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Folk Alley Radio Show #171228

December 31, 2017

by Linda Fahey

Folk Alley Logo - tan matte 240.jpg Each week, host Elena See collects the best in contemporary and traditional folk, Americana and roots music from the latest releases, classics, exclusive Folk Alley in-studio and live concert recordings. Two new hours each week.

{{Audio for this episode is no longer available.}}

PLAYLIST

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour One:

Lori McKenna - The Bird & the Rifle - The Bird & the Rifle - CN Records/Thirty Tigers

Bon Iver - 00000 Million - 22, A Million - Jagjaguwar

The Stray Birds - Hands of Man - Magic Fire - Yep Roc Records

Sam Bush - It's Not What You Think - Storyman - Sugar Hill

Kaia Kater - Rising Down - Nine Pin - Kingswood Records

Heather Masse (compilation) - Mittens - Christmas On the Lam and Other Songs from the Season - Red House Records

John Gorka - Holed Up Mason City - Bright Side Of Down - Red House

Suzzy Roche - Cold Hard Wind - Songs From An Unmarried Housewife and Mother, Greenich Village,U - Red House

Buddy Miller (compilation) - One of These Days (live) - The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris - Rounder

Mavis Staples (compilation) - Will the Circle Be Unbroken (LIVE) - The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris - Rounder

Chris Coole - Thinking About Home - The Tumbling River and Other Stories - Northern

Mike + Ruthy - Chasing Gold (in-studio) - Exclusive Folk Alley in-studio recording -

Guy Davis (Compilation) - We All Need More Kindness in This World - These Times We're Living In - Red House

Ann Wilson - Get Together - Hope and Glory - Zoe

Hour Two:

Balsam Range - Blue Collar Dreams - Mountain Voodoo - Mountain Home Music

Jayme Stone - Hog Went Through the Fence, Yoke and All - Jayme Stone's Lomax Project - Borealis

Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer - Long, Black Road Into Tulsa Town - Seven Is The Number - TGM

Courtney Hartman - When You See the Morning - Nothing We Say - Courtney Hartman

Della Mae - Hounds (In-Studio) - Exclusive Folk Alley Recording - Folk Alley exclusive

Lucinda Williams - Stand Right By Each Other - Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone - Highway 20 Records (Thirty)

Martin Sexton - Love Keep Us Together - Black Sheep - Eastern Fr

Jeff Black - Sing Together - Folklore - Lotus Nile Music

Robert Earl Keen - Feelin' Good Again (live) - Live Dinner Reunion - Dualtone Music Group

Robert Earl Keen - Gringo Honeymoon (live) - Live Dinner Reunion - Dualtone Music Group

Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now - Mercy Now - LostHighwa

Wilco - We Aren't The World (Safety Girl) - Schmilco - dBpm/ANTI-

Shirley Collins - Old Johnny Buckle - Lodestar - Domino

David Grisman - Richochet - The David Grisman Quintet - Kaleidosco

Amanda Shires - Nursery Rhyme - My Piece of Land - Silver Knife Records

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show is produced by Linda Fahey and Elena See with assistance by Jon Nungesser. The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or directly from WKSU via FTP for non-PRX members. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried on over 50 stations nationally.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 10:41 AM

Folk Alley's Best of 2017 - Matt Reilly's Top 5 Texans

December 28, 2017

by Matt Reilly, Folk Alley

Matt Reilly Headshot 230sq.jpgWhen you live in Texas, you tend to see things through Lone Star tinted glasses. I know that can be annoying to non-Texans, but we just can't help it. That said, Texas does produce its fair share of top notch roots music, and 2017 was no exception. This top 5 list features a collection of artists who show that strong, inventive songwriting still matters. From the veterans to the up and comers, their take on the most fundamental songwriting aspect - storytelling - tells me that, here in Texas at least, we're in good hands going forward.

