbilly voice on it" - as he refers to that magnificent instrument - he makes it his own. He was thinking of Brian Wilson and Pet Sounds, he says, when he envisioned the soaring harmonies on the guitar-propelled "In Another World" to complement the song's inspirational bridge: "Your tortured heart's/soft anguished pleas/rescued by love/shall be set free." "The lyric became a sort of rock gospel," Dwight muses.

    Second Hand Heart does not sound labored over; it has a loose, spontaneous feel. "Dwight clearly understood that perfection is the enemy, in a way, on this record," says Waronker. Yoakam and his band (Brian Whelan on keyboards and guitar, Eugene Edwards on lead guitar, Jonathan Clark on bass, and Mitch Marine on drums) cut the basic tracks live in the studio, often on nights off between gigs as they toured the country with Eric "The Chief" Church. The hook-filled title track was road-tested, winning over audiences, while other songs came together in the studio. "I would teach the band something on the spot," Dwight says. "We'd rehearse it a couple or three takes, then do it."  One of those - which bursts with what Yoakam calls "the spirit of teenage recklessness" - is the raucous "Liar," sounding like a lost nugget from a ‘60s garage-band compilation (he likens it to sounds from the Kinks or Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels). Another rave-up, a dynamited "Man of Constant Sorrow," kicks off with a blistering guitar solo before Yoakam employs his emotive twang (and hoots ‘n hollers), while the band rocks out - like "Bill Monroe meets the Ramones," says Dwight, who remembers his early days playing Hollywood dives with cowpunkers Rank & File, Lone Justice, and The Knitters.  Meanwhile, his "psychobilly" number "Off Your Mind" finds "Johnny Cash colliding with Roger Miller," he says, referring to the track's loping rhythm (Tennessee Three style) and conversational vocals and wry lyrics (a la Miller).

    "Songs never die - they're just reborn," Yoakam quips, referring to a pair of keepers: "Dreams of Clay," originally recorded as a big Orbison-style ballad in 2000 but never released as a single, was re-envisioned in the spirit of "Suspicious Minds"-era Elvis. The rockabilly homage "Big Time" started life as a 1989 Levi's commercial starring Yoakam (the original demo is one of three bonus tracks on the deluxe version of the album). He discovered the breathtaking ballad "V's of Birds" when its author, Anthony Crawford - a former sideman for Yoakam as well as Neil Young - recorded it for Pete Anderson's label. "I heard the poetry of the opening verse and thought it was like something out of a Faulkner novel," says Dwight. "And I loved the melody."

    Layers of chiming guitars (think: The Byrds) characterize the sonics of "Believe," the transcendent ballad whose message "embodies the whole album in that one song," Yoakam asserts. "Even in the total dark/I know we can find a spot/with dreams," he sings, and we believe him.

    "All of us have that need to remind ourselves that life is always worth trying, every day - surviving to hope," Dwight says. And with Second Hand Heart, the man with many hats intends to do just that.

  • Rodney Crowell

    Rodney Crowell

    Country

    While Rodney Crowell first gained widespread recognition as a leader of the new traditionalist movement of the mid-'80s, he in fact was a singer, songwriter, and producer with roots and ambitions extending far beyond the movement's parameters. Born to a musical family on August 7, 1950, in Houston, TX, Crowell formed his first band, the Arbitrators, while in high school, and in 1972 moved to Nashville to become a professional musician. There, he struck up friendships with singer/songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark.

    Crowell's first big break came while he was performing as a lounge singer, where one of his acoustic sets was heard by Jerry Reed. Crowell's own "You Can't Keep Me Here in Tennessee" caught the ear of Reed and his manager, and two days later Reed recorded the song after signing Crowell to his publishing company. In 1975, Crowell moved to Los Angeles to join Emmylou Harris' Hot Band as a guitarist, and soon became one of her primary songwriters; among the Crowell compositions Harris first popularized were "Till I Gain Control Again," "Ain't Livin' Long Like This," "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight," and "Bluebird Wine." In 1977, Crowell exited the Hot Band to form his own group, the Cherry Bombs, and in 1978 released his first album, Ain't Living Long Like This; surprisingly, given that he had built his growing reputation as a songwriter, his first two minor hits -- "Elvira" and "(Now and Then, There's) A Fool Such as I" -- were both covers.

    Also in 1978, Crowell began producing tracks for the album Right or Wrong, the American debut from singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash; around the time of the record's 1979 release, he and Cash married. In between recording his own 1980 sophomore record, But What Will the Neighbors Think, and producing Cash's commercial breakthrough Seven Year Ache, Crowell's songwriting career took full flight when "Leavin' Louisiana in the Broad Daylight" hit number one for the Oak Ridge Boys in 1980. Among his other significant compositions were "Till I Gain Control Again" (a number one for Crystal Gayle in 1983), "Shame on the Moon" (a Top Five pop hit for Bob Seger in 1982), "Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper's Dream)" (a 1984 number one for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and "Somewhere Tonight" (a number one in 1987 for Highway 101).

    In 1980, Crowell issued his own first hit, "Ashes by Now," which was a Top 40 pop crossover success; the follow-up, "Stars on the Water," was popular with both pop and country listeners. In 1981, he issued his third LP, a self-titled effort which was not commercially successful; when a fourth effort was rejected by his label, he turned his energies to writing and producing, most significantly helming Cash's 1987 masterpiece King's Record Shop. At Cash's urging, Crowell reignited his performing career in 1986 with the acclaimed Street Language, an eclectic effort co-produced by Memphis soul legend Booker T. Jones.

    In 1988, Crowell finally broke through commercially with Diamonds & Dirt, a record which generated an unbroken string of five number one singles with "It's Such a Small World" (a duet with Cash), "I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried," "She's Crazy for Leavin'" (co-written by Guy Clark), "After All This Time," and "Above and Beyond." Keys to the Highway was also highly successful.

    Crowell and Cash divorced in 1991, prompting both artists to document their marriage's dissolution with starkly confessional albums; Crowell's 1992 Life Is Messy featured guests Steve Winwood and Linda Ronstadt. Switching to MCA Records for Let the Picture Paint Itself in 1994, he followed with Jewel of the South the next year. In 1997, he formed the Cicadas with longtime backup musicians Steuart Smith, Michael Rhodes, and Vince Santoro. He married singer Claudia Church in 1998, and in 1999 wrote her country chart debut, "'What's the Matter with You Baby." Crowell issued his first album since 1995, The Houston Kid, in 2001. Continuing in the autobiographical vein of that record, he released Fate's Right Hand in 2003, followed by The Outsider in 2005 and Sex and Gasoline in 2008. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

  • Indigo Girls

    Indigo Girls

    Pop

  • Bobby Rush

    Bobby Rush

    Jazz

    New Album to Come Out on September 16 called Porcupine Meat on Rounder Records

    With special guests Dave Alvin, Joe Bonamassa, Keb' Mo', and Vasti Jackson, Grammy Award winning producer Scott Billington, and backing from the New Orleans "A" team, album cements Bobby Rush's legacy as blues' most vital artist of his generation.

    July 8, 2016 - Nashville, TN - Naming one's album after a song titled "Porcupine Meat" may seem a little unusual - unless, of course, you're Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled "Chicken Heads." He elaborates on his recent composition: "If a lady won't treat me right, but she doesn't want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest." Hence the lyric, "too fat to eat, too lean to throw away."

    Porcupine Meat is Rush's debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. The album is due out September 16, 2016. Rush estimates that he has cut over 345 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

    Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as "Dress Too Short," "I Don't Want Nobody Hanging Around," "Me, Myself And I," "Nighttime Gardener," "It's Your Move," and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. "Funk O' De Funk" delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While "Got Me Accused" is inspired by events from Rush's own life, the lyrics tell an all-too-familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children's musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, "Catfish Stew" and "Snake In The Grass."

    Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn't try to be anything that he is not. "I just try to record good music and stories," he humbly states. With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.

    Pre-Order Porcupine Meat today at: https://www.amazon.com/Porcupine-Meat-Bobby-Rush/dp/B01HIDSULW

  • Bonnie Bishop

    Bonnie Bishop

    Pop

  • Sunny Sweeney

    Sunny Sweeney

    Country

  • Jason D. Williams

    Jason D. Williams

    Music

    Jason D. Williams has spent a lifetime behind the piano connecting with country and rock 'n' roll greats while creating a persona that's 100 percent original.

    After decades of being celebrated for his take-no-prisoners approach to performing country and rock 'n' roll penned by others, Williams has added a new element to his artistry, songwriting.

    The rock 'n' roll history of Memphis looms large in Williams' world. He recorded for RCA and Sun Records in the 1980s and '90s, and returned to the recording fold in 2010 and has continued steady since.

    At the age of 16, Williams left his tiny hometown of El Dorado, Ark., to perform with LaBeef who had set up a base of operations in northeast Massachusetts.

    Williams, who continues to work with LaBeef on occasion, went solo in the late 1980s and found a steady home at Mallards in the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN when a snowstorm stranded him a few steps from the Peabody door, quickly he attracted a following and the rest, as they say, is history.

    After several years, he left after signing with RCA, which released his first album, "Tore Up," and he stayed on the road after Sun Records issued "Wild" in 1993. "Don't Get None Onya'," released in 2004, captured the power of his blend of honky-tonk country and Memphis rock 'n' roll and was the birth of his own label. "Rockin", "Killer Instincts" and "Recycled" soon followed and the latest album is in progress now.

    Williams is also no stranger to large motion pictures, movies as we call them.

    Williams performed all of the hand shots for the movie "Great Balls of Fire" starring a young Dennis Quaid and was also featured in "The War Room" documenting Bill Clinton's race for the White House. He's also had numerous television appearances and various shows on MTV, VH1 and CMT.

    A wild man onstage, Jason accredits influences like Jerry Lee Lewis, Moon Mullican, Memphis Slim and Al Jolson, for helping to develop his vast repertoire and seemingly endless energy. "I've always welcomed the comparisons; my influences were some of the greatest entertainers ever to be seen." Jason continues to tour more than 160 shows a year.

  • Caleb Caudle

    Caleb Caudle

    Country Folk

    Following in the tracks of Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard and George Strait, Caleb Caudle makes pure country music rooted in the genre's glory days, back when melody, mood and message ruled the roost. It's not contemporary country-pop, nor is it part of any underground outlaw scene. Instead, Caudle's music finds the middle ground between the classic twang of late-Seventies/early-Eighties country and the dusty stomp of modern-day Americana.

    Raised just south of the Virginia/North Carolina border, Caudle cut his teeth on the road, building his audience one mile at a time while sharing the stage with the likes of Jason Isbell, Dawes, Robert Ellis, Patterson Hood, Justin Townes Earle, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and John Moreland, among many others.

    His last album, 2014's Paint Another Layer on My Heart, drew critical praise from far and wide and landed Caudle on more than 40 year-end best-of lists. For his new album, Carolina Ghost, Caudle returned home to his native Piedmont North Carolina. "This record is all about making life changes," says Caudle, who co-produced Carolina Ghost with longtime collaborator Jon Ashley (Avett Brothers, Dawes, Band of Horses). "I kicked booze about a year and a half ago and moved back to North Carolina and fell in love. So it all feels like a new start, really."

    Recorded at the Fidelitorium in Kernersville, NC, Carolina Ghost mixes Caudle's voice with the swoon of pedal steel, the swell of B3 organ, and layers of electric guitar. The light, layered arrangements swirl up memories of Haggard classics like Big City and Going Where the Lonely Go -- but the end result is pure Caudle, shot through the optimism of guy, nearly a decade into his career, that’s discovered not only the thrill in hitting the highway, but the comfort in putting down some roots.

