I grew up listening to a lot of country and folk music on Vancouver Island. Today, I still live on Vancouver Island, and I still listen to lots of country, folk, roots and Americana music - and I feel really lucky to get to write about it too!
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The Flannel Attractions are simply stunning. The perfect blend of roots, folk pop, and bluegrass will have you itching for more. Take one listen and you’ll feel like your at a good old hootenanny.
Here is a short biography about the band: Though they met by playing the renowned Jackson Hole Hootenanny – a decades-old Wyoming music tradition that has been graced by folk and bluegrass stalwarts like John Denver and Peter Rowan – The Flannel Attractions’ music has a far-reaching appeal that even attracts listeners with the blissful ignorance to call the mandolin a “mini guitar.”
Drawing from singer-guitarist Pat Chadwick’s experiences entering and leaving the tumult of city life, the band’s songwriting depth can be compared to modern folk revival acts, and their instrumentation lies somewhere between the loose folk pop of The Lumineers and the virtuosic and progressive bluegrass of The Punch Brothers. Meanwhile, the stunning harmonies offered by singer-violinist Emily Yarbrough are likely to evoke comparisons to The Civil Wars and The Head and The Heart.
In their first year of existence, The Flannel Attractions have honed that niche sound, walking a fine line between indie folk and bluegrass while steadily developing a fan base in the Rocky Mountain region and beyond. In the dead of winter in Jackson Hole, the band self-produced their debut self-titled EP and celebrated the disc’s February 2013 arrival with a sold-out release show at Dornan’s – the current location of the Hootenanny.
With recent airplay on Wyoming Public Radio and positive press extending to the Pacific Northwest, The Flannel Attractions are currently growing their grassroots following with tours through Colorado, Montana and Idaho, as well as the pursuit of relevant regional festivals throughout the country. (Photo & Bio from The Flannel Attractions
“Take this song with you/take it with you when you go/sing it with your friends/and when the party ends, take it with you when you go.”
So sings Maya Lerman on the title track of Take This Song With You, the debut album from Maya and the Ruins. And if you love traditional country, blues and folk music, you’re sure to find a song you’ll want to take with you on this beautiful album.
Take This Song With You is a collection of country, blues, old time, and original songs inspired by those traditions. Virginia-based old-timey singer and songwriter Maya Lerman leads the group. To record her album, she drew together members of Louisiana’s famed Red Stick Ramblers, as well as musicians who are considered some of the best young traditional musicians in the U.S.
By day, Maya works for a branch of the Library of Congress in Virginia, unearthing and preserving musical treasures, and according to her bio, her job played a big role in the making of this album. “These dusty archives certainly inform her music: she’s sourced a good number of the songs on the album from historical recordings of American musicians. But her music also reflects an understanding of the new roots music being made today, not by the superstars who are touring arenas, but by the people who are playing and creating folk music simply out of love for the traditions.”
According to press materials, the recording of Take This Song With You coincided happily with a musician friend’s wedding in Southwest Louisiana. Maya gathered together talented local musicians, as well as friends who were visiting for the wedding. And throughout the album, there’s definitely a feeling of community and friendship, of gathering together to celebrate. This album really does feel like a celebration – a celebration of being able to make music and a celebration of tradition. Maya has chosen to interpret a great mix of songs from sources like Tom Petty, Jimmie Rodgers, the Mississippi Sheiks and Elizabeth Cotten and has also included some great originals that fit right in with the traditional songs. Maya’s clear voice fits these beautiful songs really nicely, and the musicianship is absolutely top-notch. There’s some really beautiful playing throughout Take This Song With You, particularly the mandolin. This album is a real treat for anyone who loves folk music and loves tradition!
Listen to and buy Take This Song With You on I Bandcamp
If you love bluegrass and mountain music as much as I do, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself from playing Flight, the second album from Colorado’s Trout Steak Revival, on repeat. I know I can’t.
Sparked by jam sessions with close friends during backpacking trips and backyard parties, Trout Steak Revival formed in 2009. Amongst the cool clear streams and lakes in the Midwest Great Lakes region, where trout prosper, the band began to spawn and take flight. Colorado’s flourishing rootsy based mountain music scene beckoned and became home to Trout Steak Revival. Band members Steve Foltz (mandolin and guitar), Will Koster (dobro, guitar), Casey Houlihan (upright bass), Travis McNamara (banjo) and Bevin Foley (fiddle) follow in the bluegrass tradition, with each musician composing original tunes and adding harmonies.