LISTEN to this playlist on Spotify

David Ramirez: 'We're Not Going Anywhere' (Sweetworld)

David Ramirez is an amazing songwriter who knows how to turn heartache into beauty. There are no half measures here. I feel like I've been through his break-ups and they're HIS break-ups. That's some good writing. "Watching From A Distance" is a confessional song about something most people won't confess to. iTunes


Ray Wylie Hubbard: 'Tell The Devil That I'm Getting There As Fast As I Can' (Bordello Records)

From the man who brought you "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother", this a dense, wordy record that paints a vivid picture with each song. His songs have become more stories that verse, chorus, verse affairs but this rewards repeated listeners. It's also refreshing to listen to an artist who is keenly aware of his mortality - with tongue firmly in cheek. iTunes


Shinyribs: 'I Got Your Medicine' (Mustard Lid)

While not yet an American treasure, former Gourds leader, Kevin Russell, is quickly becoming a Central Texas one. The songwriting is more clear that the Gourds material and the songs have a soulful swampiness to them thanks to the horns and backing vocals. Check out "Don't Leave It a Lie" to get a taste of the musical gumbo. Also, if Shinyribs comes to your town, do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars, proceed directly to the show. You will become part of the Shinyribs family whether you like it or not. I think you'll like it though. iTunes


Slaid Cleaves: 'Ghost On the Car Radio' (Candy House Media)

It's been a few years since we got a record from Slaid. The time spent apart has been interesting: his everyman vocal delivery is even more welcome in these days of chaos and uncertainty. "Drunken Barber's Hand" is a particularly good metaphor for what's happening in the world. You'll also learn about old timey measurin'.

iTunes


The Sanco Loop: 'The Sanco Loop' (Victim Records)

Led by Peter Wagner, this sounds like Peter Gabriel with pedal steel. The songs have a dusty, plaintive quality that makes the words within even more striking. These are clearly very personal stories Wagner is telling us, and the unfussy productions brings the words front and center. Check out "Hot Year". It's an unlikely earworm. iTunes

Posted by Linda Fahey at 10:40 AM

Folk Alley Radio Show #171221

December 26, 2017

by Linda Fahey

Folk Alley Logo - tan matte 240.jpg Each week, host Elena See collects the best in contemporary and traditional folk, Americana and roots music from the latest releases, classics, exclusive Folk Alley in-studio and live concert recordings. Two new hours each week.

{{The audio for this episode is no longer available.}}

PLAYLIST

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour One:

Yola Carter - What You Do - Orphan Offering (EP) - Yola Carter/Ear Trumpet

Offa Rex - Blackleg Miner - The Queen of Hearts - Nonesuch

David Ramirez - Watching from a Distance - We're Not Going Anywhere - Sweetworld/Thirty Tigers

Mipso - Train Down the Line - Coming Down The Mountain - Mipso

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters - Learning How To Love Him - Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters - Organic Records

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Hope the High Road - The Nashville Sound - Southeastern Records

Chastity Brown - Drive Slow - Silhouette of Sirens - Red House Records

Lenore - Breathe - Lenore - Lenore

Twisted Pine - I Miss Talking - Twisted Pine - Signature Sounds

Flatt Lonesome - I'm Not Afraid To Be Alone - Silence In These Walls - Mountain Home

Slaid Cleaves - Drunken Barber's Hand - Ghost On the Car Radio - Candy House Media

The Mastersons - Perfect - Transient Lullaby - Red House Records

Bill Scorzari - Holy Man - Through These waves - Bill Scorzari

Nikki Lane - Highway Queen - Highway Queen - New West Records

The Mavericks - Easy As It Seems - Brand New Day - Mono Mundo

Hour Two:

The Infamous Stringdusters - This Ol' Building - Laws of Gravity - Compass Records

Alison Krauss - Poison Love - Windy City - Capitol Records

Willie Watson - Samson and Delilah - Folksinger Vol. 2 - Acony Records

Guy Clark - Just To Watch Maria Dance (Unreleased Writer Demo) - The Best of the Dualtone Years - Dualtone

Steve Earle & The Dukes (feat. Willie Nelson) - So You Wannabe An Outlaw - So You Wannabe An Outlaw - Warner Brothers

Rayna Gellert - Workin's Too Hard - Workin's Too Hard - StorySound Records

Rodney Crowell - It Ain't Over Yet ( feat. Rosanne Cash & John Paul White) - Close Ties - New West Records

Molly Tuttle - Good Enough - Rise (EP) - Molly Tuttle Music

The Secret Sisters - He's Fine - You Don't Own Me Anymore - New West Records

David Rawlings - Come On Over To My House - Poor David's Almanack - Acony Records

