Archive for the Hayshaker Category

Best of 2010: 21-19

Posted in Carolina Chocolate Drops, Hayshaker, She and Him, Top 21 of 2010 on December 16, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

As I mentioned over the weekend, it is time to kick off the list of my favorite albums of 2010.  It’s kind of weird because it doesn’t really feel like it’s been a year since the last list. That’s probably because this year has been nothing more than one big blur.

2010 will forever be known to me as the year music took a back seat to some other things in my life. It’s the year my daughter was born and the year my priorities shifted accordingly. I wasn’t able to focus on music and writing as much as I wanted to at times, and I feel as though a few albums probably got lost in the shuffle. I know there are certainly a few albums I would have liked to spend more time with.

The posts that will follow in the next couple of weeks represent the music that didn’t get lost… my 21 favorite albums of 2010. Not the best necessarily, or the most innovative, or the critical darlings… just my personal favorites. From old favorites to new discoveries, from legends to unknowns, from string bands to Band(s) of Joy… they are the albums I keep coming back to and listening to over and over again.

So… Here we go.

#21 – Genuine Negro Jig by Carolina Chocolate Drops

The origins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops date back to 2005 when three members of a Yahoo chat group called “Black Banjo: Then and Now” met at the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, NC.  Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, and Justin Robinson found themselves to be three kindred musical spirits and they began playing together under the tutelage of old time fiddler Joe Thompson.  The three would meet at Thompson’s house every Thursday night to learn his craft and his songs.  They formed the Carolina Chocolate Drops to reintroduce the 90-year-old Thompson and his music to the world.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops released Genuine Negro Jig, their second proper studio album, in February and with it continued to package their traditional sound for modern audiences.  Robinson says the band sees tradition as a guide rather than a jailer, and on the record the band follows their guide to some fairly amazing places.  Highlights include the controversial Americana radio hit “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” the infectious instrumental “Snowden’s Jig (Genuine Negro Jig),” (read about that one here) and the traditional favorites “Cornbread and Butterbeans” and “Trouble in Your Mind.”  I’m also extremely drawn to the original tune “Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine.”

Carolina Chocolate Drops: Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine (Buy Album)

#20 – Volume Two by She & Him

She is actress Zooey Deschanel.  Him is musician M. Ward.  She & Him is a sum greater than the whole of its parts… a serendipitous collaboration that started on the movie set of The Go Getter where Deschanel was the star and Ward was the music director.  They recorded a song for the movie’s soundtrack and continued working together to produce 2008’s Volume One, one of my favorite albums of that year.

Maybe it’s because I’m now familiar with their sound, so there’s no way Volume Two could have ever sounded as fresh as Volume One, but this album never seems to reach the heights of that initial release.  That’s OK though, because this album is much more consistent than it’s predecessor and is absent some of that effort’s missteps.  Deschanel’s sugary sweet lyrics (she wrote eleven of the album’s 13 songs) are tempered perfectly by Ward’s grounded arrangements and production.  His presence keeps things from ever becoming too saccharine, as evidenced by his subtle guitar fills and powerful outro in the album’s lead single “In the Sun.”

She & Him: In the Sun (Buy Album)

#19 – Tin Roof Snare by Hayshaker

Hayshaker is a band from Waycross, GA (the childhood home of one Gram Parsons) that came out of left field to produce one my most unexpected favorites of 2010.  The band is led by the husband and wife duo of CC and Laurie Rider  along with T.W. Lott on lead guitar, Matt Starling on bass, and Josh Sharpe on pedal steel.  They’ve been making music together since 2001 and this stellar EP is their second proper release.  This is one of those albums that I discovered through the ReviewShine website, proving why that is such a great service

The first thing that jumps out when listening to this album is just how perfect CC and Laurie Rider sound singing together.  Whether building an intricate harmony, sharing a lead vocal, or delivering a playful back and forth, the two just seem to know each other’s voice.  You know it’s carefully plotted, but it just sounds so intuitive.  When their voices combine with the southern twang meets power pop hooks of their music, you come away with something truly special.

Hayshaker: The Dilemma (Buy Album)

ReviewShine Wednesday: Hayshaker, Shiny & The Spoon

Posted in Hayshaker, Shiny and the Spoon on June 30, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Every Wednesday, I feature a brief review of at least one album that has been submitted to me through the ReviewShine website. I have cleverly titled this recurring segment “ReviewShine Wednesday.”

Our first featured act today is a band from Waycross, GA called Hayshaker. Waycross was the childhood home of Gram Parsons, and the band finds some of his spirit still haunting their hometown on this sophomore release. Steel guitars and iron clad harmonies from the husband and wife pair of Chris and Laurie Rider (Chris goes by CC. Yup… CC Rider) form the basis for many of the eight tracks on Tin Roof Snare. Standouts include the Guthrie inspired folk of “As I Slept In,” and the full-on twang of “Swamp County.” The title track also serves as a nice example of their sound.

Hayshaker: Tin Roof Snare (Buy Album)

Our second act today features another male/female vocal pairing in the Cincinnati based ukulele duo Shiny & The Spoon. Amber Nash and Jordan Neff have been playing together as Shiny & The Spoon for a couple of years now and have honed an inviting style with their sparse arrangements, warm harmonies, and gently strummed melodies. Their self-titled album has a light and dreamy feel that makes it a perfect late night, chill-out record. Their musical philosophy is seemingly spelled out in the title to the opening track… “Simple Song.” It works.

Shiny & The Spoon: Simple Song (Buy Album)