Oct. 20 – This week in Americana music

This week in Americana

Lucinda Williams remains in the top spot in the Americana Music Association airplay chart with Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, followed by Paul Thorn’s Too Blessed to Be Stressed. Dropping to third is Justin Townes Earle’s Single Mothers, with new albums by Ryan Adams and John Hiatt rounding out the top five.

In Nashville:

Lake Street Dive 150x150 Oct. 20   This week in Americana musicIt’s another great week for live shows in Nashville. We’re particularly enthusiastic about the Lake Street Dive show at the Cannery Ballroom on 10/25. Their Bad Self Portraits is one of our favorite albums of 2014, a smart and engaging pop showcase.

Jason Isbell, the hottest artist in Americana music, has a three-night run at the Ryman Auditorium beginning 10/24.

Wilco 10/21 and 10/22 at the Ryman Auditorium

Mac Wiseman at the Franklin Theatre 10/21

Los Lobos 10/22 at City Winery

Music City Roots, featuring Caleb Klauder, James McMurtry, Del Barber, Caroline Rose and John Oates at the Factory in Franklin

Beausoleil Avec Michael Doucet 10/25 at 3rd and Lindsley

New this week:

The Earls of Leicester, a celebration of Flatt and Scruggs, from Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Shawn Camp, Charlie Cushman and Barry Bales.

In the news:

The Bonnaroo Music Festival announced its 2015 dates: June 11-14 in Manchester, TN.

Hard Working Americans  will release The First Waltz, a live album and documentary on Oct. 28.

Follow Sun209 on Twitter at @Sun209com.

This week in Americana music

This week in Americana

Lucinda WilliamsDown Where the Spirit Meets the Bone tops the Americana Music Association airplay chart  for yet another week, followed by Justin Townes Earle’s Single Mothers, Paul Thorn’s Too Blessed to Be Stressed (reviewed here) and the latest from Shovels and Rope (review), Ryan Adams and John Hiatt (review.)

In Nashville: Music City Roots at the Factory in Franklin features Selwyn Birchwood, Taylor Beshears, Keelan Donovan and Whiskey Shivers on Oct. 15. Tickets are $15.

Sons of Bill at the High Watt, Friday, Oct. 17

Steel Wheels at 3rd and Lindsley, Oct. 17

Jessi Alexander, Jonathan Singleton, Barry Dean and Jon Randall at the Bluebird Café, Oct. 17

Angaleena CD 150x150 This week in Americana musicAngaleena Presley is featured at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Songwriter Session at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The Long Players recreate Born in the USA at 3rd and Lindsley, Oct. 18

In the news:

The Country Music Hall of Fame announced a major exhibition set for March 27, 2015: Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats, Museum director Kyle Young says “this exhibit is a great opportunity to talk about the early confluence of country and rock.”

The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has just opened an exhibit celebrating the Carter Family and Johnny Cash.

Americana on tour:

Runner of the Woods in Newport, Kentucky 10/16, Thomas, West Virginia 10/17 and Bluefield, West Virginia, 10/18.

New releases this week:

American Middle Class by Angaleena Presley

The Essential Kinks

Ride Out by Bob Seger

All Them Ghosts by Pauline Andres, “written over 4 years in 4 different countries,” according to the release.

 

 

1861 Project set for Franklin Theatre

Franklin 150x150 1861 Project set for Franklin TheatreBy Ken Paulson

It’s the rare concept album that holds up over multiple editions. Bat Out of Hell III anyone?

One exception was the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken series, which spanned several decades. And now we have the third volume of the  1861 Project, which brings together talented artists to chronicle the Civil War through music.

Franklin, the third volume in this consistently well-done series, focuses on the Battle in Franklin, just south of Nashville. On November 28, the new album – along with selections from the first two editions, will be performed at the Franklin Theater, timed to coincide with the 15oth anniversary of that battle.

Bobby Bare, Kim Richey, Sierra Hull, Maura O’Connell, Peter Cooper, Eric Brace and Irene Kelly are among the talented artists participating in this  rare and possibly final performance of the 1861 Project in concert.

