• Song Premiere: Leftover Salmon, "Flyin' at Night"

    • Apr 29, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    “Flyin' at Night” sounds like what might happen if Chick Corea and Brian Auger added banjos and mandolins to their songs. As usual with Leftover Salmon’s music, once the song’s taken off, we never want to come down.

  • Song Premiere: Gawain and the Green Knight, "Birds & Wine"

    • Apr 19, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    The new single from Gawain and the Green Knight’s (Alexia Antoniou and Mike O’Malley) forthcoming EP A Sleeping Place (June 11) glides in sparely on Antoniou’s crystalline vocals before taking flight. Her swooping and swirling vocals soar along the rustling breezes provided by O’Malley’s circling guitar and Michael Sach’s airy clarinet and flute. “Birds and Wine” evokes the materiality that tethers us to this world and the untethered freedom that allows us to soar above those elements that keep us grounded. Antoniou’s deeply emotional delivery affects us palpably, resonating in the depths of our bodies and souls, and reveling in the glory of the freedom to choose whom we love and to love deeply. “Birds and Wine” joyously celebrates love, as well as the sacrifices that love sometimes requires, and beauty.

  • Song Premiere: Mark Rubin - Jew of Oklahoma, "It's Burning"

    • Apr 7, 2021
    • Devon Léger

    Mark Rubin is a legend from back in the alt country days, known for his pioneering work in the 90s with his band The Bad Livers in Austin. While he’s never left behind his earlier punk bonafides, his new work in recent years, billed as Mark Rubin - Jew of Oklahoma, has been more focused on the complexity of his identity as a Jewish person of Southern descent. With his new album, The Triumph of Assimilation, he masterfully melds old-school roots music with Yiddish protest songs and brutally acerbic ruminations on the long history of American anti-semitism.

  • Video Premiere: Eli West, "I Know Your Wandering Heart"

    • Apr 6, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    Eli West’s new single, from his forthcoming album Tapered Point of Stone (April 23), opens sparely, floating in on airy notes of Steph Coleman’s shimmering shruti before blossoming into West’s circling banjo rolls. The poignant roundelay grows layer by layer musically and vocally, as West’s earthy vocals weave over and around his gourd banjo rolls and Coleman’s shruti on the first verse before Julie Fowlis’ harmony crystalline harmony vocals add a visceral emotional dimension on the refrain and the remainder of the song.

  • Hear It First: Kris Delmhorst, 'Light Breaks Through'

    • Mar 24, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    Light Breaks Through comes as a gift to us. Kris Delmhorst had written these three songs and wanted to include them on her recent album Long Day in the Milky Way, but she couldn’t find a place for them on the album. She decided that the time was right—after all the darkness we’ve been through in the past year—to release the songs. “Back when we were sequencing the album, it absolutely killed me to have to leave out these tracks,” Delmhorst recalls. “But as it turns out, this feels like the right moment in time for them. The songs from the album were all delivered from within darkness, wrestling with it in real-time. These three are written from a place just outside it. It’s as if the album was saying ‘you’re gonna make it through,’ and the EP says ‘whew, I think we made it through’ - not as simplistic as that, but when I step back from these two groups of songs that’s the general trajectory I see.”

  • Hear It First: Melissa Carper, 'Daddy's Country Gold'

    • Mar 18, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    We don’t have to dig very deep into Melissa Carper’s rich vein of songwriting and sing before we hit gold, for from the opening note on her new album her shimmering and pure vocals and the lush instrumental carpet on which her voice floats glimmer with a vibrant sheen that tells us we’ve struck it rich here. Daddy’s Country Gold showcases Carper’s ability to stretch out a note or a phrase to pull at our hearts, and her artful way of delivering a lyric with the just-right emotional power imbues these songs with a power that stays with us long after the final notes fade.

  • Hear It First: Mike Barnett, '+1'

    • Mar 16, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    Mike Barnett’s brilliant tune writing and songwriting shine through on the album, but his canny inventiveness on his fiddling, his ability to follow a central musical theme in a tune while at the same time effortlessly exploring musical paths that branch off from the main path showcases his inventiveness. His playing is revelatory, and his musical compositions often peel away the layers of traditional music to disclose sonic structures that have lain hidden in the tunes.

  • Song Premiere: The Brother Brothers, "The Calla Lily Song"

    • Mar 2, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    With its bright, circling musical patterns, “The Calla Lily Song” is the perfect song to listen to after a long, cold winter, for it contains the promise of new beginnings and the wonder that accompanies the renewal of life.