Stories of the West is Tim Francis, a singer-songwriter from the Twin Cities, whose past is shrouded in mystery, or at least absent. There are no album notes, no bio, only a simple website to stream the album from making it apparent that the launch was sudden and probably independent. This means that the music speaks for itself, and it speaks volumes. Reminiscent of ’90s Alternative bands such as Better Than Ezra, and Ben Folds Five, ‘Maybe That’s Good For You‘ is excellently produced, and very well played. Francis has clearly been playing the guitar for a long time and in a variety of styles. Continue reading “Stories of the West “Maybe That’s Good for You” (Young Ancianos, 2020)”
Like many Americana artists, Bart Budwig is 90% cigarettes and beard, but unlike many, this one is 10% Hawaiian shirt. Mysteriously self-identifying as a “son of Idaho”, Budwig’s appearance is visually striking before the band even plays a note. Luckily for us, his voice is similarly striking but stylistically grounded.
I From North Saanich, Canada to L.A., Sam Weber is the musical ambassador for British Columbia. Touring since 2013, this talented multi-instrumentalist has written ‘Everything Will Come True’ both on the road and on his parent’s piano. Starting out at Infinity Studios in Victoria, working on Chris Ho’s ‘City of Dust‘, it is apparent that this, his third album, has been recorded by a producer’s producer. Acoustic guitar, pedal steel, slide guitar, baritone guitar, electric Spanish guitar, all blend effortlessly with flawless vocals, trombone, trumpets, drums, and mellotron. The fact that he still goes back to his first recording studio for additional production and continues to write in his parent’s living room is a testament to the importance of roots to Weber, even when the songs are about life on the road. Continue reading “Sam Weber “Everything Comes True” (Sonic Unyon, 2019)”
Deep within the rustbelt, May Erlewine has written her 20th release to date bringing another slice of Big Rapids to the international stage. A multi-instrumentalist with soul, the daughter of Allmusic founder Michael Erlewine, and a member of the Earthwork Music Collective, May is all about independent Michigan. The rustbelt is often overlooked as a source of Americana, but with artists like Bob Seeger and Jason Molina drawling and twanging the industrial blues, it certainly deserves more attention. Continue reading “May Erlewine “Second Sight” (Earthwork, 2019)”
His most Pop and Rock release to date, Midwestern artist Dan Israel changes his life and with it his musical style. From the first trumpet blast, it is apparent that this album has diverged from the twelve or so previous and rightly so given that Dan finally quit his day job to write this. His musical career started back in 1993 and this latest album is steeped in the alt-rock of the ’90s. Continue reading “Dan Israel “Social Media Disorder” (Independent, 2019)”
Texan trucker Will Beeley proffers his overdue follow up to his 1979 drifter ballad album. This album is as slow and considered as the big horizons and roads upon which it was written. Almost forty years after his previous and debut album, this truckin’ man creaks out a story of life on the road, Jack Daniels, and of singing lullabies to grandkids. Continue reading “Will Beeley “Heartattacks & Highways” (Tompkins Square, 2019)”