FolkWorld #75 07/2021

CD Rezensionen

Short & Sweet

The Accidentals "Wildfire", "Might As Well Be Gold" (Video, 2021). "After tour came to a halt in March 2020, it took a while to settle into a new pace. We found ways to play virtual shows, and through livestreaming we met one of our musical heroes, Kim Richey. Together we co-wrote Wildfire about the newfound isolation we were facing. In some ways, Wildfire is a metaphor for consequence. We didn't see it coming. For over 6 years of constant touring and moving through life at breakneck speed, we had worried about "getting there" instead of being present in the journey, and in the quiet we realized the extent of what we'd lost. What we still had was 5 hard drives with 100+ hours of footage Charlie Steen and Jake Burgess captured while touring with us between 2015 - 2019. Looking back through the candid moments and memories with fresh eyes, we could see all the hugs, tears, laughter and connections that were a blur at the time. This video is a collection of that footage, set to a song that's hopeful about fertile regrowth in the future." See also Might As Well Be Gold (Ann Arbor Folk Festival)!

Adam and the Napiers "It'll All Be Prine In The End" (EP, Own label, 2020). Adam and the Napiers is a long distance lockdown project celebrating four songs of John Prine,[72] featuring Adam Ross (Randolph's Leap), Gillian Frame and Findlay & Lucy Napier. The "It'll All Be Prine In The End" EP is intended to make you smile while remembering John Prine and the wonderful legacy of songs that he's left behind.

The Alex Leach Band "I’m The Happiest When I’m Moving" (CD, Mountain Home, 2021). Hailing from the mountains of East Tennessee, Alex Leach has already been in the business for more than two decades, earning two “DJ of the Year” awards from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America by the time he was 15, and honing his skills as a guitarist and banjo player with Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys. "I’m the Happiest When I’m Moving" is bound to be a revelation that, for all his devotion to bluegrass tradition, The Alex Leach Band[73] is standing tall in a thoroughly modern musical world. Watch "Take the Long Way Home" [Official Video]!

German CD Review

Äl Jawala "Stronger" (Single, Jawa Records, 2021). Äl Jawala´s new song "Stronger" combines relaxed afrobeats, oriental synthesizers and the typical Jawala saxophones.[59] The lyrics are about missing a beloved person. On a second level, "Stronger" mirrors the feeling of a band missing their audience since March 2020...

Dexter Allen "Keep Moving On" (CD, Endless Blues Records, 2021). Born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi (home of Robert Johnson), Dexter Allen toured the world as lead guitarist for Bobby Rush. He has since stepped out into his own spotlight with soulful vocals and driving guitar inspired by influences like Buddy Guy and Clapton. His touring was put on hold, but you can’t keep a good bluesman down. Keep Moving On’s title song speaks of everyday struggles and triumphs everyone goes through, and gives hope that things are going to get better if you just keep moving on. Watch Dexter Allen @ Youtube!

The Reverend Shawn Amos "The Cause of it All" (CD, Put Together Music, 2021). “I want to bring the ancestors into the room,” says The Reverend Shawn Amos, likening himself to the griots of West Africa. With The Cause of it All, The Rev does exactly that. This stripped-down collection of blues classics (from icons like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter) speaks to our shared sense of vulnerability and isolation, but with the joyful, contagious swagger that has long borne bluesmen – and their listeners – through trouble, into the light. Watch "I'm Ready"!

Susan Anders "13 Women" (CD, Zanna Discs, 2021). Question: What do Helen Keller, Josephine Baker and Amelia Earhart have in common? And astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt, sculptor Edmonia Lewis, tattoo artist Maud Stevens Wallace, and war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Answer: All these extraordinary women from US history – “The world said no, so I made it say yes, yes, yes" – inspired songs on Nashville singer-songwriter Susan Anders’ album "13 Women". Check out this eclectic folk-pop-americana @ Susan Anders Music!

"Harmonics with Beth Behrs: Courtney Marie Andrews" (Podcast, 2021). The Bluegrass Situation's Our Americana mini-series on Harmonics with Beth Behrs concludes with an episode featuring singer-songwriter and poet Courtney Marie Andrews to discuss playing her first live show since the pandemic and her poetry book Old Monarch. Check out all Americana-steeped episodes – featuring Fiona Prine, Margo Price, Allison Russell, Mary Gauthier, and more – wherever you get podcasts!

Annamay "When This is Over" (Single, 2021). "When This is Over" is the second single from the upcoming album of Swedish songstress Anna-Maria Ejrup; a pop-rock infused song about the hope of a possible life after the struggles the artist had to endure during and after her Covid-19 infection.

Frankie Armstrong

Frankie Armstrong and friends "Cats of Coven Lawn" (CD, Fellside, 2021). A veteran on the English song scene, has sung professionally in the folk scene and the women’s’ and the peace movements since the 1960s. On her new album, she sings sixteen ballads – reflecting her life long dedication to political and women’s movement songs, and to traditional and contemporary folk songs. Recorded with a group of friends including Martin Simpson and Flowers Tannenbaum. Watch Frankie Armstrong ft. Bird in the Belly "Marcy's Guest House"!

The Atomic 44s "VOL.1" (CD, Bird Dog Records, 2021). The Atomic 44’s release “VOL.1” is the latest collaboration from two legendary musical powerhouses: Eric Von Herzen, harmonica man for Walter Trout, Junior Watson and The Atomic Road Kings,[69] and Johnny Main, vocalist and guitarist for The 44’s.[48] These two seasoned musical veterans came together to create new "all-original jet-fueled" roots music, paying homage to the traditional while keeping a clear focus on the future. Check out the opening track, "The Boogeyman", voted #1 in eight weeks on the Roadhouse Blues & Boogie Chart!

Jack Badcock "Penny Sweets" (Single, 2021). "Penny Sweets" is the latest single from Jack Badcock's Driftwood Project.[74] "Penny Sweets" takes it into a new direction, with acoustic guitar taking the lead bolstered by the enriching sound of a string quartet. Featuring Seonaid Aitken, Benedict Morris, Patsy Reid and Su-a Lee, as well as Hannah Rarity on backing vocals.

Rachel Baiman "Cycles" (CD, Signature Sounds Recordings, 2021). With her 2017 album Shame, Americana songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman emerged as a fearless voice of the American female experience. Her new full-length album Cycles is a collection of songs encompassing the many ways that we destroy and rebuild as people, as families, and the United States as a country. Watch "Jokes On Me"!

Balamuc "Yedi Kedi" (CD, Own label, 2021). Balamuc, roughly translating to "House of Insane" in Romanian, was formed in 2018 when Hungarian violinist-vocalist Agnes Banner and other members of the London Gypsy Orchestra decided to explore a new repertoire of Eastern European music. "Yedi Kedi," Turkish for ‘7 Cats’ referring to 7 band members as well as a reference to London’s OneCat studio, travels through Ukraine, Romania and Macedonia with popular folk songs and dances, ending up with a 15th century Albanian love song re-imagined with electronic organ and Jew’s harp. Check out the gypsy song “Zuki Zuki” and "Yedi Kedi" @ BandCamp!

Banjo Joe "I’m Just an Old Hobo" (Digital/Vinyl, River to River Community Records, 2021). "I’m Just an Old Hobo" is the debut solo EP from Joseph James McCamish, a.k.a. Banjo Joe, who is most widely known as the front man from the Southern Illinois string band, Whistle Pigs. The title track and “Sunday Best” are both original tunes performed in an old-time folk style using only voice and banjo. “The Provider” is a banjo instrumental with the accompaniment of a traditional percussion instrument, the rhythm bones. Watch "I Am Just an Old Hobo"!

Banter "Three" (CD, Mrs Casey Records, 2021). Nigel Schofield words this is “folk from a parallel reality”! Banter's third album sees the trio clinging to traditional lyrics but Nina Zella has arranged completely new tunes, drawing influences as diverse as jazz, blues, pop and funky laid back grooves mixed with elements of morris melodies. Watch "Unquiet Grave" featuring Phil Beer (Words: Trad., Music: Nina Zella)!

"Keeping The Light On: The Best of Gerry Beckley" (CD, Blue Elan, 2021). Gerry Beckley (of America fame) is excited to share the release of his first ever collection of solo hits as a deluxe double CD set that includes a 44-page booklet with photos taken during his tour travels over the last 50 years: "This record is from this point back, and the stuff I've recently been writing and recording will be from this point forward. This is certainly a summation, I guess, but it's not the end of the story. It's amazing to have 50 years in this job. Now I can't wait to start the second half-century." Watch "Keeping The Light On" (Official Video)!

Eric Bibb "Dear America" (CD, Mascot, 2021). Eric Bibb[61] has known many different Americas, the good, the bad and the ugly. “It’s a love letter,” he explains of the record’s root concept, “because America, for all of its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism." Watch "Born of a Woman" (featuring Shaneeka Simon on vocals) and "Whole World's Got The Blues" (featuring Eric Gales on guitar)! The latter title refers not only to the current global pandemic challenging us all, but also to the fact that music-lovers around the world love the blues!

The Bittersweets "Livin' on the Edge" (Single/Video, 2021). Who would have thought an Aerosmith song from 1993 would have so much relevance today? The Bittersweets[61] made two different videos about their latest single dealing with the parallels between the song and what we all have experienced over the last year. Check out The Bittersweets' friends holding up signs in a live action performance sequence, and Chris Meyers and Hannah Prater telling about why they recorded it!

Karen Black "Dreaming of You (1971-76)" (CD, Anthology Recordings, 2021). The late Karen Black (1939–2013) rose to prominence in 1970's New Hollywood starring in films such as "Easy Rider", "The Great Gatsby" and "Family Plot". She starred as a country singer in Robert Altman's musical drama "Nashville" (1975), writing and performing two songs for the soundtrack. Black wrote and recorded a host of original songs that never saw the light of day. Until now. Listen to "I Wish I Knew The Man I Thought You Were", co-written with her husband Cass McCombs, and check out "Dreaming of You (1971-76)"!

Blås Bröders "Ska det va så här" (Video, 2021). "What a year! How are you? It would be great to hear all your different stories. I’m doing fine, and right now I’m even back on touring the venues of Germany." (Stefan Johansson)[61] 2020 was also the year when the showgroup Blås Bröders was founded! Watch "Ska det va så här"!

