Archive for September, 2009

Notes from a Bachelor and his Dog

Posted in Amy Speace, Drive-By Truckers, Levon Helm, Merle Haggard, Tim Easton on September 30, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

The smiling creature seen above is my dog Deacon. He’s a strange little Golden Retriever, Chow, Pekingese mix (we think). He’s also my only company this week while my wife is out of town on a business trip. Hopefully, the two of us will manage to stay alive until she gets back.

In the meantime… Notes.
***I’ll start with a sad note I picked up over at Music Fog. It seems as though Levon Helm is on a doctor prescribed vocal vacation for a while after having a lesion removed from his vocal chords. The lesion was determined to be non-cancerous, which is extra good news due to Levon’s past battles with throat cancer. He will, however, need to take a break for a while to let his vocal chords heal. I hope you’ll join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. Check out the full story at Music Fog.
***Speaking of the Fog, I’ve really been enjoying all of the videos they’ve been posting from their visit to the Americana Music Conference. They invited several artists to join them in the “Celebrity Coach” (read: big ole bus) for intimate acoustic sessions. They recorded it all and are posting videos to the site. Here’s one from Amanda Shires, an artist I featured last week. There are also great performances from Charlie Robison, The Trishas, The Band of Heathens, The Belleville Outfit, Annie & the Beekeepers, and many more. Check it out.
***The September edition of Tennessee Shines takes place later this week on Wednesday night at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville. This month, we’re joined by local bluegrassers Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier, last year’s Best New/Emerging Americana Artist Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Review, and songwriters Amy Speace, Tim Easton, and Randall Bramblett.
The whole thing will be broadcast live on WDVX and Wednesday night at 7:00 Eastern. Here’s a small taste of what ought to be another great show. These are a couple of older tracks from Amy Speace and Tim Easton.
Amy Speace: Two (featuring Gary Louris) (Buy Album)
Tim Easton: Poor, Poor L.A. (Buy Album)
***As I mentioned before, my wife is out of town this week. What better time to share a track from one of my favorite bands (and one of my wife’s least favorite), The Drive By Truckers. I have no real reason for sharing this one other than to ask all of you to play it at the loudest possible volume and sing along.
Drive By Truckers: Sink Hole (Buy Album)
***I’ll end by balancing that one out with a link to stream Rosanne Cash’s latest release The List. The album isn’t released until October 6th, but you can hear the whole thing right now on NPR’s website. The album (which is Excellent) is made up of Rosanne’s renditions of twelve classic songs culled from a list of 100 essential songs her father, Johnny Cash, gave to her over three decades ago. I’ll share the original version of one of the songs here. You can read more and listen to Rosanne’s version from NPR and buy the album next week.
Merle Haggard: Silver Wings (Buy Album)

Reminder: Porterdavis CD Giveaway

Posted in Porterdavis on September 28, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Just a reminder for everyone…

Today is the final day for the Porterdavis CD giveaway contest. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment here or at the original post with your name and email address. You can also email me if you have any problems with the comment system.
I’ll hold the drawing tonight after I come home from work… roughly 8:00 Eastern time. The winner will be notified by email. Good Luck.
Here’s a live track from Porterdavis recorded during their visit to the WDVX studio.
Porterdavis: Grass Growing Through Concrete (Buy Album)

Random Weekend Post: Patti Smith

Posted in Patti Smith on September 26, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Because sometimes you just need a little Rock & Roll…

Cleaning Out the Old Inbox: Kelly Manix, Amanda Shires, & Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Posted in Amanda Shires, Kelly Manix, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on September 24, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Before I get into today’s post, I want to remind everyone one more time to sign up for the Porterdavis CD giveaway. All you have to do is send me an email or leave a comment on this post to have a chance to win an autographed CD from the band that was named “Best Roots Rock Band” at this year’s Austin Music Awards. You won’t be disappointed.

Now… It is time once again to clear out some of the mp3s that have accumulated on my hard drive over the past few weeks and share with you a few of my new favorites.

First up is Seattle-by-way-of-Tennessee singer/songwriter Kelly Manix. Manix studied the music industry as a student at Middle Tennessee University and studied the musicians themselves after graduation during her tenure working in the marketing department of a “well-established independent label” in Nashville. While working in the industry, Manix says she studied the artists she came in contact with to see how they handled themselves and went about their craft. Perhaps that’s why her debut digital release EP Emerald City sounds like anything but a freshman effort.

