See the Band with the Stage Fright

I’ve never been a huge fan of The Band other than whenever they were somebody’s backing group, and I at least partially hold their precedent to blame for that recent (and hopefully waning) wave of obnoxious bearded-hipster folk-rock revival acts that dress like they just returned from a Civil War battle. But I also recently… Continue reading See the Band with the Stage Fright

Randall Bramblett Keeps the Fire Burning

Georgia music veteran Randall Bramblett jumps back into action on Nov. 13, when New West Records will release his latest solo album, Pine Needle Fire. By the time the Jesup-born singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist launched his own recording career in the mid ‘70s with a pair of albums on Polydor, he was already a highly… Continue reading Randall Bramblett Keeps the Fire Burning

Golden Anniversary for The Grateful Dead’s Beauty

It could be strongly asserted that 1970 was The Grateful Dead’s banner year, if for no other reason than their two most revered and enduring albums were released within months of each other – Workingman’s Dead in June of ’70, and American Beauty the following November. The professional archivists at Rhino Records released a 50th… Continue reading Golden Anniversary for The Grateful Dead’s Beauty

The Claudettes

Not Squares. Never Were. The Claudettes Are Just a Really Damn Good Band The Claudettes are one of the most delightfully unclassifiable bands currently running. They formed in 2010 as an instrumental piano/drums duo pounding out a tight, cartoonishly vaudevillian hybrid of Chicago/New Orleans-steeped blues, jazz and soul music, occasionally accompanied by nutty theatrical flourishes.… Continue reading The Claudettes

Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

If Homer were pushed into a space vacuum by time bandits and landed in the year 2020, Rough and Rowdy Ways would be his favorite album. Because when you’re great, you settle for nothing less than epic. I’m not here to provide historical analysis to Dylan’s venomous prose. If you want a pair of glasses… Continue reading Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

Andrea & Mud Make Badass Tunes Outta Bad News

Neotraditionalist honky-tonk acts often emphasize humor and lowbrow lyrical themes to reinforce the rustic, old timey (mainly mid-20th century American) associations the music effectively conjures. Atlanta twang bar queen ‘n’ king Andrea & Mud are certainly not averse to such practices; their songs tend to be lighthearted and fun even when tragic, but what’s most… Continue reading Andrea & Mud Make Badass Tunes Outta Bad News

Steve Baskin Steps Up

An internal communications strategist by day, Atlanta singer-songwriter Steve Baskin has done plenty of time in the Georgia and Southeastern music scenes as a member of the Hippycrickets, the Cindy Wilson Band and 10-piece R&B ensemble Hugo a Gogo, among other outfits. Recorded in Valdosta, where Baskin grew up, his new, fourth album Mind Your… Continue reading Steve Baskin Steps Up

Surrender Hill Relinquish A Whole Lot of Freedom

Most music that falls under the “Americana” genre banner – which basically just amounts to earnest singer-songwriter fare in a woodsy bed of unobtrusive country-rock – sounds the same. And there are truckloads of people doing it. Including lots of couples. I guess it’s just unavoidable for a bunch of middle-aged songwriters. You’re playin’ little… Continue reading Surrender Hill Relinquish A Whole Lot of Freedom

Jackson County Line Gets It Across

Taking into consideration the geographic and demographic makeup of Georgia, Jackson County is a bit of a backwoodsy place peppered with picturesque small towns such as Jefferson and Maysville, but it’s not like it’s that far out in the sticks. Its border nudges Gwinnett County to the west and rests alongside Clarke County (Athens) to… Continue reading Jackson County Line Gets It Across

Sadler Vaden

Hodge, Podge, Strained Through a Leslie: Sadler Vaden is Getting Out There Guitarist Sadler Vaden has been a member of Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit since 2013. He’s part of the Grammy-winning team that made 2015’s Something More Than Free and the band’s 2017 album The Nashville Sound, both of which earned Best Americana Album awards… Continue reading Sadler Vaden

Jason Isbell Reunites with Ghosts of His Past

Out May 15 via Southeastern Records/Thirty Tigers, Reunions is Jason Isbell’s seventh full-length studio album and fourth with his band the 400 Unit: Derry deBorgia (keys), Chad Gamble (drums), Jimbo Hart (percussion), Sadler Vaden (guitars) and Amanda Shires (fiddle). Produced in Nashville by the superhuman Dave Cobb, it assembles 10 new original songs by Isbell,… Continue reading Jason Isbell Reunites with Ghosts of His Past

First Rose of Spring Blooms for Willie

Approaching his 87th birthday, Willie Nelson continues to tour and record at a pace that puts most younger acts to shame. Come April 24, (Postponed to July 3), Legacy Recordings will release Willie’s 70th (!!) solo studio album, First Rose of Spring. Seventy solo albums! That’s not even counting collaborative albums with Waylon or Merle… Continue reading First Rose of Spring Blooms for Willie

Mike Mattison’s Solo Afterglow

Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Mike Mattison (Scrapomatic, the Derek Trucks Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band) goes solo on Afterglow, out March 20 on Landslide Records. The 10-song collection offers more musical variety than the blues-heavy (and equally awesome) 2014 album You Can’t Fight Love. Quite a few of the rootsy, throwback sounds now considered part of Americana are represented here.… Continue reading Mike Mattison’s Solo Afterglow

A Sad, Fond Farewell to Evan Lee Frayer

Atlanta musician Evan Lee Frayer, who for many years served as Daniel Dudeck’s original percussive partner in Mudcat, died on Saturday, Feb. 29 of heart failure. The 52-year-old had an existing heart condition that was diagnosed a dozen or so years ago, according to his friend, musician David Evans, himself a first edition Mudcat member.… Continue reading A Sad, Fond Farewell to Evan Lee Frayer

