FolkWorld #76 11/2021

CD Reviews

Short & Sweet

A Moving Sound "Little Universe" (CD, ARC Music, 2021). ‘Little Universe’ features co-founders of A Moving Sound – Mia Hsieh and Scott Prairie – collaborating with Taiwanese instrumentalist and percussionist Alex Wu; guitarist Pieter Thys from Belgium; and percussionist Eduardo Campos from Brazil. While a traditional Taiwanese sound is prominent, influences from Asian, African and Middle Eastern music are blended with Western pop sensibilities, producing an innovative fusion. Check out "Little Universe" [Album Trailer], "Little Universe" [Illustrated Video] & "Water of Life" [Live Performance Video]!

Ana Alcaide feat. Reza Shayesteh "An mah" (Video, 2021). Ana Alcaide[42] is happy to announce the release of ‘An mah’, the first song of her new album ‘RITUAL’. ‘An mah’, (‘that moon’), sung in Spanish and Farsi, is a tribute to the moon as a reminder of our cyclical and rhythmic nature. ‘RITUAL’ is a hymn to the power of connection through the act of daily rituals, a personal album inspired by Ana´s encounter with Iranian singer Reza Shayesteh and Persian poetry. The album will be available in March 2022.

Altered Five Blues Band "Holler If You Hear Me" (CD, Blind Pig Records, 2021). The Milwaukee-based quintet's chart-topping album "Ten Thousand Watts"[70] earned them a first place in the blues category of the 2019 International Songwriting Competition. Guitarist Jeff Schroedl wrote or co-wrote all the songs on their sixth studio album, Holler If You Hear Me, to exploit the powerful vocals of front man Jeff Taylor, while Jason Ricci brought his sizzling harmonica to the house party. Check out Youtube Channel & Promo Video!

Pancho Álvarez " Albor dos guerreiros - lira da idade de Bronce" (Video, 2021). Always focussed and inspired by Galician traditional music, Pancho Álvarez[12] was the bass and violin player of NA LÚA for fifteen years,[13] he was part of MATTO CONGRIO,[14] and the CARLOS NÚÑEZ band.[3] From 1997 to 2005, Pancho joined THE CHIEFTAINS on their world tours, recording on "Santiago" and "Voice of the Ages."[48] He has recorded four solo albums, playing various string instruments. Watch "Albor dos guerreiros - lira da idade de Bronce"!

Sharadchandra Arolkar with Ravi Bellare "Arolkar's 1968 Private Concert" (CD, Country & Eastern, 1968/2021). Some years back Country & Eastern released an album with a remarkable tabla solo by the great Pandit Ravi Bellare. The album was recorded at a private concert in Chembur, Bombay in 1968 and was the conclusion of a great two and a half hour concert by vocal maestro Pandit Sharadchandra Arolkar (1912-1994) of the Gwalior school of classical Indian music. Country & Eastern is happy now to release this intimate concert in full. Pandit Arolkar is not onlay accompanied by tabla genious Ravi Bellare, but Ustad Masit Khan on sarangi and supporting vocal by Pt. Sharad Sathe. Please check out "Arolkar's 1968 Private Concert"!

Jack Badcock "Only a Lifetime" (Single, Own label, 2021). Dallahan frontman Jack Badcock's Only a Lifetime is the final release from his five-track EP "The Driftwood Project":[74]Only a Lifetime is basically an anti-cynicism song. It’s a response to the idea that humanity is merely a force for destruction – which I seem to hear a lot. In a world not short on inequality, violence and environmental neglect, it’s easy to see where it comes from. I think people forget that humans are an animal like any other on Earth and in this respect, are one to be marvelled at. We’re a problematic species but are capable of spectacular things, not least the ability to change. The world only a lifetime ago seems like such a wildly different place to the one we live in now and the world a lifetime from now will be similarly unrecognisable.” Featuring Little Acres (Rachel Lightbody, Cariss Crosbie & Emilie Boyd) on backing vocals, a string quartet (Seonaid Aitken, Benedict Morris, Patsy Reid & Su-A Lee), as well as Gus Stirrat on bass guitar, Loic Guenneguez on trumpet, John Lowrie on piano and Micah Johnston on drums.

Badieh "Badieh" (CD, Worlds Within Worlds, 2021). Badieh, the debut album of Michel Gasco[75] and Mohammad Miraghazadeh, has been released the day that the third-largest city of Afghanistan, Herat, fell to the Taliban. The album is a collection of mystifying folk pieces from Greater Khorāsān - a very important historical and geographical area now divided between Iran and Afghanistan. Watch "Paresh-e Jal" & "Leyla Dar Vakon"!

German CD Review

Aisha Badru "The Way Back Home" (EP, Nettwerk, 2021). Indie-folk artist Aisha Badru builds atmospheric soundscapes, deeply rooted in nature, spirituality, family and homecoming. Aisha's whispery observations have evolved, in just three short years since her melancholic debut Pendulum, into evocative assurance. Watch "The Way Back Home" & "Rebirth"!

Bapi Das Baul Featuring Baul Bishwa and Mantrasense "River of Happy Souls" (CD, ARC Music, 2021). The Bauls (Bengali: বাউল) from the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition, mix elements of Tantra, Sufism, Vaishnavism and Buddhism. France-based Bapi Das Baul is an 8th generation Baul performer known for his fusion work with groups like Zap Mama and Transglobal Underground. His folk ensembles Baul Bishwa and Mantrasense present ‘River of Happy Souls’, a spiritual and musical journey bringing visions of love, peace and solidarity, accompanied by a variety of native instruments such as tabla, dhol and ektara, and lyrical poems by the iconic Bengali philosopher and mystic Fakir Lalon Shah (1774-1890).

The Barefoot Movement "Someday" (Video, 2021). Heralded by CMT Edge as “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene,” the music of the Nashville based group The Barefoot Movement takes listeners back to a simpler place and time: sit back, relax, take your shoes off, and stay a while. When? Someday!

Belcirque "La Grande Fête" (CD, ARC Music, 2021). Born from high school friendships as a street-performing act, Belgian Belcirque has entertained crowds for over ten years, weaving together swing, folk, jazz and vaudeville & barbershop influences with African grooves and North American Blues. In what is a continually trying time the world over, Belcirque serves up the perfect tonic and now also wears a sunny Latin-American jacket, as they take you to another time and place with calypso, cumbia and rumba: ‘La Grande Fête’ – ‘The Big Feast’! Watch "Locura" [Official Music Video]!

Nathan Bell "Red, White and American Blues (it couldn't happen here)" (CD, Need To Know Music, 2021). Son of the late poet-laureate of Iowa, Marvin Bell, Nathan's early years were filled with the comings and goings of literary giants. But instead of picking up a pen, he picked up a guitar. “I learned to play by listening to blues greats Lightnin’ Hopkins, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee. I learned to write lyrics by reading Jack London, William Carlos Williams, and Frank Herbert.” Recorded in 2019 before Trump departed and delayed two years by the pandemic, Red, White and American Blues - the subtitle it couldn't happen here being a reference to Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel imagining that the US could be led to fascism - remains relevant in every way. Check out the Who The "F" is Nathan Bell EPK!

Paul Benoit "Beautiful Lies" (CD, Zebadiah Records, 2021). "Beautiful Lies" is Paul Benoit's latest collection of powerful Americana rock tunes and moody acoustic folk and blues ballads in the style of Nick Drake and Townes Van Zandt. The title track "Beautiful Lies" is a lush duet, featuring Amilia K Spicer on vocals and Benoit's tasty slide guitar, about desire and all of love's complexities. Inspired by the global pandemic, "Let’s Pretend We’re in Love" is the perfect love song for dystopic times.

Chris Bergson "All I Got Left" (CD, Continental Records, 2021). Hailed as "the New York street poet with a blues soul” (Mojo), Chris Bergson's new solo album All I Got Left is an intimate, stripped-down affair with his “glorious guitar” (Blues Magazine) providing the only accompaniment for his “deeply soulful vocals.” (Blues in Britain) Bergson offers a collection of songs inspired by lived-in scenes of the pandemic that speak to the shared experience of the past year through the universal lens of the blues.

Eric Bibb "Dear America" (Video, 2021). The fiercely literate and historically informed blues songwriter Eric Bibb[61] has known many different Americas, the good, the bad and the ugly. If you could call out to your country, what would you say? Dear America is “a love letter,” Bibb explains, “because America, for all of its associations with pain and its bloody history, has always been a place of incredible hope and optimism."

