Americana Archive

Album Review: Cowbell — Haunted Heart

File next to: Flat Duo-jets, The Cramps, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes Discerning listeners may turn a skeptical ear toward news of yet another guitar-and-drum duo. There’s a strong argument that the format is completely played out. But British duo Cowbell has expanded its instrumental arsenal for its American debut release, and far from

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

Album Review: Zoe and Cloyd — Eyes Brand New

High quality musicianship is rarely in short supply, especially in Western North Carolina. That fact –coupled with the presence of several top-notch recording studios in the region – means that the bar is set quite high for a new album release. This is especially true in the crowded field of Americana and its related genres

Resonant Rogues’ Musical Welcome Mat

Led by the duo of Sparrow and Keith Smith, Asheville-based band Resonant Rogues combines flavors of Appalachian old-time, early jazz, and Eastern European folk to create a distinctive and original sound. The group’s latest album, Hands in the Dirt uses that sound as a backdrop to lyrics that focus on universal – and sometimes very

Finn Magill: World Music, World Traveler

In his native Swannanoa, N.C., Finn Magill may be thought of as a vastly accomplished musician in the idiom of traditional Irish music. But his interests and musical explorations have long taken him far beyond that style. He recorded an album of Malawian flavored music, Mau a Malawi, and he leads a traditional Brazilian quartet

The Wooks in Their Natural Habitat

Kentucky-based band the Wooks came together in early 2015; the group quickly established its core sound: an acoustic approach that bridges the gap between bluegrass, old-time music and the modern jam band aesthetic. The latter influence would seem to be reflected in the band’s name: if Wooks is short for wookie, then it may be

The River Arkansas: Keeping Current

Pueblo, Colorado singer-songwriter Mike Clark enjoyed a big break when his band Haunted Windchimes scored two appearances – in 2011 and 2012 – on A Prairie Home Companion. And while that band continues, Clark’s songwriting is too big for just one band. His prodigious and varied output meant starting another musical project – The River

Long Shot: The Story of Delaney & Bonnie’s ‘Motel Shot’ (Part 2)

Continued from Part One … The Motel Shot that finally saw release would consist almost completely of material from the studio sessions. On release, it fared well, reaching #65 on Billboard‘s album chart. A surprise hit single, “Never Ending Song of Love” rose to #13 on the singles charts. Even in its more refined state,

Long Shot: The Story of Delaney & Bonnie’s ‘Motel Shot’ (Part 1)

As the 1960s rolled over into 1970, popular music was undergoing a seismic shift. The full reasons aren’t totally clear; maybe it was the disillusionment in the wake of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Perhaps it was the cumulative shock experienced at the daily news of the disastrous war in

Jon Stickley Trio: Clear, Present, and Slightly Dangerous

Despite a solid foundation in bluegrass and old-time music, the Jon Stickley Trio has never allowed itself to be boxed in by the confines of mountain music. On its latest EP, 2016’s Triangular, its upcoming album and especially live onstage, the Asheville-based trio uses bluegrass ans a jumping-off point for its lively musical excursions. The