Blues Society of Central PA "Backyard Blues" (CD, Blue Heart Records, 2021). The Mighty Klucks gets people dancing with their contagious rock ‘n’ roll blues; Rose Hudson belts out hip-gyrating blues created by the high energy Barrelhouse band; The rich, mellow voice of Gary “Rocky” Rothrock delivers haunting blues born out of his life experiences; Roger Hammer has written more than 100 blues-inspired folk-rock tunes, culled from causes close to his heart... “Backyard Blues” is a collection of sixteen original songs of varying blues-based styles written and performed by Central Pennsylvania artists. Emerging from the friendships and musical collaborations nurtured by a weekly blues jam, held every Thursday night for more than twenty years and shifted to Facebook/Zoom due to the pandemic, this collection of original music demonstrates the many variations and nuances of the blues.

German CD Review

Joe Bonamassa "Now Serving: Royal Tea Live From The Ryman" ( Blu-ray/DVD/CD/Vinyl, Mascot Records, 2021). Blues rock superstar Joe Bonamassa set out to perform his latest solo studio album "Royal Tea" for fans amidst a global entertainment shutdown. This led to an incredible live concert at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. No audience was allowed in the venue, but VIP ticket holders, whose tickets included a donation to the 'Fueling Musicians Program', were immortalized as cardboard cutouts, filling the pews of the Ryman. Watch "High Class Girl", "Walk In My Shadow", "Beyond The Silence", "Why Does It Take So Long To Say Goodbye"!

Dale Ann Bradley "Things She Couldn't Get Over" (CD, Pinecastle, 2021). "The songs speak to the courage to keep going, the courage to have strength and faith and to follow your dreams," Dale Ann Bradley shared with The Bluegrass Situation about her latest album, "Things She Couldn't Get Over." Watch "In The End" (Lyric Video)!

Pony Bradshaw "Sawtoothed Jericho (OurVinyl Sessions)" (Video, 2021). Mississippi-born Americana artist Pony Bradshaw performs the bluegrass-tinged “Sawtoothed Jericho” from his 2021 album “Calico Jim.” This live session was filmed at a dive bar called The Underdog in East Nashville. OurVinyl “strive to push the production envelope by filming artists in unique settings that complement the music while capturing studio quality audio regardless of the setting. It’s all live, all one take, no punching in, no autotune, no cheating. Just high energy and true authenticity.”

Jimmie Bratcher "I’m Hungry" (CD, Ain't Skeert Tunes, 2021). The expression “Soul Food” gained popular notoriety in the 1960s. The phrase has grown beyond a reference to traditional foods and has become synonymous with music, art, fashion, dance, and all aspects of African American culture. Kansas City singer-songwriter, guitarist and ordained minister, Jimmie Bratcher was surely inspired by this legacy. He has created a cookbook of nearly 200 recipes with an accompanying album of culinary inspired tunes simply titled “I’m Hungry.” The music ranges from barrelhouse boogie to straight-ahead blues, roots rock and soul. Watch ‘I Love Her Name’, ‘Mama Won’t Fry No Chicken’, ‘Bacon Is On My Mind’!

Jesse Brewster "The Lonely Pines" (CD, Crooked Prairie Records, 2021). "A record is a timestamp in your life as a songwriter", Jesse Brewster explains. "Like a court record, it catalogs where you were that year, what you were doing as an artist, and how you were feeling". His fifth album, "The Lonely Pines", Occupying the middle ground between folk music and rock'n'roll, finds the songwriter focusing on the process of moving on, either toward acceptance of past mistakes or in the direction of better opportunities. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, he was forced to finish the album in his home studio; including "Close To Home". in which Brewster turns the isolation of the Covid era into an opportunity to count his blessings, rather than focus on his obstacles.

The Brother Brothers "On The Road Again" (Video, 2021). The Moss brothers introduced their sophomore album 'Calla Lily' with the lead single "On the Road Again". The band spent the bulk of their time following their debut on the road, including runs with I'm With Her, Mipso and Dead Horses in addition to extensive headlining runs. The Brother Brothers sold out venues in Los Angeles, Chicago and London among others, and made pivotal appearances at Mountain Stage and SXSW.

Jackson Browne "My Cleveland Heart" (Single, Inside Recordings, 2021). The songs on Jackson Browne’s new album "Downhill From Everywhere" sustain the soulful intimacy of his first release nearly five decades ago, combined with a power and wisdom gained from a life pursuing positive change. Watch Jackson Browne performing "My Cleveland Heart" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Ian Bruce & The Tartan Spiders "Young Territorial" (CD, Greentrax Recordings, 2021). Scottish singer/songwriter Ian Bruce[54][58] was commissioned by The London Scottish Volunteer Enterprises to produce this album in honour of the long and quite remarkable history of The London Scottish Regiment (and their famous ‘hodden grey’ kilts). He was also set the task of putting music to many stories and poems from the archives of the Regiment. Ian then assembled a large cast of guests, which he humorously named The Tartan Spiders. Watch "The Young Territorial", "The Big Drum Major" & "Inverness"!

Rory Butler "Mind Your Business" (Video, 2020). Acoustic singer-songwriter Rory Butler wrote his songs while spending time between Edinburgh and London, reportedly getting frustrated with cyber reality and the resulting alienation from real issues. Watch the third single from his forthcoming debut album, "Mind Your Business": Official Video, Live take in aid of Help Musicians UK's Music Minds Matter!

Mairi Campbell "Storm" (CD, Holy Smokes Records, 2021). After studying classical viola at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music, Mairi Campbell has carved a career as an established member of Scotland’s traditional music scene. Storm is the latest in a series of works from Mairi Campbell and long-time collaborator Dave Gray realising the voice and music of Storm, a mythical goddess of the sea. Brought to life by no less than ten puppeteers, the ten metres tall Vision Mechanics puppet celebrates Scotland’s unique coastal and marine environment while raising awareness of the crucial role they play in mitigating climate change: “David Gray and I were asked to create the score for her epic journey across Scotland. Our songs and instrumentals reflect Storm’s cry of frustration, her wisdom, deep love of the sea and ultimately her cry for help. As I write this we are in the days of Winter lockdown 2021. These are stormy days indeed.”

Craig Cardiff "all this time running" (CD, True North Records, 2021). Ottawa-based songwriter Craig Cardiff has released 21 albums and EPs independently. Covid lockdown resulted in All This Time Running, Craig’s first full length studio album in 6 years: "I never had time to pause like this before. It scared the hell out of me at first. It became a positive. we were able to access some players we wouldn't have been able to otherwise. And the time to sit with the songs and the recordings..." His fans have been teased with 4 singles from the album already: 'All This Time Running', 'Dirty Old Town', 'Yellowknife', 'To Be Safe, Loved & Home'!

Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls "She Got Him (With Her Voodoo)" (Video, 2021). Somewhere on the east coast, in a tiny run down shack, footage of England's last vaudeville villains has been discovered. Thought to be lost forever, it's been pieced back together and presented here to shock and excite you, but beware of the demonic music hall mistress. Has she got you with her voodoo yet? Watch "She Got Him (With Her Voodoo)", taken from the 2020 album "Voodoo Bones and Vaudeville Blues".[74]

Brandi Carlile "The Story" (Vinyl, Sony Music, 2021). American folk rock singer Brandi Carlile's second album "The Story" (2007) has been repressed on vinyl for the first time. The title song had been featured in Grey's Anatomy and later covered by LeAnn Rimes and Dolly Parton. Watch "The Story" (Official Video) & Live at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville 2020!

Katy Carr "When Charlie met Pola", "Polish-British Stories for Polish Heritage Days 2021" (Video, 2021). Katy Carr is a British singer–songwriter with Polish roots. Her recent trilogy Paszport (2012) – Polonia (2015) – Providence (2020) has been inspired by the WWII experience in Poland.[74] To celebrate the 330th Anniversary of the short-lived Polish Constitution of 1791 (the 1st in Europe, 2nd after the US Constitution), she is releasing a special music video dedicated to the great Polish silent movie actress Pola Negri (1897-1987). 'When Charlie met Pola' is dedicated to the admiration that Charlie Chaplin 'King of Comedy' had for Pola Negri 'Queen of Tragedy'. See also the 'Polish British Stories' concert to celebrate the fifth Polish Heritage Days - a journey through 20th century Polish-British friendship featuring a range of music from 1930s Polish hits to Carr’s own songs about Polish-British history.

Susan Cattaneo "Borrowed Blue" (Single, 2021). Susan Cattaneo[64] has released a song many have heard her perform live and asked about, and made her a finalist at the New Folk Contest at the Kerrville Folk Festival last year, Borrowed Blue: "It is a very personal song: being a daughter to an elderly mother and mother to a teenage daughter, led me to reflect about the roles that women play in the world. What do we inherit? What do we pass on? It led me to confessional song full of wistful hope that hopefully will speak not only to the women in my life, but to all mothers and daughters."

Popa Chubby "Tin Foil Hat" (CD, Dixie Frog, 2021). "I was home in isolation with a bunch of guitars, drums, amps, microphones losing my mind. I started writing songs. I wanted to make people feel better so the first was “Can I Call You My Friends?” The answer was a resounding yes. We had 30K hits on social media almost overnight and the outpouring of love was both healing and mind boggling. So I continued writing and recording. No musicians in the studio so I had to use my skills, my balls and my soul. All I had! Luckily there was a never ending flow of ideas that stemmed from what was going on in America and the world. This record is as true as I have ever been in 60 years on the planet. It’s birthed from love, desperation, fear, frustration, pain, joy, sorrow, and resolution. Like you, I have been pushed to the limits of my humanity by the pandemic. But music sweet music has set me straight once again and I offer this work with humility and devotion to you all." See also "Tinfoil Hat"!

Ciaran Cooney "Red" (EP, 2021). Hailing from Birr in the Midlands of Ireland and now living in Glasgow, Ciarán Cooney has been performing at Raglan Road Irish Pub in Walt Disney World Orlando, touring worldwide with Derek Warfield and The Young Wolfetones and taking on the role of lead guitarist for Irish dance show Irish Celtic. Ciarán has taken the last year of downtime as an opportunity to etch out his solo career and has released his debut EP "Red": “This EP is my interpretation of traditional Irish music. I’m someone from the outside who has worked my way in and fallen in love with this music. I want traditional music to be accessible and listened to by everyone of every creed, culture and background. This is trad for the modern-day listener.”

