alt-country Archive

Asheville’s Holiday Hang 2017

Calling an event “Holiday Hang” suggests a loose, informal and fun way to spend a December evening. That’s accurate, but organizers of the annual event – now in its sixth year – have set their sights much higher. True, an evening of bluegrass and country featuring a double-bill of Asheville’s Town Mountain and Amanda Anne

Poco’s Rusty Young: A Good Feelin’ to Play

The genre of country rock has its origins in west coast bands of the late 1960s, including late-period Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Buffalo Springfield and Poco. And while perhaps the biggest claim to fame enjoyed by Poco is its reputation as a kind of “farm team” for big-league, higher-profile acts, the band co-founded in

Album Mini-review: Raging Fire — These Teeth are Sharp

File next to: X, Lone Justice After toiling in relative obscurity though the 1980s, Nashville country-punkers Raging Fire threw in the towel. But the under-appreciated quarter left behind some superb music; that material was eventually reissued in 2015 as Everything is Roses. Positive response to that collection led to a full-scale reunion, and the fruit

Album Review: Laura Blackley and the Wildflowers — Tell it to the Darkness

An engaging Southern gothic troubadour, Laura Blackley is a beloved fixture on the regional live concert circuit. On Tell It to the Darkness, her well-honed strengths are on prominent display. Chief among her assets is a skill at crafting thoughtful lyrics — word pictures, really — that work as well on the printed page as

The Supersuckers: F-bombs and Devil Horns

Michael Jackson anointed himself King of Pop, so it’s no surprise that other artists would engage in similar hubris. After touring and recording for a few years, the Supersuckers branded themselves as The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World. And who’s to argue? Their mix of raw rock ‘n’ roll (bordering on punk)

Devils in Dust: The Hazards of Hi-Fi

After years of local and regional success with groups of their own, Corey Bullman and Leigh Glass have now combined their musical projects into a single one, Devils in Dust. Along the way, they also fell in love and got married. When faced with the chicken-or-egg question – which came first: the musical relationship or

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 3 of 10

Five more quick reviews of archival/reissue material. Three of today’s five are from Grammy-award winning label Omnivore Recordings. One of these days I’ll write liner notes for one of their fine releases; I just know it. Meantime, I’ll review the ones that I dig (which, as it happens, is nearly all of ’em). The Beach

Album Mini-review: Waiting for Henry — Town Called Patience

File next to: Jayhawks, Wilco, Gin Blossoms Inside the college rock movement of the 1980s, there was a kind of proto-alt-country vibe that informed later groups like Wilco and Old 97s. There are echoes of that scene in the warm and friendly country-rock of Town Called Patience. Sharp hooks and memorable lead guitar lines provide

Colvin & Earle: Embracing Spontaneity

Though they both have thriving and creatively satisfying musical careers of their own, singer/songwriter/musicians Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin recently decided to work together on an album; Colvin & Earle will be released June 10. The longtime friends have also scheduled a tour in support of the album: kicking off June 4 in Pueblo, the

Album Review: Eric Ambel — Lakeside

Indie cred: it’s an elusive quality, one that most artists would be pleased to possess. Indie cred connotes a level of achievement that suggests one’s work is more than ephemeral, more than disposable, worth further investigation. Once you’ve got it, if you’re the real deal, you’ll hold onto it. One fine Exhibit A for this