REVIEW: The Duhks’ “Beyond The Blue”

 photo DuhksBTB_cover_zps3e268e50.jpg The Duhks were great when they made themselves known in the last decade, with people falling in love with their brand of music, a cross between traditional country and Americana, along with the style, grace, and strength of vocalist Jessee Havey. When she left in order to create music under her own name, it seemed a healthy part of The Duhks’ following left with her, despite the fact she was still making powerful music. After a brief split between one another, Havey rejoined The Duhks and it has lead to their brand new album, Beyond The Blue (Compass).

If anything, the group sound as moving as they’ve always been and hearing how well they sound together, we realize how much we missed them. With tracks like “Banjo Roustabout”, “Suffer No Fools”, and “Black Mountain Lullaby”, we’re also realizing how much we miss hearing songs like this, even if it is the type we enjoy listening to on a regular basis. There was a time when people like Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones could be heard releasing this and having hits but these days, not so much. I think what we enjoy about hearing Havey’s voice is the richness in her tones and the interpretation of the definition of the lyric, whethere there is happiness in the sorrow or a bit of sadness meant to be hidden. Perhaps this is why the album is called Beyond The Blue, as a way to say we must go on and look for something else that is brighter and better, even when it feels as if it doesn’t currently exist. Perhaps this album could be a new hope for everyone who listens to it.

AUDIO: Larkin Poe’s “Crown Of Fire”

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When I was listening to Larkin Poe, what I loved the most was the harmony vocals the two singers shared during the chorus. Upon further research, I discovered they are sisters, which is something you can’t beat. Rebecca and Megan Lovell are from Atlanta and upon hearing their individual voices, you’ll know why they make music. Then they sing together and for me at least, I was taken aback, a very nice “whoa”. They’ve released their debut album, Kin (RH Music). a culmination not only of their many musical interests but also the styles of music they now find themselves comfortable in, so while you may not hear Pink Floyd directly, listen to the harmonies again. In time, you’ll get it, but they have all the time in the world.

REVIEW: Hook & Anchor’s self-titled debut album

 photo HookampAnchor_cover_zpseaa62837.jpg What is American music in 2014? Ask anyone and you’ll get a multitude of answers but regardless of what style it is, it is rooted in the earthiness of the stories and the voices that tell them. This is what Hook & Anchor are about and what they share on their brand new, self-titled debut. Their style of music is a mixture of country and bluegrass, but they also go towards the Americana way of life, which means you may hear a bit of Black Crowes, a pinch of Wilco, maybe even some Black Crowes in how they present their songs and all comparisons would be close-to-accurate. The songs not only tell stories, but you want to be able to figure out the stories not only as they’re told, but how you’ll interpret them into your own life, along with those you’re closely associated with. Maybe this is what would be distinctly Americana music but it is a part of the fabric that partly makes us who we are, a mixture of the happiness, the sorrow, the hopes, dreams, and anticipation of a better tomorrow. These guys very much pull their moniker towards their listeners and hope you’ll stay with them throughout their duration. I look forward to more music from them in the years to come.

VIDEO: Sugarplum Fairies featuring RT Valine’s “Escondite”

Director/cinematographer Roman Jakobi is responsible for creating “Escondite”, the new one from Sugarplug Fairies. If you’ve been keeping track of their latest string of videos, “Escondite” is the third in a trilogy of videos where each one is put together by a different director as part of their latest album, Godspeed & Silver Linings (Starfish).

REVIEW: Sad And French’s self-titled album

 photo SadAndFrench_cover_zps69b48575.jpg The new album by Sad And French is a nice acoustic variation of indie rock and punk by by the middle of the album, I found myself wishing they would do something else. By the 7th song of 12, the novelty wore out a bit and if they were to punk or rock it up in a semi-brilliant manner, maybe it would make me listen. The songwriting is quite nice and makes them to be people who look at the world with bitterness but hope for better as best as they can, but again, do I want to hear it in a folk and country manner for 41 minutes? It just sounds like a novelty band trying to make folk versions of punk songs, and it went stale fairly fast. Within this, they through in a power ballad which sounds like they’re saying “this will be the one that will give us a radio hit” but by then, I didn’t want to listen to the rest of it (but did). Strong songs but weak format. Change the format a bit and I would be willing to listen once more.

(Vinyl pressing can be purchased by clicking here.)