Lyssa Coulter "I Don't Wanna Know" (Video, 2021). Country music singer-songwriter Lyssa Coulter shares a special acoustic version of her recent single, "I Don't Wanna Know". “I felt this track was important to put into the world because many times we see vulnerability as “bad” or “scary” due to it potentially revolving around aspects of life that hurt such as heartbreak," explains Lyssa. "In my past, I’ve shoved those emotions down and they resulted in built-up anger and disrespect towards myself and towards people in my life that I love.”

François Couture "Souvenance" (CD, Disques BOGHEI Records, 2020). With dozens albums under his belt ranging from new age to world beat to neo-classical, Quebecoise guitarist François Couture fearlessly composed and performed original gigues and jigs too. Featuring Sylvain Neault (violin), Réjean Clouet (Accordion) and Daniel Fréchette (Jew's harp). Check out François Couture @ YouTube!

Cowboy Junkies "At The End Of Paths Taken" (Vinyl, Wouldn't Waste Records, 2007/2021). This one is just for the vinyl lovers out there... Cowboy Junkies[48] are excited to announce that 2007’s At The End of Paths Taken is now available on vinyl; one of their favourite albums and one that kind of got lost in the music biz shuffle. It is only available through their webstore and through the Wouldn’t Waste Records webstore. Watch "Spiral Down" (Lyric Video)!

Paul Cowley "Long Time Comin'" (Video, 2021). Originally from Birmingham, fingerstyle and slide guitarist Paul Cowley[44] resides in Britanny. His fourth album produced in France is made up of seven originals and five country blues covers. Watch the title track "Long Time Comin'" from his new album "Long Time Comin'"!

Tom Craig "Good Man Gone Bad" (CD, 8th Train Records, 2021). Philadelphia native Tom Craig plays a special brand of original Blues, Soul and R&B. His passionate vocals, stinging guitar and tasteful songwriting evoke an array of emotions, superbly accompanied by a veteran blues and roots band. Watch "You Made a Good Man Go Bad" (Official Video)!

Rodney Crowell "Something Has To Change", "Transient Global Amnesia Blues", "Triage" (Single/Video, 2021). "Something Has To Change", "Transient Global Amnesia Blues" & "Triage" appear on Rodney Crowell's[73] upcoming album also titled "Triage": "Near the end of 2018, I began scribbling the first few lines that would become songs on yet another album. With monotheism, climate change, and cultural divide foremost on my mind, adequately framing the healing power of Universal Love became my primary goal. I’d learned from experience that writing and recording songs with the desire to make a difference, be it small or large, in an increasingly complex world is a tricky business. Steering clear of self-importance while, at the same time, believing deeply in what one has to say, calls for striking a near perfect balance."

Kyle Culkin "Pork Chops & Blues" (CD, Tonebucker Records, 2021). Songwriter and guitarist Kyle Culkin opened for the great B.B. King on his 80th birthday tour when B.B. King proclaimed, "This kid can play!" While Culkin's critically acclaimed debut album, "MyAmericana," included a mix of blues, gospel,rock, country and soul, his sophomore album "Pork Chops & Blues" is going back to the music that started it all for him, the Blues!

Heath Cullen "Springtime in the Heart" (CD, Five By Nine Recordings, 2021). Heath Cullen returns with his 1st new album in 5 years, 'Springtime In The Heart': "When I stepped back and lined these songs up, side by side on the shelf, I noticed a thread of optimism, a thread of hope. That’s why the record is called 'Springtime In The Heart', because that’s what I feel like we all need right now. An antidote to bad news”. Watch "Springtime in the Heart" & "The Song Always Remembers"!

Danielle DeGruttola / Henry Kaiser / Benedicte Maurseth / Stein Urheim "Be Here Whenever" (CD, OK World / Jazzland Recordings, 2021). "Be Here Whenever" is a sequence of nine pristine compositions by Danielle de Gruttola (cello), Henry Kaiser (guitar), Benedicte Maurseth (Hardanger fiddle)[71] and Stein Urheim (guitar): "It is music filled with the intense mindfulness that comes when one is confronted by nature at its most awe-inspiring, those places where one becomes acutely aware of how small they are within this world, never mind the cosmos beyond its thin atmosphere."

Desert Hollow "Thirsty" (EP, Mule Kick Records, 2021). Desert Hollow is a young, California-based folkie duet consisting of Xander Hitzig and Nicole Olney. Their name, Desert Hollow, is a definition of their combined geographical and artistic influences. Hitzig is from West Virginia and Olney is from the California desert. They both share a love for early traditional folk and bluegrass, but are equally passionate about indie-folk and alt-country music. Watch "Thirsty" & "I Can't Wait for Summer"!

Ani DiFranco "Revolutionary Love: Live at Big Blue" (Video/Download/CD, 2021); "Tiny Desk (Home) Concert" (Video, 2021). Ani[72] is excited to bring you two new ways to experience her 22nd studio album "Revolutionary Love Live" again! The full 95-minute concert documentary film from Ani, Terence Higgins, and special guest Ivan Neville is available for order on Vimeo. Hang with the band in Big Blue, Ani’s New Orleans home and recording studio for the past decade, as they reminisce about touring and perform energetic live versions from Revolutionary Love along with classics from the Little Folksinger canon. You can also order Revolutionary Love: Live at Big Blue as an audio download or CD from the Righteous Babe store and Bandcamp. Check out Ani's solo rendering of the title track and two older songs at the not-so-tiny desk of her great grandfather’s!

Peter Doran feat. Haley Heynderickx "Blue Mountains" (Video, 2021). The offical video for Peter Doran's "Blue Mountains" from his new "Voices" album has been released. According to Folk Radio UK, "Heynderickx brings a laid-back vibe to the song while Doran gives it a timeless quality… combined it’s an irresistible song."

Esbe "Yesterday" (Single/Video, New Cat, 2021). British vocalist Esbe[70] is known for pushing the boundaries of jazz, electronic and world music. YESTERDAY is a completely new take on the classic 1965 pop ballad by Paul McCartney and the first single lifted from Esbe's forthcoming album, UNDER COVER, a collection of songs that have influenced her musical career and are also personal favourites.

Feuerschwanz "Die letzte Schlacht" (BluRay/DVD/CD, Napalm Records, 2021). Germany’s medieval folk rockers, FEUERSCHWANZ, have prevailed against pandemic paralysis and are set to release two recent virtual live highlights under the banner Die letzte Schlacht (The Final Battle). The virtual concert was originally released in January and presents an adventurous ride through the discography of FEUERSCHWANZ as well as a lovingly prepared visual framework story with the band itself as grandiose protagonists and storytellers. Watch "Die Letzte Schlacht" (Trailer) & "Schildmaid" (Live Video) (feat. Luzi and Elsi from Saltatio Mortis)!

Mike Ferry "From Ulster to Appalachia" (CD, Own label, 2020). The Scots-Irish emigrated from Northern Ireland in the 18th century, many ending up in Mike Ferry's North Carolina home. They brought along their native music, and "From Ulster to Appalachia" is a techno-trad collection of Irish-American fiddle tunes. Check out Mike Ferry @ YouTube!


Iona Fyfe "The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen", "The Internationale" (Single/Video, 2021). Iona Fyfe's latest single, a version of The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen, has been released in collaboration with Aberdeen Football Club for the club's social media campaign to release 2021/2022 season tickets. The single reached #39 in the UK iTunes Download Charts. Check out BandCamp & YouTube! See also Iona Fyfe and Michael Biggins performing "The Internationale" at Eastwood Park Theatre, Glasgow.

Rachel Garlin "The State That We Are In" (EP, Own label, 2021). Rachel Garlin stepped up to a new challenge this year by competing in the sports show American Ninja Warrior. She realized it requires a lot of the same skills needed to be an indie musician -- flexibility, improvisation, resilience and a sense of adventure. Garlin wrote the title track "The State That We Are In" in the weeks leading up to the presidential election: "I wrote it in solidarity with everyone who's been pushing for change while trying to stay balanced during the difficulty of the pandemic," says Garlin. "Toward the end of the song, there's a reference to Vice President Kamala Harris's 'I'm speaking' refrain from the debate: 'we're not tired, we're not despairing, not resigned / we're not counting on the roof to fix the leak... and we are, we are, we are gonna speak.' The song is a reminder that we're not stuck in the state that we're in. It's temporary, and we can actively effect the next state that we create. Music can be a part of that."

Jeremy Garrett Featuring Jon Stickley "I'm Not The Enemy" (Single, Organic Records, 2021). Two of the most innovative players in bluegrass unite for a driving bluegrass song: fiddler/singer/songwriter Jeremy Garrett of progressive bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters[64] fame and his labelmate, guitarist Jon Stickley.[58] “I’m Not The Enemy” — long a staple of Garrett’s live sets — offers a heartfelt vocal, ripping solos and rich, ever-changing interplay between Garrett and Stickley. Get a behind the scenes look at the recording of “I’m Not The Enemy”!

Chris Gill "Between Midnight and Louise" (CD, Endless Blues Records, 2021). Mississippi blues artist Chris Gill has finally done the record that’s been on his mind a long time, a set of tunes stripped down to vocals and old guitars: “There are no overdubs or monkey business here! This was all done with two microphones, a little amp and a lot of love for the blues!” "Between Midnight and Louise" has been inspired by a road sign outside Yazoo City at the start of the Mississippi Delta.

Vicky Gray "Atlaness" (EP, Stitch Records, 2021). Originally from the Shetland Islands, fiddler Vicky Gray blends her traditional roots with contemporary approaches to record production. Her debut EP, "Atlaness", is partly a reworking of the tunes she learned from her late Grandfather, the notable tradition-bearer and fiddler Gilbert 'Gibby' Gray. Watch "Teif on da Lum"!

August Green "Vignettes" (CD, Own label, 2021). Indie folk singer/songwriter August Green had a clear vision of himself as a songwriter for other artists until he, in the middle of what he describes as ”a typical early 20s life crisis”, asked himself the question: ”What do I actually want to do?”. The answer was to pursue a career as a solo artist. Vignettes is deeply influenced by his recording space and life experiences, featuring atmospheric instrumentals, light, airy vocals, and gentle acoustic guitar. Watch "Petrol Waves", an atmospheric, folky track about getting over self-doubt.

