Ridin That Bluegrass Train with Railroad Earth

Contemporary bluegrass fans are well familiar with Grand Rapids, Michigan based sextet, Railroad Earth. Here’s a gr8 live recording of “Long Way to Go,” from their 2006 album, Elko. Sincere, uplifting, soul-healing music.

Railroad Earth
“Long Way To Go (live)” (download mp3)
from “Elko”
(SCI Fidelity Records)
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Railroad Earth – “Long Way To Go”

The Real Nasty sez “Leave It Alone”

Words of relationship wisdom from The Real Nasty. Based in San Francisco, these rootsy rockers  can be found playing their simple, stripped down rock n’ roll originals in nightspots up and down the north coast of California. An old school trio of bass drums and guitar, with minimal effects, solid craft, and good songs. Very refreshing.

The Real Nasty
“Leave It Alone” (download mp3)
from “Strangers and Friends”
(Ninth Street Opus)
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The Real Nasty- “Leave It Alone” mp3

Megafaun Volunteers the Folk-Rock

Megafaun – “Volunteers” mp3

Walking away from rock’s current trend of polished early-seventies adult-pop, Megafaun brings a folk-rock with more country roots. “Volunteers,” a lazy twang guitar and banjo orgy, sounds rather like Lynyrd Skynyrd crashing a Grateful Dead house party. For a more contemporary reference, think a more southern fried version of The Mother Hips. This is a lovely song, seething with the warmth, longing and whiskey that grow like wildflowers in the American South.

“Volunteers” (mp3)
from “Heretofore”
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Teachers Pet and proud of it

Michael Duane Adkins – “Teachers Pet” mp3

Far from the unrestrained lust of Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” or the Lolita tension of The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me,” we find one Michael Duane Adkins, delivering a sincere and comical ode of love to his professor. In classic country singer-songwriter style, he puts a punch line in every verse, and there isn’t a wasted line in the song. Simple accompaniment by a lazy acoustic guitar strum and ambling bass line is perf for this smart serenade, from the perfectly titled “I’m So Country I Could Die” album. I give it an A.

Michael Duane Adkins
“Teacher’s Pet” (mp3)
from “I’m So Country I Could Die”
(SPAT! Records)
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What in Tarnation is a Bitter Rose?

Paula Frazer and Tarnation – “Bitter Rose” mp3

Here’s another Stellar track from Paula Frazer and Tarnation. I don’t know of another artist who brings such a fresh take on American country roots music, making a contemporary sound while quoting freely from any period or region of their choosing. Singer Frazer also happens to be a superb lyricist, a modern urban poet with old school songwriting chops, making them a potent creative force. I recently posted “Sleeping Dreams”, also from this  record, which has this Superfan’s highest recommendation. “Now It’s Time” is the first full length from this beloved San Francisco band in a decade, and it is a major, beautiful work. Enjoy.

Paula Frazer and Tarnation
“Bitter Rose” (mp3)
from “Now It’s Time”
(Birdman Records)

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Brian Lopez’s “Maslow’s Hierarchy” an Improbable Gem

Brian Lopez – “Maslow’s Hierarchy” mp3

Brian Lopez‘ voice goes wherever it wants to on this wild exploration of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. Its  an unusual song topic, to say the least, but you never know where a song will come from, and like any good song, this one wins by its own rules. With a distinctive warble that he carries up and down his range, Tucson, Arizona native Lopez delivers it live on guitar and vocals, backed by a thoughtful and tight combo.  Romantic, mystical, and entirely unique.

Brian Lopez
“Maslow’s Hierarchy” (mp3)
from “Rojo – EP”
(Funzalo Records)

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Paula Frazer and Tarnation’s magnificent “Sleeping Dreams”

Paula Frazer and Tarnation – “Sleeping Dreams” mp3

This song is oober moving.  Simple.  Sometimes less is more. This sounds like something you’d hear at a good open mic.  You know.  That girl who walks onstage in a long dress and seems quite shy.  Maybe too shy to introduce herself… and all of a sudden she’s got a killer voice, and a great story to tell. If you’re wondering where the gr8 contemporary Americana is hiding, here it is. From their new album on Birdman Records, San Francisco’s Paula Frazer and Tarnation, with their shimmering, breathtaking, and redemptive original, “Sleeping Dreams.”

Paula Frazer and Tarnation
“Sleeping Dreams” (mp3)
from “Now It’s Time”
(Birdman Records)

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Rodriguez, “Heikkis Suburbia Bus Tour”

Light In The Attic records is one of those little things that makes the world a better place. How else would I ever have found out about “Heikki’s Suburbian Bus Tour Ride?”. A wonderful, very early 70’s recording. Dylan-esque folk rawk baby. I love this.

“Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour” (download mp3)
from “Coming From Reality”
(Light In The Attic)
Heikkis Suburbia Bus Tour (play)
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