Chrome Castle Drop the Mics

Chrome Castle take the groovy sounds of ‘60s garage stomp, ‘80s college rock, cosmic country and gently shimmering psychedelia and strip out the vocal cords, rendering instrumental concoctions that are expressive in their simple ways, ultimately leaving the meaning up to the listener. The Atlanta quartet’s self-titled debut album on Midnight Cruiser Records offers a… Continue reading Chrome Castle Drop the Mics

New Arbor Labor Union, For Instants

Arbor Labor Union coughed up a couple of (quite good) digital releases in the interim since their Sub Pop stab I Hear You sorta sputtered out of the gate and inexplicably caught few ears in the spring of 2016. Now back on Alyssa DeHayes’ Arrowhawk Records, which introduced us to them back when they were… Continue reading New Arbor Labor Union, For Instants

Futurebirds Emphasize Teamwork

Athens band Futurebirds juggle being exceptional at performing psychedelic rock, alt-country and Southern rock on their latest album Teamwork, out Jan. 15. When it comes to column A, the jubilant “Dream, Fam!” blows away the forced weirdness of any cassette tape fetishist goofs. The group also slows things down a tad for the oddball soundscape “Waiting… Continue reading Futurebirds Emphasize Teamwork

Your Handy Guide for a Cool Yule

Each year brings another handful of Christmas albums and singles. I even know people that collect ’em. Seems like nearly every musical act has to at least record a Christmas song at some point in their existence, if not an entire album. As with anything, some are better than others. Here are a few newbies… Continue reading Your Handy Guide for a Cool Yule

Kristian, Brandon Bush Sail Into Dark Water

Sugarland-related news continues rolling in well after the album cycle for 2018’s Bigger reached its conclusion. Jennifer Nettles grabbed recent headlines with her fashion-forward protest statement on the CMA Awards’ red carpet (not to mention her stellar performance alongside fellow Georgia-raised talent Walton Goggins on The Righteous Gemstones). Kristian Bush keeps busy, as well, with such side projects… Continue reading Kristian, Brandon Bush Sail Into Dark Water

The Good Graces Embrace Greatness

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Kim Ware turns memories into memorable songs with The Good Graces, as heard on new album Prose and Consciousness. The tracks blend string-bending, soul-stirring indie-folk with the unabashed honesty treasured by fans of country music and Americana. For instance, “Crickets” explains the frustration of butting heads with a friend to the point… Continue reading The Good Graces Embrace Greatness

Lillie Mae – Other Girls

Expectations soared for Lillie Mae’s second Third Man Records full-length, Other Girls, after the single “You’ve Got Other Girls for That” captured the former Jack White bandmate exploring new sonic territory while tearing down a manipulative former lover. After the album arrived on Aug. 16, other songs made with Nashville’s go-to producer Dave Cobb provided even… Continue reading Lillie Mae – Other Girls

Boo Ray – Tennessee Alabama Fireworks

One of the better new albums in way too few listening rotations comes from Boo Ray, a modern traveling troubadour with deep Southern roots. His latest offering, Tennessee Alabama Fireworks, gets its name from a ragged old sign found where I-24W veers near the state line between Alabama (Heaven if the Lord was there, according… Continue reading Boo Ray – Tennessee Alabama Fireworks

Mike Killeen Busts Out His Ghost

If this whole singer-songwriter thing doesn’t work out for Mike Killeen, he should totally upend his whole image, grow a diabolical-looking beard, smother his entire body with tattoos, go full metal jackass, become a screamer-shredder and start a band called Killeen Machine. Then he could get original Dio drummer Vinny Appice to produce an album… Continue reading Mike Killeen Busts Out His Ghost

Willie Nelson, Force of Nature

Still chugging away at age 86, Willie Nelson keeps touring and toking and cranking out albums like a 25-year-old. The difference being, most of Willie’s recent albums are really damned good. His latest, Ride Me Back Home, will hit retailers on June 21. Produced by longtime friend and collaborator Buddy Cannon, who co-wrote three new… Continue reading Willie Nelson, Force of Nature

Buddy & Julie Miller Return After Ten Years

On June 21st, New West Records will release Breakdown on 20th Ave. South, the first collaborative album from husband and wife Buddy and Julie Miller since 2009. The distance between albums was not planned. After releasing Written in Chalk in 2009, Julie was sidelined with health issues, while Buddy found himself increasingly in demand as… Continue reading Buddy & Julie Miller Return After Ten Years

Eric Brace/Peter Cooper/Thomm Jutz – Riverland

A gorgeous sight, the site of historic battles and the muse of William Faulkner. All three define the history of the mighty Mississippi River for authors, songwriters and others drawn to a picturesque region inhabited by the rural survivors and quirky characters at the heart of so many classic novels and memorable songs. The latest… Continue reading Eric Brace/Peter Cooper/Thomm Jutz – Riverland

Trent Rice Scribbles More Than Prescriptions

Atlanta-based singer-songwriter Trent Rice doesn’t need to write deep, enigmatic songs to prove he’s brilliant. After all, the guy’s a veteran obstetrician/gynecologist. Yet fortunately for us, he scribbles more than prescriptions based on his observations and expertise. Despite its title, Rice’s new album Thoughts Adventures Country Songs doesn’t explore the commercialization of Southern and Western folkways. Instead,… Continue reading Trent Rice Scribbles More Than Prescriptions

Dwayne Shivers in the Southern Breeze

On Atlanta-based Americana act Dwayne Shivers’ new album Buffered & Blest (out since March 1), folk instrumentation leaves plenty of breathing space for songwriter Micah Dalton to sprinkle in a lot more psychedelia and a little bit of soul. Lead single “My Egypt is in My Mind” falls somewhere in between an otherworldly indie rock… Continue reading Dwayne Shivers in the Southern Breeze