Gospel Drama The Favorite Son Films for BET

Gospel singers Jonathan McReynolds (pictured) and Anthony Evans are appropriately cast in the upcoming BET movie The Favorite Son, based on author Tiffany L. Warren’s book of the same name about two brothers that form an original gospel vocal group, and the troubles and temptations that arise with their resulting success and fame. R&B singer… Continue reading Gospel Drama The Favorite Son Films for BET

Non-Offensive Folk Music “B-Sides” Boxed

It’s a given that Folkways Records’ six-album compilation Anthology of American Folk Music, compiled from the vast collection of eccentric boho Harry Smith in 1952, provided a blueprint for the similar folk, blues, gospel and country music archival collections released in recent years by Atlanta-based label Dust-to-Digital. So it’s rather appropriate that the award-winning company,… Continue reading Non-Offensive Folk Music “B-Sides” Boxed

Little Richard, Giant of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dead at 87

Little Richard’s impact on rock ‘n’ roll music cannot be overstated. This is not to downplay or diminish the significant contributions of any of the other founding fathers of the musical form. But no one else so fully embodied the far-flung jumble of primitivism, absurdity, unruliness, flamboyance, sensitivity and gall that is at the heart… Continue reading Little Richard, Giant of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dead at 87

CeeLo, Dan Auerbach Team Up for Soulful New Album

In its germinating stages, CeeLo Green’s forthcoming album wasn’t originally planned as an album. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys – clearly on an ongoing campaign to wrestle the title of All-Purpose Cross-Genre Can-Do-No-Wrong Impresario of Nashville away from Jack White or Dave Cobb, depending on which one’s wearing the crown at the present moment… Continue reading CeeLo, Dan Auerbach Team Up for Soulful New Album

John Driskell Hopkins Offers His Finest Gifts

When he’s not performing with country music Twitter’s recent whipping boys The Zac Brown Band, John Driskell Hopkins gives back to Georgia music with projects like his third Christmas album, the R&B-inspired Our Finest Gifts. Hopkins cut his new album with cover song connoisseurs the ATL Collective and a handful of special guests, including Trombone Shorty… Continue reading John Driskell Hopkins Offers His Finest Gifts

Sequoyah Murray Begins the Begin

New Thrill Jockey recording artist Sequoyah Murray is a musical weirdo in the best possible way, earning the multi-instrumentalist comparisons to Arthur Russell and a chance to work with avant-electronic producer James Ginzburg (Emptyset). For a potent taste of his immense imagination and musical masterworks, check out debut album Before You Begin, out Sept. 13. Standout… Continue reading Sequoyah Murray Begins the Begin

Gregg Allman’s First Solo Forays Re-Released

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Gregg Allman’s 1973 solo album Laid Back followed some extreme ups and downs. Earlier that same year, the Allman Brothers Band’s fourth album Brothers and Sisters forecast the future for Southern rockers and jam band enthusiasts. During the same time period, Allman grieved the 1971 death of his brother and band mate Duane and the 1972 passing of bassist… Continue reading Gregg Allman’s First Solo Forays Re-Released

Mavis Staples Gets By with a Little Help from Ben Harper

A month after she headlines this year’s Amplify Decatur concert on April 13, legendary R&B/gospel belter Mavis Staples will have her 12th studio album released by Anti- Records. Since signing with Anti- in 2007, Staples has worked with Jeff Tweedy (who’s also playing Amplify Decatur) on three albums, Ry Cooder on one and M. Ward… Continue reading Mavis Staples Gets By with a Little Help from Ben Harper

Luther Dickinson Hooks Up with Weird Sisters

The North Mississippi Allstars’ Luther Dickinson flexes his creative muscles as a producer and guitarist while celebrating a broad range of roots music styles on Solstice, featuring a revolving cast of collaborators billed as Sisters of the Strawberry Moon. Guest vocalists on the album, out March 22 via New West Records, come from different genres… Continue reading Luther Dickinson Hooks Up with Weird Sisters

Liz Brasher – Painted Image

I first became aware of Memphis-via-Atlanta singer and musician Liz Brasher back when she’d share her gospel, soul and folk discoveries in a certain vinyl collector’s Facebook group. Her passion as a crate-digger, excited to find cultural touchstones and hidden gems at record stores and used book shops, proves as vital as her God-given musical… Continue reading Liz Brasher – Painted Image

Mudcat – Castaway

Capping a year marked by noteworthy ambition and dispiriting, if necessary, transitions, the day after their full-cast release performance of this album at the since-shuttered Avondale Towne Cinema on December 1st Danny Dudeck announced that “thus ends the Mudcat band,” further clarifying in a comment that he’s “going acoustic.” If that surprise disclosure holds true,… Continue reading Mudcat – Castaway

The War and Treaty

Where the Loving Is At: The War and Treaty Speak to the Soul If you were moved by Mavis Staples’ masterful performance at this year’s CMA Awards, check out The War and Treaty. The duo of Michael Jr. and Tanya Trotter pay homage to Staples, Aretha Franklin, and other singers with church-grown soul; preserving classic… Continue reading The War and Treaty

