Sunday, November 22, 2015

Trolska Polska

Trolls, giants, gnomes, and pixies... perhaps. But I found a lot more depth to the music of Trolska Polska, a band of Swedes and Danes who explore the darkness and light of the Nordic woods. Their album {moss} pays tribute to trolls, so much so that the band defines their musical genre as Nordic TrollFolk.

Read my full review of {moss} on RootsWorld.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Fiddle. Mandolin. Accordion. Guitar. That sounds like a folk music lineup. And it is, except when it isn't. Spiro is an English quartet that uses this instrumentation as they ride that artsy edge between folk and classical music on Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow. The listener who chooses to ride along this edge will be deeply rewarded. The title comes presumably from the poem by John Keats which sets forth a number of contrasts:
    Infant playing with a skull;
    Morning fair, and shipwreck'd hull;
    Nightshade with the woodbine kissing;
    Serpents in red roses hissing;
As Spiro is a purely instrumental ensemble, they play around with aural contrasts, beyond simply the aforementioned folk and classical settings.

Read my full review of Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow on RootsWorld.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Favorites of 2015 (April Update)

A lot of great music has come out in the first quarter of 2015. Here are a few of my favorites.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tuomas Logrén

I'm listening to a great mix of American roots music. There's some bluegrass, some Cajun, some old-time front porch music, and a couple of traditional cowboy songs. And it comes from Finland. Yes. Finland. Tuomas Logrén is the guitarist for the fiddle-heavy Finnish ensemble Frigg. I think of Frigg as a Nordic ensemble; they draw from Finnish folk music supplemented by the traditions of Sweden and Norway. That's what I was expecting to hear on Yövesi, which is also the name of a lake in eastern Finland, home to a number of threatened species like the Saimaa ringed seal and the Arctic Char. Sounds Finnish so far, right?

Read my full review of Yövesi on RootsWorld.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Favorites of 2015 (Early Favorites)

We're just a couple of months into 2015, but a couple of records have really caught my ear.
  1. Robert Earl Keen - Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions
  2. Dengue Fever - The Deepest Lake
Here's a playlist to get us started. I'll add to it as the year progresses.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ione Love Thielke

Gary Eller from the Idaho Songs Project and Cheryl Oestreicher from the Boise State University's Special Collections and Archives came on my radio show, Ramblers' Retreat, to talk about the new collection of the music of Ione Love Thielke, "The Musical Poem Recorder of Cascade, Idaho." Listen to this interview about the music of Ione Love Thielke archived on Mixcloud.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mardi Gras

Here's a Mardi Gras playlist to get you through the weekend.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Favorites of 2014

Here is my "official" list of my favorite recordings of 2014.
  1. Hurray For The Riff Raff: Small Town Heroes
  2. Sam Amidon: Lily-O
  3. Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn
  4. Willie Watson: Folk Singer Vol. 1
  5. Luke Winslow-King: Everlasting Arms
  6. Anaïs Mitchell: Xoa
  7. Cahalen Morrison & Eli West: I'll Swing My Hammer With Both My Hands
  8. Flaco Jiménez & Max Baca: Legends & Legacies
  9. Chris Smither: Still On The Levee
  10. Boulpik: Konpa Lakay
Small Town Heroes by Hurray For The Riff Raff, an Americana band from New Orleans led by Alynda Lee Segarra, remains my record of the year, and Segarra's song "The Body Electric" is still my song of the year.

There were very few changes in my list over the past month. A few records moved up or down, but nothing new was added.

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