Hear It First

  • Hear It First: Tony Trischka, 'Shall We Hope'

    • January 07, 2021
    • Henry Carrigan

    When banjo innovator Tony Trischka embarked on this 18-track story cycle, Shall We Hope, 12 years ago, he could not have envisioned a group of right-wing protestors breaching the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, as part of thrumming movement to reverse the results of a democratically held election.

  • Hear It First: Suzzy Roche & Lucy Wainwright Roche, ‘I Can Still Hear You’

    • October 26, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    From the guitar strums and exalted vocals of the title track—which opens the album—to the fading notes of the closer, I Can Still Hear You by Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche wraps us warmly in its lush vocal harmonies, its magical lyrics, and its ethereal musical atmosphere. Listening to this album is a bit like walking into a forest and being surrounded by sounds that beckon us with their beauty, leading us deeper and deeper into our soul’s dwelling place. The sonic structure of each song both comforts us and carries us out of ourselves, at least momentarily, flowing along cascading rivers of sound.

  • Hear It First: Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, 'Fiddler's Pastime'

    • September 01, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Fiddler’s Pastime delivers a good time and illustrates Bronwyn Keith-Hynes’ ability to stretch out and follow her fiddle where it leads her as she travels brilliantly down various creative paths, illuminating our ways as we accompany her.

  • Hear It First: The Texicana Mamas, 'The Texicana Mamas'

    • August 18, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    The Texicana Mamas’ vision for their self-titled, debut album is clear: to celebrate their heritage and to bring the beauty of the music to others. Stephanie Urbina Jones says, “we wanted to be a voice for our people and our country; to follow the threads of love.” The Texicana Mamas is an album for our time, for it captures brilliantly the enduring beauty of small moments of our lives woven into a fraying social fabric in which love is the thread that holds the promise for unity and hope.

  • Hear It First: Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, 'Bitter Better'

    • July 10, 2020
    • Devon Léger

    Effortlessly complex string arrangements that sound simple and natural? Check. Powerfully astute songwriting that touches on the waxing and waning of love across time? Check. Seamlessly integrated electronic music components pushing the album further towards indie pop than you might think? Check. Laura Cortese’s strength has always been as a bandleader, shepherding an eclectic and interesting vision for folk, and the new album finds her even more at the fore.

  • Hear It First: Mile Twelve, 'Roll the Tapes All Night Long'

    • June 25, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Roll the Tapes All Night Long showcases Mile Twelve’s restless creativity, their ability to inhabit a song and turn it inside out to make it their own, even as they preserve the spirit of the original. Mile Twelve embraces every twist and turn in the musical terrain, showing us around the nooks and crannies of bluegrass, folk, jazz, and even rock, revealing the glimmering facets of each style.

  • Hear It First: The Mammals, 'Nonet'

    • May 19, 2020
    • Kim Ruehl

    With nine members, for their ninth album in almost 20 years, the Mammals have readied a collection of songs that drip with raw humanity, titled, appropriately, Nonet.

  • Hear It First: David Bromberg Band, 'Big Road'

    • April 13, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Listening to David Bromberg and his band’s Big Road is like driving on the open road with the windows down, letting the breezes of various musical styles wash over you. Skittering fiddles drive the tunes around winding curves of bluegrass and jazz, scampering pedal steel steers the tunes through the western hills and southern hollers of country, and driving, propulsive guitars stretch out on the straightaways. The expansive sound of Big Road sweeps us along with it, and with Bromberg as the driver we’re in for a great adventure and one of the best trips of our lives.

  • Hear It First: Eliza Gilkyson, '2020'

    • April 03, 2020
    • Kim Ruehl

    All told, the album is a stirring, timely, beautifully written message about the importance of unity and collaboration in a time of great partisan divide. Timed on purpose for an election year, Gilkyson couldn’t have possibly foreseen the social and political environment into which the album would release.

  • Hear It First: Appalachian Road Show, 'Tribulation'

    • March 26, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Appalachian Road Show’s new album, 'Tribulation,' perfectly speaks to our dark and unsettling times. On the one hand, the songs embrace the trials and tribulations of uncertain days filled with despair and loss and suffering, when any glimmer of hope only dimly shines through the darkness. And, on the other hand, they celebrate the community that gathers together in the face of such tribulation to celebrate love, to dance and to sing of the possibilities of redemption, to welcome home the weary from their travails.