REVIEW: Wooden Wand’s “Farmer’s Corner”

 photo WoodenWand_cover_zps1c71facf.jpg Farmer’s Corner (Fire) could be called a country album, or more closer to the Americana sub-genre than anything, but Wooden Wand does not create music in a stereotypical country manner. Woodden Wand is James Jackson Toth, who writes and records is songs in a solid and precise manner, but that’s only the start of his material and his journey. He writes his stories but then he has more to say than just to put together a beginning, middle, and end. There are a number of different streets and walkways, other people to meet and see, and then he may see something else on the side of his eye and take off in that way. The shortest song on the album is 3:19, the opening “Alpha Dawn”, but before you know it you’ll be within the 8:34 “Port Of Call” or a 7:02 “When The Trail Goes Cold”, which may seem a bit too lengthy upon first glance but they are not at all. He could easily do an Alice’s Restaurant trip a la Arlo Guthrie, but you may see him tell stories in the vein of Bruce Springsteen or Wilco. He wants to tell and examine it, and then find something else you may neglect about the story in front of you. What Farmer’s Corner may be something that is only treasured by those of a select few, but it’s something you’re going to want to sit down to during the entire duration.

REVIEW: Josephine Foster’s “I’m A Dreamer”

 photo JosephineFoster_cover_zps4775b9bf.jpg Josephine Foster is a singer that deserves to be heard, yet has a voice that sounds like she was not of a time long gone. There is a sense of preciousness in her tone, and with that the type of lyrics that sounds like she is of now but also not of this time, a voice that you want everlasting and know it will motivate anyone and everyone who dares to hear her just by her name alone, a name which created an album with an appropriate title: I’m A Dreamer (Fire).

Foster sings a nice range of jazz, blues, folk, and country where it may sound like something you heard from the 1920’s, 1950’s, or a honky tonk movie taking place in the 1970’s. It may easy to tell what she’s trying to achieve but as she sings about the wonderment of the world around us, we’re not sure why she does the way she does, but does it in a way where you’ll go “damn, that tears me up inside.” How her dreams will be able to transform to those in an awake state will be very interesting, but if listeners allow themselves to dream a little dream for a few minutes, they’ll enter their world and perhaps imagine her world, which ends up being the world we all exist in.

AUDIO: Melaena Cadiz’s “Needles River”

Upon hearing Melaena Cadiz, you may immediately think of singers like Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Reba McEntire, or Grey DeLisle, and while Cadiz may be influenced by some of them, she is very much her own person who isn’t afraid to show the grit, the sorrow, the weaknesses, and the strengths of her humanity. I can see this song being huge in the right circles, and you’ll be able to hear more when she drops an album on May 20th called Deep Below Heaven (Wild Kindness) but have this slice of her heaven by listening to “Needles River”.

SOME STUFFS: PJ Bond and Maria Taylor to brave the road together

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PJ Bond’s album You Didn’t Know I Was Alphabetical (Black Numbers) was recently repressed and with a new 7″ out called Ten Degrees And The Floor (a split release between Black Numbers and Shield Recordings), he decided it would be a good time to take his music to the people. He found a way to hook up with Maria Taylor for an opening slot on her tour, which will begin in January:

January 3, 2014… Omaha, NE (The Waiting Room)
January 5, 2014… Denver, CO (Larimer Lounge)
January 7, 2014… Salt Lake City, UT (Urban Lounge)
January 8, 2014… Boise, ID (The Crux)
January 10, 2014… Vancouver, BC (The Media Club)
January 11, 2014… Seattle, WA (Barboza)
January 12, 2014… Portland, OR (Mississippi Studios)
January 14, 2014… San Francisco, CA (Rickshaw Stop)
January 17, 2014… Los Angeles, CA (The Satellite)
January 18, 2014… San Diego, CA (Soda Bar)
January 19, 2014… Phoenix, AZ (Crescent Ballroom)
January 22, 2014… Austin, TX (Mohawk)
January 23, 2014… Dallas, TX (City Tavern)
January 25, 2014… Birmingham, AL (Bottletree)
January 31, 2014… Atlanta, GA (The Earl)
February 2, 2014… Washington, DC (Rock & Roll Hotel)
February 5, 2014… Philadelphia, PA (Boot & Saddle)
February 6, 2014… Brooklyn, NY (Knitting Factory)
February 7, 2014… Boston, MA (Middle East)
February 8, 2014… Ithaca, NY (The Haunt)
February 9, 2014… Toronto, ON (Drake)
February 11, 2014… Chicago, IL (Beat Kitchen)

Bond will have some of his music available at shows, including the new Ten Degrees And The Floor EP, which you may also listen to and/or purchased digitally below from Bandcamp.