I'm With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan) - Little Lies - Little Lies (EP) - I'm With Her/Rounder

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn - Don't Let It Bring You Down - Echo In the Valley - Rounder Records/Concord

The Wailin' Jennys - Wildflowers - Fifteen - Red House Records

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - If We Were Vampires - The Nashville Sound - Southeastern Records

Rhiannon Giddens (with Bhi Bhiman) - Freedom Highway - Freedom Highway - Nonesuch

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show is produced by Linda Fahey and Elena See with assistance by Jon Nungesser. The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or directly from WKSU via FTP for non-PRX members. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried on over 50 stations nationally.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 1:59 PM

Folk Alley's Best of 2017 - Cindy Howes' Top 10

December 22, 2017

by Cindy Howes, Folk Alley

Cindy Howes BlueHeadshot sq crop 300.jpg2017 was a difficult year personally and it didn't help that the world seemed to be falling in on itself even more than usual. To be honest, it was so dark and hard that I couldn't listen to music for a while (the volume was down a lot during my radio shows). Eventually, I started to open up to new music again. It was an incredibly painful year, but at the same time, that's when you need art and beauty the most. The feeling that music gave me as I started coming out on the other side is indescribable and probably not relatable, so for the most part, this list is extremely personal. This music was with me when I was at my lowest. It saved me and I am so grateful.

LISTEN to this playlist on Spotify

Ethan Gruska: 'Slowmotionary' (Sire)

Ethan is in The Belle Brigade with his sister and they make peppy indie pop, but this is so different from that. 'Slowmotionary' is a beautiful, quiet and sincere record full of cinematic vignettes accompanied by mostly piano and acoustic guitar. It kind of reminds me of 1940's jazz crooners. The album is a comfort and like an understanding friend that carries you through to better times. iTunes


The Barr Brothers: 'Queens of the Breakers' (Secret City)

Based in Montreal and originally from Providence, RI, The Barr Brothers' mixture of folk, rock and whatever it is that harp player is doing, served as my soundtrack when I felt like I was coming back from the bottom. This record is perfect to accompany a crisp autumn morning walk you'd rather not be taking. "I know it's hard to see the light when you're on your knees," Brad Barr sings on the opening track "Defibrillation." See this band live; this was the best show I've ever seen. No joke. iTunes


Rhiannon Giddens: 'Freedom Highway' (Nonesuch)

Last year I read "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi, which is a hard and important book that chronicles 7 generations of two sisters from Ghana. One remained in her homeland and the other was captured into slavery and shipped to America. That devastating book along with Rhiannon Giddens' second solo record are the clearest depiction of Black American history you could ask for. From slavery, to civil rights, to the current struggle with police brutality, Giddens lays it out like a history lesson. iTunes


Josh Ritter: 'Gathering' (Cooking Vinyl)

Something is up with Josh Ritter because he is sounding EPIC on this record. One guess is that his collaborative album with Bob Weir inspired him to make his own wide-open sounding cowboy-style record. Ritter's writing is busted open and his faithful Royal City Band lays down their sophisticated touches. iTunes


Rose Cousins: 'Natural Conclusion' (Old Farm Pony Records)

Your favorite Canadian cousin went to Los Angeles and recorded her latest album with master producer Joe Henry and a gang of top notch musicians (including my favorite drummer Jay Bellerose! "Like Trees" has sick drums!!). It's nice to hear Rose's voice against her piano playing. That piano also fully seals the deal on crying your face off to her music. I can't tell you all the lessons I've learned from Rose over the years. Her records are like therapy. 'Natural Conclusion' takes what she's been doing so masterfully for years to the next level. iTunes


Deb Talan: 'Lucky Girl' (Nettwerk)

Deb Talan decided that after being in a band (The Weepies) for over a decade, raising three boys and surviving breast cancer, that she needed to do something in order to find herself again. Thankfully (!) that meant her first solo record in 13 years: 'Lucky Girl.' Is there a better modern day unknown songwriter out there other than Deb Talan? No. There is not. iTunes


Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit: 'The Nashville Sound' (Southeastern Records)

