Archive for February, 2010

Random Weekend Post: Happy Belated Birthday Johnny Cash

Posted in Johnny Cash on February 27, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Friday would have been Johnny Cash’s 78th birthday. We celebrate here with a YouTube birthday feast.

We’ll start with a classic clip of Johnny performing “Big River” from 1962…

An even older clip here from 1959 of Johnny singing “Guess Things Happen That Way.” Earlier this week, this song became the 10-billionth song ever downloaded from iTunes.

Happy birthday, Johnny.

Interview With Brian Henneman of The Bottle Rockets

Posted in The Bottle Rockets on February 23, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

The Bottle Rockets played an acoustic set on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special today that was highlighted by several tracks from the new record, Lean Forward. After the performance, front man Brian Henneman talked with me about the history of the band, his involvement in the glory days of the alt-country movement, and the band’s new record.

Listen to My interview with Brian Henneman
If you missed The Bottle Rockets today, you can hear them again Wednesday night at 7:00 (Eastern) on Tennessee Shines. They’ll be performing along with The Carpetbag Theatre, R.B. Morris, Sarah Siskind, and Ruthie Foster. WDVX will carry the entire show live. I’ll be in the studio making sure you can hear the whole thing on the station’s webstream.
I’ll also leave you today with a track from Lean Forward. This is one Brian and I discussed in the interview.
The Bottle Rockets: Give Me Room (Buy Album)

Canadiana Week: Neil Young

Posted in Canadiana Week, Neil Young on February 20, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

We close Canadiana Week with a tribute to one of the masters… Neil Young.

Here’s an older recording of one of my favorite Neil Young tunes…

…and something more recent. Remember when MTV was relevant?

Canadiana Week: Round Up

Posted in Canadiana Week, Kathleen Edwards, Luke Doucet, The Duhks on February 19, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Canadiana Week draws to a close now, and I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about some of our friends from the North. During the week, I tried to focus on new music from some newer and less well known artists. Of course, I don’t want to neglect anyone… so I thought I’d close the week by highlighting a few of my old favorites.

Since the week was mostly female dominated, we’ll start today with Luke Doucet. Luke is a singer/songwriter from Halifax who is also phenomenally talented on the guitar. He spent many years as a touring guitarist for Sarah McLachlan while also building his name as a solo artist. Luke is also a sought after producer who has helmed albums by NQ Arbuckle and his wife Melissa McClelland. His 2008 release Blood’s Too Rich was one of my favorite albums of that year… full of blazing guitars and up tempo rockers. This is a down tempo track from the album, the slow building “Bombs Away.”
Luke Doucet: Bombs Away (Buy Album)
The Duhks are another act that has made a lot of noise over the past decade. Originally forming in Winnipeg, The Duhks have performed all over the world with their unique amalgam of modern Celtic, Latin, String Band, and Bluegrass music. The original lineup featured Jordan McConnell on guitar, Leonard Podolak on banjo, Tania Elizabeth on fiddle, Scott Senior on percussion, and Jessee Havey on vocals. Senior and Havey were replaced a few years back by the brother and sister combo of Christian and Sarah Dugas. Earlier this week, Elizabeth announced her departure from the group. No matter the lineup, The Duhks bring a freshness and energy to their sound that always keeps me hooked. This is an instrumental featuring the orginal quintet.
The Duhks: The Magnolia Set (Buy Album)

What else can I say about Kathleen Edwards that I haven’t already said before? She’s one of my favorite artists from any country, and this week would be incomplete without hearing from the Ottowa native. I won’t bore you by going on about her again. Instead, here’s a track from her debut album Failer. You can hear a track from her super-rare debut EP Building 55 over at Star Maker Machine.

Kathleen Edwards: The Lone Wolf (Buy Album)
Note: This post could (and should) include many more artists. Sarah Harmer, The Cowboy Junkies, The Clumsy Lovers, Fred Eaglesmith, and many others come to mind. Unfortunately, I feel like warmed over death right now and just don’t have the energy for it. You can find info on some of these artists, and others, at Star Maker Machine… we’re doing a Canada themed week there as well.

North Americana Week: My Interview with Madison Violet

Posted in Canadiana Week, Madison Violet on February 18, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

As mentioned yesterday, Madison Violet made their way through Knoxville Wednesday on their way to the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis. They appeared on the Blue Plate Special in the afternoon and were nice enough to stick around town and join me in the studio last night.

