Content tagged as the band.
Tribute albums are, almost by definition, uneven. Some artists will be up to the challenge, others won't quite get inside the song.
This one however has a higher score card than most, largely because of the calibre of those on hand -- and of course the quality of the songs.
So here are appropriately enough are Guster and Gomez (both...
In the days after Hurricane Katrina it was believed that this great New Orleans r'n'b singer had been washed away.
Fortunately he had been rescued although his home, like much of that wonderful city, had suffered extreme damage.
The interesting thing about the rumours of his death was the sudden recognition of his talent in the wider...
From what seems a most unlikely pairing -- the former Led Zepp frontman and the "new bluegrass" singer/fiddle player -- comes one of the best albums of the year: an often eerie folk-framed collection in which the duo engage the heart of songs by Townes Van Zandt (the other-world sound of Nothing), Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan...
If anyone has won the right to sings songs of life on hard scrabble farms it is Levon Helm, the former drummer/singer/mandolin player in the Band who grew up on a cotton farm near a town called Turkey Scratch in Arkansas.
His group -- called for a time Levon and the Hawks -- backed Ronnie Hawkins, linked up with Bob Dylan and became simply...
Although perhaps too referencing of Dylan and the Band holed up in the basement of the Big Pink, that doesn't mean this shakily delivered collection of Americana from these three brothers and a bassist isn't without considerable charm and lowkey impact.
And nope, there is no problem with your stereo during Hey Hey Revolver, that drop-out is...
If these young guys had been around 35 years ago and come out with this album they would have been pegged as yet another "new Dylan".
And even now that's a tag they would seem happy with: the opener has the refrain "world gone wrong" which was Dylan album title, and Dylan's slower delivery is everywhere in these...
Some people have (understandably) said to me they didn't quite get this immediately -- and to be honest nor did I.
Bluegrass isn't my thing: I find the vocals often nasal and whining, the scraping fiddle gets on my wick after a while, and the songs are either flat-tack upbeat or downright morose.
Which makes it a real surprise to me that I...
The Truckers inspire passionate loyalty for their Southern-framed country rock'n'roll and literate, sometimes provocative, lyrics.
They often make you want to crack the top off a beer and kick back, but the words touch some deep and dark places as well.
Here they open with a weary song about a guy at the gates of Heaven ("two...
For the record, I turned off the Band around the period they hit the cover of Time magazine in January 1970 - which is to say I never really got into them.
This is no brag that when they went commercial I bailed out, more like that guy who yelled “Judas” at Bob Dylan when he plugged in. Just a case of woeful stupidity....
There's an interesting local observation to be made about this four-CD box set of what is essentially low-rent, lo-fi American garageband rock.
But first, a little history.
Back in 1972 Lenny Kaye -- later guitarist in Patti Smith's band -- released the original double-vinyl compilation Nuggets.
In a garish psychedelic cover...
This influential alt.country/indie-rock band from Minneapolis has a long and slightly convoluted history: Mark Olson quit in '95 after a decade, but has latterly rejoined co-founder Gary Louris who had carried the band name into their slightly-delic pop-rock albums Sound of Lies and Smile, and the country-rock default position on Rainy...
For a while in the late Eighties/early Nineties alt.country was an exciting but difficult music to follow: no sooner had you tuned in to Uncle Tupelo than they split (Jay Farrar to found Son Volt, Jeff Tweedy and the rest to form Wilco); then Jay Bennett was out of Wilco and into a solo career (his death a few months ago was a bitter coda to...
Richmond Fontaine come with big advance notices: the indie Americana band from
Portland broke big with their rowdy Post to Wire album two years ago, which drew
favourable comparisons with the Replacements, but for their follow-up, The
Fitzgerald, they have turned the volume way down.
Written by guitarist
Willy Vlautin while living at...
This exceptional, and exceptionally consistent, group out of Portland with songwriter and novelist Willy Vlautin at its core has appeared at Elsewhere previously. Way back in 2005 with the penetrating album The Fitzgerald, and later for Vlautin's stark novel The Motel Life which invites favourable comparisons with writers such as Larry...
Some music is purely functional: music in airports; massage music, Kiwi backyard-bbq reggae etc.
This one by a US band I know nothing about is driving music -- annoying inner city stop-start or highway freedom -- and comes off in places like amphetamine-fuelled and wordy Dylan '65 (or more correctly, Butch Hancock when he was doing that...
The singer-songwriter behind this gorgeously tuneful, lyrically probing debut is Simone Felice of the terrific Felice Brothers, two times Best of Elsewhere artists (2007, 2008) for their amalgam of ragged-but-right country which owed huge debts to the early Band and country-styled Bob Dylan, but who put their own stamp on proceedings.
