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Category Archive for 'Folk'

“Here, Giddens expands upon the neo-string band of the Carolina Chocolate Drops by crafting an abbreviated and fluid history of 20th century roots music — along with the older forms that informed it — concentrating on songs either written or popularized by female musicians. As a torchbearer, not a revivalist, Giddins isn’t concerned with replicating […]

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Jayme Stone: Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project

“With stellar collaborators including Margaret Glaspy, Tim O’Brien and his sister Mollie, and Bruce Molsky, Stone revisits the people and places that (Alan) Lomax and his field recorder encountered, from Kentucky to Scotland to the Dutch Antilles, from Lead Belly to Robert Graves to Growling Tiger. They emerge with treatments that variously incorporate modern stringband […]

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“The New Basement Tapes recorded Lost on the River in a real studio fully aware there was an audience awaiting their output, an attitude that’s the polar opposite of the ramshackle joshing around of the original Basement Tapes. Thankfully, nobody involved with Lost on the River contrives to replicate either the sound or feel of […]

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“Terraplane is the most relaxed and least fussed-over album Earle has made in quite some time, and frankly, he sounds like he’s having a ball on these sessions; with rare exceptions, this isn’t music that ponders the dark night of the soul, but semi-acoustic roadhouse boogie that rocks with a steady roll and gives Earle […]

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James McMurtry: Complicated Game

“The difference between the guy who made 1989’s Too Long in the Wasteland and the man who cut Complicated Game is the more mature McMurtry has figured out how to deliver the fine songs he writes and get their qualities on tape, and Complicated Game confirms he’s not only remembered this valuable lesson, he’s finding […]

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Bob Dylan: Shadows in the Night

“Shadows in the Night finds the songwriter whose work marks the divide where artists were expected to pen their own material finding sustenance in the Great American Songbook, with every one of its songs recorded at some point by Frank Sinatra. Its songs are old and Shadows in the Night is appropriately a defiantly old-fashioned […]

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Kris Delmhorst: Blood Test

“American folk music veteran Kris Delmhorst is no stranger to the music business. She has, in fact, been around for almost 20 years, having released her debut album, Appetite, as far back as 1998. After spending that long in the game you’re bound to want to mix it up a little and, seeing as Blood […]

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“He (Rice) whittles away the excess in his words and melody, then dresses the detailed sculpture in finely tailored accouterments of slightly sighing strings, strummed guitars, and a hint of forward momentum lying within buried rhythms. This means My Favourite Faded Fantasy may come on as a bit underwhelming at first but that’s the intent: […]

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Hozier: Hozier

“The album’s best tracks, like the warm, laid-back ‘Someone New’ and the grandiose shuffling of ‘From Eden’ are all front loaded in the first half, while side two feels a bit weighed down with a few too many slow, contemplative pieces. When you’re dealing with the kind of spells Hozier is casting, it’s always best […]

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“Old Crow Medicine Show is one of the preeminent forces in the roots and Americana music world, and it’s easy to see why….Remedy is not just full of happy songs, but of protest songs belted at top speed and on full blast. Old Crow is having fun and playing songs without a thought toward self-importance, […]

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Neil Young: A Letter Home

“‘What the hell?!?’ is an appropriate first response to Neil Young’s A Letter Home. Not for its content: Echoing Bob Dylan’s Self Portrait, Young covers 11 songs that mean a lot to him with tender, unfeigned affection. Less straightforward is how they’re presented. Young cut the mostly solo acoustic performances at Jack White’s lo-fi Voice-O-Graph […]

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“[L]et’s face it: In terms of pure expression, no singer in popular music can touch Williams when she’s calling from the lonely outskirts of Despairville. She sounds like it’s her permanent residence, that place down deep where the spirit meets the bone.” –NPR Check Our Catalog

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“Jesse Winchester[‘s] songs were covered by everyone from Elvis Costello to Emmylou Harris. Winchester died of cancer in April, but not before making this superb final album… taking us through a whole gamut of emotions on this proud climax to a great career.” –Boston Globe Check Our Catalog Listen Now

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“‘My mom and I making a record together is something we have talked about doing for a very long time,’ Harper tells Rolling Stone. ‘I guess you could say a lifetime….It’s produced like early Elvis. Not one thing is plugged in. It’s all acoustic. I think they’re going to call it Americana, but it’s soul, California, […]

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Del Barber: Prairieography

“Del Barber’s new album is replete with references to the terrain of Canada’s middle expanse, where he was born and with which he clearly feels an indelible connection. Prarieography is a series of stories that typically concern the restless, the ramblers, the discontented, the down-and-out.” –The Boston Globe Check Our Catalog

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“Intuitive cooperation is what makes Nickel Creek so special. It’s in the way Thile’s mandolin runs launch or follow Watkins’ fiddle parts in instrumentals like ‘Elsie,’ and in the band’s harmonies, which breathe in sync the way family harmonies so often do. It’s remarkable, showing how three distinct voices can come together in the service […]

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“Forty-four years is a long time between albums, but for singer/songwriter Linda Perhacs it has been exactly that… [T]his set picks up where her hallucinatory classic left off….It’s spacy yet bright and fluid. The Soul of All Natural Things… is unmistakably an extension of the sonic, spiritual continuum Perhacs began — and probably thought she […]

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Noah Gunderson: Ledges

“Born into a musical but very religious family, Noah Gundersen didn’t hear many secular songs as a child, perhaps explaining the subtle and hushed gospel intensity and sincerity he brings to his songs….This is a low-key, autumnal-sounding album that impresses with its unhurried pace and thoughtful, muted sincerity. The songs sound sad but each carries […]

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“Nearly eight years after Rosanne Cash last released a set of original songs, 2014’s The River & the Thread finds her in a reflective mood….[S]he’s learned to make every word and every note count, and this album confirms once again that she’s matured into a singular artist with the talent and the vision to make […]

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Bill Frisell: Big Sur

“Bill Frisell’s Big Sur… collects 19 individual pieces in a suite commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival. He spent ten days in retreat at Big Sur’s Glen Deven Ranch, where he composed most of it….On Big Sur, Frisell delivers an inspired musical portrayal of the land, sky, sea, and wildlife of the region with majesty, […]

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