[checklist][/checklist] by Sean Jewell:: The first great record of 2016 is here. Recorded in the summer of last year, East Nashville songsmith Brian Wright put together what appears to be the first in a series of home recordings. Production and instrumentation are sparse as a southwestern vista. Austere, colorful backing (harmonica here, banjo and/or backing vocals there) occasionally accompany his bright […]

by Sean Jewell :: Royal Blue has critics in a huff. It’s been called an “inconsistent and noisy mess” by Bluegrass Situation, “gloomy” by American Songwriter, and “a project far darker than we should have necessarily anticipated” (whatever that means) by No Depression. Let’s get one thing straight: if you thought Lilly Hiatt was gonna […]

By Scott Giampino :: Quite honestly, these two back-to-back releases by the Alice Cooper Band are two of the best rock and roll albums ever released! Hard to believe that both these monsters came out in THE SAME YEAR! 1971. Who puts out two crushing records in one year anymore? Answer – NO ONE, except […]

By Sean Jewell :: It’s cool, you don’t have to muster your courage to get ready for this. It’s good. Australia has a long history of cowboys, and cattle ranching, and while they’re missing one very important ingredient in bluegrass – The Appalachian Mountains – they were a country colonized by the UK, so the same […]

If there is a Seattle band known for thrashing relentlessly through the last decade it’s  The Pharmacy. It’s like their first decade as a band was its own big bang, exploding from famed Seattle house shows with enough momentum to carry them through tours ranging from trips to SXSW to all of Europe (a few times […]


Despite what Jess Rotter’s charming inside cover illustration would lead you to believe, the union of country and funk did not arrive via two rambling dogs—Belle and Cosmic—who met on the highway of love. Like the first volume in the series (Country Funk Vol. 1, 1969-1975), again we see on this double LP that the […]


The first thing to know about this 1973 LP is that there’s a song called “Crying These Cocksucking Tears.” The second thing you should know about this record is that it sounds like the early 70’s alt, hippie, country music reminiscent of The Flatlanders (Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock) mixed with the freak-folk […]

bobby bland here's the man

When a record is titled “Here’s The Man” and the opening track features an MC announcing, “Ladies and Gentlemen Here’s the Man! I mean THE MAN! The Sensational, The Incomparable, The Dynamic Bobby, Bobby Bland!” over a dramatic horn section, then drops into the most deadly 1962 groove, a groove that bridges and defines the […]

Holy Mackerel

If one is going to talk about The Holy Mackerel, one has to talk about Paul Williams. This is not going to be a didactic exposition on Paul Williams as Virgil in Battle for the Planet of the Apes, nor is it a theoretical essay on the deeper meanings of the song “Rainbow Connection.” Instead, […]