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New Tunes at Two

New Tunes at Two

  • We got to know this supergroup-you-haven’t-yet-heard-of in 2022 with their debut, “The Very Best of Fantastic Cat.” This one’s even better! Individually, each member boasts their own impressive resume along with appearances everywhere from the New York Times and the Tiny Desk to Bonnaroo and Cayamo. NPR said Anthony D’Amato “sings and writes in the tradition of Bruce Springsteen or Josh Ritter.” Paste declared Don DiLego's latest album a "stunner.” Rolling Stone called Brian Dunne’s new record “the sleeper album of the year” and praised Mike Montali’s band, Hollis Brown, as “the soundtrack for a late night drive through the American heartland." As their press package says, think CSNY if none of them were famous, or The Traveling Wilburys if none of them were famous, or the Eagles if they really didn’t get along.
  • In addition to his work with brother Chris and “brother” Jano Rix in the Wood Brothers, and his previous time fronting King Johnson, Oliver Wood has done some solo work, and this is his newest one since his 2021 debut. He recruited some familiar names to help, like Seth Walker, Ric Robertson, Katie Pruitt, Tania Elizabeth, and Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Jano co-produced this one with him, with a good bit of spontaneity. “I wanted to get outside my box and embrace the uncertainty of what’s out there. I wanted weird guitar tones. I wanted more percussion and less drums. Once we began experimenting and doing whatever inspired us, the pressure melted away and I felt liberated.”
  • Another member of the Stray Birds, bassist Charlie Muench, has his first solo album. Originally recorded just as demos in Nashville last year with Dominic Billett (The Weather Station, Courtney Marie Andrews) and Maya de Vitry (Maya de Vitry, The Stray Birds), he realized he had the makings of a fully fleshed out album, and finished work on it with fellow Philadelphians shortly thereafter. The result is You Were Dreaming, out June 28th, with songs of deep emotional honesty.
  • In the height of lockdown in 2020, banjo extraordinaire Tony Trischka received a mysterious package in his mailbox that would significantly change his next few years. Its contents: an USB drive full of rare recordings of Earl Scruggs jamming with John Hartford, mostly taken from private gatherings at Earl’s house during the 80s and 90s. Naturally, Trischka began pouring over the more than 200 songs, transcribing the all-new solos, tones, and tricks from the man he’d been studying for over half a century. Now we have this new album, filled with wonderful collaborations from other artists including Del McCoury, Billy Strings, Sierra Ferrell, Molly Tuttle, and the Gibson Brothers.
  • The trio of Joe Bellanti, Corey Kertzie and Dave Ruch met in 1983 as members of a Buffalo, New York Grateful Dead cover band called Wild Knights. Then in 2020 they pivoted to this funky organ-based trio Organ Fairchild. Their latest album is an eclectic reworking of classics by Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen, the Beatles, and (of course) the Grateful Dead, among others. They’re tour for this new album brings them to One World Brewing in Asheville on June 20th, and the Toe Down in Green Mountain on the 21st.
  • Born and raised in rural southeast Texas, Nick Taylor captures that Red-Dirt Americana sound in this debut album. The result is an impressive combination of sounds that veer from the gentle reflection of “Futures Past,” the evocative tones of “3AM On The Interstate” the easy embrace of “Carry You Home,” and the heartbreak and happenstance of “Broken Souls,” through to the sashay and serenade of “Getting Along,” the heartfelt homage to a special “Kentucky Girl,” and forward through the driving and determined “Heart on the Run.” As the name of the album suggests, Taylor hopes that these tracks will help his listeners to feel less alone in their struggles.
  • We’ve got two soul/blues-inspired women in a row for New Tunes at 2 this week. Sierra Green, hailing from New Orleans’ vibrant 7th ward, emerged from the church choir to become the Queen of Frenchmen Street. She recorded this album of originals and well-known hits with terrific players in Nashville, and there are nods to the legendary sounds of Detroit and Memphis with the horns and basslines, too. Here We Are comes out via Big Radio Records / Select-O-Hits on June 21st.
  • Taylor is a chart-topping British blues-rock guitarist, who was first discovered at age 16 by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics. She had great success with her previous three albums, and this one bridges those together in a fusion of contemporary soul-pop with traditional blues roots. It’s coming out on June 7th on Journeyman Records, known to fans of Joe Bonamassa.
  • It can be a workout trying to keep up with Americana’s most prolific songwriter! But for those who’ve lost count this is his 37th, and it’s filled with 11 wonderful new originals, performed by the band he’s been out on tour with lately. That tour recently included MerleFest (his “Favorite Place”?) and SkunkFest in our area. It will be officially released on June 21st on Sky Crunch Records.
  • So, just how many albums has Willie Nelson released? This is his 152nd album according to Texas Monthly's interactive “All Willie Nelson Albums Ranked” list. But his full discography includes 100 studio albums (consisting of 74 solo studio albums and 26 collaborative studio albums), 14 live albums, 51 compilation albums and 41 video albums, plus a couple soundtracks. One number we’re more certain of is his age: 91! Produced by longtime musical collaborator Buddy Cannon, this new album showcases Willie (lead vocals, Trigger) accompanied by Mickey Raphael (harmonica), Bobby Terry (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, steel guitar), James Mitchell (electric guitar), Jim "Moose" Brown (Wurlitzer, B-3 organ, piano, synthesizer), Fred Eltringham (drums, percussion) and Barry Bales (upright bass); backing vocals are by Buddy and Melonie Cannon. And he’s on the road again, with his Outlaw Festival Music Tour that includes Charlotte on June 22nd, with Bob Dylan, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, and Celisse.
  • Andrew takes us in a bit of a different direction on this one, as he pays tribute to a lifelong love for mid-century, small group jazz he used to hear on the radio. Together with Ted Poor on drums, and Alan Hampton on bass – plus additional guitar from Jeff Parker and piano by Larry Goldings – Sunday Morning Put-On finds Andrew Bird paying direct homage to Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Rodgers & Hart, and others. Andrew Bird plays Rabbit Rabbit in Asheville on July 18th, along with Nickel Creek and Mike Viola.
  • Before recording this latest album, frontwoman Shannon Shaw’s fiancé, a good friend to all of the band, died in a car accident. The result is an album that explores the various stages of grief while keeping true to the music fans of the band expect. Working once again with producer and Easy Eye Sound label owner Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, the group’s signature garage-soul sound remains intact and the instrumentals are surprisingly up-tempo for such a serious album. …Shannon and the Clams walk a tightrope on The Moon Is in the Wrong Place and, overall, they nail it. They don’t shy away from the weight of their primary subject but it never feels needlessly heavy. They produce their most mature album to date without losing sight of the low-tech garage rock that made them popular.” (No Depression). They play the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on June 4th, and the Orange Peel on Asheville on June 5th.