  • Joe Purdy

    Joe Purdy

    Country

    Joe Purdy, a singer/songwriter from Arkansas, put in his time working at a loading dock and as a counselor at a private high school before his song "Wash Away" became synonymous with the 2004 season of ABC's Lost. Purdy left Arkansas for California in 2001, where he learned how to play the piano and began writing songs. He went on to record several homemade albums, breaking into the L.A. music scene with 2003's StompinGrounds. It was around this time that Purdy was contacted by J.J. Abrams, the executive producer of Lost, who asked Purdy to write a song for the show. Purdy, who at the time was visiting an island on a river in upstate New York, wrote "Wash Away," which went on to chart in the Top 25 on the /iTunes country charts. The album that featured the song, Julie Blue, was released in 2004. Only Four Seasons followed it up two years later. ~ Margaret Reges, Rovi

  • The Cactus Blossoms

    The Cactus Blossoms

    Country

    When my brother and I started making music as The Cactus Blossoms there wasn't a big plan. We cut our teeth performing some well known and obscure country songs that were popular or unpopular pre-1960, partly out of curiosity and deep appreciation, but mostly because it was fun. Early on we were given a residency at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. We got a band together and it became our weekly practice-in-public where we would pull out every song we could think of, no matter how well we knew it. It was our first chance to play all night and do whatever we wanted. Over the course of our year and a half at the Turf Club our repertoire had snowballed into an amalgam of original songs and a bunch of gut wrenching, tongue-in-cheek heartbreakers, that were 30 years older than us. Not everyone could tell what was new and what was old, and it didn't really matter. People just seemed to enjoy it. That's when the wheel got going and gave the illusion of spinning backwards. We weren't born in the wrong era. We just got into some music from a different era and found a way to make it our own. 

    Good fortune has followed us every step of the way, offering opportunities that seemed just beyond what we're ready for. It always stretches us out and makes us feel lucky as hell. When JD McPherson called and said he was interested in producing our record, it was the latest in a series of serendipitous events that brought us to where we are today. We opened for him at a gig in our hometown Minneapolis a few months earlier and had met him briefly, but never could have imagined that within a year we would be collaborating on a new album and criss-crossing America on tour with his band. JD is a music connoisseur with the singing voice of an angel, the boundless creative energy of a child, a scholar's mind and the auditory perception of a wolf. This guy was the guy. He wanted to do something sparse and rhythmic with simple melodic arrangements and it lined up perfectly with the direction our new songs were leading us. 

    We wanted to record live with the best rhythm section we could find, in one room, playing together while we sang. It's not the easiest process, but it's the way we wanted to capture the music. JD pointed us to Chicago and enlisted the talents of engineer/drummer Alex Hall, guitarist Joel Paterson, and bassist Beau Sample. It felt like a musical dream team, but we had no idea what would happen. We barely knew these guys and they barely knew our music. On the morning of our first session Alex was setting up microphones and running cables through his vents from the living room down to the control room in the basement. The rest of us were drinking coffee in the kitchen and making small talk. JD was running back and forth cracking jokes, trying to decide what song was best to do first. Within a couple of hours "Queen Of Them All" was finished, and everyone knew we were in the right place at the right time. 

    The result, You're Dreaming, is the culmination of several years of songwriting and the kindness of thousands of miles and friends. With a cast of characters, experiences, and personal perspectives, set in simple rhymes and sung in harmony, we try to paint a picture in your mind. 

    -Jack & Page

  • Reckless Kelly

    Reckless Kelly

    Country

    Austin’s own Reckless Kelly return with their 8th studio album, Long Night Moon on September 3, 2013. The album is the follow-up to 2011’s Grammy Nominated Good Luck & True Love, which took home four Lone Star Music Awards, and sent three singles to #1 on Texas Radio. Produced by band members Willy & Cody Braun, along with Lead Guitarist David Abeyta, Long Night Moon was mixed by Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris), and features additional instrumentation from legendary steel guitar player Lloyd Maines, as well as Bukka Allen (piano, organ) and Jeff Plankenhorn (dobro).

    When Willy Braun, frontman and principal songwriter for the band began writing songs for Long Night Moon, he quickly found a theme emerging. “About halfway through writing this record, I noticed that almost all of the songs I was writing, whether they were songs about the road, life, or love, had something to do with traveling. It started as an accident and I decided to just go with it. Before we knew it, there was a definite theme.” It’s honest, original and constantly evolving. The group is known for their explosive live shows and a passion for making albums of substance. Long Night Moon is no exception to this rule.

  • Aubrie Sellers

    Aubrie Sellers

    Pop

    Aubrie Sellers is a country singer-songwriter from Nashville, TN. Aubrie is currently in the studio working on her debut album with producer Frank Liddell.

  • Red Shahan

    Red Shahan

    Country

    For the better part of a year now, Texas singer-songwriter Red Shahan has had his full-length debut, Men & Coyotes, in the works.

    “In the works.” It’s a strange way to describe the making of an album. Though Men & Coyotes may have only been assembled in it's current incarnation this past year, but you could make the case that Shahan has been working on this moment his whole life.

    At twelve songs long, Men & Coyotes works it's way through the world of worn out cowboys, hard-working mothers, agonized loners, earnest sons, broken men, scorn lovers, and the ever searching songwriter. Though he morphs in and out of character, there’s no doubt there’s a bit of Shahan nestled within the soul of each. Shahan shows an intensity and prowess to write about the difficult junctures within one’s life without sugar-coating or holding back.

    The gritty songwriter comes from a long lineage of Lubbock artists who broke into the forefront across the callous stages of the lonesome West Texas town that he comes from.

    There’s a sense of desperation in Shahan’s voice throughout Men & Coyotes. It’s the struggle of a songwriter and man fracturing the wall between him and the listener. Often, he’s West Texas Dust. At others, he’s East Texas Rust. Desolate lines pop up before you in vivid color. Gut-wrenching pieces pierce you in unsettling ways that you’ve only known when inside that isolated room in the dark crevices of your head. All the while, textured guitars and sharp drums are the landscape in which Shahan’s lyrics are able to take shape and form. There’s a story the music tells simultaneously to Shahan’s howls

  • Aaron Lee Tasjan

    Aaron Lee Tasjan

    Pop

    Aaron Lee Tasjan is a singer, songwriter and guitarist and producer from Brooklyn, NY. He is currently a member of the following bands: Enemies!, Taurus and Madison Square Gardeners whom the Village Voice declared "...the best NYC has to offer." Enemies!, his latest project was produced by Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, J. Mascis, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). Their EP is available for free now via: http://weareyourenemies.bandcamp.com/ He co-wrote the song "I Believe In Elvis Presley" with BP Fallon which was recorded and produced by Jack White for Fallon's 7" on 3rd Man Records in December of 2009. The 7" was the world's first ever "3-Sided" single. Tasjan's song "Streets Of Galilee" was recorded in 2010 by country music star Pat Green for his new album due out in 2011. Tasjan played guitar in The New York Dolls during the spring of 2009 and completed a tour of South America with the band supporting the B-52s. As a producer his most recent work includes "Beat By The Band" by Tim Easton & The Freelan Barons and "Sons Of The West" by Sons Of The West and "Teeth Of Champions" by Madison Square Gardeners. He is currently co-producing and playing on a record for JP Olsen (The Beetkeepers, Burn Barrel, Malefactors Of Great Wealth) with band mate Mark Stepro.

  • Wynonna & The Big Noise

    Wynonna & The Big Noise

    Country

  • Lee Ann Womack

    Lee Ann Womack

    Country

    In a world of faster, harder, louder, Lee Ann Womack wants something far more radical: to be real. Strip it all away, get to the core of life, love and raw emotion - and you find songs that distill it all to the stopping power of a hollow point bullet. "It just seems like music when it is most powerful hits you right between the eyes," says the Grammy-winning vocalist who has been singled out for "the clarity of a soul that realizes loss is a form of purification, a scraping away of false ideals and excess emotional baggage" by TIME Magazine. "Some of these songs are hard truths, tough moments, places you'd rather not be, but you know, life takes you to those places sometimes." Certainly The Way I'm Livin', produced by Frank Liddell, is an unvarnished collection of songs by some of America's most progressive songwriter/artists. Whether the vintage country of Hayes Carll's "Chances Are," the scalding gospel of Mindy Smith's "All the Saints" or the tortured linger of love in Buddy Miller's "Don't Listen To The Wind," the emotions are unbridled, the performances wide open and the recordings intimate. "We wanted to capture the moment," continues the Jacksonville, Texas native. "Both the moment in the song and the moment when the musicians catch fire. There's a magic when the players find each other, find the heart of the song - and that spark is the greatest moment of all." Recorded almost completely live, with Womack on the floor with drummer Matt Chamberlin, guitarist Duke Levine, bass player Glenn Whorf and acoustic guitarist/occasional pianist Mac McAnally, the musicians leaned to her luminous, honey'n'sunshine voice. As Liddell says of the process, "The musicians wanted to support the way she formed the song. They were very much about her interpretations, the way she felt and saw the songs. Her voice served as the instrument they sculpted their playing to." The elegiac spaciousness of Chris Knight's "Send It On Down," along with the faltering doubt and lonesome piano that opens it, offers an agonizing portrait of a lost soul trying to find some speck of hope. While one man's churning obsession gets rendered with percolating rhythms, Paul Franklin's whirling steel and a percussive guitar blaze across Roger Miller's obscure cut "Tomorrow Night in Baltimore." "I've never made a record like this," says Womack, whose Call Me Crazy, I Hope You Dance and the 2005 Country Music Association Album of the Year There's More Where That Came From are among modern country's most acclaimed albums. "We only cut songs that spoke to me. I didn't think about anything else: 'What would promotion want? What would marketing think?' There were no voices in my head, and I embraced songs that really, really moved me." "Luke (Lewis) was very generous, allowing us to do this. He let Frank and I create the record I'd always wanted. We got to do things differently, to not think about anything except what's best for the songs and the feelings inside them. I think you can hear it." With the neon Wurlitzer tears of the forsaken Texas shuffle "Sleepin' with the Devil," the steel-basted molasses ache of Neil Young's "Out on the Weekend" and the scalding title track that is the wages of sin on full-tiltage, the velocity of the songs, sentiments and vocal pyrotechnics dazzle. Womack is no set-on-stun, shover-ofcolumns-of-air singer; it is her nuance as much as the timbre of her voice and the notes bursting into flames when she does open up, as she does on "The Way I'm Living" or "All The Saints," that define these performances. "The thing about my wife," says Liddell, "is she's such a great singer, it's easy to have her sing and go, 'Wow!' But there's so much more inside her, so much heart and vibrance, really complicated stuff that she can translate into the notes - it's not just the licks, it's the conflict, the hurt, the haunt that kills me about her singing. To go that deep with her in the studio, well, it's a whole other kind of vocal." "One of the differences, and I didn't even realize 'til we were putting the credits together," Womack offers, "is every song came from a songwriter artist. They weren't writing for cuts. They were writing stories they wanted to tell, pictures they needed to paint, maybe even emotions they had to exorcise. There isn't a song here written to be 'a hit,' but more to hit you straight in the heart." That may be, but the a cappella opening, rumbling tribal drum building "Same Kind of Different" has the distinct feel of a song destined to bring people together. Proud, broken, honest, embracing, it is a ballad that recognizes healing in the buckling places, strength in the scars and hope in spite of what one knows. "Our world is so divisive: everyone hates somebody else... people are all angry and focused on what's wrong or different," she offers. "I think there's so much similar about all of us. If we'd focus on how we all hurt, hope and want to fall in love, to take care of the people we love, we might be able help each other heal.*" For Womack, who's sung at the Concert for the Nobel Peace Prize, performed for multiple Presidents, done award-wining duets with Willie Nelson and George Strait as well as tastemaker projects for Buddy Miller, Oscar-winner Randall Poster and Rodney Crowell, music is the ultimate form of connection and communication. Raised on classic country records by Ray Price, Nelson and George Jones, she recognizes the power of visceral truth in a song. "To see how far a song can take a feeling," Womack says, "is one of the most thrilling things I can do as a singer. In my career, I've been blessed to do many great songs, work with incredible musicians - and deep inside, I always ask how far could I go? When Frank and I started, that's what we wanted to find out... to seek." Quietly, over two three-day stints in a nondescript studio, they did. Using garbage cans for percussion, Aubrey Haney's shining fiddle and the sort of reverence players bring in the presence of greatness, The Way I'm Livin' was born. Unlikely songs in today's two-dimensional world of tailgates, cold beers, hot clubs and hooking up, The Way I'm Livin' proves to be more real; written for the jagged shards of life's rugged spots, turned over with some of the best melodies you'll hear. Not fancy, big or glossy, but man, these songs will take your breath away.