Bill and the Belles "Happy Again" (CD, Ditty Boom Records, 2021). Bill and the Belles often joke that their setlists appear mournful and angry, but if you don’t listen to the words you wouldn’t know it. "Happy Again" isn’t exactly happy, but full of life, humor and tongue-in-cheek explorations of love, loss and divorce. “One of the darkest times of my life turned out to be one of the most creative,” says Kris Truelsen. “I realized, ‘My life is chaos. I need to write about this shit.’” Watch “Happy Again” & “Sobbin’ the Blues”!

Jade Bird "Prototype" (Video, 2021). English singer-songwriter Jade Bird has been influenced by many folk and Americana artists. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, she was the first artist to collaborate with Microsoft in what was named the RE:Surface project, a virtual live-streamed concert. Jade performs "Prototype" for the first live studio audience at the Late Late Show's Stage 56 since March 2020.

Iva Bittová & Antonín Fajt & Babačka & Ivo Viktorin & Vladimír Václavek "Pro Radost - For Joy" (CD, Indies Scope, 2021). Iva Bittová[67] accepted the invitation of Folk Holidays in Náměšť nad Oslavou[57] to create a special concert as part of a reduced version of the festival in 2020. The motto's been: Pro Radost - Music Is A Joy - For Everybody! Iva Bittová says about the concert: "Despite their mouths being covered, I could see the glowing sparks in their eyes and hear their voices."

Rodd Bland & The Members Only Band "Live On Beale Street: A Tribute To Bobby "Blue" Bland" (CD, Nola Blue Records, 2021). Drummer Rodd Bland, who grew up in and around his father's band, has made a name for himself touring and recording with Benny Turner & Cash McCall and The Reverend Sean Amos. He did not hesitate to put together a tribute to his father for a special showcase during the 2017 International Blues Challenge. The successful concert sparked an annual tradition that yielded three more shows and a new recording, "Live On Beale Street: A Tribute To Bobby "Blue" Bland". Rodd assembled a band of A-list players, all of whom worked for his father at some point, and three talented vocalists to present some lesser-known gems from Bobby "Blue" Bland's six-decade-spanning songbook. Check out Rodd's Youtube channel!

Blind Lemon Pledge "A Satchel Full of Blues" (CD, Ofeh Records, 2021). Frisco Bay area bluesman Blind Lemon Pledge (aka James Byfield)[60] returns with his ninth album, "A Satchel Full Of Blues." The collection of a dozen new tracks, delivered as a mostly mellow but not entirely acoustic affair, are an homage to the songwriters who influenced him since his youth (Gene Autry, Willie Dixon, Randy Newman, Mose Allison, Hoagy Carmichael) and as he says, “launched his ongoing fascination with the magic synergy between melody and lyrics.” Check out A Satchel Full of Blues - Blind Lemon Pledge on Big Blend Radio!

FolkWorld Xmas

Ed Blunt "The Dome of St Paul's" (Single, 2021). London/West Sussex based singer songwriter Ed Blunt has released the first single from his upcoming debut album - a heart-warming Christmas song inspired by the last big blizzard in the City of London in 2009: “One freezing Sunday night it started to snow, at first just a few flakes, then soon enough a proper whiteout. As we walked the streets the city that was usually loud and frenetic stood perfectly still and quiet in the snow like a dreamland – it was one of those nights you will never forget.” Watch the animated video: "The Dome of St Paul's"!

Joe Bonamassa "Time Clocks" (CD, Provogue/Mascot Label, 2021). Blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa's[59] 15th solo studio album and fifth in a row of all original material, 'Time Clocks', sees him at his most ambitious and diverse yet as he continues to redefine and push the barriers of blues-rock. On the ten songs of Bonamassa mixes in a new progressive rock flavor.

Debbie Bond "Blues Without Borders" (CD, Blues Root Productions, 2021). Along with her collaborator and husband, British born keyboardist and harmonica player “Radiator” Rick Asherson, Debbie Bond[61] began the "Blues Without Borders" project in the spring of 2020 - until the world was shut down by the pandemic. Through the miracle of modern technology they were able to continue recording via the internet, giving greater meaning to the album title and proving the only borders to creativity are those inside our hearts and minds. Immersion in Alabama roots music has deeply flavored Debbie's guitar playing, while “Radiator” Rick blows a mean harp and plays honky-tonk piano with hints of Louisiana swamp. Check out Debbie's Youtube channel!

The Brothers Comatose "Too Many Places", "Gone Gone Gone" (Video, 2021). San Francisco's bluegrass quintet The Brothers Comatose is often described as a "high-energy", "foot-stompin", "rowdy" folk-rock string band, anything but Comatose, redefining bluegrass music as a blend of contemporary rock and traditional bluegrass. Watch "Too Many Places" & "Gone Gone Gone"!

Brothers Osborne "Tiny Desk (Home) Concert" (Video, 2021). Country music's band of badass brothers found themselves in a precarious situation like many artists last year; they released a new record in 2020, but weren't able to tour it. The lack of performing meant few chances to gauge the reception of the Brothers Osbornes' new album, Skeletons, but this showcase for NPR's Tiny Desk (Home) Concert cements what fans of the band have known since the record's release — it may be the group's best work yet.

Nora Brown "Sidetrack My Engine" (CD, Jalopy Records, 2021). Banjo player and folksinger Nora Brown plays old-time traditional music with a particular interest in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee banjo playing. UK Folk Radio states, “Nora’s playing the fretless version of the banjo is more in tune with its African ancestry. It allows a seamless glissando, a spirited game of snakes and ladders, doggedly climbing and then slipping easily back to the start.” Nora will headline November 12 at the Brooklyn Folk Festival; meanwhile she has shared a video for "Liza Jane," performed with Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton, from her second album Sidetrack My Engine. See also Record Release, Live at Paste Studio on the Road, NPR Music’s All Songs Considered, Brooklyn Magazine.

Jackson Browne "Downhill from Everywhere" (CD, Inside Recordings, 2021). “Songwriting is a mysterious thing”, says Jackson Browne.[67] “Sometimes it feels a bit like consulting the oracle”. Downhill From Everywhere was recorded prior to the tumultuous events of the past year, but the collection feels remarkably prescient, grappling with truth and justice, respect and dignity, doubt and longing. Browne is singing about a world fast approaching a social, political, and environmental point of no return. “I see the writing on the wall. I know there’s only so much time left in my life. But I now have an amazing, beautiful grandson, and I feel more acutely than ever the responsibility to leave him a world that’s inhabitable.” Watch Jackson Browne Live 2021 🡆 Downhill From Everywhere 🡄 Oct 17 ⬘ Houston, TX!

Tré Burt Featuring Kelsey Waldon "Dixie Red" (Video, 2021). A beautiful tribute to John Prine:[72] "I prayed under an old Oak tree in my neighborhood a lot for John and his family while he was in the hospital last year. In the days following his passing I was mostly silent and listened to The Tree of Forgiveness non-stop. One night, I was standing on my porch looking at the full moon through a break in the trees over my street. It was especially silver and awfully large. The moon looked as if it were signaling John’s safe arrival to the other side. I felt privileged to witness this message sent for his family. ‘Dixie Red’ is a southern grown peach and that line from “Spanish Pipedream” has always been so potent to me. So I used a peach as imagery to represent John’s body of work he left behind for all of us." (T.B.)

Sam Bush & Tim O'Brien "Jammin with Sam - Land's End" (Video, 2021). Comment: "Best concert I ever saw, in any genre, was in 1984 when New Grass and Hot Rize both performed full sets at McCabe's guitar shop in Santa Monica CA. Great to see the leaders of those bands 37 years later still looking and sounding great!" Check out Sam Bush[48] joined by Tim O’Brien[69] playing the beautiful "Land's End"!

Guy Buttery "One Morning in Gurgaon" (CD, World Music Network, 2021). A beautifully spontaneous collaboration between South African guitarist Guy Buttery[75] and Indian master musicians Mohd. Amjad Khan (tabla) and Mudassir Khan (sarangi), "One Morning In Gurgaon": "Towards the end of 2019, Mohd. Amjad Khan, Mudassir Khan and I were scheduled to rehearse just outside of Delhi four hours before our opening concert. We had never met before, let alone made any music together. Due to Delhi traffic, our intended dry run was shaved right down to a single 60 minutes giving us just enough time to shake hands, share a chai and tune our instruments. As a result we went in totally blind to that first concert yet what unfolded on stage over the next hour left me in complete awe. So much so that after our performance I immediately set about asking anyone who would listen how we could track down a local studio to capture our newly formed trio. With limited time together and an already crammed schedule, we somehow managed to secure a single morning to record." Check out Album Teaser and a new live video of "Kya Baat", the very first piece the trio performed.

