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This Week(end)’s Must-See Shows

April 16, 2014
Horse Feathers - Photo by John Clark

Horse Feathers – Photo by John Clark

The focal point of this weekend’s schedule is the annual Brooklyn Folk Festival, taking place at The Bell House Friday through Sunday. The festivities includes sets from acts like Frank Fairfield and The Tillers, as well as a Pete Seeger tribute sing-a-long and the notably notorious “banjo toss.”

Check out the schedule for the fest right here.

But that’s not all that’s happening ’round these parts this weekend. Horse Feathers is back, with two shots thrown at you to catch ‘em. And one of our new favorite things is Mat Davidson (of Spirit Family Reunion)’s solo venture, Twain. You can catch him along with our pal, known in this context as Leland Sundries, on Monday at Rockwood. Check out this Twain performance from 2010. It’ll give you feelings.

Twain “I’ll Be Fooled Again” from Possum Den Productions on Vimeo.

Some more must-sees below.

Friday, April 18
8:30 p.m. — Horse Feathers / Laura and Greg at Glasslands

Saturday, April 19
9:30 p.m. — Horse Feathers at Joe’s Pub

Sunday, April 20
1:30 p.m. — Holly Golightly at Rough Trade
8:00 p.m. — Jus Post Bellum at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

Monday, April 21
9:30 p.m. — Leland Sundries / Twain

Ryan Adams to Make Newport Folk Debut

April 15, 2014
Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Last Friday, Newport Folk Festival producer Jay Sweet made the following post on his Facebook page:

Hey Friends and Family, I wanted to take a moment and say it’s taken me nearly seven years to figure out a way to bring Ryan Adams to Newport Folk. I’m unabashed in wanting the world to know about it.

Ryan Adams will make his long-pursued Newport debut on the festival’s opening day, Friday, July 25th. While Saturday and Sunday tickets are already sold out, Friday tickets are still available (at the time of posting), but the addition of Adams and a few others are sure to sell out the entire festival well in advance of summer.

Since our last update, Seattle’s Noah Gundersen has also joined the lineup for Friday. I recently caught Gundersen at a packed out Rockwood Music Hall show and was blown away by his performance, which included his backing band (mostly made up by his very talented family).

Also joining the Festival’s Friday fold will be Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer – a duo that released one of the top albums of the year last year and, easily, the most beautiful one. I got to know Hamer a few weeks back at a Brooklyn house concert with The Murphy Beds, his other duo with Eamon O’ Leary. Gentle folk, as a whole, can get pretty boring after a while, but like Andrew Bird, the meshing of Hamer’s voice and flawless instrumentation stands out.

Another exciting addition to the lineup are our NOLA friends, The Deslondes, who will perform on Sunday and will undoubtedly elevate their profile with their appearance at Fort Adams.  Coming off of a tour with their close friends Hurray for the Riff Raff and Spirit Family Reunion last fall, the band carries the same kind of soulful old time sound (NOT POP) that young and old NPR-loving folkers can’t get enough of these days. I caught up with the band at SXSW last month and am pretty fired up about their new album, which they’re wrapping up now.

Checkout the full Festival lineup to date here a few vids below.

MNFS: Michaela Anne – “When You Wanted Me”

April 15, 2014
Brooklyn's Michaela Anne

Brooklyn’s Michaela Anne

Last week marked the release of Ease My Mind (Amazon MP3 & Spotify), the sophomore album from Brooklyn-based Americana singer-songwriter Michaela Anne. A follow up to Michaela’s 2011 debut, To Know Where, and notable appearances at Telluride, Merlefest and SXSW, Ease My Mind represents the talent of an artist that is well beyond her age and features a powerful Americana voice that’s hard to forget. Of note is the tragic love song “When You Wanted Me,” which runs in line with Michaela’s honest and straightforward songwriting. This is my new favorite song (MNFS).

This Week(end)’s Must-See Shows

April 10, 2014
Emmylou Harris performs Saturday, April 12 at BAM.

Emmylou Harris performs Saturday, April 12 at BAM.

First things first … let’s clear the air. I take full responsibility for not telling you about what probably would have been one of your favorite shows of the season: Conor Oberst and James Vincent McMorrow at the Green Space tonight. But listen, we weren’t there either, so … let’s move on, shall we? (You can actually catch JVM Friday in Williamsburg.)

The reality is that what would likely actually be your favorite show, well, ever is happening Saturday at BAM, when Emmylou Harris will perform her 1995 album ‘Wrecking Ball’ (take note, Miley … this is the real deal). Problem is, if you didn’t already by your ticket … God speed. There are a few left on StubHub for the hefty price of about $200. Keep your eyes peeled for any other deals and last-minute sells.

