Review: Beanfield Blues

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May 112012

terry lewsader beanfield bluesTerry Lewsader’s Beanfield Blues hits the sweet spot of country rock cross over.  On some songs you get a midnight rambler kind of rock and roll feel, other songs are slow sweet twangy heartbreakers. It’s interesting that the lead artist on the CD is Terry Lewsader, but lead vocal duties are carried by 4 or 5 different singers, most notably Lydia Salnikova and David Upton whose voice sounds like a ragged Kris Kristofferson. Highlights for me are “The Lesson,” “Sad Song,” and “Stop Breaking Down.”

Review: Mutt by Cory Branan

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May 102012

Cory Branan MuttThe thing that stands out on Cory Branan’s Bloodshot debut, Mutt, is the story-telling. Branan’s got an ear for real-world ballads, with all their contradictions, not-so-proud moments, and bittersweet ironies. The base sound here is a punk / southern rock vibe in the same vein as Paul Westerberg.

Review: Two At A Time by The Two Man Gentleman Band

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May 052012

When the CD starts out with “My Baby Tastes’ Like Pork Chops” you know your’ in for a ride. Sticking to a happy upbeat ragtime sound, The Two Man Gentleman Band write clever, modern lyrics that put you in a foot-tapping mood. Highlights for me are “Please Don’t Water It Down,” “Two Start Motel,” and “Cheese and Crackers.”

Two Man Gentleman Band web site.

Just Like Honey by Lisa Biales

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May 052012

lisa biales just like honeyLisa Biales’ release, Just Like Honey, highlights her stellar voice. She is in total control on every song, whether it’s a slow burning blues number, a ragtime jazz song, or a hair raising anthem. Her voice alone would command attention for this CD. But she also wrote three of the tracks as well. And every aspect of this CD makes you feel like this CD is a labor of fun.  Highlights for me are “Just Like Honey,” “Sugar,” and “Damn Your Eyes.”

Lisa Biales on iTunes

Lisa Biales web site

Locked Down by Dr. John

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May 032012

dr john locked downDr. John’s latest release, Locked Down, was produced by Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys  and it turned out just like you’d expect from such a collaboration: trippy, atmospheric, jazzy, urban, funky, garage, 70’s soundtrack kinda music. This CD could make anyone want to live on the streets of New Orleans. Highlights for me are “You Lie,” “Ice Age,” “Getaway,” and, best of all, the title track, “Locked Down.”

Dr. John on iTunes


Review: Respect The Van by The Brothers Comatose

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Apr 282012

Brothers ComatoseGuys love their cars and the Brothers Comatose love their van so much it has its own email address on the band site and they paid tribute to it in their latest Album, Respect The Van. The Brothers Comatose play high-energy, traditional sounding string band / roots music in the same vein as the Avette Brothers, and with the same modern sensibility. They aren’t playing for the 1860’s. They are playing for today. Songs about modern temptations and modern decadence. Highlights for me are “Feels Like The Devil,” “Modern Day Sinners,” and “Pie For Breakfast.”

Brothers Comatose on iTunes

Brothers Comatose web site


Review: Drop In On My Dreams by The Cornell Hurd Band

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Apr 222012

cornell hurd band drop in on my dreams coverThe Cornell Hurd Band’s latest release, Drop In On My Dreams, continues the feel good honky tonk, western swing, rockabilly they’re known for.  Fun to sing along with. Fun to dance to. Fun to cry into your beer to. Reminds me a lot of Raul Malo. Kind of a crooner. Highlights for me are “Jezebel Jones,” “Nightfall,” and “The Old Part of Town.” But there’s so many strong tracks on this CD it’s hard to pick.

Cornell Hurd Band on iTunes

Cornell Hurd Band web site

Review: You Gotta Roll by the Woody Pines

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Apr 222012

woody pines promoWoody Pine, with just four band mates, have managed to put out a short EP, You Gotta Roll, that covers Ragtime, Country, and Blues and make it all hang together. This Ep has a couple of traditional tunes, a Hank Williams cover, a Ledbelly cover, and a Doc Boggs cover. And it’s amazing that it all fits. Highlights for me are the swing tune, “Long Gone Lost John,” and the cover of Ledbelley’s “Ham and Eggs.”


Woody Pines on iTunes

Woody Pines Web Site

Apr 222012

On their latest release, Not The One, DL Marble and his band serve up good gritty slice of life americana. Their songs are full of characters that you’d like to have covering your back in a bar fight. Produced by Eric “Roscoe” Ambel  who also plays lead guitar. D.L. Marble name checks Hayes Carll on one of the tracks and I have to say that’s who he reminds me of.  Highlights for me are “Lucky Tonight,” “Two Lane Highway,” and “Maybe It’s Best.”

D.L. Marble on iTunes

D.L. Marble Web Site

Review: Boys and Girls by Alabama Shakes

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Apr 172012

alabama shakesI’m thinking the folks in Alabama Shakes must have done internships and odd jobs at every studio in Muscle Shoals because they know all the tricks, all the ins and outs, all the elements that make great southern soul music. And on Boys and Girls it all comes spilling out. Brittany Howard takes center stage on the CD with a voice that can be as strong as Candi Staton or as emotional as Etta James’. Her band mates Zac Cockrell, Steve Johnson, and Heath Fogg know to give Brittany plenty of room in the music. But like the great sudio musicians, they know just the right spots in the music to drop a guitar riff and just how to lay down a rhythm that pays off at the end of a song.  Highlights for me are “Hold On,” “You Ain’t Alone,” “Boys and Girls,” and “I Ain’t The Same.”

Does the most hyped up band of the past year, live up to their pre-billing? Maybe. No doubt they are a super strong band and as my friend Ann put it, “They’ll be great if they don’t flame out.” That works for me.

Alabama Shakes in iTunes

Alabama Shakes web site