Posts Tagged ‘Americana’

Beth Bombara is a singer-songwriter from St. Louis. Drawing inspiration from artists ranging from Gillian Welch to Laura Veirs, she writes frank, elegantly-crafted Americana. Her fifth, self-titled album will be out later this year

St. Louis is the only place Beth Bombara could have created her fifth album, which borrows gracefully from the city’s proud alt-country and blues traditions while embodying the collaboration, experimentation and resolve of the tight-knit scene developing there today.

Beth has been a musician for most of her life. She started a punk band in high school and, after college, began playing guitar with Samantha Crain. She moved to St. Louis and started a solo project in late 2007. “The city requires you to be active in your engagement of it,” she says. “There’s not much room for takers. But if you put in the work, the city rewards you.”

Today, Beth tours extensively across the country and is hailed as one of St. Louis’ finest songwriters. She is equally comfortable headlining the rock club Off Broadway and the Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Whitaker Music Festival, where she recently performed for a crowd numbering over 10,000.

Beth’s new, self-titled album displays its authors’ finest work to date. Previous efforts have served as explorations of Beth’s musical personality (you’ll find records written in the languages of folk, rock and Americana in her back-catalog). There is no easy way to describe the new album. It is full of crafty melody and effortless instrumentation. Her lyrics find the shortest path to the truth.

This also marks a major progression in Beth’s collaboration with her husband, fellow musician and producer Kit Hamon. “We’ve always worked together on Beth Bombara records,” she says. “They’re an extension of our relationship, and the efforts that make a good song are not unlike the efforts that make a healthy relationship. Whether the result of that work is good or bad has to do with how graciously we can sort the strong ideas from the weak ones.” On this new album, they have found grace and strength to spare.


“Something More Than Free” is available on the 17th July through Southeastern Records How does a song move from a notebook to your headphones? This behind-the-scenes video of Jason Isbell perfecting the song “24 Frames” — the first single from the new album “Something More Than Free”,  sits the viewer right inside that process. After a bare-bones delivery from the songwriter, he and producer Dave Cobb work with Isbell’s band, the 400 Unit, to add in colours  some guitar delay, a “Leonard Cohen ‘Hallelujah'” style bass line — to turn a contemplative moment into an inspirational one. “I’m gonna let your inner ’90s dude come out,” someone says offscreen, supporting Isbell’s claim that this follow-up to the universally acclaimed Southeastern will capture “the way indie rock sounded when I was 15.” It’s the way rock sounds now, too, in these good hands.

Returning with his fifth full-length, Something More Than Free, just a week ago, and now, the singer-songwriter has premiered a music video for the album’s title track, please check it out above.

The new James Weems-directed visual is reflective of the message Isbell relays in “Something More Than Free.” The clip follows three characters as they make their way through the work that defines their days, as the former Drive-By Trucker sings, “I don’t think on why I’m here or where it hurts / I’m just lucky to have the work.” It’s a moving clip fitting of the rich and thoughtful songwriting that earned Jason Isbell’s  release a place on our list of 2015’s best albums thus far.

Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell and his band, the 400 Unit, are currently on tour, they have dates scheduled through mid-October, plus a four-night residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium from Oct. 23rd-26th.


Earlier this year, Isbell was nominated for the Americana Music Association’s award for Artist of the Year. It’s a stacked category that also includes Rhiannon Giddens, Sturgill Simpson, Lucinda Williams and Lee Ann Womack; winners will be announced during the ceremony on Sept. 16th.



Ben Schneider describes “Strange Trails,” his new album as Lord Huron, as an anthology of weird fiction with “no direct narrative connection” between this their second release and 2012′s widely lauded and lovely “Lonesome Dreams.” “The stories here are separated by time, location and characters,” the Los Angeles.-based Michigan native explains, although “many of the themes have carried over and evolved.” What has also carried over is Lord Huron’s palette of burnished Americana. If there’s a way to sound like a John Ford Western, Schneider and bandmates Mark Barry (percussion, vocals), Miguel Briseno (bass, percussion) and Tom Renaud (guitar, vocals) have it down. The new single “Fool for Love” traverses the dusty plain at a comfortable gallop, spinning a tale about man competing for a woman’s affection. “Strange Trails” is out on April 7th via IAMSOUND Records.


The Lone Bellow’s second album is a real treat. Call it country; call it gospel-blues, call it rock, call it what you will because `Then Came The Morning’ manages to be all these and more without ever having to strain to be anything other than what it is, and what it is is damned fine music, sung and played with unadulterated passion.

There are thirteen numbers in the set; all as good as one another; not a wasted moment for the discerning listener. That’s a tough call in a World full of good stuff but this extraordinarily talented Brooklyn-based ensemble : Zach Williams, Kanene Donehey and Brian Elmquist, make it all seem so natural and magically inevitable.

Some of the songs sound as old as the hills; instant timeless classics fresh out of the mould. Take a composition like “Marietta’, where three voices intertwine with such unaffected pathos .Get an earful of the tumultuous `Heaven Don’t Call Me Home’ and see if it doesn’t make you want to holler along with them! `Cold As It Is’, too, has the kind rousing riff to make your knees tremble and the touching vocal from Ms Donehey on `Call To War’ will make your heart flutter. The gorgeous `Telluride’, however, is the album’s defining moment and still centre;
a song so beautiful it deserves to have a space of its own in a quiet corner of Heaven.
Take my word for it, `Then Came The Morning’ is one of the finest things you’ll hear this year.


Official music video for the single “American Beauty”, off the upcoming album, “Medicine”, from Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.  Medicine is the seventh studio release from Drew Holcomb and his backing band, The Neighbors. Recorded in just eight days at Nashville’s Middletree Studios, and without any obvious studio trickery, this is the sound of a group of musicians knowing what they want to achieve and how to make it happen.

