My Americana Music Awards Ballot

I joined the Americana Music Association this year because I’m planning to go to Nashville in September for the Americana Conference and Festival and the member’s discount on registration was slightly more than the membership cost.  So, I also get to vote in the Americana Music Awards. Cool. As a staunch member of the NSW Labor Left it’s basically automatic to show my ballot so here is... read more

Music of 2016 #1

RIP Merle Nothing in depth to say that would improve on pointing you to these reflections from Kaleb Horton and Amanda Petrusich. The 1994 album Tulare Dust: A Songwriters Tribute to Merle Haggard (buy it here with a bonus disc from a live concert) put together by Tom Russell and Dave Alvin was very influential on me when it came out, and not just me – it was the first number 1 on a new thing at the time... read more

Revisiting: Dave Alvin – “Romeo’s Escape”

If you know this album (bravo to you) it’s probably as Dave Alvin’s first solo recording after leaving the Blasters (and X) and before he made all those albums people really love. And indeed, it’s a transitional artefact of Alvinology. Everything about it, by context and content, invites us to look to the before and to the after but which also deserves it’s place among the cream of that era’s roots rock... read more

Wrapping up 2015 …

Some brief notes of a few records that haven’t been previously noted …. And then on to 2016!  The first big release of which looks to be Lucinda’s Ghosts of Highway 20 – the two songs off it she did at her recent Sydney gig “Dust” and the title track are available now and sound great. 50 Million Beers – Welcome Stranger  (website) The Beers are stalwarts of the... read more

Music Q4 2015

I haven’t included a couple of things that made my 2015 list. No “world music” made my year end list which is unusual – Songhoy Blues and Noura Mint Seymali were close.  And last week into my inbox dropped the welcome news of a couple more releases from the Portland, Or-based label Sahel Sounds Nouakchott Weddings Songs Raucous and electrified wedding songs from the desert kingdom... read more

My Favourite Albums – 2015

Here are my lists through the year of music from Q1, Q2, Q3 and I haven’t done Q4 yet since I’ve been working on this instead.  Everything on those is worth checking out, but these are the ones lingered the longest as we close out the year. You can see my ballot in the No Depression poll (don’t get too hung up on the order, after the first couple its pretty random), and do check out the... read more

The Rose of Roscrae – Tom Russell

You can buy The Rose of Roscrae via Frontera Records or the usual other places.  I bought the bundle which came with a promo CD for radio and a detailed booklet/program/libretto but a music-only two disk version is also available.    I can’t remember where I first heard of The Man from God Knows Where but I imagine it was the Iris DeMent listserv I was on at the time of its release in 1999. Or it... read more

Favourite Music Q3 2015

This one is a little early, but I’m going on holiday. Apologies to anyone releasing kickarse music in the last week of September ….  Because of my holiday (AUD .69c OMG) I took the pedal off acquiring new stuff the last couple of months, but this list is chockas with A list and numerous that will make my top 10 or 15 of the year. Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin – Lost Time   The second of... read more

Music Q2 2015

Here is the first quarter list, and here are notable albums from April, May and June listed in order of acquisition as recorded here.  UPDATE:  I did this whole post then stupid WordPress ate it and although I had been saving it, none of the revisions are there. So, sincerely fuck you WordPress. I wrote some stuff for some of them but can’t really be bothered to do it all again so … anyhow... read more

Dave & Phil Alvin and The Guilty Ones @ The Basement

When the Bluesfest acts (and therefore, most importantly for me, Bluesfest sideshows in Sydney acts) were announced, one stood right out as my must-see: Dave and Phil Alvin (with The Guilty Ones).    They did not disappoint. Phil has the horizonless, slightly tart classic blues shouter voice and Dave the songwriting and lead guitar, which you think would make them perfectly suited to each other musically... read more

Music Q1 2015

IT IS APRIL ALREADY WAAAAAHHHT?   Bob (duh), Joe (swoon) and Rhiannon (also swoon) are my picks for 2015 so far but all these are great.  I‘m keeping track of all the music I get (spreadsheet alert)this time so hopefully at the end of the year I won’t forget about so many things …. Bob Dylan – Shadows in the Night Joe Pug – Windfall Rhiannon Giddens – Tomorrow is My... read more

Favourites 2014

This was a very lovely year for music. Rather than having one “yes this is absolutely THE album of the year” it just had many, many, many, many that were in the convo.   I did a favourites list on this blog half way through the year so I’ve just cut and pasted and tacked those on the end of the new additions (and the ones I forgot). For a trip down memory lane, here is last year’s... read more

Out on The Weekend – Melbourne

I booked my flights and accommodation to go to this new festival back in July when it was first announced.  A bit of an impulse buy ’tis true but I loved the line up and consider it my contribution to supporting a new Americana fest. I did make the promise, since I spent all this cash going south,  not to see any of the individual artists when they did Sydney shows, which somehow I stuck to –... read more

Dylan @ The Tivoli, August 27th

The Tivoli is on a drab one way street in a largely light industrial enclave, bookended by the Showgrounds (ghosts of many Ekkas past in the shuttered jacket potato stalls visible through the fence) and Fortitude Valley – think the blanker parts of Parramatta Rd, one shabby dollar store for every 10 residents side by side with a clutch of self consciously funky theme bars selling Vietnamese pork... read more

Bob 2014

I’m doing Bob’s five Sydney shows in September – 3 at the State and 2 at the Opera House.  I decided not to go interstate since there are 5 in Sydney and one shouldn’t be greedy and also the seated arrangement means its a lottery as to how close to the front you can get (I will spare you my thoughts on the somewhat shambolic organisation of the sales, suffice to say Chuggy could... read more

Favourite Music – First Half 2014

In alphabetical order of artist ….. Acey Monaro – EP No videos ;-( Reel of Joy – Andy Baylor Babineaux Sisters – Quoi Ca Dit Reissue: Bobby Charles – Bobby Charles Light the Stars – Bonsoir, Catin Reissue – Dylan’s Gospel – Brothers & Sisters Tightrope – Chatham Country Line Common Ground: The Songs of Big Bill Broonzy – Dave and Phil... read more

Film Festival Picks

Got my usual 10 ticket package, plus one to the opening night.  Time’s a little tighter this year with my Russian exam during second week not to mention the World Cup ensuring some early mornings so I don’t know if I’ll get to any others. Usually I see about 80% docos, it’s a little different this year as I a) chose to see a couple of the buzzier films, which I basically never do.... read more

Hanggai – The Basement

  Chinese band Hanggai put on another great show at the Basement a few weeks back.  Pretty similar to their 2012 show at the same venue – with addition of some tunes from their new album Baifang – which is fine by me because they are great. Lead singer Ilchi is a real rock star and the blend of traditional instruments like the morin khuur blend perfectly with the Fenders.  And of course... read more

Must See: Valerie June

  A big discovery last year was Valerie June and her debut album Pushin’ Against a Stone.    She’s going to be at Bluesfest this year, and is opening for Booker T in Sydney and Melbourne.   I love Booker T and would be going to see him anyway, but it’s a pity Valerie June isn’t getting her own show.  I predict (hope) she’ll be back soon as a headliner. Here’s a... read more

Springsteen Road Trip 2014

Between 15th February and 26th February this year I saw six Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band gigs, in four locations in three different states.   Here are some tl;dr raw statistics followed by super long rambling: By my count, over the six shows I saw a 107 different songs (willing to be corrected on this, maths are hard y’all) Run times of shows: 3hr 24m, 3hr 48m, 2hr 59m, 2hr 58m, 3hr 06m, 3hr... read more

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