REVIEW: Emily Rodgers’ “2 Years”

Emily Rodgers photo EmilyRodgers_cover_zpshmpvkvmi.jpg If you’re familiar with the name Emily Rodgers, you may have wondered where she has been. While hew new release is called 2
Years
(Misra), it has been seven years since she came out with her last album, 2009’s Bright Day and a lot has happened since then. Then again, she could easily say the same thing about her life as well but she returns with an album of ten songs, showing why her music and passionate voice has been missed.

Her music is very much today but it is also rustic, as if it was meant to be from the past or it came from the past and we are hearing something that is meant to be told to us. It’s as if Rodgers wrote this without a sense of time or timing but when you hear this a year from now, five years, ten, on our death beds, we are going to remember the moment we first heard this and why songs like this aren’t as celebrated as they once were. Or maybe it still is and I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What I also like is that occasionally, the songs don’t sound right either. I mean it is in key and everything but… while she sounds nothing like Joni Mitchell, Rodgers has a way of going on places that may sound unintentional but where it goes is where it means to be and where you mean to be. Call it alt.country. call it No Depression, call it left-of-country, call it what should be on country radio today but isn’t but simply call it Emily Rodgers’ new album. Let’s hope we will not have to wait until 2023 for another follow-up.

VIDEO: Steamboats’ “Dimes”

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They are from America, New York to be exact, and are willing to call themselves Americana. Is that possible? No matter, if it’s a way to get people familiar with what they’re about, you can use any word youw ant and they are called Steamboats. Their debut album is called Chosen Peace and they’re getting some positive reviews for what they’re doing so regardless of what their P.R. people want to call them, it’s working. Have an examination through their sound with “Dimes”, which is worth much more than 40 cents (because if each guy in the group had a time, it would lead to just 40… just listen.)

AUDIO: Simon Joyner’s “You Got Under My Skin”

Photo by Sara Adkisson Joyner
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Reading the press release, it states “Simon Joyner is a renowned American singer-songwriter who first came to prominence during the Lo-Fi movement of the early 90’s alongside contemporaries mining similar territory, like Will Oldham, Peter Jefferies, the Mountain Goats, Smog, and Alastair Galbraith” and I’m thinking “there was a lo-fi movement? Regardless of the movement others put him in, you don’t want to lock him in a box, especially now as he is releasing an album in March on Woodist called Grass, Branch & Bone. For now, you can listen to “You Got Under My Skin”, which shows hints of Wilco but you are sure to hear richere qualities with frequent listens. Grass, Branch & Bone will be out on March 17th.

SOME STUFFS: New Zealand’s Rachel Dawick to make an impact with new double album

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New Zealand singer/songwriter Rachel Dawick will not only be releasing a new album next month, but this effort happens to be a double album. The Boundary Riders will be out on September 19th, just in time for the new season of spring (in the southern hemisphere, that is) and to hear the influence country and Americana music has around the world, look no further than here. The first single from the album is called “‘Biddy Of The Buller”, which will be released next week Monday. You may stream it in full below or purchase it when the 1st of September arrives. As for the topic of the song, Dawick says it refers to Bridget Goodwin, who was “one of the six women who lived in NZ in the 1800s whose journeys are followed through the course of the show album. Biddy was a four-foot, pipe smoking goldminer who lived with two men in a shack near Lyell along the Buller River. She was a tough character working and living alongside two men in water up to her hips, panning for gold every day. She defied the notion of what a woman in Victorian society should be like trying to survive in a newly settled colony in a man’s world. She was a generous, whisky loving, hard working, Irish born woman whose way of life helped paved the way for women in NZ to gain the vote on the 19th September in 1893.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=2524971452/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=907A4A/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/

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.

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FREE MP3 DL: Jess Williamson’s “Native State”

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New year missions and anticipations for what will become new year music, and anticipating the new year is Jess Williamson, an Austin-based singer/songwriter/musician who looks forward to releasing Native State (Brutal Honest), her debut album that will be out on January 28th. The press material states she makes the kind of folk and country music you may not expect because it is haunting, but I think sometimes the best music is not what you expect from it, and it’s all about the human emotion and what we have to deal with in order to get from one place to another. Williamson makes the kind of songs that will get you from here to there, and it may move you to stay for awhile, only to look forward to whatever journey lies ahead. Listen to one of those excursions below with the title track to Native State. The album will be made available on vinyl, with only 300 copies being pressed up.

