Recent Articles

Deer Tick at the Yost Theater – Cee Lo and McCauley’s Grill’s! A Show Review

Deer Tick at the Yost Theater – Cee Lo and McCauley’s Grill’s! A Show Review

I think if Deer Tick were on NBC’s “The Voice” they would win, and the win would come without any mention of frontman John McCauley’s jacked up grill (hell, Cee Lo might even hook John up with some extra platinum caps he boxed up in his attic). Those raspy-laced pipes could rival Celtic singers, aging […]

The Brothers Comatose – “Respect The Van”

The Brothers Comatose – “Respect The Van”

String bands are so prevalent these days that if you stand on any street corner in this country and throw a rock you just might hit one. Hailing from San Francisco, the Brothers Comatose are not just any old string band. Their latest and second full-length, Respect The Van, finds this exceptional quintet (brothers Alex […]

Alabama Shakes – “Boys & Girls” – (ATO)

Alabama Shakes – “Boys & Girls” – (ATO)

“Retro Soul” was a label that got thrown around a lot after Alabama Shakes’ 2011 EP (of which all three songs are included in this album).  Listening to those songs, it’s understandable, but with Boys & Girls, the band makes it clear that while there are plenty of influences (blues, soul, etc.), it’s all filtered […]

Justin Townes Earle “Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel about Me Now” – (Bloodshot)

Justin Townes Earle “Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel about Me Now” – (Bloodshot)

In the midst of strong reviews of his last album, Harlem River Blues, Justin Townes Earle made the kind of splash he undoubtedly did not want to make.  For various reasons, Earle entered re-hab (again) for drug addiction.  I mention this mainly as a reference point for the songwriting on the album.  While there are […]

Breaking Down the Fourth Wall with The Vespers’ Phoebe Cryar

Breaking Down the Fourth Wall with The Vespers’ Phoebe Cryar

Phoebe Cryar on Songwriting, Nashville, and Jam-Session-Campfire-Cookout-Things By Dacey Orr Not many kids get the opportunity to sing background vocals and hanging around studios in Music City, but for sisters Callie and Phoebe Cryar of family folk band The Vespers, it was just a part of growing up. “It’s crazy because when you grow up […]

Tom “Pops” Carter, 1919 – 2012

Tom “Pops” Carter, 1919 – 2012

SAYING GOODBYE TO POPS Bluesman Tom “Pops” Carter dies at the age of 92 In a twelve-month period that has already seen us mourn the loss of Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin, American blues and roots music has lost one of the last undiscovered treasures of blues music. Tom “Pops” Carter passed away late Sunday […]

The New Standard by Which All Other Albums Will Be Judged – Maple Ridge by Swear and Shake

The New Standard by Which All Other Albums Will Be Judged – Maple Ridge by Swear and Shake

I’d heard a few sneak peek tracks of Maple Ridge and knew that something special was coming. With the release of These White Walls, the first single from the record, I could already tell that Swear and Shake had upped their game considerably. I thought I was adequately prepared for the remaining songs, but I […]

Record Store Day 2012

Record Store Day 2012

Second only to National Pancake Day, Record Store Day is my personal favorite day of the year. RSD falls on April 21 this year, so go out and support your local independent record store. You can pick up some new or used vinyl while enjoying the unique scents of cellophane and patchouli at that funky […]

Album Review: Comfort by Heyrocco

Album Review: Comfort by Heyrocco

Charleston-based trio Heyrocco has really gone above and beyond expectation with their first LP, Comfort. After setting their first EP on repeat, I thought I knew what this band was all about. The Friends Mixtape put forth catchy, upbeat tunes with some clever lyrics and prodigious musicianship. I say prodigious because one or two of […]

Kiernan McMullan’s TWO YEARS – Review

Kiernan McMullan’s TWO YEARS – Review

Two Years has been a labor of love for Kiernan McMullan for–you guessed it–two years. This collection of tunes tells the story of how he struck out on his own after his first recording contract wasn’t all he ever dreamed. From the opening track, What If, we learn just how hard it is to find […]

Album Review: The Vespers: “The Fourth Wall” (Black Suit)

Album Review: The Vespers: “The Fourth Wall” (Black Suit)

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT judge a book by its cover. The fresh-faced young musicians who comprise the Nashville band known as The Vespers play and sing way beyond their years. There is, however, an experienced professional element present here, as lead singers (and sisters) Callie and Phoebe Cryar (21 and 19 respectively), cut […]

SXSW: Alabama Shakes @ Stubb’s, 3-15-12

SXSW: Alabama Shakes @ Stubb’s, 3-15-12

ATF’s man in Austin, Jon Black, is hip deep in the SXSW fracas. But until his missives come rolling in, check out the audio for the Alabama Shakes’ rockin’ soul-shakin’ set at Stubb’s yesterday. Thank you, NPR. Thank you. While you’re listening you can read the story by NPR’s Stephen Thompson, who writes, “[Lead singer] […]

Mary Black’s Stories from the Steeples – A Review

Mary Black’s Stories from the Steeples – A Review

Irish music has held the world in its thrall for hundreds of years, growing and changing with each decade but always keeping that distinctive flavor that identifies it without question. There is some music that will immediately bring to mind Irish stew and a pint of Guinness, and then there are tunes that incorporate pop […]

Album Review: Mercyland, Hymns For The Rest of Us (Mercyland Records)

Album Review: Mercyland, Hymns For The Rest of Us (Mercyland Records)

“The only good thing ever to come out of religion was the music.” — George Carlin. Like any good comic, the late Mr. Carlin exaggerated for effect. Religion does have its good points — most of the Ten Commandments, for example — but I lean more toward the Groucho Marx school of ideaology: I wouldn’t […]