  • Buddy Miller

    Buddy Miller

    Country

    Until he paints his masterpiece... Pop stardom has, for many years, attuned listeners to the arrival of shining new faces filled with vital new ideas, to which attention must be paid. Instantly. Briefly, for the most part. It says here that there is another path, at least if what one cares about is music, and not celebrity. The steady lines in Buddy Miller's face, the passions which abide within his voice, and the effortless inflection of his guitar...all matched against words given shape by and with his wife, Julie, her writing and singing voice twining against his...they speak, as well, to the arrival of genius. Just not clothed in the baggage of youth. It works like this: Malcolm Gladwell (the brilliant and best-selling synthesist of the varied research which seeks to explain how our brains work) recently summarized the research of a University of Chicago economist named David Galenson, who has been studying the age at which genius presents itself to the world. Two paradigms emerge. The precocious Pablo Picasso arrived as daunting and fertile talent in his early 20s, while the meticulous Paul Cézanne did not have an exhibition of his paintings until he was 57. Gladwell has also been advancing the thesis that it takes 10,000 hours to acquire mastery of any given skill. This explains the slow, steady career arc of Buddy and Julie Miller. Buddy will be 56 when Written in Chalk hits stores, though his work has been on regular exhibit since his wife, Julie (who is somewhat younger), began recording in 1990, and more so since he finally started making his own records in 1995. If his genius has not yet been widely recognized, no matter; the other musicians, they know. (There was a reason the final print edition of No Depression magazine proclaimed him to be artist of the decade, and it was not simply the mercurial humor of the magazine's two editors. It was the music.) He has been a singer, and the successful writer and co-writer of songs other people sang, many of them country stars, including the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, and Brooks & Dunn. He has been a multi-instrumentalist and harmony singer for a succession of acclaimed performers, beginning with Julie, and then in prompt succession Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams. And, most recently, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. And he has produced records - in the studio he built in their home - released separately under his name and Julie's, and bearing their names together (as with Written in Chalk). That same living space has produced acclaimed albums by Solomon Burke, Allison Moorer, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. For some years it was Julie who stood center stage, first back in Austin, Texas, where they met (she didn't want the band to hire him), then in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and, finally, Nashville, where they settled in 1993, a short drive from Music Row. Along the way the Millers became close friends and supporters of Shawn Colvin, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Case and Victoria Williams, played in bands with guitarists Larry Campbell and Gurf Morlix, and drummer Don Heffington. Worked on their art, slowly, surely. Perhaps uncertainly, but working, always. Beginning in 1990 Julie released four albums within the Christian market, and then two on the now shuttered roots label HighTone. Her last one, Broken Things, came out in 1999. Buddy has so far made five proper long players under his own name, though Julie's singing and writing voice is ever-present throughout. And then, at last, in 2001, they finally, formally released an album under both names. Eight years later, one of the most respected creative teams in Nashville - and beyond - has returned with a new suite of songs. All things being equal, it's a remarkable accomplishment. Both the album, and its making. Julie has had a tough time of it. Some years back she was diagnosed with fibromylgia (which is characterized by muscular pain, fatigue, and sleep deprivation), and so has had to cope with the ravages of a chronic illness. Five years ago her brother, Jeff Griffin, was struck by lightning while mowing their parents' yard. She is a woman who feels deeply, and there is a careful emotional raggedness to many of the songs she unveils here. (And an unexpected helping of humor and joy, and abiding faith, too.) And Buddy…he's just been busy. In the two weeks he had set aside to finish this album last spring - originally simply to have been another Buddy Miller album - he was also trying to learn several dozens of songs he would be playing on tour with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. And to remember how to play the steel guitar he'd agreed to bring along for that gig. In between lining up production gigs, and the like. It didn't get done. Or, rather, Written in Chalk didn't get finished during that particular two-week slot, though he tried. But instead of simply meeting a deadline and turning in what he had finished, Buddy set the album aside and went back onto the road. This left time and room for a duet with Robert Plant (which they played publicly for the first time as part of the Americana Music Association's 2008 Honors & Awards last September), and the additional gestation time seems to have emboldened Julie to become a full partner in the process. (Indeed, Buddy has only one co-write, and the balance of the album, save his well-chosen covers, comes from Julie's pen.) Buddy was born near Dayton, Ohio, to an Air Force family, and mostly raised in Princeton, New Jersey. Julie Griffin was born and raised in Waxahachie, Texas. They met, in 1975, in Austin, when he auditioned for a band she was in. She didn't take to him right off, but they've been married a long time. Only a couple of such confidence and competence could chance the emotional honesty of Written in Chalk. Only musicians of such renown could round up collaborators like Larry Campbell (who has played with Dylan, Levon Helm, and one or two others), keyboard player John Deaderick (Dixie Chicks, Mindy Smith), drummer Brady Blades (Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle), and singers like Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris, and that guy who used to be in Led Zeppelin. But, in the end, only Buddy and Julie Miller could make a record this good. -written by Grant Alden

  • Brian Whelan

    Brian Whelan

    Alternative Folk

    With instrumental abilities that made him a key member of Dwight Yoakam's band, a voice reminiscent of Jackson Browne and a Top 10 lyrical streak that makes him seem like he's been writing hook-laden hits for years – Brian Whelan is poised to attract a much wider audience with the release of his second solo album Sugarland. Whelan, who majored in music at USC, plays almost anything with keys or strings - steel guitar, accordion, piano. On Sugarland, he truly puts his skills to the test, playing just about every musical instrument possible on these crisp, clean, streamlined, mostly mid-tempo pop rock tunes that go straight to the heart with a sonic sense that recalls the heyday of great radio. Co-Produced by fellow Yoakamite, drummer Mitch Marine, alongside bassist Lee Pardini, Sugarlandboldly throws Whelan's hat into a ring crowded with the likes of John Fullbright, Sturgill Simpson, Mike Stinson, and Jason Isbell. His jangling, straight-ahead tunes like "Sugarland", "Talk To Me" and "We Got It All," serve notice, right out of the box, that Whelan's grown as a songwriter, arranger, and vocalist. After the summery, top-down lilt of the pop tunes, Whelan takes it to another level with a wry, you-lookin'-at-me, back-hand slap at a genre that he believes is mostly bloated milquetoast these days. "Americana" is his jet-blast of defiance, a withering critique of a genre overrun with Civil War outfits, mountain man beards, Deliverance-style overalls, vintage dresses, cowgirl boots, and de rigeur phoney hillbilly nasal intonation.Whelan lays bare all the calculated looks and half-hearted music with a blistering guitar behind his hell-fire-and-brimstone sarcasm: "C'mon, man, you gotta make the scene / with your big bass drum and your tambourine / You can sell it for a million dollars." Whelan's lyrics take a sharper turn when he tells the ultimate truth: "You're a pretty nice guy but you sound like shit." Whelan adds to the sarcasm with a blistering Scruggs-inspired banjo solo by veteran LA picker Herb Pedersen over the punkish rock that makes the song and the sentiment come full circle. Even so, Americana radio is going to have a hard time ignoring this unstoppable and instantly likeable blazer. But for all the fun of his rockers, Whelan frequently displays a rare gift for capturing the serious, the lyrical epitaph of the flailing relationship. On the brooding track, "Sucker Punch", he warns, "I've got a sick sense of humor and I'm sure you know / I'm a sucker puncher when I get this low." The fatalistic "bombs away, bombs away" chorus is pure California country rock of the highest order. On "The Only Thing," Whelan locates a cool, Buddy Holly-fronting-The-Clash urgency in this radio-friendly rocker. The track's narrator laments how he "tried to run with a different crowd but I just kept falling down / A change of clothes and a new routine / Wound up right right back here at the beginning" It's a perfect example of a rocker love song. Jackson Browne should be charting with this tune. Another Sugarland highlight is the lazy country rocker, "Number One Fan". Whelan sketches the borderline-rabid superfans that guys like Yoakam contend with everywhere they go – One must balance an artists desire to please his fans with maintaining some degree of privacy. Judging from the lyrics, Whelan has heard just about every variation on this theme in his own tenure with Yoakam and others. The album is a natural extension of Whelan's way under-appreciated debut, Decider, and with its radio-friendliness, Sugarland should go far in spreading the word about Whelan and his ever growing importance on the Los Angeles scene and across the country as well. The world will soon know that Whelan and Sugarland are the real deal. William Michael Smith, Houston, TX

  • Mandolin Orange

    Mandolin Orange

    Bluegrass

    Lean in to Mandolin Orange's new album, Blindfaller, and it's bound to happen. You'll suddenly pick up on the power and devastation lurking in its quietude, the doom hiding beneath its unvarnished beauty. You'll hear the way it magnifies the intimacy at the heart of the North Carolina duo's music, as if they created their own musical language as they recorded it. "We talked about the feel of each song and pointed out loosely who was going to be taking solos, but it was mostly a lot of fresh takes, a lot of eye contact, and a lot of nods and weird winks," says Andrew Marlin, who anchors the band with fellow multi-instrumentalist and singer Emily Frantz. Due Sept. 30 on Yep Roc Records, Blindfaller builds on the acclaim of Mandolin Orange's breakthrough debut on the label, 2013's This Side of Jordan, and its follow-up, last year'sSuch Jubilee. Since then they've steadily picked up speed and fans they've earned from long stretches on the road, including appearances at Austin City Limits, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Newport Folk Festival, and Pickathon. It's been an auspicious journey for a pair who casually met at a bluegrass jam session in 2009. As the duo's songwriter, Marlin sharpens his lyrical prowess here, touching on broad themes of growing older and feeling helpless in a world torn by injustice. Sure, the album sounds classic, but it is rooted in the here and now of our daily headlines. Take "Gospel Shoes," a gimlet-eyed critique of how politicians have used faith as a weapon. "Freedom was a simple word, so reverent and true/ A long time ago, it meant the right to choose/ Who you love and how to live, but now it's so misused/ And twisted by the politics of men in gospel shoes," Marlin sings. "When we finished ‘Such Jubilee,' I started writing these songs with a different goal in mind. I thought about how I would write songs for somebody else to record," Marlin explains. "I ended up with a bunch of songs like that, but we chose ones that I still felt personally connected to." "We really chose everybody who played on the record, because we trusted them," he adds. They found kindred spirits in Clint Mullican on bass, Kyle Keegan on drums, Allyn Love on pedal steel, and previous collaborator, Josh Oliver, on guitar, keys and vocals. "We've always liked to record fairly live," Frantz says, "and it's pretty easy to do that when it's just Andrew and me. So it was fun to hone in on the guys who played on this record."We really jelled as soon as we got into the studio, and everyone's playing was driven by intuition instead of details orchestrated in advance." Holed up at the Rubber Room studio in Chapel Hill, N.C., they laid down the tracks in a week between touring. They've always been keen on the notion that drawn-out recording sessions don't necessarily yield better results. A good song, and just one good take, will always shine through any studio sorcery. For Frantz, Blindfaller, which Mandolin Orange produced, was something of a turning point. "Now that we've put out quite a few records and toured so much, I think a standard has been set and people expect a certain thing," she says. "But you don't want to get into a place where you're just making the music you're expected to make. You have to push yourself a little bit." The passage of time, and the regret that often accompanies it, courses through these songs. "When did all the good times turn to hard lines on my face/ And lead me so far from my place right by your side?" Marlin ruminates on "My Blinded Heart." In fact, there's heartache by the numbers on Blindfaller. If you didn't know better, you'd swear "Picking Up Pieces" is a tearjerker George Jones or Willie Nelson sang back in the early 1970s. It's a Mandolin Orange original, of course, and also a poignant reminder of the economy and grace with which Marlin imbues his songs – say what's important and scrap the rest. A country dirge with soulful washes of pedal steel and mandolin, "Wildfire" details the the lingering, present-day devastation of slavery and the Civil War, with Marlin's voice locking into close harmonies with Frantz on the chorus. "Take This Heart of Gold" opens with perhaps the best classic-country line you'll hear all year: "Take this heart of gold and melt it down." (Marlin admits it was inspired by a Tom Waits lyric he misheard.) But there's also room for detours. Straight out of a honky tonk, "Hard Travelin'" lets the band shift into overdrive. A freewheeling ode to life on the road, it had been kicking around for a while but never fit on previous releases. As for the album title, it's meant to evoke a sense of wonder, of contemplation. A "faller" is someone who fells trees, and in this case that person is blind to his/her own actions and those of the world. The spectral cover photo, by Scott McCormick, is open to interpretation, too: Either those trees are engulfed in flames or sunlight is pouring through them. It's up to you. "We wanted different vibes and different intuitions on these tracks," Marlin says, "and I feel like we really captured that."