Tickets are available online from the Franklin Theater.

Highly recommended.

Review: Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett in concert

By Paul T. Mueller

A recent show at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, just north of Houston, marked a kind of homecoming for a pair of celebrated Texas singer-songwriters. The Sept. 11 gig featured Robert Earl Keen opening for friend and former college classmate Lyle Lovett, who was winding down his usual summer tour with his Large Band. Both are from the area – Keen grew up in southwest Houston, while Lovett is from the town of Klein, just northwest of the city. Plenty of friends, family members and longtime fans were in attendance on what turned out to be a mild late-summer evening at the open-air venue.

Backed by his longtime band, Keen started off with “Corpus Christi Bay,” an anthem to brotherly love and good times. Next came his tribute to the late Levon Helm of The Band, “The Man Behind the Drums.” More favorites followed over the next hour and a half – a solemn rendition of Townes Van Zandt’s “Flying Shoes”; a lively take on “Ready for Confetti”; the jazzy “Dreadful Selfish Crime,” featuring nice keyboards by Marty Muse, better known as a pedal-steel player; “Gringo Honeymoon,” with nice acoustic guitar work by Rich Brotherton, and “Shades of Gray,” Keen’s tale of small-time crime and mistaken identity, fueled by an excellent guitar duel between Brotherton and Muse.

 Of course the set included two of the biggest hits of all: “Merry Christmas from the Family,” which Keen proclaimed as the official kickoff of the holiday season, and the closer, a hard-rocking treatment of the crime-love-and-betrayal ballad “The Road Goes on Forever.” Called back to the stage, Keen briefly quieted the crowd by saying he wanted to talk about “something a little bit serious” – but that turned out to be an announcement of the impending sale of “Robert Earl Keen beer” by a local grocery chain. The band finished with “I Gotta Go,” featuring Brotherton’s acoustic guitar and Muse’s resonator.

 After a short intermission, Lovett’s Large Band took the stage with its usual instrumental intro. Lovett, accompanied by the legendary Francine Reed, came out and launched into the classic “Stand By Your Man.” A few songs later, the 14-piece ensemble took a jazzy turn on “Penguins,” featuring some quasi-line dance footwork by Lovett and others near the front of the stage, including Reed, fiddler Luke Bulla and guitarists Keith Sewell and Ray Herndon.

Lovett called Keen back to the stage for a beautiful rendition of “This Old Porch,” which the two wrote together during their college days at Texas A&M. “Robert and I are real friends, not just show-business friends,” Lovett noted at one point. A rousing version of “My Baby Don’t Tolerate” was followed by an extended take on “What I Don’t Know” in which almost every band member got to take a short solo – all of which Lovett observed with obvious appreciation.

 After several more well-received numbers, including “That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas),” “God Will” and “L.A. County,” Lovett turned the stage over to Bulla and Sewell, each of whom performed one of his own songs. Then came the crowd-pleasing “If I Had a Boat,” featuring nice cello work by John Hagen, and Lovett’s always-entertaining duet with Reed, “What Do You Do?” Then Reed got her turn in the spotlight, with excellent, high-energy performances of her signature tunes “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” and “Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues.”

Keen returned to join the choir for “Church,” whose joyful mood was only barely nicked by a rare vocal glitch on Lovett’s part. After more effusive thanks to the audience, Lovett left the stage, returning a few minutes later to close with a rocking rendition of Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues.”

 Contributing throughout was the excellent Large Band horn section, consisting of Harvey Thompson on tenor sax, Brad Leali on alto sax, Charles Rose on trombone and Chad Willis on trumpet. Also in fine form were the rhythm section – pianist Matt Rollings, drummer Russ Kunkel, conga player James Gilmer and bassist Viktor Krauss – and pedal-steel man Buck Reid.

 

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Carter Girl: Carlene honors her roots

By Ken Paulson

Carlene Carter e1411441856452 350x278 Carter Girl: Carlene honors her roots

Carlene Carter (photo by P. Paulson)

It was a treat to see Carlene Carter present an award at the Americana Music Awards on the stage of the Ryman Wednesday night, particularly when the Cash-Carter family was so well-represented.

