Saturday, November 15, 2014

Goodland Trio

One of the many things I love about Nordic folk music is the way musicians are not afraid to blend traditional hardingfeles, nyckelharpas, and kanteles with "new" instruments. I am thinking in particular about the saxophone, and the way it's been integrated into Nordic folk music, by ensembles like Goodland Trio. Maybe it's the thrill of mixing various reed instruments -- accordions and harmonicas and clarinets -- in a confined musical space. Or maybe it's that saxophones are shiny.

Read my full review of Skogen I Staden on +RootsWorld.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Aaron Mark Brown

Last month during our fall Radiothon, Aaron Mark Brown came by the KRBX studio to appear on my radio show, Ramblers' Retreat. Listen to this live performance by Aaron Mark Brown archived on Mixcloud.

Here's a playlist of Aaron Mark Brown and other Idaho musicians who have appeared live on my radio show.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Lee Penn Sky

Last month during our fall Radiothon, Lee Penn Sky came by the KRBX studio to appear on my radio show, Ramblers' Retreat. Listen to the full live performance by Lee Penn Sky archived on Mixcloud. He has a passion for community radio, and it shows.

Here's a playlist of Lee Penn Sky and other Idaho musicians who have appeared live on my radio show.
You might also be interested in this video from the Hermit Festival this past September which includes Lee Penn Sky with The Oliphants.

Idyltime

Last month during our fall Radiothon, Idyltime came by the KRBX studio to appear on my radio show, Ramblers' Retreat. Listen to the full live performance by Idyltime archived on Mixcloud.

Here's a playlist of Idyltime and other Idaho musicians who have appeared live on my radio show.

Tracy Morrison

In September, Tracy Morrison came by the KRBX studio to appear on my radio show, Ramblers' Retreat. Listen to the full live performance by Tracy Morrison archived on Mixcloud.

Here's a playlist of Tracy Morrison and other Idaho musicians who have appeared live on my radio show.

fRoots Critics Poll 2014

Every year fRoots magazine polls writers, DJs, festival organizers, and others who listen to a lot of new music. These critics are asked to vote for their favorite music in the category of “anything from anywhere with roots in a tradition.” I was invited again this year to be one of those critics. Here's how I voted:

New Album of 2014
  • SAM AMIDON / Lily-o / (Nonesuch)
  • BILLIE JOE & NORAH / Foreverly / (Reprise)
  • BÉLA FLECK & ABIGAIL WASHBURN / Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn / (Rounder)
  • HURRAY FOR THE RIFF RAFF / Small Town Heroes / (ATO)
  • ANAÏS MITCHELL / Xoa / (Wilderland)
  • WILLIE WATSON / Folk Singer Vol.1 / (Acony)

Reissue / Historic / Compilation Album of 2014
  • MICHAEL CHAPMAN / Live At The Folk Cottage 1967 / (Treehouse 44)
  • SMOKY BABE / Way Back In The Country Blues / (Arhoolie)
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS / The Barley Mow / (Topic)
  • VARIOUS ARTISTS / Haiti Direct / (Strut)

Here's a playlist with songs from these albums.


Since the voting began in October, we were allowed to include albums that were first issued as early as November 2013. As always with these kinds of lists, caveats abound.

Nominees - the top 10 new albums and top 6 reissues/compilations - will be announced alphabetically on Tuesday, November 11th. The winners will be announced December 5th.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Favorites of 2014 (November Update)

We're in the last quarter of 2014, and here are my favorite recordings of the year so far.
  1. Hurray For The Riff Raff: Small Town Heroes
  2. Sam Amidon: Lily-O
  3. Willie Watson: Folk Singer Vol. 1
  4. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
  5. Anaïs Mitchell: Xoa
  6. Cahalen Morrison & Eli West: I'll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands
  7. Flaco Jiménez & Max Baca: Legends & Legacies
  8. Phønix: Nu
  9. Boulpik: Konpa Lakay
  10. Juaneco Y Su Combo: The Birth Of Jungle Cumbia
Hurray For The Riff Raff, an Americana band from New Orleans led by Alynda Lee Segarra, remains my record of the year, and Lee's song "The Body Electric" is still my song of the year.

A couple of fairly new banjo-charged records are in heavy rotation right now. American-born, London-based Sam Amidon has captured me with his re-workings of traditional tunes. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn have put out an impressive double banjo record that expertly merges their distinct individual styles.

The rest of my list is a mix of old-time, conjunto, twoubadou, cumbia, and music I don't know how to label.

You can compare this to the last list I made in July.

Here's a playlist with songs from these albums and a few more favorites of 2014.