Tim Grimm "Dreaming of King Lear" (Single/Video, 2021). Southern Indiana-based folk-Americana singer-songwriter Tim Grimm has released his new digital single DREAMING OF KING LEAR. It is the last song that Tim wrote for his upcoming album GONE and the follow-up of last year’s critically acclaimed single GONE, the most played song on Folk Radio USA in 2020. Tim Grimm explains DREAMING OF KING LEAR: "2020 saw the loss of not only John Prine but also Eric Taylor, Michael Smith and David Olney. These three master songwriters were all inspirations for me, and over the years I hosted them in concerts in Indiana, appeared on stages and festivals with them, and co-toured parts of the states or Europe. These are voices and spirits that were unique and will be sorely missed in the folk music world." Unfortunately Tim Grimm was forced to cancel his 2020 and 2021 European & UK tours due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He plans to return to UK and Europe in April and May 2022.

The Halley DeVestern Band "Money Ain’t Time" (CD, Own label, 2021). There is nothing quite like sound of a seasoned live band playing to a packed house on a night when they were hitting on all cylinders from downbeat one to the rapturous encore. One such miracle happened September 1st, 2019 at the Studio Winery in Lake Geneva Wisconsin when the touring New York City rockin funk and soul group, The Halley DeVestern Band were in the house. The club billed the show as “imagine Janis Joplin backed by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Mothers of Invention with just a hint of Howitzer. That is The Halley DeVestern Band.” "Money Ain’t Time" reminds us all of what we’ve been missing in the last year and what we should never take for granted: great live performances from great performers. Check out Halley DeVestern Youtube channel!

Hangover Square "Painting with an Open Heart" (CD, Own label, 2021); Victoria Bourne and Walt Shaw "Songs from a Cloud Chamber" (CD, Discus, 2021). Emerging from the darkness of a year spent mostly on lockdown, Bristol-based musicians Victoria Bourne and Chris Harper (formerly of punk-blues duo Husky Tones) are set to release the results of what kept them sane. "Painting with an Open Heart", a folk-rock project by two isolated people thinking way bigger than their one bedroom basement flat, sounding at times like a 40 piece ensemble.
Furthermore, Victoria’s vocals used multiple harmonies blending with the percussion sounds created by Walt Shaw. She thought of the twisted landscape we’ve all been living in since the first lockdowns. Finding inspiration from traditional English Folk Songs and giving them an unsettling feeling. Listen to "Songs from a Cloud Chamber"

Donna Herula "Bang at the Door" (CD, Own label, 2021). Chicago's Donna Herula's third album, "Bang at the Door," includes 11 original and 3 cover songs. The music flows from acoustic blues through gospel, jazz and ragtime to the electric Chicago blues style, with nods to New Orleans, folk and country influences. Watch "If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day" @ Bang at the Door Album Release!

John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band "All The Lilacs In Ohio", "Long Black Electric Cadillac" (Video, 2021). John Hiatt[70] and The Jerry Douglas Band[60] are releasing an album together called Leftover Feelings, featuring John on vocals and guitar, Jerry on Dobro and lap-steel, Daniel Kimbro on bass, Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle,[73] Mike Seal on acoustic and electric guitar, and Carmella Ramsey on backing vocals. Watch "Long Black Electric Cadillac" & "All The Lilacs In Ohio"! The following John Hiatt Documentary features interviews and some performances by him solo on acoustic guitar at his home and on stage by himself and with his band. Hiatt tells the story of his early songwriting days and his influences, his relationship with Guy Clark and Ry Cooder, and how emotion and storytelling filled his work.

The Hitman Blues Band "Not My Circus, Not My Monkey" (CD, Nerus Records, 2020). ”Not My Circus, Not My Monkey” is the new release from New York based Modern/Alt Blues group, The Hitman Blues Band. Featuring captivating vocals, blistering solos, and a rhythm section pushing a consistently intense groove, it also boasts captivating lyrics ranging from light hearted to tragic. It’s blues of the 21st century. Watch the Hitman Blues Band 'Not My Circus, Not My Monkey' (Live at Henry's Blueshouse)!

Alice Howe "A Case of You" (Single/Video, 2021). Alice Howe’s love affair with Joni Mitchell’s timeless classic, “A Case Of You”, began while sitting beside the record player as a child, captivated by Joni Mitchell’s album, Blue. Later, as a teenager learning the guitar, a camp counselor taught her the chords on a Vermont summer day. The single is the culmination of this singer’s journey to fully inhabit one of her favorite songs. Alice Howe’s 2019 full length debut, Visions is a contemporary love letter to 60s/70s folk and timeless blues. She is currently at work on her sophomore record.

Hrubá Hudba "Hora, miłá hora" (Video, 2021). The Czech Hrubá Hudba project connects traditional Horňácko music with other genres and development towards contemporary music worlds. The subtle and intimate song "Hora, miłá hora" is sung by Anna Šajdlerová and the video was shot in the heart of the Horňácko region as an honour to the music, people and traditions which have survived there. The Hrubá Hudba CD[71] was released in autumn 2019 and continues as live concerts performed by traditional group Horňácká muzika Petra Mičky and nu-jazz collective Lesní zvěř.

Sierra Hull "Dec 1, 2020 Paste Studio NVL Nashville, TN" (Stream/Download, 2020). Bluegrass prodigy Sierra Hull has blossomed over the last decade into one of the genre's most respected all-around performers. Here she is performing some choice tracks in Nasvhille. Stream / Download @ Paste Magazine / Noisetrade!

Andy Irvine & Dónal Lunny "Songlines" (Video, 2021). Two giants of the Irish trad scene, Andy Irvine[71] and Dónal Lunny[65] were uniting for an evening of great music, a mixture of traditional songs and originals composed by Andy, Songlines! Between them, Irvine and Lunny have been at the helm of legendary bands like Sweeney’s Men, Planxty, The Bothy Band, Mozaik, LAPD and recently Usher’s Island. Their unique style of accompaniment is an ongoing influence in the wider world of Irish music.

Jade Jackson "6FT Changes" (Single/Video, 2021). “Six feet changes the way it was / Handshakes and hugs in a crowded space / Dancing with strangers and holding up beers / Tapping on shoulders and whispering in ears / Was taken for granted all these years,” the timely lyrics state. California bred singer-songwriter Jade Jackson has shared her newest single, “6FT Changes”, along with a recently filmed performance at the empty Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo. In the song, Jackson grapples with the adjustments made to daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea came from a dream Jackson had one night in 2020, where she was performing again—no hand sanitizer in sight— to a sweaty, packed audience.

Sophie Janna "Wide World" (Single/Video, Revanche Records, 2021). Margot of The Lasses[71] is happy that her operation was a succes and that she is home recovering. She and Sophie hope to get back to doing shows together later this year and will try to make that album that they wanted to make last year. While they haven't been able to perform much, Sophie has put herself to work on a solo EP. For her new single, "Wide World", she even made a video containing beautiful footage of Amsterdam. If you want some inspiration, the Lasses suggest to have a listen to their The Lasses & Friends' playlist, a mix of their own songs with favorites from friends like The Brother Brothers, Luka Bloom, The Jellyman's Daughter and Kathryn Claire.

Sarah Jarosz "Blue Heron Suite" (CD, Own label, 2021). The 32 minute song cycle Blue Heron Suite had been "inspired by the frequent trips my parents and I often make to a little town called Port Aransas on the Gulf Coast of Texas. 2017 was an emotional year for me — my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer the previous winter and the town of Port Aransas was severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Those two events caused me to think back to the early morning walks my mom and I would take along the Mustang Island beach — we would always spot the Great Blue Herons along the shore. Anyone who’s observed these birds knows that their stoic, calm nature is a treasure to behold. The bird came to be a symbol of hope for my family during a difficult time, and even now, throughout my travels, whenever I spot a Blue Heron, I always think of it as a good omen; a little reminder of the important things in life, especially family. I like to think of the song cycle as a quiet acknowledgment of life’s many uncertainties; you never know what will be thrown your way, but you can always work to try to face the highs and the lows with grace and strength." Watch Morning (Official Lyric Video)!

Brandon Jenner "Life For Two" (Single, 2021). LA-born singer-songwriter Brandon Jenner shares the tender new song “Life for Two”, written at the request of a dying fan in Denmark as a song for her two young children: “For me, the direction for the song was to write a letter, from her perspective, about what she would want her children to know before she passes. A letter filled with comforting words and some advice on how she thinks their lives would be best lived. ‘Life for Two’ became the title and I hope this song brings some comfort to those who are going through personal loss in their own lives.”

Jenny & Tyler "Part of Me" (Video, 2021). Jenny & Tyler[61] released a new song about perservering together in hard times. “I was inspired to write Part of Me while watching my kids adjust and learn to live in a pandemic. One day they left school and without warning never went back. They didn’t get to go to their friends’ birthday parties. Dance class became virtual. Everything changed. I want them to know that I see them. I see their big emotions. I see how hard this is. I see their strength. I see them overcome. We hope this song and video will encourage you. We’ve all experienced loss this year, yet we’ve persevered. We’re going to get through this together. We are connected, each one of us. We are a part of each other.”

Jesco "Bored or Sad" (CD, Own label, 2021). Jesco are a Folk 'n' Roll band from the Netherlands, and very proud of their new album: "Bored or Sad"! saying, Music that tastes and sounds like cheap Whiskey: sharp, filthy but intoxicating! Watch "Bored or Sad" (Offical Video)!

Georgie Jessup "My Work Here Ain't Done" (CD, Winkte Records, 2021). "My Work Here Ain’t Done" is Americana folk with strong nods to country and bluegrass. Georgie Jessup's lyrics reflect her outspoken advocacy for animal rights, environmental issues and transgender rights. Watch the title track "My Work Here Ain't Yet Done" (Georgie Jessup & the Cosmic Cowgirls live at Edith May's Paradise): "After the 2016 election results I feel like I am living in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. It’s pretty scary. I wrote a lot of songs that predicted the situation we find ourselves in today. We've got a lot of work to do and I hope to be around to see this mess end!"

Roger Johnson and the Rialto Valley Regulators "Mod Americana" (CD, AutieTunes Music, 2021). "Mod Americana" once again illustrates the breadth of Johnson’s songwriting, with selections ranging from country rock to r'n'b and from latin infused pop to rock'n'roll. Tempo variations abound, but lyrical content is always given primacy.

Ted Russel Kamp "You Can Go to Hell, I'm Going to Texas" (Single/Video, 2021). Ted Russell Kamp may be best known as the bass player for Shooter Jennings, but as a singer/songwriter in his own right he is also a regularly returning leader of the pack of the Euro Americana Chart. Check out the latest video single, "You Can Go to Hell, I'm Going to Texas" (Official Video) from Kamp's new album "Solitaire".

