In My Dreams EP is out now as a 7″ and digital release via In My Room.
One of our favorite indie-folk songstresses, Sharon Van Etten, performs tonight (1/5/12) on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Sharon recently announced that her forthcoming record,Tramp, will be released on 2/7 via Jagjaguwar.
Hear and download “Serpents,” a track from the album, on the label’s website.
This past Saturday, guitarist Glenn Jones was on NPR’s Weekend Edition promoting his new album The Wanting (out on Thrill Jockey). The upshot of the Jones piece was that he had “stepped out of John Fahey’s shadow.” It’s true that Jones collaborated with Fahey, and is a fellow traveler to Robbie Basho, Jack Rose, Stephen Basho-Junghans and other “American Primitive” acoustic folk string-slingers. But once you hear him, you’ll likely think that his shadow itself looms plenty large.
The Wanting is Jones’s solo debut on Thrill Jockey, although we certainly expect from this relationship than a single release. A point of nostalgia for me: it was recorded in an intimate space: a fourth floor apartment in Allston; a Boston suburb that was my stomping grounds in grad school. While I didn’t hear Jones during my time there, I did get to hear many a stimulating solo guitar set at Beantown coffeehouses and bars. But nostalgic connections or not, the musicality and versatility brought to bear on The Wanting is undeniable. Jones plays all of the instruments himself: acoustic steel string guitar, six-string, 10-string and bottleneck, and 5-string open-back banjo. The tunes are originals, but they contain soulful resonances and folk-inflected affinities that make them seem timeless and, quite quickly, fondly familiar.
Check out the video clip and MP3 below: it will likely make you want The Wanting. Better yet, catch Jones live on his upcoming tour (dates follow).
Oct 14 Boston, MA Villa Victoria
Oct 16 Chicago, IL The Hideout
Oct 17 Iowa City, IA The Mill
Oct 18 Dubuque, IA Monk’s
Oct 19 Bloomington, IN Russian Recording
Oct 20 Lexington, KY Collexion
Oct 21 Louisville, KY TBA
Oct 22 Knoxville, TN The Pilot Light
Oct 23 Asheville, NC Harvest Records
Oct 24 West Columbia, SC Conundrum Music Hall
Oct 25 Atlanta, GA TBA
Oct 26 Atlanta, GA Grocery On Home
Oct 27 Chapel Hill, NC The Nightlight
Oct 28 Takoma Park, MD Potts-Dupre Schoolhouse
Nov 1 Brooklyn, NY Zebulon
Nov 3 Easthampton, MA Flywheel
Nov 5 State College, PA Schlow Centre Region Library
Director/Cinematographer: Harvey K Robinson
Burst Photographer: Harvey K Robinson
Time Lapse Photographer: Carolyn de Berry
Shot on location in Efland, NC.
©monkeywhale productions, 2011
Katharine Whalen and Her Fascinators
On September 27th, ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers vocalist Katharine Whalen releases her first CD in nearly five years. Those who associate Whalen with her nineties hits may be in for a surprise: a pleasant one! Madly Love encompasses her diverse musical interests, incorporating jazz, acoustic roots music, and avant pop. She’s joined by the Fascinators, an enthusiastic trio of musicians. Guitarist Nathan Golub, drummer Brad Porter, and multi-instrumentalist William Dawson are fine players, capable of negotiating the various stylistic twists and turns found on Madly Love. The record’s ready supply of songs both whimsical and substantial makes it an engaging listen. Whalen’s extraordinarily rich voice and captivating delivery draws one to return to the CD again and again.
These Open Roads
Singer-songwriter Haroula Rose writes gently rendered, folk-inflected and primarily acoustic pop songs that show a sense of balance and restraint all too rare today. Yes, her style would be eminently suitable to a Lilith Fair revival show and her material seems ripe for soundtrack work. But she never gives us the overwrought, overly confessional aspect that plagues some singer-songwriters’ music. Instead, her still, small (and eminently winsome) voice seamlessly inhabits the many tuneful and elegantly arranged songs on These Open Roads, her debut LP.
Andy LeMaster does a particularly fine job producing the record, allowing for a variety of instruments to visit the proceedings without ever making things sound too busy. Deft touches, such as the intertwining rhythm guitars plus slide on “Close My Eyes to See,” the whistles on “Free to be Me,” and the pairing of banjo and cello on “A Place Under the Sun,” enliven the material. Rose’s voice is close-miked and intimate without ever seeming precious. While some may like their pop with more oomph than is present here, I’m very fond of this “less is more” approach. It allows the singer – and her songs – to speak for themselves. When they have a lot to say, as does Haroula Rose, it’s quite a winning approach.
It’s hard to believe it, but Dar Williams has been recording for seventeen years! Many Great Companions (Razor and Tie) is the folk singer-songwriter’s just-released double CD. A career retrospective, it features a number of guest appearances by folk and pop stars: Sean and Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Larkin, Motherlode, and Gary Louris of the Jayhawks.
One disc is a greatest hits compilation; but the other is a set of 12 stripped down acoustic versions of songs from Williams’ catalog. Thus, while it’s a handy overview, it’s hardly a redundant addition to any fan’s collection. Indeed, it’s stirring to hear Williams’ voice as strong as ever on the new acoustic versions of her songs. It’s equally refreshing to witness the strength of this material, which thrives without the need for any studio embellishments.
A free download of one of these unplugged renditions, “If I Wrote You,” is below.
MP3: If I Wrote You (Dar Williams, featuring Gary Louris)
Want more free music? We’re running a giveaway: the first person to email me with the title of Williams’ debut album gets a free copy of Many Great Companions!
Tomorrow at 12:30 PM (EST), Dar will be taking part in a live performance and Q&A. You can check it out on Livestream, or come back here to watch it on the embedded player below.