Nominee Rosanne Cash performed, as did her former husband and Johnny Cash son-in-law Rodney Crowell. If Americana has a first family, this is it.

We spoke to Carlene briefly backstage, reminiscing about her appearance at the very first Americana Music Association Awards show in 2002 at a nearby hotel ballroom. It was an extraordinary night,  with June Carter and the Carter Family – including Carlene and her daughter  Tiffany – performing with Johnny Cash.

12 years later, many of us still see that performance as the Big Bang that made the current successful and expansive Americana Music Association Conference and Festival possible.

Carlene has an outstanding new album called Carter Girl,  which includes some Carter Family songs and a nod to her heritage.

There’s also a new and very interesting  interview with Carlene  by Glide Magazine. You’ll find the interview here.

 

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Angaleena Presley: Channeling Loretta Lynn

By Ken Paulson

When Loretta Lynn stepped onto the Ryman stage on Wednesday night to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting from the Americana Music Association, no one was more excited than the two women who presented the award: Angaleena Presley and Kacey Musgraves.

Loretta Lynn RYMAN 150x150 Angaleena Presley: Channeling Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn

Tears flowed and they were clearly deeply moved to be able to honor this iconic artist. Then Loretta backed up her

legend with a stirring performance of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

We had the chance to visit with Presley at the Mercy Lounge two nights later and she continued to sing Loretta Lynn’s praises, reminding us that she, too, grew up a coal miner’s daughter.

Loretta’s inspiration is clearly evident in both Presley’s live show and on her upcoming album American Middle Class, due from Slate Creek Records on Oct. 14.

While  Loretta sang “One’s On the Way,” Angaleena Presley offers the more blunt “Knocked Up.” Loretta cautioned her husband “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind), while Presley delivers the tough and withering “Drunk.” The songs are four decades apart, but share a refreshing honesty and directness.

Loretta Lynn should be proud.

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Americana honors Jackson Browne

By Ken Paulson
There were many special moments at last night’s Americana Music Association Honors and Awards event at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
It would be hard to top songwriting honoree Loretta Lynn’s performance of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” Flaco Jimenez received a lifetime

Jackson Browne Sun209 350x262 Americana honors Jackson Browne

Ken Paulson and Jackson Browne

achievement award for instrumentalist and then performed in tandem with Ry Cooder, who seemed to be having a particularly good time all night long. And I was grateful for the opportunity to present the Spirit of Americana Free Speech in Music Award on behalf of the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center.
This year legendary songwriter J.D. Souther joined me in presenting the award to Jackson Browne. Souther, a decades-long friend of Browne’s, spoke eloquently about his respect for the man and his craft, noting that he first heard some of his earliest and greatest compositions through an apartment floor  – over and over again.
Browne, who joins such past honorees as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mavis Staples and Charlie Daniels, has never hesitated to use his music to make a point. He has fought for safe energy, stood with America’s farmers and has never hesitated to raise hell in speech or song, demanding that this nation truly lives up to its ideals.
Souther also took part in an earlier tribute to Browne, a 2-CD collection called Looking Into You, released 6 months ago. Souther closes out that album with a moving verion of “My Opening Farewell.”
Otter highlights include  Paul Thorn’s take on “Doctor My Eyes,” Lucinda William’s slow and spare version of “The Pretender,” Don Henley’s “These Days,” the Indigo Girls’ “Fountain of Sorrow” (performed by Browne and Souther at the awards show), and Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa’s “Linda Paloma.”

Highly recommended.

 

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Jason Isbell wins big at Americana Music awards

 

Isbell 350x262 Jason Isbell wins big at Americana Music awards

Jason Isbell performs at the Americana Music Festival Honors and Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

By Ken Paulson

It’s the rare music awards show that peaks ten minutes in, but that was the case tonight at the Ryman Auditorium for the 13th Annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Show. That was when Loretta Lynn, winner of a lifetime achievement award as a songwriter, took the stage and performed “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” It was thrilling and historic at the same time.

Jason Isbell made a bit of history himself, dominating the awards with wins for artist of the year, album of the year and song of the year.