Annie Keating "Bristol County Tides" (CD, Own label, 2021). "Bristol County Tides", Annie Keating’s[61] 8th full length album, is a pandemic album of awakenings and inspirations that tells an evocative story of love, loss, and finding what matters most in uncertain times. Upbeat tunes like "Marigold" offer swagger and good time feelings while ballads like "Kindred Spirit" strike directly to the heart.

Seckou Keita featuring Baaba Maal "Homeland" (Digital Single/Video, 2021). "Homeland" was written while Seckou Keita[66] was in Senegal during lockdown, and is a very special collaboration between the master kora player and the legendary vocalist Baaba Maal.[68] "Homeland" is taking stock and reflecting on what is really important. Family and home.

Kelly's Lot "Where and When" (CD, Own label, 2021). Kelly's Lot was formed in 1994 by Kelly Zirbes,[56] a folk singer/songwriter with a heart for the blues, though guitar player Perry Robertson has shaped the band's sound over the years with southern rock influences. “Where and When” is an acoustic collection of original and traditional blues songs recorded in an old-fashioned way, in a circle and live to tape. Five covers of Howlin’ Wolf, Ma Rainey, Robert Johnson and Lovie Austin, and six originals. Kelly and Perry were inspired to write "Stronger" by everything happening in the world: "So many are feeling down, depressed, and trapped. We wanted to remind them that maybe these challenges will make us all stronger. A hopeful song to help us come out of a tough situation."

Amythyst Kiah "Black Myself" (Video, 2021). Amythyst Kiah[69] (“I’m a Southern, Appalachian, Black, queer woman, solidifying my identity as a person and as a musician.”) about the Official "Black Myself" Music Video: “Kwaku Otchere's artistic eye and ability to create such powerful visuals while simultaneously keeping everyone on set safe amid the pandemic is truly remarkable. Adding the talents of choreographer Aysha Upchurch and dancer Des Polk allowed this project to flourish even further. The four of us helped realize the vision of this video by incorporating our individual experiences of being black in America.” See also "Black Myself" (Jimmy Kimmel Live), "Hangover Blues" & "Tender Organs"! Read Musicmaker story, The Timelessness and Modernity of Amythyst Kiah!

Seth Kibel "Der Heyser Bulgar" (Video, 2019). "This video of my disappearing clarinet shtick has been making the rounds again. I need all of the assistance I can get in my relentless battle against irrelevance and obscurity, so if you're able to share it with a few friends, or perhaps a few enemies, I would greatly appreciate it. And if you haven't seen it yet, please check it out, and marvel at my mastery of shameless cheap tricks!" (Seth Kibel) Watch "Der Heyser Bulgar" (with disappearing clarinet shtick)!

"WolfWalkers with Kíla in Concert" (Video, 2021). Irish animation film studio Cartoon Saloon celebrates the music of their latest feature film "Wolfwalkers."[74] The film is the third and final installment in their "Irish Folklore Trilogy", following "The Secret of Kells" (2009) and "Song of the Sea" (2014). Again, Bruno Coulais and Kíla provided the film's original score. Check out Kíla in Concert!

Alison Kinnaird "Art in Glass" (Video, 2021). Alison Kinnaird[69] is one of the foremost exponents of Scottish harp music, playing both gut and wire-strung harps. In her "Art in Glass" video she explores the link between art and music and introduces new work shown at Shinlinghall Studios as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2021.

Mick Kolassa "Wasted Youth" (CD, Endless Blues Records, 2021). Blues vocalist and guitar player Mick Kolassa teamed up with fellow guitarist Jeff Jensen to put together a package of fun - despite written during the pandemic because of which he lost his wife and several friends. 11 originals plus the Darkness to Light medley feat. War's "Slipping Into Darkness", Youngblood's "Darkness Darkness" & the traditional spiritual "Wayfaring Stranger". Watch the title track "Wasted Youth"!

Korrontzi "Mezobarri" (Video, 2021). Agus Barandiaran of Korrontzi[53] was inspired by nature when composing "Mezobarri", thus, to find the contrasts that this theme transmits he resorted to the colors that nature reflects. The dancers of the Oinkari dance group dance in a game between light and shadow, under the choreography of Eneko Gil.

Lapwyng "The Remyxes" (EP, Claytara Records, 2021). Separated as a band between Skye and Glasgow due to the pandemic, eclectic folk trio LAPWYNG have collaborated with a host of acclaimed artists to produce a reworked version of their self-titled debut EP, with each guest artist remixing and adding their own artistic finesse and electronic twist to a particular track. The EP features Valtos, INYAL, Tom Spirals and Yoko Pwno featuring Sarya, plus multi-instrumentalist Innes White throughout the EP. The result is a unique body of work marrying pop, electronic and traditional Scottish music sounds. Watch Pretty Girl - Valtos Remix!

Jim Lauderdale "Hope" (CD, Yep Roc Records, 2021); "The Sessions at the Sessions" (Download, 2021). Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale's[63] album number 34 is a joyous musical tribute, reminiscent of 70s California folk-rock, to the spirit of overcoming and healing: “What I wanted to achieve was music to somehow help us all get through trying times and give comfort. The past year has been so difficult for everybody. If we can find any glimmers of hope, that really helps get you through another day.” "Memory" is one of the last songs Lauderdale wrote with his decades-long songwriting collaborator, the late Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. See also "The Sessions at the Sessions", a new live recording from The Sessions Hotel in Bristol available exclusively at Bandcamp!

Amber Lawrence and Catherine Britt "I Am Woman" (Single/Video, Red Rebel Music, 2021). For Amber Lawrence, the passing of iconic Australian singer-songwriter-activist Helen Reddy last September was the moment she truly felt the gravity of the lyrics of her global women’s rights anthem, “I Am Woman”. When the time came to hit the road with her good friend Catherine Britt for their 'Love & Lies Tour', she floated the idea to include it as a duet. “Catherine and I are proof that women can and do, do anything. We’re both working mums, run our own businesses, we tour manage, drive ourselves, load in the gear, perform the show, then load out and drive to the next town to do it all over again”, says Amber. “We’re consistently asked after the show 'who is minding your kids?'. The men on tour with us have children too, but are never asked that same question”, says Catherine.

Charlie Le Brun "Lorient", "Mer D’Iroise", "Rive Côté Mer", "Ar Redadeg" (Single/Video, 2021). We know Breton Charlie Le Brun as a flutist,[71] but he already started to write songs in his teenage years, with the dream of someday performing on stage like his pop and folk idols Alan Stivell, Yann Tiersen, Sinéad O’Connor, The Chieftains and The Corrs. Over the current year, he released four digital Celtic pop-folk singles: “Lorient” (dedicated to the Interceltic Festival of Lorient the song reminds us of the musical connections between all Celtic peoples), “Mer D’Iroise” (depicting childhood memories spent off the coast of Brittany onboard his grandfather's boat), “Rive Côté Mer” (a tribute to the Finistère region located at the tip of Brittany), “Ar Redadeg” (The Racing). He also presents a regular series of videos to talk about his Breton cultural heritage and its influence on his musical career @ Youtube.

Simon Leleux "A Letter to Levent" (CD, Home Records, 2021). Simon Leleux's first solo album marks a significant milestone in his study of the doholla, a bass darbuka originating from Egypt. "A Letter to Levent" is dedicated to Levent Yildirim, pioneer in this instrument's modern techniques. Leleux has freed himself from any role imposed on him by a certain music tradition or ideological straightjacket. Watch Darbuka Doholla solo!

Leon Creek "Call It A Day" (Single/Video, 2021); Chris Pierce "Young, Black and Beautiful" (Video, 2021). On the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas lies Leon Creek: a small river that served as the first rest stop and watering hole for travelers making their way from Texas to Southern California in the 1850's. Leon Creek is a new project from Los Angeles-based blues-soul singer-songwriter Chris Pierce,[74] bluegrass picker Matthew Stevens, and producer Erik Janson to bring forth a new take on the Americana sound. Check out the debut single "Call It A Day" from the upcoming full length album "Far From Broken"!
"Young, Black and Beautiful, taken from Chris's latest album AMERICAN SILENCE, is “about black self love. It’s the song that I would have benefitted hearing as a child. My hope is that this song reaches the hearts of black children and parents alike and extends to the hearts of all. Black IS beautiful and blackness should be celebrated, not feared.” All photos in the video were shot by Mathieu Bitton.

Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno "On the Line" (Video, 2021). Old-soul roots music duo Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno just released a new video of their song “On the Line” from their self-titled debut record out now on Free Dirt Records. Bluegrass Pride premiered the video: “If there’s any single emotion that could have defined 2021, yearning would probably be pretty close to the top of the list… Which is what makes the recent release of Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno’s self-titled debut album all the more prescient. Filled with bittersweet songs about love across a distance, each of the songs strikes a little truer now than it may have in another year."

Joe Lewis "Up Next" (CD, Own label, 2021). Growing up only an hour north of New Orleans, singer-guitarist Joe Lewis heard every kind of music where the lines between genres are thin and the roots of each genre intertwine as they grow. That line has always been blurred between blues and gospel, and the Joe Lewis Band is a trailblazer in Contemporary Christian Blues music. "Up Next" is a mixture of straight-ahead blues, funk and rockin’ soul centered around Lewis’ stellar guitar playing and sparkling tenor vocals.

Little Hat "Wine, Whiskey & Wimmen" (CD, Rhythm Bomb Record, 2021). Rotterdam trio of harp, guitar, drums (3/5 of the late bluesband Stackhouse) take you back when "rocking" blues also meant a lot of "rolling" going on. Watch Little Hat live @ Bluesmoose Radio!

Thorin Loeks "In This Place" (CD, Own label, 2021). "In This Place" is a powerful journey through the inner consciousness of a dedicated songwriter and evolving human being, Canadian Indie Folk Musician Thorin Loeks: “My new album, “In This Place” is about meaningfully connecting with people, communities, and the land, but also with oneself. The world can be challenging, painful, and confusing in so many ways, but I am starting to gain a greater understanding of my own journey through life. The meaning, emotional depth, and gratitude I have imbued in this album, while drawing upon different genres of music, hopefully reflects that. It’s easy for us to get disconnected in this world, and I hope these songs can be a source of authenticity and warmth where people can draw upon them and know they aren’t alone. I enjoy seeing people succeed by going through the lifelong exploration, struggle, learning, and elation of growing into better versions of ourselves.” Watch the album's title track, "In This Place", documenting a 600 km canoe trip in the Yukon Territory!

