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

    • Jan 7, 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.

  • Song Premiere: Jackson Scribner, "Family Gatherings"

    • Dec 11, 2020
    • Cindy Howes

    North Texas songwriter, Jackson Scribner has one of those intriguing voices that make you lean in and listen. His voice runs atop a meandering melody (has he been listening to Mary Gauthier?) on his new song “Family Gatherings,” which Folk Alley is happy to debut today.

  • Video Premiere: Jesse Colin Young, "Four In the Morning"

    • Nov 24, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Like the troubadour he’s always been, Jesse Colin Young always find a new highway to travel, even when the rest of the world is standing still. His new album is aptly named Highway Troubadour, for it contains a lifetime of music that reflects Young’s journey’s into the shadows and into the brilliant sunlight. The new album features newly-recorded solo performances—just Young and his guitar—of songs from his entire catalog, from “Sugar Babe” to “Cast a Stone,” from his most recent album Dreamers to the theme song he wrote for his series of podcasts this year, Tripping on My Roots. The COVID lockdown certainly has not kept this troubadour from flying down the highway, making the music he loves and raising his voice in support of justice, compassion, and unity. “This has been a grand adventure,” he says.

  • Video Premiere: Mipso, “Just Want To Be Loved”

    • Nov 12, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Many of us stand outside certain communities looking in, sometimes yearning to be a part, often simply marveling that the community shares so freely a love missing in our own community. With a momentary tinge of regret, we might walk away, or we may tentatively approach members of the community, seeking welcome and acceptance; very often the circle widens, embracing us. In some ways, we’re all outsiders during the pandemic, with community circles closing tighter and tighter and disallowing others in.

  • Song Premiere: Michael Doucet, "Covid 19 (Don't Want No)

    • Nov 8, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Michael Doucet’s ferocious, almost, savage sawing of his fiddle opens this harrowing minor chord mantra about the fear, the claustrophobia, the anxiety, the isolation we’ve all been feeling since the COVID-19 virus spread rapidly around the world.

  • Video Premiere: Jake La Botz, "Hey Bigfoot"

    • Oct 28, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    The rattling roll of a snare drum kicks off this funked-up nod and a wink take on the human predicament. With its tingling xylophone on the bridge and loping rhythms, Jake La Botz's “Hey Bigfoot” echoes the theme songs of Friday night frights films while at the same time evoking the striding cadences of the song’s central character.

  • Video Premiere: Moira Smiley & Seamus Egan (feat. Sam Amidon), "Days of War"

    • Oct 27, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Moira Smiley’s airy and delicate “Days of War” opens with the chanting of a crowd and slides into Smiley’s gently plucked circling banjo that weaves under and around Seamus Egan’s circling guitar lines. “Days of War” cleverly records the conversation between a human, who asks why we can’t all get along and if there is any hope we ever will, and a bird that can see for miles and miles from its vantage point that indeed love can conquer fear: “I sing to know that love is near because anger holds the hand of fear/I sing to know that love is near, oh courage take the hand of fear.” Sam Amidon’s and Smiley’s spiraling vocals and ethereal music fly high over a landscape littered with fear and hate, leading us to a land where love and courage, beauty and reconciliation are possible.

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

    • Oct 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.

  • Song Premiere: Robby Hecht, "The Ends and the Means" (Orchestral Version)

    • Oct 8, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Robby Hecht is releasing a gorgeous and poignant orchestral version of "The Ends and the Means," just when we need it most. Ben Plotnick’s violin and viola and Kaitlyn Raitz’s cello introduce the song with soaring walls of sound that lay the somber foundation for Hecht’s luminous storytelling and searching meditations on human nature and its foibles.

  • Song Premiere: Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters, "Desert Flowers"

    • Sep 22, 2020
    • Henry Carrigan

    Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters’ gorgeous new song, “Desert Flowers,” washes over us in cascading waves of sound that evoke aching loneliness, yearning hope, hungry nostalgia, and pining for life on the road. The exquisite poetry and sonic splendor of the song lingers and resonates in the soul long after the last note fades