The Jayhawks “Bitter Pill” – Listen

‘Bitter Pill’ is the latest track to be lifted from the incoming Jayhawks album ‘XOXO’ which is due for release July 10th via Sham/Thirty Tigers, the band’s most collaborative and diverse record in their four-decade-long career. Gary Louris comments: “This is a rare example of me writing a story song. Continue reading “The Jayhawks “Bitter Pill” – Listen”

Something for the weekend: Ruston Kelly “Radio Cloud”

We leave you this week dear reader with a new track out today from the forthcoming album ‘Shape & Destroy’ which comes out August 28th on his new label home Rounder Records, and which we’re already chomping at the bit for. Reflecting on the album, Kelly says: “Making this record definitely taught me that I don’t want to be selfish: I want to channel something larger than myself and give myself to the process as fully as possible, because these songs also become the story of whoever hears them. Whatever someone might get out of listening to this record and hearing me express myself in this way, it’s completely theirs.” Have a good one.

Something for the weekend: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit “Overseas”

So here we are again as Cher said in 1989. If you really do want to be distracted from the absolute state of things for 5 minutes (and who could blame you now we have the homegrown toe-curling embarrassment of Dominic Raab’s ‘Game of Thrones’ comments yesterday) can we suggest taking some time out dear reader to watch this clip which we leave you with this week of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Isbell and his band performed an impassioned version of ‘Overseas’ earlier this week as part of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’s ongoing #PlayAtHomeSeries. The song appears on Isbell’s most recent album, ‘Reunions’ which was released last month. Have a good one.

Patterson Hood on DBT’s band name: “I sincerely apologize for its stupidity”

Drive-By Truckers frontman Patterson Hood has written a new op-ed for NPR in which he apologises to fans for the band’s name. “Our name was a drunken joke that was never intended to be in rotation and reckoned with two-and-a-half decades later, and I sincerely apologize for its stupidity and any negative stereotypes it has propagated,” he wrote near the end of the column. “I’m not sure changing it now serves any higher purpose, but I’m certainly open to suggestions.” Continue reading “Patterson Hood on DBT’s band name: “I sincerely apologize for its stupidity””

Neal Casal Foundation and tribute album announced

A tribute album featuring Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and Beachwood Sparks among others was announced yesterday along with details of a new Neal Casal Music Foundation (NCMF) which has been created “to honour the memory of the late great, multi-dimensional artist through an ongoing series of charitable endeavors.” The initial focus of the foundation is to provide instruments and lessons to students in New Jersey and New York state schools where Casal was born and raised, as well as to make donations to mental health organizations that support musicians in need. NCMF is being spearheaded by Neal’s longtime manager Gary Waldman along with a team of Casal’s friends. Continue reading “Neal Casal Foundation and tribute album announced”

Songs for the apocalypse: John Wesley Harding “God Lives Upstairs”

Many years ago when I lived in Sydney I used to sometimes go down Pitt Street which had some now long-forgotten record stores which would flog off albums for next to nothing, so pre-the days of the internet I’d take a chance on discovering new stuff sometimes just because I liked the song titles or fancied the bloke on the cover. It sometimes paid off as with ‘The Name Above the Title’ by Hastings born musician John Wesley Harding aka Wesley Stace, which opened a door for me to a lifelong love of this man’s music. His mainly acoustic ‘New Deal’ album from 1996 saw him turn away from folk-pop and into a more assured singer-songwriter sound, and the track ‘God Lives Upstairs’ with its country bent still to me has one of the sweetest melodies I’ve ever heard. Wes is now US-based but his shows are magical if you ever get the chance to see him live. Oh and his novels are superb too. So much talent. Argh.

Watch Margo Price cover Dylan classic “Things Have Changed”

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Margo Price was set to release her latest album ‘That’s How Rumors Get Started’ when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The Nashville artist, whose last album garnered all kinds of acclaim, has postponed the release until July 10th, but in the meantime she joined “CBS This Morning: Saturday” on the weekend just gone to perform a new unreleased song called ‘Drifter’, her latest single ‘Letting Me Down’ from the new album (which is tremendous), and a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Things Have Changed’ from the 2000 movie ‘Wonder Boys’ which you can watch below.

AMA announces 2020 award nominees

It’s that time of year again folks. The Americana Music Association has revealed the nominees for its 19th annual Americana Honors & Awards which includes Brandi Carlile, Brittany Howard, Our Native Daughters, the late John Prine, Nathaniel Rateliff, Tanya Tucker and Yola among others. Continue reading “AMA announces 2020 award nominees”

Something for the weekend: Steve Earle “Times Like These”

Another crazy week then in which even the notoriously conservative with a small ‘C’ county music industry is dealing with its complicated history – so we leave you dear reader with a new recording of a song by an artist you could use a lot of words to describe, one of them not being “conservative”. Last Friday, Steve Earle went back into the studio to give us a preview of a new song by way of a stripped-down version. The lo-fi recording, with Earle unaccompanied on acoustic guitar, was originally supposed to be part of a new full-length album before ‘The Ghosts of West Virginia’ came along in its place. As Earle comments: “This is a song I wrote for a moment at the beginning of the Trumpian nightmare that I planned on releasing closer to the election, but I reckon its time has come today.” 144 days and counting folks [fingers crossed emoji]. Have a good one.

Watch the video to John Prine’s final song

John Prine’s family have posted a video of his final recorded song called ‘I Remember Everything’ which follows on from a livestream tribute to the man himself which streamed last night and featured Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves and Bill Murray among others. The new song is produced by Dave Cobb and co-written by Prine and his longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin, with some painfully evocative lyrics: “I remember every town/And every hotel room/And every song I ever sang/With a guitar out of tune”. You can watch both the video and the tribute below.

Continue reading “Watch the video to John Prine’s final song”