The best Americana and country this fall: Jack White, Wilco and Bruce Springsteen

Last month, Miranda Lambert released Vice, a new single off her forthcoming album that is unlike anything we hear on country radio. It was written from the perspective of a woman coping with the wreckage of a relationship by numbing herself with casual sex, and the song’s very real subject keeps her in good company […]

Aaron Lee Tasjan: the anti-establishment candidate leading Americana’s new breed

Their collective output pushes back against the committee-driven process that dominates the major labels where star vocalists pick and choose songs written by a stable of songwriters who understand their personality – at least the ones they want showcased on the radio, which remains vital. Despite the popularity of streaming and the cafeteria-style of listening […]

M Ward: Migration Stories review – expanding the borders of Americana

A quarter of a century ago, on the song Windfall, Son Volt conjured a lyric that pretty much captures the modus operandi of M Ward: “Catching an all-night station somewhere in Louisiana / Sounds like 1963, but for now it sounds like heaven.” Over more than 20 years, Ward has developed and refined a style […]

Why BMG Launched An Americana Label

Hirshland — who is L.A.-based and has one Renew colleague in New York — is planning on no more than six to eight projects for this calendar year, partly because he’s still splitting his time between Renew and his “day job” at BMG. “Obviously, if there are [records] we cannot live without, we will go […]

Review: Americana folk singer Mark Erelli amps it up a notch

Erelli fronts a first-rate ensemble that’s built around the spirited guitar work of Sadler Vaden, who backs Jason Isbell as part of the Grammy-winning 400 Unit and has lately ventured out on his own. Erelli’s band alternately rocks and lends majesty to his more introspective musings.

The War on Drugs review – triumphant, molten heartbreak music

Yet Granduciel’s unique achievement is to marry this mesmeric repetition with the kind of everyman romanticism and plangent yearning found in the most consummate blue-collar American rock. On the thrilling An Ocean in Between the Waves, his hoarse, Springsteen-like vocal jags red-raw in the song’s luminescent glow: “Can I be more than just a fool?”

Waxahatchee: Saint Cloud review – the best album of the year so far

But the album is full of hard-won wisdom, some of it self-lacerating, set to backings that are variously stoic and bruised. The peak on this high plateau of American song is Ruby Falls, a frank, poetic valediction to a former lover about how things just don’t work out sometimes. You can almost feel her hand […]

Why playlists are getting me through anxious times

Vol 2 is now finished and ready for me to share this Sunday with those close to me – another instance of the way in which new technologies are helping us at least reach out to one another now. Vol 3 is in the works already: perhaps a little more obvious, but the Neville Brothers’ […]

Delaware musicians perform online during pandemic

“Music is healing and it helps you feel connected,” Johnson says. “If you’re used to seeing all your friends, hugging everybody, dancing and sharing in that experience together, seeing a show online is almost like seeing old pictures and feeling that spark of joy again.”

Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life review – candid country daydreaming

Entranced by the myth of the open road, Arizona songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews once spent four days crossing America on a Greyhound bus and her sixth album, which is the first to bring her to wide attention, skews heavily towards country tradition. Andrews has the observant eye of the bartender she once was, pinpointing the […]