The songs called for rock and roll, so Jason Isbell got the band (The 400 Unit) back together for his third release with producer Dave Cobb. On some songs, Isbell writes from the perspective of flawed, yet sympathetic characters. On others, he gets very personal dealing with issues of gender inequality and racism. Through it all, he finds a way to keep his sincerity and humor (where appropriate) on the forefront. iTunes


Son Little: 'New Magic' (ANTI-)

Aaron Livingston, known on stage as Son Little, doesn't really have a genre that he likes to stick to. On his second release, 'New Magic,' he has further developed his dark groove among experimental rock, folk and blues. His voice somehow sounds like it's two voices up against guitar lines that would make Hendrix or Muddy Waters sit up and pay attention. There is something otherworldly about his presentation that is futuristic, but encompasses the past at the same time. iTunes


Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards: 'California Calling' (Compass)

Boston-based fiddler Laura Cortese's first release with her quartet gives the singer-songwriter an edge that existed in her music, but has not seen fruition like this before. Produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive), Cortese sounds like she is tapping into a new freedom and lightness while still upholding the traditional sound that she has previously mastered. iTunes


Julien Baker: 'Turn Out The Lights' (Matador)

Everyone I know is freaking out about Julien Baker and okay fine, I will add my voice to the crowd. She is the real deal: vulnerable, struggling and powerful. Mostly the record centers on the struggle for self-care and explaining her mental illness and addiction to those closest to her. Her beautiful arrangements on electric guitar and piano (a new thing for her!) float alongside devastating lyrics. High points of the record come when her calm even voice suddenly soars to a scream, which is both jarring and affirming that she's not giving up the fight to be well. iTunes

Posted by Linda Fahey at 11:30 AM

Folk Alley's Best of 2017 - Kelly McCartney's 10 Overlooked/Underrated Singer/Songwriter Records

December 21, 2017

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for Folk Alley

Kelly McCartney 400.jpg10 Overlooked/Underrated Singer/Songwriter Records of 2017

There are a lot of amazing artists making magnificent music -- many of whom doing so just under the radar. The top however-many lists that round out each year are wonderful, but there are always records that don't make the cut for one reason or another. Still, they deserve to be heard... starting with these.


LISTEN to this playlist on Spotify.


Aimee Mann: 'Mental Illness' (Super Ego Records)

Aimee Mann is a fantastic songwriter. That should be enough to warrant a listen, but if you need more... 'Mental Illness' is her finest effort in over a decade. And that's really saying something because even her worst records are better than many artists' bests. iTunes


Andrew Combs: 'Canyons of My Mind' (New West Records)

Andrew Combs' 'All These Dreams' was in my top two for 2015, so the bar was HIGH. On 'Canyons,' he rambles and ranges further from the musical center of 'Dreams,' incorporating a wider spectrum of sounds and styles. And it's lovely to behold. iTunes


Ani DiFranco: 'Binary' (Righteous Babe Records)

No one writes songs and records sounds like Ani DiFranco does. There's something so beautifully tweaked in her brain that allows her to make music a full-contact sport. It's kind of ridiculous and definitely righteous. iTunes


Anna Tivel: 'Small Believer' (Fluff and Gravy)

There's something about the vibe of an Anna Tivel record that is so very, very soothing... even while the songwriting that lingers underneath cuts right to the core. If your heart is going to be broken, may it be broken so beautifully as this. iTunes


Caroline Spence: 'Spades & Roses' (Tone Tree Music)

This gal... blimey! Caroline Spence uses metaphors and imagery in ways that few other songwriters do. On 'Spades & Roses,' she does so to stunning effect, particularly on tunes like "Softball" and "All the Beds I've Made." She's so good. Really. Just so good. iTunes


Chastity Brown: 'Silhouette of Sirens' (Red House Records)

Chastity Brown has a way of turning a thoroughly ordinary phrase about an incredibly mundane detail into absolute poetry. No idea how she makes "I was three feet away from the love of my life" pack such a damn punch, but she does. Time and again. iTunes


John Craigie: 'No Rain, No Rose' (Zabriskie Point Records)

That breezy, California folk-rock sound of the late '60s/early '70s is always a winner, and John Craigie leans right on into it on 'No Rain, No Rose.' iTunes


Kelly McFarling: 'Water Dog' (Kelly McFarling)

