REVIEW: Robbie Fulks’ “16” Vacillates Between Restraint and Exuberance

For Robbie Fulks the silliness that he is known for has been replaced here with an undeniable sincerity that bristles with an intensity that vacillates between restraint and exuberance on his reinterpretation of Bob Dylan’s Street Legal. On 16, Fulks’ source material demands a new voice from him, and he delivers – at times he […]

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REVIEW: Christine Smith’s “Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star” is Emotive Chronicles of Loss and Longing

Out now on Foxy Lady Records, Meet Me on the Far Side of a Star, the latest release from Austin-based goth cabaret songstress Christine Smith, finds Smith mining traditional piano balladry for a set of beautifully mysterious and dark songcraft. Although embellished with appropriate accompaniment throughout the record: cello, violin, saxophone, accordion, drums, harmony vocals, […]

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REVIEW: “Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots” Bloodshot Records 25th Anniversary Release is Full of Spit and Vinegar

Down to the Promised Land, Bloodshot Records 5th anniversary release turned me on to a whole world of music I was only peripherally aware of at the time. Twenty years later Too Late to Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots, Bloodshot’s 25th anniversary release, is full of the same spit and vinegar that brought Chicago roots music […]

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REVIEW: Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s “Man of the Road: The Early Bloodshot Years” is Classics for the Open Road

Man of the Road: The Early Bloodshot Years (Bloodshot Records) collects songs from Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s first decade with Bloodshot Records. Pressed to vinyl for the first time ever the songs were pulled from The Train’s Bloodshot releases: A-Town Blues (2001), South Austin Sessions EP (2001), Swing Time (2003), Hard Headed Woman: A Celebration of […]

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REVIEW: Devendra Banhart’s “Ma” is a Return to Natural Sounds

Ma, Devendra Banhart’s third release on Nonesuch Records, jettisons the artificial sounds that have driven his recent work in favor of a return to natural, “human-made,” sounds. Strings, woodwinds, brass, and keyboards build upon Banhart’s vocal and guitar to create an inviting collection examining the nature of motherhood. Banhart, “addresses the unconditional nature of maternal […]

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REVIEW: Wet Tuna’s “Water Weird” Pushes the Psychedelic Edge of Countrified Blues

Wet Tuna’s Water Weird finds Matt Valentine and Pat Gubler (PG Six) pushing the psychedelic edge of electrified country blues. Self-described, “brothers of the steel-string,” Matt and Pat dig deep into traditional folk-blues motifs to establish a solid foundation for their otherworldly excursions. In addition to the duo at the core of Wet Tuna, Water […]

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