Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 13 Line-Up Announced

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 13

The good people at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass have released the roster for this years event and it’s another winner.

For those uninitiated, HSB is one of the premier Americana and roots music festivals in the world.
The annual event is held on the first Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October on 5 stages stretching across a location in Golden Gate Park formerly named Speedway Meadows but renamed Hellman Hollow in 2012, to pay homage to the late HSB benefactor, private equity investor and banjo enthusiast, Warren Hellman.

The 13th version of the festival does not disappoint as there is few Americana and roots festivals with this number of quality acts. it also has the benefit of being free. Well, it’s benefit in one sense, but the swelling os not always pleasant crowds in recent years does take a toll.

The 41 confirmed acts offers exciting newcomers like Sturgill Simpson, Trampled By Turtles, Della Mae, First Aid Kit, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside and local favorites Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers and The Devil Makes. Americana and roots stalwarts like Buddy Miller, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock (aka The Flatlanders), Jon Langford, Patty Griffin, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott.

The folk-rock pioneers The Waterboys will be appearing as well as the legendary Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. The whole thing wraps up in traditional fashion with the woman that has closed the event since it’s beginning and embodies the spirit of the event, the extraordinary Emmylou Harris.

Find below the full line-up. The per-day stage schedules will be announced soon and I will update his post with the information.

When: Fri Oct 4th, Sat Oct 5th (11am – 7pm), and Sun Oct 6th, 2013 (11am – 7pm).
Where: Hellman Hollow (formerly Speedway Meadows), Lindley & Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.

Mark Lanegan, Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Conor Brings Friends For Friday Featuring: Whispertown, The Cave Singers, The Felice Brothers, The Evens, First Aid Kit, Conor Oberst, Pieta Brown, Joy Kills Sorrow, LP, The Handsome Family, Jesse Dee, Alison Brown, Gogol Bordello, Boz Scaggs, Paul Kelly, The Deep Dark Woods, Justin Townes Earle, Emmylou Harris, The Devil Makes Three, Calexico, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Martha Wainwright, The Brothers Comatose, Elvin Bishop, Jon Langford & Skull Orchard acoustic / FREAKONS, Low, Tumbleweed Wanderers, Richard Thompson, Tim O’Brien with Bryan Sutton & Mike Bub, Moonalice, Chris Isaak, Buddy Miller, The Time Jumpers featuring Brad Albin, Larry Franklin, Paul Franklin, Vince Gill, “Ranger Doug” Green, Andy Reiss, Dawn Sears, Kenny Sears, Joe Spivey, Jeff Taylor & Billy Thomas, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch & Fats Kaplin, The Flatlanders featuring Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, The String Cheese Incident, Nick Lowe, Mike Scott & Steve Wickham of The Waterboys, Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell, Freakwater, The Go To Hell Man Clan, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Billy Bragg, Loudon Wainwright III, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue, Steve Earle & The Dukes, Kate McGarrigle Tribute with Martha & Sloan Wainwright & Special Guests, Holler Down the Hollow: A Hardly Strictly Salute to the Masters, Sturgill Simpson, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band featuring Yungchen Lhamo, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Shovels & Rope, Seldom Scene, Natalie Maines, Dave Alvin with Greg Leisz, Evolfo Doofeht, Allah-Las, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, G. Love & Special Sauce, Robert Ellis, Spirit Family Reunion, Bettye LaVette, Supermule, MC Hammer (Friday morning middle school program), Trampled By Turtles, The Warren Hood Band, Della Mae, Los Lobos Disconnected, Father John Misty, Jesse DeNatale, The Wood Brothers, Ryan Bingham, Jerry Douglas, Sonny & The Sunsets, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Tift Merritt, Kat Edmonson, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, The Forest Rangers with Katey Sagal,
Manchester Orchestra, Poor Man’s Whiskey (Friday morning middle school program), Robert Earl Keen

Watch Out! – The Handsome Family – “Woodpecker” [VIDEO]

The Handsome Family - Woodpecker

When Greil Marcus coined the phrase “Old Weird America” in his book Invisible Republic, he wasn’t describing The Handsome Family. The line that Marcus drew from Harry Smith’s Anthology of American pre-World Folk Music to Bob Dylan and his work with The Band could easily continue it’s sonic trajectory to the husband and wife songwriting duo Brett and Rennie Sparks.