After calling it quits in 2002, frontman Chris Robinson going solo, then their resurrection with Warpaint last year (which brought in guitarist Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars), the Black Crowes rarely sounded so on top of their game.
And they followed Warpaint with a double punch Warpaint Live (the album played live and...
As on his earlier Leave The Light On, this grizzled singer-songwriter now in his mid 60s, covers a Bob Dylan song, this time It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry.
He also adds in Mark Knopfler's Madame Geneva's and that's a more useful reference, because Knopfler explores roots music -- but Smither lives it. His low grumble isn't...
This sextet from the Pacific North West hasn’t made much of an impact here, despite three albums which have drawn critical comparisons with Neil Young (in his acoustic and rock personae), Fleet Foxes and Wilco (both of whom they have opened for), folky Dylan and even Rubber Soul-era Beatles (albeit with a country-rock skew).
Jim Ford: The Unissued Capitol Album. Big Mouth USA; The Unissued Paramount Album (both Bear Family)
As Nick Lowe recently observed, he's supposed to be an expert on American music but there are still any number of artists and albums being unearthed and brought into the light again.
Ford might not exactly be in that category -- he was a major influence on Lowe and his stuff has been floating around among cognoscenti for a couple of years --...
There have been any number of Southern blues, soul and rock'n'roll musicians whose souls have struggled with their pull of their secular and spiritual sides: Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Son House, Al Green . . . and the great guitarist Roy Buchanan.
Arkansas-born Buchanan -- who died in an apparent jail-cell suicide in 1988 at age 48,...
In December 1965 Bob Dylan -- with his "protest singer" days behind him, an electric guitar now his weapon of choice, the as-yet unnamed Band as his group and with Like a Rolling Stone redefining the parameters of pop and rock -- sat down for an hour-long, televised press conference in San Francisco.
Dylan would never do...
There’s no shortage of Bob Dylan tribute albums but this is certainly different: pianist-singer Sidran takes his lowkey, jazzy speak-sing style to Dylan songs in the company of a small band and guests (among them Georgie Fame).
It doesn’t always work: he strips the menace and meaning out of Everything is Broken, Highway 61...
This trio (and guests) is fronted by North Carolina brothers Scott and Seth Avett who recorded five albums before this major label debut on Rick Rubin’s American label.
Rubin -- producer of the Beastie Boys, recent Johnny Cash albums and now the Avetts -- was taken by this band’s honest emotions whose music is framed by acoustic...
For my money John Hiatt never sounds better than when he gets a rocking band behind and sounds a little venomous or angry. The back-porch Hiatt never much appealed to me -- so this, his 19th album, suits me just fine.
With his tight little touring band and at age 57, he (mostly) writes about hitting the highway and some of the songs seem...
It's instructive but perhaps unfair to
put this album from the former member of Drive By Truckers alongside
their most recent album, The Big To-Do: after a flawed solo
debut Sirens of the Ditch in 07 Isbell here sounds in command
again, whereas the Truckers album is pretty ropey in places.
Here Isbell and his band (on an album
widely regarded one of the great rock bands Wilco -- the vehicle for
singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy -- had its origins in the
Illinois-based band Uncle Tupelo which drew from post-punk rock and
alt.country music equally.
school friends Tweedy and Jay Farrar steered Uncle Tupelo from the
late 80s up to the acrimonious...
Originally out of Seattle, Band of Horses have had one of those constantly evolving line-ups that makes for a confusing family tree: three-quarters of those on the first album quit before the second album leaving founder Brad Bridwell to not only rebuild the band but relocate to South Carolina where he came from; others made guest appearances...
Where the last and quite terrific Band of Horses album Cease to Begin opened with the strained alt.rock of Is There a Ghost, this new one -- again after some line-up changes around sole founder member Ben Bridwell -- stretches to life with a string-coloured melancholy alt.country ballad Factory.
It -- like Is There a Ghost -- is an immediate...
From the rollicking singalong which opens the new Mermaid Avenue album by Billy Bragg, you know something is different. There’s Bragg and the American band Wilco in a swaggering tale of looking for booze and, to put it delicately, female companionship.
From there on it’s a strange trip with Bragg and the band: an old man’s...
The last album by this band -- the vehicle for Matthew Houck -- was their tribute to Willie Nelson, but this time out it is all original material and the energy levels are kicked up, notably on the Band/Black Crowes/E Street opener It's Hard to be Humble (When You're From Alabama).