Michael Logen "Long, Hard Year" (Single, 2021). “We've collectively been through some incredibly difficult things this past year and a half. And even as we in the States are starting to move out of lockdown, many places in the world are still suffering. Now that more things are starting to open back up, I sometimes feel a strong urge to rush back to life as "normal", almost like nothing ever happened. But before that, I also feel a need to pause, reflect and perhaps acknowledge what we've been through. And I think of the many lives lost and the many businesses shut down and the many lives changed. Maybe we need to grieve, in a way, before we can heal. I hope Long, Hard Year can be for you a moment of rest and reflection on what you've experienced this past season, the pent up emotions, the fears, the uncertainties, the political unrest, the cancelled plans, the missed time with family. We are all human. We experience the same things. There is much hope on the horizon. Here's to better days ahead. Here's to healing. Much love to you. If you want it, you can have a free download of this unreleased, acoustic version at BandCamp.” – Michael Logen

The Lone Bellow "Dried Up River" (Video, 2021). The Lone Bellow is an American musical group from Brooklyn, New York City. Entertainment Weekly said it was "One of the top reasons to love country music in 2013". Watch "Dried Up River" (Acoustic Performance) from their second album "Half Moon Light"!

The Longest Johns "Wellerman Community Project" (Video, 2021). Following their huge success earlier this year with their UK Top 40 hit, ‘Wellerman’ – a New Zealand whaler’s song written in the early 19th century –, Bristol-based The Longest Johns have attracted over 6,500 budding singers, fans, fishermen and friends to join them in a music video for a sea shanty sing-a-long. The contributors range from young to old, pirates to puppets, animations to animals and brings together an ocean of characters performing the a capella hit from bedrooms, living rooms, mountains, ships and quays.

Alex Lopez "Rising Up" (CD, MarEmil Music, 2021). Critics have said Alex Lopez is "capable of revitalizing the blues for a new generation". The Cleveland born guitarist and singer-songwriter, who has established himself as a prominent figure on the Florida blues scene, returns with his fifth album "Rising Up". Watch "Paradise"!

Love On Drugs "meLODies" (CD, Paraply Records, 2021). FolkWorld once described Gothenburg's Love On Drugs, or Thomas Pontén & Band, as ”this is on the rockier side of folk rock. They definitely establish a nice groove, which gives this the edge over many other bands you hear playing in clubland”.[60][67] Their 3rd album, "meLODies", finds them back to Americana roots after celebrating classic singer/songwriters and indie pop. See also Thomas Pontén's My Sweetest Punch below!

"Loretta Lynn Transforms Classic Songs On 'Still Woman Enough'" (Podcast, 2021). Loretta Lynn dropped by NPR Music's World Café to talk about her 50th studio album, Still Woman Enough, where she revisited her old classics. Her career spans six decades in country music. She is famous for hits such as "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" and "Coal Miner's Daughter," along with the 1980 biographical film of the same name. In 2017 she ended nearly 50 years of touring.

Mitchell Manburg "Laplace Resonance" (EP, Own label, 2021). Mitchell Manburg is a guitarist and songwriter based in Oakland, California. After having spent the last years fronting bands, he has landed back during quarantine, refining his sound as a solo artist. His debut 4-track solo EP, "Laplace Resonance," is soothing guitar driven music reflecting a current common sentiment of seeking calmness within discord. Watch the title track, "Laplace Resonance" (Official Video)!

David Massey "Watch Your Back in Hell" (Single, Poetic Debris Records, 2021). David Massey's[59] latest offering, an Americana single called "Watch Your Back In Hell", is a scathing indictment of Donald Trump and his congressional cronies penned just after the January assault on the Capitol. FolkWorld noted in 2019 that “the Washington DC artist still hasn’t made his breakthrough, though each of his albums has been critically acclaimed”. His latest full-length-album "Island Creek"[74] was as high as #18 on the Roots Music Report's Top 50 Country Americana Albums Chart, and 23 on the Euro Americana Chart.

Don McLean + Home Free "American Pie" (Video, 2021). As Independence Day approaches, the all-vocal country group Home Free will unfurl their patriotic new album, LAND OF THE FREE, which will include their duet version of "American Pie"[74] with Don McLean. “I am really excited about this version of American Pie,” says Don. “You know, everyone that has heard it just loves it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it because I have always performed with a guitar. I felt I was going to lose my security blanket when I didn’t play guitar on this version. Then, all of a sudden, I started to hear it and it just blew me away. The harmonies that Home Free produce with their vocals reminds me so much of the Jordanaires.”

Meadow Creek "When the Sirens Call" (Single, 2021). Swedish couple Meadow Creek[66] have released their new single "When the Sirens Call". The song is written as a reflection of the past year. Feelings and thoughts that have arisen in the progress of the current pandemic, and the changes that are taking place in this world we no longer recognize. "We are starting to see the light in the tunnel , and longing to meet our audience to share our newly written music. The idea is of course to release a third album in the future, but we start a little soft with this single."

Michigan Rattlers "The Storm" (Video, 2021). "This is a band with solid songwriting chops and instrumental skills," says No Depression. Lifelong friends Michigan Rattlers play heavy-hearted folk-rock with an aching dose of Midwestern nice. Watch "The Storm" (Official Video) from their new album, "That Kind of Life"!

Misty Blues "None More Blue" (CD, Own label, 2021). None More Blue but Much More Blues and Blues Infused Jazz, Funk and Soul! None More Blue celebrates Misty Blues' 10th album in 21 years. All of the original compositions were written during the pandemic and shed light on the creative connections Gina Coleman and her band were able to maintain in a primarily virtual and remote environment.

Bernadette Morris "These Ruins", "If They Build Their Wall" (Digital Single/Video, 2021). Following the success of her debut album, ‘All The Ways You Wander’,[51] and subsequent release ‘Where the Heart is’, Irish singer Bernadette Morris has launched her brand new single ‘If They Build their wall’. Co-written with Eleanor McEvoy[64] the song was inspired by the negative and destructive narrative against refugees and asylum seekers: “We wanted to write a song that reflected our belief that anyone fleeing for their lives should be made feel welcome, and embraced for the joy and colour and everything that they bring with them.”

Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny "Let's Get Happy Together" (CD, Stony Plain Records, 2021). When Maria Muldaur discovered the music of Tuba Skinny she learned that just like herself, these musicians study, play and immerse themselves in early blues, jazz and jug-band music of the 20s and 30s: “They were not just playing a marvelous repertoire of cool tunes with great skill and authenticity, but somehow channeling the very atmosphere and vibration of that bygone era.” Just prior to the Covid Pandemic in January 2020, Maria asked Tuba Skinny to collaborate in a showcase performance at the International Folk Alliance Conference in New Orleans. It was so well received that an album was immediately conceived and recorded, with the title track summing it all up: Let's Get Happy Together!

My Sweetest Punch "2" (CD, Paraply Records, 2021). "Gothenburg based My Sweetest Punch are the pickup needle that scrapes around among the best and worst in life. Heart, pain and that time just disappears no matter what you do. The turntable and the hub are singer-songwriter Rickard Linde's obvious songs." Check out their sophomore album, "My Sweetest Punch 2"! See also guitarist Thomas Pontén's Love On Drugs above!

Aaron Nathans & Michael G. Ronstadt "My Flag Too" (Single/Video, 2021). "My Flag Too" tells the story of a first-generation American whose father fought in World War II, and how democracy becomes their inheritance. Amid an era where a few loudly try to co-opt the flag to their political cause, this song celebrates how the flag is a reflection of this nation’s diversity and belongs to everyone.

Nefesh Mountain feat. Jerry Douglas "Somewhere On This Mountain" (Single/Video, 2021). Nefesh Mountain (Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg) is an American bluegrass and old-time band with a Jewish perspective. Nefesh Mountain has released a new music video for their latest single, "Somewhere On This Mountain", from their upcoming full-length release "Songs For The Sparrows," featuring resonator guitar and lap steel guitar player Jerry Douglas.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real "A Few Stars Apart" (CD, Concord, 2021). "A Few Stars Apart" was inspired by the stillness Lukas Nelson found while riding out the beginning of the pandemic with his family in Texas: "I’m from what one might say is the ultimate road family—I’ve been on the road my entire life. I’ve never been anywhere longer than three months, and suddenly here we are, the four of us together. And thank god we were together... It took me a really long time to come back to the home in my heart... I think I finally decided not to run from who I am and who I am destined to be. First and foremost, that’s a songwriter. That’s what this record means to me. There’s a story being told through the whole record. A story about connection and coming home." Watch "Perennial Bloom (Back To You)" (Official Lyric Video) & "A Few Stars Apart" (Live from Moroccan Room)!

The Odd Birds "better days" (EP, Own label, 2021). The Odd Birds are a Californian duo playing a blend of folk, rock, and country. Complementing each other vocally is one of the many strong points of Ron Grigsby and Jennifer Moraca. Check out "Better Days"!​

Aoife O'Donovan "Live from The Church of the Sacred Heart" (CD, 2021); "Transatlantic (ft. Kris Drever)" (Video, 2021). Aoife O'Donovan's new live album is out now exclusively on Bandcamp, Aoife's solo show recorded last September in an old church in the Hudson Valley of New York. See also "Transatlantic": "The lyric started as a classic love song, but when I dusted it off it became something different. I felt strangely moved by the nostalgia and longing for camaraderie, innocently described by my pre-pandemic self. The song is about coming together as a community. That's what I want right now. I just want to be singing familiar songs with people that I love."

"Bluegrass from the United Kingdom - The Often Herd" (Video, 2021). Bluegrass from the United Kingdom - The Often Herd from the UK performs a short set for the Leadership Bluegrass Online: Navigating the Digital Jungle series! Subscribed to their YouTube channel for hours of bluegrass music, IBMA World of Bluegrass footage, and the Leadership Bluegrass Online: Navigating the Digital Jungle series.

Joy Oladokun "Sunday" (Video, 2021). Joy Oladokun's music spans the genres of folk, R&B, rock, and pop and is influenced by her identity as a queer woman of color. Joy is performing "sunday" from her album "in defense of my own happiness" from The National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nikki O'Neill "World Is Waiting" (CD, Blackbird, 2020). Nikki O’Neill is an Americana singer-songwriter and guitarist deeply in love with soul music from an early age. She counts the likes of Pops Staples and Teenie Hodges as her guitar heroes. Her second solo album, "World Is Waiting" is a tapestry of R&B, gospel and blues woven together. Watch Nikki perform the title track!