The video for the single Woodpecker, from their new release Wilderness, is shot in moody greys by director Chris Hefner. Acoustic guitar and mandolin delicately accompany this tale of Mary Sweeny, a woman who has a irrepressible obsession with smashing windows lands her in a state institution, where the remedies do more harm than good. Woodpecker follows The Handsome Family’s Gothic-folk style and narrative that harkens back to folk tales brought over by our ancestors.

Wilderness is out now on LP, CD, and as a deluxe box set.

A companion book of original artwork and essays by Rennie Sparks, also titled Wilderness, will expand on the meticulously researched and little-known enigmas of the natural world explored on the album: immortal jellyfish, woodpecker tongues, dancing octopi, fly royalty, the secret language of crows, and mysterious ant spirals. A 72-page, 12”x12” full-color edition of the book will be included with the deluxe box set, along with an 11”x17” color poster and a six-postcard set, all with original art by Rennie. A black and white edition of the book will be available separately.

Wilderness Track Listing
1. Flies
2. Frogs
3. Eels
4. Octopus
5. Owls
6. Caterpillars
7. Glow Worm
8. Lizard
9. Woodpecker
10. Gulls
11. Spider
12. Wildebeest


6/20 – Cambridge, MA @ Club Passim
6/21 – Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center for the Arts
6/22 РNew Haven, CT @ Caf̩ Nine
6/23 – Hudson, NY @ Club Helsinki
6/27 – New York, NY @ The Slipper Room
6/28 РPhiladelphia, PA @ World Caf̩ Live
6/29 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory
7/19 – Friday, Minneapolis, MN at The Cedar Cultural Center with Azita
7/20 – Madision, WI, @ The High Noon Saloon, EARLY SHOW (with Azita)!
7/22, – Chicago, IL @ Pritzker Pavillion – 6:30pm*
7/24 – St. Louis, MO, @ Off Broadway with Danny Barnes
7/25 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop with Danny Barnes
7/26 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners with Cathy Irwin and Danny Barnes
7/27 – Athens, OH @ The Union with Danny Barnes
7/28 – Ann Arbor @ The Ark with Danny Barnes

*Free Show

phrase “Old Weird America” as described in his book Invisible Republic, which deals with the lineage connecting the pre-World War II folk performers on Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music to Bob Dylan and his milieu.

Video Feature: Big John Bates – “Taste the Barrel”

Truth be told  had no awareess of Vancouver, Canada’s Big John Bates until they tweeted this video to me during my  day-long Twitter #HalloweenTwang video theme playlist. Their sound could be described as  dark gothic Americana along the lines of The Handsome Family and Those Poor Bastards.

The video for Taste the Barrel,  from their latest release Battered Bones (Rookie Records) , has a Sun-washed dustiness to it reminiscent of a Sergio Leone western.  Singer and stand-up bassist stars in the video as a victim of either torture or just frontier surgical practices. Either way, the gruesome outcome if the same. Bones sings with a sort of wailing unhinged soprano befitting the the scenes ans though i’m unsure of the storyline it’s effective. She even drops in a quick title of a Cormac McCarthy book “All the Pretty Horses” to give the whole thing another level of greatness and menace. The only thing missing is a parting shot of buzzards circling overhead.

A great find that i wanted to apss along and very fitting for All Hallows Eve Twang Style!

Twang Nation Halloween Mix 2011

Ah October. When the freshly fallen snow and turned leaves fall to cover your tracks by the river bottom where you lured your dear heart with the promise of warm cider and sweet kisses. I guess she didn’t realize you knew she could not be true. This list of contemporaneity and classic murder ballads and general Southern-Gothic debauchery and misery is just the thing for carving pumpkins and ex-lovers. You can hear this at Twang Nation Halloween Mix 2011 mix on Spotify.

