Category Archives: Departments

Howlin’ Rain: Soulful, Psychedelic, Arena-rock

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Band: Howlin’ Rain (Official Webpage)

Hometown: San Francisco, California

Members:  Ethan Miller  (vocals, guitar),  Jeff Mcelroy (bass), Dan Cervantes (guitar),  Justin Smith (drums)

Sounds Like: Smoking a joint as you speed down the highway with the windows open and the radio blasting your favorite rock station. Continue reading Howlin’ Rain: Soulful, Psychedelic, Arena-rock

Hot August Music Festival announces lineup

 

One of the premiere festivals in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Hot August Music Festival, will return to the picturesque setting of Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, Maryland (minutes from downtown Baltimore) August 18, 2018.  Entering its twenty-sixth year the Hot August Music Festival has again assembled a lineup this year that reflects the overriding principle that festival founder and promoter, Brad Selko, has adhered to over the history of the festival, “To provide a different variety of American Roots music each year.  Blues, bluegrass, rock, funk, jam, whatever.”  This year’s line-up does just that with a diverse roster of twelve bands who represent all facets of American Roots Music.  This year’s lineup is topped by The Revivalists and features Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Marcus King Band, Cris Jacobs Band, Psycho Killers, Whiskey Shivers, Dirty Grass Players, Niki Hall, Selwyn Birchwood, Hall Williams Band, and Omari Banks.  Also featuring another special guest headliner TBA April 1. Continue reading Hot August Music Festival announces lineup

The Blues Orphans: Rock, polka, punk, bluegrass and just about everything else

By: Tim Newby

Band: The Blues Orphans (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Members:  Bob Gabig (guitar/vocals), Andy Gabig (harmonica), Mark Custer (cornet), Ian Gordon (trumpet), Dr. Nelson Harrison (trombone), Dave Yoho (drums), Dave Erny (bass), Hill Jordan (trombone)

Sounds Like:  A drunken parade down main street with all your best friends that is being led by the funniest guy around.

Continue reading The Blues Orphans: Rock, polka, punk, bluegrass and just about everything else

The Trongone Band: Southern Rock Soul

By: Tim Newby

 

Band: The Trongone Band (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Members:  Andrew Trongone (guitar/vocals) Johnny Trongone (drums/ vocals), Ben “Wolfe” White (keys/ vocals),                               Todd Herrington (bass/ vocals)

Sounds Like:  A boogie-woogie shot of whiskey delivered with a deep taste of southern-rock soul.

For Fans Of:  Little Feat, Black Crowes, Drive By Truckers Continue reading The Trongone Band: Southern Rock Soul

Electric Love Machine: Outer Space Adventure

By: Tim Newby

Photo: Rich Barnstein

Band: Electric Love Machine (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Members:  Jon Wood (Guitar, Vocals), Jon Brady (Keyboards, Vocals), Alex Lang (Bass), Evan Lintz (Drums)

Sounds Like:  An outer space adventure through sound that touches on a diverse universe of elements including electronic, traditional Americana, funk, and improvisational jazz.  

For Fans Of:  Disco Biscuits, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Dopapod, 

Bio:  Electric Love Machine is an electronic fusion ensemble from Baltimore, Maryland comprised of longtime veterans of the Baltimore music scene.  Electric Love Machine features Jon Wood (guitar), Jon Brady (keys), Evan Lintz (drums), and Alex Lang (bass) and has been delivering their brand of danceable electro-funk across the country since they formed in 2013.  Their power-house sound has not gone unnoticed as they won the 2016 Maryland Music Award for best Electronic Act.  They released their debut album Xenofonex in 2013, followed by their sophomore release Love Deluxe in 2017. Continue reading Electric Love Machine: Outer Space Adventure

John Mooney & Bluesiana: A Lifetime of the Blues

By: Tim Newby

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Band: John Mooney & Bluesiana (Official Webpage)

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Members:  John Mooney (guitar), Rene Coman (bass), Kevin O’Day (drums)

Sounds Like: A lifetime of the blues lived in the funk of New Orleans.

