Thursday, July 28, 2011

Interview, Part One: Richard Buckner On His Musical Philosophy & Early Albums

I discovered Richard Buckner back in 1998 with the release of his third album, Since. At the time, I was listening to a lot of records from the Thrill Jockey label, which at the time, was the home of such fiercely independent bands such as Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, and Trans Am, among many others. I was also getting more and more into alt-country acts like Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt, and Whiskeytown, but had little to go on and was hungry for something else. I was seeking some kind of intersecting place between my love for indie-rock, my insatiable draw to the world of alt-country and No Depression, and my growing appreciation for unique acoustic songwriting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Conversation With The Black Twig Pickers

The Black Twig Pickers are keeping the tradition of old-time music vibrantly alive by releasing their own recordings and performing live whenever they can. The Pickers: Isak Howell, Nathan Bowles, and Mike Gangloff, listen to field recordings and old-time records, study with local old-time masters in Southwest Virginia and West Virginia respectively, and continue to challenge  themselves musically by exploring new instrumentation with each release.

With a deep respect for the old-time music and Appalachian life they so clearly admire, The Black Twig Pickers have collaborated with such contemporary masters and visionaries such as the late guitarist Jack Rose and songwriter Charlie Parr. In addition to their own individual side projects that each member contributes to outside of The Black Twig Pickers, the group has released an impressive lot of releases together, including their most recent long player, 2010's Ironto Special (one of my own personal top picks from last year).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Live: The Del McCoury Band Takes NYC!

The last week or so is what I have been calling the "Week of Del" for some time. The Del McCoury band came to New York City to play their own show on Saturday, July 16th, at City Winery, as well as to join The Preservation Hall Jazz Band for two special performances on Wednesday, July 20th: a live afternoon taping for WNYC's Live in The Greene Space as part of NPR's Soundcheck (which also included a set by Chris Thile and Michael Daves). The two groups would later reconvene as one that evening for a special performance at City Winery to perform selections from their new collaboration, American Legacies.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meeting Robert Ellis & Talking "Photographs"

Robert Ellis released his second album, Photographs, in April. The record, his first for the New West label, is by definition, a classic "Side-A / Side-B album". It's a full length that is cut down the middle, and divided into two distinctive parts.

The first half offers five songs that paint an intimate portrait of an emerging talented singer-songwriter working within a deliberately sparse setting. Armed with only a guitar and his voice in the studio, Ellis later accentuated the set with a layering of minimal arrangements to flesh the tunes out. In contrast, the second half is a full band effort, filled with a set of tunes inspired by classic country, Texas swing, and rousing honky-tonk.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Uprooted Album Revue 7/18/2011

 The Uprooted Album Revue highlights new releases, reissues, and my own latest discoveries. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

William Elliott Whitmore Talks "Field Songs"

William Elliott Whitmore hails from his farm in Lee County, Iowa. His story begins when he was drawn to the DIY lifestyle and culture of punk rock and hardcore music, and began hitting the road opening up for his friends' bands, armed with his banjo. He soon found himself with a three-record deal from Southern Records, and spent time opening for such eclectic acts as The Pogues, Clutch, Murder By Death, and Converge to name a few.

In 2009, William Elliott Whitmore signed with Anti- Records and released Animals In The Dark. He has also continued to tour, most notably with Chris Cornell on his last sold-out solo acoustic tour.

William Elliott Whitmore drops his highly-anticipated new album, Field Songs on July 12th. Throughout the record, Mr. Whitmore projects his distinctively earthy and powerful vocals to conjure up tales of the American landscape and it's people who work it. His impassioned vocal performance is matched with instrumentation rooted in country, folk, bluegrass, and protest songs.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Catching Up With Ari Picker of Lost In The Trees

Lost In The Trees is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and led by composer and songwriter Ari Picker. The band combines elements of symphonic classical music with American folk and modern pop, creating a sound that is intimate, ambitious, and lasting. 
Mr. Picker, who has already composed and publicly debuted his first symphony with members of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, draws band members from prestigious music schools such as Berklee, Eastman and University of North Carolina, as well as the rich, indie-rock community in North Carolina.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Uprooted Album Revue 7/5/2011

 The Uprooted Album Revue highlights new releases, reissues, and my own latest discoveries. 

As a full-time teacher who balances music writing and playing the mandolin on top of employment responsibilities, sometimes it can all just get a little overwhelming. I have been fortunate enough to share a wealth of exciting artist interviews during the last few months time, but sadly, writing album reviews and posting news features have just gotten away from me during the conclusion of the school year.