Anne Williams on WNRN
Ease into your day with the best music around, every weekday from 6am until 10am. Hosted by Anne Williams. Anne has been with the station for over 16 years. The Acoustic CD of the Month Club has become a staple of WNRN’s fund drives and grows in members each year.
Anne Williams News & Updates
The Acoustic CD of the Month for August 2016 is Caveman’s third album, Otero War.
This five piece indie rock band from Brooklyn came together in 2010 after the dissolution of the members’ former bands. Caveman has been compared to Wilco, the Shins, and Tears for Fears because of its use of synths and rhythmic guitars to create cinematic, heady, melodic indie folk-rock. The reviews of the first two albums praise the quintet with creating complex musical ideas with grabbing melodies and atmospheric warmth.
The cover art of Otero War looking like soundtrack to a sci-fi movie just adds to the idea of the cinematic quality of Caveman’s bright melodies and dystopian lyrics. Any of the songs would easily fit behind movie or tv scenes. “Never Going Back” has a great hook and shows that talent for writing songs that stay with you. Matthew Iwanusa vocals are one of the highlights throughout the album, including “Life Or Just Living”, “Human,” “80 West,” and “All My Life.”
You can check out the recent interview that WNRN’s Melissa Goode did with Caveman at: http://www.wnrn.org/?s=caveman
One of the great masters of Americana and the Nashville session player scene, Mark O’Connor, has put together a band consisting of his wife, his son, and his son’s fiance: O’Connor Band with Mark O’Connor. At times on Coming Home, there are three fiddles playing including Mark, Mark’s wife, Maggie, and Katie Lee! Mark’s son, Forrest, does the mandolin work and most of the songwriting. The vocals, reminiscent of Alison Krauss, come from Katie Lee. Rounding out the sound is Joe Smart on guitar and Geoff Saunders on bass. “Always Do” was written by Forrest’s songwriting partner and old band mate, Virginian, Jim Shirey. (photo – JD Pittman)
From Austin Texas comes the third album from The Deer, Tempest and Rapture. With the new album, Grace Park (vocals), Jesse Dalton (upright bass), Michael McLeod (guitar), and Alan Eckert (drums, vocals) added Noah Jeffries to their live lineup as well as to the album. They also get help from several other session players including Lloyd Maines contributing some pedal steel on one track. Self described as “psych-folk surf-dream”, The Deer members wrote all 17 tracks. WNRN introduces you to The Deer with the melodic “Static.”
Accomplished and award-winning acoustic guitarist, Bryan Sutton, uses bluegrass flatpicking traditions of the 20th century while helping create those of the 21st. Sutton started as a session musician in Nashville who later joined both Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder then Hot Rize bluegrass bands. Sutton is a Grammy Award winner and a nine-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year. Sutton’s ever-expanding accomplishments include band leader, record producer, mentor, educator and leader in online music instruction. Sutton adds to his solo album releases with The More I Learn. Weekday mornings features the title track. Bluegrass Sunday Morning (Sundays from 7a to 11a) digs a little deeper into this new one.
Second cousins, Kacy and Clayton, from Saskatchewan, Canada bring us a traditional folk based collection, Strange Country. Singer Kacy Anderson and fingerstyle guitarist Clayton Linthicum weave traditional British and Appalachian folk and acoustic blues with originals. For those who are waiting for a new Laura Marling release or are still replaying their Ian and Sylvia records, you will find the same satisfaction: merging of the haunting melodies with moral tales, and clever lyrics whether the songs are new or old. The title track, “Strange Country” is where WNRN will start with this fine release.
My general theme for any road trip catalog is “Don’t get heavy, keep it light” (quoting the recent Radiohead song, “Present Tense”). I did add some older catalog to the new music mix with some classic Lucinda Williams and Kirsty MacColl. I recommend that you pick whatever will keep you happy and brings back pleasant memories.
Here are my new music picks from recent trips:
- Avett Brothers – True Sadness
- Radiohead – A Moonshaped Pool
- Andrew Bird – Are You Serious
- Austin Plaine – Austin Plaine
- M. Ward – More Rain
- Dylan LeBlanc – Cautionary Tale
- Josh Ritter – Sermon on the Rocks
- Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger
- Margaret Glaspy – Emotions and Math
- Shearwater – Jet Plane and Oxbow
Derik Hultquist has put out a series of EPs since his arrival in Nashville a decade ago. Knoxville native taught himself to play on his Dad’s guitar. One that he says was “the worst guitar,” forcing him to do his own thing, in terms of guitar work and songwriting. Southern Iron, produced by Frank Liddell (he also produced Aubrey Sellers’ newest), is a continuation of his observations about life, and earnest singing and songwriting. The whole project is excellent, we are spinning “1983.”
Frankie Lee has already received multiple four star reviews for the full length project, American Dreamer. Lee grew up in Minneapolis. Lee’s musical journey started by listening to his father’s record collection, learning to play guitar and befriending Slim Dunlap of the Replacements. After some college, Lee went to Nashville, then Austin where he worked with Townes Van Zandt’s son, JT, as a cabinetmaker, and started playing shows. Lee’s sojourn took him to Los Angeles, then back to Minneapolis area. He wrote the majority of these songs while working on a hog farm. “Where Do We Belong” is one of ten excellent songs from Frankie Lee’s debut.
Yet another Dave Cobb produced album, this time it’s the tenth studio album from Lori McKenna, The Bird & the Rifle, out on July 29th. Supported by Faith Hill, she has had songs covered by Reba McIntire, Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, Hunter Hayes, and Little Big Town, just to name a few. Her songs portray un-championed lives where stories unfold on the front porch, kitchen or in the front seat of the family car. On the new album, you can hear McKenna’s version of her own, “Humble & Kind,” a song that Tim McGraw made a hit, as well as the single from this CD, “Wreck You.”
The Acoustic CD of the Month for July 2016 is the 13th studio album from Paul Simon, Stranger to Stranger.
Paul Simon does not believe in writers block. Good work takes time. Stranger to Stranger is his first release in five years. Featuring musical experimentation infused with custom made instruments, collaboration with many musicians including Italian electronic artist, Clap! Clap!, background vocals from Bobby McFerrin and samples of the Golden Gate Quartet, these songs shows Simon’s desire to tell good stories and place them in the perfect environment.
The first three songs on the album use the custom-made instruments created by music theorist, Harry Partch, in the mid-twentieth century. These instruments allow 43 tones to an octave giving a different approach and sound to “The Werewolf,” “Wristband,” and “The Clock.” A teacher who was in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that Simon knew inspired “The Riverbank.” “Proof of Love” and “In the Garden of Edie” are tributes to Simon’s wife, musician Edie Brickell. Tying it all together, characters and a variety of instruments make appearances through out Stranger to Stranger.