Twang Nation Podcast Episode 16 – Holly Williams, Brandy Clark, Devil Makes Three

Twang Nation Podcast

Hey Twangers! Get it while it’s hot! Podcast episode 16! Wow that’s a lot df exclamation point! Argh!

New prime cuts are buzzing around Casa Twang. Old favorites like Brett Detar, Lindi Ortega and The White Buffalo have great new releases. Proud to offer “Stripes,” the neo-trad he new single from Brandy Clark, who’s setting Music Row on fire, and some great stuff from TN newcomers Boo Ray, John Murry and Ben Miller Band.

As always. I hope you like this episode of the Twang Nation Podcast and thank you all for listening. If you do tell a friend and let me know here at this site, Google+ , Twitter or my Facebook page.

As always , BUY MUSIC, SEE SHOWS!

Opening Song – Dale Watson – “A Real Country Song”

1. Brett Detar – Song: “Too Free To Live” – album: Too Free To Live  
2 Cree Rider Family Band – Song: “If You’re Gonna Cheat Me ”  Album: One Night Stand
3. Brandy Clark – Song: “Stripes”  Album “12 Stories (Slate Creek Records) 
4 Devil Makes Three – Song: “Stranger” Album: “I’m a Stranger Here” (New West Records)
5 Holly Williams -Song:  ” Drinkin’  ” Album: ‘The Highway’ out now on her own Georgiana Records 
6 John Murry– Song:  “Photograph’ Album: ‘The Graceless Age” Out noes Evangeline Recording Co.
7 Lindi Ortega – Song” “Tin Star” Album “Tin Star” Out now on Last Gang Records
8 The White Buffalo – Song:  “Set My Body Free ” Album “‘Shadows Greys and Evil Ways,” Out now
9 Boo Ray –  Song:  “Boots And Blue Jeans” Album – “Six Weeks in a Motel” Out now independently released
10 Ben Miller Band – Song: “Strike up the Band”  Album – ” Heavy Load” released independently

Watch Out! 10 Murder Ballads for Halloween

Johnny Cash - Delia's Gone

Hello ghouls and goblins! Halloween celebrations in some form has a long and rich tradition in 16th century European and Scandinavia. At roughly the same time the murder ballad evolved right along with it. Both washed up on these US shores with the pilgrims and were shaped, over time, with our own uniques cultural influences and musical styles.

Gallons of blood, and scores of lifeless bodies, have been detailed in many harrowing ditties. The genres of folk, bluegrass and country music count more death and malice
than in metal and gangster rap combined (to be fair, they have had centuries to stack up bodies.)

I bring to you this spooky season some contemporary versions and variations of the murder ballad. From the Wilburn Brothers’ version of “The Knoxville Girl,” an Appalachian murder ballad, derived from the 19th-century Irish ballad The Wexford Girl. There also modern takes like Lindi Ortega’s menacing “Murder Of Crows.”

Enjoy these dark treats and leave your favorites in the comments.

Wilburn Brothers – Knoxville Girl

Rachel Brooke – The Black Bird

Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Where’s the Devil?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgphO4JJIrw

Lera Lynn – Bobby, Baby

O’Death – Lowtide – Video

Stab – The Pine Box Boys

Lindi Ortega – Murder Of Crows

Porter Wagoner – Cold Hard Facts Of Life
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl4yjGzWOvI

Bobbie Gentry – Ode To Billie Joe

Johnny Cash – Delia’s Gone

Americana Music Association Announces Showcase Line-up

ama final_480x476

Building on the already excellent initial lineup announcement the Nashville-based Americana Music Association has released has released the full roster of artists performing during the event.

Some of the additions that stand out to me are roots-rockers Shooter Jennings and Austin Lucas, alt.country stalwarts Bottle Rockets and Ashley Monroe who apparently has no problem working both the Americana and Music Row sides of the fence (good!) One performer I’m bummed to see missing from the roster is Jason Isbell (Though his talented better half, Amanda Shires, is on the list.) There might be scheduling conflicts with his current tour supporting the excellent “Southeastern.”

The vagueness of Americana’s boundaries allows a richness and diversity within a shared source and vision. it’s what legend, and scheduled performer, Darrell Scott describes positively as a “hard-to-define place.”

the selections show a broad range of diversity and excellence the of the genre. Great to see many Casa Twang favorites represented as well.