Amy Ray: Here’s Hollerin’ at Ya

It’s easy to assume that a lot of folks up North believe negative Southern stereotypes – even if they live in a place like, say, the heavily rural state of Ohio. Amy Ray, a self-professed “radical left-wing dyke,” ain’t playing that somehow-okay-in-a-PC-world game of South shaming. Instead, she prefers the “love thy neighbor as thyself”… Continue reading Amy Ray: Here’s Hollerin’ at Ya

Candi Staton Has the Power

Gospel, soul and disco legend Candi Staton’s latest album Unstoppable, out since Aug. 24 via Beracah/Thirty Tigers, offers fans of her versions of “Stand By Your Man,” “Suspicious Minds” and other standards a chance to hear the Atlanta-based singer’s takes on Patti Smith and Nick Lowe. It’s an indie dude working with a veteran singer… Continue reading Candi Staton Has the Power

Spiritualized Brings it Down to Earth

The late Amy Winehouse once opined, with startling accuracy, that every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen, and there’s no one better acquainted with that concept than Spiritualized’s electric mainline, Jason Pierce. Better known as J. Spaceman, Pierce has survived a universe of hurt, and there’s no better home for a man… Continue reading Spiritualized Brings it Down to Earth

Dusty Booze and the Baby Haters Get Scummy

On Dusty Booze and the Baby Haters’ new album Late Night Scum Bag Revival, the Atlanta-based band sounds best when they’re a faux-gospel group gone bad, backing a crazed evangelist for ol’ Beelzebubba himself. Standout tracks “Saved” and “Mama Prayed For Me” are send-ups of Biblical proportions. Imagine Blues Brothers 2000, if those guys went to bat for… Continue reading Dusty Booze and the Baby Haters Get Scummy

Theotis Taylor Recordings Seasoned and Served

South Georgia resident Theotis Taylor may just become the oldest person with a debut full-length upon the June 29th release of Something Within Me by Fat Possum subsidiary Big Legal Mess. The 90-something year-old preacher, turpentine farmer and gospel musician from Fitzgerald, Georgia first recorded the vocal and piano parts back in 1979. The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a Southern-based… Continue reading Theotis Taylor Recordings Seasoned and Served

Jack White in Our Faces Again

Supposed creative genius Jack White has announced the release of his next solo album, Boarding House Reach, for Friday, March 23 via Third Man/Columbia Records. This marks the third full-length solo record and the first new studio album for the 12-time Grammy Award-winner and megalomaniac in nearly four years. Has it really been that long?… Continue reading Jack White in Our Faces Again

Remembering the White Knight of Soul

Whether you’ve heard his legendary take on 1960s soul music or even recognize his name, you’ve likely seen a photograph of Wayne Cochran. Images of his massive blonde pompadour and flashy fashion sense elicit chuckles by some online, dating back to those pre-meme lists of funny-looking album covers and press shots. Others’ minds are blown by such… Continue reading Remembering the White Knight of Soul

Reba McEntire – Sing It Now

Like a compelling football game featuring her home state Oklahoma Sooners, Reba McEntire’s foray into gospel music on recent album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope is a tale of two drastically different halves. Whether the Sooners blow a big lead or mount an historic comeback depends on the listener’s preferences when it… Continue reading Reba McEntire – Sing It Now

Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway

Vocalist and award-winning banjo picker Rhiannon Giddens has long shown an appreciation for African-American roots music, dating back to her time with Grammy-winning old-time string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Her newest solo offering, Freedom Highway (out Feb. 24), follows suit by focusing on the songs, sorrows, and spiritual victories of slaves. Opening track “At… Continue reading Rhiannon Giddens – Freedom Highway

Wanda Jackson

Everybody’s Rockin’! Bobby Moore is Kinda Fonda Wanda. Wanda Jackson, That Is. Wanda Jackson unquestionably ranks among the true pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll. The “sweet lady with the nasty voice” stood tall alongside Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, ex-boyfriend Elvis Presley, and numerous others in a male-dominated field, energizing and radicalizing the soundtrack to… Continue reading Wanda Jackson

Valerie June Ponders The Order of Time

After causing a commotion with her breakout 2013 album Pushin’ Against a Stone, Valerie June’s highly anticipated follow-up album The Order of Time is set for release on January 27th. Produced by Matt Marinelli, who’s worked with Beck and the Bad Brains, the album includes twelve original songs written by June. Norah Jones (with whom… Continue reading Valerie June Ponders The Order of Time

Jason D. Williams

Unwashed Genes: Jason D. Williams Has Some Killer Instincts of His Own Though his in-the-grand-tradition bio sheet asserts that Jason D. Williams first played a piano at age three, when I ask him about it, he concedes that his serious interest in the keyboard commenced around his ninth year. “I started taking piano lessons from… Continue reading Jason D. Williams

Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires

2 Loud 4 Texas (But Not the Rest of Us!): Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires Stoke the Embers On a Thursday evening in mid-September, I was unreservedly party/show-hopping during a visit to Athens. You can regularly do that sort of thing on a Thursday in Athens, because usually there’s little else to do… Continue reading Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires

Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light

Jason Pierce is on a roll. Recovered from a serious illness, and having toured a walk-through of career-defining album Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space, you’d be forgiven for thinking the onetime Jason Spaceman was primed to coast on the laurels of a 25-year career. Instead he’s rattled off the most exciting Spiritualized… Continue reading Spiritualized – Sweet Heart Sweet Light