This is just a cool record, top to bottom. And, since it is the Year of the Banjo, at least one record on the list had to step pretty well to it. But Kelly McFarling uses the banjo similarly to Pieta Brown or Birds of Chicago. That is to say, lovingly and sparingly. iTunes


Sera Cahoone: 'From Where I Started' (Lady Muleskinner Records)

What a charmer this one is. There's nothing fancy or frivolous about what Sera Cahoone does on 'From Where I Started,' but that allows the thoughtfulness and heart to come shining through. (Bonus points for the banjos!) iTunes


Will Hoge: 'Anchors' (EDLO Records)

Not sure any other artist this year captured the challenges and charms of long-term relationships the way Will Hoge did. On 'Anchors,' Hoge's writing matches the nuance that is, necessarily, a part of living our way into -- and sometimes out of -- love. iTunes

Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:01 PM

Folk Alley Radio Show #171214

December 18, 2017

by Linda Fahey

Folk Alley Logo - tan matte 240.jpg Each week, host Elena See collects the best in contemporary and traditional folk, Americana and roots music from the latest releases, classics, exclusive Folk Alley in-studio and live concert recordings. Two new hours each week.

{{The audio for this episode is no longer available.}}

PLAYLIST

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour One:

Indigo Girls - Happy Joyous Hanukkah - Holly Happy Days - Vanguard Records

The Barenaked Ladies - Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah - Barenaked For The Holidays - Desperatin

Josh Ritter - Wintertime (The Snow is Coming Down) - Acoustic Christmas (compilation) - Amazon Music

Valerie June (compilation) - Winter Wonderland - An American Christmas - New West Records

Over the Rhine - Blood Oranges In the Snow - Blood Oranges In the Snow - Great Speckled Dog

Shovels & Rope (feat. Brandi Carlile) - Cleanup Hitter - Busted Jukebox, Volume 2 - New West Records

Shovels & Rope (feat. John Moreland) - Blue Eyes Crying In the Rain - Busted Jukebox, Volume 2 - New West Records

Boubacar Traore - Dounia Tabolo - Dounia Tabolo - Lusafrica

Richard Thompson - Gethsemane - Acoustic Classics II - Beeswing

Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman - Old Time River Man - Dear John - Refuge Foundation for the

Black Prairie - For the Love of Jon Hartford - A Tear In the Eye Is A Wound In the Heart - Sugar Hill Records

The Howlin' Brothers - Julia Belle Swain - Howl - Readymade Records

KC Groves - Train 45 - Happy Little Trees - KC Groves

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks - Santa Gotta Choo Choo - Crazy For Christmas - Surfdog

Hour Two:

Nikki Lane - Highway Queen - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Robert Ellis - Drivin' - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Darrell Scott - World of Wonder - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

John Gorka - Good Noise - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Sarah Lee Guthrie - I've Got to Know - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Musique À Bouches - Plantons La Vigne - Folk Alley Session at FestiTrad - Folk Alley Exclusive

Andre Brunet - À Plein Souffle (medley) - Folk Alley Session at FestiTrad - Folk Alley Exclusive

The Lonely Heartstring Band - The Other Side - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Twisted Pine - I Miss Talking - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

John Craigie - Bucket List Grandmas - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Red Tail Ring - Wondrous Love/Lay Aside Your Crown - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Rayna Gellert & Kieran Kane - Cold Air - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Kris Delmhorst - Color of the Sky - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Peter Mulvey - The Last Song - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show is produced by Linda Fahey and Elena See with assistance by Jon Nungesser. The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or directly from WKSU via FTP for non-PRX members. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried on over 50 stations nationally.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 9:47 AM

Folk Alley's Best of 2017 - Elena See's Top 10 Albums

December 15, 2017

By Elena See, FolkAlley.com

elena see 1 square crop 250.jpg

Musically, 2017 was a year of discovery and, frankly, awe. It started in February when I attended the Folk Alliance International Conference for the first time in ... oh, nearly a decade or so. Being surrounded by people so enthusiastic and excited about music was infectious. It reminded me that, in spite of everything else that's wrong with the world today, there's a whole lot of good music being made. It was a much-needed reminder this year, too. Below, in no particular order, music that surprised me, inspired me, engaged me, and delighted me. I hope it does all those things for you, too.










