Available Now: Buck Owens and the Buckaroos 'The Complete Capitol Singles: 1957-1966' and Don Rich and the Buckaroos 'Guitar Pickin' Man'
Earlier this month, Omnivore Recordings released two collections: Buck Owens and the Buckaroos’ The Complete Capitol Singles: 1957-1966 and Buckaroos' bandleader Don Rich’s Guitar Pickin’ Man.
Taken from the original mono single reels, The Complete Capitol Singles: 1957-1966 brings all 56 sides from those years including 13 #1 hits, in their original and chronological form in this double disc set. Such delights as "Act Naturally," "I've Got A Tiger By the Tail," and "King of Fools" evoke a nostalgia and whimsy while also reminding (or introducing) the listener what a true talent Owens was. The album also features liner notes from Buck’s autobiography as well as an introduction by Dwight Yoakam.
Meanwhile, Owens bandleader Rich shines on his own on Guitar Pickin’ Man which features eighteen tracks including the previously unissued Hee Haw version of the title track which was recorded in 1973 . Guitar Pickin’ Man , too, features tender liner notes from Don’s sons Vance and Vic Ulrich as well as photos from their personal family collection.
There's really nothing to "pick on" with these recordings, they're a pleasure to listen to whether you're hearing them again or for the first time. Purchase the albums HERE.
In 2015, Whitney Rose relocated to Austin from her native Canada for a residency at the famed Continental Club, but fell in love with the Lone Star State and decided to make the stay permanent. That fondness for the state coupled with her time at the historic club and the richly diverse music city all informed her new EP, South Texas Suite - which can only be described as an homage to her new home. The six-song project, which was recorded at Dale Watson’s Ameripolitan Studio with the Continental Club house band, mixes Rose originals, covers and an instrumental in a record that’s confident, charming, and enduring.
South Texas Suite begins with the Tex-Mex flair (highlighted by a welcome accordion courtesy of Michael Guerra) of “Three Minute Love Affair” where Rose’s sweet and sultry vocals tell the story of a brief, but intense love affair that occurs in the moments you’re coupled on the dance floor. That’s followed by a call to return to the simpler things - lazy rivers, memories, $1 jukebox plays - on the Brennen Leigh penned shuffler, “Analog;” the sassy foot stomping anthem “My Boots” and the simmering, romantic “Bluebonnets for My Baby” (written by Teri Joyce). This suite is finished off with the beautifully nostalgic “Looking Back on Luchenbach” and the instrumental “How Bout A Hand for the Band” – and what a band it is including Bryce Clark on guitar, Sophia Johnson on guitar, Redd Volkaert on guitar, James Shelton on steel guitar, Tom Lewis on drums, Kevin Smith on bass, Erik Hokkanen on fiddle, and Earl Poole Ball on piano.
South Texas Suite is a loving tribute to a place Rose clearly has a deep appreciation and respect for – and there’s no doubt once denizens of that state (and the 49 others) take in this record, the feeling will be mutual.
California-based Americana band, Moonsville Collective is releasing the first of a four volume EP series, Moonsville 1, January thirteenth. The quarterly series is an interesting concept in itself and the first installment will leave you eagerly anticipating volumes 2, 3 and 4.
Corey Adams (vocals, guitar, banjo), Matthew McQueen (mandolin), Dan Richardson (dobro, vocals), Seth Richardson (bass), and Ryan Welch (vocals, guitar, banjos) form an honest to goodness old time string band whose appeal will not be lost on fans of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Old Crow Medicine Show.
Right out of the gate, there’s a rock-tinged barn burner in “Alright By Me”, an ode to life on the road; that's followed by “In The Morning”, which extols the flip side of the joys of home.
“Always Enough” is a moving love song while “America” reflects on the pitfalls and privileges of growing up in this country. “Laughing In The Rain”, a fitting closer on the EP, is a wry commentary on the conflicting issues in following or walking your own path.
