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James Elkington is generally regarded as one of the acoustic guitarists around these days. Up until now, vocals never entered into the equations. Well, that’s about to change with his solo debut out via the fine folks via Paradise of Bachelors. Much like Steve Gunn, I expect James ELkington is about to become a more common name after this album his the street. Here’s a little more on the album.

The resulting album at times conjures Kevin Ayers delivering a Dylan Thompson poem over a Bert Jansch song, all the while speaking in Elkington’s singular voice. The title, Wintres Woma, resonates in the icy limpidity of the arrangements, the snowy tumble of guitars and strings, and with Elkington’s gnawing consideration of how much cultural upbringing can bring to bear on one’s own creativity. Many of the album’s lyrics contend with the continuing strangeness of living in a different country. “For the most part it’s very liberating, but England is old, and there is a weird energy that comes from that country, an energy that doesn’t seem to feel the same in America. It took me moving away from home to feel it at all. I was so used to it that I didn’t know I was feeling it until I didn’t feel it anymore.”

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James Elkington can be found on Instagram

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During her set at Bloodshot’s SXSW day party, I turned to my buddy Jamey said, “God Damn, that sure is some cast of grizzled shitkickers.” You see, Sarah’s band all had some years on her and looked like they had some seen some shit. They all happened to be some damn good players as well which in turn led to a half-hour well spent during a nice Friday in Austin.

Shook, herself comes across as a bit of a hellraiser throughout the album and having a band of grizzled shitkickers sure does come in handy. Based on the evidence, she seems to enjoy a bit of whiskey as well. The magical brown elixir is a prominent component throughout the album, mostly to get through the lean times. She’ll drink it in the morning (Dwight Yoakam), at night (Solitary Confinement) and by the sounds of it; any time in between (Misery Without Company).

Shook moves out of the whiskey bottle for a couple of great tunes. No Name tells the story of a badass outlaw. The Nail is a dark, yet humorous look at the ending of a relationship. Sidelong feels like a Bloodshot release from beginning to end and it is a very worthy addition to their catalog.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Sarah Shook is here

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Chimney announces debut LP for 6/23/17

by Woody on April 24, 2017

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Chimney is the moniker of Dan Molad. Who’s Dan Molad you ask? Dan happens to be the drummer for Lucius. He also happens to be the producer for their albums, as well as many other albums. When listening or watching Lucius in concert it is easy to get wrapped up in the amazing harmonies of Jess and Holly. But then you’d be missing out on the amazing work of the three gentlemen behind them. So it’s nice to see Molad stepping out on his own. The album will be out on June 23rd via the fine folks of Dine Alone Records. Here’s some more info on the album.

Throughout Lucius’ success, Molad found himself in a period of transition: moving from New York to L.A., dealing with relationship strife and the death of longtime friend, Parks And Recreation writer Harris Wittels. As a result, there’s something that’s both painful and cathartic about Molad’s self-titled debut. Songs like “Little One” let Molad’s vulnerable yet deliberate vocals shine through while “The More You’re Holding (The More You’ve Got)” and “#31” are haunting, enigmatic earworms that speak to wanting to hold onto a relationship for dear life. The songs have a cohesive darkness to them and their meaning spills out like a stream of consciousness. It’s something that speaks to Molad’s candor and approach: “You don’t always intend for the theme that emerges — it just kind of reveals itself.”

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

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Songhoy Blues announce Resistance 6/16/17

by Woody on April 21, 2017

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Last year I had the pleasure of going to Newport Folk Festival for the first time of my life. Songhoy Blues were originally were on the list and they were on my must-see list until they had to cancel. Songhoy Blues are a four-piece from Mali that is a hybrid of a number of musical styles that flat out jams. Listening to their debut always puts a pep in my step and I have no reason to believe that Resistance will be any different. Herr’s some info from their new label, Fat Possum Records.

With more time and a wider armoury of equipment at their disposal, the album is the sound of Songhoy Blues stretching themselves, with hints of R&B, soul and hip-hop all fusing seamlessly with the band’s trademark exuberant sound, with themes for our time.

Whereas their debut was lyrically rather parochial, dealing with the problems faced by the people of Mali, the new album is more universal in tone and speaks positively about their homeland, lovingly talking about the beauty of the Sahara and night-life in Bamako.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Songhoy Blues are here

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Lillie Mae – Forever And Then Some (album review)

April 19, 2017

When I caught Lillie Mae, I was fresh off the high of seeing Tommy Stinson’s band Bash & Pop play at Hotel Vegas. As I bounded down Red River singing On The Rocks, I thought there was no way that Lillie Mae would hit those lofty heights. She did and this album dies. Lillie Mae [...]

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Bedouine Announces Debut Album, Out June 23

April 17, 2017

photo credit: Polly Antonia Barrowman Since becoming enamored with Matthew E. White’s music, I’ve learned to look to his label, Spacebomb Records, for quality music. Their newest addition is Bedouine, the moniker of Azniv Korkejian. Her first track is Dusty Eyes and it very descriptive of the track itself. It has a dusty folky feel [...]

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The Deslondes announce Hurry Home 6/23/17

April 15, 2017

The Deslondes are back for their sophomore effort after 2014′s excellent s/t debut. Based on this track, the New Orleans quintet are continuing to mine the old Sun Records and Stax Records for influence. Here’s some more info on the album via their label, the excellent New West Records. Named after the street in the [...]

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Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta (album review)

April 13, 2017

I was familiar with Gallo’s work with his band, Toy Soldiers. It was solid enough but I can’t say it ever cracked my rotation for long. So the announcement of his solo debut was met with little fanfare by myself. But sooner or later, the album crossed my path and we became fast friends. Heavy [...]

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Andrew Combs – Canyons Of My Mind (album review)

April 12, 2017

Photo by Andrew White I slept on Combs’ 2015 release, All These Dreams. But right before SXSW, Canyons Of My Mind wound up in my inbox and I decided to dig in anticipation of taking in a set. It wasn’t long before Combs moved from the “Maybe I’ll catch a set list,” to the “Must-see [...]

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Michael Nau announces Some Twist 6/16/17

April 11, 2017

Michael Nau has a nice career with bands Page France and Cotton Jones, a band that Oz (remember that guy?) really enjoyed. He’s set to release his second solo album, Some Twist via the fine folks at Suicide Squeeze Records. The new remind of the mellower aspects of Kevin Morby and it also kicks off [...]

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