Davide Pannozzo "Leroy's Blues" (Single, 2021). "Leroy's Blues is nostalgic and angry, just like all of us are in these difficult and terrible times." Leroy's Blues is a story with its roots in history, trying to talk about the present. Leroy's Blues is the Blues of the most fragile and the weakest, those who remain on the sidelines, against which fate and society are often lash out.

Partington & Sweeney "Commonplaces" (CD, Own label, 2020) An album of traditional American songs and new songs in traditional style, with a very Irish sound. The sons are about immigrants, factory workers and farmers in 19th and 20th century America. Mary Lee Partington’s vocals are backed by Ed Sweeney’s guitar and banjo, with charming additions of uilleann pipes/flutes/whistle (Torrin Ryan) and fiddle (Sheila Falls).[74] Check out Partington & Sweeney @ YouTube!

Ariel Posen "Headway" (CD, Manitoba, 2021). Songwriter and guitarist Ariel Posen shares the lyric video for “It’s You” from his new LP, “Headway”, a song that “focuses on the type of person that refuses to see all the bad signs of a partner; despite how badly you can be treated by someone, sometimes we refuse to see ourselves being with anyone else.” Posen's music is a rootsy sound that nods to his influences — heartland rock & roll, electrified Americana, blue-eyed soul, R&B, Beatles-inspired pop.

Dennis Roger Reed featuring Don Reed "Down At The Washington Hotel" (CD, Plastic Meltdown Records, 2021). Dennis Roger Reed[71] is a singer-songwriter-instrumentalist based in Southern California. "Down At The Washington Hotel" is his first release of all original material, and touches on “some blues, some bluegrass, a little country rock, folk, rock'n'roll, a taste of British invasion pop, plus even a few minutes of psychedelica.” Watch "Manzanita" (Live From Dennis's Garage)!

Reverend Freakchild "Supramundane Blues" (CD, Treated and Released Records, 2021). When asked, what do you mean by preaching the blues, Reverend Freakchild[60] responded “there were many early blues musicians, like Reverend Gary Davis and Son House, who were either preachers, who became bluesmen or bluesman, who became preachers. For them there wasn’t much of a line between Saturday night and Sunday morning. That’s what my music draws on.” “Supramundane Blues” is a collection of 13 gospel favorites and songs inspired by faith and the quest for divine enlightenment that runs the gamut of styles from Delta Blues to funk, soul, and rock.

Chris Ronald "Light & Dark" (CD, Borealis Records, 2021). The track sequence of Chris Ronald's fifth album alternates between songs with light and dark themes, 70s folk rock shaped by the pandemic. Watch "City Girl", "I Won't Change", "Still Turning" (Official Lyric Video), and the "Light & Dark" album LIVE!

David Rovics "There Is A Cage" (Video, 2021); "Virtual Bird & David Rovics" (Playlist, 2021). "I awoke to the news yesterday that it had been one year to the day since the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the state of Oregon. Over the course of the next 24 hours, I wrote this song:" "It's Been A Year"! Olympia/Washington folk punk phenomenon known as Virtual Bird also set it to music, check out the new Virtual Bird & David Rovics playlist. "I think these are some of the best songs I've ever been involved with creating."

Allison Russell "Nightflyer", "4th Day Prayer" (Video, 2021). "Nightflyer" is from Allison Russell's[69] first ever solo project, Outside Child: "When I was sixteen I read The Thunder: Perfect Mind for the first time - it’s an exhortatory poem discovered among the Gnostic manuscripts in the Nag Hammadi library in the 40’s. It has never left me. I’ve been meditating on the nature of resilience, endurance, and grace more deeply since becoming a mother. I was trying to bridge the divide and embrace shame and my inner divinity equally with this piece…" See also "Nightflyer" @ Jimmy Kimmel Live featuring Brittney Spencer & Brandi Carlile & "4th Day Prayer"!

Brent Ryan "Undone" (Video, 2019). Brent Ryan's forthcoming album will feature four cover songs of roots music singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen that he grew up loving. He won't reveal the titles yet, but while waiting, check out Ryan's acoustic cover of "Undone"!

Rachael Sage "Cave (Don_Cerati Remix)" (Video, 2021). Folk-pop singer/songwriter Rachael Sage has just released "Cave (Remix)" with an accompanying Lyric Video. The original version, essentially a tango with Eastern European flavor, appeared on her critically acclaimed album, Character.[72] Sage's "Cave (Remix)" fuses elements of House, Brazilian, Afrobeat, Trip-Hop, Tropical, Middle Eastern, to take the listener on a globetrotting soundscape journey. The songs on Character were originally composed as a meditation on gratitude and optimism in the midst of her own cancer recovery, but have taken on new resonance during Covid-19 and recent protests against inequality.

Doug Schmude "Mileposts" (EP, Lost Hubcap, 2020). Doug Schmude's new album, "Mileposts", mixes bits of country, folk, rock and blues, and the result is a modern roots americana sound. Watch "Mileposts in the Rear View", "The Ballad of Early" & "Old Crow"! "I wrote this song during the COVID lockdown during the summer of 2020. I was playing guitar in the backyard and there was crow in a nearby tree making a heck of a racket. At first I was annoyed but quickly realized I was making as much noise as he was and my attitude started to change."

Hilary Scott "Kaleidoscope" (EP, Belltown Records, 2011/2021). Kaleidoscope is an eclectic 5-track Americana EP of a songwriting collaboration between Hilary Scott and Matthew Wilder, Angela Kaset and John Goodwin. Known for her bluesy roots style, the release originally recorded in 2011 takes her more into a pop-rock region. For example, listen to Free Country: “I had never done anything remotely approaching a dance song before in my life, so this song definitely took me the farthest out from my comfort zone. Matt, John and I were like three goofy kids, bouncing from lyrical idea to idea. Whisper-singing, singing in Spanish, and stretching my range a bit more were all incredibly fun elements to explore while we were recording.”

Eddie Seville "High & Lonesome" (EP, Rodeo Records, 2020). The 5 track EP "High & Lonesome" was pressed for live dates in the US and Europe, but unfortunately, the global pandemic quickly shut down all promises and plans. Eddie Seville, best known as the creative force behind the alt country band Steel Rodeo, says, "it's a drag being unable to do the roadwork behind these songs but, Isaac [Civitello]'s input gave me a fresh perspective and spark that I believe comes across on the recording as well".

Graham Sharp "Truer Picture" (CD, Yep Roc Records, 2021). “Graham Sharp has been one of my closest friends for the past 25 years, and he has been my favorite songwriter for nearly as long. As a friend, Graham is wise, thoughtful, and honest, and his musicianship and songwriting share those same qualities. He has written, with little exception, the entire catalogue for the band. Truer Picture, Graham’s first solo endeavor, is in contrast to the music we have grown accustomed to hearing Graham write and help shape. Instead of 4 or 5 voices, it’s just his. Instead of his complex banjo lines, it’s his tasteful finger-style guitar. It’s like a Sunday morning cup of coffee with Don Williams, a late night tour bus ride with Terry Allen, or an afternoon with John Hartford.” (Woody Platt, Steep Canyon Rangers)[71] Check out "Truer Picture of Me" (Official Video) and BandCamp!

Martin Simpson "The Bramble Briar" (Video, 2021). This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Martin Simpson’s ‘The Bramble Briar.’ A native of Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, Martin Simpson had left to live out his American dream 12 years earlier. Already recognised as one of the great acoustic guitarists of his generation when he left, he immersed himself in American music and honed his skills playing throughout the USA. This album heralded his return to the motherland with a bang. Universally lauded, it won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for The Best Album Of The Year in 2002. Martin was also awarded the prize for Best Musician that year and again in 2004. Watch Martin Simpson discussing the 20th anniversary of The Bramble Briar!

Skinny Lister "Bavaria Area" (Single, 2021). "In beautiful Bavaria there's something scarier than bears / Waiting to pounce around every bend and they don't want to be your friend..." With the promise of new shows and festivals on the horizon, London folk rock sextet Skinny Lister[62] are back with a joyful burst of ska-punk meets new-wave energy that is primed for crowd pogoing madness, "Bavaria Area": "We love Bavaria. It's a stunning part of the world and our fans and shows there are some of the best, as they are across the whole of Germany! However, for some reason when touring there, we often seem to attract the unwanted attention of Bavarian Police..."

Moira Smiley and Voco "In Our Voices" (CD, Own label, 2021). Moira Smiley has toured with Irish-American super group Solas and Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project. She accompanies herself on banjo, accordion and piano while performing solo or with her award winning vocal group, VOCO. "In Our Voices": Five powerful voices united in harmony! Watch "Sing About It"! "Stand in that River"! "How Can I Cry"! "The Call"! "Silverlake"!

John Smith "Hold On" (Single/Video, 2021). John Smith says, “‘Hold On’ is a song about the passing of years, living through good and bad times. Songwriting as self-help. This one is about the need to keep the faith in yourself and to cling fast to the people you love. Sometimes the only answer to the problem of existence is to keep your chin up and dig your heels in. If we don’t hold on, we’re lost.”

Joseph Spence "Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing" (CD, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2021). Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is proud to release never-before-heard 1965 recordings from the great Bahamian guitar legend Joseph Spence (1910-1984). His music was so original and virtuosic that it has inspired multiple generations ever since he was first discovered in the late 1950s, including Richard Thompson, The Grateful Dead, Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. Listen to "Run Come See Jerusalem" [Official Audio]!

Jim Stanard "Witness Protection" (Single/Video, 2021). About Jim Stanard's Color Outside the Lines:[73] "They say there'll never be another Johnny Cash or Kris Kristofferson, but Jim Stanard draws from the same well of weathered experience." (American Blue Scene) "Witness Protection" is the latest single and "we've had a fantastic response from radio," Stanard rejoices.

"Sting: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert" (Video, 2021). During the pandemic, Beninese pop star Shirazee adapted his own rendition of Sting's classic "Englishman in New York" into "African in New York." His version made its way to Sting, who loved it so much that he asked Shirazee to lend his voice to his Tiny Desk (Home) Concert and record for his new Duets album. Sting jumps into a stunning acoustic performance of "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You." His finale, "Sister Moon," is a gem from his 1987 solo album, Nothing Like the Sun, that rarely gets performed live.