Rolling steel guitars and a country-rock mood propel Nothing...
More so than their previous releases, this band from the Pacific Northwest seem to ladle in dollops of trippy glam-adelica in the opening overs of this thoroughly enjoyable outing. It's as if a thinking person's band from the late Sixties or mid Seventies has beamed down into the post-grunge pop world (or vice-versa) of Portland and whatever the...
Leon Russell is like the Kevin Bacon of rock: there are six degrees of separation between him and anyone else. Actually, that's not true. There are about three.
Leon to the Beatles? Well he was at Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh so that takes care of that one . . . and opens enormous doors to others.
And Leon to Dylan? Same gig, more...
From the understated openers with their gentle backbeat, soft organ and steel guitar, LeBlanc -- barely 21, out of Louisiana -- announces himself as part of a long lineage which stretches back to the country-soul out of Muscle Shoals studio (where his dad was a session musician) and the country-rock of the early Band, but which also...
Two decades ago when the Black Crowes
launched their career with the swaggering Shake Your Money Maker
they came off as a version of Rod Stewart and the Faces with a little
of the Allman Brothers thrown in: theirs was party-style
rhythm'n'booze played out in front of a marijuana leaf banner.
But more recently – with vocalist
Eitzel was the former frontman for the very wonderful but poorly named American Music Club (probably still is, I think they have reformed) but this solo album dates from a retreat to a cabin (around Klamath Falls in central Oregon I guess) a year or so ago.
As befits it origins this is very intimate music -- although far from the...
At 66, Bob Dylan has been through many musical changes in the course of his career, from fresh-faced young folkie to senior statesman of his generation. He's been folk, what we now call alt.folk, folk rock, psychedelic rock, rock’n’roll, country, alt.country, troubadour, country and western . . .
And he made movies, changed hats...
In late '74 Joan Baez went into a studio with hot session musicians and jazz players (Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Wilton Felder), and she had been hanging around with her new friend Hampton Hawes.
So jazz -- and Joni Mitchell -- was in the air, and Baez responded by delivering the album Diamonds and Rust which was a...
Their name might not inspire much confidence -- the sort of band name 12-year olds think up -- but this rootsy, alt.country and indie-rock outfit from Seattle on a SubPop imprint label have a mainline connection to the same core of music (Neil Young, the Band) as informs the Felice Brothers, early Wilco and Richmond Fontaine.
Hilarious. If there's another Austin Power movie and our spy gets dropped into the early Seventies in California -- the time of all those self-centred, earnest singer-songwriters in the Canyon -- then the formerly interesting The Duke and The King already have a few songs here which sound like pitch-perfect parodies of the style.
When Bob Dylan's 10th album -- the double vinyl Self Portrait -- was released in 1970 it was received with bewlidered or damning reviews, the most notable being Greil Marcus in Rolling Stone who began his abrasive review with "What is this shit?"
Fair call perhaps, because this mish-mash of odd covers (a ragged treatment of Paul...
Careers rise and fall all the time in popular culture, but few with the perfect arc of Leon Russell's.
In the mid Sixties he was an anonymous session pianist playing on albums by Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Herb Alpert and Gary Lewis and the Playboys, five years later he had two Beatles (George Harrison, Ringo), three Stones (Mick, Bill...
The name might not be familiar but from
the first bar the voice certainly is. It belongs to that rusty
balladeer in Gomez who here steps out with a classy, soulful solo
debut of originals co-written with Sam Genders of the rather bent UK
alt.folk outfit Tuung who have barely raised a ripple in this
With a sound as distinctive...
In his recent collection of essays
Listen to This, the New Yorker music critic Alex Ross
has an interesting and provocative piece on Bob Dylan. It opens,
“America is no country for old men. Pop culture is a pedophile's
delight” then he ask what – in this world of manufactured teen
pop – we are to do with “a...
Although things would come to a literal grinding halt in mid '66 when he was tumbled from his motorcycle -- and he used the break to recover from emotional exhaustion after his lightspeed career of the previous four years -- in '65 Bob Dylan was still enjoying his position as the man who was taking folk and smart words into rock.
Joan Baez has never had her rediscovery by a
new generation, but this reissue of her excellent folk-rock album of ' 92 –
with an extra disc of demos including Dylan's early Seven Curses
which only appeared on his recent Witmark Demos 1962-64
– is a smart starting place as it found her back in Nashville after a 20 year absence and...
While it's interesting to read in a promo slip that this new album by the so-far fascinating Felice Brothers "casts scenes of dreamy characters and stories interwoven like a block of primetime TV", this is promo-hype.
