Tag Archives: folk-rock

Bert Jansch’s Just A Simple Soul

Bert Jansch was one of the most iconic and influential folk musicians to come out of the U.K. in the 1960s. It’s shocking that it’s taken until now for the release of a career retrospective, but very welcome indeed is … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Bert Jansch’s Just A Simple Soul

John Prine’s The Tree of Forgiveness

John Prine is the folk singer America deserves. And needs. Since his debut self-titled album in 1971 he has been ministering to our malaise with his unique blend of humor and pathos, comedy, tragedy and tragicomedy that perfectly reflects and … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on John Prine’s The Tree of Forgiveness

Cowboy Junkies’ All That Reckoning

Cowboy Junkies’ latest release marks the 30th anniversary of the Canadian folk-rockers’ breakthrough album The Trinity Session. All That Reckoning, all these years later, still is built around Margo Timmins’ hushed vocals, but this one seethes with a barely suppressed … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Cowboy Junkies’ All That Reckoning

Dana Sipos’ Trick of the Light

If like me you appreciate deeply rooted folk music that’s recorded with the sort of post-modern studio wizardry that enhances that music’s moods and meanings, then you owe it to yourself to check out Dana Sipos’ Trick of the Light. … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Dana Sipos’ Trick of the Light

Ryley Walker’s Deafman Glance

I’ve been listening to Chicago-based folk-rocker Ryley Walker maturing his music since his first full-length All Kinds of You came out on Thompkins Square in 2014. He gained critical acclaim for his second Primrose Green the following year, with its … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Ryley Walker’s Deafman Glance

Beatrice Deer’s My All To You

Beatrice Deer is a singer-songwriter from Nunavik, the icy region of Quebec north of the 55th parallel and home to Quebec’s Inuit people. My All to You is her fifth record since she left her tiny hometown of Quaqtaq for … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Beatrice Deer’s My All To You

Fairport Convention’s Fairport unConventional

I have chosen a somewhat unconventional way to review this collection, partly because of the title but mainly because there is just so much stuff in this box that it demands consideration. Geez! It cost almost $30 to mail it … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Fairport Convention’s Fairport unConventional

Wûtas’ Eponymous Debut Album

“Wûtas” (pronounced “wuotas”) is an Alemannic word denoting the Wild Hunt. (Alemannic is either a group of discrete languages or a group of dialects, depending on which school of linguistics is your favorite, spoken mainly in southern Germany, Austria, parts … Continue reading

Tagged , , | Comments Off on Wûtas’ Eponymous Debut Album

Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton’s Wildflower Blues

I’ve been a big fan and follower of Jolie Holland since her home-recorded debut Catalpa came out of left field in 2003, but this little gem sneaked under my radar. If you missed it, too, when it came out quietly … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton’s Wildflower Blues

Gun Outfit’s Out of Range

Out of Range is the fifth full-length record by the Los Angeles-based Gun Outfit. They refer to the sound of their music as “Western expanse,” and that’s as good a description as any. Musically it’s a guitar-laden melange of cosmic … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Gun Outfit’s Out of Range

The Weather Station’s self-titled album

Toronto-based musician Tamara Lindeman records and performs as The Weather Station. This self-titled album is her fourth release under that name, and it’s a bold, self-confident report back from the baffling frontiers of adulthood, relationships, independence, dependence and life in … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on The Weather Station’s self-titled album

TRADarrr’s Cautionary Tales; Further Tales of Love! Death! And Treachery!

Let me sum it up: TRADarrr’s debut album is one of the best first albums I have ever heard from anyone. But is it really a debut album? Three of the five members on that album (PJ Wright on guitars, … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on TRADarrr’s Cautionary Tales; Further Tales of Love! Death! And Treachery!