     

  • The Secret Sisters

    The Secret Sisters

    Country

    About a 20-minute drive is all that separated The Secret Sisters from being born in historic Muscle Shoals, Alabama, though its sheer proximity to their hometown of Happy Valley practically foretold that Laura and Lydia Rogers were destined for lives as recording and performing artists. With their sophomore album, Put Your Needle Down [Republic Records], The Secret Sisters' future has never seemed clearer. Growing up surrounded by the sounds of the South and the powerful timeless music emanating from Muscle Shoals, The Secret Sisters were heavily influenced by a range of uniquely American musical styles, including country, bluegrass and gospel, as well as classic rock and pop. They were raised on a rich tapestry of music, listening to everything from George Jones and Loretta Lynn, to The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Ramones, Fiona Apple and Rufus Wainwright. But it was their father, a musician himself, who introduced Laura and Lydia to bluegrass at an early age and spent many weekends bringing his daughters to local bluegrass festivals. While The Secret Sisters' 2010 eponymous debut was comprised mostly of traditional country songs the sisters grew up loving, although two standouts were Laura and Lydia originals "Tennessee Me" and "Waste The Day." That album introduced the world to the sisters' stunning and seemingly magical ability to blend vocals which developed from singing together in church on Sundays and listening to some of the world's most iconic musicians throughout their upbringing. With that album lauded by critics and adored by their rapidly growing legion of fans, the stage was set for the sisters to advance as artists and further establish themselves as songwriters with Put Your Needle Down. "This record was a long time coming," said Laura. "Most artists don't wait three years or so in between records, but we felt it was important to spend a lot of time on our songs and also broaden our sound." The result is Put Your Needle Down, an eclectic mix of musical styles and sounds rooted in storytelling that showcases their depth and growth as songwriters, vocalists and as women. Put Your Needle Down, titled after a line in the P.J. Harvey song, "The Pocket Knife," featured on the album, is a tribute to the singers' deep-rooted affinity for vinyl, and an ode to the assertiveness the two have gained on their journey to maturity since they first began making music. "It's kind of a testimony to our belief that listening to something on a record player is always going to be better than anything else," says Lydia. "The song also strikes us as very symbolic of our growing up. That attitude of, ‘don't make our sweet little country dresses anymore, because we're grown women with a viewpoint and things to say.' And, while we're still figuring out life, we certainly have a better knowledge of it than we did a few years ago." Advising the duo once again is powerhouse producer T Bone Burnett, whom they previously collaborated with on their debut album. "We became friends with T Bone early on in our career and he's been guiding us along ever since," said Lydia. Laura adds, "The beauty of working with T Bone on this new album is that he really understood and found the storyline that was woven throughout all of our songs. I really don't think this record would be what it is without him." Put Your Needle Down was recorded at the famed Village Recorder in Los Angeles, with The Secret Sisters singing live alongside a five-piece band. The duo was adamant that their album sound as real and authentic as possible. "We wanted it to be a very human record," said Laura. "I think that recording live is the best way that you can record an album because it really captures a band's ability to glue themselves to one another and create something beautiful." She adds, "There is something beautiful and honest about not being perfect." In the studio, Laura and Lydia were joined by a stellar array of musicians, carefully chosen by Burnett to provide the sonic and musical foundation for The Secret Sisters incomparable vocals and harmonies. Among them were Jay Bellerose on drums, Gurf Morlix, Marc Ribot and Burnett on guitars, Keefus Ciancia on keyboards and Zach Dawes on bass. While all brought significant contributions to the proceedings, every musician was in awe of the presence of legendary tambourine player Jack Ashford, whose signature sound can be heard on countless Motown hits dating back to the early 1960s and who propels numerous songs on Put Your Needle Down. The sisters' songwriting process proved to be a bit more daunting than they'd anticipated, as they ran the gamut of anxiety about telling and sharing their personal stories as well as voicing their frustrations as young woman experiencing relationship woes. Says Laura, "It was terrifying; it is a vulnerable thing to write your own story and ask the world to pick it apart and tell you if it is good or not. Fortunately, we're finding there are many people who love what we're writing about and identifying with it strongly." There is still an aura of mystery that surrounds The Secret Sisters, and they certainly like to keep their fans wondering where they'll head next on their musical journey. But with Laura and Lydia, one thing is for certain: integrity and honesty will guide every note.

     

  • Robbie Fulks

    Robbie Fulks

    Country

    Robbie plays by nobody's rules--except the ones he hears in his head. He is prodigiously talented, with the soul of a country singer and the mind of a vaudevillian. Besides, his scorn for the music industry makes ours look positively prosaic. But don't let that make you lose sight of THE SONGS. Widely regarded by those who monitor such things as one of the most gifted songwriters to ever ply the trade, he can sing the kids ditty "Eggs"and Haggard's "Sing a Sad Song" back to back and mean 'em both. While it is true he started off a honky tonk smartass, it quickly became evident that Robbie was a monster talent and some of his early Bloodshot albums have been rightly elevated to the status of "classic" and serve as their own Greatest Hits collections. Seriously. It is a damning condemnation of our world's musical taste that he has not been elevated to the ranks of the multi-faceted giants of songwriting like Nick Lowe, Dave Alvin and Harlan Howard. He damn well should be. Robbie's cross-genre antics (like us, he has trouble navigating this world of hyphens) would have had him revered in times gone by; such artists used to be coveted, now they confuse. We take it personally that he's not more famous and consider it evidence of our world's moral and aesthetic decline. Lost in the deserved accolades for being a fabulously unique, clever, and heartfelt writer is the fact that he's also one of the best guitarists around. The chameleon-like tall guy can whip it out in honky-tonk, country, bluegrass, power pop, or whatever strikes his ample whimsy at the time. Robbie Fulks was born in York, Pennsylvania, and grew up in a half-dozen small towns in southeast Pennsylvania, the North Carolina Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge area of Virginia. He learned guitar from his dad, banjo from Earl Scruggs and John Hartford records, and fiddle (long since laid down in disgrace) on his own. He attended Columbia College in New York City in 1980 and dropped out in 1982 to focus on the Greenwich Village songwriter scene and other ill-advised pursuits. In the mid-1980s he moved to Chicago and joined Greg Cahill's Special Consensus Bluegrass Band, with whom he made one record (Hole in My Heart, Turquoise, 1989) and toured constantly. Since then he has gone on to create a multifarious career in music. He was a staff instructor in guitar and ensemble at Old Town School of Folk Music from 1984 to 1996. He worked on Nashville's Music Row as a staff songwriter for Songwriters Ink (Joe Diffie, Tim McGraw, Ty Herndon) from 1993 to 1998. He has released solo records on the Bloodshot, Geffen, Boondoggle (self), and Yep Roc labels. Radio loves him too: there's been multiple appearances on WSM's "Grand Ole Opry"; PRI's "Whadd'ya Know"; NPR's "Fresh Air," "Mountain Stage," and "World Cafe"; and the syndicated "Acoustic Cafe" and "Laura Ingraham Show." TV: PBS's Austin City Limits; NBC's Today, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and 30 Rock. TV/film use of his music includes True Blood, My Name Is Earl, Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, Very Bad Things, and Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, and he has voiced or sung campaigns for Budweiser, McDonalds, Nickelodeon, and Applebees. From 2004 to 2008 he hosted an hourlong performance/ interview program for XM satellite radio, "Robbie's Secret Country." His compositions have been covered by Sam Bush, Kelly Hogan, Sally Timms, Rosie Flores, John Cowan, and Old 97s. Robbie's writing on music and life have appeared in GQ, Blender, theChicago Reader, DaCapo Press's Best Music Writing anthologies for 2001 and 2004, Amplified: Fiction from Leading Alt-Country, Indie Rock, Blues and Folk Musicians, and A Guitar and A Pen: Stories by Country Music's Greatest Songwriters. As an instrumentalist, he has accompanied the Irish fiddle master Liz Carroll, the distinguished jazz violinist Jenny Scheinman, and the New Orleans pianist Dr. John. As a producer his credits includeTouch My Heart: A Tribute to Johnny Paycheck (Sugar Hill, 2004) and Big Thinkin' by Dallas Wayne (Hightone, 2000). Theatrical credits include "Woody Guthrie's American Song" and Harry Chapin's "Cottonpatch Gospel." He served twice as judge for the Winfield National Flatpicking Guitar competition. He tours yearlong with various configurations and plays a weekly residency at the Hideout in Chicago. Impressive, eh? But it wouldn't mean nothing if he couldn't consistently and inventively whip a room into an appreciative froth no matter what he plays, how he plays it and who he plays it with. If he comes to your town, you need to experience one of the most talented PERFORMERS out there.

     

  • Smooth Hound Smith

    Smooth Hound Smith

    Blues

    Smooth Hound Smith is a foot stompin' American roots duo comprised of "one-man-band" Zack Smith (guitars/vocals/foot drums/harmonicas/banjo) and Caitlin Doyle (vocals/percussion). Established in 2012, and currently based in East Nashville, TN, they record and perform a varied and unique style of folky, garage-infused rhythm & blues. Using primal foot percussion, complex, fuzzed-out, finger-picked guitar patterns, warbled harmonicas, tasty harmonies and A LOT of tambourine, they are able to create something rugged and visceral- a modern interpretation of early blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll music that harkens back to the traditions of hazy front porch folk songs as well as raucous back-alley juke joints. The duo has traveled over 100,000 road miles, playing over 500 shows in over 30 states in the last two-and-a-half years. Their eponymous debut album garnered attention from media outlets such as Nashville's independent radio, WRLT Lightning 100, as well as publications like American Songwriter and RELIX Magazine. They were also selected over thousands of other bands to perform at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, headlined by Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, and more. In addition, the music of Smooth Hound Smith has been featured on ABC’s Nashville, MTV’sThe Real World and the Esquire Network. Smooth Hound Smith's second full-length album, Sweet Tennessee Honey, was released January 15th, 2016, and they will be touring heavily in support of it for the foreseeable future.

