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August 2016 Acoustic CD of the Month

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

By |August 1st, 2016|Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

New Morning Music Picks, August 2, 2016

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.”

By |July 31st, 2016|Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

New Morning Music Picks, July 26, 2016

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.

By |July 26th, 2016|Anne Williams, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Anne’s Road Trip Picks

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:

  1. Avett Brothers – True Sadness
  2. Radiohead – A Moonshaped Pool
  3. Andrew Bird – Are You Serious
  4. Austin Plaine – Austin Plaine
  5. M. Ward – More Rain
  6. Dylan LeBlanc – Cautionary Tale
  7. Josh Ritter – Sermon on the Rocks
  8. Paul Simon – Stranger to Stranger
  9. Margaret Glaspy – Emotions and Math
  10. Shearwater – Jet Plane and Oxbow
By |July 20th, 2016|Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

New Morning Picks, July 5, 2016

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.”

By |July 5th, 2016|Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Acoustic CD of the Month for July 2016

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.

By |July 1st, 2016|Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Featured|0 Comments

New Morning Music Picks, June 21, 2016

“Father of Newgrass,” three time Grammy award winner, and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist Award from the Americana Music Association, Sam Bush , is releasing a new CD, Storyman, this Friday.  Four years in the making, you can hear Bush’s freewheeling style in all of these co-writes. He worked with bandmate, Stephen Mougin, along with Emmylou Harris and the late Guy Clark. “Transcendental Meditation Blues” was co-written with Jeff Black. Sam Bush plays live at The Festy, in Nelson County, October 9th.

Undercurrent , out last week, is Sarah Jarosz’s fourth release, but first since graduating last year from the New England Conservatory then relocating to New York City. All original songs, some co-writes, Jarosz recorded her song cycle capturing the process of personal evolution and the nature of change.  WNRN spins “Take Me Back.” Jarosz will be at both the Harvester Performing Arts Center and Birchmere in late July.

Young in All the Wrong Ways, Sara Watkins’ newest solo release, will be out July 1st. Best known a singer and the fiddler of Nickel Creek, she has toured with A Prairie Home Companion,  The Decemberists, and The Mutual Admiration Society. Watkins states that this third solo record is her break up record with herself. Watkins tries out a variety of styles including some stand-out percussion on the track, “One Last Time.” Watkins will be at The Hamilton in DC, on October 6

Mountain Heart is re-formed and, by all accounts, better than ever. Five years after their last release, Mountain Heart is still driven by the talents of lead singer and songwriter, Josh Shilling. Blue Skies has a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” and a couple of songs that were written by others including a Chris Stapleton/Ronnie Bowman/James Stewart co-write.  “Addicted,” written by Shilling, shows Mountain Heart’s  bluegrass roots while trying out arrangements that help them step outside of its confines.

By |June 21st, 2016|Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

New Morning Music Picks, June 7, 2016

Toronto’s ex-punk rocker turned Alt-country artist, Daniel Romano, is back with a new CD, Mosey, on New West Records.  “Hunger Is a Dream You Die In” has that ironic twist that comes when beautiful melody is paired with dark lyrical content.

WNRN joins Bonnie Raitt as a fan of Bonnie Bishop. Raitt performs “Undone” on her new CD, Dig in Deep. The title of Bonnie Bishop’s new CD,  Ain’t Who I Was, refers her return to the music business. She was always on the soulful side of country music. This new one focuses more on her blues side. “Mercy” is a fine example of her soulful voice, her writing and her re-emergence with the help of Dave Cobb as producer.

By |June 7th, 2016|Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

June 2016 Acoustic CD of the Month

The Acoustic CD of the Month for June 2016 is the Darrell Scott’s album, Couchville Sessions.

Darrell Scott is a successful country songwriter, placing songs with the biggest names in country music, including several major chart hits. Travis Tritt made “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” a hit. The second single from the Dixie Chicks’ Home was Darrell Scott’s “Long Time Gone”. For over 20 years, Scott has worked consistently as a studio musician and released a series of his own solo albums. He also performed as part of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy tour.

For this new career spanning release, Darrell Scott recorded 5 covers and 9 originals. Some of these new songs were recorded back in 2001 and others as recent as last year.  The album version of “Down to the River” includes a story made up and told by the late Guy Clark. One  covers is Peter Rowan’s “Midnight Moonlight.” Through out the whole disc, you get the sense of his range as a singer, master musician and performer.

New Morning Picks, May 31, 2016

Williamsburg’s own, Bruce Hornsby, has a new CD, Rehab Reunion. Hornsby shows us his non-keyboard talents. Constantly reinventing himself, he mastered the hammer dulcimer along with creating new songs for this new effort. He adds Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Mavis Staples to the Noisemakers for a song each. Mavis sings soulfully on “Celestial Railroad.”

William Bell is a staple of the Stax line up and has been making hit records since the 1960s. This Is Where I Live gives us “The Three of Me” and joins his many stellar performances that include “Tryin’ to Love Two” and “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” Bell also penned the blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign.”

Derek Hoke is back on the WNRN airwaves! In 2013, we enjoyed his humorous song, “Hope We Make It on Love.” Derek has created another fine collection of well crafted songs, Southern Moon. We will feature the song where Hoke channels his inner Roy Orbison, “Nothing I Won’t Do.”

WNRN introduces The Lonely Heartstring Band, and their first Rounder release, Deep Waters. Winners of the IBMA 2015 Momentum award, this band is predominantly Berklee College of Music grads and have been touring since 2012. You can catch them at the Hill Country BBQ event in DC on June 25. In the meantime, please enjoy “The Tide” when it plays in the mornings on your radio.

By |May 20th, 2016|Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments