Americana Archive

Album Review: Diamonds and Whiskey — Dark Country Voodoo

The band name suggests an act, and while those labels aren’t too wide of the mark, there’s a harder, edgier and slightly more sinister feel to this music. The southern drawl that characterizes Jenny Webb’s voice places the album firmly in the country and Americana realm, but there’s a rocking and bluesy feel to

Fifty-word Reviews for July 2018, Part 1

For years now, I’ve engaged in an occasional series of reviews in which I limit myself to 100 words. The point isn’t at all to give short shrift to these fine releases; instead, it’s to cover albums that would otherwise go unmentioned only for lack of time. Speaking of time, all of these releases are

Eric Congdon Heads Into the Woods

Hendersonville, N.C. guitarist Eric Congdon has been recording and releasing albums since 2006, when he made his solo record debut, Green River. Over the years, the roots-blues musician has built up a solid reputation as an sterling musical interpreter, yet one with his own style. But in 2015 he was involved in a serious automobile

Album Review: Battleground Korea: Songs and Sounds of America’s Forgotten War

Readers old enough to remember the long-running and beloved television sitcom M*A*S*H likely know that according to its creators, even though the show was set in wartime Korea, it was really about American involvement in Vietnam. But despite the show’s comedic framework, it managed to explore some important truths about that ill-advised endeavor in southeast

Billy Edd Wheeler: The Fire Ain’t Gone Out

Billy Edd Wheeler is a West Virginia-born American troubadour, an important part of the Appalachian storytelling tradition. He’s written songs made famous by Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers and Richie Havens, but songwriting is only part of the man’s impressive body of work. The latest from the pen of the prolific Wheeler – a pillar of

Alejandro Escovedo is Still Burning Brightly

Guitarist, singer and songwriter Alejandro Escovedo released his 14th album, Burn Something Beautful, in late 2016. Reaction to the album—in many ways a return to the rocking end of Escovedo’s musical spectrum—has been so positive that he’s still on the road in support of it. The album distills his interests and influences into a cohesive

A Chat with Fayssoux Starling

These days, Fayssoux Starling can be seen and heard on stages throughout South Carolina’s upstate and in the Hendersonville-Tryon area. But in the course of her impressive career, she’s shared stages and recording studios with some of the biggest names in country, bluegrass and Americana. In the early 1970s, Fayssoux (that’s pronounced fa-SUE) and her

Q&A with Sarah Siskind

Sarah Siskind co-leads Sunliner, a roots-rock trio with her husband Travis Book of the Infamous Stringdusters. Siskind established herself as an important songwriter in her own right 15 years ago with the release of her debut solo album, Covered. High-profile names in the music world took notice, and many of them began to record and

Album Review: Balsam Range — Mountain Overture

Much of what is thought of as classical music has its roots in the folk melodies of European countries. With that in mind, the pairing of bluegrass heroes Balsam Range and the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble isn’t such a radical concept. Steep Canyon Rangers have similarly augmented their music live onstage with classical instrumentation. Mountain

Album Review: Ryan Hutchens – The Last Ten Years

It’s interesting to learn than an artist is moved to creativity by spending time in Columbia, South Carolina. I know that every place has its charms – even Houston, Texas, or so I am told – but I’ve spent time in Columbia, and I don’t see it. The city’s fathers and mothers have gone so