It hardly seems possible that next year
marks the 25th anniversary of the meeting of guitarists Ryan Miller and
Adam Gardner and percussionist Brian Rosenworcel, freshmen at Tufts
University who turned their dorm room songwriting hobby into a quarter
century of Alt Rock/Folk Pop wonder as Guster.
In the Ska/Punk canon, no titan stands mightier than 1989’s Energy,
the only album from Operation Ivy. But in 1996, Detroit outfit The
Suicide Machines came close to matching that shooting star’s power and
prowess with their first album, Destruction By Definition.
If my family should ever disown me and
I’m forced to find a new one, I would start by begging Loudon Wainwright
III to adopt me. Talent seems to spew from his every orifice and I want
a piece of it. He already gave his envy-worthy genes to three
incredibly talented musicians — Rufus and Martha Wainwright and Lucy
Wainwright Roche. Roche, in my estimate, got the lion’s share of that
While there is now a genre of music
officially called Americana — a category that can either be
characterized as full of diverse artists who aren’t afraid of mixing
Roots music in with their sound or as a way to promote and market
artists who can’t get on Country radio — there is still an unfortunate
desire to drag artists like Liz Longley into the Country music miasma.
You could glean a great deal about
singer/songwriter Drew Holcomb and his wife/bandmate/occasional
co-writer Ellie from the fact that they named their first child Emmylou.
The Holcombs’ daughter arrived almost simultaneously with Drew Holcomb
& The Neighbors’ 2013 album Good Light, a set that was
ecstatically received by the band’s zealous fan base and positively
reviewed by an increasingly jaded coterie of music critics.
Colleen Green’s third full-length (and first album recorded in an actual recording studio) is titled I Want to Grow Up, which is no coincidence. Well, that is if you equate a glossier sound and trying to kick coffee and weed as growing up.
Very few bands have successfully
incorporated as many genres and directions into their groovy,
improvisation-heavy Jam Band presentation as Lotus. For the past 16
years, the Philadelphia-based quintet has carved out a niche within the
admittedly open and accepting Jam community with a fascinating
combination of late ’90s Pop Rock, gadgety Electronica, noodly Fusion,
raise-the-roof Funk, reflective Chillwave and positive Hip Hop.
If it’s possible to get drunk on sound
alone, The Whiskey Charmers’ intoxicating self-titled debut album will
do it. And it’s utterly unfathomable for me to comprehend how something
that sounds like a soundtrack to a spaghetti western’s most sexy boudoir
scene could possibly come from Detroit. And yet …
Band reunions can be joyful, fist-pumping
celebrations or dismal funeral services for long deceased entities that
should never have been exhumed. If you’re scoring at home, Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll, the first new 6 String Drag album in 18 years, belongs deliriously in the celebratory category.
Ben Miller Band would be a perfect fit for a public goat ropin’.
Along with some more traditional instrumentation, like a drum kit or
acoustic guitar, the Ben Miller Band members will play a harmonica
through a 1960s home phone receiver with its cord still attached. Or
flush a washboard through a wah-wah pedal.
Many will remember Edward David Anderson
from the rootsy Rock band Backyard Tire Fire, in which he
wrote virtually every song the band performed and recorded. When the
group opened for Los Lobos a few years ago, Steve Berlin was listening backstage and was instantly impressed. That led to Berlin producing Anderson’s excellent new
album, Lies & Wishes.