mavericks.jpgThe Mavericks: Brand New Day (Mono Mundo Recordings)

The weeks leading up to the 2016 United States presidential election were...challenging. And suddenly, small differences of opinion seemed insurmountable. Raul Malo's voice is, as always, an incredible comfort. Plus, reminders to never stop fighting for what is right and to keep our ears, hearts, and minds open are always welcome.





nikki lane.jpgNikki Lane: Highway Queen (New West Records)

Two words: Kick. Ass. Approaching life with an eyes-wide-open, take no prisoners attitude, outlaw country rocker Nikki Lane is a musician who's so spunky and so tough that there's nothing in the world that scares her. And that kind of attitude is exactly what I needed in 2017.





mastersons.jpgThe Mastersons: Transient Lullaby (Red House Records)

A gorgeous amalgamation of voices, instruments, harmonies, and lyrics - that's what Transient Lullaby is all about. Created by a couple of the best "side players" in the business, this album showcases the soloist talents of Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore.





david ramirez.jpgDavid Ramirez: We're Not Going Anyway (Sweetworld)

David Ramirez was one of my new discoveries this year - shameful, really, since he's been making good music for a while now. The Austin-based songwriter's lens is one that will enable you to see things from a different perspective than your own - something we all need to do now.





flatt lonesome.jpgFlatt Lonesome: Silence in These Walls (Home Music Company)

Fronted by siblings Kelsi Robertson Harrigill, Charlie Robertson, and Buddy Robertson, Flatt Lonesome is an extraordinary example of a talented young bluegrass band. Not afraid to incorporate all sorts of diverse musical interests and influences, Silence in These Walls is a clear indicator that the future of music is in great hands.




jason isbell 400 unite.jpgJason Isbell and the 400 Unit: The Nashville Sound (Southeastern Records)

Really, what is there to say about this record? I almost didn't include it on my list. Not because it's NOT a favorite or a best of the year, but because I know everyone else is going to include it, too. Whether it's the super obvious tracks ("White Man's World") or the more subtle ones ("Hope the High Road"), these musicians have a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the world.





chastity brown.jpgChastity Brown: Silhouette of Sirens (Red House Records)

There's lots to say about Chastity Brown's Silhouette of Sirens. But for me, it comes down to her voice. Her voice! What a gorgeous sound she creates...in fact, her voice is a sound I can listen to without knowing (or caring) what she's saying. Of course - she's saying lots of great things. But that voice! Sigh.





Lenore.jpgLenore.: Lenore. (Lenore.)

I love the backstory of this band - a couple of down on their luck musicians meet each other...and voila. Musical magic. Lenore. is a Portland, Oregon band and is one of many great bands/musicians coming out of that west coast scene. What makes these two musical friends stand out, though, is their very, very unusual - and very, very captivating - vocal harmonies. Their voices together - something truly magical.





bill scorzari.jpgBill Scorzari: Through These Waves (Bill Scorzari)

Bill Scorzari, a New York-based musician, is someone who (I'm ashamed to say) I was not familiar with before this album. Rough and gritty, grumbly and tough...his voice runs the gamut of emotions. And this album runs through a whole gamut of emotions, too. It was perhaps the most surprising album of 2017 for me.





twisted pine.jpgTwisted Pine: Twisted Pine (Signature Sounds Recordings)

Fun - that's the word that comes to my mind when I think of this young Boston-based band. Whether they're on stage or in the studio (check out Folk Alley's exclusive session, if you haven't already), a great sense of fun - something we all needed in 2017 - pervades their music. A delight.




Posted by Linda Fahey at 12:10 AM

Folk Alley Best of 2017 Listener Poll Results

December 14, 2017

by Linda Fahey

Thumbnail image for Folk Alley Best of 2017 Listener Poll SQ 300x300.pngFolk Alley's Best of 2017 - Listener Poll

If you listen to Folk Alley, you know our goal is to present a diverse and eclectic mix of the best folk, roots, and Americana music. Music by new and emerging artists as well as familiar favorites. So, every December, when we poll our listeners and ask them to vote for their favorite albums of the year, it's interesting to see what percolates to the top. Not surprisingly, it ends up being a diverse and eclectic mix of great folk, roots, and Americana artists!