Sturgill Simpson won the emerging artist of the year award and the Milk Carton Kids (very funny tonight while stalling for time) won as the duo of the year.

The least surprising win of this year or any other: Buddy Miller was named instrumentalist of the year.

The full list of honorees:

Album of the Year: “Southeastern,” Jason Isbell, produced by  Dave Cobb

Artist of the Year: Jason Isbell

Duo or Group of the Year: The Milk Carton Kids

Song of the Year: “Cover Me Up” by  Jason Isbell

Emerging Artist of the Year: Sturgill Simpson

Instrumentalist of the year: Buddy Miller

Free Speech in Music Award presented by the Americana Music Association and the First Amendment Center: Jackson Browne

Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist: Flaco Jimenez

Lifetime Achievement for Performance: Taj Mahal

Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriter: Loretta Lynn

President’s Award: Jimmie Rodgers

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Calico shines at release party in LA

By Terry Roland

On Saturday, September 5, Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles was host to an album release party for the new multi-talented Americana trio, Calico the band.

calicohotelcafe 350x233 Calico shines at release party in LA

Calico

They were joined by up and coming Americana singer-songwriter, Rod Melancon and country roots solo artist Shooter Jennings, both based in L.A.   The showcase was for the band’s family of supporters with their debut album, Rancho California released on their own California Country Music label.

It was a night that called to mind L.A.’s storied past when clubs like The Palomino hosted the best in country music.  Each act reveled in its own glorious full-tilt rough and ready performance chops delivering high octane sets with passion. There was a strong sense of breaking out of the mold of today’s often stilted and boring mainstream country into broader and more creative sonic landscapes.

rod3 150x150 Calico shines at release party in LA

Rod Melancon

The show opener, Rod Melancon, a Louisiana to California transplant, came to Hollywood five years ago on the trail of an acting career when he took a permanent curve into L.A.’s Americana singer-songwriting scene. With two fine albums under his belt, he has evolved into an artist who can take the stage, deliver songs and perform as though James Dean took a detour and landed somewhere between the hometowns of a Bruce Springsteen and Merle Haggard.

His set found him confidently easing into his stage persona like a pair of well-worn jeans.  He was in strong voice, fronting a band of skilled musicans including Ben Redell, Adam Zimmon, Jim Doyle and Lee Pardini.  While he demonstrated his own unique style of storytelling on the Springsteen-like stripped down songs “Duck Festival Queen,” and “Curve Lounge,” it was when he and the band called up the sultry12-bar blues funk of “Marcella” and “Wanna Go For A Ride,” that allowed him to sink his raunch & roll teeth on stage coming on like an anti-Elvis rebel.

Shooter Jennings, the 35-year-old son of Waylon Jennings and Jesse Colter, closed out the evening witha blistering interpretation of Dylan’s “Isis.”   With Calico’s Aubrey Richmond on violin, he ressurected the haunting core of the song branding it with his own second-generation outlaw madness successfully walking the line between country soul and rock and roll sensibility.

His set included his familiar tribute to mentor and country legend, George Jones on  “Don’t Wait Up(I’m Playing Possum).” Jennings remains as much an outlaw as his pedigree calls for on a sarcastic shout-out to new country stars on “Outlaw You” with lines like “Hey pretty boy in the cowboy hat/you couldn’t hit country with a baseball bat.”

His long hair swaying to the beat of the drum and a lonesome, ornery and mean attitude of his own, Jennings clearly revels in carrying on the original rebel legacy of his father and friends of past generations.  He does so with originality and a passion that’s a joy to behold for those of us who recall his father’s famous stage presence.

But the night clearly belonged to Calico,  the band who came on between Melancon and Jennings’s set.  Fronted by three musically distinctive songwriters and instrumentalists, Kirsten Proffit, Manda Mosher and Aubrey Richmond, their debut album, Rancho California, offers a solidly accessible, well-crafted collection of songs centered around the themes of the Pacific West in ways similar to The Flying Burrito Brothers of years gone by.

