Category Archives: folk

Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter, Houston, Texas

One of the worst things that can happen at a show is for the songs on the stage to reproduce the songs from the studio, yet live records fall into this trap more often than not. Crowd noise is cleaned up and artificially returned between songs. Rather than reproducing the best show, tracks are culled from multiple shows. Part of… Read more »

Dorothea Paas – Anything Can’t Happen

I used to work with a guy who thought Joni Mitchell was a genius. He wasn’t one of those hyper-focused fans who have one or two favorites that could do no wrong. This guy really loved music. He just thought Joni Mitchell had produced probably a dozen or so records he would call “masterpieces.” In his eyes, the Beatles only… Read more »

Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Album cover for Valerie June's The Mood and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Valerie June’s voice drew me into this album. I’ve never heard a voice like hers. It’s a little Dolly and a little Erykah and nothing like either. Her voice is wracked with vulnerability yet has the chops to run with any classic girl group. Her songs and lyrics made me stay. The songs are beautifully crafted and move us through… Read more »

The Staves – Good Woman

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Released: February 5, 2021 Usually, it’s a good thing when a group tries to move beyond the strict confines of their sound. Without that impetus, we’d have no Sgt. Peppers, no Heroes, no Achtung Baby. It’s the boldness that moves the art of making music forward. That being said, it is not something to undertaken lightly or carelessly. The artist… Read more »

Review: Elin Palmer – Postcards

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Label: Suburban Home Released: October 23, 2009 When I think of an album that tells a story, I tend to think of concept albums where the story often takes precedence over the music, resulting in weak, but often needed filler. Elin Palmer’s Postcard has a very narrative nature to it, but in a far different way than a concept album… Read more »

Review: Nathen Maxwell and the Original Bunny Gang – White Rabbit

Label: SideOneDummy Records Released: August 18, 2009 Having performed for over a decade with the increasingly popular Celtic folk/punk act Flogging Molly, Nathen Maxwell is faced with the double challenge of living up to yet not rehashing his band’s strong body of work. On his solo debut, White Rabbit, Maxwell brings songs that have been simmering inside of him, some… Read more »

Review: Brian Bond – Fire & Gold

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Label: self-released Released: March 10, 2009 Folk and punk has found some common ground over the years. From Billy Bragg’s incendiary love and politics to Elliott Smith’s dark beauty, the two genres have occasionally met in strange ways that have never been entirely one genre or the other, yet clearly rooted in both. Brian Bond is a similar artist in… Read more »

Review: Kate Mann – Things Look Different When the Sun Goes Down

Label: Orange Dress Records Released: March 17, 2009 On the surface, Kate Mann finds herself channeling a bit of Joni Mitchell and a bit of Janis Joplin, her music swinging gently across the short space between folk and blues. While it is that bit of Joni that shows up in a clever musical phrase here and there, it also manifests… Read more »

Review: The Weather Station – The Line

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Label: self-released (distributed by Fontana North/Universal) Released: April 28, 2009 Terms like lo-fi and DIY have become quite commonplace these days. Unfortunately, these terms are often applied to music that could also be described as contrived or just rotten. The Weather Station is certainly the epitome of both of those common terms, but not of the descriptions which often destroy… Read more »

Review: Paula Sinclair – Steadygirl

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Label: Old Sombrero Music Released: March 17, 2009 Some albums are amazing in the way they push the boundaries and change the rules while others are amazing in the way they perform within existing boundaries and prove long established rules. There isn’t much that’s new in Paula Sinclair’s music. She plays something that walks a fine line between country and… Read more »