     

  • Sam Outlaw

    Sam Outlaw

    Country

    The future’s bright for the young Angeleno And an old song plays in his head Far as he knows...These lines from the title track of Sam Outlaw's debut album Angeleno could almost serve as a haiku-like artist bio. Outlaw is a southern Californian singer-songwriter steeped in the music and mythos of west coast country, absorbing the classic vibes of everything from '60s Bakersfield honky-tonk to '70s Laurel Canyon troubadour pop and refashioning them into a sound that's pleasurably past, present and future tense. "The music I play, I call 'SoCal country,'" says Outlaw. "It's country music but with a Southern California spirit to it. What is it about Southern California that gives it that spirit, I don't exactly know. But there's an idea that I like that says - every song, even happy songs, are written from a place of sadness. If there's a special sadness to Southern California it's that there's an abiding shadow of loss of what used to be. But then, like with any place, you have a resilient optimism as well." While he explores those shadows on the title track and the elegiac "Ghost Town," Outlaw mostly comes down on the side of the optimists through Angeleno's dozen tracks. Opener "Who Do You Think You Are?" breezes in with south of the border charm, all sunny melody wrapped in mariachi horns, while "I'm Not Jealous" is a honky-tonker with a smart twist on the you-done-me-wrong plot. "Love Her For A While" has the amiable lope of early '70s Poco, "Old Fashioned" the immediacy of a touch on the cheek, and the future Saturday night anthem "Jesus Take The Wheel (And Drive Me To A Bar)" shows Outlaw has a sense of humor to match his cowboy poet nature. Throughout, producers Ry and Joachim Cooder frame the material with spare, tasteful arrangements, keeping the focus on Outlaw's voice. And it's a voice that indeed seems to conjure up California in the same way as Jackson Browne's or Glenn Frey's. Easy on the ears, open-hearted, always with an undertow of melancholy.

     

  • Jack Ingram

    Jack Ingram

    Country

    When Jack Ingram won the 2008 Academy of Country Music award for "Best New Male Vocalist," thousands of people in the audience had to be smiling to themselves about that whole "new" thing. They knew the thirty-something, steel-eyed veteran accepting that trophy on that stage in Vegas had been rocking roadhouses, theaters and stadiums relentlessly since 1997, that he'd been celebrated by critics and fans of hard-core country music for more than a decade, and that as a Texas-born songwriter and performer, he'd been on the short list of next generation artists who could fill the boots of Lone Star legends like Willie and Waylon and the boys. But the award did mean that Ingram, after trials and setbacks that would have buckled other artists, had at last matched the commercial success he'd always wanted with the integrity on which he'd always insisted. So he told the crowd with no small measure of pride and triumph that night that "big dreams and high hopes" can come true. Now, as if to validate and amplify that truth, Ingram remains in the forefront of country music with the album Big Dreams & High Hopes, the seventh studio disc of his career and his third for Nashville maverick indie label Big Machine Records. Its eleven tracks range through the many facets of Ingram's unique take on country music and songwriting. There's the textured and contemplative "Seeing Stars" sung in ethereal tandem with Patty Griffin. You'll find a couple of superb roots rocking country songs Jack wrote with compadre and mentor Radney Foster. And you've probably already heard the swimming hole party anthem "Barefoot and Crazy" which quickly became a radio smash and a soundtrack for the hot summer of 2009.

  • Will Hoge

    Will Hoge

    Pop

    "Took a whole lot of miles to know what I know now," sings Will Hoge on "Growing Up Around Here," the opening track off of his tenth studio album, Small Town Dreams. "I'm kinda proud of growing up around here." It's been a whole lot of miles, indeed: miles on the road, driving the bus himself from venue to venue since the nineties; miles to and from Nashville writing rooms, where he's spent countless hours penning songs – some for him, some for others; miles exploring lands outside of his native Franklin, Tennessee, chasing the spirits of his musical heroes. Roads meet, roads split, roads led to home. This is the album that follows them all, every twist and turn in Hoge's American journey – a journey that's positioned him as one of our keenest, most honest modern storytellers, telling both his tale and ours.

    "It's a reflection of where I am currently in my life," says Hoge of Small Town Dreams, "but also where I grew up, and, ultimately, where I think I'm going." From the streets of the town where he was raised, to the sidewalks of cities a hundred times the size, we all have dreams; and these are the stories of growing up, looking back and passing on those dreams, told as only Hoge can. Nostalgia, in his hands, is truly magic. 

    An extremely prolific songwriter with ten albums under his belt and countless songs written for others (including a Grammy nomination for Eli Young Band's number-one hit, "Even If Breaks Your Heart," co-written with Paslay), Hoge saw this next phase of his journey as an opportunity to explore even deeper into both his country and rock and roll roots. Never fitting particularly neatly into a genre box, he's always just made the music that moved him – but it's safe to say that he feels more kinship with the country community than ever, particularly as a storyteller. 

  • Marlon Williams

    Marlon Williams

    Rock

    "Each song is a character," says Marlon Williams of his self-titled solo debut: a remarkably assured and diverse nine-track tapestry, united by one of the most versatile and evocative voices you'll hear this or any other year. "I don't really ever sing out of character. Even if it's a very personal song, once it's written it doesn't belong to me." A veteran at the age of 25, Williams found his calling as child growing up in Lyttelton, New Zealand. A picturesque coastal town populated by fewer than 3000 people, he recalls its "wonderful contrast between port workers and a big artistic community". The latter includes his mother and father, respectively a painter and industrial punk musician. "The first three things I remember Mum listening to were PJ Harvey, early choral music and Smokey Robinson. A lot of Maori music too. We used to go down the marae for meetings and sing these big harmony songs." Dad would bring home CDs every week, moving from Elvis and The Beatles through Echo & The Bunnymen, The Band's Music From Big Pink, and, crucially, Gram Parsons: "A rock 'n' roll dude playing country music, but respecting the purity of it." A similar duality informed the young Williams' unique journey as a singer, combining his family's Maori upbringing with the vocal epiphanies he discovered in the school choir and then in nearby Christchurch's cathedral ensemble. "It's a very different approach," he explains. "With the Maori songs it's layered thirds, one over the other. You just feel when you want to bring another third. But then I spent most of my teenage Sundays at church. We'd sing a 30-minute Mozart Mass where every note is prescribed. I'm not a spiritual person but the music was enough to keep me there, through whatever hangover I had." He even enrolled in the prestigious University of Canterbury, but classical music's institutionalized stuffiness proved too much. The Unfaithful Ways, his band of fellow fallen choirboys, was becoming a hot local live draw. "I did a year at university, but they didn't like that I was out playing in bars at weekends and coming in on Monday smoking. I was wearing country shirts to our performance days, instead of the bow tie and penguin suit." After the youthful combo folded its frontman cut a trio of domestically acclaimed duo discs with prolific Lyttelton tunesmith Delaney Davidson, then made the decision to relocate to Australia – partly pushed by the ruinous earthquakes that had left Christchurch in disarray, partly pulled by the promise of Melbourne's bountiful music scene. Williams pitched up at legendary pub venue the Yarra Hotel, winning over seasoned booze hounds with a first gig on the eve of the Aussie rules football grand final. Returning home to record, utilizing the The Sitting Room in Lyttelton Harbour – and working once more with producer/engineer Ben Edwards, whose prior loyalty extended to rescuing The Unfaithful Ways' album master from a cordoned-off quake aftershock area. Such deep-rooted bonds birthed an eclectic yet cohesive set that ranges from rollicking, acrobatic opener "Hello Miss Lonesome" to the wry coffee house wisdom of "Everyone's Got Something To Say", via Rubber Soul-ful zinger "After All" and "Lonely Side Of Her"'s beauteous barroom empathy (penned for paramour and co-vocalist Aldous Harding). Its author's easygoing gender fluidity is expressed through his revelatory, androgynous reading of the traditional lament "When I Was A Young Girl", previously hymned by Nina Simone and Feist, among others. "That's a real fun challenge. An exposition of how songs are personal and impersonal at the same time. I don't even think about [male or female]. Either that or I don't think of myself as a boy anymore! The version I knew was by Barbara Dane, a white San Francisco soul/folk singer from the '60s." This ability to truly inhabit his material illuminates Williams' majestic rendering of such diverse touchstones as classic orch-pop ballad "Lost Without You" and conceptual, 1974-vintage nugget "Silent Passage" (originally by Bob Carpenter, a Canadian of First Nations heritage). These covers blend seamlessly with novelistic noir standouts "Strange Things" and "Dark Child" (co-credited to childhood choral pal Tim Moore, now a palliative care nurse), which deliver gallows humor with a widescreen groove. That quality is further illustrated by their playfully cinematic videos. Williams won Best Male and Breakthrough Artist at the 2015 New Zealand Music Awards and was nominated for Best Blues & Roots Album at the ARIA Awards, alongside nominations for the coveted Taite Music Prize and Australian Music Prize. His album was released internationally in February 2016 through Dead Oceans, and Williams has spent 2016 selling out shows throughout North America and UK/Europe, playing major festivals including Latitude, Longitude, and Austin City Limits, and making appearances on tastemaker radio shows like NPR, KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, KEXP and World Cafe, plus performances on legendary TV shows Later With Jools Holland, Conan and The Late Late Show in Ireland.

     

  • The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

    The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band

    Country

    The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band bridges genres and eras with an intensity and effortlessness few contemporary artists possess. And their new album So Deliciouselevates the trio's work to a new level. Produced by Rev. Peyton, So Delicious offers the band's most diverse collection of songs buoyed by the Rev.'s supercharged six-string virtuosity - a unique style of fingerpicking inspired by his Delta blues heroes, but taken to new, original heights.

    The fifth full-length original album by the group - which includes Breezy Peyton on washboard and supporting vocals and Ben Bussell on drums and supporting vocals - is their debut on Yazoo Records, a label known for the historic reissues of blues and other old time American music that are the bedrock inspiration for the Rev.'s sound and approach.

    "Yazoo was my favorite record label growing up," he explains. "For fans of old country blues and all manner of early American music, they are the quintessential label. And for me, it's like being on the same label as Charley Patton and ‘Mississippi' John Hurt. To think that Yazoo believes we are authentic enough to stand with the other people in their catalog means a lot."

    The Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band has always been strong on authenticity, playing music that blends blues, ragtime, folk, country and other traditional styles with the sleek modern energy of do-it-yourself, homespun, punk fueled rock. And performing tunes plucked from their lives, their community or from the canonical songbook that fed the Rev. Peyton's formative creative identity. It's a mix that's allowed the band to win fans from all corners of the Americana and rock worlds, and bring a new generation to blues and other forms of American roots music.

    So Delicious is a perfect Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band album, with songs that speak from the heart and capture the trio - whose sound has been honed over 250 annual tour dates during the last eight years - playing at their peak. The charging, anthemic "Raise a Little Hell," also the set's first video, lays out the band's live modus operandi, thriving on Bussell's and Breezy's chugging beat and the Rev.'s resonator guitar riffs and mantra-like singing. The song was inspired by a show at a folk festival, where one of the promoters - struck by the Big Damn Band's raucous, juke joint power - told the Rev., "Y'all sure raise a lot of hell."