With a blend of original songs and re-worked traditionals, Flight was released in the late fall of 2012. Band members share singing duties on the album, and it’s a great touch – they all have great voices, and it adds a lot of variety and gives them a unique sound. Beautiful harmonies combine with the lovely sounds of the fiddle, banjo, guitar, dobro, mandolin and standup bass throughout the album. There’s a great mix of fun, higher-energy songs like the strong opener Black Jack Supper Club and softer songs like Spinning Wheel, which might be my favourite song on the album. I love the whole album, which has this feel of being in the same room with the band as they play. It’s fun and makes me wish I could see them live. I don’t think this one will leave my CD player for a while.
The band was kind enough to answer a few questions from the road.
FB: How is Flight different from your first album?
Steve Foltz (SF): We have a different lineup on this album. On our first album, Kirk Ranney, who is no longer in the band, wrote most of the songs. Flight has Bevin Foley (fiddle/vocals) on it, and everyone contributes at least one song. It was also recorded in a different space than our first album, which gives it a different feel.
FB: How did you all come together as a band?
Casey Houlihan (CH): I met Steve in college at the University of Minnesota, and we both moved out to Colorado (CO) after we graduated … we knew we wanted to play music together, and it just took some time before we knew what that would look like. I met Will and Travis in Michigan at a summer camp we all worked at. Will moved out to CO after he was done with school at Indiana University. Travis had a couple more years of school at University of Puget Sound and then made it out here. We met Bevin when we were invited to play the first Green Beer and Bluegrass in Denver. She sat in with us that night, and we really enjoyed playing with her. It wasn’t until we asked her a few times that she decided to join TSR.
FB: What is it about bluegrass/mountain music that drew you all to playing this type of music and makes you want to keep playing it?
Travis McNamara (TM): I was drawn to the idea of constant improvement on my instrument … the endless search.
SF: For me, it’s the technical proficiency required.
CH: I love the instrumentation … even when we play songs that aren’t “bluegrass.”
Will Koster (WK): Beer.
FB: You haven’t been together as a band for all that long – how do you think you’ve grown in that time? And what you attribute that to?
Bevin Foley (BF): We challenge each other to improve at our instruments. We all attended the Rockygrass Academy this past summer and received constructive criticism from the Punch Brothers and the Infamous Stringdusters, which was really helpful. We’ve been gigging a lot … working on harmonies, collaborating on songwriting.
TM: We’re operating on the notion that the rising tide raises all boats.
SF: Travis, Casey and myself also took a songwriting class at Swallow Hill with Kyle James Hauser that was really fun and informative … We’ve also asserted ourselves in the community of bluegrass. Whether it’s going to bluegrass picks or going to shows … we’re trying to always be around.
FB: Do you have a favourite song on Flight? And why?
CH: Rude Awakening … ‘cause I wrote it! (laughter)
FB: Can you please explain where your name comes from?
WK: We we’re originally only gigging at the Bucksnort Saloon in Sphinx Park near Pine, CO. We were calling ourselves the South Platte River Ramblers because Casey and I were living down on the river at that time. We didn’t have a consistent lineup at that time and we weren’t sold on the name. The summer of 2008, we went backpacking in Eagle County. We brought fishing poles, a little bit of food, some brandy and a mandolin. It pretty much rained the whole time we were there, with the exception of a few hours. During the hours it rained, we passed the mandolin from tent to tent, playing/making up songs. We were also passing the brandy around … (laughter) … Then there was a break in the clouds and we got after it fishing …. we slayed it and had a feast … somewhere in the middle of that, we decided that Trout Steak Revival was a great name for our band … (laughter) … yup … it stuck.
FB: What do you hope people think when they think “Trout Steak Revival”?
TM: High energy, great songs, tons of fun.
FB: What is next for you – do you have any gigs/festivals coming up that you are especially looking forward to?
BF: We just got back from Big Sky Big Grass, which was a blast. Our summer is starting to fill up, which is exciting … [this] month, we have the third annual Green Beer and Bluegrass at the Walnut Room in Denver! Brewgrass (Denver, CO) in June is going to be sweet, and we’re heading to the Sioux River Folk Festival (Canton, SD) in August, where we have a bunch of friends.
All The Times We Had, Ivan & Alyosha’s highly anticipated first full-length album is simply stunning. “We didn’t get it perfect, but I definitely think we got it right,” Tim Wilson says of the new album. “We really worked hard to get a live vibe, and to capture that inspiration that we get when we’re on the road, when everybody’s together and feeding off of each other. You can nit-pick and edit everything until it sounds perfect, but we were more concerned with just getting the best performances we could. I think that it’s more mature and more focused, and closer to what we do live, than the records that we’d done before. We definitely had moments in the studio where it like, ‘Oh, wow, this is special.’”
