Steve Martin – officially the world’s coolest banjo player and the only one to sponsor a major annual Banjo music prize whilst also holding down other day jobs such as acting, writing books and collecting modern art – has a new long awaited album coming soon. It’s called The Long Awaited Album, and also features Steve’s good bluegrass buddies The Steep Canyon Rangers. The first song to be released from this is Caroline which is a typically idiosyncratic take on a break-up song. It doesn’t rock, but it does Bluegrass.
Here’s a nice new track we’ve got exclusively for you this morning. Erik Flores and Amelia Rose Logan’s songs as Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light have been described as “modern dime westerns” and this is as good an example as any. Flores told us: “Song to My Bartender” was a fun tune to write. I was trying to employ a little levity, which isn’t my typical approach, and what came out was this story about a barfly that drinks from open till close, talking about how he’d rather be anywhere but there, but never actually doing anything about it. Or at least that was the story shell I ended up filling with the usual existential meanderings… I guess I was trying to find that place where great songwriters make you laugh while telling you serious stories. John Prine, Guy Clark, and a few others come to mind. It’s tough to find the house where they live, but maybe I was wandering around the right neighborhood.”
The forthcoming new album by the Barr Brothers has been described as their best yet – “a collection of 11 hypnotically fluid songs that speak to the raw, elemental power of reflection, forgiveness, loss, and growing up.” The record finds the band, featuring brothers Brad (guitar) and Andrew Barr (drums), and Sarah Page (Harp), further on their path of exploring the outer limits of folk, blues, rock and Americana made north of the American border. And how many bands feature a dedicated harpist? Radcliffe and Maconie premiered their new song earlier last week which you can listen to below.
New music from David Rawlings is always a bit of a treat and this Southern gothic tune appears on the singer-songwriter’s new album ‘Poor David’s Almanack,’ which is due out August 11th. “That song was written a little later than the first batch of songs for this record,” Rawlings tells Rolling Stone Country. “It started out as a groove and melody and chords. The music felt like it had some kind of adventurous feeling, or a feeling of pioneering. I had been working to come up with a title or a theme or hook. One night as I was sitting playing through the music, the ‘Cumberland Gap’ words sprung to mind.” Read more about it over at Rolling Stone.
Sometimes music doesn’t come quickly – it takes time to mature, to be just right. Sophie Dodds knows this, having spent nine years getting the songs on Storm The Palace’s debut album Snow, Stars and Public Transport just so very right – as this song demonstrates so admirably. Originally from Edinburgh, Sophie used her time in London to write and create vignettes of her life; snapshots of the people who passed through it and how the city’s unfolding narratives impacted upon her. The Moon Above Villiers St creates a tension-filled atmosphere through the use of a 7/8 time signature and fills the space with some hard-hitting lyrics “The politics of envy / The politics of greed / never lift a finger until you’re the one in need”. It’s a memorable song.
Jon Boden is the ex lead singer of folk legends (we can safely say that now they’ve disbanded) Bellowhead and he’s just announced a new album “Afterglow” which will be released on October 6th on Hudson Records. It will be his first album proper since disbanding the band and a companion release to his 2009 release ‘Songs From The Floodplain’ “imagining a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails.” Boden will curate and perform at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival which kicks off tomorrow, or you can catch him in November on tour – dates are below.
Tom Irwin is a 50-something, guitar playing guy, called “a modern day troubadour” by Wilco’s John Stirratt. He’s spent a lifetime making a living making music in the Midwest with occasional forays into the rest of the country. This track debuts here at AUK for his new record “All That Love” which includes members of his other band The Autumn Defense including New York City’s Greg Wieczorek, aka, G. Wiz, on drums (Norah Jones) and Chicago-based musician and owner of Lakland Music, John Pirruccello on 12-string guitar and pedal steel.
Richmond, Va.-based guitarist Thorp Jenson has announced the release of his forthcoming debut album “Odessa” which comes out October 20th, and he’s shared the first single “Oklahoma” at Glide who called the track, “Spirited and energetic,” and praised Jenson as, “A vibrant songwriter and dynamic frontman.” We think the opposite of course. Bloody Glide. Telling us what to think. (Actually, this is rather good.)
Micah P. Hinson has shared a new track ‘Oh, Spaceman’ from his forthcoming album ‘Presents The Holy Strangers’ which comes out on 8th September. “It was the first song I wrote for my boy, Wiley Tex, after he was born, and the only song I played for about half a year after his birth. It is the only song where the melody and words came before sitting behind a guitar. Which is not a way I’ve ever written.” The album itself is described as a “modern folk opera, telling the story of a war time family, going from birth to love, to marriage and children, to war and betrayal, murder to suicide – spanning all of the strange and glorious places life can lead. We follow their story, we see their decisions, we see their faults and their beauty. We live with them, we die with them.” Oh, and Steps are touring in December.
Driven to ditching her acoustic guitar by an endless series of broken strings, Abbie Morin switched from her folk-rock persona to the Fender Jazzmaster sound of new project Hammydown. It’s the quirky garage-pop that could get filed alongside the B-52s or They Might Be Giants . The new EP – Pizzaface – captures the sound of the millennial slacker – those who button up and drag their way through the working week whilst trying to pursue creative passions, but still just feel like losers who are stuck in a series of service industry jobs and a rotating roster of bosses who helpfully tell you “it doesn’t cost anything extra to give service with a smile”. Happy Monday!