folk Archive

Album Review: Andrew Reed – If All the World Were Right

For many people, Asheville, North Carolina is and intentional destination. Set aside for the moment those retirees who settle here for their golden years. For young and middle-aged adults, it’s a city to which they are drawn. People move to Asheville in hope of effecting a life change. It’s wholly unlike larger nearby cities such

Boxed Set Review: Woody Guthrie — The Tribute Concerts

A tribute to a giant in popular music and American culture such as Woody Guthrie deserves no less than the most lavish – yet still dignified – package possible, and with The Tribute Concerts, Bear Family Productions has delivered just that. A weighty set – both in terms of content and physical form – The

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

Album Review: J. Atkinson — Youth Eternal

Jonathan Atkinson has a background that includes immersion in the Asheville punk and indie scenes. The musical fingerprints of those experiences aren’t readily obvious when listening to his latest release, Youth Eternal But if one spends time with the record, they are subtly revealed. There’s an acoustic folk ambiance to “Crooked Smile” that’s slightly redolent

Skunk Ruckus: Disrupting the Old-time Vibe

Nearly everything about Asheville-based band Skunk Ruckus is suffused with humor. But the band is very serious about its music. The inherent tension between those two realities is part of the band’s recipe for success, as is the band’s musical style: equal parts punk and mountain music, delivered in cheeky style. Skunk Ruckus celebrated the

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

Shook Twins: Forgoing Folk Formulae

Folk music gets welcome jolts of energy, modern pop culture and technology in the music of Shook Twins. The music of identical twin sisters Laurie and Katelyn Shook is built on a foundation of acoustic folk, but they deftly combine the traditional music form with samples, looping, beatboxing, and a rhythm section that gives the

Nothing But David Bromberg

David Bromberg has been making records since 1972. He’s never become a household name; that fact has more to do with his unassuming approach to music. He’s no showboating spotlight-stealer; rather than reach for fame and fortune, he’s maintained a relatively low-key profile on the music scene for decades. But those in-the-know have long sought

Wes Tirey: In Print and On Record

Last fall, Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. That news is a reminder that, at their best, music and the printed word can be two sides of the same creative coin. Black Mountain-based singer-songwriter Wes Tirey subscribes to that idea. Tirey recently celebrated the release of a book of his lyrics as

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