In a year filled with surprise releases, one of the more pleasant among them has been Buckle Bunny, an accidental creation of Birmingham’s Kaydee Mulvehill that sounds like nothing that has come from Birmingham in quite some time.
The six-track EP, Pet Speak, is reminiscent of the female-led indie rock that has dominated rock over the past couple of years. It’s aggressive and it’s raw. It can’t remotely fit under the umbrella of “Americana” that has been where most Birmingham and Alabama artists have sheltered for years; the loosely-drawn “genre” title that has grown to make everyone cringe, one that Mulvehill’s own solo project would be lumped into. No, this happy accident of Mulvehill’s “pandemic art” period is rock and roll. Continue reading
Great Peacock is officially a trio for their third studio album, Forever Worse Better, which was released on October 12. Frank Keith IV has been on the road with Andrew Nelson and Blount Floyd for years, but for the first time, he went into the studio with the band.
It’s a rock record the way that Ryan Adams makes rock records; too far from “folk” to be Americana, really. It’s different. It’s not what you came to expect from Nelson and Floyd on 2015’s Making Ghosts or 2018’s Gran Pavo Real. The track “Rock of Ages” showcases that sound pretty well – a louder, fuller pedal steel driven track complemented by the wail of a Sadler Vaden electric solo. Continue reading
The pandemic has inspired plenty of art, but it’s also given a lot of artists time to pause. Maybe that has been an excuse to release some old live recordings. Some have created entire new projects that would have otherwise never existed. And some have dug into the archives and found things that we should have heard all along.
For Fiddleworms, the latter gave Russell Mefford and company an opportunity to release the band’s first studio album in eight years. The record has eight tracks, with a bonus track on the download card, “Don’t Shoot the Prophet,” a tune that Mefford wrote with Scott Boyer.
As this collection has come from various recording sessions over the past decade or more, almost every member of the Fiddleworms family makes an appearance: there’s Mefford, Rob Malone [formerly of Drive-By Truckers] and Mitch Mann on vocals and guitars, David MacKay on bass (with an appearance by Matt Ross), John Tombyll and Scott Kennedy on drums, Tombyll and Jimmy Nutt on percussion, Clint Bailey and NC Thurman on piano and organ and a horn section comprised of Brad Guin on tenor sax, Daniel Western on baritone sax, Ken Watters, Shane Porter and Chris Gordon on trumpet and Chad Fisher [St. Paul and the Broken Bones] on trombone. There are also guest background vocal appearances from Donna Jean Godchaux [formerly of Grateful Dead] and Rob Aldridge. Continue reading
Filed under Music., People.
Alecia Elliott was country music’s answer to the female teen pop wave of the late 90s. It sucks that you have to begin every story about her with that, but it’s an elephant in the room that absolutely can’t be ignored. Not that she’s ignoring it. She embraces it. That just isn’t the person that Alecia is now.
“I’m Diggin’ It” was the catchy, MCA Nashville country answer to Britney Spears. She had a short-lived teen comedy on NBC. Then, she was gone. She and I talked much more in depth about all of that in my first book, The Muscle Shoals Legacy of FAME.
Alecia is the rare soul that is actually from Muscle Shoals, Alabama, not the “idea” of Muscle Shoals. Not the surrounding communities that identify as “Muscle Shoals” because that’s the thing that resonates with people. Alecia went to Muscle Shoals, that is, until Tony Brown of MCA (you know, the guy that signed George Strait, Reba McEntire and half of the 80s and 90s country canon) found her. Continue reading
In January, Mile 0 Fest in Key West celebrated its biggest year to date. Headlined by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and a hard sell out, the festival stepped into the elite class of “boutique” festivals that Fyre dreamed of and couldn’t execute. It wasn’t without pitfalls. On Saturday, just moments after Randy Rogers had taken the stage, torrential rains forced the amphitheater to be evacuated and literally dampened most of the weekend’s remaining schedule. Continue reading
Filed under Music., Places.
Between Independence Day and Labor Day, I ate at Niki’s West each Friday. In a pandemic world, it was the smallest future trip that I could take. An argument that has been made for a return to our normal lives is “personal responsibility,” and I largely agree with the notion. I don’t believe that many are capable of living within a “personal responsibility” that accounts for the lives of others. Continue reading
Filed under Places., Things.
Abraham Smith is the poet laureate of Ogden, Utah, and he’s one fourth of The Snarlin’ Yarns. His poetry collections have been published by Action Books and Third Man Books. With his band, he inserts a unique freestyle that complements the songwriting of fiddler Mara Brown, guitarist William Pollett and string specialist Jason Barrett-Fox.
Smith honed those skills—among other places—at The Chukker in Tuscaloosa. Now, he and his band are set to release their debut, Break Your Heart. It was recorded in Water Valley, Mississippi at Dial Back Sound, the studio owned by Drive-By Truckers bassist and Jasper, Alabama native Matt Patton. Patton’s studio is fast becoming a destination for a diverse collection of independent artists that all find themselves pumped into “Americana.” Continue reading
Filed under Music., Places.
Covington, Kentucky’s Frontier Folk Nebraska are back with “Blackhorse,” a single that will be available as a split with William Matheny on July 11 through Soul Step Records. The band has spent a lot of time on the road with Matheny and developed a kinship; a pandemic felt like a perfect time to release new music while further solidifying that bond. Continue reading
Steven Hyden recently ranked his top 30 Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit songs, and I was tagged by a few people that asked for me to do a similar list of my own. Continue reading
Nashville Noise is heading to Key West for Mile 0 Fest. The third-year festival welcomes Nashville residents and fixtures Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit as headliners this year, along with Randy Rogers Band, Robert Earl Keen, Whiskey Myers, Lucero, Wade Bowen, American Aquarium and dozens of others Americana acts. The festival’s scheduling has long been rooted deep in Texas and Oklahoma sounds, and early on, Texas singer-songwriter Jamie Lin Wilson was affectionately dubbed the “Queen of Key West” as she became one of its most visible mainstays. Having been a part of the lineup in each year of its existence, Wilson has helped create an inviting atmosphere that has given artists an opportunity to jam together. It’s allowed audiences to experience unique collaborations that they wouldn’t otherwise see. Continue reading