    "I said, ‘Naw we don't,' " the Rev. recalls. "And then I thought, ‘Well, maybe we do raise alittle hell.' "

    The sweet, joyful "Pot Roast & Kisses," which the band has also committed to video, was written for Breezy. The Rev. was developing the finger-busting main riff after enjoying one of her pot roast dinners when the lyrics naturally fell into place. "Some people don't believe that we really live the way we sing about in our songs," he explains, "but it's true. Breezy and me are together and really love each other. We try to keep things simple, like people have in Brown County, Indiana for a long time. And we really do live in the woods and forage for some of our food - like I sing about in ‘Pickin' Paw Paws' on this album."

    Some listeners also have a hard time believing all of the Rev.'s extraordinary guitar performances are recorded live with no overdubs - until they see the Big Damn Band in concert. "Pot Roast & Kisses" is a radiant example of his nimble style, weaving two melodies, thumb plucked bass lines and bright decorative filigrees into a graceful, upbeat blend. The rocking electric juggernaut "Let's Jump a Train" is another. The song's lyrics explore the notion of courageously pursuing adventure - a frequent theme in the lives and the songs of the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band - while the Rev. bangs out a machine-gun rhythm with his thumb, ladles in generously sinuous licks and tosses off seemingly effortless fills and accents, then solos and plays the beat simultaneously.

    "I've been obsessed with the idea of taking fingerstyle guitar to a place it's never been before," the Rev. says. And he's gotten there by blending the foundational playing of great country bluesmen like Charley Patton and John Hurt with the early-rock vigor of Chuck Berry and the licks played by old timey fiddle players who recorded in the 1920s and '30s. In fact, that school of fiddle - enshrined in Yazoo's catalog - is often reflected in the Rev.'s slide playing, which adds to the uniqueness of his virtuosity.

    As producer, the Rev. adopted a strategy that let the Big Damn Band's strengths shine on So Delicious. Bussell's drums were pared down to the essentials to showcase the Rev.'s guitar and ebullient singing, and to allow the beefy melodies on the 11 songs to flex their muscles. Plus Breezy and Bussell deliver their strongest harmony singing, with Breezy in particular elevating numbers like the workingman's ode "Dirt" with her soaring voice.

    The Rev's fascination with country blues began at the age of 12, when he started dipping into his father's album collection and his dad brought a beaten Kay guitar into the Peytons' Indiana home. In addition to mirroring the guitar playing he heard on recordings of early blues artists like Robert Johnson and Patton - who the Rev. paid tribute to with 2011's solo acoustic Peyton On Patton - he also started assimilating more modern recordings from Muddy Waters' Chess Records catalog and blues-rock players like Johnny Winter. Those recordings often featured multiple guitar players and overdubs, but Peyton blended all the six-string lines he heard into one fluid part. "That forced me to start thinking outside the box right from the start," he notes.

    At one point the Rev. briefly walked away from guitar, when the tendons in his hands were plagued with cysts that inhibited his ability to play. Shortly after a surgeon removed them, he met Breezy and the couple's whirlwind romance and shared love of music inspired him to pursue his potential. Breezy took up the washboard, and by 2006 the members of the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band had sold their possessions and taken to the road. That same year their initial album Big Damn Nation was released and The Gospel Album followed in 2008.

    With 2009's The Whole Fam Damily - and hundreds of thousands of touring miles in the U.S. and abroad under their belts - the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band was hitting stride, but the Rev. considers 2010's The Wages, which entered the Billboard blues chart at number two and featured the buoyant airplay and YouTube winner - with 728,000 views and counting - "Clap Your Hands," his breakthrough as a songwriter. "That album came at a point when I decided I really wanted to work on myself as a writer and as a guitarist, because it was the great stories in the songs of my country blues heroes and their playing that brought me here in the first place," he avows. "If I wanted to follow in their footsteps, I had to step up."

    By the time the Rev. recorded Peyton On Patton in four hours with a single microphone, the band had received the "Best Band of the Warped Tour" award and performed at the famed Austin City Limits, Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, WOMAD, Telluride, All Good, King Biscuit, Juke Joint and Riot festivals, among many other prestigious gigs.

    Between the Ditches, which debuted at number one on the iTunes blues chart and landed on Billboard's pop albums chart in 2012, continued that momentum, bringing the Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band to an even larger, demographic-leaping audience thanks to the powerhouse songs "Devils Look Like Angels" and "Something For Nothing," which were video and radio hits. And now So Delicious offers a feast of new music from the Rev. and his accomplices.

    "When people hear So Delicious and see us play live, I think they understand that what we're singing about is real to us," the Rev. says. "We believe in the stories we're telling and in the way we play. And when we're on stage or off, there's nothing fake about us. We are what we do, and I'm proud of that."

  • SUSTO

    SUSTO

    Alternative Rock

    SUSTO is an alt-country/progressive Americana band that was founded in 2013 by Justin Osborne. The band released its self-titled debut album on April 1, 2014, which was followed a year later with a live album featuring Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses. SUSTO is currently playing their way across the country as they head home to Charleston, SC from their recent performance at Stagecoach. SUSTO's sophomore album is being recorded. 

     

    Rarely has incipient panic been so gracefully described — Nashville Scene, Edd Hurt 

     

    The band plays with a driving intensity that gets into your bones and an earnestness that sticks in your throat. — One Nation/Live Nation 

     

    The soaring pedal steel sounds that were squeezed out of the lead guitar atop of a music bed that had no business being so good from guys so young would have been enough. But [then] the well-crafted, honest lyrics [were] sung by a voice that drove feelings into your chest like a scalpel…  — Coachella Valley Weekly 

  • Vandaveer

    Vandaveer

    Country

    Hearts won. Love lost. Battles waged. Demons cast. Fatherhood, fellowship and full circles. The winding road and the welcoming home. The great beginning, the great unknown and a lot of in-between, too. It's all present and accounted for on Vandaveer's fifth and career-defining LP, The Wild Mercury.

    Having written his most personal collection of songs to date, Mark Charles Heidinger initially planned to strip the recording process down to as few elements as possible, pursuing a more direct, minimalist approach. But after huddling with vocalist, Rose Guerin, and long-time producer, Duane Lundy, they charted a new course, enveloping these autobiographical vignettes with a full spectrum of sound. And with more than a little help from their friends. The trio called in brothers-in-arms, J. Tom Hnatow, Robby Cosenza and Justin Craig, for a prolonged session of sonic wayfinding. What emerged is musical alchemy—these are songs fully realized; this is Vandaveer fully formed.

    The album’s title is an apt allusion to the musical explorations therein, fluid and bright, reaching from the traditions of Americana into modern pop soundscapes. The end result—a set of songs honest and wry, personal yet utterly relatable—proves that solitary journeys can find deeper, more meaningful truths through collective exploration.

    Heidinger's saturated vocals alternately soothe and electrify. When paired with Guerin's angelic, bittersweet alto, the two create quicksilver harmonies. Long the defining quality of Vandaveer’s shapeshifting sound, this amalgam comes into full focus here. And throughout, Heidinger's undeniable gift for storytelling shines as he reflects on possibilities forfeited, on narratives yet to be formed from the raw materials of the past. These are songs from a father to a child, a musician to his muse, a bandmate to a brother—songs of parting and return, of joy and melancholy, of life with all its paradoxes, of beauty, both indelible and ephemeral.

    With poignant, everyman narratives and striking, folk-based harmonies, Vandaveer loosely fall under the Americana umbrella, but the band regularly elbow their way into wider spaces with a kaleidoscopic assortment of sounds. On The Wild Mercury, they're stretching the genre's fibers even further.

    The Wild Mercury will be released on February 19th via WhiteSpace Records and distributed by MRi / Sony RED.

  • Paper Bird

    Paper Bird

    Pop

    For Paper Bird, their new album marks a milestone. More importantly, it provides them with a new beginning, a new chapter in their trajectory that sees them redefining their direction, a change in their musical sensibility while maintaining their trademark upbeat attitude.

    The band’s self titled album, available September 9th on Thirty Tigers Records/ Sons of Thunder Records, introduces vocalist Carleigh Aikins to the line­up, whose previous credits include extended stints with the critically acclaimed bands Bahamas and Fox Jaws. Her addition to the band adds an extra edge, highlighting a clear sonic evolution. A shift in the band’s line­up has opened up new possibilities, swapping electric guitars and amped up instrumentation for the laid back, folk­flavored sound they favored in the past.

    “In truth this is an entirely new band,” bassist Caleb Summeril explains. “With Carleigh coming on board, we’ve literally made a fresh start.”

    Guitarist Paul DeHaven first met Aikins at a concert on Willie Nelson’s ranch during South by Southwest in 2012. The two hit it off, and before long Aikins and the rest of the band began collaborating long distance via email. “It was serendipitous that we could join forces so seamlessly,” says Aikins. “We created an instant bond and a new sound we can all stand proudly behind; which merges our respective influences from the Canadian and American music we were raised with. Everyone’s input is welcome here and everyone has their moment to shine, in the true democratic sense and tradition of a band."

    Paper Bird has always made a point of encouraging each of its members to share the spotlight. The group boasts three lead vocalists ­­ singer Sarah Anderson, singer and keyboard player Genevieve Patterson, and Aikins herself ­­ all of whom blend their voices in seamless three part harmonies. The instrumental duties are shared by Summeril, DeHaven, and drummer Mark Anderson.

    Hailing from Denver, Colorado, Paper Bird first emerged from the same environs that launched such outfits as Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and the Lumineers. The group has toured extensively throughout the U.S., sharing bills with the aforementioned bands, as well as Daryl Hall & John Oates, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Shakey Graves.

    On Paper Bird, the band collaborates with world­renowned musician, singer and songwriter John Oates, who co­produced the album with Aikins’ fellow Canadian David Kalmusky. The album was recorded and mixed at Addiction Sound Studios in Nashville, and for his part, Oates couldn’t be more delighted.

    “Paper Bird is a band that possesses a sound that’s more than the sum of its parts,” Oates effuses. “It’s the coming together of two perfect trinities. It has three distinctly unique female lead singers whose harmonies blend together as one...united with an inventive, cohesive rhythm section trio. I loved their sound from the first time I heard them and they just keep getting better. They are a true musical family united by a unique and pure artistic vision...a rare quality in this day and age of so much disposable and less than original music.”

    Paper Bird has a sound that blends the engaging vocal harmonies of Fleet Foxes and The Lone Bellow with the classic ‘70s stylings of bands like Heart and Fleetwood Mac without imitating or emulating any one of them in particular. Indeed, the new music is rugged, resilient and flush with enthusiasm. It conveys the essence of inspired Americana, while still staying true to its riveting rock regimen.

    The album starts with the soulful strut of “To The Light,” and heads into desire and yearning with the single “Don’t Want Half.” With its playful harmonies and rhythms, “I Don’t Mind” captures the ephemeral feelings of love, as “it’s not easy to be a dreamer, when you’re sleeping with the wind.” Paper Bird merge the musical past with the present on “Sunday,” conjuring up doo-wop, rock and groove sounds.

    “This is definitely the start of something exciting,” Summeril suggests. “We’re at a point in our career where we feel we’re ready to take on the world.”

  • Stationwagon

    Stationwagon

    Country

  • Sean Rowe

    Sean Rowe

    Country

    Several years ago musician and naturalist Sean Rowe walked out into the wilderness alone. He spent the next 24 days constructing shelter and foraging for food to eat. He would come away from the experience with the songs that would eventually comprise his dazzling debut album Magic. The San Francisco Chronicle described the record as “beautiful and haunting.” 

    On his new album The Salesman and the Shark, Rowe has created a work that brilliantly reconfigures classic sounds in support of his intensely observational lyrics and the remarkable ever evolving vocals which inspired No Depression Magazine to succinctly state, “Man, that voice.” 

