Which acoustic guitarist had the greatest influence on rock 'n' roll — arguably as significant as electric counterparts like Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, B.B, Albert and Freddie King, and Buddy Guy? No, not Robert Johnson, though I'd name him and Mississippi John Hurt runners-up. Judging from John Milward's new book Crossroads: How the Blues Shaped Rock 'n' Roll (and Rock Saved the Blues), I'd say the honors go to fingerpicking Piedmont bluesman Rev. Gary Davis. Who? Davis,… more »
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It's difficult to believe — or hell, maybe it isn't — that every major label in Nashville rejected Brandy Clark's first album, 12 Stories. The Washington State native has written or co-written songs for Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert and the Band Perry, and her debut is an alternately hilarious and heartbreaking collection of character-driven songs about women who go crazy and the men who drive them there. Even before its release, it was… more »
[To celebrate the release of his 11th studio album, Innocents, we invited Moby to take control of eMusic's editorial for a week. You can read our exclusive interview with him here, and he also picked his 10 favorite albums on eMusic. We resurrected our interview with the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne, who sings on Innocents, and Moby requested an interview with one of the album's other guest vocalists, Cold Specks, which you can read below.… more »
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After introducing herself to the public on American Idol and then emerging victorious on Dancing with the Stars, it’s easy to think of Kellie Pickler’s recording career as secondary to her reality-television gig. The truth is that she possesses a sweet country-soprano voice in the same family as Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton — an album of Dolly covers seems all but inevitable, and could be a smash. What we have in the meantime is her fourth full-length, The Woman I Am, an album with many rewards of its own.… more »
2013 | Label: Slate Creek Records
It’s difficult to believe — or hell, maybe it isn’t — that every major label in Nashville rejected Brandy Clark’s first album, 12 Stories. The Washington State native has written or co-written songs for Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Miranda Lambert and the Band Perry, and her debut is an alternately hilarious and heartbreaking collection of character-driven songs about women who go crazy and the men who drive them there. Even before its release, it was hailed as a landmark debut and one of the best albums of the year.
Still,… more »
2013 | Label: New West Records
For almost 15 years, Bay Area-based trio the Devil Makes Three have been working to put the “country, bluegrass and blues” back into CBGB. On their fifth album I’m A Stranger Here, they meld the punk grit of the scuzzy landmark with the sort of swinging, foot-stomping barn-burners they’ve perfected over the course of their past four records and endless tours.
The Devil Makes Three operate with unmatched intensity: Save for two achy ballads, the tracks on Stranger pummel through one another. Guitarist Pete Bernhard handles most of the lead vocals… more »
2013 | Label: Northern Spy / Redeye
For much of the 20th Century, jazz drew melodic inspiration from the Gershwins, Cole Porter and other sophisticated pop songwriters. Bryan and the Haggards, led by saxophonist Bryan Murray, hearken back to that era with outlandish, inventive and often hilarious instrumental renditions of tunes by the great country songwriter Merle Haggard — and occasionally Merle mentor Bob Wills. Guitarist-banjoist-vocalist Eugene Chadbourne, who’s been infusing country music with hyperactive improvisation and humor for decades, kicks their goofy brilliance into overdrive on the quintet’s third album.
The conceit wouldn’t work half so well… more »