The AMA has created a Spotify playlist of the performers on the 2013 bill.

The 14th annual event will take place in Nashville, Sept. 18-22. I’ll be there. hope you are too!

Americana Music Festival & Conference Showcase Performing Artistt
Alanna Royale
Amanda Shires
American Aquarium
Amy Speace
Andrew Combs
Andrew Leahey & the Homestead
Aoife O’Donovan
Ashley Monroe
Austin Lucas
Band of Heathens
Bear’s Den
Ben Miller Band
Bhi Bhiman
Billy Bragg
Black Prairie
Bobby Rush
Bottle Rockets
Brian Wright
Chelsea Crowell
Claire Lynch
Daniel Romano
Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien
Dash Rip Rock
David Bromberg
Delbert McClinton
Della Mae
Donna the Buffalo
Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
DUGAS
Elephant Revival
Farewell Drifters
Field Report
Frank Fairfield
Hillbilly Killers
Holly Williams
Houndmouth
Howe Gelb
Howlin’ Brothers
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Infamous Stringdusters
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
JD McPherson
Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons
Joe Nolan
John Fullbright
Jonny Fritz
Josh Rouse
Joy Kills Sorrow
Judah & the Lion
Justin Townes Earle
Kim Richey
Kruger Brothers
Laura Cantrell
Lera Lynn
Levi Lowrey
Lindi Ortega
Lisa Marie Presley
Luella & the Sun
Mandolin Orange
Matt Mays
Max Gomez
McCrary Sisters
Melody Pool
Mustered Courage
My Darling Clementine
Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers
Nikki Lane
Noah Gunderson
Nora Jane Struthers
North Mississippi Allstars
NQ Arbuckle
Old Man Luedecke
Over The Rhine
Parker Millsap
Patrick Sweany
Paul Kelly
Peter Bruntnell
Phil Madeira
Pokey LaFarge
Randall Bramlett
Rayland Baxter
Richard Thompson
Rosanne Cash
Rose Cousins
Sam Doores, Riley Downing & the Tumbleweeds
Samantha Crain
Shakey Graves
Shannon McNally
Shel
Shooter Jennings
Sons of Fathers
Spirit Family Reunion
St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Steelism
Steep Canyon Rangers
Stewart Mann & the Statesboro Revue
Sturgill Simpson
Susan Cowsill
The Bushwackers
The Del-Lords
The Devil Makes Three
The Greencards
The Lone Bellow
The Lost Brothers
The Stray Birds
The Westbound Rangers
The White Buffalo
Tim Easton
Tommy Malone
Treetop Flyers
Two Man Gentleman Band
Uncle Lucius
Water Liars
Wheeler Brothers
Willie Sugarcaps
Willy Mason
Wood Brothers

Americana Music Awards Nomination Oversights – Son Volt, The Trishas, Lindi Ortega, Delta Rae

lindi-ortega

Every autumn for the past 11 years the Americana Music Association honors Americana and roots music. Members of the association (of which I am one) get’s an email in early spring and are asked to submit up to 10 nominees for each of six categories – Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Artist of the Year Emerging Artist of the Year, Duo/Group of the Year and Instrumentalist of the Year. The eligibility period for the nominees runs from April 1, 2012 through March 31, 2013.

The numbers are tallied up and the 5 nominees for each category have just been announced last Tuesday. Though some have stated that the Americana music Association is playing it safe and should do more to grow the base.

But all they did was count the votes. The good portion of their dues paying voters are members of the music industry with a stake in the game and this list reflects, with a few glaring exceptions (which I will dress at the bottom), the Americana chart for the time criteria.

As a blogger, with no direct stake in promotion of any one artist over another, I’m bound only by my own subjective opinion. i voted for artists who I believed were the best of the best and some ended up on the final nominee list. Many did not. Here are a few glaring omissions that me, and some of my community on Facebook and twitter have, noticed.

Got your own? List ’em in the comments below.

The first oversight is the most glaring. How is Lindi Ortega, one of the freshest voices in Americana, not up for Emerging Artist Of The Year? Seriously?!

