Roots

New EP: Dan Littlefield || Echo Swamp

Echo Swamp, that’s a nice and suitable title for Dan Littlefield’s new EP. The Californian singer-songwriter / multi-instrumentalist has already had a musical career as a bass player and folk singer, but had put music on hold for a period. It wasn’t until the initial days of the Covid-19 pandemic that he finally addressed a long running desire to learn the resophonic guitar. He immediately fell in love with the instrument and within six short months released his debut EP, Trouble on the Override. Less than six short months later there is now another 4 track EP. The man has a great voice, and his dynamic slide guitar has a great sound. He plays blues, but in a pretty funky way. Check out Capital Hill Blues below, my favorite Littlefield song to date.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: A.J. Fullerton || The Forgiver & The Runaway

A.J. Fullerton is an American roots / rock / blues artist, known for his expressive vocals and signature style of fingerpicking and bottleneck slide guitar. For his new album he has gathered a good bunch of musicians around him, who take the soulful, rootsy songs to the next level. Forgiver and the Runaway is out now digitally, on CD, and on vinyl LP through VizzTone Records. Below the official music video for Say You’ll Stay, featuring Jake Friel on harmonica. Listen to the rest of the album via your favorite streaming service.

Add to wantlist: A.J. Fullerton Merch

New album: Miko Marks & The Resurrectors || Our Country

About 15 years ago, Miko Marks was considered “Nashville’s Hottest New Country Star”, loved by the audiences but not so much by the music industry, which reportedly struggled with a black woman in country music. Disillusioned, a long overdue hiatus from music followed, but fortunately the singer-songwriter is back. With co-producers Steve Wyreman and Justin Phipps (Founder of Redtone Records) she wrote songs reflecting hard truths and the expansive emotions they were all feeling, which she subsequently recorded with Redtone’s house band The Resurrectors. This new LP, Our Country, is out now through Redtone Records and streaming across all platforms. A strong collection, rooted in sounds from country, blues, soul, and roots music, which fits Miko Mark’s distinctive vocals well. Below the official performance video for the track Hard Times. Maybe album closing track Not Be Moved is even better.

‘This album is overall a heartfelt prayer for honesty and reflection. I hope it evokes a sense of urgency around systemic racism, injustice and economic disparity that plagues the underprivileged in our country. I hope the message of compassion and unity rings true and encourages listeners to identify, digest the fullness of the music in a transformative way.’ – Miko Marks

Add to wantlist: Miko Marks Shop

Gimme 5! || Simon Jackson Shares “Five” Songs That Reflect The Eclectic Sound Of Hogchoker

With ‘Gimme 5!’ we take a peek into the collections of artists we admire. The premise is simple: artists WE like share 5 records THEY love.

I am not really open to electronic dance music and some extreme niches, but otherwise I try to listen to many different music styles. However, when I came across Hogchoker, my head almost exploded: the band from Shanghai plays original, theatrical, punky world music with a message of social justice and inclusivity, spiced by anarchic humor and big brass jazz, funk, salsa, klezmer and ska riffs, with guest musicians like Argentinian opera singer Ernesto ‘Ruso’ Bauer en reggae legends Max Romeo and Big Youth. That intrigued me to the extent that I was very curious about their sources of inspiration. Simon Jackson, singer, songwriter and sax player of Hogchoker, is kind enough to explain this to us in detail. A lot to discover – very interesting, very cool!

Simon Jackson (Hogchoker):
‘Having spent over a year recording what I hope is the most eclectic and entertaining set of songs you’ll hear this year, playing with artists from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Ireland, Jamaica, the UK and US, I’ve tried to put together a list of the songs that reflect the mix of genres, nationalities and influences on the album. I’m Simon, singer, songwriter and saxophonist for Hogchoker. The album is Roll Up for the Crazy Sound of Hogchoker, our 8th so far (with nearly as many line ups).

