Album Reviews


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 has been a performing musician since the age of nine, and Forever And Then Some sees her stepping out from Jack White’s touring band. The crux of this album is Americana but she seems to ease in and out of so many facets of the genre, sometimes within the same song, with such ease that you almost take for granted how stunningly talented she is.

There are numerous highlights throughout the album. Loaner is flat-out gorgeous weeper; reminds me of some of the beset heartbreaking tunes that The Everybodyfields put out a few years back. Her fiddle playing is out of this world on this track.

Over The Hills And Through The Woods shows off Mae’s feisty side. This was a highlight of her SXSW set and you can see why in the Conan video below. Honky Tonks And Taverns is a catchy upbeat weeper that feels radio-ready; you know if country radio didn’t insist on playing shit all the time.

During her set, my friend Scott looked over to me and simply said, “She’s the real deal.” I couldn’t agree more.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Lillie Mae is here


Ron Gallo – Heavy Meta (album review)

by Woody on 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 Meta is chock full of meaty hooks and Gallo has a swagger that belies his age, as he tears through 11 tracks blending punk, garage and glam. Throughout the albums, Gallo tackles a wide variety of interesting subjects. I love the Kill The Medicine Man seems to take a swipe at America’s penchant for over-medicating themselves. The album closes with All the Punks are Domesticated closes the album and is smart take down of Gallo’s contemporaries. Why Do You Have Kids? lays out a thought we’ve all had about someone who’ve you seen on in your day to day.

Heavy Meta is an album you enjoy more with each listen as you dig deeper into the lyrics. It is easy for the lyrics to get lost in the riffs but they’re well worth the effort.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Ron Gallo is here


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 list”

Combs, a 30 y/o Nashville resident has really come into his own on his third LP. On Canyons Of My Mind, Combs has put an album together that showcases a varied number of textures and subjects. A distressed Combs shows off his chops on Dirty Rain, a song in protest to the gentrification of Nashville and how we constantly shit on our environment in the name of “progress.”

He steps into the political fray with Bourgeois King, probably the most rocking tune on the album and a tune he just slayed at SXSW. “We’ll build a wall to block the enemy/ build a wall to keep us free” is sung repeatedly about midway through the tune before the band launches into a tasty jam.

Combs is easing into the next phase of his life. He’s married, has a house and a baby on the way. His comfort and growth is on display throughout. Make every effort to catch him live. He’s got a killer band on the road with him.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Andrew Combs is here


Gold Star – Big Blue (album review)

by Woody on April 10, 2017


Gold Star, the moniker for singer-songwriter Marlon Rabenreither, was someone we just stumbled across during out latest SXSW adventure. For someone who meticulously plans his SXSW; it’s still nice to wander into a venue having with no expectations and be blown away.

Gold Star took the stage on the Thursday night backed by his excellent band and the troubador produced a wonderful set of easy-going twang. At the conclusion of his set, I was happy to learn that Big Blue was being released right after SXSW. And I’m even happier to state, that it lives up the billing of his set. Rabenreither’s music comes across as genuine and soulful, without ever coming across as overdone or over-produced.

The tune below, Sonny’s Blues, really reminds me of the early Wilco days. Rabenreither’s lyrics remind me Tweedy’s observational side. And musically, it could slip onto Being There without a second thought.

I felt sunlight shine right between my eyes/I’ve seen lightning strikes my whole life/I felt the stars outside shining in my veins/I met the big blue light face to face.

Rabenreither also mines heartbreak on a few tracks. My favorite among the bunch being Deptford High St. with the lyrics,

But I left her standing, somewhere on Signal hill, I left my baby, you know she is there still, she is there still.

All told, this is wonderfully written, wonderfully produced and wonderfully executed album. I’d make it a point to take in a set if the opportunity arises.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Gold Star is here


Diet Cig – Swear I’m Good At This (album review)

April 5, 2017

photo by: Shervin Lainez During SXSW, I tend to be the pied piper of our little contingent. I’ll point us in directions to see certain bands and sometimes my group will follow. As we headed over to catch the pop-punk due Diet Cig during this past SXSW, I was talking to my pal, The Moish, [...]

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Craig Brown Band – The Lucky Ones Forget (album review)

April 4, 2017

I went out of my way to catch Craig Brown’s set at SXSW, and I was glad I did. They embody so much of what I enjoy in alt-country. The band that Craig Brown cobbled together for their set at Beerland looked like a crew he’d picked up on the way over. Each and every [...]

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Bonny Doon – s/t (album review)

March 21, 2017

photo by Julia Callis Bonny Doon are a quartet of Detroit musicians born from the city’s punk scene. Started as a duo by principal songwriters, Bill Lennox and Bobby Colombo; they were joined by the rhythm section of drummer Jake Kmiecik and bassist Joshua Brooks. After trying to keep their music in the punk genre, [...]

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Bleached – Can You Deal? EP

March 20, 2017

Photo by Nicole Anne Robbins The question being asked is Can you deal with women making music? Bleached follows up 2016′s acclaimed Welcome To The Worms. For whatever reason, I didn’t connect with that release when it came out. So when they announced his EP, it was met with very little fanfare on my part. [...]

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Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Navigator (album review)

March 12, 2017

Alynda Lee Segarra looks inward to her heritage and knocks it out of the park. Segarra, a Bronx native of Puerto Rican descent, decided to dig into her roots for inspiration. As Segarra was digging into the punk scene on the Lowe East side in her teens and hopping trains before landing in New Orleans [...]

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John Andrews & The Yawns – Bad Posture (album review)

March 8, 2017

John Andrews has a day job playing keys for Woods and he recorded this album in a secluded New Hampshire farmhouse with his buds. You could get halfway though this album and be able to figure that out on your own. It kind of falls somewhere in between hazy, trippy folk and psych pop. Whatever [...]

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