Author: Americana Music News

Turnpike Troubadours’ “Goodbye Normal Street”

By Ken Paulson —Goodbye Normal Street, the Turnpike Troubadours’ third album, boasts driving roots and country music, strong narratives and a disproportionate number of songs about really bad relationships. From the aptly titled “Wrecked:” “But you wrecked it all/ you wrecked my heart/you wrecked our house and you wrecked my car.” “Good Lord Lorrie” suggests a bit of the Band,…

Review: 2012 Houston International Festival

By Paul T. Mueller –You couldn’t have written a better script for the opening day of the 2012 Houston International Festival. After a stormy Friday that saw high winds and thunderstorms rake the city, Saturday, April 21 was clear, cool and breezy – near-perfect conditions for Houston’s premier cultural and musical celebration. Festival-goers were rewarded with excellent performances by a…

Mountain Song at Sea: Bluegrass cruise set for 2013

We’ve raved about Cayamo, the annual cruise featuring top Americana artists. Now Sixthman, the company behind Cayamo, has announced a new cruise called “Mountain Song at Sea,” featuring top bluegrass performers. Already booked: The host Steep Canyon Rangers, The David Grisman Sextet, Del McCoury Band, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Tim O’Brien and Bryan Sutton, the Kruger Brothers, Peter Rowan, Larry Keel…

Charting: Steep Canyon Rangers, Lumineers

Last week we confidently predicted a long run for Lyle Lovett’s Release Me at the top of the Americana Music Association airplay chart. So much for that. This week Justin Townes Earles’ Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me moved past it to the number one position. Chart debuts this week: The Steep Canyon Rangers’ Nobody Knows You…

Re-issues: “The Red Bird Girls” in stereo

By Ken Paulson –The Red Bird Girls Very First Time in True Stereo is a stunning collection of pop songs recorded almost half a century ago on the Red Bird label founded by legendary rock ‘n’ roll songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The title says it all: Girl groups and singers in impeccable stereo, taken from recently discovered masters.…

New to chart: Trampled By Turtles, Dr. John, Mastersons

Lyle Lovett remains steady at the top of the Americana Music Association  Airplay Chart with Release Me, holding off Justin Townes Earle’s Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me. It looks like a long run ahead. New to the chart this week: Trampled by Turtles’ Stars and Satellites at #25,  Dr. John’s Locked Down at #27 and the…

Review: Keith Moody’s “Dreaming Out Loud”

Keith Moody’s Dreaming Out Loud is an album of another era, colection of soaring rock with terrific hooks and strong melodies. If Moody were 65, you’d call it classic rock, but this is a young man who learned from the masters. The most obvious influence is Tom Petty, but that takes the form of inspiration, not mimicry. There’s a hint of Gin Blossoms and…

Review: Matt Harlan’s “Bow and Be Simple”

By Paul T. Mueller –Ever wonder where songs come from? At a recent in-store performance at Cactus Music in Houston, Texas singer-songwriter Matt Harlan described the genesis of one of the best tracks on his latest CD, Bow and Be Simple. Headed east toward Louisiana early one morning, he watched the sun come up in a profusion of colors. The…

New to chart: Yarn, Bonnie Raitt, JD McPherson

Lyle Lovett is on top of the Americana Music Radio airplay charts again this week, and is actually picking up momentum, with a total of 486 spins of tracks from Release Me. New on the chart this week: Yarn’s Almost Home at #34, JD McPherson’s Signs and Signifiers at #38, Bonnie Raitt’s Slipstream at #39 and Sirens by Sons of…

David Olney’s Solid “Stone”

By Tommy Womack –I don’t always like modern Christian records. They’re often maudlin affairs percolating with manufactured ecstasy. But nothing captures my fancy more than a healthy dissertation on the Historical Jesus. Leave it to David Olney to marry the two notions without the fakery of the former or the dry academic tedium of the latter. The Stone is Olney’s…

Review: Levi Lowrey’s “I Confess I Was A Fool”

by Paul T. Mueller –Let’s hope that Levi Lowrey’s debut CD, I Confess I Was a Fool, is at least partly a work of imagination and not completely autobiographical. It’s easy to imagine that the excesses he writes and sings about so well might cut short his promising career, if not his life, and that would be a real loss…

Tin Pan South Festival: Jimmy Webb, Jack Tempchin and Felix Cavaliere

By Ken Paulson –Tin Pan South is a weeklong festival in Nashville featuring fine songwriters and engaging songs, but there was no question that the event’s epicenter was at 3rd and Lindsley tonight, as pop and rock songwriting royalty performed. Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals took the stage first, and he remains in astonishingly fine voice. He began with “It’s…

Tin Pan South Festival: Opening night preview

You’ll find great music in Nashville’s clubs all this week as they host the annual Tin Pan South Festival, a celebration of songwriters. Venues all over town feature singers and songwriters, typically in the round in groups of four. The performances are short on flash and high in talent. The 2012 festival kicks off tonight. Among the evening’s highlights: 6…

Concert review: Spanky and Our Gang

by Terry Roland –The new Spanky and Our Gang played to a sold-out audience at Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena, California this month, not so much a reunion as an acknowledgement of the way Americana music connects us to our past and to each other. With the exception of Elaine ”Spanky” McFarlane, the original players are gone. They included Oz…

Review: Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball”

by Terry Roland Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball is the antithesis of his nearly 30 year-old Born in the U.S.A.  As a writer, he has always highlighted the dark edges and ragged truth found in an America that has more kinship with John Steinbeck and Woody Guthrie than Ronald Reagan. While this earlier classic was in many ways just as dark…