CLICK HERE the see the Top 50 Listener Poll results for 2017.

Music from these albums, along with Folk Alley hosts' and staff top picks for the year, will be included in our Best of 2017 Fresh Cuts side stream available December 20th.

For now, CLICK HERE to LISTEN on Spotify


Posted by Linda Fahey at 6:07 PM

Folk Alley Radio Show #171207

by Linda Fahey

Folk Alley Logo - tan matte 240.jpg Each week, host Elena See collects the best in contemporary and traditional folk, Americana and roots music from the latest releases, classics, exclusive Folk Alley in-studio and live concert recordings. Two new hours each week.

Stream this week's show. (audio may take a minute to load on mobile devices)

{Audio for this episode is no longer available.}

PLAYLIST

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour One:

The Mavericks - Christmas Time Is (Coming 'Round Again) - (single) - Mono Mundo

The Mavericks - I Will Be Yours - Brand New Day - Mono Mundo

Bruce Cockburn -Cafe Society- Bone on Bone - True North

Mama's Broke - Even Though - Count the Wicked - Mama's Broke

The Small Glories - Something To Hold Onto - Wondrous Traveler - The Small Glories

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards - California Calling - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards - Three Little Words - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards - Stockholm - Folk Alley Sessions - Folk Alley Exclusive

Yusuf/Cat Stevens - You Can Do (Whatever)! - The Laughing Apples - Decca/Cat-O-Log

Alison Krauss - I Never Cared For You - Windy City - Capitol Records

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Last of My Kind - The Nashville Sound - Southeastern Records

Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers - Strangest Christmas Yet - The Long Awaited Album - Rounder Records

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks - Run Run Rudolph - Crazy For Christmas - Surfdog

Hour Two:

KC Groves - Northern Lights - Happy Little Trees - KC Groves

Rayna Gellert - Strike the Bells - Workin's Too Hard - StorySound Records

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn - Come All You Coal Miners - Echo In the Valley - Rounder Records/ Concord

Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman - Them Way Long Time Ago Times - Dear John - Refuge Foundation for the

Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman - Here I Am In Love Again - Dear John - Refuge Foundation for the

The Secret Sisters - Tennessee River Runs Low - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

The Secret Sisters - Mississippi - Folk Alley Exclusive-Live from the 30A Songwriters Festival - Folk Alley Exclusive

Boubacar Traore - Badialo - Dounia Tabolo - Lusafrica

Bonnie Raitt (Habib Koite) - No Getting' Over You - Silver Lining - Capitol

Robby Hecht - Late Last Night - Late Last Night - self

Dori Freeman - Yonder Comes A Sucker - Letters Never Read - Blue Hens Music

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show is produced by Linda Fahey and Elena See with assistance by Jon Nungesser. The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or directly from WKSU via FTP for non-PRX members. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried on over 50 stations nationally.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 3:42 PM

Album Review: Steep Canyon Rangers, 'Out In the Open'

December 6, 2017

by Elena See, Folk Alley

Steep Canyon Rangers Out In the Open.jpgThe six musicians who make up the North Carolina based Steep Canyon Rangers started out nearly twenty years ago with their feet firmly planted in the bluegrass genre. Over time, they've morphed into a true supergroup: crazy good musicians who've developed an innate understanding of each other's talents and who know exactly how to work with each other to achieve the best possible sound. But, in 2017/2018, is it a true bluegrass sound? Well, kind of.

Of course, identifying a band as part of a specific musical genre has become less and less important. Good music is good music and, frankly, who cares if it's called country or bluegrass or rock 'n' roll? The Steep Canyon Rangers don't seem to care, that's for sure, and neither does producer Joe Henry. Together, they've created 'Out in the Open,' an album that really does offer something for everyone.

There's a melancholy Americana sound that rings out in the opening track, "Farmers and Pharaohs" (just try not to sink into some deep personal reflection as you listen to a man who longs for another chance at the past); barbershop quartet (sextet?) fans will delight in "Shenandoah Valley," with its almost-but-not-quite-gimmicky whistling and vocal harmonies; and there's a classic country feel to "Love Harder," thanks in part to the banjo, mandolin, and fiddle trio that runs throughout the tune. And, in true bluegrass fashion, each instrument gets its chance to shine throughout the album, too: the banjo quietly (yes, really) works its magic on "Roadside Anthems," and harmonica fans will rejoice in the title track.