Jon Byrd "Me and Paul" (EP, Longleaf Pine Records, 2021). Jon Byrd on vocals and his gut-string guitar and Paul Niehaus on pedal steel (the latter a founding member of Lambchop and formerly with Calexico, the late Justin Townes Earle, Iron and Wine, and many more) started performing around Nashville three years ago, resulting in this 5-song EP of two originals and three cover songs: “Me and Paul is dedicated to and a reflection of the people that came to see me and Paul over the years in little watering holes and honky tonks here in Music City. They are small, but mighty as Billy Block used to say. It’s also dedicated to venues that let us take over their ‘happy hour’ to play the saddest, darkest, most pitiful and tragic songs every penned.” Watch the "Ballad of Jr. and Lloyd"!

Mark Cameron "Back from the Edge" (CD, Cop Records, 2021). "Back from the Edge", recorded over the last 18 months, continues the foot-stompin’, butt shakin’ sound that Minnesota based singer, songwriter and guitarist Mark Cameron is known for.[60] This suite of ten original songs takes you on a journey through the blues in its many forms.

Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls "She Got Him (With Her Voodoo)" (Video, 2021). Jo Carley and The Old Dry Skulls[74] are back from the European tour and 110% back from the dead. They will return in spring 2022. "Ladies and gentleman, boys and ghouls, step this way for our new music video out now! Somewhere on the east coast, in a tiny run down shack, footage of England's last vaudeville villains has been discovered. Thought to be lost forever, it's been pieced back together and presented here to shock and excite you, but beware of the demonic music hall mistress. Has she got you with her voodoo yet?"

Willi Carlisle "The Grand Design" (Video, 2021). A musical soothsayer in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Utah Phillips and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, multi-instrumentalist and poet Willi Carlisle has been announcing his signing with Free Dirt Records, a label synonymous with outspoken folk artists and new directions in roots music. His sophomore album will be released summer 2022. Watch "The Grand Design"! Read "Outsider A-Side: Willi Carlisle Brings the Thunder From the Ozarks"!

Katy Carr "A Beautiful Song For You", "When Charlie met Pola" (Video, 2020/2021). To commemorate Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde's birthday on 16th October, Katy Carr[74] is posting her song, "A Beautiful Song For You". This song was written for her sixth studio album 'Providence' and is inspired by Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose. She is also sharing her lovely video "When Charlie met Pola", inspired by the great Polish actress Pola Negri who was engaged to Charlie Chaplin and made by her great nephew Archon.

Celmaca Dúo "Cantando Historias" (CD, Home Records, 2021). Celmaca Dúo was born from the passion of Osvaldo and Patricia for the music and instruments of Latin America and the encounter with fascinating characters. A journey between sound and textures, supported by two voices, various Latin American string instruments, percussion and more. Watch "Ojita de choclo"!

Ben Chasny "The Intimate Landscape" (CD, Drag City, 2021). KPM Music, the legendary British library music company, extended an offer to Ben to make some songs for their library (music made for hire, for use in placement in films and advertising). Ben Chasny, using his given name rather than the Six Organs of Admittance alias he has preferred in his career, offered some lovely instrumental themes played on acoustic guitar, plus several well-placed synths and a passage of wordless vocalizing: "The Intimate Landscape"!

Chatham County Line "Porcelain Doll" (Video, 2021). North Carolina Folk Festival: "Looking for more NC folk music to get you through the summer? Be on the look out for brand-new bonus content from our 2020 Virtual Concert Series featuring never before seen footage of our 2020 artist line-up! We are starting things out with Chatham County Line's[61] performance of "Porcelain Doll". Embracing an all acoustic instrumentation and the modern songwriting of leader Dave Wilson, Chatham County Line has graced stages all across the U.S. as well as mainland Europe, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom. With seven studio albums of original material to pull from, Chatham County Line has a sound all their own and a stage show to match."

Jeff Chaz "I Just Caught The Blues" (CD, Jcp Records, 2021). "I Just Caught The Blues" is the most unique offering to date from New Orleans bluesman Jeff Chaz.[63] During the beginning and height of the pandemic Chaz, also a licensed minister, had plenty of time to write and reflect upon the pains and sufferings, highs and lows, love lost and won, bitter sweet humor, and social issues of everyday life. Check out the original blues, blues rock, blues funk and 'Heavy Burden' gospel of "I Just Caught The Blues"!

Cheng Yu with Dennis Kwong Thye Lee "Longyin - The Dragon Chants" (CD, ARC Music, 2021). The guqin zither played on the "Longyin" album – meaning The Dragon Chants – was named by previous owner and legendary sinologist Robert Hans Van Gulik and has passed on through the years, eventually finding an ideal partner in Cheng Yu.[70] She thought its name a perfect title for a collection with Malaysian xiao flutist Dennis Kwong Thye Lee that celebrates her homeland's culture and musical traditions. Longyin is played with original 1930s Chinese silk strings to produce a warmer, gentler sound.

Corde Oblique "Bambina d'oro", "Averno", "The Moon is a Dry Bone" (Video, 2021). Corde Oblique:[53] "Our first show post lockdwon was very exciting for us! The show was sold out one week before and the audience was great! We want to share with you all some pictures and videos of it!" Corde Oblique uploaded three videos excerpts: "Bambina d'oro", "Averno", "The Moon is a Dry Bone". They also prepared a Playlist on Spotify with the show setlist (including original versions and live versions available).

Charley Crockett "Round This World" (Video, 2021). American Songwriter raves about the Texas singer, guitarist and songwriter Charley Crockett, a distant relative of legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett: "Crockett finds the sweet spot between country, soul, blues and folk on deceptively modest songs, effortless in their easy-going groove." Watch "Round This World" (Official Video) from his tenth album "Music City USA"!

Chris Daniels, Hazel Miller and Dana Marsh "What We Did" (CD, Moon Voyage Records, 2021). In times of crisis musicians are always among the first to respond when the call goes out for volunteers to lend their time and talents to aid a benefit for a cause. Guitarist Chris Daniels,[27] was asked to perform a virtual concert for Inner City Health, forming a trio with Hazel Miller on vocals and Dana Marsh on keys to record ten songs that produced What We Did.

Helena Davidsson "Aldrig lika konstig och ensam igen" (CD, Kakafon Records, 2021). Helena Davidsson's sophomore album, "Aldrig lika konstig och ensam igen", presents an empathetic encounter between Swedish singer-songwriter tradition (Helena's lyrics set to music by Sofia Pettersson) and improvisational jazz. “Helena initiated every session by reading the lyrics out loud. We all took our personal experience of the words with us into our performance”, says Henrik Cederblom who produced and performs on the album.

Guy Davis "Be Ready When I Call You" (CD, M.C. Records, 2021). M.C. Records is proud to announce the new album by The Ambassador of the Blues, Guy Davis.[52] For the first time in over a dozen-album career, he wrote nearly everything on the disc. “I call it Americana, but I slip a little world music in there too,” he says. “When you’re trying to create beautiful music, you don’t think too much about categories.” The first single/video from the record will be “God’s Gonna’ Make Things Over”, which shamefully revisits the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921. See also 'Be Ready When I Call You' from The Extended Play Sessions!

Steve Dawson "At the Bottom of a Canyon in the Branches of a Tree" (CD, Own label, 2021). Steve Dawson’s[54] new solo album tells a powerful story of faith lost and artistry reborn. "At the Bottom of a Canyon in the Branches of a Tree" revisits depths that many of us have experienced in recent years and takes us to heights to which we all aspire. Watch "Forgiveness Is Nothing Like I Thought It Would Be" {Official Video}!

The Dead South "You Are My Sunshine" (Video, 2021). The Europe tour has been postponed two times already, the Dead South[74] are all still hyped for it to finally happen in November. Max Paul Maria will opening the shows alongside Shred Kelly. Meanwhile check out the Dead South cover of the classic folk song "You Are My Sunshine", which will be part of their upcoming EP "Easy Listening For Jerks Pt.1" to be released on vinyl via DevilDuck Records in 2022. The EP will contain six covers of classic bluegrass songs, played in the band's unmistakable style.

Lila Downs "Europe Tour 2022" (Video, 2021). Born and raised in both Oaxaca and Minnesota, singer Lila Downs[29] is the daughter of a Mixtec Indigenous woman and an Anglo-American father. A passionate human rights activist, her lyrics often focus on stories ranging from social injustice to suppressed women of indigenous and working-class origins. Winner of Six Latin Grammys and one Grammy, her music embraces influences from the folkloric and ranchera music of Mexico to the music of the southern United States, crossing barriers and generating sounds that go from folk, jazz and blues to Hip Hop. Check out: EUROPE TOUR JUNE, JULY, AUGUST & OCTOBER 2022!

