True to Life

Rod Picott writes about working-class life from an honest place

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Here’s a handy little mathematical equation to keep in mind when considering the state of popular music: Modern Country = lies. Americana = truth.  

Finding Humor in Retro Culture

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 5, 2014
As Mid-Century Modern becomes desired, preserved and collected, many cities — Cincinnati included — have started Modernism tradeshows where period design objects are sold and advice is given on home restorations.  
by Brian Baker 09.24.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Reviews at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

REVIEW: WolfCryer’s ‘The Prospect of Wind’

If Axl Rose announced he was planning the next Guns 'N Roses album as a tribute to Tony Orlando and Dawn, that would be only slightly more surprising than Matt Baumann's left turn from his Ambient Jazz saxophone tone poetry to the sparsely appointed Americana released under his reimagined guise as WolfCryer.  Oddly enough, when Baumann defected from saxophone to banjo, the quality that linked his two disparate musical directions was a spartan sense of atmospherics and an expansively moody palette; while the outcomes couldn't have been more different, there was a fascinatingly similar philosophical link between his two sonic identities. As WolfCryer, Baumann has been slightly more in tune with the singer/songwriters to which he swore fandom back in his tone/drone Jazz days (Warren Zevon, Tom Waits and Jason Molina were particular favorites), and over the past three years of his newly established Folk/Roots persona, he has managed to amass a catalog of songs that more than amply proves the wisdom of his career shift. His 2012 self-titled WolfCryer debut turned a lot of heads in the local Folk community, and Baumann spent the subsequent year working on his chops and making a new name for himself in a crowded scene that always seems to make room for quality purveyors. Earlier this year, Baumann released the fruits of his most recent labor, the four song EP Wild Spaces, which came on the heels of a pair of EPs in late 2013, The Long Ride Home and Hell's Coming Down. The three brief but potent releases showed Baumann expanding his sonic possibilities as he incorporated more acoustic guitar and harmonica into his songs and left the banjo as an infrequent but still welcome guest. Baumann's proposed full-length debut, originally slated for this past summer, hasn't yet materialized but in the meantime, he's whetted our appetites with a new eight-song WolfCryer EP, The Prospect of Wind. Like many of his avowed heroes, Baumann turns his songwriting talents toward society's downtrodden on The Prospect of Wind, with a particular interest in the personally felt ravages of war. It is an age old topic of literature and song, because no matter how sophisticated mankind becomes at the destruction of life, the simple desolation of the survivors never seems to change to any great degree. To that end, Baumann channels his inner Dylan in the lyrics and the cadence of the EP's title track ("There's an ember in the kindling, from a cracked and careless hand/Just waiting for the moment to rise and scorch the land"), nimbly displays both his love for and his study of Warren Zevon on "The War" and "When I Go," and waves his Springsteen flag with pride and admiration on "Box of Bones" and "Both Hands on the Plow." As has been the case from the start of his relatively short but extremely potent tenure as WolfCryer, Baumann has no trouble notching his songs with some of the characteristics of his favorite singer/songwriters, but he does it in the constant pursuit of his own musical identity. You may detect a glimmer of some of his monolithic predecessors in the songs that comprise The Prospect of Wind, but you'll come away knowing that you've experienced another great WolfCryer album. WolfCryer's CD release show for The Prospect of Wind is Friday night at the Southgate House Revival in the Revival Room. Admission is $10 and the show starts at 9 p.m.

Jackie Greene with Rich Robinson

Tuesday • 20th Century Theater

0 Comments · Tuesday, June 3, 2014
If there’s a commemorative tablet somewhere inscribed with the names of the most unlikely people to be drawn into the Grateful Dead’s musical universe, Jackie Greene should be chiseled on it along with Pop/Jazz pianist Bruce Hornsby and former Tubes keyboardist Vince Welnick.    

Tim Easton

Oct. 13 • MOTR Pub

0 Comments · Tuesday, October 8, 2013
 Easton’s released a slew of Americana-flavored records since parting ways with Haynes Boys in the late ’90s, each time touring across America and Europe, playing for the type of small but mostly appreciative crowds that might discourage lesser men.  

Shovels & Rope

Sept. 24 • Southgate House Revival (Sanctuary Room)

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
 One spin through O’ Be Joyful provides plenty of evidence as to what keeps drawing the faithful and converting the uninitiated. Ranging from twangy Folk to amped-up Country to full-bore Americana stomp, Shovels & Rope channel John Doe and Exene Cervenka channeling Timbuk 3 channeling Johnny Cash and June Carter.  

Joe Pug

Aug. 25 • Whispering Beard Folk Festival

0 Comments · Tuesday, August 20, 2013
It’s heartwarming that, in an age when new musicians jumpstart their careers via hokey TV talent shows and gimmicky YouTube videos, Folk/Americana singer/songwriter Joe Pug has chosen a different way.  

A Nice Pair

Cincinnati’s Mark Utley simultaneously drops the fourth Magnolia Mountain album and his solo debut

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Cincinnati Americana ensemble Magnolia Mountain has always exhibited a broad sonic diversity, moving easily from Country to Folk to to twangy Rock. Frontman Mark Utley has decided to use his solo debut as a repository for the more Country aspects of his writing spectrum, leaving the heavier, bluesier, funkier tracks for Magnolia Mountain.  

Paul Thorn

Sept. 22 • Madison Theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
You know who there aren’t enough of in America? Guys like Paul Thorn. Thorn plays a loud version of Americana, a bluesy, Southern Rock. His lyrics often illustrate stories about rough lives, hard times and rowdy women, making him a sort of funkier Johnny Cash.  

Hayes Carll & the Gulf Coast Orchestra

July 18 • The Redmoor

0 Comments · Monday, July 16, 2012
It’s not hard to believe that Hayes Carll is from Houston; it seems he embodies so many great things about the music of Texas. A country drawl mixed with Rock & Roll, Carll’s most recent album, KMAG YOYO, was the Americana Music Association’s No. 1 album in 2011. His strength really lies within his songwriting; his song “Another Like You” won the American Songwriter’s No. 1 last year.