Ashley Cleveland, a 3-time Grammy winner for rock gospel, has just released ‘One More Song,” a powerful and personal album that mirrors the honesty of her memoir “Little Black Sheep.” She talks about her once-tumultuous life and music in this episode of the Americana Music Podcast.
There’s a good case to make that Chip Taylor is a godfather of Americana music. His ’70 albums – particularly “Chip Taylor’s Last Chance” – foreshadowed the genre to come. Chip has had an astonishing career as a Hall of Fame songwriter (“Wild Thing,” “Angel of the Morning”), as a partner with Carrie Rodriguez and as a solo artist of great integrity. In this conversation on Grammys weekend in New York, Chip tells us about his latest album “Fix Your Words.”
Brian Pounds, the Austin-based singer-songwriter,whose credits include a finalist slot in the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk songwriting contest and an appearance on “The Voice” a few years ago, leans more toward country than folk on his new nine-song set.
Coming Jan. 26 is “With All Its Thorns,” the third album from Laura Benitez, who melds traditional country, rockabilly, Cajun and Mexican music in highly engaging fashion. A sample:
We’ve long admired Eric Brace’s work, from Last Train Home to his solo work and collaborations with Peter Cooper, and his new “Cartes Postales” shows us a new side of his art. The album honors his father’s life and love of music and nine of the ten tracks are sung in French, his father’s home country. The music is beautiful, thanks in part to the many contributions of Rory Hoffman. A sample, taken from Eric’s appearance on Music City Roots:
By Ken Paulson
One of my projects each year is to put together concerts that celebrate free speech. This year we had a new recruit.
Grant-Lee Phillips turned in great performances in Nashville at the Family Wash on the 4th of July and at the Bluebird Café in September, closing the latter concert with a roaring take on “Rockin’ in the Free World.”
So it makes perfect sense that Phillips’ new album “Widdershins,” set for release on Feb. 23 on Yep Roc Records, reflects his perspective on today’s free world.
“I made a commitment to myself not to sink into despair,” Phillips said in a release. “I’m tracing a longer narrative here. We’ve been through some of this before – not just our country, but the civilization as a whole.”
Here’s a preview track from the new album:
By Ken Paulson
Bill Lloyd of power pop and Foster and Lloyd fame has a new album out this week and it’s a musical departure. Rather than the Beatles/Byrds-infused sounds of “Set to Pop” and “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” “It’s Happening Now” is a refreshing collection of quieter, well-crafted compositions, long on melody and wry observations. We had the chance to catch up with Bill right before a performance in Nashville on Saturday to talk about his career, musical heroes and his new songs, including the only-in-Nashville “Pedal Tavern Girl.” As he notes in the interview, if you’ve liked Bill’s past work, you’ll enjoy “It’s Happening Now” as well. Highly recommended.
“Ghost Light” is John McCutcheon’s 39th album, set for release early next year, and continues his tradition of combining traditional folk with fresh perspectives.
“The Machine,” a reflection on the events in Charlottesville in August, 2017 is particularly compelling. There’s also the sheer joy of “She Just Dances,” about a granddaughter discovering dancing, and “When My Fight for Life Is Over,” a new song built around a fragment of a Woody Guthrie composition. Highly recommended.
Just released is “The Life and Songs of Kris Kristofferson,” a three-disc set with guest spots from Buddy Miller, Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Rodney Crowell, Alison Krauss and many more.
Billy Burnette has a fun new album “Crazy Like Me” that chronicles his career in music, including his years in Fleetwood Mac. We caught up with him at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville.
We first saw Brian Dunne on the Sandy Beaches Cruise and came away impressed. His new album is called “Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements.” Among the highlights:
Lee Ann Womack’s “The Way I’m Livin’ ” and her new album “The Lonely, Lonesome & The Gone” were of a kind with her debut hit “Never Again Again.” She really just came home to the genre.
Why would an artist remake a widely praised and much-loved album from early in her career? In the case of This Sweet Old World, Lucinda Williams’ fresh take on her Sweet Old World from 1992, only Williams really knows.
Like NRBQ, the Groovies were more a cult band than commercial group, and their line-up has had seismic shifts over the years. And like NRBQ, they’re out there touring in support of a current album, drawing on a rich catalog and having as good a time as they can.
Radney Foster can now add “author” to his already impressive résumé. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter recently published For You to See the Stars, a collection of short stories related in some way to lyrics from his songs.
Transient Lullaby, the most recent album by The Mastersons – singer/guitarist Chris Masterson and singer/multi-instrumentalist Eleanor Whitmore – reads as an account of the couple’s musical and personal lives.
Willie Nile may carried those Dylan comparisons for the longest time, in part because of a vocal resemblance. It’s not something he shies away from, as evidenced by “Positively Bob – Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan,” his new covers collection.