REVIEW: Samantha Crain’s “A Small Death” Truly Stands Out

Ever gone to a show and had an opening act grab you, to the point that you almost forgot whom you actually paid to see? Oklahoma’s Samantha Crain did just that to me a couple of years back. Just her songs, her guitar and her haunting voice were enough to hold my attention well past […]

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REVIEW: Luke Schneider’s “Altar of Harmony” Takes Pedal Steel to a Different Realm

Pretty much everyone reading this loves pedal steel, or we wouldn’t be here. Imagine, though, a Venn diagram labeled “Pedal steel lovers,” “Americana Highways readers” and “New age music enthusiasts.” I’m guessing we’d see a pretty small intersecting set. However, Ohio’s Luke Schneider has set out to change that. A longtime touring and session player […]

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REVIEW: Nichole Wagner’s “Dance Songs for the Apocalypse” Pushes Her Own Envelope

Covering a song isn’t nearly as easy as parroting the words. The art (after picking the right song, of course) comes from honoring the spirit of the original, while adding your own stylistic twist. Think Johnny Cash’s rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” (and, while you’re at it, throw out Darius Rucker’s completely superfluous cover […]

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REVIEW: Tessy Lou Williams’ Self-Titled Release is Juke Joint Nostalgia

Country music is simply meant to be played live. What used to be called “hillbilly music” predates the internet, CDs, 8-track players and even universal access to turntables and AM/FM radio. Eventually, music clubs and honky-tonks largely replaced front porches and backyards. Now, in 2020, those live music venues have (temporarily, one hopes) been replaced […]

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REVIEW: Caitlin Cannon’s “The TrashCannon Album” is Country Wordplay with a Lethally Sharp Edge

Injecting humor into music is a tricky business. Too much, and too flippant, and you wind up approaching Weird Al territory. But, if you can balance serious subject matter with just the right amount of self-deprecation, you get something both revealing and eminently listenable. Caitlin Cannon’s latest release, The TrashCannon Album, is a big ol’ […]

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