folk Archive

Hundred-word Reviews for September 2019, Part 1

Once again, it’s time for a passel of quick reviews. Twenty in all – ten today, as many tomorrow. All deserve a listen. Titles on vinyl are noted as such (LP). Waiting for Henry – The Gospel of Moby Grape As a serious fan of the star-crossed band name-checked in the title, I had to

Alexa Rose: No Contest

Though she can attribute at least some of her success to doing well in songwriting contests, Asheville-based singer-songwriter Alexa Rose has mixed feelings about competition. But as she put the finishing touches on Medicine for Living, her album due in this month, Rose teamed up with a recent fellow competitor for a songwriter-focused show at

Béla Fleck in the Blue Ridge

One from the archives. Ahead of his 2018 residency at the Brevard Music Center, I interviewed Béla Fleck. Here’s the conversation. A 16-time Grammy Award winner, Béla Fleck is the best-known banjo player living today. Though he often works in bluegrass, Fleck’s muse has taken him into jazz, folk, classical and world music styles. In

Album Review: Moonlight Street Folk — Collective Will

There’s no shortage of acoustic-based, folky bands in Western North Carolina. Standing out from the crowd is thus more of a challenge than it would be for musicians operating in another musical idiom. But Moonlight Street Folk have developed a distinctive sound that sets them apart. The Asheville quintet’s debut album, Collective Will, features seven

For Nikki Talley, Home is Where the Muse Lives

Based since 1996 in Western North Carolina, singer-songwriter-guitarist Nikki Talley took to the road about six years ago. With husband and multi-instrumentalist Jason Sharp, she toured constantly, traveling across the United States in a converted passenger van named Bluebell. For many years, that nomadic existence defined her musical persona; most every story about Talley—including this

Rising Appalachia: Water is Life

Though it’s easy to take water for granted – just turn on the tap and there it is – for hundreds of millions of the Earth’s people, access to clean water is a goal, not a reality. The United Nations considers universal access to clean drinking water a human right, but that doesn’t magically make

Live from Laurel Canyon: Songs and Stories of American Folk Rock

In the Hollywood Hills West district of Los Angeles, a mere two miles from Hollywood Boulevard, there exists a relatively secluded region called Laurel Canyon. Beginning in the middle 1960s and continuing for about a decade, the canyon became an incubator for a particular kind of music. Songwriters flocked to the Canyon, making homes there,

Gordon Lightfoot: 80 Years Strong

In some ways a reaction to the hard rock and psychedelic excesses of late 1960s pop music, the early 1970s ushered in the era of the singer-songwriter. Led by a raft of supremely talented artists who composed their own material, the scene featured acts like Carole King, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Leonard Cohen,

Hundred-worders for May 2019: Vinyl

A subtle hint to any press agents or label reps who might happen to read this: a near surefire way to get your client’s album reviewed on Musoscribe is to send me a vinyl record. Unless I wholly detest it – and that’s not likely to happen if you check in before sending to make

EP Review: Daniel Shearin

Ask most any musician and they’ll tell you: in many ways, performing with a band is easier than playing solo. There’s a safety-in-numbers characteristic to playing as part of an ensemble; not to put too fine a point on it, but it’s easier to hide among a stage filled with other people, musical instruments and