Archive for the Uncategorized Category

C’mon Over to the New Site

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10, 2015 by AmericanaPulse

This is just a heads up to let anyone know that I am now blogging at my new site The Americana Pulse.

The Americana Pulse is the name of my radio show on Wednesday nights on WDVX. And… If I’m going to start doing this again, I thought some synergy might be nice.

If you do happen to find yourself here… c’mon over and check things out over there.

Sturgill Simpson: Electricity, Integrity, & Ascension (A Live Concert Review & Other Musings)

Posted in Uncategorized on January 30, 2015 by AmericanaPulse

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Bear with me folks… it’s been a while.

Last night, Sturgill Simpson took the stage at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville (pictured above courtesy of my phone) for the first show of a major headlining tour that is seeing most stops either sell out, be forced to bigger venues, or add extra shows. If that show was any indication of the rest of the tour, those of you who were lucky enough to get tickets for those upcoming dates are in for a treat.

A sold out crowd of 700 plus quickly turned into one of the most raucous crowds I’ve seen in Knoxville in some time as Simpson powered his way through his set without ever taking his foot off the throttle. By the time Simpson and his band kicked off the intro to “Living the Dream” fairly early in the set, it seemed as though the roof might just come off the joint.

For me, it felt like the culmination of a year that has been, for Sturgill Simpson, fairly astonishing.

The last time I saw Simpson perform a full set was at the 2013 Americana Music Conference in the back yard of a used record shop in East Nashville. A few dozen people hung out eating barbecue while Simpson and his band played on a makeshift stage under a makeshift tent in the corner of the lot.

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Since then? Well… Simpson released Metamodern Sounds in Country Music early in 2014 and began what became a strong, steady ascent into the larger music consciousnesses.

Late night talk show appearances, glowing write-ups in national publications, sold out clubs, opening slots with major touring acts… These were all things on Simpson’s resume for 2014. Heck… he even got a Grammy nomination. The energy, it seems, has been building and building. And it was released in Knoxville by an artist ready to seize control of a theatre of this size for the first time as a headliner, and reabsorbed by an audience ready to receive the charge. It was a magical thing.

The news of Simpson’s signing with Atlantic Records was released a couple of weeks ago. I see it as the continuation of an artist’s ascension in the industry and recognition of his proficiency at his craft that also brings with it the opportunity to deliver his work to new, and even wider audiences.

Others may hear the words “major label” and immediately feel a sense of panic set in. They’re the ones who created this mess we call Country radio today, right?

Here’s why I’m not concerned:

1. The band I saw on that stage last night, and the man that was leading it, had a fire. It was strong… the kind that is not snuffed out or contained easily.

2. It’s been reported that Simpson has already been working on some new material with producer Dave Cobb. Cobb produced both of Simpson’s first two solo albums, and has a more than solid track record producing a long list of artists (Jason Isbell, Lindi Ortega, Nikki Lane, Shooter Jennings) in the independent Country realm. The fact that Cobb, and not some “hit maker” producer, is potentially involved in Simpsons’ future projects (in addition to another major label artist, Chris Stapelton) may signify good things for more than just Simpson.

3. Waylon did some of his best work with majors, right? I mean… he had to fight for it… but, still.

4. The thing I keep coming back to with Sturgill Simpson is a conversation I had with him right around the same time as that backyard BBQ show I mentioned earlier. The words “truth” and “honesty” came up a lot. Simpson struck me as a man grateful for the opportunity he had to make music, as well as a man respectful of the responsibility that opportunity carries with it. To Simpson, his songs represent him. They represent his family… his hometown… his beliefs and aspirations. He has too much respect for all of those things to make music that is anything less than honest on all of those fronts. To put it another way… as Simpson did during that conversation, “People will see right through bullshit.”

5. Reports are that Simpson’s deal with Atlantic carries complete creative control for the artist. I believe that. I don’t think he would have signed on otherwise.

Though he bristles at the suggestion, Sturgill Simpson may well be the savior of Country Music. Or he may not. We likely won’t know for some time. What we do know now is that every day Simpson’s music is being put in front of more and more people, and those people are latching on. An impending return engagement on Letterman, all the publicity connected with his Grammy nomination, and an announced appearance on Austin City Limits this Spring will only continue the work of beaming Simpson’s music directly into the ears of a Country Music audience that is starving to find even a scrap of authenticity outside the world of the underground.

To put it another way… Y’all keep playing dress-up and trying to sing them old Country songs. People are getting ready to see a lot more of Sturgill Simpson out there doing the real thing.

And they’ll know it’s the real thing. After all… “People will see right through bullshit.”

ReviewShine Wednesday: Natasha Borzilova

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

Many of you may remember Bering Strait, the Russian bluegrass band that gained some notoriety in the early part of the decade when they were nominated for a “Best County Music Instrumental Performance” Grammy.  A few months ago, I told you about seeing former Bering Strait member Lydia Salnikova give a solo performance at 3rd & Lindsley’s in Nashville.  Now I’m here to tell you about a new project from another former Bering Strait member, vocalist and guitarist Natasha Borzilova.

Borzilova’s new CD Balancing Act is her second solo effort and finds her straying from her bluegrass roots.  The eleven tracks here find Borzilova in more of an acoustic singer/songwriter space typically inhabited by artists such as Vienna Teng or Rachel Yamagata… only with a guitar instead of a piano.  The ten originals (The closing track, “Retchka” is a traditional Russian folk song.) presented here are both moody and melodic with Borzilova’s voice adding a haunting quality to many of the tracks.  Speaking of haunting… Here is the album opening “Ghost.”

Natasha Borzilova: Ghost (Buy Album)

Looking for Hosting Info

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

This is a call for help from any tech savvy readers or fellow bloggers who might be reading this.

I’ve been contemplating this for a while now, but something happened today that I think finally has me ready to move this site away from Blogger and try to find my own hosting. When a post is removed that contains no mp3, no YouTube vid, no links of any kind in fact… it’s time to move on. I’ve had a few of these takedowns lately after making legitimate posts, and I don’t want to still be here when Blogger just decides to strike the whole thing.
Can anyone recommend a good and reliable hosting site with a low price tag? I need to find hosting, but I don’t really want to pay much for it.
Is WordPress really as easy as it seems? I know nothing of coding or design. I just want a basic template and an easy to use interface.
I have more than a few questions. If you think you can help, please drop me an email (my address is in the sidebar on the right).
Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

Random Weekend Post: Tift Merritt

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2010 by AmericanaPulse

I’m still gearing up for Tift Merritt’s visit to Knoxville on Wednesday… so I thought I share a couple of her videos today.

First is a song I shared with you yesterday… but I didn’t get to share Merritt’s homemade video that goes along with it. This is “Mixtape.”

And this is a live performance of another song from the new album… “Engine to Turn.”

Don’t forget to listen to Tift Merritt live in the WDVX studios Wednesday afternoon at 5:00 (Eastern)… and don’t forget to register for the Mary Gauthier CD Giveaway contest. I’ll pick a winner Monday evening.

This Band Makes Me Smile

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2009 by AmericanaPulse

Such unbridled energy and randomness on one stage should not be allowed.

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 9, 2008 by AmericanaPulse

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!