Rob Stone feat. Elena Kato & Hiroshi Eguchi "Trio In Tokyo" (CD, Blue Heart Records, 2021). The harmonica is one of the few instruments you can literally put in your pocket and carry with you wherever you go. His globetrotting led blues wailer Rob Stone to Japan many times where he found an eager audience. Now he recorded his first all-acoustic blues album with pianist Elena Kato and bassist Hiroshi Eguchi. The ten tracks are a throwback to the 1930’s and 40’s sound of vocal stylists like Big Joe Turner, Nat King Cole, and Fats Waller. Check out Stone focussing on the lyrics of "Got To Get You Off My Mind" giving their sad tale more weight without the full horn section and sweet background vocals of Solomon Burke’s 1965 soul single.

Stormy Mondays "Forever Young" (Single/Video, 2021). “In 2019 we got an intriguing request. We had two days to record a cover of Bob Dylan’s Forever Young for a possible movie use. Somehow we managed to meet the deadline with a very accurate rendition of the song. And then… silence. Once it became clear that there would be no movie placement, we set out to put our own stamp into the song. We thought we might release it eventually…” Spanish folk rock band Stormy Mondays[64] is celebrating Bob Dylan’s[72] 80th birthday with their cover of one of his all-time classics, "Forever Young"! Happy Birthday, Bob!

Billy Strings with Del McCoury "Midnight On The Stormy Deep" (Video, 2021). Michigan-born and now Nashville-based, guitar flatpicker Billy Strings arrived on the scene as “one of string music’s most dynamic young stars” (Rolling Stone). Strings is in the midst of a triumphant year after winning Best Bluegrass Album at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards for his critically acclaimed record, Home. The record also led Strings to top Billboard’s 2020 year-end charts in both Bluegrass categories—Top Bluegrass Artists and Top Bluegrass Albums. Check out his latest single featuring Del McCoury, "Midnight on the Stormy Deep" (Live)!

Taco Tapes "Trad is Rad" (CD, American Standard Time Records, 2021). The duo from the pacific northwest, made up seasoned session players and touring artists Jeremy James Meyer and Ben Walden, found themselves holed up during the pandemic of 2020 and decided to make a record together. Taco Tapes is a fusion of weird old folk, fun new country, fresh originals and spirited covers. Watch the "Blue Tooth Skip" video from the "Trad is Rad" album!

"The Livingston Taylor Show | One Year Anniversary" (Video, 2021). It is the 1 year anniversary of The Livingston Taylor Show! Livingston Taylor[69] celebrates 52 episodes of tunes, tall tales, and tantalizing surprises. This anniversary show is first extended episode, with Liv celebrating the end of year 1 and kicking off the second year. Join every Tuesday at 4pm ET on Facebook & YouTube.

Chris Thile "Laysongs" (CD, Nonesuch Records, 2021). Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers fame made a solo record, "Laysongs," and it’s an ode to singing hymns in a roomful of people with your mind bouncing from God to the possible lack thereof to what to drink with dinner. "Laysongs" offers compelling arrangements of Bartok and Bach, re-imaginings of traditional folk songs and original pieces inspired by literature. Enjoy this video of Chris Thile performing the album's title track in the church where it was recorded, "Laysong"!

Joe Troop ft. Tim O'Brien & Nokosee Fields "Love Along the Way" (Single/Video, Free Dirt Records, 2021). Joe Troop,[73] the GRAMMY-nominated bandleader of Che Apalache,[71] took to the rural roads ”most affected by Trump’s horrific policies” and channelled it into his upcoming solo album, Borrowed Time, featuring legends like Béla Fleck, Abigail Washburn, and Tim O'Brien. Joe about the first single, Love Along the Way: ”What I’ve learned outside of the US bubble is that when things really go awry on a more massive scale, you have to lean on people, even people you don’t know, like neighbors. What is generally lacking in this country is solidarity. The ruling elites chose to divide and conquer, they pitted us against each other. This song is a rally cry to come together across lines. Ideologies wither fast when enough people realize they share a common oppressor. We don’t have to convince everyone to join us, just enough. This track features my bestie, Nokosee Fields. He suggested we start with a bluegrass vibe and then drop the bass and fiddle after the first chorus, going straight oldtime. It was a brilliant idea, and his playing on all three instruments was impeccable! In as much as how to unify people across lines in this country, I think the first peoples should be leading the initiative.”

Patty Tuite "Consider This" (CD, Thread City Productions, 2021). Patty Tuite is an American singer/songwriter who embraces blues and rock music influenced by artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Susan Tedeschi. When Covid lockdown requirements started, Patty started “back-yard” practices performing her new material and sharing videos. This group went into the studio, reinforced by Grammy award winner Paul Nelson who plays electric, slide and acoustic guitar. Watch the title track "Consider This" (Live)!

Tunto "Yty" (CD, Aani Records, 2021). Finland's Tunto play Freefolk: original music from the Battle of Jericho to Farewells from Betelgeuse. Tunto's Matti Wallenius hopes that this music nourishes through hard times and gives some relief to its listener. Check it out @ Youtube & Bandcamp!

Frank Turner "England Keep My Bones" (CD, Xtra Mile Recordings, 2011/2021). Marking a decade since the release of his breakthrough album, Frank Turner is pleased to announce an expanded deluxe version of ‘England Keep My Bones’, including a bonus disc of demo recordings from the period and download-only additional solo B-Sides. Frank Turner's fourth album 'England Keep My Bones' is the record that saw the folk/punk musician step-up from cult status to mainstream success. Re-watch "Peggy Sang The Blues" & "If I Ever Stray"!

Tylor & The Train Robbers "Non-Typical Find" (CD, Own label, 2021). Like most bands who tour over 200 days in a year, Tylor & The Train Robbers quickly saw their plans derail in the spring of 2020. "Non-Typical Find" is “the first time we’ve recorded an album of brand new songs that we had not already been playing live for months (or years) before recording.” Their songs are a lyric-driven blend of roots, country, and modern Americana music. Watch Tylor & The Train Robbers live @ Burgie's Part 1 & Part 2!

Urban Ladder Society "The Summit" (CD, Own label, 2021). All-star band Urban Ladder Society combines blues, classic rock, and R&B with metaphoric hip hop lyrics, a band very capable of rocking any audience. Watch "What's On Your Mind"!

Brandi Vezina "Walk Away" (Single, 2021). Brandi Vezina uses her personal experience to write music that is meaningful and helpful for those who need the message of self perseverence. "Walk Away" (from her forthcoming "#dontsettle" EP) encourages people to walk away from releationships, workplaces and situations that are toxic.

Sunny War "Mama's Milk" (Video, 2021). Sunny War’s new music video for her song "Mama's Milk" from the new album "Simple Syrup"[74] is a punk’s eye view of Venice Beach, California, and a great riff on that famous Bob Dylan video for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” (where he silently drops placards of his lyrics).

Sara Watkins "Tiny Desk (Home) Concert" (Video, 2021). I admired Sara's talents first as a fiddler, guitarist and singer playing in Nickel Creek, then her solo work, and much later with the trio I'm With Her. However, none of her music, even her solo recordings, ever sounded quite like the music on this Tiny Desk (home) concert. The songs are from her new album, Under the Pepper Tree. "It's a children's record, largely inspired by thinking back on the music that meant so much to me as a kid," she says. (Bob Boilen) See also “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” (Official Video feat. I’m With Her)! Read more at Paste Magazine & The Bluegrass Situation!

Wax Moon "Hello Morning" (CD, Own label, 2021). Wax Moon are the acoustic vocal duo of Paul Kimball and John Blatchford based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their full-length debut album "Hello Morning" is the result of 3+ years of writing, performing and maturing, as well as an unforeseen delay due to the pandemic.

David Wilcox "Rest In Peace" (Video, 2021). It once has been said that the songs of David Wilcox are about life and death... "Rest In Peace" (Official Lyric Video): »That is an exceptional song, what I would call highly impressionistic lyrics, nothing but a list of images and a chorus. A really beautiful song, one of your purest yet.« »Perhaps now more than ever, you are singing to the deepest parts of who we are.«

Wildwood Kin "Dakota (Live from the Homegrown Sessions)" (Video, 2021). Wildwood Kin are an Indie/Americana trio from Exeter in Devon comprising of sisters Beth and Emillie Key and their cousin Meghann Loney, whose voices meld perfectly in sublime close harmony. Their music is a mix of original songs with a few stunning arrangements of some better known covers. The Stereophonic's 'Dakota' live from 'The Homegrown Sessions' livestream last October is the first of five tracks from their forthcoming live EP.

Chelsea Williams "Where Is Love" (Video, 2021). Watch the official performance video for Chelsea Williams' "Where Is Love" from the album 'Beautiful & Strange', co-written with "the late, great Busbee (a phenomenal songwriter and human)." "Where Is Love" is a part of The Cave Sessions EP to be released April 30th: "I took a hike up into the Angeles Crest National Forest and found this amazing cave. I knew I had to come back and record some songs there, as the acoustics were just outstanding, so we hauled some gear up to the cave and recorded these three songs."

Afton Wolfe "Kings for Sale" (CD, Grandiflora Records, 2021). Afton Wolfe is Mississippi. The roots of American music - country, blues and rock and roll - are in his DNA. His debut full-length solo album "Kings for Sale" defies genres while being consistently personal: jazzy melodies, an avant-garde country grind, a Delta Blues swing. Watch "Dirty Girl"!

Will Woodson and Caitlin Finley "Irish Night at Blue Livestream Concert Series" (Video, 2021). On St. Patrick's Day 2021, Will Woodson and Caitlin Finley[73] were putting together a bunch of new sets and live-streaming a full-length concert for Portland's Irish Night at Blue series, Irish Night at Blue Livestream Concert Series: Will Woodson and Caitlin Finley.

Zawierucha "OberTany" (CD, Own label, 2021). Zawierucha (turmoil/storm) is a new folk band from Poland. The "OberTany" album is combining traditionalist sounds with world music, as well as psychedelic, minimal, jazz-rock and punk-rock experiments resonating throughout the recording. Watch "Wiwat Fortuna" & "Polka drobna"!

Various Artists

"In Conversation: Freeman Vines & Dom Flemons" (Video, 2021); "Time Warp 07: Music Maker Relief Foundation" (Playlist, 2021). Watch In Conversation: Freeman Vines & Dom Flemons, 6/17/21! Freeman Vines[72] built his first guitar in 1958 and has been searching for a tone ever since, using found materials from around his home in North Carolina. Dom Flemons[66] branded the moniker “The American Songster” since his repertoire covers over 100 years of early American popular music. When the pandemic kept Dom Flemons off the road, he built a host of Spotify playlists that trace the roots of American music all over the place.

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