Diane Durrett & Soul Suga "Put A Lid On It" (CD, Blooming Tunes Music, 2021). Having lost all live shows during the pandemic, Diane Durrett [53] got busy in the studio, tracking new songs for her ninth album Put A Lid On It and creating videos to share the message of love, hope and laughter, which has always been pivotal to the Soul Suga experience. Watch the funky party anthem "Make America Groove", the laid-back shuffle "Blue Water" and the bawdy "Good News"!

Bard Edrington V "Two Days In Terlingua" (CD, Own label, 2021). Two Days In Terlingua, was recorded in the 100-year-old Santa Inez church in Terlingua, TX, at the northern tip of the Chihuahua desert. For Bard Edrington V a chance to create a unique musical experience: "If you can, listen to this album as it was recorded, in one sitting, and let the parade of talent flow in and out like the church swallows who were the first to hear it."

Jonathan Edwards "Right Where I Am" (CD, Rising Records, 2021). Being 50 years on the road, having recorded eighteen albums, Jonathan Edwards: Quarantining is not for sissies! "Right Where I Am" is a homemade song collection; the title song gives "thanks for what we have, not what we may deprived of."

Seamus Egan Project "Early Bright Live" (Download, 2021). Seamus Egan's pandemic interim, the "Early Bright" album[71] recorded live in Sandisfield, Massachusetts. Featuring Seamus Egan (banjo, nylon string guitar, low whistle, mandolin), Jenna Moynihan (fiddle), Kyle Sanna (guitar), and Owen Marshall (bouzouki, harmonium). Check out @! Free album download for all SEP Club subscribers!

Eläkeläiset "Humppa pelastaa / Humppahullut" (Single, Nordic Notes, 2021). Finnish humppa band Eläkeläiset's[63] latest single includes the songs "Humppa pelastaa" (Humppa Saves) and "Humppahullut" (Humppa Lunatics): "Humppa Saves is an awesome song and it tells about us. Humpa Lunatics is also an awesome song and it tells you oh dear humppa fans." Joonas Tuurala made a great animated video for "Humppa pelastaa"!

Ensemble Marâghî "Sounds from the Saray (The Young Bobowski at the Ottoman Court in 17th Century)" (CD, Felmay, 2021). When he was serving as a pageboy ‘with the office of music’ at the Ottoman court probably playing the hammered zither ‘santûr’, Wojchiech Bobowski (c.1610–1675) transcribed in Western notation the compositions he was learning. Thanks to the accurate interpretation of the Ensemble Marâghî, the music can fly away from a dusty manuscript preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris never performed before. Listen to "Sounds from the Saray - The Young Bobowski at the Ottoman Court in 17th Century"!

George Ensle "Be A Better Me" (CD, PuffBunny Records, 2021). A well respected, down to earth troubadour in the best Texas folk tradition, George Ensle had befriended Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark in the 1960s, and toured the college circuit with Nanci Griffith in the 1970's. "Be A Better Me" is a warm and heartfelt album. PuffBunny Records asked Ensle to give the recordings as authentic and live a feel as possible, no drums, all acoustic and no reverb, just a seasoned songwriter at the top of his game plying his craft and telling his story.

Piers Faccini "Songs of Earth and Sky" (Video, 2021). Born from an Italian father and an English mother, Piers Damian G. Faccini is a musician, poet and children's author.[42] He has collaborated with many musicians such as Rokia Traore, Ballake Sissoko, Dawn Landes and Ibrahim Maalouf amongst others. His cooperation with cellist Vincent Segal "Songs of Time Lost" was rated amongst the top ten world music albums of 2014. Check out the six-part “Songs of Earth and Sky” documentary series following his work and creative process. Watch Episode 01: They’ll gather no seed and all the following episodes! See also "All Aboard" (Official Video ft. Ben Harper & Abdelkebir Merchane)!

Fascination Curve "Corona Time In Amerika" (CD, Curious Musik Recordings, 2021). Once in a great while, an artist, a band, an album explodes out of nowhere, defining a moment in time, perfectly encapsulating events making history before our very eyes, focusing a razor sharp ray of light onto the human condition in a particular place. The artist is Karl Lundeberg, the band is Fascination Curve and the album is "Corona Time In Amerika," a statement concerning racism, political extremism and societal confusion as seen through the lens of the Corona pandemic.

Katie Ferrara "We are Here", "Oh Amelia" (Video, 2021). "We are Here" from Katie Ferrara's[64] upcoming album "Inside Out" is a jazzy song that questions the meaning of life, the universe and existence: "Maybe we don't have to overthink anything at all. We are in fact, right where we need to be. With the discovery of quantum physics maybe there is a connection between consciousness and the whole universe. Maybe we are just lucky to be here on this spec of habitable land on Earth until one day we get wiped out by an asteroid. I'm up for philosophical debate." Watch the claymation music video on YouTube! Since the re-opening of Los Angeles, Katie recorded more "Street Sessions" videos for her YouTube channel in different locations where she's busked or found particularly intriguing. See "Oh Amelia" Live in North Hollywood, a new song about Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

Feuerschwanz "Die letzte Schlacht" (BluRay/DVD/CD, Napalm Records, 2021); "Memento Mori" (CD, Napalm Records, 2021). Germany’s medieval folk rockers, FEUERSCHWANZ, have prevailed against pandemic paralysis, releasing two recent virtual live highlights under the banner Die letzte Schlacht (The Final Battle). They got Angus McFife from GLORYHAMMER to join vocals on their cover of Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire". Their new album Memento Mori will be released on December 31, 2021. The title track, "Memento Mori" (Latin for Be aware of mortality: “You take nothing with you to your grave, except your coffin... Let's live here, let's live now - until death sharpens his knife!”) quotes the Gregorian chant "Dies Irae" as well as several film scores, including the soundtrack of "The Lord of the Rings". "Untot Im Drachenboot" sets off in a Viking ship full of undead Draugr warriors of the Icelandic sagas. "Warriors Of The World United" (feat. Thomas Winkler, Saltatio Mortis & Melissa Bonny) is a MANOWAR song from the bonus cover album.

FolkWorld Xmas

Eventually, "Krampus" is the fourth official music video, displaying once again the new musical vision of FEUERSCHWANZ, which say goodbye to medieval fun rock for strong melodic powermetal influences. Krampus is the demonic companion of St. Nicholas impressively depicted in the accompanying music video as an unholy seducer. “When the days are shortest and the twelve days of Christmas approach, the winds move through the air with a frightful groaning and moaning, then you best lock yourself up at home and close the windows, because Krampus s doing his rounds again! The video and the song is our Christmas gift to you - may it bring you well through the holiday season!”

Martha Fields "Headed South" (CD, Continental, 2021). For the last six years, Texas troubadour Martha Fields has toured extensively across Europe, with her last two albums in the Top 10 of the Euro-Americana Chart. she wrote and recorded her new album "Headed South" while in lockdown with her band of hotshot pickers in the southwest of France, emboding a hundred years of country, folk, bluegrass and rock'n'roll history, Watch the title track, "Headed South"!

Béla Fleck and Chris Thile "Psalm 136" (Video, 2021). Comment: "Beautiful music. I love how Bela's Picking is still jawdroppingly complex, but (to me personally) so much gentler and soothing than his work with the Flecktones. The new records is I think one of those albums that I will keep listening to discovering new things every time. It has but one drawback...I have to fight the urge to put my banjo back in the case because I know that this level of playing as waaaaaaay out of my reach." Watch Béla Fleck and Chris Thile @ "Psalm 136" (live) from Béla Fleck's My Bluegrass Heart out on September 10, 2021 from Renew Records/BMG!

Iona Fyfe "Kenmure", "The Waters Meet", "The Cauld" (Single/Video, 2021). "Kenmure", out now on Bandcamp, is a recontextualisation of Woody Guthrie's 'Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)' inspired when the UK Home Office sent a dawn raid to Kenmure Street on the Southside of Glasgow to deport asylum seekers Sumit Sehdev and Lakhvir Singh. Hundreds of people took to the street for eight hours to surround the van that the men were detained in; they were finally released. "The Waters Meet" has been written by Iona as part of the Dee and Don Ceilidh Collective project 'Our Living Rivers and Glens'. "The Cauld" (Bandcamp) is a Scots Language song which is a little bit out of the folk genre, but features Graham Rorie, Michael Biggins, Jack McRobbie and Charlie Stewart. Check out her Spotify Playlists: Scots Language Sangs, Iona's Playlist - a selection of other artists tracks I'm listening to at the moment, Introducing - my own music, Various Projects - tracks of other artists that I've sung on!

