New: Molly and Me’s “Old Friend”


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Americana Music Association’s Top 100 albums

avettThe Americana Music Association just released its list of its 100 top albums, the most-played on Americana music radio stations from Dec. 1, 2015 through Dec. 5, 2016. Each year we always find some overlooked gem. The Avett Brothers top the new list, followed by the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bonnie Raitt and the Lumineers. For full details and other Americana music news, you’ll want to visit their site.

 

Avett Brothers True Sadness
Tedeschi Trucks Band Let Me Get By
Bonnie Raitt Dig In Deep
Lumineers Cleopatra
Hayes Carll Lovers And Leavers
Parker Millsap The Very Last Day
Mudcrutch 2
Sturgill Simpson A Sailor’s Guide To Earth
Colvin & Earle Colvin & Earle
Jayhawks Paging Mr. Proust
Margo Price Midwest Farmer’s Daughter
Record Company Give It Back To You
Lucinda Williams The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats
Dylan LeBlanc Cautionary Tale
Cactus Blossoms You’re Dreaming
Darrell Scott Couchville Sessions
Elizabeth Cook Exodus Of Venus
Bonnie Bishop Ain’t Who I Was
Aubrie Sellers New City Blues
Sarah Jarosz Undercurrent
Loretta Lynn Full Circle
Sara Watkins Young In All The Wrong Ways
Shovels & Rope Little Seeds
Carrie Rodriguez Lola
Josh Ritter Sermon On The Rocks
Wynonna & The Big Noise Wynonna & The Big Noise
Infamous Stringdusters Ladies & Gentlemen
John Prine For Better, Or Worse
Hard Working Americans Rest In Chaos
Paul Simon Stranger To Stranger
James Hunter Six Hold On!
Aoife O’Donovan Magic Hour
Robert Ellis Robert Ellis
Honeycutters On The Ropes
Luther Dickinson Blues & Ballads
Peter Wolf A Cure For Loneliness
Sam Bush Storyman
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals Call It What It Is
Devil Makes Three Redemption & Ruin
Joe Ely Panhandle Rambler
Buddy Miller & Friends Cayamo Sessions At Sea
Dwight Yoakam Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…
Lori McKenna The Bird & The Rifle
Jason Isbell Something More Than Free
Yarn This Is The Year
Wilco Schmilco
Various – The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson God Don’t Never Change
Anderson East Delilah
Randy Rogers Band Nothing Shines Like Neon
Corb Lund Things That Can’t Be Undone
Turnpike Troubadours Turnpike Troubadours
Willie Sugarcapps Paradise Right Here
Luke Bell Luke Bell
Jim Lauderdale Soul Searching
John Doe Westerner
Bottle Rockets South Broadway Athletic Club
Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones Little Windows
Miss Tess Baby, We All Know
Los Lobos Gates Of Gold
Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone Transatlanticana
Southern Culture On The Skids The Electric Pinecones
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Lost Time
Black Lillies Hard To Please
Green River Ordinance Fifteen
Jack Ingram Midnight Motel
Patty Griffin Servant Of Love
Amanda Shires My Piece Of Land
Chris Isaak First Comes The Night
Charles Bradley Changes
Sierra Hull Weighted Mind
Wood Brothers Paradise
Reckless Kelly Sunset Motel
Chris Stapleton Traveller
Shovels & Rope Busted Jukebox Volume 1
Hackensaw Boys Charismo
Grant Lee Phillips The Narrows
Todd Snider Eastside Bulldog
Seth Walker Gotta Get Back
Charlie Faye & The Fayettes Charlie Faye & The Fayettes
Drive-By Truckers American Band
William Bell This Is Where I Live
Derek Hoke Southern Moon
Tim O’Brien Pompadour
Sarah Borges Good And Dirty
Frankie Lee American Dreamer
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell So Familiar
Earls Of Leicester Rattle & Roar
Hiss Golden Messenger Heart Like A Levee
Whiskey Myers Mud
Billy Bragg & Joe Henry Shine A Light
Lydia Loveless Real
Sean McConnell Sean McConnell
Malcolm Holcombe Another Black Hole
Billy Gibbons Perfectamundo
Tim Easton American Fork
Mary Chapin Carpenter The Things We Are Made Of
Rob Baird Wrong Side Of The River
Brent Cobb Shine On Rainy Day
Janiva Magness Love Wins Again

 

 

New release: Farewell Milwaukee’s “FM”

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Carolyn Sills Combo’s ‘Dime Stories Vol. 2″

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New: Balsam Range’s “Mountain Voodoo”

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Review: Aaron Lee Tasjan’s “Silver Tears”

 

silvertears_160By Paul T. Mueller – With his new album Silver Tears, Aaron Lee Tasjan nails an impressive achievement – channeling a roster of worthy influences while remaining true to his own voice and vision. Tasjan, an accomplished singer-songwriter and guitarist based in East Nashville, leads off with “Hard Life,” which does in fact deal with difficulties, but in a bouncy pop style that brings to mind Harry Nilsson. “Little Movies” casts life in cinematic terms – “Watch the day unfold in little movies / With silver tears that sparkle from my eyes” – recalling John Lennon in both its arrangement and its lyrics. The dramatic “Ready to Die” evokes Warren Zevon in its fatalistic lyrics (“I’m ready to die / For a worthy cause / It’s ’cause I’m tired of feeling bad”).

