Robert Earl Keen has always straddled the line between
Americana and Country Blues music. But, more than anything else, he is a
singer/songwriter who has the ability to weave sonic tales that are
vivid, interesting and fun.
At age 14, Sean Scolnick started writing his first songs,
penning Nirvana-inspired missives about authority, school and “stuff that a lot of 14-year-old
kids probably write about.” Now in his early 30s, Scolnick doesn't
employ those subjects as inspiration anymore. Listening to his
story-heavy goulash of Folk and AltCountry reveals nary any traces of
Cobain and Co. at all.
Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Swear and Shake coalesced just a couple of
years ago, but from the sound of its debut full-length Maple Ridge,
you’d swear (and shake) that this electric Folk marvel has been
percolating over the course of a decade or more with a half dozen
previous releases under their belts.
While Arlo Guthrie has blazed his own legendary path in
music, he will forever be known as the son of iconic songwriter and
singer Woody Guthrie. Friday, Arlo will celebrate his father’s historic
life with a show at the David Finkelman Auditorium.
A native Texan, Ruthie
Foster’s family tree was ripe with Gospel singers, but she quickly
absorbed the Lone Star State’s other musical identities, like Folk,
Blues, Country and Rock, to which she added her own soulful spin.
Sharon Van Etten’s first two albums revealed an emotionally visceral songwriter and performer who wasn’t afraid to explore love gone sour via a voice that’s as moving and expressive as any on the current landscape
Remember a few years ago when you couldn’t walk into a
Starbucks without hearing the words, “Three words that became hard to
say/I and love and you?” At the time, you probably rolled your eyes, but The Avett Brothers ended up becoming kind of a big deal. While “I and Love and You,” as a song, was mostly mellow
and Folk-ish, it’s far from a decent indicator of the sort of noise the
Brothers are capable of creating.
Talking about race is
always a dodgy premise, but Carolina Chocolate Drops and their music
practically encourage such discussions. “It's
a very strong statement to say that you're a black string band
musician,” said Drops' Dom Flemons in an interview with Fairfield Weekly. “That helps people open up the article or what-not
and then they get to find out a whole part of the Folk music history
that they might not have known before.”
Eight years ago,
guitarist/vocalist Justin Ringle relocated from his native Idaho to
Portland, Ore., and very quickly shifted his stylistic allegiance from
the aggressive Rock he had played at home to a gentler Folk sound. He formed Horse Feathers to pursue
his newfound acoustic passion and garnered rabid fans and critical
acclaim, with reviewers
consistently pointing out the wonderful tension between the dark
poignancy of Ringle’s lyrics and the expansive beauty of the music that
The local Roots music scene and its
fans have a cool new music venue to check out. This Friday-Sunday is the
grand opening of Plain Folk Café, a converted two-room schoolhouse
(originally built in 1913) featuring coffee, beer, food and regular live
music from area Folk, Bluegrass, Americana and acoustic acts.