Show Review: Marah Delivers Another Memorably Amazing Christmas Show

Marah’s Christmas shows are justifiably legendary. Now based in central PA but originally hailing from the Conshohocken area of Philadelphia, the band clearly knows how to throw a kickin’ party. This year’s festivities were held at the City of Brotherly Love’s Underground Arts, a dark, industrial basement venue that probably hasn’t experienced such pure musical […]

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Show Review: Folksong as Anti-Spectacle: Richard Buckner at Johnny Brenda’s, Nov. 11

While the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry played itself out to exhaustion in an over-lit sportsplex a few miles to the north of Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood, Richard Buckner treated his audience to the polar opposite of that corporate-sponsored mega-spectacle: an intimate, quietly soul-stirring evening of folksong and storytelling. The evening’s warm, congenial tone was set by the John […]

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REVIEW: With Back Roads and Abandoned Motels, Gary Louris Highlights His Bandmates’ Talents

In discussing his own addiction to opioids with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press a few months after Prince’s untimely painkiller-related death in 2016, Gary Louris confessed to its having brought him to the realization — following the band’s brief, unfortunate reunion and quick re-divorce from former collaborator Mark Olsen — that he already had “the […]

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REVIEW: Malcolm Holcombe Alternates Bittersweet Reminiscences and Poignant Provocations on “Come Hell or High Water”

To nick the subtitle of a recent collection of essays on Texas songwriters,1 Malcolm Holcombe’s approach to songcraft is “ruthlessly poetic.” Holcombe’s latest, the Marco Giovino-produced Come Hell or High Water (Singular Recordings), marks the 13th in a string of dependably strong collections bearing Holcombe’s distinct, darkly Appalachian imprint. Featuring Iris DeMent and Greg Brown […]

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