Anna Tivel’s Small Believer

Anna Tivel, whose Heroes Waking Up rose to the top of my best-of list in 2016, has a new record out already this year, and Small Believers lives up to the high mark set by that record. Portland’s Anna Tivel … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Anna Tivel’s Small Believer

Deer Tick’s Deer Tick Vol. 1 & Deer Tick Vol. 2

In the chorus of “Only Love,” midway through the acoustic, folky Deer Tick Vol. 1, Deer Tick front man John McCauley sings, “It’s only love, so don’t be afraid, it will let you down but not today … it won’t … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Deer Tick’s Deer Tick Vol. 1 & Deer Tick Vol. 2

A Consumer´s Guide to Fairport Convention

Preliminary Note: This guide deals only with the official studio and live albums released by Fairport Convention. No samplers, collections or unofficial live albums are mentioned. The albums are graded as follows: (****) = A classic. Should be in everyone´s … Continue reading

Tagged , , , | Comments Off on A Consumer´s Guide to Fairport Convention

Cory Branan’s Adios

The best thing about Cory Branan is his now-they’re-funny, now-they’re-sad lyrics. No, wait, the best thing is the way the tune always works just right with the lyrics, and it’s always catchy as hell. No, wait, the best thing is … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Cory Branan’s Adios

Ani Cordero’s Querido Mundo

Ani Cordero is a Puerto Rican-American singer, songwriter and musician (and a Latin American music researcher) living in New York. I became a fan of her eponymous alt-Latin indie-rock band in the early 2000s, which led me to the Mexican … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Ani Cordero’s Querido Mundo

The DeSoto Caucus’s 4

The DeSoto Caucus released their second and third albums within 11 months of each other, in 2013 and 2014. I first caught up with them on their third, self-titled album, which I liked a lot. This Danish quartet took a … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The DeSoto Caucus’s 4

Michael Chapman’s 50

I’m a little embarrassed to say that Michael Chapman’s new album 50 is my first exposure to this nonpariel British guitarist, singer and songwriter. After all, he gets name-checked alongside such greats as Richard Thompson, Bert Jansch and Davy Graham, … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Michael Chapman’s 50

Ryley Walker’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

Ryley Walker’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung is a logical follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2015 album Primrose Green. The earlier release was noted for its almost spookily faithful homage to 1960s English folk-rock, particularly early Van Morrison. While … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Ryley Walker’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

William Tyler’s Modern Country

Guitarist William Tyler’s Modern Country was one of my favorite drive-time listens of the summer of 2016. I was so busy enjoying it, I didn’t get around to writing about it until now! First, about the title. It’s amazing how … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on William Tyler’s Modern Country

Strangelings’ Season of the Witch

The Electric sitar: Not just for George Harrison tunes. Okay, I’m in love. Electric sitar! Bliss! No, seriously. Not hyperbole: it’s love. I’m replaying one of my happiest discoveries in a season of catch-as-catch-can, the Strangelings CD, Season of the Witch. … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on Strangelings’ Season of the Witch

Y La Bamba’s Ojos del Sol

Lyrically, musically and thematically complex, Ojos del Sol represents a leap of creative faith by Luz Elena Mendoza, the Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter who leads Y La Bamba. Her previous efforts, including 2012’s Court the Storm have combined the rhythms, sounds … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Y La Bamba’s Ojos del Sol


Various artists’ Refugee

We fled our homes from flames of war you rained in on our shores And now you’d sooner let us drown than open up your doors. For a life is only worth the dirt upon which it is born And … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on 
Various artists’ Refugee

Anna Tivel’s Heroes Waking Up

Anna Tivel sings her songs of world-weariness and hope in a voice that sounds a lot younger than her words. The Northwest-raised Tivel currently calls Portland home, but she’s spent a lot of time on the road and with her … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Anna Tivel’s Heroes Waking Up

Chris Eckman’s Harney County

Some parts of Harney County, Oregon, are among my favorite places on this planet. They include Steens Mountain, the Alvord Desert, and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which lately has been in the news around the country because it was … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Chris Eckman’s Harney County

Calexico’s Edge of the Sun

Calexico’s Edge of the Sun is packed full of the kind of music that made me a longtime fan of the Tucson band. To me it’s one of Calexico’s more successful albums in quite a while. The songs have strong … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Calexico’s Edge of the Sun

The Decemberists’ What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

The Decemberists have emerged from a more than three-year hiatus with a strong set of indie-rock songs for adults, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. Even with a January release, it’s sure to be on a lot of … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on The Decemberists’ What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

Thompson’s Family

Fans of Richard and Linda Thompson have been waiting for them to record together again since they broke up more than 30 years ago. I suppose a reunion of sorts became inevitable when two of their offspring, Teddy and Kami, … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Thompson’s Family