A triple threat within their own circle of individualized triple threats of songwriting, instrumental and vocal talent, they add a layer of the essence of the harmonic Laurel Canyon sound of the ’60s and ’70s that once fostered Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Mamas and Papas to a solidly inventive country-rock sound.

Opening with “Never Really Gone,” a somber homage to mentors who have gone beyond the vale, they filled the venue with clear-as-a-mountain stream vocal harmonies.  But the evening was not to be about musical sobriety, as they launched into songs like “High Road,” and the whiskey-soaked upbeat song of California  relationship woe, “San Andreas Shake.”

“Runaway Cowgirl,” and “Fool’s Gold” carried echoes of the great country music renaissance of the ’80s  when Desert Rose Band and Rosanne Cash ruled the country airwaves and charts. All three artists offered their own distinctive craft and appeal with Kirsten Proffit giving a solid center to Manda Mosher’s multi-instrumentalist moves, swaying in Tom Petty-like fashion, on her left and Aubrey Richmond’s sexy fiddle and dance on her right.   It was a visual as well as a sonic treat.

Like any good party, the girls invited many of their best friends to perform including Mark Christian of Merle Jagger, Ted Russell Kamp, Carl Byron, Jonathan Tyler and Scott Kinnebrew of Truth & Salvage.

hile Los Angeles still lags behind in recognition for their posse of excellent roots-based Americana and alternative country artists, last week’s release party brought together three of today’s finest ambassadors of a regional brand whose influence runs deep in today’s real country music.

 (All photos courtesy Jacki Sackheim.)

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What’s Americana music? Answer spans decades

By Rich Gordon

What’s Americana music?

Is it “American roots music based on the traditions of country”? That’s how the Americana Music Association defined Americana in 2003.

Or “music that honors and is derived from the traditions of American roots music”? That was the association’s definition in 2007.

Or “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues”? That’s the core of the definition today on the association’s website.

The definition keeps getting longer, and the emphasis on country music keeps being diluted. Instead of being recognized as the key ancestral homeland for Americana music, country is now listed as one of five different genres “incorporated” into Americana music. I think this is a mistake.

On the eve of the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, why does this matter to me? I’m a member of a Chicago-based band (Twangdogs) that plays country-rock music — cover songs, mostly. When someone asks me what kind of music my band plays and I say, “Americana,” the overwhelming response is “What’s that?”

Maybe part of the problem is that the “official” definition keeps changing.

When you think of a kind of music — say, “country” or “classic rock” or “hip hop” — what comes to mind? A few possibilities: radio station formats, music-festival motifs, the musical genres associated with certain concert venues, the answer to the question “What kind of music do you like?” And, of course, the type of music that a cover band plays.

“Americana” music, as a term, was born in 1995 when the Gavin Report made used the name for the 12th radio format the publication was tracking — meaning, what songs were being played on what stations. At the time, Americana referred to a blend of two different musical strains:

Americana never really caught on as a radio format — there were 90 reporting radio stations, mostly operated by colleges, non-profits and public radio stations — before Gavin shut down its Americana chart in 2000. By that time, the Americana Music Association had been formed, and it now oversees the official Americana radio chart.

Because the association is tightly linked to the music industry — record labels, promoters, radio station programmers — it understandably emphasizes “contemporary” music. But in an article for NoDepression.com earlier this month, I argued that in expanding beyond country-music influences, the association has diluted the focus for “Americana.”

Instead, I argued that Americana should encompass country-rock music over a longer span of time: “country rock generations,” taking in all of the periods when country music intersected, influenced and blended with rock music. That can encompass everything from:

