Category Archives: americana

Review: Avett Brothers – The Second Gleam

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Label: Ramseur Records Released: July 22, 2008 The Avett Brothers’ breakthrough album, last year’s Emotionalism, was a work whose broad influences were felt throughout and whose quiet ambition made it both huge and intimate at the same time. The Second Gleam, while keeping to the Avett’s signature sound, doesn’t share its predecessor’s breadth. Instead, it focuses on intimacy and gentle… Read more »

Review: Star Anna – Crooked Paths

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Label: Malamute Records Released: March 4, 2008 Crooked Paths is an album that is seldom just good. Instead, it sometimes struggles just short of good and at other times pushes fantastic. Without question, Star Anna’s voice is wonderful. It’s dynamic and has really good movement that can be both subtle and bold. The problem is she doesn’t let it loose… Read more »

Review: Caleb Klauder – Dangerous Me’s and Poisonous You’s

Label: Padre Records (available through Released: March 1, 2007 Caleb Klauder’s band Foghorn Stringband is instantly contagious. Its authentic bluegrass instantly wraps you in its warm, genuine strings and heartfelt twang. Klauder’s Dangerous Me’s and Poisonous You’s, on the other hand, takes some time to sink in, not because it isn’t as good, but because it has more dimension… Read more »

Review: Mechanical Bull – A Million Yesterdays

Label: Woodstock Musicworks Released: November 1, 2007 A Million Yesterdays‘s brand of Americana generally alternates between country and country rock, finding the most consistency with the former, but perhaps their best moments with the latter. Their more traditional songs show clear command of the genre. Avalon Peacock’s voice might get a little shaky in her vibrato, but that along with… Read more »

Live: The Bowmans

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March 12, 2008, Baltimore Chop Books, Baltimore, Maryland This was a night of endangered and lost arts: folk music, storytelling, community…and geography. That’s right, geography. Over the course of an intimate night of folk music in a small (and very cool) independent book store, Sarah and Claire Bowman, through the stories attached to and included in their music, illustrated the… Read more »

Review: Twilight Hotel – Highway Prayer

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Label: Released: January 29, 2008 It’s not often that I find a record that offers as much musically as it does lyrically (unless, of course, it’s bad at both). On Highway Prayer, it’s hard to decide which Twilight Hotel does better. The songs fill the whole spectrum from the fun, upbeat opener, “Viva La Vinyl,” a song about record collecting,… Read more »

Review: Avett Brothers – Emotionalism

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Label: Ramseur Records Released: March 15, 2007 Americana’s return to the distant roots of rock music can be both a strength and a limitation. The genre often taps into the stripped down honesty of early music, but is also limited in its influences. The Avett Brothers, however, capture the genre’s strengths without being held to its limitations. The band, Scott… Read more »

Review: The Bowmans – Far From Home

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Label: Mother West Released: April 10, 2007 The Bowmans aren’t your typical Americana band. Like the more widely known Avett Brothers, they work from a broader palette than many of their peers. The Bowmans maintain a rootsy feel throughout despite breaking away from traditional folk style and augmenting their sound at times with electricity. The vocals are the centerpiece of… Read more »

Review: Glenna Bell – The Road Less Traveled

Label: CD Baby Released: January 8, 2008 The first thing you notice about Glenna Bell’s music is her voice. It can be delicate and bold, rich and breathy. She has this amazing vibrato that you can feel as much as hear. It would make for great country music even if the songs were awful. But they’re not awful, they’re actually… Read more »