Give me relatable lyrics and smooth harmonies wrapped in heavy doses of mandolin and dobro and I’m in and ready to hear what the future holds for Moonsville Collective. For more information on the band and their music visit their website at www.moonsvillecollective.com
On December 5th, Jon Stickley Trio released the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2015 album, Lost at Last. The new project, Triangular, is an independently released five-song instrumental EP that is rooted in jazz and bluegrass, as well as modern elements, that makes for an exhilarating and intense listen. On the new project, the trio - Jon Stickley (guitar), Lyndsay (violin) and Patrick Armitage (drums) – once again display their precise musicianship beginning with opening track “Blackburn Brothers” which showcases pristine picking, punctuated by drums and a little bit of Motown. That’s followed by the all at once gentle, dramatic, and somber “Plain Sight” which was written after the shooting at Bataclan Theatre in Paris; the joyous, island-flared “Palm Tree” and “Echolocation” a beautifully transportive piece that flows like the tides. The set concludes with the trio’s rendition “Manzanita”, classic composition by Tony Rice, which respectfully and refreshingly pays homage to those who came before.
As someone who admittedly does not listen to instrumental music often, I found myself pulled into Triangular by its expansive and engaging melodies, the sometimes surprising and always seamless interplay between the musicians and their instruments, and the dynamic fierceness it exudes. For more information visit their official website.
Phil Gammage returns with a new album, Used Man for Sale, which features ten original, self-penned compositions that focus on honest songwriting, stripped down recordings, and a bluesy, roots-based style.
Produced by Kevin Tooley and recorded in New York, the project begins with “Arms of a Kind Woman” which, with its bluesy noir melody focuses on the idea that a certain woman can offer salvation. The gentle guitar and piano on “Maybe Tomorrow” shines with optimism while “I Beg of You” carries a lounge bar feel in a narrative about a man who is at home caring for a child while his woman is “running wild.”
The album also includes the title track, about a man whose dreams are all gone, the ominous “Ride with Railroad Bill,” the darkly hypnotic “Before I Leave,” and “Feeling the Hurt” which begins with one feeling “like dirt” before finding hope and starting to live again.
Used Man for Sale utilizes a shuffle on, “Tenderloin," an interesting tale of San Francisco and ups the tempo on the jaunty “Lost in Loserville” before returning to the harmonica-laden blues, closing out with the looseness of “Staring Out Our Window.” For more information visit his official website.
With the January 2017 release of their sophomore studio album, How It All Goes Down, The Show Ponies sends up a proverbial flare signaling that they will be a band to watch in the coming year. Combining influences of folk, rock and bluegrass is certainly nothing new but the five member group does this in a way that sounds fresh and unique.
Lyrically the album reflects on the inevitably finite journey of life relaying the stories sometimes through the lens of someone in the middle of the struggles and other times as someone who has survived the struggles and has wisdom to share. Throughout, the instrumentation enhances the lyrics whether it is rock laden and guitar driven or poignantly dripping with fiddle.
“This World Is Not My Home” is a rollicking bluegrass reminder to live life to the fullest with the assurance of an ever better life beyond death. It’s impossible to listen to this song without feeling the joy while “Bravery Be Written” is an earnest, somber prayer for the courage to live a life with purpose. The song is short in duration but long on impact.
“Kalamazoo” begins filled with questioning and doubt as a relationship is left behind. As an affecting, mid song instrumental bridge is a musical deep breath resulting in the conclusion that leaving was the only thing to do. “I would rather feel it all/ everything at the same time/than feel numb in my mind.”
One of the most rock influenced songs on the album is “Shoulda Showed Him.” It’s a defiant look back at an abusive relationship. “Only Lie” softens the rock in the autopsy of a failed marriage sharing her side and his side of the story with alternating voices in the verses and strong harmonies on the common ground the two share.
How It All Goes Down is a strong album start to finish and a fine way to start the new year. Fans of Punch Brothers, Mandolin Orange and/or The Avett Brothers should definitely put this one on their list. Find out more about The Show Ponies at www.theshowponies.com and pre-order the album on iTunes or Google Play.
Sometimes something totally unexpected finds its way to your inbox - and it turns out to be exactly what you needed to hear. That sums up how I felt when I pressed play on The Revelers' latest, The Revelers Play Swamp Pop Classics Volume Two, a four-song set on which the Grammy-nominated band revisits the genre of Swamp Pop delivering a dose of bliss for your ears.
Hailing from Southwestern Louisiana the sextet combines the different sounds of the region including Cajun, Zydeco, Honky Tonk, and even Rock 'n Roll into something dynamic, different and delightful. Things blast off with a bright dose of horns and retro-stylings in "Trip To The Moon" before finding accordion and saxophone on the melancholy "If It's Really Gotta Be This Way." The brief outing is rounded out by the swoonworthy "Nobody Would Know" and a rollicking, dance floor ready rendition of "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers."