Ivan & Alyosha are well known across the Pacific Northwest for their strong performances that are full of energy. The introspective lyrics, great guitar hooks, and sweet melodies are all awesome I know, but what really sets the charge for this album are the powerfully infectious harmonies. Their song ‘Running For Cover,’ is a prime example of the camaraderie feeling this band emits.
Ivan & Alyosha – Running For Cover
“I think that we all feel pretty strongly that this is what we’re supposed to be doing, playing music, trying to write good, timeless songs, and trying to connect with people,” Wilson states. “I think that we have a pretty deep sense of purpose, that this is not just some accident. I guess that the essence of faith is having felt or experienced something that maybe you can’t hold in your hand, and I think that’s how I’d describe my attitude towards music. And it’s OK if it’s hard, because anything in life that’s worth doing is hard.”
Ivan & Alyosha, taking name from two characters in ‘Brothers Karamazov’ the final novel by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky was formed when Tim Wilson met Ryan Carbary in 2007. The pair spent nearly a year writing material for their debut EP, ‘The Verse, The Chorus’ Released in March 2009, the EP drew some very unexpected praise and received a great amount of airtime. Their second EP ‘Fathers Be Kind’ was released in February 2011.
Came across this awesome site that paired a cocktail with the Ivan & Alyosha album Vinyl & Cocktails
Official video out for “I Am Not Waiting Anymore,” the first single off of Field Report’s self-titled debut album “Field Report.” A big hit at SXSW in 2012, Field Report will be back at SXSW in March, followed up with a tour of the East Coast with Sara Watkins.
By listening to Chris Porterfield’s lyrics on repeat during his daily bike rides through Milwaukee, director Marquez says, “I started to see this world that he was creating, a world that was this Field Report album. It reminded me of Raymond Carver’s work or Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, OH. You have this series of seemingly normal situations, and people in different phases of life dealing with these situations. I’m talking about love, lost love, happiness, and longing. And with all the empty factories and old houses in Milwaukee, the town just set the scene.”
Marquez continues, “The most difficult part of shooting the video was the scene in the church food program at the end. That’s St. Ben’s in Milwaukee, and it’s a wonderful place where the Capuchin Brothers feed about 400 people every night. We had to shoot it in a way that the only faces seen were those of the people that wanted to be in the video, and respect all the other people that were just there for a meal.”
-I am red in tooth and claw God’s favorite child, bloodied from the brawl This bitterness was killing me all along I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore
-Blowing through time like nickel slots in a windowless room, on a credit card: flash it like a semaphore- a vague, drafty metaphor- I am not waiting anymore
-I’ve been a keen eyed observer of the movements of concentric parts of bodies of bones and breasts and unmapped chambers of hearts
-Sand in hand has turned to glass a Jeroboam filled with a life that’s passed Toss it off the balcony and listen for the crash I am not waiting anymore
-I spent eight long years working on my screenplay it’s a teen movie with young actresses that plays to the middle aged
-I have read between the lines I have been wrong every time It burned up on the alter, but I am fine I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore I am not waiting anymore.
Chloë Lewer and Elliott McKee are the indie-folk musical duo, ‘Charity Children Berlin’. After moving from New Zealand to Germany in 2011, Chloe and Elliott landed in Berlin where they began busking as a profession. Driven by a ukulele, a beautiful voice, and a handful of pocket sized instruments Charity Children Berlin managed to build a following. The two years Chloe and Elliott spent in Berlin have done more than just a following from the folks in Berlin though.
The duo have now turned trio by adding a cello player, and are set to release their full debut album ‘The Autumn Came’ in mid 2013. They’ve also recently released ‘Elizabeth’ a free single to get our ear buds wet, and a handful of other videos on their webpage. Make sure you download that single below from the Soundcloud player, and keep your eyes peeled for that album release. We’ll make sure and update you as soon as it comes out.
“‘The Autumn Came’ represents a selection of songs written and performed over their first summers in Berlin; collaborating with an orchestra of other musicians to transfer their distinctive street-folk sound into the studio. Some songs are joyful, some painfully tragic but all heartfelt.”
“He looks just like an angel,” said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and their clean white pinafores.
“How do you know?” said the Mathematical Master, “you have never seen one.”
“Ah! but we have, in our dreams,” answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.