folk Archive

Hundred-word Reviews for Nov./Dec. 2016, Part 2 of 10

Rolf Trostel – Inselmusik When we think back to synthesizer-based innovators circa 1980, names like Gary Numan pop right up. But German musicians had been exploring the possibilities of synths – and more specifically, synth-based (as opposed to synth-accented) music – for quite awhile by then. Rolf Trossel’s instrumental explorations – using the then-revolutionary PPG

River Whyless: Out from Behind the Tiny Desk

When beginning work on what would be their second full-length album, the four musicians of Asheville-based River Whyless decided to change their approach to songwriting. The result of that change is showcased on We All the Light. Bassist Daniel Shearing describes the new method as “more building fresh from the beginning, and not so much

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2016, Part 5

My week-long barrage of brief reviews wraps up with these last five. Look for more soon. Professor Longhair – Live in Chicago In 1976, New Orleans legend Professor Longhair played at the University of Chicago Folk Festival. This high-quality recording documents that show, and the acoustic piano is captured wonderfully. The nuances of Longhair’s work

Album Mini-review: Allen Ginsberg — The Last Word on First Blues

File next to: William Burroughs, The Fugs, Lenny Bruce Beat poet Allen Ginsberg is a towering figure in America’s cultural history. Most of his recorded material is spoken word, but in 1983 he cut an album of music called First Blues. With a ramshackle folk backing from pals including Bob Dylan, First Blues is a

Loudon Wainwright III: “All right … I hope.”

With more than two dozen studio albums to his credit, Loudon Wainwright III is carrying on a proud (and sometimes revered) tradition as a folk troubadour. “They used to call them ‘protest songs,’” he quips. “When I was a teenager, I used to go to the Newport Folk Festival; folk was a big deal. Phil

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: Bobby Long — Ode

At only 30, Bobby Long has a deep catalog of work. After three self-released albums beginning with 2009’s Dirty Pond Songs, he signed with ATO Records and began a string of releases for that label: two EPs to date, and two full-lengths. The latest of his albums is Ode to Thinking, released in 2015 on

Album Review: Sammy Walker — Brown Eyed Georgia Darlin’

The pop music world has long been on a quest for the Next Fill-in-the-blank. After The Beatles stormed American shores, the rush was on to sign every band with a British accent. When The Knack hit it big with “My Sharona,” record company execs appeared – contract in hand – to sign any group with

Album Review: Peter Case — HWY 62

Peter Case first came to notoriety as one third of The Nerves, a critically acclaimed power pop trio that didn’t hang around long enough to capitalize on the genre’s brief commercial heyday. His next group, The Plimsouls, was far more successful: their classic “A Million Miles away” was prominently featured in the 1983 film Valley

Album Mini-review: Milk Lines — Ceramic

File next to: Skip Spence, 13th Floor Elevators, Black Angels Just when you think the guitar-and-drums-duo format is totally played out, along comes Montréal-based Milk Lines. Rather than slammin’, unsubtle roots rock – the typical product of such duos – this pair makes music that sounds like a cross between freak-folk of the late 60s