Peak Of The Week™

Thursdays at 9pm

A new release - handpicked by WNCW's Programming Staff - is sampled throughout Renee Denton's Music Mix on Thursday evenings.

One of our favorite contemporary songwriters, Mary Gauthier delivers her self-described "country-noir" style with an authenticity and rawness matched by few.  Recorded in an intimate venue -- an artists’ ranch in Wimberley, Texas – this new live album features some of our favorite songs of hers that touch on the unsettling side of contemporary American society: executed murderers, unrepentant alcoholics, troubled teenage adoptees, even drag queens in limousines.  She is accompanied by former Duhk Tania Elizabeth on fiddle and percussionist Mike Meadows. 

It's two of our favorites, together at last!  Actually, Buddy and Jim have a history of musical collaborations that go back to at least 1994, and Miller's guitar work and more have blended with Lauderdale's singing and songwriting numerous times since then (including at each year's Americana Music Association Awards Show, where Buddy serves as bandleader and Jim as host.)  Destined to be one of the strongest collaborations of the year, it's Buddy & Jim for your Peak of the Week this Thursday night after The World Cafe. 

With a great blend of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing, Pokey LaFarge is one of those old souls that has come back to remind us of the great roots of true American music.  He and his band recorded this up-tempo live album last April in Amsterdam.  We'll feature it throughout your Thursday night music mix. 

Tune in Thursday night as we feature one of our favorite new acts and releases, the debut from Scotland's Snowgoose.  Comprised of members of Teenage Fanclub, the Soup Dragons, and Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan's band, Snowgoose is fronted by vocalist Anna Sheard, who makes her performing debut (so far as we know) with this band.  Influences also include early '70's British folk-rock groups like Fairport Convention, and West Coast American sounds as well.  This new release from a new discovery is already a Top 100 pick among WNCW listeners!

Recorded in August of this year at select sold-out shows, former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell and his well-seasoned band The 400 Unit have an engaging live album that captures the love and passion of his fans in his home state.  From Muscle Shoals soul to hardcore country to lay-it-all-out rock, this collection will make for a great foundation to your Thursday night music mix this week.

One might be surprised at how much Australia and the American South have in common, and you might hear it when Kasey Chambers sings Appalachian folk melodies as naturally as anyone from our neck of the woods.  She has teamed up with her husband Shane Nicholson for their 2nd collaboration, "Wreck & Ruin", and the harmonies, arrangements, and songs on it make it one of the strongest Americana releases of the year.  Country & folk, Australia & Appalachia, Kasey & Shane, this Thursday night.   

English singer/songwriter Beth Orton, who impressed the world with her seamless blend of folk and electronica on 1996's Trailer Park, is back with her first album in 6 years, "Sugaring Season."   Inspired by her new child and her Vermont husband (hence the maple syrup reference in the title), this introspective, re-energized release has some of her best writing to date.  Orton recorded it in Portland, Oregon with producer Tucker Martine (Decemberists, Laura Veirs, Tift Merritt). 

This Thursday we feature Black Mountain-based Seth Kauffman and his lo-fi, groove-heavy project Floating Action.  Their (his) 5th album Fake Blood is being trumpeted by Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and is getting national exposure thanks to him and Asheville-based Harvest Recordings.  Even if you're not one of the lucky 500 who received a limited edition LP version, you can feel the vinyl warmth of this one -- perfect for this chilly Thursday night. 

“Even though Iris DeMent admits she likes to work at her own pace when it comes to songwriting, 16 years is a long time. The songs themselves are as languorous as a hot summer afternoon, evoking DeMent’s early childhood in Arkansas. In an era when we demand instant gratification from everything, DeMent’s new CD says a lot for taking your sweet time.”  --Meredith Ochs, NPR

This 3rd solo release from the frontman for the Drive-By Truckers may have a sound that is at home with Truckers fans, but it's definitely more stark and personal than his work with the band.  Hood visits his family's farm & homestead in rural Alabama for this great one.