New album: Joe Pug || The Diving Sun

A few months ago we’ve added the artwork for Joe Pug‘s new LP The Diving Sun to our Favorite Album Covers Gallery, but now the actual album has been released so we finally can listen to the accompanying music. The American singer-songwriter was collecting archived session files for a B-sides album, but this eventually led to a full-on album process with entirely new songs. Opening track Crescent Bridge – a very nice intro with piano and harmonica and then that first sentence: “I’ve been waiting all night for you to look my way” – could have been a Springsteen classic. The other tracks don’t evoke comparisons like that, simply because you are entranced by the stories that this great voice sings to you, but also because it’s more in the Americana category in terms of music style. All just as beautiful as the cover art. Out now via Nation of Heat Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Joe Pug Store

New album: Them Dirty Dimes || In Gold We Trust

Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands, is mainly known as garage rock city, but apparently a combination of old-fashioned jazz, blues and gypsy is also played over there. At least by Them Dirty Dimes, and they do that quite well. The love for music of the 1920s brought singer / guitarist Gijs de Groot and songwriter / guitarist Johan Stolk together, they formed a band with Wessel de Vries (drums), Anne de Vries (double bass) and Joas Zuur (trumpet), and in less than a year they had their swinging debut LP In Gold We Trust completed. The 13 self-written songs may be inspired by sounds from 100 years ago, but they are certainly not out of place in 2021.

Add to wantlist: Them Dirty Dimes Store

New album: Daniel Young || The World Ain’t Gonna Wait

Daniel Young is a versatile musician from Salt Lake City, Utah, who grew up on the side of a tall mountain, and that sense of forceful elevation informs all of his work. To outline the setting: on the sunset side of the ground floor of his home studio, there’s a window that frames a long, straight road, and if you catch it when the light’s right, you could swear that road goes on and on through the mountains – not hard to imagine if you listen to his music, a successful combination of Americana, country, folk, and rock. On The World Ain’t Gonna Wait, Young’s third album out today on all streaming platforms, LP and CD, it seems you do your hardest traveling at home sometimes. Written on the late-night back porch, the new songs chronicle the urgency and uneasiness of the everyday emergency, the undeniable sense that you may be living your last day on the world you’ve known. There are some pretty good songs on the new album, with pretty good musicians and pretty good instrumentation (b3 organ! mandolin! fiddle! lap steel! accordion!). Standout tracks are the previously shared title track and Take It Or Leave It (listen below), which brings Natural Child into mind. Great music for a road trip that goes on and on.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Honshu Wolves || Cosmic Creature Capture

You wouldn’t expect it, but somewhere in an alternative trailer park in the back alleys in Switzerland’s capital Bern, with a view on foggy cold mountains, three-piece Honshu Wolves play music you could describe as trippy psychedelic desert gospel Delta space blues – a combination of styles and influences that turns out surprisingly well. They already released the 10″ Shine On Me (2010) and the 12″ Silver Ashes Line The Lane (2014), but hopefully their new full length album Cosmic Creature Capture via Voodoo Rhythm Records will reach a wider audience. The songs of Maryanne Shewolf (vocals, guitar, percussion, piano), Fäbu (guitars, organ, backing vocals), and Mige (drums, percussion) are strong, dreamy, and fascinating. Immerse yourself for 40 minutes.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Voodoo Rhythm

New album: Bones Owens || Bones Owens

Bones Owens‘ self-titled full-length debut album is out now via Thirty Tigers, and while you might expect this to be a country album based on the cover photo or the fact that he’s from Nashville, it’s not. This is all about swinging rhythms and swaggering riffs, inspired by ’60s garage rock, Hill Country blues, and swampy roots rock. Uplifting songs with great guitar work and brooding vocals (the cool background vocals of legendary gospel singer Regina McCrary are also worth mentioning).

I actually wanted to post this quick review tomorrow, but this is definitely not Monday music. This is music for a sunny road trip or a party with beer and a barbecue. Music for a good day! RIYL: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Everest Cale, The Black Keys.

Add to wantlist: Discogs ||  Bones Owens Merch Store 

New album: Jax Hollow || Underdog Anthems

Underdog Anthems, the debut album from singer / songwriter and “shredder” Jax Hollow, is a blend of classic rock, blues, and Americana, with soulful vocals and raw storytelling. The LP is recorded and produced by Michael Wagener, and is recommended if you like the bands he collaborated with before (Skid Row, Extreme, White Lion, etc.). ‘No one found my weakness’, she sings confidently in Say My Name. Based on this album I can endorse that.

Add to wantlist: Jax Hollow Shop

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