Furious Seasons "Home All Day, Home All Night" (CD, Stonegarden Records, 2021). "During a year of pandemic, political craziness, isolation, and urgent social justice issues, we found a way to write and record 11 songs that cover a variety of subject matters, in 4 different studios, with two producers. During a lifetime of making albums, none of us have ever worked this way. In spite of the physical limitations, it opened our minds to new ways to record and imagine the music that we love making together." Says David Steinhart of Los Angeles-based acoustic trio The Furious Seasons.[66] Check out "Home All Day, Home All Night"! Watch "Is This Happening?" (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO)!

"Mary Gauthier Preaches the Power of Songwriting on ‘Basic Folk’" (Podcast, 2021). Basic Folk is a podcast with honest conversations between musicians and radio host Cindy Howes and guest host, singer/songwriter Lizzie No: "Mary Gauthier isn’t just a songwriter, she’s an artist with a mission. With a book about her story (Saved By A Song),[75] her work with the non-profit SongwritingWith:Soldiers, 30 years of sobriety under her belt, and much more, Gauthier has a plethora of wisdom to share. On the latest episode of Basic Folk, Gauthier and host Cindy Howes dig into the topics of life, love, teaching, upbringing, and how it all connects to the creative realm."

Gibrish "Ådalsbanan" (CD, Paraplyrecords, 2021). Gibrish from Sundsvall in Västernorrland County by the Gulf of Bothnia is influenced by rock, blues, jazz and cabaret music. The theme of their fifth album “Ådalsbanan” is the migration of people from the countryside to the city, but also about the military's death shootings of protesters in Lunde 1931. The band had a major media impact in the spring with their single, “Trumpetaren”, which tells the story of orchestra leader Tore Alespång who stopped the military when he blew a ceasefire with his instrument, the trumpet.

Steven Graves "All Alone" (CD, Own label, 2021). Steven Graves' 9th album "All Alone" talks passionately about life in these challenging times. Steven sees his music as a gift that has helped him find compassion and meaning in his life and he takes great joy seeing how it helps others do the same. These songs (such as "You're the One") are the antidote to the fear, and despair that many are feeling these days.

Jackson Grimm "sober again" (CD, Vault Records, 2021). Jackson Grimm's second album "Sober Again" balances social criticism with flippancy and esprit in an acoustic string band setting. Stone-cold sober, though including a tribute to Mary Gauthier's[75] classic song "I Drink".

John Wort Hannam "Long Haul" (CD, Black Hen Music, 2021). Jersey-born, Canadian singer-songwriter John Wort Hannam’s[50] long time fans might be surprised by songs like ‘Beautiful Mess,’ a humorous duet with Shaela Miller, that fits comfortably alongside country classics like ‘Jackson’ or ‘In Spite of Ourselves’. “Those are the types of things I would never have written about when I first started out. All of my early songs were serious and somber, but I’ve discovered that it’s actually really rewarding and difficult to write a funny song.” The songs on his 8th album "Long Haul" reach beyond our current sense of isolation to share a sense of gratitude for what we have, and grief for what we have lost: "Long Haul", "Beautiful Mess", "Hurry Up Kid"!

Zac Harmon "Long As I Got My Guitar" (CD, Catfood Records, 2021). The new album from Texas-based award-winning blues singer/guitarist Zac Harmon features ten songs performed in his inimitable funky, soul-blues sound. The songs include tunes co-penned by Harmon and Catfood Records owner Bob Trenchard: “This probably is the most memorable record of my career. Bob Trenchard and I were so much on the same page with all that we went through in 2020 that it spawned some incredibly emotional song testimonials, such as Scatter My Ashes to the Wind. After a year of picking up my guitar and then putting it down, I finally realize that as long as I got my guitar, all is good with my soul.” Check out Zac's Youtube channel!

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble "Min He Mon Égbé", "Min He Yôlô Me", "Djogbé Ana Zon" (Video, 2021). Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble is a Finnish–Beninese afrobeat and funk band led by Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen and Beninese singer, percussionist and saxophonist Noël Saïzonou.[63] Watch "Min He Mon Égbé - The One Who Sees Today" (Official Video, shot in various locations in the city of Cotonou and the village of Grand-Popo in Benin and Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki), "Min He Yôlô Me - For The One Who Invited Me" & "Djogbé Ana Zon - You'll Return Without a Thing" (Live @ Malmitalo, Helsinki) from Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble's latest self titled album.

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The Highway Women "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" (Video, 2021). A lovely introduction to the new members of the group, "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" features the unique voices of Gabrielle Vaughn, Alyssa Scott, and Jenane, before they all meld together in ethereal harmony. The Highway Wwomen are accompanied by pianist Damon Fitcher, from the first note a soft tone is set. The different textures of their voice shine separately and combine together perfectly to create an atmosphere of comfort and warmth.

Joji Hirota "Prayer's Tale - Taiko Drums and Asian Percussion" (CD, ARC Music, 2021). Arguably Japan’s pre-eminent multi-percussionist, Joji Hirota has been dazzling audiences for nearly fifty years: He recorded music for the films The Last Samurai, 47 Ronin and Silence; and produced the latest album of the Italian taiko group KyoShinDo.[72] Joji’s new solo album ‘Prayer’s Tale’ is a culmination of his inspirations drawn from the grand themes of nature, the cosmos and humanity. The music is performed in a circular setup of various taiko drums, different sizes of prayer bells, a range of gongs and clusters of bells and chimes. Watch the live performance videos: Descent of Gods and Goddesses 神々の降臨, Prayer’s Tale 祈り人の詩, The Limitless Swing 締太鼓手舞打ち, Serenity of Breeze 風の戦ぎ, The Elements of Harmony お囃子事!

FolkWorld Xmas

Hiss Golden Messenger "O Come All Ye Faithful" (CD, Merge Records, 2021). M.C. Taylor a.k.a. Hiss Golden Messenger has released a new kind of holiday album. Conceptualized and written during the chaotic fall months of 2020, "O Come All Ye Faithful" is a meditation on grace, loss, hope and community: “Big, brash holiday music—the type that we hear in big-box stores in the middle of December—has never resonated with me, and this past year it felt absolutely dissonant. I wanted to make a seasonal record that felt more in step with the way that I, and so many others, experience this time of year: quiet, contemplative, searching and bittersweet.”

Malcolm Holcombe "Tricks of the Trade" (CD, Need To Know Music, 2021). Malcolm Holcombe[64] comes of many musical traditions, folk, country, rock, bluegrass, blues, gospel, it’s all there somewhere rolled into a mix of his own declaration. Malcolm has received some wonderful vocal support on recent records, and here Mary Gauthier and Jaimee Harris add their voices to a number of songs.[75] Watch Malcolm's Tricks of the Trade concert!

Tony Holiday "Porch Sessions Volume 2" (CD, Blue Heart Records, 2021). Not only does blues harmonica wailer Tony Holiday enjoy the cozy informality of making music on front porches, but he’s also done some outstanding recording on those porches too. He just meets his friends, sets up his portable recording equipment, and gets down to business without the constraints of being inside a professional studio environment. "Porch Sessions Volume 2" features sixteen both timeless classics and undiscovered gems employing over thirty-five musicians (such as Big John Atkinson, Bobby Rush, Victor Wainwright, Watermelon Slim, Rae Gordon). Watch "Going to Court" featuring the late James Harman!

Matt Horan - American Folk Singer "Tears From the Mountain" (CD, Own label, 2021). Better known as the front man of folk band Dead Bronco, Matt Horan created a solo project during the COVID-19 quarantine, recording 11 traditional and original songs. As a child at his uncle's farm in North Carolina he'd fallen in love with ¨mountain music¨ and the ¨high lonesome¨ sound, and recently he was shown the art of the old time banjo by the grandson of his childhood hero, Roscoe Holcomb. Watch ¨High On The Mountain¨! Check out "Tears From the Mountain"! | www.miranda

Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall "Geraldene", "In His Arms" (Video, 2021). A stripped-down, spellbinding collaboration among country superstar Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and Jon Randall—journeymen singers who are her frequent writing partners—“The Marfa Tapes” strips 15 songs down to their essence. The trio recorded them with a couple of microphones and acoustic guitars, often outside, where they were immersed in the sounds of the West Texas desert. Watch "Geraldene" (TheEllenShow) & "In His Arms" (From Austin City Limits)!

