This past year has been a challenging one for everyone across the globe. The music industry has been hit especially hard with small venues closing, touring musicians unable to perform and uncertainty around when the concert industry will be able to open back up again. Despite this, musicians are still creating and writing new material and many folks – professional musicians and those who just enjoy playing – have spent time during quarantine devoted to becoming more proficient or learning a new instrument altogether.
Born in Louisiana but living in Baltimore, MD, Miles Gannett is making us rethink what it means to be an Americana artist. This rethinking is good. On his new album, Meridian, we're hearing a combination of hard driving bluegrass, as well as great folky songwriting. There's some jam moments, too. And it's all Americana. It's all rooted in the tradition of great lyrics paired with top tier instrumentation by great players.
Ervin Stellar made the long journey, physically and musically, from New York City to Nashville a few years ago. And his forthcoming release, Nothing to Prove, actually proves quite a lot. Musically, it vibes Americana but the songwriting is well steeped in the folk tradition. He's a formidable songwriter and musician who has great taste in music, evident in his cover selections (read more about those in our interview with him below).
Forever on the hunt for new music, may I present to you 16-year old phenom, Brody Schenk. Described as a Bob Dylan of sorts, this singer songwriter writes lyrics like, "Thousands of my last words hung on the wall." Brody Schenk is in a band called the Old Souls Band and his Masterpiece inspired solo stuff is much more than ol Bobby D because it's happening now, in a time of multiple major events that history will record.
Kansas. The land of Ahs! My father exited the Korean conflict and instead of returning to the coal mines in East Virginia, he, like so many other veterans, took a job with an airplane manufacturer in Wichita, where I was born and lived until I was 8. Kansas is loaded with sweeping prairies, farmlands, alabaster, clay and flint hills, geological anomalies, and Lily B. Moonflower. Lily (Brown) is a rising young star from Lawrence, KS, whose talents are broad, poetic and colorful.
All the world’s a vibration, yet music remains in the abstract, lurking in the formless world of potential, eagerly awaiting the inspiration of someone to bring it to form. The musician, in answer to this calling, illuminates what was once invisible, carrying us into the mind and heart of a moment, an emotion, or to the edges of the universe itself. Like an astronaut, these bards reveal a dimension of being, one central within all of existence—Feeling, the explorations of which seems to know no bounds.
Brontë Fall was inspired by Teri Bracken’s love of music, literature, and the strong ladies of history, who at the time when only men’s opinions were valued, defied the odds to have their voices heard. Bracken stumbled upon Emily Brontë’s poem, “Fall Leaves Fall” and fell in love with its message- to find beauty in the darker seasons of life. Going through the ups and downs of her own life, always with an instrument in her hands, Bracken has poured her voice into the musical expression of songwriting.
With John Hurlbut’s and Jorma Kaukonen’s incredibly well-received, Christmas 2020, acoustic release, The River Flows, it’s not surprising that people are asking, “Who’s this guy playing with Jorma?” Since first making a splash during Jorma and Vanessa Kaukonen’s Saturday night Fur Peace Ranch Quarantine Concert series, this curiosity, and subsequent respect, has only grown and is quite evident as the YouTube comments light up each time John takes the stage. What makes this relationship so special that people are already asking for more? One only need listen.
This December, Grateful Web had the opportunity to catch up with guitarist, singer and songwriter Michael Falzarano. Michael is a tenured veteran of legendary bands New Riders of the Purple Sage and Hot Tuna, a regular contributor at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch, and bandleader of his own long-standing Memphis Pilgrims and Dead Tribute group, The Englishtown Project.