Richard Thompson’s Acoustic Classics

Richard Thompson’s style and competence as a solo performance have evolved a lot in just the past 20 years, and even more since he broke up with his former wife and singing partner Linda Thompson and set out on his … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard Thompson’s Acoustic Classics

The Horse’s Ha’s Waterdrawn

Waterdrawn from The Horse’s Ha seems like a good companion piece to Anais Mitchell’s 2012 Child Ballads. Most of the songs and the entire spirit of this project are drawn from the same well as those old Anglo-American ballads with … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged | Comments Off on The Horse’s Ha’s Waterdrawn

Sam Amidon’s Bright Sunny South

Sam Amidon is a Vermont native formerly active in the New England folk scene, now based in London. Bright Sunny South is his fourth full-length release but his first on a major label. In addition to his solo work, he … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Sam Amidon’s Bright Sunny South

Richard Thompson’s Electric

Electric which someone calculates to be Richard Thompson’s 40th release, features the English folk-rock icon in a power trio setting, with plenty of power provided by drummer Michael Jerome and bassist Taras Prodaniuk, both of whom have been playing with … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard Thompson’s Electric

Richard Thompson’s Strict Tempo!

Lately, every time Richard Thompson issues a new recording, a spate of interviews appears in print and online media, conducted by writers of varying familiarity with his extensive oeuvre. Inevitably, one of more of them will ask him about his … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard Thompson’s Strict Tempo!

Fairport Convention’s 4Play 76/79

A not uncommon response when Fairport Convention is mentioned is to think of a band with regular line-up changes. However, that was really only the case in the first couple of decades of their existence. The remaining two and a … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Bowerbirds’ The Clearing

The Clearing is a fully realized artistic vision of Beth Tacular and Phil Moore, the young North Carolina couple who perform as Bowerbirds. It’s their third album, and it’s a mature, emotionally charged work that reflects some of the travails … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Bowerbirds’ The Clearing

Richard Thompson Band’s Live At Celtic Connections (DVD)

The most recent incarnation of the Richard Thompson Band started its run with a string of nine or 10 shows along the West Coast of the U.S. in February of 2010. They played a set of 13 new songs that … Continue reading

Posted in Film, Music | Tagged , | Comments Off on Richard Thompson Band’s Live At Celtic Connections (DVD)

Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out The Lights (Deluxe Edition)

What is left to be said about Richard & Linda Thompson’s swan song and masterpiece Shoot Out The Lights? It has garnered all kinds of honors in the nearly 30 years since its 1982 release, landing on more “best of” … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard & Linda Thompson’s Shoot Out The Lights (Deluxe Edition)

Richard & Linda Thompson’s Hokey Pokey

It’s probably going too far to say that Hokey Pokey is an overlooked gem in the Richard Thompson catalog. But this, the second of six studio albums released by Richard and Linda Thompson between 1974 and 1982, generally doesn’t receive … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard & Linda Thompson’s Hokey Pokey

Richard Thompson’s Walking On A Wire, 1968-2009

What can you say about a musician whose career began more than 40 years ago and whose creative and physical energies are still going strong? If the artist in question is Richard Thompson, you needn’t say anything. Just open the … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard Thompson’s Walking On A Wire, 1968-2009

Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

Richard and Linda Thompson are among the most revered of musical couples in rock history, at least among fans not confined to music’s bland mainstream. That reverence is largely based on two albums: their first, I Want To See The … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Richard and Linda Thompson’s I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight

Makam’s Almanach

Makám has been putting its own stamp on Hungarian folk music for more than 20 years now. Or rather, Zoltán Krulik’s stamp. Almanach is the first album by this group I have heard, but they’ve been making recordings since 1984. … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Makam’s Almanach

Lhasa’s The Living Road

Lhasa de Sela is a Canadian singer who performs a unique blend of acoustic folk and electronica, sung in the three major languages of the North America: French, Spanish and English. This CD is brimming with passionate melody and rhythm … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Lhasa’s The Living Road

Calexico’s Feast of Wire

In Feast of Wire the Tucson, Arizona-based Calexico has made the most overtly political statement in its brief but prolific history. Their fourth full-length CD offers a cohesive vision of the collision of cultures in the desert borderland between the … Continue reading

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Calexico’s Feast of Wire