Playing music isn’t always the glamours or adventurous profession it appears to be to many fans and observers on the outside, especially within the lean, meager levels of underground and independent realm. Some play music to fulfill their lifelong dreams, while others do it out of a necessity.
“I was going to do it completely solo,” Duluth, Minnesota’s Charlie Parr says about his 14th album titled Dog, due out on Red House Records. “I was going to go to this barn in Wisconsin, sit there and play my songs. And I was practicing them and I thought, this is devastating.”
You’re Dreaming will be blood brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum’s third album, complimenting their self-titled debut release from 2011, and Live at the Turb Club from 2013. The new record will include ten original compositions, and will be produced by JD McPherson—an old-school throwback rock and roll-inspired artist himself.
A popular local eatery, and an internationally-important music venue was vandalized Tuesday night (7-28) in Bayport, Minnesota, just east of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Along with serving award-winning barbecue (the restaurant was recently visited by Guy Fieri for feature on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) it is one of the last remaining Deep Blues music venues in the world.
Being willing to see where a song takes you is at the heart of every music lover, and in this spirit I present eleven hand selected songs released in the first half of 2015 that will hopefully take you someplace you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. This is the cream of the crop in my opinion; the gut punchers not for the faint of heart.
Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Cody Jinks, Eric Paslay, James McMurtry, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Ann Womack, Love & Theft, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers, Townes Van Zandt, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan
Amidst the graveyards of American dreams is where you’ll find the grey, bent, and wiry folklore rhythm master known as Charlie Parr nosing around, looking for his next discovery. With a resonator on his knee, and a tapping foot you could calibrate a Swiss timepiece to, Mr. Parr bends his back to looking for the perfect rhythm or melody for a mood like an archeologist looks for a lost civilization’s prized possession.
In 2014, you had two previously-unknown women release towers of country music brilliance in Tami Nelison’s Dynamite! and Karen Jonas’s Oklahoma Lottery. You had folk blues songwriter Charlie Parr deliver a masterpiece in his instrumental triumph in Hollandale. You had the Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit feature what very well would had been considered an Album of the Year on any other year…
2014 has revealed itself as the “Year of the Dark Horse” when it comes to compiling the greatest albums released in the last 12-month span. Tami Neilson, Karen Jonas, Charlie Parr, Matt Woods? Who’s heard of these people outside of their respective fan bases? And meanwhile the realm of mainstream music can’t field one candidate, unless you want to count First Aid Kit.
2014 Album of the Year, Charlie Parr, Don Williams, Doug Seegers, Dynamite!, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, I'm A Song, Jason Eady, Jim Lauderdale, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Kelsey Waldon, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, Zoe Muth
Pickathon is the roots music experience like no other. It offers one of the most forward-thinking lineups in the independent festival circuit, is two steps ahead in featuring artists that are on the verge of becoming the next big thing, and presents the artist in some of the most unique settings to be found. Even if you can’t make it to the Northwest extremity of the country next weekend….
Charlie Parr, Chris Thile, Della Mae, John Doe, Jon Langford, Neko Case, NIckel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show, Possessed by Paul James, Robbie Fulks, Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, Shakey Graves, The Black Lillies, The Sadies, Valerie June, Willie Watson
2014 so far has been an interesting year for album releases for sure. Some names we were hoping big things from like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Eady delivered in big ways. Other dark horse names we’d never heard of like Karen Jonas came out of the woodwork to stun. Some names like Don Williams and Charlie Parr put out surprising albums that have to be considered high water marks of their career.
Best Albums So Far, Charlie Parr, Dalight & Dark, Don Williams, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Songs, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, World of Strangers, Zoe Muth
On paper, nothing about this album should work. You can’t take one guy, and one guy only, no overdubs or band, just acoustic instruments and a cued mic and call it good. Not to mention that this is an album entirely consisting of covers and traditionals. So yeah, this isn’t Billy Bragg or Charlie Parr. I’m sorry, but that’s just not enough to hold the listener’s ear for an entire album. Or is it?
The fried chicken-eating, truck-wrestling, twisted metal, wild-assed, guitar-plucking, gray-whiskered, screaming and shouting, foot stomping “Dirty ‘Ol One Man Band” known as Scott H. Biram is back with a brand new album called Nothin’ But Blood from Bloodshot Records, and it’s a shoot-a-belt-of-whiskey and run-buck-wild-in-the-woods kind of good time…
The great American folk singing legend and banjo player Pete Seeger passed away on January 27th, All but appropriate then that on the very next day, January 28th, one of our generation’s most venerable folk musicians, Duluth, Minnesota’s Charlie Parr released his 12th full-length album, and one that arguably mark’s the artist’s most bold, and most ambitious undertaking yet.
2014 promises to be another great year for music, and the first part of the year might just be one of the busiest seasons for anticipated releases we have seen in quite a while. From a lost Johnny Cash album, to a new one from his daughter Rosanne, to Jason Eady, a big re-issue from Lucina Williams, and releases from Scott H. Biram and Robert Ellis, there’s enough here to get your music taste buds salivating.
Beck, Bob Wayne, Charlie Parr, Dolly Parton, Doug Paisley, Goddamn Gallows, Hank3, Hard Working Americans, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jason Eady, Jimbo Mathus, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Lake Street Dive, Lucinda Williams, Lydia Loveless, Ray Benson, Reverend Horton Heat, Robert Ellis, Rosanne Cash, Scott H. Biram, Slackeye Slim, Suzy Bogguss, The Boomswagglers, The Whiskey Shivers, Todd Snider, Whiskey Myers
Good music is entertaining. Great music changes lives. And on the front lines of life altering music experiences are the one man bands. Courageous, pioneering, persevering through obscurity and misunderstanding, one man bands might make up a majority of the music world’s boldness and creativity per capita. Here’s 16 of them from a wide swath of the roots world.
.357 String Band, Bloodshot Bill, Bob Long III, Charlie Parr, Joasph Huber, Joe Buck Yourself, Lincolmn Durham, list of one man bands, Lone Wolf, McDougall, Molly Gene One Whoman Band, one man bands, Otis Gibbs, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Deadeye, Scott H. Biram, Shakey Graves, The Slow Poisoner, William Elliot Whitmore
There are songwriters, and then there are songwriters; those folks that so effortlessly set words to the moods and moments of life and that can make you weep like a baby or wildly happy to be alive. These songwriters are there for us, creating a soundtrack for our most enduring memories, making the most of the life experience by enhancing it with music.
Austin Lucas, Bonnie Price Billy, Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Johnny Cash, Joseph Huber, McDougall, Micah Schnabel, Possessed by Paul James, Tom VandenAvond, Two Cow Garage, Will Oldham, Willy Tea Taylor
Though Americana may be a less-institutionalized and much smaller genre that tends to have better music and promote artists that are easier to respect, sometimes it can seem almost as exclusive as Music Row. So here is a list of artists that even considering Americana’s heavy requirements, could make it big and improve the Americana world if only given a chance.
When I sat down to name the top 10 live performances of 2011 as seen through my eyes, I didn’t know what a mess I was making for myself, and it wasn’t until then that I realized what a power packed year for live music it has been. My 10 stretched to 15 fast, and I’m still leaving many live acts out.
Austin Lucas, Bloodshot Records, Charlie Parr, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Marty Stuart, Micah Schnabel, Pickathon, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ruby Jane, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, SXSW, The Goddamn Gallows, The Muddy Roots Festival, Two Cow Garage, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willie Nelson
Certainly Pickathon is an expensive festival in a severe corner of the country (just outside of Portland, OR), and these natural barriers will always keep some from being able to attend. But as far as creating the best environment to allow creativity to happen, and a model for other festivals and public events to learn and be inspired from, Pickathon has no peer…
Like I always say, music is just the excuse. Saving Country Music is about people and community. And I can’t think of a better example to illustrate how you can create community through music than Weber’s Deck, the brain child of Casey Weber, who lives in the small town of French Lake, Minnesota, pop. 22. A few years ago Casey started a seasonal, weekly event