What you’ll find here is my full interview with Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIssac from Madison Violet along with live performances of “Laura Lee,” “The Woodshop,” “Crying,” and “No Fool For Trying.” The girls discuss the origins of the band, their desire to play more shows in The States, and Brenley’s general dislike of the term “Canadiana.” She suggested the term “North Americana” instead since we’re all one big continent anyway. As you can see by the title of today’s post… I have taken her suggestion to heart. For today at least…
Madison Violet: Interview and Performance Live at WDVX (Buy No Fool For Trying)

Canadiana Week: Madison Violet in the Studio Today at 6:00

Posted in Canadiana Week, Madison Violet on February 17, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Forgot to mention this earlier today… but you can catch me interviewing Madison Violet live on WDVX today (Wednesday) at 6:00 PM Eastern Time. The reigning Vocal Group of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards is passing through Knoxville on their way to the Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis.

You can listen in to the interview/performance live at the WDVX website. If you miss it, don’t worry… I’ll try to post the whole thing here later.

Canadiana Week: Karla Anderson

Posted in Canadiana Week, Karla Anderson on February 17, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Last week, I posted a video featuring Karla Anderson, a singer/songwriter from near Edmonton. At that time, I promised to tell you more about Karla and her new album. Now is that time.

I was first introduced to Karla Anderson on the opening night of the 2005 Americana Music Conference in Nashville while waiting in line for one of the many live concerts/free buffets (Burrito Deluxe at the Mercy Lounge… if I remember correctly) the conference had to offer. It was there that I first met Karla’s manager, Neil MacGonigill. We started talking, and by the time our conversation was over, I had in my hands a copy of Karla’s 2005 debut album, The Embassy Sessions.
At this point, Karla’s music had already been featured in the CBS television series Joan of Arcadia, but her album was brand new and had not yet been released in The States. As far as I know, I was the first DJ in America to be given a copy of the CD*. I played it in my hotel room that night (I always traveled with a portable CD player to music conferences), and found it to be quite the enjoyable late night listen. A few weeks later, I became the first American DJ to play Karla’s music on the air*.
*(Note that I cannot actually verify either of these claims other than to say that I really believe them to be true. Either way… if I wasn’t THE first, I was certainly in near the ground floor.)
The Embassy Sessions was recorded over the course of a few short days at the Red Motel Embassy in Calgary in early 2005. The resulting album was a warm and quiet affair that helped Karla earn recognition as the Best New/Emerging Artist at the 2005 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Her career looked to be off to a promising start.
That was five years ago though, and Karla’s been relatively quiet since then… choosing to focus more on her family than her career. She played some shows and recorded sparsely, but did not record the follow up to The Embassy Sessions until now. It seems to have been worth the wait.
Like her previous record, Brand New Day was banged out in a brief, two day recording session. That’s where most of the similarities end, however. Unlike Embassy, which was essentially a solo acoustic record with little additional accompaniment, Brand New Day has more of a full band sound in places. Karla expands her sound by adding various electric and steel guitars along with keys and increased percussive elements.
The biggest evidence of this comes on the album’s second song, “With Tenderness.” The track is kicked off with a shuffling drumbeat and a rolling bass line topped with electric guitar flourishes. The result is an ominous sounding track that contrasts nicely with Karla’s lyrics about lethal levels of kindness and love. Similarly, “Glory Bound” branches out a bit as well. This time, however, it’s a wash of acoustic guitars that build the tempo and elevate the song.
Fans of Karla’s previous work will be happy with the record as well, as this disc also holds its share of quieter moments. It’s bookended by two short tracks (“Prelude” & “Reprise”) that essentially serve as the album’s title tracks and revisit that haunting Embassy Sessions sound. Then, sitting right there in the middle of the album, are two heart stopping covers in “Bye Bye Love” (Felice & Boudleaux Bryant) and “I Dream an Old Lover” (Jeffery Foucoult). She boils both songs down to their most essential elements by slowing the tempo and finding the emotion in each word.
In all, Brand New Day is a solid sophomore effort from Karla Anderson and one that should please her old fans while also reaching out to new ones. I just hope we don’t have to wait five more years for her next release.
Karla Anderson: Glory Bound (Buy Album)
Karla Anderson: Bye Bye Love (Buy Album)