What was once an anomaly is now a standard. Many lovers of classic Bay Area rock, blues, bluegrass, and beyond are investing in live archival releases above studio albums. Thanks to accessibility through vault discoveries and painstaking restoration, live recordings that are forty-plus years old are being heard by the band and fans alike for the first time. Artists such as Neil Young, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Hot Tuna are releasing performances that haven’t been heard by audiences since the date of original performance.
The Onion’s AV Club has a long-running series named “Undercover,” where a visiting artist covers a song from a list of 25 staff-selected favorites. These songs range wildly from Kanye West to Tom Waits, so bands often have to stretch far out of their comfort zone to make the cover work.
While Colorado-based string rebels Yonder Mountain String Band never seem to stop touring, the boys recently managed to fit some well-rehearsed studio time into their seemingly endless schedule to record their self-produced album YMSB EP ’13, which is due out October 8th on the band’s own Frog Pad Records. Recorded entirely from the road, the four-track EP features one song written by each member of YMSB.
Let's call a spade a spade—this is the Hipster Sound in its purest form, for better or worse. Arp’s More is British Invasion presented by The Strokes, with a touch of “Penny Lane” derivative on keys. You with me so far? Bueno.Now, the man behind the creation, Alexis Georgopolos, and his people will remind you this is a very New York album—(of course it is)—and they’re quite right.
I have walked so far, so far...I’ll concede, I suppose it’s easy to get a little jaded to old-hand refinement these days, what with the driving influx of fresh bubblegum content fit for chewing in three-minute stretches. For those artists—including our own Susanna and her most recent partner Ensemble neoN—who dive into deep cuts as a rule and not an exception, the present state of the union can be suffocating.
No other performer in bluegrass, living or dead, has shown more devoted revere for their specific roots than Del McCoury. When I interviewed Del for Grateful Web last year he explained that though he is thrilled that bluegrass is bigger today than it was back in the 40s and 50s, that nothing could replace that 50,000 watt clear channel radio station that aired performances from the Grand Ole’ Opry.
If Sound Tribe Sector 9 got a case of the spits, if “Coffee” and “Smithereens”-era El-P was swallowed by Deep Medi Musik, if RJD2 dosed yellow instead of smoking his jazzy tea—there you’ve got something close to Lotus’ new effort, Monks.It’s unsurprising that the veteran act’s production is top-notch as they bite their own studio pipeline for samples and breaks to create a thoro
The word “supergroup” has lost meaning in the music world. It’s been replaced by words such as “side project” or “collaboration” or “a bunch of friends.” Without trying to sound too curmudgeonly, they just don’t make supergroups like the Traveling Wilburys anymore. The closest thing we’ve gotten in the last few years was Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne. No doubt it was huge, but we all knew it was a one-time thing. While Kanye and Jay-Z are friends, both of them promote their own brand above all else.
There is nothing sneaky but plenty that is sly about the talents of the Henhouse Prowlers. With the new album, Breaking Ground, the Henhouse Prowlers are musical examples of the expression, “old soul”. They would fit right in barnstorming with Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, playing the Grand Ole Opry with Flatt and Scruggs…suit and ties and all…or sharing a festival stage with Old and in the Way. Combine that ability with their youthful, high energy live performances and you get a band that is bound to cover much mo
Grateful Dead music continues to inspire and muse generations of contemporary musicians. When the band played, their music fostered an experience each night that transformed the ordinary bounds of everyday life beyond possibility. A trip into the transcendental. Even if the words and melodies were familiar to followers, something about their approach of spontaneity and improvisation combined with an overarching reworking of Americana made the music familiar and new simultaneously.