Buddy Miller has tended to refer to the new Buddy and Julie Miller record, Breakdown On 20th Ave. South, as a Julie Miller solo project, with his wife having written a majority of the album’s 12 tracks.  True, the confessional batch of songs by the esteemed songwriter, her first in many years, is very Julie-centric; but that’s not to take away from the production and playmanship that Buddy brings to the proceedings.  Tense, tortured, seeking lyrics filtered through Buddy’s electric guitars makes for a combustive, exciting record that could only come from this very unique Nashville duo.  Find the album here.

A companion album to his last record, Jeff Tweedy’s new batch of tunes, Warmer,  continues the Wilco frontman’s abstract, sometimes apocalyptic introspection.  Perfect melodies.  Oblique lyrics.  And folk tunes full of hairpin turns.  You can find the album at most online retailers, or at the Wilco website.

Smoke-filled images drift about when listening to the self-titled release of Akron’s Broken Plank.  Backroad honky-tonks. Lost highways.  To the whir and hiss of a tape machine,  sad steel, and wicked guitar; the listener is swept up in a ghostly waltz among the stars.  You can stream and purchase this strange, haunted, beautiful album here.

On his new album, From Here to All of Time’s Entire, Cody J. Martin spins tales both tall and tender.  Across 10 blues/folk/Americana-infused tunes, the dynamic Martin spits out his singular brand of skewed colloquialisms and twisted religious idioms; grappling with hard love and ennui.  This righteous slice of rock-and-roll drops on August 23.  For more information or to preorder, go here.

Discoveries & Recommendations

Movies: Anima (2019)

Ida (2013)

Classic Albums: The Phipps Family, Faith, Love and Tragedy

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horizon

A week or two ago, I attended a pre-release listening party for one of my favorite artists. Under the dim lights of Canton’s Deli Ohio restaurant, after hours, I scribbled a few thoughts down as Damien Jurado’s new record spun.  I added a few more later, the sound still lingering…

 

Gray skies over Canton. A whirling April snow. Red lights turn to green.

A voice is carried along on the reverb; a winding stream. It sinks into the wood grain.

Thomas Wolfe. Bruce Springsteen.

Otis Redding. Percy Faith.

Lost in America; stuck in the 70s.

Bob Dylan. Bill Fay.

The red of the exit sign. The hum of the cooler.

Leonard Cohen tells a crude joke.

Lazarus and resurrection. Jonah bouncing around Nineveh.

Old Testament fire. New Testament glory.

A life detached.  A glass darkly.

Charlie Brown on the streets of Laredo.

 

The horizon just laughed.

 

“The Horizon Just Laughed” will be released on May 4th.

TLW_MyBonesAreSinging_Cover

Those Lavender Whales’ first album, Tomahawk of Praise, was an album of pure joy. Sure, there were moments of questions; times when singer/songwriter Aaron Graves put a stumbling faith at the forefront of his wild folk melodies. But everything was viewed, sung, strummed through a haze of unfiltered, contagious joy. Five years and several lifetimes later, the band is poised to release its second full length, My Bones are Singing, and yes, there is joy on the record, but it’s a new kind of joy. A bittersweet joy. A joy that comes from being tossed about on the harsh waves, to and fro, until finally being spit upon the shore. The new album finds Graves working through the complexities of life and death, having struggled through a life threatening brain tumor and the long treatment that followed. His praise and outlook isn’t as self-assured as it was the first time around. A deeper darkness has seeped into the songs. The guitars are louder. The weight is heavier. But this is not a somber album. This is music as medicine. This is a power-of-positivity record, full of friendship, seeking, searching, faith, doubt, resurrection…and it most assuredly rocks.

My Bones are Singing releases April 7 on Fork and Spoon Records.  You can listen to and purchase the album here.

caitlin

Strip mined hills, full of snow, stand tall in the distance like the Andes. “You are born alone”, Caitlin Pasko sings through my car stereo. The river drifts by, choppy, chunks of snagged driftwood pulled up and under the surface. Plastic trash is caught in the roadside fence. “Then you’ll die alone”. The cold is brutal. The county, the highway, the flocks of skittering birds—they are all carried along on the grief-stricken poetry and piano melodies of her new EP, Glass Period. It’s a hard journey, this highway of life that we travel. We suffer and laugh and love and hate, and some are able to put words to such abstract things. Some are able to allow their grief to be resurrected into something that heals. “But what about the time in between?” sings Pasko, and it’s a question for us all.

You can listen to and purchase the EP here.

jonah

I have a difficult time pinning down the music of Portland’s Jonah Sissoyev. I started listening to his songs back in 2012. It was the first time that I truly lived alone, outside of a college dorm room—a quiet, light-filled apartment all to myself, on the top floor of an old house. I didn’t know what Sissoyev was singing about, whether it was God or girls, but I knew that it hit me—that it spoke to something far down, in that part of you that knows only a profound, Biblical groaning. Sissoyev is now releasing his third EP, Shadow of the Sun, and his sound has expanded somewhat over the years. There are more players. There is a greater scope to the recordings. But the songs are still rooted in those far down places. They still feel like an artist’s abstract search for love or peace or salvation of some kind. At the heart of it, Sissoyev’s songs remain strange, enigmatic and utterly beautiful.

You can stream and purchase his music here. Beginning March 1, you’ll be able to hear and buy the new EP, Shadow of the Sun.