I See Hawks in L.A. "On Our Way" (CD, Western Seeds Record Company, 2021). On Our Way… new directions spun from strange times for Southern California's leading alt country/Americana/folk rock band I SEE HAWKS IN L.A.:[42][67] "Le lockdown. For I See Hawks in L.A., it was disruptive, but we’re drawn to disruption, we create disruption, it’s a creative source, and here it was handed to us writ large by global fate. How do little old us ride this floodwave? Well, we dove in, digitally. Without ever playing music together. As was near universal for musicians, reality was the all-embracing screen, vivid cyber images that sang and played drums and guitar. There are always silver linings. A big one for us was the realization that we need music far more than it needs us. Singing and playing, even locked into computer recording, was a life raft. It seems to have gotten us to shore - some hopefully classic vibe Hawks and some new sonic directions born of the limitations and possibilities of the studio only universe. A lurch into modernity."

Willie Jackson "All In The Blues" (CD, Own label, 2021). In 2009, a tragic accident ended Willie Jackson's previous career and he turned to the transcendence of music with song writing and learning bass guitar. His original music combines clever lyrics and musings on contemporary life with rhythms of traditional soul stirring blues. Listen to "All In The Blues" @ Spotify!

"Yamaha X BGS Artist Sessions: Jackson + Sellers, Hush" (Video, 2021). Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers will release their debut duo album, Breaking Point, in October, but you don't have to wait 'til then to hear their music. Check out this BGS x Yamaha Guitars Artist Session of "Hush"! For this year’s Folk Alliance International and SXSW conferences, BGS collaborated with Yamaha Guitars to film performances from some of the artists they are most excited about in 2021.

Julian James and the Moonshine State "Devil Town" (CD, Own label, 2021). “I’ve always been drawn to music of bygone days, to me that stuff seems to fit in with my lifestyle better than music made on a computer…” Julian James has been kicking around Melbourne’s live music scene since he was a teenager, and he’s landed on a sound that draws from both a Louisiana back-porch swamp and a roadhouse juke joint. His new collection of tunes ‘Devil Town’ 😈 is a gumbo of old timey country, psychedelic humor, laconic delivery, something you’d expect to hear when the baddie walks into the saloon… Watch "Mushroom Clouds"!

Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps "Rose-Colored Glasses Vol 1" (CD, Blue Heart Records, 2021). After five decades, a dozen albums, BMA and Grammy nominations, Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps emerge with their new studio album Rose-Colored Glasses Vol 1.[71] The timeless expression alludes to seeing the world from an optimistic point of view, and each song is filled with romantic notions of jubilant love, redemption, perseverance, strength, and joy: “A little bit of love is still loving, any amount of forgiveness can move mountains, just a tiny touch, is still touching someone, we can do it.” Check out The Rhythm Tramps' Youtube channel/a>!

Johnny Ray Jones "Way Down South" (CD, Moondog Records, 2021). Johnny Ray Jones, the Godson Of Soul, who started out as vocalist and songwriter in Los Angeles in the early ‘80s, is back with the follow-up to “Feet Back In The Door.”[64] “Way Down South” is a celebration of Americana Roots, Soul & Contemporary Blues.

Tony Kamel "Amen" (Video, 2021). Tony Kamel is best known as the singer and guitarist for award winning Austin/Texas-based bluegrass outfit Wood & Wire.[65] His debut solo album 'Back Down Home' fully conveys the down-home vibe its title suggests as well as the laid-back nature of life on Texas’ Gulf Coast, taking listeners from country-folk, old-time and bluegrass styles to Louisiana’s singular stew of Cajun, jazz and funk. Watch "Amen"!

Luca Kiella "Ready For You" (CD, Cypress Road Productions, 2021). Following his 2019 debut EP “Figure It Out,” piano and hammond organ virtuoso Luca Kiella releases his second album. “Ready For You” features 12 original soul, funk, and blues songs showcasing unapologetic songwriting with stories about love, heartache, hardships and today’s society, and one of Chicago’s finest rhythm sections and powerful horns lead by trombonist Mark Mullins. Watch "Till Tomorrow"!

Kadialy Kouyate "AADO Senegalese Kora" (CD, Naxos World Music, 2021). Since his arrival in the UK, Kadialy Kouyate has enriched the London musical scene with his griot legacy by getting involved in countless musical projects such as Mumford & Sons and Baaba Maal or multicultural fusion group Rafiki Jazz. On his new album, Kouyate’s enchanting original music for the 21-stringed kora reflects on Mandinka culture. AADO stands for moral customs and values: the positive qualities of individual personality; respect and consideration for those around you; the generosity and joy of hospitality; the art and culture of the griot. Watch the traditional love song "Diyanamo" (My Darling)!

Dafné Kritharas "De Edad de Kinze Anyos", "U Stambolu Na Bosforu", "O Peristeronas" (Video, 2021). Born from a Greek father and a French mother, Dafne Kritharas draws her inspiration from the crossroads of East and West. A follower of the Rebetika and Nissiotika (Greek islands music) as well as jazz and rock, she travelled the Balkans, Greece and Turkey to soak up songs in various languages. Watch the ladino song "De Edad de Kinze Anyos", the Sevdah song "U Stambolu Na Bosforu" and the original "O Peristeronas"! Check out Dafné 's Bandcamp page!

Lady A "Satisfyin'" (CD, Own label, 2021). Seattle diva Lady A, whose legal battle with country superstars Lady Antebellum over the use of her name made national headlines last year, is known as the “Hardest Workin’ Woman in Blues, Soul, Funk & Gospel.” For her 9th album, Satisfyin’, she wanted to capture the authentic Seattle Blues-Soul sound that she delivers when she hits the stage and to remind us all, on the heals of a difficult year, to hope, to stand with and for those who cannot stand for themselves, and to remember the good times while focusing on a brighter future for everyone. “Choose life, choose family and friends, and choose to make a difference!”

"Lady Psychiatrist's Booth ft. The Women of Whitherward: Ashley E. Norton & Stephanie Groot with Laura Hall" (EP, Own label, 2021). After months of cancelled concerts and unemployment checks, Ashley E Norton, lead singer of indie folk group Whitherward, invited violinist Stephanie Groot to Laura Hall’s studio in Los Angeles to record a couple of their favorite songs. Watch "Neighbor" & "Ghosts of Germantown" (Live at MIM)!

Leon Creek "Call It A Day", "Hope Never Leaves My Side" (Single/Video, 2021). On the outskirts of San Antonio, Texas lies Leon Creek: a small river that served as the first rest stop and watering hole for travelers, cargo, mail and stagecoaches making their way from Texas to Southern California in the 1850's and 60's. With the band Leon Creek, a new project from Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Chris Pierce,[74] Matthew Stevens, and producer Erik Janson, a variety of influences converge to bring forth a new take on the traditional Americana/roots sound. Check out "Call It A Day" & "Hope Never Leaves My Side" from the upcoming full length album release, Far From Broken.

Taylor Leonhardt "Hold Still (Live from Studio B)" (Video, 2021). Taylor Leonhardt was born and raised in Texas, where a childhood love for country music rooted deep in her heart. Leonhardt has taken those roots and crafted a sound all her own. Her latest release, RIVER HOUSE, has garnered praise for its warm, spacious production and soul-stirring songwriting. Watch a stripped down live version of "Hold Still" featuring Scott Mulvahill on bass and Tyler Burkum on guitar.

Los Lobos "Native Sons" (CD, New West, 2021). "Native Son the album and Native Son the song and video are our notion of a love letter to the city of our birth, as well as a thank you to many of the artists there that inspired and informed us along the way." Read more of Steve Berlin's interview with SPIN Magazine!

The Lucky Ones "The Lucky Ones" (CD, Own label, 2021). The Lucky Ones hail from the Yukon in Canada’s far north, the territory made famous by the Klondike Gold Rush. That rugged spirit lives on in a lot of the music created there, music that The Lucky Ones heard through their parents, who heard it from theirs. Now, The Lucky Ones are bringing it to the ears of their generation. Watch "The Old 98", an ode to their “home away from home” at Whitehorse’s 98 Hotel!

Rob Lutes "Come Around" (CD, Lucky Bear Records, 2021). "Come Around" is the eighth album from Canadian songwriter Rob Lutes; 11 original songs, blending of blues, folk and pop, and a cover of the blues classic "In My Time of Dyin". Watch the official videos for "Work of Art" & "That Bird Has My Wings"!