It presumes you will actually be engaged enough to listen with unswerving intensity through the sonic haze of...
As it was happening, Bob Dylan's Eighties seemed somewhat of a wasteland only sparsely populated by songs which had any great resonance. And many which did -- Brownsville Girl co-written with playwright Sam Shepard for example, on the largely awful Knocked Out Loaded in '86 -- weren't sympathetically produced.
Certainly songs like Jokerman...
Despite doing well on the charts, the last album by the Truckers -- The Big To-Do -- was a disappointment: perhaps the knocked-off-quickly feel worked against it, you wouldn't attribute it directly to the loss of one of their songwriters Jason Isbell to a solo career (although many felt that).
Its occasional rowdiness had undoubted appeal,...
The captivatingly named rock troubadour
Vile from Philadelphia offers a kind of alt.folk-cum-indie rock skew
which refers to Cohen as much as Cobain.
But he also has an ear
for a mainstream rock melody (Puppet the the Man here with AOR
guitars behind his echoed alt.rock vocals) and recently said his
current listening includes the Stones'...
Not many people know about Texan Mickey
Newbury, who died almost a decade ago, age 62. Maybe it's enough
Elvis (who made Newbury's medley An American Trilogy a
cornerstone of his latter performances) did. And that Mickey's songs
were covered by Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Joan Baez and dozens of
Often spoken of...
While many of us would wish Neil Young release the next long-awaited installement of his Archives series (ho ho ho, like that'll happen any time soon), in his wilful and non-chronological release schedule it was almost expected a follow-up to the terrific and raw Le Noise would be . . . a country music album.
But even so, A Treasure is a...
While flicking the pages of a rock magazine the other day I came on an interview with a young musician who cited among his current favourite listening Bob Dylan's Planet Waves.
When that album was released it was met with polite but hardly laudatory reviews, and even the enormously successful and highly profitable tour with the Band...
Split between the UK and USA, seven
studio albums into their career and with songwriters Ian Ball and Ben
Ottewell having released solo albums (rusty voiced Ottewell's being
the excellent alt.folk Shapes and Shadows) hardly seems to
have damaged Gomez, who started on a career high when they won
the '98 Mercury Prize for their Bring It On...
Those who have missed the career of Drive-By Truckers out of Athens, Georgia are advised to just dive in at their Southern Rock Opera of a decade ago (which gets four of the 16 tracks on this chronological collection), The Dirty South (three tracks here) and/or Brighter Than Creation's Dark (two).
Grounded in Southern rock (Lynyrd Skynyrd)...
The guitarist G. E. Smith must have great stories to tell. For a little over two years in the late 80s he was, for want a better description, Bob Dylan's band leader.During those difficult years when Dylan was emotionally adrift, Smith would audition players and introduce them to a repertoire of well over 100 songs, and replace members as some...
Artists who make lurching changes of direction often revert to prior form after a while: Certainly after U2's darker trilogy -- Achtung Baby, Zooropa and Pop -- they went back to their familiar stadium-shaped mainstream ballads, and Radiohead's most recent output has been more accessible than the unsettling Ok Computer and Kid A.
Still sounding like they were
breast-fed equal parts Grateful Dead, early Neil Young, White
Album-era Beatles and Elton John's country-flavoured Tumbleweed
Connection-gone-grunge, Blitzen Trapper -- an always interesting outfit from
Portland -- constantly defy expectation but shift easily from songs
about drinkin' whisky in a car to...
Those with a passing interest in Ryan Adams' highly productive career -- which most recently stretched to published books of poetry -- will be understandably bewildered that there is a new album, given he announced his retirement in '09 . . . and subsequently kept releasing albums from his not inconsiderable song vaults.
This solo album...
Just as you could argue that on his debut album Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix sketched out the map of sounds and styles he would explore in his short career, so you could make the case that on his first four albums Neil Young did much the same for his long career.
With the obvious exception of the electro-pop Trans, of course.
The trio Medeski, Martin & Wood have been one of the most innovative and consistently interesting jazz (and beyond) bands of the past decade or so.
But here upright bassist/singer from the band Chris Wood teams up with his singing/guitar playing brother Oliver (a dab hand on slide among other things) for an album of lowkey acoustic charm...
Dalton, who died in 93, was one of the leading lights in the New York folk scene in the early 60s and was much admired by Bob Dylan.
The track Katie's Been Gone on Dylan and the Band's Basement Tapes is allegedly about her, and Nick Cave's When I First Came To Town was inspired by her.
Cave, neo-folkie Devendra Banhart, Fred Neil and many...
Tags related to the band
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