country Archive

The Bo-Keys: Today’s New School of Old-school (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… Bo-Keys producer/bandleader Scott Bomar says that the bulk of the work on Heartaches by the Number took the form of pre-production. “I spent well over a year compiling songs – covers and originals – for the record,” Bomar says. The result is a rich collection of weepers: crying-in-your-beer tunes, all given

The Bo-Keys: Today’s New School of Old-school (Part 1)

One of the most intriguing album releases of this year doesn’t sound like a new record, not at all. Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee and featuring veteran musicians from the city’s rich musical history, The Bo-Keys‘ Heartaches by the Number (Omnivore Recordings) builds upon classic songwriting and like-minded original tunes to create a timeless recording. But

The Honeycutters: Creating Quite a Buzz

“I write a lot of songs,” admits Amanda Platt, leader and songwriter of Asheville-based roots group the Honeycutters. “I’m a very prolific writer; sometimes I wish I could turn it off for a little bit. So I don’t think there’s ever going to be a shortage of songs to choose from.” The best songs among

Hundred-word Reviews for February 2016, Part 5

This latest week-long dive into my backlog of worthy music for review wraps up with five archival releases. Vulgar Boatmen – You and Your Sister First things first: the album title (and title song) have no relation whatsoever to the same-named song by Big Star‘s Chris Bell. There’s not really much in common stylewise, either;

November 100-word Reviews, Part 3

Today as my regular series of hundred-word reviews continues, I turn my attention toward the sounds of Americana. For my purposes, the term is even more loosey-goosey than the one used by the Americana Music Association: I include blues, rock, and singer/songwriter styles. And why not? Various – In their Own Words, Vols. 1 and

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 9

Today’s roundup of capsule reviews focuses on reissues or previously-unreleased material by acts who came to prominence (or something approaching it) in the 1980s or later. Old 97’s – Hitchhike to Rhome In the 1950s, country and rock’n’roll were sometimes hard to discern form one another. Then they split into to two very different styles,

Hundred Word Reviews for May 2015, Part 6

Last week I presented 25 capsule reviews; 100 words each, these were quick critical looks at new CD (and vinyl) releases. This week, I dive into the pile of reissue/compilation CDs that have been crowding my office. Don’t mistake my relative brevity for mild praise; all of the discs reviewed deserve attention. Chuck Berry –

Book Review: Mavericks of Sound

There’s something endlessly fascinating about the creative process. And of course it’s not merely one process; it’s wholly unique for each individual. And because that’s true, conversations with those engage in creative output are often illuminating. David Ensminger clearly agrees: he’s compiled a book’s worth of his own conversations into a volume called Mavericks of

Album Review: JJ Cale — Rewind: Unreleased Recordings

To the music-buying public at large, J.J. Cale is little more than a footnote. Some recognize his name and acknowledge he’s the guy who wrote two of Eric Clapton‘s biggest hits, “After Midnight” and “Cocaine.” Some know a bit more, and note that he also composed “Call Me the Breeze” (a popular Lynyrd Skynyrd tune).

Album Review: Sid Griffin — The Trick is to Breathe

In the immediate wake of the excesses brought forth by psychedelia, popular (rock) music took a decided turn toward the simpler, more pastoral. Mere months after Cream were hitting the charts with “Sunshine of Your Love” and Jimi Hendrix was endeavoring to stand next to our fire, groups like The Band were finding success with