Lera Lynn "What I'm Looking For", "Bobby, Baby" (Video, 2021). Americana/Folk artist Lera Lynn first came to international attention through her writing and performances on HBO's True Detective. Watch "What I'm Looking For" (Live at Ronnie's Place in Nashville TN) from her 2020 release, "On My Own," which she wrote, sang, produced and recorded all alone. See also "Bobby, Baby" (OurVinyl Sessions at The West Parlor, Warren Studios), a song from her 2014 project “Have You Met Lera Lynn?”

Rachel Magoola "Resilience - Songs of Uganda" (CD, ARC Music, 2021). The Observer once commented: “Her shows have never been short on vibrancy… one thing she can’t be faulted for is the lack of energy.” Ugandan singer Rachel Magoola recently succeeded in being voted in as MP for her local Bugweri District - “so that I can add my effort to making our country a better place”. This passion shines through in her new album, "Resilience", which reflects on the hardships the Ugandan nation has endured, and celebrates its people's ongoing tenacity and ability to bounce back from adversity.

Mama & Friends "Mama's Bag" (CD, Bone Union Records, 2021). Founded by luthier and finger-picking master Çağlayan Örge (banjo-guitar), Suna Suner (vocals, tambourine) and Sarp Keskiner (vocals, electric and slide guitar, harmonica) in 1996; Mama & Friends is known as “the ever first combo in Turkey, based on pre-war blues styles, gospels and spirituals.” "Mama's Bag" presents an unreleased bundle of materials taken from live sessions in 1997, recorded directly to a cassette recorder. Enjoy this rare audio documentary, featuring covers of Robert Johnson, Jesse Fuller, Leadbelly and Bessie Smith!

FolkWorld Xmas

The Margos "River" (Video, 2021). The Margos are an Alt-Pop-Band from Portland, Oregon ("as if The Cranberries boarded The Starship Enterprise and discovered a brave new world"): "Merry Christmas! We love the song River by Joni Mitchell so we covered it. What's your favorite Christmas song? Let us know in the comments!"

Gabriel Akhmad Marin "Ruminate: Improvisations for Fretless Guitar and Dutar" (CD, Worlds Within Worlds, 2021). Worlds Within Worlds records is proud to announce the release of Gabriel Akhmad Marin’s "Ruminate". As a co-founder of jazz fusion act Consider The Source, Gabriel Akhmad Marin deftly delivers instrumental improvisations on fretless guitar (digitally mimicking the double reeded, Armenian duduk woodwind) and dutar (a traditional long-necked two-stringed lute found in Central Asia). It's an album rooted in the traditions of distinct regional performance-practices yet infused with melodic phrasings and strumming techniques spanning across Eurasia. Watch "Wings" & "Sunset"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Mary Sarah "Take Me Home, Country Roads" (Video, 2021). Country music singer-songwriter Mary Sarah (Gross) breaks out the jingle bells and Christmas bows with an acoustic performance of John Denver’s classic hit song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” - a festive version with a Christmas twist. Since finishing 5th on The Voice in 2016 and making her Grand Ole Opry debut, Mary Sarah's infectious spirit has kept her in the spotlight. She already recorded her once-in-a-lifetime album – duets featuring country music legends like Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

Massilia Sound System "A Cavalòt" (Video, 2021). Massilia Sound System, formed in 1984, have developed a Provençal hybrid version of reggae, rub-a-dub and raggamuffin with lyrics in the French and Occitan languages, sometimes referred to as trobamuffin. Their recent albums incorporate more rock sounds, incursions into drum and bass and hip-hop, with deepening explorations into world music. Watch "A Cavalòt" from the new album "Sale Caractère"!

John Mayall "The Sun is Shining Down" (CD, Forty Below Records, 2022). On "The Sun is Shining Down" blues legend John Mayall teams up with a stellar cast to deliver a funky soulful affair. Special guests include The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell, roots rocker Marcus King, Americana icon Buddy Miller, Scarlet Rivera of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, Chicago blues guitar mainstay Melvin Taylor and Hawaiian ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro (see review below). Also on hand is Mayall’s longtime rhythm section featuring Austin’s multi-talented Carolyn Wonderland on guitar (review forthcoming).

Gerald McClendon "Let's Have A Party" (CD, Delta Roots Records, 2021). Chicago vocalist Gerald McClendon has been performing R&B and classic soul music in the style of Motown, Stax and Atlantic Records for decades, taking great pride in doing his music the way it was done in the 60s and 70s, earning him the moniker “The Soul Keeper.” McClendon returns with a new album of this “old school” soul, blues and R&B, borrowing the title Let's Have A Party! from a Sam Cooke classic. The album opens with a message we all need to hear in these troubled times, Keep On Keepin’ On!

Matt McGinn & Aoife Scott "Time Well Spent" (Single, 2021). During lockdown, musicians soon found solace in online peer song sessions and collaborations. It bore little or no financial reward but provided a means of expression and self-healing, the reason why many fall in love with playing music in the first place. Matt McGinn,[48] a songwriter from the Northern Irish Co. Down, performed "Time Well Spent" in an online singers circle hosted by Folk Alliance International. It resonated deeply with Dublin based singer Aoife Scott[74] from the legendary Black Family. "Time Well Spent" is a result of a hard learnt lesson by us all, that time spent with a friend, a loved one or a family member is not something that can be taken for granted.

Murray McLaughlin "Hourglass" (CD, True North Records, 2021). The Juno Award winner’s 20th studio album "Hourglass" is a collection of songs that address the shocking events of the recent past and the ongoing trajectory of a troubled world but also the sweetness of life itself. Murray McLauchlan began with a deeply personal series of poems and then married them to rootsy guitar licks and riffs, to build one of his most political and personal albums. Watch "A Thomson Day" (Official Music Video)!

FolkWorld Xmas

Mean Mary "Ding Dong Day", "Wild Dreams" (Video, 2021). Mean Mary[73] has "survived the bulk of 2021 in good spirits." (Though she lost her beloved horse Apache; in the "Wild Dreams" video she gives him his final starring role.) "I'm doing super fantastic, and staying super fantastically busy." Her plans include a new album and a band EP next summer, an audiobook version of the "Wherefore Art Thou Jane" novel, and a seven song album with original winter/Christmas music in time for the 2022 holidays. In the meantime, she sends out a little Christmastime love, "Ding Dong Day" (Live in the Studio)!

FolkWorld Xmas

Megson "How Boris Saved Christmas" (Video, 2021). English folk duo Megson, composed of husband and wife Stu Hanna and Debbie Hanna,[55] hopes you like their home-made video: "Our daughter Lola asked us to write a Christmas song about lockdown... we couldn't quite do it, but came up with this instead - no irony of course ;-)" Though our Dai Woosnam thinks "they miss their target here by a mile… which is hard to believe since Johnson is a congenital liar and a sitting duck for anyone who wants to target him." "But this, by Megson, is a veritable masterpiece

Giulia Millanta "Looking For Bliss", "Mad Man on the Moon" (Video, 2021). Giulia Millanta is an Italian born folk rockk and Americana singer-songwriter based in Austin, Texas. She has been described as being "deeply evocative with a dash of Piaf, a sprinkle of Lady Day, a pinch of Norah Jones and a teaspoon of Madeleine Peyroux" (The Aquarian Weekly). After touring extensively in the US and Northern Europe, she recorded her latest album “Tomorrow is a Bird” and wrote a book.[75] Watch "Looking For Bliss" & "Mad Man on the Moon"!

Miss Lady Blues "Moe Betta Blues" (CD, Own label, 2021). Miss Lady Blues, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She received recognition as 2021's Best Female Blues Artist of the year from Alabama Music Awards. Miss Lady Blues decided to put her twist on "Traditional Blues" with her sultry voice and infectious production, hence the name of her newly released album, "Moe Betta Blues".!

RB Morris "Going Back to the Sky" (CD, Singular Recordings, 2021). Knoxville mayor Madeline Rogero named Richard Bruce Morris the city’s first Poet Laureate; Steve Earle admitted that Morris is “the reason I started writing poetry.” Morris says, “I’ve always called Going Back To The Sky my ‘dustbowl record.’ Not that it had anything to do with the actual Dustbowl, it was just dusty old highway songs and stories that came from my early road trips out west. A couple written on the side of the road thumbing across the country and car rides, just you and a buddy bustin’ out for the high and wide, see how far you could get, see what’s out there. My youthful adventurous education.”

multumult "Now and Then: New Sounds from an Old World" (CD, The Lollipoppe Shoppe, 2021). Multumult, based in Romania, started in 2015 with the aim that different improvising artists can meet in changing shapes of duets, trios and quartets. The result is inspired by Romanian folk music but traditional musical instruments meet electronic sound processing.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real "Giving You Away" (Video, 2021). Since their debut a decade ago, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real have toured the world, playing countless shows and festivals. Nelson also found time to co-produce the music for "A Star is Born," - which the band appeared in. Performing for Saturday Sessions from the new album, "A Few Stars Apart," here are Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real with "Giving You Away."

