Dave Chappelle and John Mulaney are the two best active standup comedians. I realize Rock is still doing it; Jerry is still doing it. But we’re not overthinking it here. Chappelle and Mulaney are the two best active standup comedians.
Chris Knight released Almost Daylight in 2019, his ninth studio album and his first in seven years. It’s an album that featured guest appearances by Lee Ann Womack and the late John Prine. And he’s been itching to play these songs for folks, but…2020 happened. Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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