For Fans Of: Son House, Professor Longhair, Dr. John Continue reading John Mooney & Bluesiana: A Lifetime of the Blues

The Dirty Grass Players: Forward-thinking bluegrass with a rock ‘n’ roll soul

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people playing musical instruments, guitar and outdoor

Band: The Dirty Grass Players (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Baltimore, MD

Members:  Ben Kolakowski (Guitar), Ryan Rogers (Mandolin),     Colin Rappa (Bass), Alex Berman (Banjo), Alex Tocco (Violin)

Sounds Like: Forward-thinking, innovative bluegrass played with an exploratory, rock ‘n’ roll soul. Continue reading The Dirty Grass Players: Forward-thinking bluegrass with a rock ‘n’ roll soul

Baskery: Blistering banjo punk

Pilgrim Profiles: Your guide to the freshest faces in grass-roots music

By: Tim Newby

Band: Baskery (Official Webpage)

Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Members:  Greta Bondesson (guitar, banjo, drums, harmonica, vocals), Stella Bondesson (bass, vocals), Sunniva Bondesson (acoustic/electric guitars, cello, vocals)

Sounds Like: Blistering banjo punk with shimmering vocal harmonies. Continue reading Baskery: Blistering banjo punk

Jason Isbell: Something More Than Free

The time for talking about how much Jason Isbell has changed since his Drive-By Truckers days is long past. Yes, gone are the whiskey-soaked, carousals from his time in the seminal Southern band.  Also in the past is the triumphant story of his hard-won sobriety and newfound life as a successful solo artist.

In their place, a shelf-full of all the hardware the 2014 Americana Music Awards had to offer, in addition to numerous critical accolades and a new life as happy family man. Also: a new album called Something More Than Free.

His 2013 breakout album Southeastern set the bar extremely high, and the follow-up, Something More Than Free, manages to reach, and perhaps hurdle, it.

Thematically, the album is a bit lighter than its predecessor, but it shares a tonal similarity. Isbell has hit a comfortable creative stride that gives the impression he and his listeners are in the midst of a fertile stage of artistic output akin to Neil Young’s early 1970s oeuvre.

Throughout Something More Than Free, Isbell constructs a now-trademark rustic realm, a world inhabited by people yearning, searching and hoping for something better, and a few who think they have it figured out. These are hardscrabble folks living with regrets and seeking redemption.

He creates such vividly imagined characters that at the conclusion of nearly every track, you feel like you’ve just finished a novel or movie, or stepped out of someone else’s dream. These characters—the guy who feels fortunate to have lost three fingers in an accident so he could get a court settlement (“The Life You Chose”), the teenage parents who can’t tell the difference between the “sacred and profane” (“Children of Children”), the guy who just wants to leave town because there’s “nothing here that can’t be left behind” (“Speed Trap Town”) and others—are instant intimates. Isbell’s craft allows these characters to come to life and for you to step into it.

Isbell is a singular voice, but it’s hard not to hear his forbearers living through him. Hints of Warren Zevon’s “Mutineer” (a song he’s performed live) live inside of “Flagship” in more ways that one.  John Prine’s wit suffuses “If It Takes A Lifetime.” And so on. Neil Young’s work informs here, his contemporary Ryan Adams there.

Sonically, Isbell and his band, including wife Amanda Shires on fiddle, are in a comfortable zone, shifting easily from melancholic ruminations to rowdy rockers and country swing.

“Children of Children,” with a string section that floats eerily over Isbell’s slide guitar and soaring solo, is one of many standout tracks on Something More Than Free.  Elsewhere, he adopts old-time, bluegrass-tinged country stomp with “If It Takes a Lifetime” and raunchy rock with “Palmetto Rose.” Throughout, his melodies seem like they’ve been there forever, pulled from the heavens by his pen.

Something More Than Free is continuation of the songwriting maturity found on Southeastern, so much so that Isbell might be wise to make some room on that shelf.

 

Something More Than Free will be released July 17 on Southeastern Records.