Is there a better singer/songwriter in roots and Americana music than Chris knight? Little Victories was my top album of 2012 and it should be up for Album of the Year. Andd it’s high-time Knight be shown some Artist of the Year love. The man’s a damn legend!

Another fantastic new talent hitting her stride in American, root and pop is Caitlin Rose. Emerging Artist Of The Year and Album of the Year.

Jake Smith (aka The White Buffalo) is also an exciting newcomer in the Americana and roots field. Emerging Artist Of The Year and Album of the Year for How the West Was Won.

A legend, and one of the finest voices in roots music, comes out with her first of new material in sixteen-years on Sing The Delta and it doesn’t get a Album of the Year nod?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Suq8KSwrS0

alt.country legends, Son Volt, reach back to the classic country that’s always been a part of their DNA to make one of the best albums of their career and they’re passed over/ They should be up for for Album of the Year for Honky Tonk and I’d argue that Jay Farrar should be up for Artist Of The Year.

Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Grifter’s Hymnal is the legend at his gritty, greasy Texas best. Album of the Year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r92RkIKm6Wc

Carrie Rodriguez has been around for a a while and deserves some Artist of the Year and Album of the Year love for her Give Me All You Got.

The Turnpike Troubadours are one of the best young bands that I saw at last year’s Americana Conference showcases. Album of the Year for their Goodbye Normal Street and Duo/Group of the Year.

The Trishas were also a highlight of last year’s Americana Conference and have put in their time. They earned nods for High, Wide and Handsome for Album of the Year and Duo/Group of the Year.

ON EDIT: When it comes to pop-Americana the Lumineers can’t hold a candle to Durham’s Delta Rae. I would nominate Delta Rae for Duo/Group of the Year and Bottom of the River for Song of the Year.

Watch Out – Lindi Ortega: “Murder Of Crows”

Lindi Ortega - Murder of CrowsMurder of crows is the answer to a classic trivia question, “What are a group of crows called?”

It’s also an excellent song by Canadian roots-rocker Lindi Ortega, from her recent TN 2012 Top Pick Cigarettes & Truckstops

A contemporary take on the classic murder ballad (there needs to be more of those) positioning a female protagonist as the culprit, the video is washed in a striking black and white gauze as Ortega appears armed, with a shovel and donning Día de Muertos skull make-up. Subtle it ain’t.

Ortega’s striking trill pleads for mercy, but claims no remorse, as she confesses murder of a man. Though we never find out what he did to deserve his untimely demise, like the woman abuser in the Dixie Chicks Goodbye Earl, we are asked to assume he undoubtedly deserved it. The sound is a reverb-soaked, noir-roots vibe reminiscent of Furnace Room Lullaby era Neko Case.

I first heard Murder Of Crows oduring Ortega;s own cameo on ABC’S Music Row melodrama Nashville. Like her hero, Dolly Parton, Ortega is delivering great songs like this via contemporary formats to a wider audience.

Murder has rarely sounded so good.

Twang Nation Podcast Episode 10 – Chris Knight, Buddy Miller,Jim Lauderdale, John Fullbright, Gurf Morlix

podcastEpisode #10 (alright double digits!) of Twang Nation Podcast pulls from my first 10 of a list of 21, Cream of the Crop selections from 2012. It’s been a great year for Americana and roots music. T Bone Burnett has done a fine job of sliding roots artists like Lindi Ortega and Shovels and Rope within a Music Row soap opera with ABC’s Nashville. The Americana Music Association continues to burnish the brand and their conference and wards show set attendance and submission records. Even that bastion of Music Row glitz, CMT, saw crossover potential and launched CMT Edge which has featured artists like Jason Isbell and Justin Townes Earle.

2013 shows no signs of slowing down with upcoming releases from Kris Kristofferson, Dale Watson as well as joint releases from Kelly Willis and her hubby Bruce Robison and Emmylou Harris and ex Hot Band member and legendary songwriter Rodney Crowell.

As the Americana music culture and industry grows and becomes more of a mainstream staple, with bands like Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers leading the way, I applaud the advantages and the opportunities for musicians and we who cover them. As I’ve said, I want the performers I cover to get more prestigious gigs, better recording facilities, more gear and to leave their touring vans behind and be bale to afford the relative comfort of a touring bus. I don’t believe musicians should suffer for tier craft (much!) Here’s to mutually rising boats.