Here’s a reminder of her greatness:

More must-sees below:

Friday, April 11
8:00 p.m. — James Vincent McMorrow / Aidan Knight at Music Hall of Williamsburg
8:00 p.m. — Wild Child / Tall Heights / Rick Barry at Rough Trade
8:00 p.m. — The Points North / Avi Jacob at Silent Barn

Saturday, April 12
8:00 p.m. — Emmylou Harris (performing Wrecking Ball) / Daniel Lanois at BAM

Sunday, April 13
8:00 p.m. — Jonah Tolchin at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 1

Tuesday, April 15
7:30 p.m. / 9:30 p.m. — Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2
8:00 p.m. — Langhorne Slim (solo acoustic) at City Winery

This Week(end)’s Must-See Shows in NYC

April 3, 2014


I think it’s pretty apparent what your Saturday night should consist of. And yes, it’s a combination of whiskey and Nickel Creek.

While the reunited trio will be back in NYC at the end of April, why wait when you could see them (along with PHC’s Garrison Keillor) in two days? No response necessary.

Here are a few others of notable mention. If you see any we’re missing, let us know!

Thursday, April 3
9:30 p.m. — Hurray for the Riff Raff at Lincoln Center

Friday, April 4
8:00 p.m. — Benjamin Cartel at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2

Saturday, April 5
8:00 p.m. — Nickel Creek and Garrison Keillor at Town Hall
9:00 p.m. — Runaway Dorothy at Hill Country BBQ Brooklyn

Brandon Flowers, Dawes, Father John Misty, and Local Natives Cover New Cash Album, ‘Out Among The Stars’

March 30, 2014
Brandon Flowers covers "I Came to Believe"

Brandon Flowers covers “I Came to Believe”

Released this past Tuesday, Out Among The Stars (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) is yet another new album from the late Johnny Cash. These thirteen-tracks recorded in the early 80s have collected dust on a shelf in Cash’s old office for the last thirty years, but John Carter Cash notes in the album’s commentary that the songs represent his dad in his prime.

What a blessing to find this music. Dad recorded this record with Billy Sherrill, the veteran producer, back in 1984 and 81, mostly in 84. At that point in my life, my dad, well he’d been through some struggles in the early 80s. He had fallen back into drug addiction and in late 83, he went through recovery. So, we catch Dad here at a point in his life, when he was true, when he was aware, when his voice was perfect – when he was headed in a spiritual direction that was positive and meaningful for him. This music resonates in so many ways to my spirit. It’s not just about the perfect voice; it’s a memory to me of who my dad was at the time. And what a blessing to come face to face with that and remember that now and I feel like I’m with him again when I hear these recordings. – John Carter Cash

Unlike the pretentious take on this record (and Johnny’s alleged “trend chasing” motives) by The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky, I love this album and hope the Cash family continues to fling open the family vault with unreleased recordings like this.

And I’m not alone. On Friday, Brandon Flowers (of The Killers), Dawes, Father John Misty, and Local Natives – fellow Cash-obsessed contemporaries – worked with the phenomenal French blog La Blogothèque to produce a stunning and brilliantly directed short film of covers from the album. This is one of the best things I’ve seen in a long while.

Thursday at Rockwood: Miss Tess & The Talkbacks with Mike + Ruthy

March 18, 2014

Miss Tess & the Talkbacks Photo: Mike Spencer

This Thursday, Brooklyn’s sassy, jazzy, zydeco-tease Americana band, Miss Tess & The Talkbacks, play Rockwood’s Stage II with Woodstock’s husband/wife folk duo, Mike + Ruthy.

Mike + Ruthy - Photo by Thomas Schnaidt

Mike + Ruthy – Photo by Thomas Schnaidt

Miss Tess released The Love I Have For You (Amazon MP3 & Spotify) in October – a stellar follow up to her 2012 release, Sweet Talk. Folk Alley released a couple great videos – one fine track from each album – last week (see below) just in time for a taste of the show.

Mike + Ruthy released The NYC EP (Amazon MP3) in 2012 to much acclaim on this blog and elsewhere. While I last caught the duo at Joe’s Pub and at last summer’s Newport Folk Festival, this show shockingly marks their Rockwood debut. Huge advocates for the Catskills music and arts scene, M+R hosted last summer’s Summer Hoot with the late Pete Seeger and plans to announce the festival’s 2014 lineup in just about a month.


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