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

    • Jun 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.

  • Video Premiere: Raffi Joe Wartanian, "Never Forever"

    • May 26, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    “’Never Forever’ is a meditation on impermanence, and a musical exploration of how cultures can converse. Like the entire album Critical Distance, I tried to find the songs, and articulate them as faithfully as possible. There was no specific stylistic agenda, but more so an open-hearted approach to letting the music lead the way. "

  • Video Premiere: Jake Blount, "Beyond This Wall"

    • May 24, 2020
    • Kelly McCartney

    Joined here by Tatiana Hargreaves, Blount works through "Beyond This Wall" from his upcoming debut album Spider Tales (out 5/29 on Free Dirt Records). Written by Judy Hyman well before anyone in particular was talking about building any walls, the tune was actually named by Hyman's husband, Jeff Claus, after he saw an old photo of the entrance to a lesser-known concentration camp. Blount welcomed the tune into the Black string band canon because the experiences of and expressions by one group of marginalized people very often mirror those of another.

  • 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.

  • Video Premiere: Twisted Pine, "Amadeus Party"

    • May 8, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    What happens when the Punch Brothers meets Jean-Luc Ponty and Ian Anderson and they stroll down Mozart lane? Why, Twisted Pine’s beguiling and catchy “Amadeus Party,” of course. Mandolinist Dan Bui scats down the frets of his mandolin to open the tune, while flautist Anh Phung trills in counterpoint, providing the foundation for fiddler Kathleen Parks to float in with her sensuous fiddle runs. The merry band scampers along with fiddle, flute, and mandolin weaving in and around each other, the music spiraling into a joyous party song, and the bluegrass jazz turns disco as the band shouts “Amadeus Party,” with members of Twisted Pine dressed for the occasion.

  • Song Premiere: Christian Sedelmyer, "Deacon Waltz" (feat. Jerry Douglas)

    • May 5, 2020
    • Kelly McCartney

    Here, Sedelmyer and dobro master Jerry Douglas, with whom he regularly plays, take turns teasing out both the heartache and hope with support from Andrew Marlin on mandolin, Eli West on guitar and banjo, and Clint Mullican on double bass. In addition to Ravine Palace, this group of musicians, minus Douglas, gathered together for Marlin's solo album back in 2018 and again, only recently, for West's next release. Their comfort with and confidence in each other allows space within this song, and the rest of the album, for the music to work its magic.

  • Video Premiere: Pharis & Jason Romero, "Hometown Blues"

    • Apr 14, 2020
    • Kim Ruehl

    For this song, “Hometown Blues,” the duo drew from the story of Pharis’s father, who returned to Horsefly, B.C., after living for a time in larger cities like Vancouver and Montreal. For the instrumental arrangement, the couple leaned on the aesthetic and low-tuned banjo style of their shared hero John Hartford.

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

    • Apr 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.

  • Song Premiere: The Lowest Pair, "Shot Down the Sky"

    • Apr 10, 2020
    • Kelly McCartney

    “It's about the sky falling. The idea of wanting — or what you think you want in a moment — going for it, and then exploring the fascinating aftermath,” Winter explains, adding. “And it’s about letting go of expectations, acceptance. But really the imagery of being on the ground with the moon and stars all around is what drove my lyrics. The literal idea of the sky falling, but like out of a kid's picture where the land ends an inch up from the bottom of the page and the sky is just that top trim of the paper. And all the little balls and suns come tumbling down."