Emerald City contains five songs that inhabit the same sonic territories of artists such as Mindy Smith and Another Country era Tift Merritt. I was drawn into this EP by Manix’s warm vocals and production, and I think you will be too. Here’s the title track from her EP Emerald City. It’s the story of what happens when Dorothy returns to Kansas to find that there may be more to life than what the comforts of home have to offer.

Kelly Manix: Emerald City (Buy Album)

Up next is an artist who Justin Townes Earle compares to both Dolly Parton and William Faulkner. Although Amanda Shires has just released her debut album West Cross Timbers, she is no stranger to the spotlight. Shires began playing fiddle and singing with Tommy Allsup and the Texas Playboys when she was just sixteen. She’s also shared the stage with artists such as Billy Joe Shaver, Justin Townes Earle, and Will Kimbrough all while fronting her own band, The Thrift Store Cowboys.

After years of touring with other artists and performing as part of a group, however, Shires decided the time was right to attempt a solo project. She turned down paying gigs on the road and took a job waiting tables so she could stay home to work on the eleven songs that would make up her debut solo album. Co-produced by Shires and songwriter Rod Picott, West Cross Timbers is full of sparse arrangements that fully display Shires’ cheerful sounding vocals on songs that often deal with dark subject matter. Here are two tracks from the album… the murder ballad “I Kept Watch Like Doves” and Shires’ rendition of Picott’s “Angels & Acrobats.”

Amanda Shires: I Kept Watch Like Doves (Buy Album)
Amanda Shires: Angels & Acrobats (Buy Album)

Finally, here’s one for you from the new release by the legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I don’t think I really need to say too much about these guys other than they’ve been going strong for over four decades now, and they show no signs of slowing down on their new album Speed of Life. Much of the album was recorded live in the studio and really hits on that classic Dirt Band sound. Here’s one from it… the band’s version of Shawn Camp’s “Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me.”

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me (Buy Album)

(Edit: Once again, someone has seen fit to file a complaint about an mp3 that was given to me directly by the record label. “Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble to Me” has been removed by my file host. I’m going to leave it down for now… but hopefully it will be back. In the meantime, you can hear most of the song in the YouTube video below.)

…And here’s a video of the guys in the studio making the new album.

Congrats to Lucinda

Posted in Lucinda Williams on September 22, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Congrats to Lucinda Williams and her new husband Tom Overby. The couple got married on stage Friday night in Minneapolis during one of her shows. You can read all about it in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Lucinda Williams: Passionate Kisses (Buy Album)
And… don’t forget about the Porterdavis CD giveaway contest.

Porterdavis Interview and CD Giveaway

Posted in Porterdavis on September 21, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Last week, I introduced you to the band Porterdavis and their bluesy style of American Roots music. They played at WDVX last Monday on the Blue Plate Special and came back to town Wednesday night for a show at the Preservation Pub.

Before their Wednesday night gig, Daniel Barrett, Mike Meadows, and Simon Wallace of Porterdavis stopped by the WDVX Studio to chat for a bit and play a couple of songs from their new self-titled CD. I recorded our conversation and would like to share it with you here. As always, ignore the references to “tonight’s” show… it already happened.
Interview with Porterdavis
If you want to hear “Carter’s Tune,” the song we were talking about at the end of the interview with Eliza Gilkyson, you can find it in this post along with the studio version of “Smack you Back.”
Now for the giveaway. When the guys were in the studio Wednesday night, they provided me with an autographed copy of Porterdavis for me to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment with your name, email address, and the words “Porterdavis contest” in your comment. If for some reason you can’t get the comments to work, you can always send an email to me at Just use Porterdavis Contest as the subject.
The contest will run one week and end on the 28th of September. I’ll throw everyone’s name into a hat and pull the winner at random. I’ll then post the winner in the comments here and contact him or her by email to get mailing info. In the meantime, check out Porterdavis at their website, and feel free to visit their webstore.

Random Weekend Post: Patty Griffin

Posted in Patty Griffin on September 19, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Because this lady is seriously under represented on this site…