If you're unfamiliar with Greg Brown, here's a brief bio: he's a veteran on the folk singer/songwriter scene, with 25 other releases under his belt, dating back to 1974.
Cruel and Gentle Things is Charlie Sexton's first release since 1995's Under the Wishing Tree. Yes folks, that does make ten years. So what the hell has he been up to all that time? Well, he sure ain't been loafin'. He's worked quite a bit with Lucinda Williams, both as a guest artist and as her producer; he's also produced an album for Double Trouble; but by far the bulk of his time has been spent playing lead guitar with Bob Dylan ('99-'03). No wait, that's not true.
The Duhks, hailing from the frigid northern city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, consists of band members Tania Elizabeth (fiddle, mandolin), Jessica Havey (vocals), Jordan McConnell (guitar, uilleann pipes), Leonard Podolak (five-string banjo) and Scott Senior (percussion). This young ensemble draws upon a wide and eclectic blend of folk-inspired musical traditions, from Celtic fiddle tunes and Appalachian bluegrass to West African and Latin polyrhythm to Southern Gospel. In doing this, they create a full, organic, and well-managed sound that any other five musicians would be hard-pressed to duplicate.
It was sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, about 10 years ago, that it occurred to me that I needed some sort of multi-purpose tool that I could take with me everywhere - so I asked my Dad for a Leatherman.
Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons met and formed as a band in Salt Lake City in 1996, but hail these days from Portland, OR. The band has managed to build an incredibly devout and fairly strong cult following over the last 10 years, while utterly escaping mainstream attention. Mouthful of Copper is the band's 6th release to date, with another studio album coming in January.
Nolan McKelvey is a seasoned musician, no doubt about it. He's performed on the nationally syndicated radio program "World Cafe," he recorded with Levon Helm (of The Band) and he's been in the national spotlight with performances at such venues as the Newport Folk and Telluride Bluegrass Festivals. He's shared the stage with the likes of Greg Brown, Bela Fleck, Peter Rowan, and Bob Dylan. His list of recordings and awards is extensive.
Of Old Hands I once heard Yonder's own Jeff Austin claim that it's "something unlike anything we've ever done." By now, most of these songs are well integrated into the foursome's diverse repertoire. Still, this release holds some surprises for fans of the band's traditional bluegrass tinkerings. The album is the third of three studio releases offered by the Nederland, Colorado quartet, and the first which features their friend Benny Galloway on guitar and vocals. In fact, each and every song on this record was written by Galloway. But don't let that fool you; this is record is as full of Yonder's music as it is Galloway's.
The awful rumors are true. Arizona gets snow. For people living up in the Northland, in and around Flagstaff and the Coconino National Forest, winter is not that much different from winter anywhere else: It's cold, we slip on the ice when we've had a few-too-many, and we shiver, too. In fact, this winter has been the second wettest winter on record, with 23.7 inches of precipitation since Sept. 1. For the Peaks District of the Coconino National Forest, that has meant snow, snow, and snow.