Got a favorite grim ditty? Post it below.


    1. Tenderloud – Shadow Red Hand
    2. Those Poor Bastards – Nightmare World
    3. The Handsome Family – The Lost Soul
    4. Reverend Glasseye – Blood O’ Lambs
    5. Nina Nastasia/Jim White – The Day I Would Bury You
    6. Jay Munly – Old Service Road
    7. Strawfoot – The Lord’s Wrath
    8. Neko Case – Things That Scare Me
    9. Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Blood on the Bluegrass
    10. The Pine Box Boys – Arkansas Killing Time
    11. Sons of Perdition – Blood In The Valley
    12. Rachel Brooke – This Painful Summer
    13. Willie Nelson – I Just Can’t Let You Say Good-Bye
    14. The Walkabouts – Lover’s Crime
    15. Those Poor Bastards – Family Graveyard
    16. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Cranston
    17. Trailer Bride – Graveyard
    18. Midnight Choir – Poisoned Veins
    19. C. Gibbs – Devil’s Water
    20. Christian Williams – You Ain’t Exempt
    21. Slackeye Slim – Judgment Day
    22. Muleskinner Jones – Come Inside, Stranger
    23. O’Death – Ghost Head
    24. Steve Von Till – A Grave Is A Grim Horse

    News Round Up: Bruce Robison Video Diary, E.C. and Orna Ball Tribute

    • Check out the video tour diary from Bruce Robison as he Robert Earl Keen, Todd Snider proceed up and down the East Coast and back into Texas on their Barstool Tour.
    • Check out the excellent videos of Casey Driessen’s 5-string fiddle hunt video over at Bluegrass Blog.
    • Steel guitarist Robert D. Norred, one-time member of Hank Williams’ backing band for a short period in the late 1940s, died Sunday, Oct. 25.
    • Face A Frowning World (Available 12/8 – Tompkins Square) is a tribute to the old-timey and gospel music of  E.C. Ball and his wife Orna. The couple were lesser known contemporaries of the Carter Family and seldom ventured far from their home on the Virginia-North Carolina boarder (in Rugby, VA) where they owned a general store and service station. Featured performance by  Jon Langford,  The Handsome Family (offered as a download below),  Michael Hurley, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, the Health & Happiness Family Gospel Band of Louisville, Kentucky, and many others.

    Jenny Jenkins by The Handsome Family

    When I Get Home I’m Gonna Be Satisfied by Jon Langford

    Steel guitarist Robert D. Norred, one-time member of Hank Williams’ backing band for a short period in the late 1940s, died Sunday, Oct. 25.


    News Round Up:The Flatlanders and Dave Alvin Hit The Rails

    • The Los Angeles Times features a cool story on the Roots on Rails travel program organized by the Vermont-based Flying Under Radar travel service. This feature focuses on a train ride through the Southwest presenting Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock (AKA The Flatlanders) and Dave Alvin. Guests pay to travel with the artists and intimate performance occur in the dining car. It’s like a house concert on tracks. Other Roots on Rails trips have featured Tom Russell, Terry Allen, Stan Ridgway, Jill Sobule, the Handsome Family and many others.
    • Tom Russell will be performing on the David Letterman Show this Thursday October 1st. Russell is currently supporting his excellent new release Blood and Candle Smoke.
    • PopMatters.com sits down for a Q&A with Merle Haggard.  The Hag discusses his recent lung cancer surgery, how he chooses set lists from his vast catalog, and makes his case for being the “great arbitrator.”
    • If you buy Robert Earl Keen’s new Lost Highway Records debut The Rose Hotel at select stores you will also receive a free Lost Highway’s limited, T for Texas, T from Tennessee music sampler. This freebie will include music from Lyle Lovett, Ryan Bingham, Black Joe Lewis, Hayes Carll & more.
    • We all know Courtney Love is nuts. Now she’s going nuts on Ryan Adams claiming that he stole $858,000 of daughter Frances Bean Cobain’s money to fund his 2003 album Rock n Roll. I would be pissed too if I had bankrolled that piece of crap.