  • “Rockabilly” like Buddy Holly, Bill Haley and early Elvis Presley
  • 1960s-70s country-rock, from Bob Dylan’s “Nashville Skyline” to the Byrds’ “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” to Creedence Clearwater Revival, New Riders of the Purple Sage, the Eagles and Jackson Browne.
  • 1970s Southern rock like the Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band.
  • 1970s-80s country-punk like the Blasters, X and Lone Justice.
  • 1980s-90s alt-country (aka “insurgent country,” “No Depression,” etc.) such as Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Son Volt and Whiskeytown.
  • Country-influenced acts on the “jam band” circuit, including old names (Allman Brothers and Little Feat) and newer ones like Old Crow Medicine Show and the Black Crowes.
  • Veteran but still vibrant country-centered performers like Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash and Jim Lauderdale.
  • Country artists who have revived their careers — and created compelling contemporary sounds — through inter-generational collaborations (Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin, Loretta Lynn and Jack White, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant).
  • The kinds of young performers who now show up prominently on the Americana chart: Shovels and Rope, Justin Townes Earle, Jamestown Revival, Sturgill Simpson and of course, the Avett Brothers.
twangdogs 350x270 Whats Americana music?  Answer spans decades

The Twangdogs

This definition is certainly broad enough to stock a festival — and in fact, this year’s AmericanaFest (put on by the Americana Music Association) is presenting a mix of music that’s consistent with this approach. Jackson Browne and Loretta Lynn are receiving lifetime achievement awards, the Avett Brothers are headlining the Saturday night outdoor concert, and the festival features performers from multiple generations — from Lee Ann Womack to Jim Lauderdale to Rodney Crowell to Angaleena Presley to Cale Tyson.

The “country-rock generations” model also makes for a great setlist for a cover band — one that can appeal to many generations of music fans. As I wrote for NoDepression.com,

A 1970s Eagles or Jackson Browne fan would like the Avett Brothers or Jamestown Revival.  Fans of Old Crow Medicine Show would appreciate Buddy Holly. All of them might enjoy Whiskeytown or Uncle Tupelo.  And music from these performers — and many others — can fit together nicely on a setlist or a playlist.

To demonstrate the power of a “country-rock generations” model, let me use as an example the working setlist for Twangdogs’ upcoming show on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 20) at the 12th and Porter club in Nashville. We’ll be playing songs that cover 57 years of country-rock history, including examples from six decades of music. Here they are listed in chronological order based on their first release:

  • “Oh Boy” (Buddy Holly, 1957) – also recorded or performed by many others, including the Everly Brtohers, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Grateful Dead.
  • “Gone Gone Gone” (Everly Brothers, 1964) – also released in 2007 by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss.
  • “Dead Flowers” (Rolling Stones, 1971) — from the period when the Stones were hanging out with Gram Parsons, also recorded by Townes Van Zandt, New Riders of the Purple Sage and played live by Steve Earle and Jerry Lee Lewis.
  • “I Know You Rider” — our version of this old blues song is modeled after the Grateful Dead’s 1972 recording, but the song has been recorded by many others, including Janis Joplin, the Seldom Scene and the Byrds.
  • “Best of My Love” (Eagles, 1974)
  • “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” (Warren Zevon, 1976; Linda Ronstadt, 1977) – also recorded by country star Terri Clark (1996)
  • “Running on Empty” (Jackson Browne, 1977)
  • “Wall of Death” (Richard and Linda Thompson, 1982)
  • “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” (the Canadian band Blue Rodeo, 1993)
  • “You’re Still Standing There” (Steve Earle and Lucinda Williams, 1996)
  • “Your Life is Now” (John Mellencamp, 1998)
  • “The Captain” (Kasey Chambers, 1999)
  • “Wagon Wheel” (Old Crow Medicine Show, 2004)
  • “In State” (Kathleen Edwards, 2005)
  • “I’m With the Band” (Little Big Town, 2007)
  • “Down by the Water” (Decemberists, 2011)
  • “Hell on Heels” (Pistol Annies, 2011)
  • “Ho Hey” (Lumineers, 2012)
  • “California (Cast Iron Soul)” (Jamestown Revival, 2014)

These songs will be packaged into a set we’re calling “Love, Americana Style: A Song Cycle of Romance, Relationships and the Road.” Based on our experience playing songs like these in the Midwest — and in Scotland, where we played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year — there’s something in the set to appeal to every different musical generation. Which is exactly what a cover band needs to play.

Rich Gordon is a college journalism professor, long-time country-rock fan, subscriber to the late, lamented No Depression magazine — and member of Twangdogs, a Chicago country-rock cover band.

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