Americana Archive

Jack Devereux: Strings of Life (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two… The Cult of Old Wood A violin maker can’t simply drive to the nearest lumber yard for wood. Devereux explains that the raw material – maple for the sides and back, spruce for the top – is milled specifically for violins, and is sourced from Eastern Europe, the foot of the

Jack Devereux: Strings of Life (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… The Right Way There’s a great deal of history wrapped up in the art of fiddle-making, but Devereux’s perspective on the subject is of a decidedly practical sort. While emphasizing that developing the required skills calls for a lot of what he calls “ass-in-seat time,” he says that there’s a lot

Jack Devereux: Strings of Life (Part One)

I was at a party,” Jack Devereux recalls. “This drunk girl sat on my violin and busted the head off.” What could have been an unmitigated disaster instead served as the catalyst for Devereux’s own entry into the world of fiddle making. Nine years ago, Jack Devereux was studying jazz violin at Berklee College of

Hundred Word Reviews for January 2018, Part 2

As promised, here are ten more capsule reviews of new music. The Sherlocks – Live for the Moment In an era many define as “post-rock,” it’s refreshing to discover a band that makes high energy, melodic rock that maneuvers the narrow bath between the faux fist-pumping of arena rock and the often slavish and mannered

Hundred Word Reviews for January 2018, Part 1

As we begin another calendar year, now seems like a good time to clear out some of my backlog. All of these albums are new (or at least newish) releases. Paul Moran – Smokin’ B3 Vol. 2: Still Smokin’ As a lover of soulful organ jazz a la Jimmy Smith, I was taken in by

The Squirrel Nut Zippers: Hot for the Holidays

Founded in Chapel Hill, N.C., the Squirrel Nut Zippers were more a summer art project than a serious band. But with the 1996 smash success of “Hell” from the group’s second album, the Zippers were catapulted into mainstream success. The group folded after releasing a holiday-themed album and 2000’s Bedlam Ballroom, but founder Jimbo Mathus

Album Review: Angel Olsen — Phases

Across her first three albums and an EP, Asheville’s own Angel Olsen has carved out a musical niche of her own. Her music is perhaps best described as a collection of familiar, well-worn melodies and styles to which she applies her own stamp. Her most recent release of new material, 2016’s My Woman drew upon

Joe Penland on the Connection Between Old-time Music and Storytelling

“I didn’t know I was a storyteller until I was told I was one,” says Joe Penland. A singer, songwriter and most definitely a storyteller, Penland is part of the ongoing movement to keep musical ballad traditions alive. He’s one of the featured speakers in From Knee to Knee: An Exploration of the Roots of

Kasey Chambers’ Connecting Flight, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: As a member of the Dead Ringer Band with your parents and brother, you enjoyed success long before you began your solo career. What lessons did you learn about music working with your family band? Kasey Chambers: I reckon the biggest thing that I learned from those early years

Kasey Chambers’ Connecting Flight, Part One

Many Americans have the mistaken idea that country music is the sole property of artists from the United States. Certainly that’s not the case: often thought of as forefathers of the Americana movement, four of the five founding members of The Band were from Canada. And in the same way that rock ‘n’ roll was