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Author Archives: Steven Stone

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. […]

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Danny Schmidt

Man of Many Moons
Red House Records
 
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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 […]

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Megan Slankard

Token of the Wreckage
(Self-distributed)
 
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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 […]

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Brian Wright

House On Fire
Sugar Hill Records
 
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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), […]

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Carrie Elkin

Call It My Garden
Red House Records
 
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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 […]

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Ben Hall

Ben Hall
Tomkins Square
 
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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 […]

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The Wailin’ Jennys

Bright Morning Stars
Red House Records
 
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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, […]

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Tim Mahoney

Live From the Sky
Self-distributed
 
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Tim Mahoney’s latest work combines elements of heavy-metal power pop with ethereal folk ballads, and his mix of guitar raunch and lyricism makes for an addictive musical cocktail. Musically, Mahoney is something of a chameleon. Songs like “Greatest Life” are riff-driven roots-rock anthems with soaring guitar leads. “Lay Down Low” is a jam-bandish groove tune […]

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The Boxcars

The Boxcars
Mountain Home Music Company
 
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Fresh from his double win at the 2010 International Bluegrass Musicians Association (IBMA) awards for “Mandolin Player of the Year” and “Instrumental of the Year,” Adam Steffey teams with The Boxcars on arrangements tight as Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver, but with a broader musical palette. Between vocal parts, The Boxcars lay down more than a smattering […]

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John McCutcheon

Passage
Appalsongs
 
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John McCutcheon is one of a small minority – an unabashed folk singer. On Passage, he performs 14 new original tunes that demonstrate his mastery of the idiom known as “folk music.” McCutcheon’s subject matter touches the usual folky bases – love, social injustice, the sea, family, travelin’, death, and food. But what makes this […]

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