AUDIO: Chad Kichula’s “Me This Time”


Last month I posted Chad Kichula performing a cover of a Johnny Cash classic, but now you can hear one of his originals. “Me This Time” (see how that works out?) is from his latest (and self-released) effort, The Whale’s Back.

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COVERED: John Prine vs. Joey Sweeney

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Released 40 years ago this month, Sweet Revenge (Atlantic) was John Prine’s third album, one that has managed to prove the test of time. It may be a dollar bin gem and one you may be able to find at thrift stores, garage and yard sales, but it’s his type of folk/country, what one might call Americana, alt.country, or No Depression, that has managed to influence a generation or two. He had recorded a new album a year beginning with the start of his Atlantic contract in 1971, but it was Sweet Revenge that brought him to places, and he would end up following with a new release two years later. The cover photo features him on a random country road, kicking back in his back stage without a care in the world.

Philadelphia singer/songwriter/musician will be releasing a new album on La Société Expéditionnaire called Long Hair and early versions of the cover featured a photo of him by a beach, with the photo surrounded by blue, looking very much like Prine’s Sweet Revenge with similar lettering. Are the photos meant to be representative of someone’s sense of solitude, peace and comfort? The latest edition of Sweeney’s cover is now surrounded by a yellow background. Not sure if this is final or why there was a switch but I like the blue background better.

SOME STUFFS: Tom Brosseau to lay something on you all: a new album in 2014

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Tom Brosseau released four albums in the 00’s, and then he seemed to stop. Did he take a time off? Did he need time to rethink or regroup? No matter, Tom Brosseau fans, for he has returned with a brand new album, his first in five years, and it will be called Grass Punks, which you’ll get to hear in full on or around the 21st of January via Crossbill Records. I say “on or around” because you know how it is these days, the album will stream a week or two before its release, everyone will get a chance to hear it as a temptation technique towards wanting to buy it. It’s the world’s greatest listening booth, this internet is.

He has allowed the sharing of a song called “Cradle Your Device”, and what exactly is this device? Is it divine? Is it divided? Brosseau describes it this way:
I don’t think of ideas, I search for them. There’s motion. I know the more my body is stressed the more endorphins are released. This creates a natural high. When my mind is clear I can focus and stay focused longer on my thoughts, problems and the future. There’s humanity. I like to people-watch. I enjoy spotting color patterns, trends; watching interactions, hearing laughs. My inspection, then, switches to the problems of others. I am fortunate to have to depend upon public transportation. There’s plenty of walking, plenty of people, and lots of opportunity for idea plucking.

Gotta love humanity. In the words of Rick Springsteen, we all need the human touch, and I need it too. Maybe you too as well. Get in touch with the human in you again through Brosseau and his songwriting.

You may get in touch with him (but not touch him, unless he approves of it) beginning next week as he begins touring across the land of Midwest and Eastern America:
October 10… Grand Forks, ND (North Dakota Museum of Art) **
October 12… Omaha, NE (O’Leaver’s) **
October 14… Cedar Falls, IA (Cedar Valley House Concert) **
October 15… Rock Island, IL (Daytrotter)
October 16… Madison, WI (House Concert) **
October 17… Indianapolis, IN (Do317 Lounge Presented by MOKB) **
October 18… Chicago, IL (Old Town School) **/☎
October 19… Nashville TN (The Basement) **
October 21… Knoxville, TN (Live on WDVX: Blue Plate Special)
October 22… Charlotte, NC (Snug Harbor) **
October 23… Asheville, NC (The Grey Eagle) **
October 27… Brooklyn, NY (Manhattan Inn)
October 28… Hamden, CT (Outer Space)
November 1…. Burlington, VT (Radio Bean)

** w/ Sean Watkins
☎ w/ Paula Cole

SOME STUFFS: A new version of “Folsom Prison Blues” as performed by Chad Kichula

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Singer/songwriter Chad Kichula has a lot of influences and likes, and one of them is the late Johnny Cash. His version of “Folsom Prison Blues” shows how alive and vibrant this song is today, 58 years after it was originally recorded and released, and now you may hear this new take of a country music standard.

Kichula isn’t afraid to say he has to have a day job to make ends meet but the rest of the time, he’s busy singing and writing, and with a new album called The Whale’s Back, where he is joined by Etienne Soulodre, Danny Duperrault, Nat Bowen, Matt Kaip, and Philip Legrand to complete his music, stories, and songs. “Folsom Prison Blues” is one of the ten songs on the album, and Kichula would love for you to listen and perhaps become a fan of his. Welcome.

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=616857278/size=medium/bgcol=333333/linkcol=8389A4/transparent=true/