Tasjan, who’s done stints with the New York Dolls and drivin n cryin in addition to his solo work, is a master of many musical styles, as shown here on the introspective ballad “Refugee Blues,” the soulful twang of “Memphis Rain,” the quiet folksiness of “On Your Side,” the bluesy New Orleans vibe of “12 Bar Blues,” and the exuberant R&B of “Success.” All of it is driven by richly textured instrumental support, not least of which are Tasjan’s excellent guitars. It’s also peppered with lyrical wisdom. “One day, they said the future / Was flying cars and a ride on a rocket,” Tasjan sings in “Till the Town Goes Dark.” “Time passed and all I got / Was America today and a TV in my pocket.” Credit to producer Eli Thomson and a fine group of supporting musicians.

In “Success,” Tasjan observes, “Success ain’t about being better than everyone else / It’s about being better than yourself.” Given that Silver Tears is his strongest and most consistent effort to date, that makes Aaron Lee Tasjan, by his own lights, a success. Listeners are likely to agree.

New release: Kacey Musgraves’ “Very Kacey Christmas”

kacey-christmasAmericana Music NewsKacey Musgraves has a new holiday album, aptly titled A Very Kacey Christmas. She talked about the unconventional collection of Yuletide tunes in an interview on WMOT Roots Radio at the Family Wash in East Nashville yesterday.

There are standards – “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” among them – but plenty of surprises as well. There’s the obscure 1953 hit “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and a cover of “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late.)”

Guest appearances include Willie Nelson on “A Willie Nice Christmas,” plus the Quebe Sisters and Leon Bridges.

First-person: Aaron Lee Tasjan’s “Silver Tears”

Americana Music News – Aaron Lee Tasjan dropped by the Family Wash in Nashville today to sing a few songs on a WMOT Roots Radio broadcast in support of his new album “Silver Tears.” Here he talks about the new recording and an unusual promotional tour.

New releases: Mavericks, Dale Watson, Becky Warren

New and recent releases:

mavericks-liveThe MavericksAll Night Live, Vol. 1 – Mondo Mundo Records – The Mavericks have had an extraordinary resurgence in recent years, emerging as top Americana music artists. All Night Live, Vol. 1 is packed with vibrant live versions of songs, largely from recent albums, plus a charming cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon. The collection is the first release on the band’s new Mondo Mundo label, and lead singer  Raul Malo told the Tennessean there are “so many freakin’ volumes” to come in the “All Night Live” series. A new studio album is expected in April 2017.

Blind PilotAnd Then Like Lions – ATO Records – Third album from the Portland-based band, now on tour in California.

Jesse DaytonThe Revealer – Blue Elan Records – The ninth album from Jesse Dayton includes standout track “Holy Ghost Rock ‘n’ Roller,” now getting good play on WMOT. He’s on tour through early December

dale-watsonDale WatsonUnder the Influence – BFD – Dale Watson revisits honky tonk and country classics on this new collection, including covers of Doug Sham, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Lefty Frizell and Mel Tillis.

Becky WarrenWar Surplus – Here’s a novel album concept. Nashville-based Becky Warren tells the story of a solider in Iraq and his girlfriend, with songs alternating their points of view. Warren goes on tour with the Indigo Girls beginning October 27.

Cris JacobsDust to Gold – American Showplace Music – Second album from Cris Jacobs, on tour through October and November.

nipperDavid Nipper EP – Fresh collection from talented Nashville singer-songwriter David Nipper. He’ll appear in the round  at the Commodore Grill in Nashville on November 10 with Phil Dillon and Dave Gibson.

Jack Tempchin One More Song – Blue Elan Records – New album from Eagles collaborator and songwriter Jack Tempchin is an intimate collection, opening with his Johnny Rivers classic “Slow Dancin’.”

 

 

Review: “In the Dark” by Matt Harlan and Rachel Jones

By Paul T. Mueller

harlan_darkIn the Dark marks a couple of changes of direction for Houston-based singer-songwriter Matt Harlan. He’s now part of a duo; his musical partner and wife, Rachel Jones, has contributed to previous projects, but this time she gets equal billing on the CD cover and a much-expanded vocal role, of which she’s more than worthy. And his songs are more about poetic abstraction – images and feelings – than the narrative of such earlier efforts as “Elizabethtown” and “Old Allen Road.”

Case in point: In the title track, nothing much happens except some sitting – in a bar, at home – and watching the night give way to the day. The stylistic shift might be frustrating to fans of Harlan’s storytelling skills, but there’s a place for quieter, less linear songs as well. Harlan and Jones are good at this kind of thing, using their understated but expressive vocals as a vehicle for Harlan’s literate lyrics. All of it is supported by his excellent guitar playing and contributions from some talented guests.

The album’s only song not written or co-written by Harlan, “My Mother’s Song (at Seventeen),” does feature a narrative of sorts. Written by Steve Dodson and Danny Jones, it’s a dialogue of conflict and reconciliation between a parent and a child. “You look at me and disagree,” Jones sings, “and shake your head and sigh.” Guest vocalist Allison Fisher replies, “The thing that you don’t understand is – we sing a different song.” Later they harmonize on a conclusion: “The thing that you don’t understand is – we see a different light.”

Time is a recurring theme on In the Dark. “Move Slow” envisions “every day [as] a gift from somewhere else” and admonishes us to seize the day: “Just imagine all the time we’ll never get to dance out in the thunderstorms.” “Strangers on the Hill” laments the passage of time (“Simple story: Time drifts by”) while casting a critical eye on how we choose to pass that time: “Obligations, tensions high: trying to live like the strangers on the hill.”

Time and change also figure in “Mozart,” which closes the eight-song set. “Mozart will always be Mozart, just like disco will always be dead,” Harlan sings, but in contrast, “as long as I’m living I’m changing, with each drop of sweat that rolls off of my brow.”

Matt Harlan and Rachel Jones share production credit; contributors include Tony Barilla on accordion and keyboards, Steve Candelari on drums and Willy T Golden on lap steel.

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