SOME STUFFS: Danny Boone releases solo single as Rehab prepares for farewell tour

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Danny Boone is the vocalist of the band Rehab, who recently had some success with the song “The Bartender Song (Sittin’ At A Bar)”. He is stepping away from the band for a brief moment to let people know how the song’s success has made an impact on him and his life. The song is called “All They Wanna Here”, which may touch on the pros and cons, highs and pitfalls, of a song that can have a life of its own without your control. You can download it for free by heading here, or stream the audio-only clip below.

After 14 years, Rehab are going to call it a day but not without saying thank you to those who made them a success. This means a farewell tour, and here are the 49 scheduled dates for it:
January 30, 2014… Columbus, GA (Outlaw Saloon)
January 31, 2014… Charleston, SC (The Music Farm)
February 4, 2014… Lawrence, KS (Granada)
February 5, 2014… Fort Collins, CO (Aggie Theatre)
February 6, 2014… Denver, CO (Moon Room)
February 7, 2014… Colorado Springs, CO (The Black Sheep)
February 8, 2014… Grand Junction, CO (Mesa Theatre and Club)
February 9, 2014… Salt Lake City, UT (Urban Lounge)
February 11, 2014… Butte, MT (Thunder Alley Bar & Casino)
February 13, 2014… Seattle, WA (El Corazon)
February 14, 2014… Portland, OR (Hawthorne Theatre)
February 15, 2014… Springfield, OR (Whiskey River Ranch)
February 16, 2014… Bend, OR (Domino Room)
February 17, 2014… Arcata, CA (The Jambalaya)
February 18, 2014… Trinidad, CA (Ocean Grove Lounge)
February 19, 2014… Garberville, CA (Toph’s House)
February 20, 2014… Sacramento, CA (Assembly)
February 22, 2014… Morongo Valley, CA (Willie Boy’s Saloon & Dance Hall)
February 23, 2014… Las Vegas, NV (Cheyenne Saloon)
February 24, 2014… Tempe, AZ (The Marquee)
February 26, 2014… Tulsa, OK (Shine)
February 27, 2014… Mobile, AL (Soul Kitchen
March 8, 2014… Nashua, NH (Bernie’s)
March 9, 2014… Pennellville, NY (Moniraes)
March 10, 2014… Newport, KY (Thompson House Newport)
March 11, 2014… Kalamazoo, MI (Shakespeare’s Pub)
March 12, 2014… Traverse City, MI (Ground Zero)
March 13, 2014… Libertyville, IL (Austins)
March 14, 2014… Flint, MI (The Machine Shop)
March 15, 2014… Rock Island, IL (Rock Island Brewing Company)
March 17, 2014… Wichita, KS (The Cotillion)
March 23, 2014… Mankato, MN (Red Rocks Bar)
March 24, 2014… Elkhart, IN (Five Star Dive Bar)
March 25, 2014… Toledo, OH (Mainstreet)
March 27, 2014… Cleveland, OH (The Agora Ballroom)
March 28, 2014… Indianapolis, IN (Snafu Saloon)
March 29, 2014… Mooresville, IN (Rt. 67 Bar & Grill)
April 2, 2014… Wilmington, NC (Ziggys By The Sea)
April 3, 2014… Charlotte, NC (Amos Southend)
April 4, 2014… Winston Salem, NC (Ziggy’s)
April 11, 2014… Houston, TX (Scout Bar)
April 14, 2014… Little Rock, AR (Juanita’s)
April 17, 2014… Clarksville, TN (The Warehouse)
April 18, 2014… Vestavia Hills, AL (Iron Horse)
April 19, 2014… Meridian, MS (Rhythm & Brews)
April 22, 2014… Jacksonville, FL (Jack Rabbits)
April 24, 2014… Longwood, FL (Hoddies Saloon)
April 25, 2014… Lake Worth, FL (Propaganda)
April 26, 2014… Satellite Beach, FL (Sports Page)