Drew Holcomb’s music comes from the place where Americana crashes into mainstream pop and becomes universally accessible. Much of “Medicine” has the same crossover appeal that Ryan Adams achieved with Gold. Tracks like Tightrope, Avalanche and Ain’t Nobody Got It Easy are instant highlights which bear all the hallmarks of Holcomb’s well-crafted folk repertoire.

The overarching message of the album is best summed up on the song “Here We Go”, a Jack Johnson style staccato proclamation. “Music, it makes you feel good / Makes you feel understood/ Like you’re not alone, you’re not a rolling stone” Holcomb speak-sings, paying tribute to the real medicine in his life, music.

“Medicine” sounds comfortingly familiar but there are enough distinctive moments, such as the bluesy hymn Sisters Brothers, for it to also offer something new to the genre. This is music for everyone, a soothing balm for the ears.


Once compared to a man who wears many suits, in thirty-two short years Justin Townes Earle has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally Between releasing four full-length-critically-acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, a new found sobriety, being born Steve Earle’s son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it’s safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell. His fifth album (Vagrant Records) serves as the perfect platform for such narrations. Entitled “Single Mothers”, the album showcases exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of Contemporary Americana. With his heart and soul still rooted in Nashville, Single Mothers shows Justin’s continued combination of catchy songs and authenticity. The album was recorded live with his four-piece touring band with only days of rehearsal leading up to recording to keep the ideas fresh. No overdubs, no other singers, no additional players – just a real, heartfelt performance capturing the moment. Justin will be at the Nottingham Glee Club on the 4th February with the added bonus of Andrew Combs as support a more than worthy headliner on his own

The new album from the Swedish Indie Folk sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg delivers on the promise of the incredible The Lion’s Roar” and then some. with their third released album. That album’s producer, Mike Mogis, returns for “Stay Gold” — and brings a 13-piece orchestra to fittingly and flawlessly support the sisters’ soaring, airy vocals.Mike Mogis, who worked on the band’s previous album, The Lion’s Roar. The album was released in June 2014 in mainland Europe and the following week elsewhere.

According to an interview in Swedish TV webpage, the album is more about their own lives than their previous ones. “That one has to learn appreciate what is and that all flows, that nothing stays “Stay Gold” introduced new elements to First Aid Kit’s music, such as a 13-piece orchestra. Their previous albums had been produced in such a way that would allow the band to perform with 3 people on stage, however these limitations have been lifted to give the band a bigger, more fulfilling sound.

The album has been well received by most music critics, noted that the album is “noticeably more expansive than any of their previous work”, and “has a rich texture of classic country instrumentation and stirring string arrangements, matching their soaring vocal melodies. The larger sound that came from the band utilising more instruments, as well as the sister’s “new-found, beefed up timbres”. It also described the album as poised to knock you for six this summer, aimed at cracking the United States, making the kind of wide-eyed, ‘70s-tinged folk-rock that thrives on soaring vocals, warm harmonies, big choruses, and heart-on-sleeve lyrics.


It’s taken five relatively unappreciated albums, but on “Lateness Of Dancers”, M.C Taylor’s band otherwise known as Hiss Golden Messenger seems to have finally found an audience for their rootsy-Americana style. Well received by many critics, and absolutely adored by Uncut Magazine, the timing of his new found audience might just be perfect, as his music has never sounded better, fitting neatly alongside the likes of Bill Callahan, Jonathan Wilson and Bonnie “Prince” Billy at the very top of the genre.

His seemingly mundane tales of being “a grown up US male with a couple of kids and a marginally successful career” may not sound that promising a starting point, but the honesty and relatable nature of his words make for a more intriguing listen than you’d imagine. His way with words allows him to be rueful and contemplative without ever getting too downbeat or miserable.

The music fluctuates from little more than a vocal and an acoustic guitar, to rich full bands tracks that showcase the quality of his musical companions, from the spectacular organ that closes “Lucida”, to the surprisingly tasteful banjo in the title track or the impressively meaty guitar riff in “I’m A Raven (Shake Children)” It’s a truly majestic album from a musician at the top of his game!

“I Am The Night” is the first single off of Amelia Curran’s upcoming album, “They Promised You Mercy,” out November 4, 2014 on Six Shooter Records. On her new album, Amelia Curran can broach just about any difficult subject, couch it in a “na na na na” chorus, and leave listeners feeling okay about themselves. That’s exactly the tack Curran takes straight off the bat in “They Promised You Mercy”, setting the tone for an appealing 11-song set. She even finds joy when the tone dims in songs like “I Am The Night,” “Time, Time” and “You’ve Changed.”



Lydia Loveless only ever looks over her shoulder when the wind’s in her face and she needs to spit. And she probably needs to. Desire lodges in her chest like a phlegm-clot; her mucosal tone earns those Stevie Nicks comparisons you’ve maybe seen. But you’ve got to imagine Stevie stripped of her scarves and witchery by a resentful coven, abandoned in Columbus, Ohio, with nothing to fall back on but her innate grit, developing the array of vocal slurs, catches, yawps, and leaps that a woman starting out with no expectations needs once she realizes she wants the world. And if that doesn’t work out, and Loveless has to retreat defeated to her dumpy hometown? “I’ll find a rich man’s house and I’ll burn it down.” Which come to think of it, doesn’t really sound all that unreasonable.


Loveless’s powerful and assured vocals set against a wall of bristling guitars make for a potent combination. “Somewhere Else” is a rock and roll tour-de-force, filled with songs that strike the perfect blend of vulnerability and take no shit attitude, Ive included a solo piece here as well