In the new year I resolve to do my best not to follow the hyped path most traveled and do what I’ve always done, follow my heart and my ear to places more interesting and authentic for the love of music. I hope you come with me in and enjoy what I discover.

Thanks you for reading the site, following on twiiter , Facebook, Google+ and my work over at Grammy.com.

Happy holidays and a safe and happy New year to you all.

Opening Song – “Mr. D.J” – by Dale Watson
1.Chris Knight– song:”Little Victories”- Album: “Little Victories” (Drifter’s Church Productions)
2.Malcolm Holcolmbe – song: “Gone Away at Last”- Album: “Down the River” (GypsyeyesMusic – out now )
3.Darrell Scott – Song: Hopskinville – Album: Long Ride Home (Full Light Records)
4.Corb Lund – song: Gettin’ Down on the Mountain Album: Cabin Fever (New West Records)
5. Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale That’s Not Even Why I Love You. – Album: Buddy and Jim (New West Records)
6.Iris DeMent – song:Sing The Delta- Album:Sing The Delta (Flariella Records)
7.Dwight Yoakam – song:A Heart Like Mine- Album:3 Pears (Warner Bros. Records)
8.Turnpike Troubadours Song: Gin, Smoke and Lies- Album:Goodbye Normal Street (Bossier City Records)
9.John Fullbright song:Satan and St. Paul- Album:From The Ground Up (Bossier City Records)
10. Shovels & Rope– song:Fire On The Hill- Album:O’ Be Joyful (Dualtone Records)
11. Gurf Morlix – song:Present Tense- Album: Gurf Morlix Finds the Present Tense – Out March 5, 2013)
12.Robert Earl Keen– song:Merry Christmas from the Family- Album: Gringo Honeymoon

Cream of the Crop – Twang Nation Top Americana and Roots Music Picks of 2012

TNtoppicks2012It seems like I say it every year – so here goes, another bumper year for Americana releases blah blah. but it’s true!
I’ve been sitting on a list of about 50 releases all of which could easily be included in a top 10 list of the best of 2012
until the last final minute of the deadline i set for myself to keep from crapping up my holidays. i had to make a stand.
Here it is.

I finally threw the arbitrary “Top 10” structure out the window and doubled down and made it a top 20 21. The selections are lasted in arbitrary order and are not most best to least best. They all stand on their own as some of this year’s. or any year’s, finest examples of songwriting and performance excellence.

A quick word on the exclusion of mainstream heavyweights like Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and their upstart competitors the Lumineers didn’t make the cut. Cards on the table, for all my rooting for mainstream acceptance of the genre I’m still a music snob. Like most other genres, I genuinely think that once a person mines the Americana field below the mainstream examples that is where they will discover the real riches lie. This is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

Here’s a a happy, healthy and twangny 2013! thanks to all of you for reading, following,commenting. And to all the great musicians that reward us every day with riches that I personally am unworthy of.

Chris Knight – Little Victories
Malcolm Holcombe – Down the River
Darrell Scott – Long Ride Home
Corb Lund – Cabin Fever
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale – Buddy and Jim
Iris Dement – Sing The Delta
Dwight Yoakam – 3 Pears
Turnpike Troubadours – Goodbye Normal Street
John Fullbright – From the Ground Up
Shovels & Rope – O’ Be Joyful
The White Buffalo – Once Upon a Time in the West
Justin Townes Earle – Nothing’s Going to Change The Way You Feel About Me Now
The Trishas – High Wide & Handsome
Gretchen peters – Hello Cruel World
Lindi Ortega – Cigarettes & Truckstops
Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance
Chelle Rose – Ghost of Browder Holler
Derek Hoke – Waiting All Night
Shooter Jennings – Family Man
BlackBerry Smoke – The Whippoorwill
Nick Cave / The Bootleggers / Warren Ellis – Lawless (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Taylor Who? – 5 Female Americana Music Artists

Since the release of her new album Red it’s been all Taylor Swift al the time (like that’s different.) I like what I know about Taylor Swift as a person and her diligence to her work and devotion to her fans. It’s her music that leaves me cold. Slap whatever Music City label you want on it she’s in with Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus for the tween pop market.

