Inside the latest VG
Published monthly since 1986
172

Author Archives: Steven Stone

Scott Gibson

Just Keep Drivin'
Self-distributed
 
Scott-Gibson-THUMB

  Gibson It’s hard to toss a quarter in Nashville without hitting a songwriter holding a tip jar, but few have Scott Gibson’s songwriting chops. On Just Keep Drivin’, Gibson delivers 12 reasons he should be on your radar. Born inWaco, many of Gibson’s songs are stories aboutTexas; the title tune tells the tale of […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

The Grascals

The Grascals + Friends
Cracker Barrell Records
 
Grascals-THUMB

The Grascals understand that making music professionally is a business, and strategic partnerships are part of being successful. On The Grascals + Friends they partner with some of the biggest names in country music. Though known as a bluegrass band, the music here is more acoustic and electric country; partners include Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Greg Trooper

Upside-Down Town
52 Shakes Records
 
Greg Trooper THUMB

Greg Trooper’s music displays a variety of influences – bluesy inflections from R&B coupled with rootsy country melodies and arrangements. On his latest release, he handles most of the acoustic guitar, with veteran guitar-slinger Michael McAdam adding slide and electric guitar. Co-produced by Trooper, keyboardist Kevin McKendree, and bassist Stewart Lerman, the album’s arrangements are […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Nathan Stanley

My Kind of Country
Nathan Stanley Entertainment
 
NATHAN STANLEY THUMB

On the cover of My Kind of Country, Nathan Stanley looks a bit like Elvis, with big sideburns, slicked-back hair, and shades. But unlike some Las Vegas clone, Stanley was born into bluegrass/ country royalty – he’s the grandson of Dr. Ralph Stanley – and served time with his grandfather’s band, The Clinch Mountain Boys. […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Danny Schmidt

Man of Many Moons
Red House Records
 
Danny-Schmidt-THUMB

On his second Red House Records release, Danny Schmidt displays the same level of wit and lyricism that made his last release such an artistic success. Undoubtedly, Schmidt writes great songs. Man of Many Moons includes 10 new originals and one cover – “Bucket of Rain” by Bob Dylan. His version of this rarely covered […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Megan Slankard

Token of the Wreckage
(Self-distributed)
 
Megan-Slankard-THUMB

Megan Slankard is difficult to pigeonhole. Equal parts country soul, folk, pop, and alt rock, though still in her early 20s, Token of the Wreckage is her third disc, and amply demonstrates why she’s so popular. Some of Slankard’s original songs are bouncy and fun (“The Happy Birthday”) while others are dark and sad (“The […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Brian Wright

House On Fire
Sugar Hill Records
 
Brian-Wright-THUMB

Off kilter, warped, but addictive, Brian Wright’s music grabs your attention. He describes it as, “…situated somewhere between Woody Guthrie and The Velvet Underground.” Where exactly, depends on the song. Beyond writing the songs and singing lead vocals on House On Fire, Wright plays all instruments in the core band. Cameos by Michael Starr (dobro), […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Carrie Elkin

Call It My Garden
Red House Records
 
Carrie-ElkinTHUMB

How many versions of the song “If That Mocking Bird Don’t Sing” have you heard? I’ve listened to more than I can count on all my digits. So when I heard Carrie Elkin veer into “Mocking Bird” during the chorus of “Jessie Likes Birds” I wondered where she was going with it. What followed was […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

Ben Hall

Ben Hall
Tomkins Square
 
Ben-Hall-THUMB

After violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini died in 1840, several violinists claimed to be possessed by his spirit when they performed his violin concerto. I wonder if Chet Aktins has managed a similar supernatural transposition through Ben Hall. To say this young picker plays like Chet Atkins is an understatement; he channels Chet’s style with an […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment

The Wailin’ Jennys

Bright Morning Stars
Red House Records
 
The Wailin Jennys THUMB

The concept of a “folk supergroup” sounds strange, sort of like “the folksinger’s Porsche.” But no musical amalgamation deserves this moniker more than The Wailin’ Jennys. With three world-class lead vocalists who are equally accomplished songwriters, The Wailin’ Jenny’s deliver polished folk music that still has soul. Bright Morning Stars highlights Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta, […]

Posted in Music | Leave a comment