The Revelers Pay The Swamp Pop Classics Volume 2 releases December 16th.
Get your hands on a copy HERE
Born on the North Side of Chicago, and now based in Brooklyn, John Fatum has been immersed in music since before he could talk. After high school, Fatum studied Jazz Performance at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester ultimately forming two bands with his brother, The Fatum Brother’s Jazz Orchestra and The Rad Trads. On December 9th, Fatum once again steps out on his own with the release of his second solo project.
Like many Americana artists, Fatum blends folk, country, rock and blues in his music, but adds another distinctive element – jazz – that breathes fresh air into his recordings. On the sultry opening track, “The Little Pie Blues,” Fatum inserts a gentle trumpet solo from producer Billy Aukstik while “Good Luck Unto Ya,” which deals with ending a friendship, carries a gospelesque vibe.
Fatum’s airy, transportative vocals are accompanied by gentle guitar and mandolin on "Ride On Nebraska" while harmonica supports the soulfully funky "Little King" and a sweetly intense feel permeates "Try As You Might" where he notes simply, “Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong.”
Fatum provides social commentary on "If We Call This Home" (with its stunning harmonies in the chorus), dives to emotional depths on the striking "Roses" and covers sweet romance on "Let's Go Walking In The Moonlight.” The album is rounded out with the narrative of "Your Only Son" and the raucous “I've Got Two Hands (And Two Bottles Of Champagne)" – complete with sax solo!
Recorded on an 8-track reel-to-reel tape machine in New York’s East Village, the all-analog recording embodies a feel that’s classic, yet contemporary; honest, familiar and endearingly imperfect - in the most perfect of ways. Give it a listen.
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Michael Harlen will release his first solo project, The Big Country, on December 16th. The four-song project, which was recorded and mixed on analog tape, showcases Harlen’s ability not only as a songwriter (Harlen penned all the tunes himself), but in the studio as well, performing nearly every instrument on the record himself.
The Big Country begins with the delightfully catchy old-time front porch feel (courtesy of acoustic guitar, hand claps and the harmonies of Melody Rabe), of “Thumb Tack,” a tune that finds him begging his baby to come back home because without her, he doesn’t know “the first thing about living” and is “like a truck without a trailer.” That’s followed by the more somber “Waiter” where conflicting emotions balance moving forward and finding peace back home, the spacious and sentimental “Good Morning Tupelo” and the folk-inspired narrative “The Fixture” which concludes with rich brass-work from Patrick Sargent and Michael Fatum (horns), and trombonist Raymond James Mason.
The Big Country is a short and sweet offering that makes one look forward to what’s to come from this new voice in Americana.
Over the past three decades, Hugh Prestwood has forged a career as a well-respected, in-demand songwriter. The Emmy winner (for “Trisha Yearwood’s “The Song Remembers When”), who was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2006, penned Grammy-nominated number ones for Randy Travis ("Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart”), Crystal Gayle ("The Sound Of Your Goodbye"), and Shenandoah ("Ghost In This House"), among many other hits. With his new record, I Used To Be The Real Me, Prestwood’s voice takes its turn front and center as he presents his own songs in his own way.
Released on November 18th, I Used To Be The Real Me was released on friend Judy Collins’ - who provided Prestwood with first hit when she recorded "Hard Times for Lovers" – label, Wildflower Records/Cleopatra Records. The thirteen-track collection consists of all original material including some songs that may sound familiar, such as “The Suit” (recorded by Jerry Douglas and James Taylor), "Laura Nadine" (Billy Dean) and “April Fool” (Colin Raye). Beginning with opening track, the wistful “So Sweet Sixteen” and carrying through to the closer, “The Song Remembers When,” the album embodies a 70’s feel that is propelled by Prestwood’s thoughtful, emotionally impactful lyricism and familiar and soothing vocals. Nestled between those bookends are songs like "Untie These Lines" and "Charlie," both of which find Collins assisting on vocals, the beautiful imagery of “Carolina Season,” and the poignant “Another Way To Feel Alive.” With I Used To Be The Real Me, Prestwood presents his take on life and love through the years with songs that allow his voice to shine as brightly as his lyrics.
Prestwood continues to teach songwriting workshops for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) in various locations throughout the country, and is constantly working on his next song. For more information visit his official website.