Album Review: Howlin’ Wolf — Moanin’ in the Moonlight

Though he had already been a performing musician for some two decades, Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett began his recording career in 1951, cutting sides for Sam Phillips in Memphis. By the next year he was under contract to Chess Records. As 1959 began, he had released no less than 22 singles. With the album era

Ryan RnB Barber: Persistence Pays Off

As recently as 2015, Ryan Barber was homeless. But through a combination of determination and talent, today the Asheville musician is realizing his life and music goals. The newest release from Ryan RnB Barber – today a ubiquitous presence in the Asheville music scene – is a solo album pointedly titled Rejuvenation. Backed by his

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,

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Echoes of the Past, Focus on the Present (Part 2)

Continued from Part One… The ideal opportunity to perform the song live finally came a few years later, during a concert at the Hollywood Bowl where the duo was joined by an orchestra for half of the performance. During the duo-only part of the set, Sánchez and Quintero sat down on the steps of the

Rodrigo y Gabriela: Echoes of the Past, Focus on the Present (Part 1)

The music that Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela make is sometimes characterized as “acoustic speed metal.” The pair’s flamenco-influenced instrumental approach has certainly attracted fans from the metal scene, but Rod y Gab’s style draws from flamenco and classical guitar as much as anything else. They’re not rigid musical Luddites, either; across a

Reviews: Three New Classic Jazz Albums

Three new and notable jazz releases have gone on the market recently. Two are from long-established artists who demonstrate that after decades playing jazz, they still have plenty that’s fresh, new and exciting to offer. The third comes at things from the other direction: it’s a collection of soul jazz classics played with fire and

Gold Light + Snakemusk: Shadows and Light

The first recorded project from Gold Light + Snakemusk – the duo of former Kovacs and the Polar Bear multi-instrumentalist Joe Chang and singer-guitarist Beau Campolong – is a new album, Shadows in the Shallows. The duo digs deep into a country duo sound that recalls Johnny and June Cash as well as Gram Parsons

EP Review: Tub — UNCA Session

For some listeners, the very thought of improvisational music is an unappetizing prospect. The idea that a musician – or worse yet, the thinking goes, a group of musicians – might begin playing without a specific direction in mind conjures mental images of train wrecks. Not without reason, those sorts of listeners prefer instead music

EP Review: Versal

A vocal chorus pad introduces the EP, but that aural texture quickly subsides in favor of crystalline acoustic piano playing a simple yet appealing melody. As “Eternal” unfolds, those electronically generated vocals return along with synthetic strings. The whole effect is elegiac, contemplative. When a string synth lead enters around the two-minute mark, it’s a

Humble Pie’s Mid ‘70s ‘Joint Effort’

A new release of little-heard Humble Pie music, Joint Effort documents a strange period in the lifespan of the British hard rock group. Made not long after its lead singer briefly quit and returned, the collection of songs found the four band members contributing to various degrees. Falling somewhere between a proper album and a