    Rowe is a native of the lush rolling hills and history rich locale of upstate New York. He came of age listening to his father’s record collection featuring The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and more. But in his teen years it was soul and blues of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles that spoke to the bourgeoning singer-songwriter. “I remember thinking how magical it was that I could listen to that stuff over and over again and it would never fail to hit my spine,” he says. “It was also cool to me that I felt like I found that stuff on my own. No one pointed me to it. I felt like it was mine.”

    Upon reading a book called “The Tracker” by renowned naturalist Tom Brown as a teenager, Rowe discovered passion for nature and the wilderness that would continue to parallel and compliment his musical journey. He eventually attended courses at Brown's Wilderness Survival School. “My journey with music and my exploration of nature started together,” he explains. “I can’t really separate the two. Because I spent a lot of time growing up in the woods, the naturalistic elements have always had an effect on my writing. It’s my religion, and I try to convey that in my songs.”

    While his philosophy was shaped in nature, Rowe’s powerful baritone was formed in a more traditional manner, singing amidst the boisterous din of local bars. “When I was 18 to 25 you could make a living by playing the bar scene and that’s what I did’” he says. “It was four hour sets with a short break in between. I didn’t have that many originals so I would play a lot of covers. But I never sang a song I didn’t want to play. I did mainly classic R&B, early soul and blues and I loved it. Those years really honed my singing and my ability to work with an audience. “

    After several years playing in crowded bars, Rowe headed into the wilderness for some much needed solitude. He lived at a survival school called Hawk Circle Wilderness Education for an entire year and eventually embarking on the 24-day solo survival quest. “I spent an entire year living off the land and going into the woods and surviving on my own,“ he says. “I can’t think of a more pure experience. I wrote most of the songs that were my first album while at the survival school. Writing for me is a very solitary experience. The wilderness is my home and my filter. I try to allude to something bigger in my music, but in a subtle way.”

    A creatively reinvigorated Rowe returned to performing with a newfound devotion. A successful tour of England opening for Noah and the Whale was followed by the Anti release of his debut album Magic to overwhelming critical praise. In between touring the world and recording his anticipated follow up album, Rowe continued to write about nature for the Albany Times Union. In November of 2011, he welcomed a son named Jack.

    The Salesman and the Shark, is a creative tour de force showcasing Rowe’s gifted writing and absolutely astonishing voice. It was recorded live at historic Vox Recording Studios in Los Angeles using only real instruments. It was produced by Woody Jackson utilizing the very same mixing board used to make timeless classics such as The Rolling Stones Exile On Main Street, T-Rex’s Electric Warrior, The Beach Boy’s Smile and seminal works by Tom Waits, Neil Young and more.

    Appropriately, the soulful and evocative sounds on the record are a faultless blend of the warmly familiar and astonishingly new. The songs move effortlessly between a sense of cathartic intimacy and an epic cinematic like sound complete with a nine piece string section. As Rowe’s explains, “The songs on this record are all very different structurally but they have this consistent sound and feel which has to do with where and how they were recorded. Early on we agreed on the aesthetic of the record which was just keeping it as organic and as live as possible. And I think it really gave it that timeless feel. “

    Producer Woody Jackson adds, “Sean Rowe is just an amazing singer. When you first hear his voice, you can’t figure out if it’s for real or not. The atmosphere was just really amazing throughout the recording. Everything just came together naturally. My main goal throughout was to just be true to the songs which were phenomenal. His vocals and the melodies were king.”

    The album’s dramatic opening track “Bring Back The Night” plays as a heartfelt mission statement, beginning as an intimate country tinged waltz and building in power and scale as Rowe’s breathtaking vocals are joined by a lush chorus and tapestry of instruments. The song “Signs” utilizes an unconventional structure to suggest the feel of a dream involving Rowe’s departed father and a yearning for more time with those gone. The record takes a departure with the fuzzed out and joyfully percussive “Joe’s Cult” and reaches genuinely epic heights on the surging sonic landscape of Rowe’s “Horses.”

    The resulting record is ambitious and profoundly moving, a momentous collection of songs that would feel perfectly at home on a cherished classic album, or as just what they are, a riveting tour de force by an important new talent named Sean Rowe.

  • Jason Eady

    Jason Eady

    Country

    Jason Eady's inspired new album Daylight & Dark embraces multiple styles of die-hard country music to weave together 11 songs about the deep, messy details of love and life. 

    The disc is sequenced to follow the arc of one man's journey through the complexities of the heart. But the semi-autobiographical Daylight & Dark is not a concept album. Instead, it's a powerful study in honesty; a collection of real stories populated by real characters that coalesced around Eady's title track.

    "The moment I came up with the first verse and chorus of ‘Daylight & Dark' was a breakthrough," Eady relates. "I understood that what I wanted to convey in the album is that life is not simple. Most songs don't do that. They're either happy or sad. But life doesn't work that way. Most of the time we live somewhere in between. And that place is between the daylight and the dark."

    It took roughly three months for Eady to write and begin recording these songs that he describes as "going beyond the surface and digging into the little cracks in our lives, our dreams and our desires - the things that keep us from connecting, that we all have to deal with, all the time."

    Eady's sixth release is the follow-up to 2012's AM Country Heaven, an artistic and commercial breakthrough that cracked the Top 40 on Billboard's Country Albums chart, boasting an old-school honky-tonk sound and a complete lack of artifice.

    "One of the things that Kevin Welch" - who produced both discs - "taught me is that believability is number one," Eady declares. "The things I'm writing about have to seem true and the words being said need to sound like they'd really come out of my mouth."

    Daylight & Dark's high-powered barroom ballads 'OK Whiskey' and 'We Might Just Miss Each Other' offer a direct connection to the honky-tonk spirit of AM Country Heaven. But tunes like 'Other Side of Abilene' have gentler, textured arrangements, crafted by carefully layered fiddle and electric, acoustic and pedal steel guitars that are more reflective of the album's overall sound. Also, 'Late Night Diner' and the title cut echo the narrative style of great singers like Vern Gosdin and Don Williams, whose recordings, like Eady's, blend a novelist's eye for detail with the welcoming voice of a natural storyteller.

    "Their approach and the roadhouse style of artists like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are both part of my DNA," Eady relates. "I hope that really comes across on Daylight & Dark and makes it a deeper country music album overall."

    The new disc is Eady's third collaboration with Welch. Their first was 2009's When the Money's All Gone. 

    "Kevin is more on the same page with me than anybody else," Eady says of his songwriting, performing and Americana Music Association award-winning Texas compatriot. "He is fantastic at getting the songs into the best shape before we record them and choosing the right band for the studio, so that by the time we start recording 90-percent of the important work is done."

    When Eady and Welch were making AM Country Heaven, it was initially intended as a side project that wouldn't be released under Eady's name. But the sterling results dictated otherwise, and made the album a game-changer. The disc's swaggering palette and adult approach to timeless topics like love, loss and yearning helped Eady find a new, larger audience whose members now welcome him wherever he travels.

    Daylight & Dark was cut just outside of Nashville at engineer George Bradfute's Tone Chaparral studio with a superb team of players. They included Americana award winning multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin on pedal steel and fiddle, guitarist Richard Bennett (who's worked with a diverse array of artists from Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris to Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond), drummer John Gardner (Jim Lauderdale, Don Williams, Dixie Chicks) and bassist Steve Mackey (Dolly Parton, Delbert McClinton).

    Although country music was Eady's first love, he was exposed to the musical stew of the lower Delta - blues, soul, R&B and primal swamp rock - while growing up in Jackson, Mississippi. Eady was performing in local bars by the time he was 14, singing and playing guitar. He began writing his own songs, but the live music culture in the Magnolia State was geared to hits and classics rather than original music.

    Eady moved to Nashville to seek a record deal, but he became disillusioned and headed back to Mississippi, joining the Air Force on the way home. "Becoming a translator in the Air Force helped me be a better songwriter," Eady says. "I got a much broader view of the world and of other cultures, which helped me see things from a better perspective." After the military Eady got a job in a Fort Worth bank's IT department, and he began attending open mic nights to blow off steam. Soon he developed a following.

    "I was surprised to learn that Texas was exactly the opposite of Mississippi," he says. "If you played too many cover songs the audience would get restless. They wanted original music." That encouraged Eady to step up his songwriting and step away from his day job, never to return.

    Eady says his first two albums, 2005's From Underneath the Old and 2007's Wild Eyed Serenade, "were about trying to zero in on what I wanted to do. They had singer-songwriter, country, southern rock and other kinds of songs. I had no idea about production or how to work in the studio. I was all over the map. Things really clicked when I started working with Kevin. He helped me focus on the music I heard growing up in Mississippi, but as a way of discovering more about who I was as an artist.

    "With AM County Heaven and now Daylight & Dark, I've learned to stop second guessing," Eady declares. "Now I understand that I'm a country artist. That's the music I love, and that's what I always want to be."

  • Carl Anderson

    Carl Anderson

    Pop

    In August of 2011, 23-year-old Carl Anderson set out to fund his debut album through Kickstarter. As the days rolled by and the funding stalled out at less than a quarter of his stated goal, Carl's "Dream Record" project seemed forever doomed to remain a dream. With 10 days and thousands of dollars to go, he was given the opportunity to promote his project on Charlottesville's community radio station. After playing a handful of acoustic songs to a radio audience, his Kickstarter campaign gained new life. He raised a thousand dollars on that day and exceeded his fundraising goal 10 days later.

    Wolftown is the result of years of songwriting, heartbreak, and a nailbiter of a capital campaign. Carl Anderson threw his CD release party at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall in downtown Charlottesville, his first show as a headliner and his first sellout.

    Wolftown was met with immediate critical success. It was selected as CD of the Month for January, 2012 by Virginia's WNRN FM. The Music Initiative stated, "The first four tracks on Virginia native Carl Anderson's recent release are almost too good to be true. But the first two tracks are two of the best I've heard this year." NoDepression.com raved, "Wolftown is all about Carl Anderson, but that shows up in different ways. It showcases an enormous songwriting talent. It rides on Carl's perfect/imperfect voice (it is called phrasing, friends, and Carl has it down). It is production and arrangement and musicianship all brought together for one album. It doesn't happen that often.

    Carl Anderson has quickly become a staple at Virginia festivals, logging two appearances each at Campout East and The Festy Experience plus Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Misty Mountain Music Fest and Crozet Music Festival. 2012 has been a year of touring for Carl, sharing stages with Cracker, Southern Culture on the Skids, Sons of Bill, and Jonny Corndawg. He was selected as a finalist for Telluride Bluegrass Festival's Telluride Troubadour songwriting contest and recently recorded a Daytrotter session.

    Although still relatively young, Carl has been writing and recording music for years and his songs speak of emotion unknown to the average twentysomething. Carl played for years with his group Pine Radio and recorded and toured extensively with various other artists in Charlottesville and beyond. His song "Heavy" was recorded by Nashville singer Andrew Combs. Today, Carl Anderson focuses on his solo career. Having solidified a powerful backing band, Carl is putting his effort toward the follow-up to Wolftown. On his next record, Carl looks to build on what he has started and hopes that funding will be less suspenseful in the future.

    Wolftown is the result of years of songwriting, heartbreak, and a nailbiter of a capital campaign. Carl Anderson threw his CD release party at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall in downtown Charlottesville, his first show as a headliner and his first sellout.

     

    Wolftown was met with immediate critical success. It was selected as CD of the Month for January, 2012 by Virginia’s WNRN FM. The Music Initiative stated, "The first four tracks on Virginia native Carl Anderson's recent release are almost too good to be true. But the first two tracks are two of the best I've heard this year." NoDepression.com raved, “Wolftown is all about Carl Anderson, but that shows up in different ways. It showcases an enormous songwriting talent. It rides on Carl's perfect/imperfect voice (it is called phrasing, friends, and Carl has it down). It is production and arrangement and musicianship all brought together for one album. It doesn't happen that often.”