In short, 'Out in the Open' is a stellar addition to the Rangers' discography. It's full of emotion, heart, and soul, and for an album of songs that seem to circle around themes of loss, regret, and wishes for second chances, there's an underlying air of hope, a promise that, as you hear in a gorgeous cover of Bob Dylan's "Let Me Die in My Footsteps," "mistakes of a past history" won't be repeated.

###

'Out in the Open' will be released January 26, 2018 via Ramseur Records, and is available for pre-order now at iTunes and Amazon.com.

Upcoming tour dates


Posted by Linda Fahey at 3:52 PM

Folk Alley Radio Show #171130

by Linda Fahey

Folk Alley Logo - tan matte 240.jpg Each week, host Elena See collects the best in contemporary and traditional folk, Americana and roots music from the latest releases, classics, exclusive Folk Alley in-studio and live concert recordings. Two new hours each week.

{Audio for this episode is no longer available.}

PLAYLIST

Artist - Title - Album - Label

Hour One:

Darrell Scott - Jesus Was A Capricorn - Live at the Station Inn - Soundly Music

Over the Rhine - If We Make It Through December - Blood Oranges In The Snow - Great Speckled Dog

Mike Barnett (feat. Tim O'Brien) - Mary and the Soldier - Portraits in Fiddles - Compass Records

Mike Barnett (feat. Bobby Hicks) - Fiddle Patch - Portraits in Fiddles - Compass Records

Twisted Pine - Bound To Do It Right (The Jersey City Song) - Twisted Pine - Signature Sounds

Cara Dillon - The Faughan Side - Wanderer - Charcoal Records

John Doyle - North Sea Holes - Evening Comes Early - Shanachie

Boubacar Traoré (w/ Leyla McCalla) - Je chanterai Pour toi - Dounia Tabolo - Lusafrica

Leyla McCalla - Latibonit - Folk Alley in-studio recording - Folk Alley in-studio

Steep Canyon Rangers - Going Midwest - Out in the Open - Ramseur Records

Billy Strings - Pyramid Country - Turmoil & Tinfoil - Apostol Recording

John Hartford - Holding - Aereo-Plain - Rounder

KC Groves - Little Rain - Happy Little Trees - KC Groves

Free the Honey - High Peaks - Fine Bloom - Free the Honey

Hour Two:

Mama's Broke - Count the Wicked - Count the Wicked - Mama's Broke

André Brunet - La Grosse Maison Rouge - Folk Alley Sessions at FestiTrad - Folk Alley Exclusive

Stephen Fearing - Blowhard Nation - Every Soul's a Sailor - Stephen Fearing

Samantha Fish - No Angels - Belle of the West - Ruf Records

Lucinda Williams - Drunken Angel - Car Wheels on a Gravel Road - Mercury

David Rawlings - Money is the Meat In the Coconut - Poor David's Almanack - Acony Records

Gillian Welch - Revelator - Time (The Revelator) - Acony

Mary Gauthier - Bullet Holes in the Sky - Rifles & Rosary Beads - In the Black Records/Thirty

Slaid Cleaves - Still Fighting the War - Still Fighting the War - Music Road Records

Upstate Rubdown - Ball Rolling - A Remedy - Upstate Rubdown

Richie & Rosie - Brushy Folk of St. John's Creek - Nowhere In Time - Richie & Rosie

Jeffrey Martin - Billy Burroughs - One Go Around - Fluff & Gravy

Tommy Emmanuel - Looking Forward to the Past (feat. Rodney Crowell) - Accomplice One - CGP Sounds/Thirty Tigers

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - La Danse de la Joie - The Traveling Kind - Nonesuch Records

Folk Alley's weekly, syndicated radio show is produced by Linda Fahey and Elena See with assistance by Jon Nungesser. The show is available for free to stations via PRX.org or directly from WKSU via FTP for non-PRX members. The Folk Alley Radio Show is presently carried on over 50 stations nationally.

Posted by Linda Fahey at 3:38 PM

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