I prefer my music for adults, even when being performed by a 20-something. I have no problem with style and spangles  but I want it served with substance.  Here are 5 female artists that fit the bill  that I would counter in any “Taylor is awesome!” discussion.

Your choice not here? Leave yours in the comments.

Lindi Ortega – That voice, those songs, that style. Triple threat!

Amanda Shires – All the above with the added awesomeness of being a Texan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv6Oj3zDo6Q&feature=relmfu

Lera Lynn – Caught her show in Nashville last September. Amazing!

Lydia Loveless – If you like your music served neat I would recommend Ms. Loveless

Nikki Lane – Also saw Ms. Lane in Nashville. Great show. I hope to hear something new from her soon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXplet4afOU&feature=relmfu

 

 

 

 

 

Nikki Lane

Music Review: Cigarettes & Truckstops – Lindi Ortega [ Last Gang Records]

Let’s deal with the obvious first, yes,  Nashville-by-way-of-Toronto Lindi Ortega’s soprano trill is reminiscent to a certain buxom, bewigged country music superstar. It’s not something she shies away from. Hell she even name-checks Dolly on the title cut.  But where Dolly would chirp hopefully within every syllable leading to a home-spun happy ending Ortega takes a dreamy Julie Cruise into a beautifully melancholic coastal journey driving the protagonist toward a reunion with a love that may (or may not) end well.

The Day You Die is a dark tune about enduring a loveless marriage, though you might miss that with it’s lively shuffle. Despair and hopelessness also runs through Lead Me On, where a the title plays on the equine and behavioral definition. This tale of unrequited love is as beautifully sad and gritty and echos classic heartache from the Tammy Wynette songbook.

“Don’t Wanna Hear” simmers with rockabilly sass that show’s why she was slated to open slot for Orange County roots-punkers Social Distortion. The Middle-East tinged dobro of the confessional Murder of Crows and the Old Testament haunted Heaven Has No Vacancy are beautiful dark roots dirges that would make Lonesome Wyatt wail in agony.

Colin Linden ( Bruce Cockburn, Lucinda Williams, T-Bone Burnett) production does an excellent job of allowing Ortega’s tales of darkness and love to glide over the entirety of “Cigarettes & Truckstops” by setting just the right amount of solemn atmosphere or shifting into an open road twang when necessary.

“Cigarettes & Truckstops,” Lindi Ortega’s follow-up to 2011’s excellent “Little Red Boots,” proves the lady’s no fluke. The nearly flawless album displays a maturity and depth that ” Boots” only hinted at and gives us one of the best Americana music releases of the year.

Official site | Buy

Twang Nation 5k Twitter Followers Celebration Featuring Lindi Ortega

When twitter first caught my attention I felt I had no use for it. It seemed like an endless torrent of inanity and, I was not narcissistic enough to imagine anyone gave a flip what or where I was eating at that exact moment.

But I created an account and after seeing how some musicians, like Jason Isbell – @JasonIsbell – and labels, like Bloodshot Records – @BSHQ – that I respect were using it as a format for topical, and often hilarious, discussions about music I dove in and began to carve out my own backwoods niche.

Now after 22k + tweets and 5k + followers I think I’ve got the hang of it. I’ve followed, been followed by, re-tweeted and been re-tweeted by, some of the best musicians, labels , venues I could dare to imagine. THAT’S the magic of twitter, it democratizes discussions. As long as you have something to add to the dialogue someone will listen. As the grand matrone of Americana on twitter, Rossanne Cash – @rosannecash says on her profile page, “I like Twitter as cafe society.”

I’ve discovered many great musicians from twitter, one being the lovely and talented Lindi Ortega – @lindiortega – (thanks to a tweet by the excellent musician Brett Detar – @brettdetar .) Ortega and her team were kind and gracious enough to work with me to bring you a little something to celebrate my little milestone.

Just share your email address below to download a sweet ( and FREE!) mp3 of Lindi’s unique interpretation of the Johnny Cash classic Folsom Prison Blues.

And be sure to look for Lindi’s new release “Cigarettes and Truckstops” coming out October 2nd!

Thanks to all my excellent followers and, if your not yet doing so, be sure to follow Twang Nation, as well as everyone in this post I’ve mentioned and and all your favorite musicians on twitter. Let’s keep the conversation (and music!) going.