     

    Carl Anderson has quickly become a staple at Virginia festivals, logging two appearances each at Campout East and The Festy Experience plus Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Misty Mountain Music Fest and Crozet Music Festival. 2012 has been a year of touring for Carl, sharing stages with Cracker, Southern Culture on the Skids, Sons of Bill, and Jonny Corndawg. He was selected as a finalist for Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s Telluride Troubadour songwriting contest and recently recorded a Daytrotter session.

     

    Although still relatively young, Carl has been writing and recording music for years and his songs speak of emotion unknown to the average twentysomething. Carl played for years with his group Pine Radio and recorded and toured extensively with various other artists in Charlottesville and beyond. His song “Heavy” was recorded by Nashville singer Andrew Combs. Today, Carl Anderson focuses on his solo career. Having solidified a powerful backing band, Carl is putting his effort toward the follow-up to Wolftown. On his next record, Carl looks to build on what he has started and hopes that funding will be less suspenseful in the future.

  • William Clark Green

    William Clark Green

    Country

    With two critically esteemed album releases already under his belt, William Clark Green is back and this time it is getting personal. Give Green a pen and paper and he is a lyrical force to be reckoned with. On his critically acclaimed third release, Rose Queen, he is puts it all on the line and makes absolutely no apologies. “Songwriting is reality. People are scared to put reality on paper, but this is 10 times more reality than my past work,” he explains bluntly. The past few years have been consumed with Green touring heavily in the booming Texas scene and persistently writing a plethora of songs that are pulled from true to life experiences. Green has adamantly pushed his boundaries as a writer revealing, “Songwriting is exactly what is in your heart, in my opinion, it is not about writing a hit. It is about revealing your heart and your feelings on the paper.” 

    The music on Rose Queen ranges from the familiar Cajan flare he is known for on "Let's Go" to the highly reflective and introspective "Welcome to the Family." In the candidly honest lead single, "It's About Time," Will tackles the harsh reality that a significant relationship must end. He explains, “I think the new record will connect with a certain demographic of people who have been effected by something in their lives and therefore can identify with my stories.” 

    Not only has Green raised the bar with his seasoned writing and musicianship, he also enlisted a team of powerhouses to mold his full package of artistry. Music industry veteran Rachel Loy was recruited to undertake producing the new record. Green declares, “I was sold on her in just 30 minutes. She installs confidence and challenges me to be better.” Also, in the last year he signed with new management, 415 Entertainment, as well as landed a booking deal with Nashville’s Paradigm Agency. For the first time, Green embraced the nature of co-writing and included 4 tracks of co-writes on the new album. 

    William Clark Green is definitely no stranger to the music scene; he knew at the ripe age of 13 that he would embrace his passion and work vigorously in order to make a name for himself. As a 7th grader with substantial ambition, he began receiving guitar lessons and spending free time with his cousin writing music and bouncing ideas off of one another. Green draws inspiration from his personal musical hero Willis Allan Ramsey, as well as his father who Green has fond memories of with a guitar in hand. 

    While attending college at Texas Tech University, Green played for a live audience whenever he could and steadily gained notoriety on the Texas music scene. He credits the Blue Light in Lubbock as his unofficial home, where he spent many nights honing on his craft and gaining a loyal army of followers.

    Rose Queen has already marked a number of milestones for the young storyteller. The debut single, “It’s About Time”, was welcomed at radio with open arms and earned William’s first Top Ten song on Texas Radio. The momentum did not stop there as his follow up single, “She Likes The Beatles,” recently scored the #1 position on both the Texas Music Chart (TMC) and the Texas Regional Radio Report (TRRR) in seemingly the blink of an eye. At this rate, the sky is the limit as everyone waits to see what William Clark Green has up his sleeve next. The full album released on April 30, 2013. 

  • Bart Crow

    Bart Crow

    Country

    Always known as "the nice guy" with a smile on his face, the tides are turning and the gloves are coming off.  Bart Crow is still the kind of guy and artist fans in the South and Midwest have grown to love. 

    The road-toughened troubadour and his band have already logged thousands of miles playing 130+ dates a year in front of loyal rowdy crowds at far-flung, late-night clubs and concert halls all over Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska and beyond. 

    It's his music that draws them -- a tangle of roots in blues, country and down-home rock 'n' roll, branded with his unique imprint. They hear their lives in his lyrics, written in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and other true-life troubadours.

    With no help from big-time labels, and money pulled from his own pockets, Crow has put together an admirable track record as a recording artist, having lofted six No. 1 singles onto the Texas Music Chart – one of which, "Wear My Ring," sold over 165,000 copies. He has sold over 40,000 albums, released five self-produced albums in just over a decade, including Dandelion, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers South Central chart. He's been cheered in Country Weekly, on CMT and in other national media outlets. His YouTube videos and concert footage have drawn more than 2.5 million views.

    He's chiseled his foothold in the edifice of Americana through hard work, talent, determination and a deep love for making music and building the best life he can for his wife Brooke and three kids Townes, River and Parsons.

    Myriad spirits haunt his music-- a choir of real American country in the fashion of Merle and Waylon, John Conlee, George Jones and Jerry Jeff Walker, razor-edged rock from Metallica, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, deep-fried Southern soul from Otis Redding and more.

    Yet in the end, Bart Crow is what you get: a blue-collar balladeer with his own unique message. It comes across loud and clear on his newest set of passionate songs and performances, The Parade. Released in partnership with Thirty Tigers, it spotlights an artist whose story will feel familiar to all Americans who know what it means to survive in challenging times.

    New listeners may go beyond enjoying The Parade to identify with Crow as someone who knows first-hand the challenges of balancing one's dreams, integrity, responsibilities and reality. That dream is within reach now, because Crow's story is your story too. All you need to do is listen -- and join The Parade.

  • Ryan Beaver

    Ryan Beaver

    Country

    “This album is titled Rx because these songs are like medicine to me,” Ryan Beaver says of his consistently compelling new release.  “Making this record was so much fun, and so therapeutic.  These songs serve as a prescription for getting excited about music and life.  And if they’re like medicine for me, maybe they will be for the listeners.”

    Indeed, the 12-song set, the Texas-bred, Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s third longplayer, offers a potent mix of haunting emotional depth and resonant melodic craft.  His insightful, infectious compositions and deeply expressive voice honor the artist’s deep country roots, while transcending the genre’s stylistic boundaries to incorporate a widescreen sense of drama that’s anchored by his lifelong love for raw, gritty rock ‘n’ roll.

    The resulting album, which the artist co-produced with longtime compadres Jeremy Spillman and Ryan Tyndell, makes it abundantly clear why Ryan Beaver has already been widely acclaimed as an artist to watch.  Rolling Stone recently named him one of “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know,” and he’s received public acclaim from the likes of Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves and Lee Ann Womack, with whom he’s toured as an opening act.

    The surging, anthem “Dark,” Rx’s opening track and emotional centerpiece, makes it clear why Beaver’s work has generated so much excitement.  A startlingly direct declaration of emotional perseverance, it’s a powerful anthem of hope and survival in the face of loss and disappointment.  A comparable level of emotional gravity powers such memorable tracks as “Rum & Roses,” “Habit,” “When This World Ends” and the stirring album-closer “If I Had A Horse.”  The artist reveals a more humorous attitude on “Fast” and “Vegas,” and pays tribute to one of his creative role models with “Kristofferson,” which he prefaces with a section of Kris Kristofferson’s own “Jesus Was A Capricorn.”

    “This is my third album, but in a lot of ways it feels like it’s my first,” Ryan states, adding, “I feel like I’ve reached the point where I know what a good song is, and I have a clear vision of what I want to accomplish.”

    Ryan Beaver’s forthright, personally-charged songwriting reflects the lessons learned over a lifelong creative journey.  Growing up in the small Texas town of Emory, he began writing songs early in life, and began performing his compositions in local venues when he was just 17.

    “Music opened up another world for me,” Ryan recalls.  “I played in bands, on drums and guitar and piano, but I could never shake the songwriting thing.  I didn’t sing for awhile, because I was kind of shy as a teenager, but I always found comfort in being able to write a song.  Writing songs was my way of getting the world to make sense.

    “I grew up in this really small town, 70 miles east of Dallas-Fort Worth, 1500 people,” he explains.  “There’s not a lot to do out there, so you had to be creative about how you spent your time.   We had this amazing little scene pop up, where you could actually play your own songs.  I was a trainwreck at first, but I worked at it and I got better.”

    He moved to Austin and became a part of that city’s fertile music scene, and then relocated to Nashville, where he has immersed himself in Music City’s songwriting community and continued to hone his skills.

    “I’ve done hundreds and hundreds of shows, primarily in the Southwest, but eventually I realized that I needed to go do this for real and build this thing.  I loved Austin, but I knew that the best singers, players and writers are in Nashville, and that the bar was way higher there.  It was the best thing for me.  I wrote more songs and sang more in a year in Nashville than I would have in five years anywhere else.  And the more you do it, the better you get at it.”

    Beaver applied that pragmatic attitude to recording Rx, which he recorded on his own dime, without the benefit of record-company financing.  The project was set into motion, he says, when he wrote “Dark” while mourning the deaths of his grandfather and a close friend.

    “Writing ‘Dark’ really shook me, and really woke me up,” he says.  “I think I needed to hear those words more than anybody, and I realized that if I felt that way, maybe others would.  I got super excited, and I thought, ‘OK, I think I’m onto something here, this is a path that I want to take.’

    “I’m a fan of all kinds of music, and I think that’s reflected on the album,” he continues.  “We talked a lot about what we felt was missing from country music now and how we could bring some of that back, and at the same time, how could we push the envelope a little.  That thought was always there: let’s see if we can take this genre to somewhere it hasn’t been before.  But my main goal was to make a record that I would want to hear, with well-crafted songs that said something.

    “Singing ‘I ain’t afraid of the dark’ is as simple as it gets, and anybody can understand what it means.  That’s me trying to be an adult and trying to figure out how to deal with the real world.  It’s really simple, but getting yourself to the point where you’re able to express things that simply is a challenge, and it something I aspire to.  That’s what Hank Williams did, and it’s what Tom Petty does: express these complicated emotions in everyday language that everyone can understand.  That’s my goal.”

AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE (WRISTBAND)

Wed Sep 21 2016 6:00 PM - Wed Oct 19 2016

(Doors 6:00 PM)

Mercy Lounge Nashville TN
AMERICANA MUSIC FESTIVAL & CONFERENCE (WRISTBAND)
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$60 Wristbands Ages 18+

Wristbands allow access to all shows at each venue (Cannery Ballroom, Mercy Lounge, The High Watt, Basement, Basement East, City Winery, Family Wash, The 5 Spot, Music City Roots, Station Inn, 3rd & Lindsley, Third Man, plus various additional events to be announced) all five nights (check listings for nightly venue lineups). 

Each room is limited to capacity. A wristband or ticket does not guarantee admission to any specific artist. If there is a specific artist you wish to see, please arrive early to ensure you are allowed entry.

This does NOT include admission to the Americana Honors & Awards Show on Wednesday or the Ascend Amphitheater events on Tuesday and Thursday. You must purchase tickets to attend those shows.

For the full festival line-up visit: http://americanamusic.org

Wristband pickup location is The Cannery Ballroom box office at this address the week of the festival:

One Cannery Row

Nashville, TN 37203

Pickup times: 

Mon: Noon-6pm

Tues: Noon-10pm 

Wed - Fri: Noon-Midnight