Rachel Newton "Would You Be Young Again", "Chaidil Mi A Raoir air an Airigh" (Video, 2021). Rachel Newton is a Scottish singer and harpist performing solo as well as in the bands The Shee and The Furrow Collective.[61] From her solo album "To The Awe", watch "Would You Be Young Again" (lyrics from the songwriter Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, a contemporary of Robert Burns) and "Chaidil Mi A Raoir air an Airigh". Of the latter the Tobar an Dualchais website notes: ‘A waulking song about a girl who was sleeping out at the sheiling, missing her beloved and thinking that if he could come to her that high or low tides would not keep him. She sensed that someone was there and knew it wasn't her beloved. When he took the plaid from her she kicked him and sent him flying.’

Noctambule "Every Migrant is My Fellow" (CD, Own label, 2021). About 35 years ago, Marla Fibish found an old volume of poetry called “Songs from Vagabondia”, written by Canadian Bliss Carman and American Richard Hovey in the 1890s. The poetry contained a care-free spirit and celebration of the natural world; its characters lived lives outside of conventional constraints. Marla and Bruce Victor[64] have set many of the poems to music, three of which are included on "Every Migrant is My Fellow": "We folded in other material that explores the topics of displacement, transition, migration… We hope the music and art of this project bring some solace during this time, as well as some reassurance that we are going through this, and will emerge from this together."

Aoife O'Donovan "Aoife plays Nebraska" (Download, 2021); "Phoenix", "Prodigal Daughter" (Video, 2021). Aoife O'Donovan played Bruce Springsteen's album Nebraska in its entirety from her living room: "This album came out in September of 1982, the year I was born … and is still so relevant." Watch "Phoenix" & "Prodigal Daughter" (feat. Allison Russell) from her forthcoming album Age of Apathy: "We’re all familiar with the idea of a Phoenix, a mythological bird that rises out of its own ashes, symbolizing rebirth. It's a trope, but the theme is so universal. My new record is about coming to terms with this period of time. I found myself drawn to the ideas of rebirth, of casting aside the bullshit and letting it succumb to the fires, all the while craning my neck toward the light." See also Aoife O'Donovan & Allison Russell live from Newport Folk Festival 2021!

Polly O'Keary And The Rhythm Method "50" (CD, Own label, 2021). 2021 is a seminal year for Seattle’s top blues rock trio, Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method,[55] marking Polly O’Keary’s Washington Blues Society nomination for Hall of Fame. Furthermore, every member of the band turns 50 this year, and their 6th album "50" reflects hard-won wisdom, wry regrets, amused reflection, and hope that better days still lie ahead.

Joy Oladokun "Judas", "Tiny Desk (Home) Concert", "Spotify Singles Session" (Video, 2021). Joy Oladokun, a singer-songwriter of Nigerian immigrants based in Nashville, has had a long journey to get to where she is now. The singer’s artistry comes from an incredibly unique experience of growing up as a young woman of color in rural Arizona and fostering her musicianship in the church before leaving it and coming out of the closet. Joy sings “Judas” off her latest album in the confined familiarity of a porch. See also her Tiny Desk (Home) Concert and her Spotify Singles Session (ft. Jason Isbell @ the Bonnie Raitt cover “I Can’t Make You Love Me”)!

David Olney & Anana Kaye "Whispers and Sighs" (Vinyl, Schoolkids Records, 2021). Schoolkids Records is pleased to announce the limited vinyl release of Whispers and Sighs,[74] the critically acclaimed album from the late folk icon David Olney and emerging Americana starlet Anana Kaye. The limited run includes a digital download of the entire album and exclusive bonus material comprised of additional tracks, such as the previously unreleased original composition by Olney, ‘Margarita’ which was originally intended for a follow-up release. Olney had suddenly passed away, on stage, at the 30A Songwriter Festival in January 2020; he had just completed Whispers and Sighs with Kaye and her musical partner Irakli Gabriel. Watch the OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO for ‘MARGARITA’ and the ‘making of’ Whispers And Sighs mini-documentary, BEHIND THE CURTAINS.

Opium Moon "Night + Day" (CD, Own label, 2021). New Age group Opium Moon have released a new double album: Night + Day! Violinist and vocalist Lili Haydn says, "We love the magic of the slow, hypnotic seductiveness of our first album, but we also love to shred and make people dance, so we put all the lovemaking music on the NIGHT album and all the groovy, danceable songs on DAY. And on two songs we interpreted the same theme in both ways, illuminating our belief that perspective changes everything." Watch "Messengers" & "Feast of Sevens"!

Osi and the Jupiter "Stave" (CD, Eisenwald, 2021). On their fourth full-length album since 2015, "Stave", Sean Kratz's OSI AND THE JUPITER provide listeners with a unique sonic journey through their native Appalachian region of eastern Ohio. In essence, this album serves as a soundtrack to times long forgotten and a form of spirituality that transcends conventional modern religion. Watch their nu-time, string-synth-band music on "Folk of the Woods" (Official Video)!

Davide Pannozzo "Plug It In" (Single/Video, 2021). After the great success of his May release "Leroy's Blues,"[75] Davide Pannozzo returns with the single "Plug It In", an uptempo jazzy/bluesy instrumental tune reflecting the renowned blues guitarist's influences, including Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, and John Scofield. Pannozzo started playing classical guitar at age 6, studying at the famous conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome. At 14, he opened for Chicago blues legend Magic Slim, an experience that turned him forever to the blues. His awards are many, including Groove Master Award for Best Italian Blues Guitarist in 2010.

Charlie Parr "817 Oakland Avenue" (Video, 2021). Smithsonian Folkways is thrilled to share that Charlie Parr has announced a May 2022 European Tour, including an extensive run of UK & Irish dates. Parr’s songwriting, stage presence, and skillful fingerpicking on his trademark resonator guitar have earned him a reputation as one of the best roots musicians to catch live. His critically-acclaimed 2021 album "Last of the Better Days Ahead" marks a shift in perspective that was once described by hismom as ‘a time when we turn from gazing into the future to gazing back at the past, as if we’re adrift in the current, slowly turning around.’ Watch "817 Oakland Avenue"!

Matt Patershuk "An Honest Effort" (CD, Black Hen Music, 2021). Matt Patershuk’s[61] Grandad used to say, “God loves a trier,” meaning that there is worth and value in the trying. The act of making an effort is redemptive despite the outcome. On "An Honest Effort" you’ll find stories about folks trying. In the face of unfavourable odds, with seemingly certain unfavourable outcomes, they give it a good go. Results vary, but all of them are better off for the attempt. Watch "Turn the Radio Up", "1.3 Miles", "Stay With Me", "Johanna"!

Perttula "Talvenselkä" (Video, 2021). Toni Perttula’s solo album "Pajavasara" (Forge Hammer) is a blend of folk music on the accordion and primal rhythms of hammers and anvils: “Metal working is a way to change the innate nature of a raw material, manipulate its shape and make it behave in the desired way. At the roots of this album is a strong will to melt music together and change its form. Many of the songs were not born naturally, and the Forge Hammer could be described as my spiritual tool as I shaped them. The songs slowly revealed themselves as almost human-minded creatures, whose nature had to be understood before I could get along with them.” Watch the seasonal video, "Talvenselkä" (Height of Winter)!

FolkWorld Xmas

Makenzie Phipps "Christmas Snow" (Video, 2021). Country music singer-songwriter Makenzie Phipps creates an even cozier version of her latest Christmas single “Christmas Snow” by performing it acoustically. From southwest Virginia, Makenzie Phipps has received awards such as “Female Country Song of the Year” at the 2021 Josie Music Awards and was named “Future Star of the Year” by the North American Country Music Association International.

Tiffany Pollack & Co. "Bayou Liberty" (CD, Nola Blue Records, 2021). 2019's "Blues In My Blood" was awarded Best Blues/Rock Album, Best Female Vocalist, Best Blues Song and Best Story Song. Escorted by a wrecking crew of the finest players from New Orleans, Tiffany Pollack once again weaves her way through twelve original tunes skillfully stepping into the roles of blues belter, country balladeer, cabaret singer, jazz diva and soul sister. Watch "Living For Me" (Official Music Video)!

Pontún "Atlantean" (Download, 2021). Pontún are a new quartet embracing folk traditions from both Ireland and Africa, having just revealed their rhythmically pulsating, infectious single "Atlantean", a taster of what’s to come as they work on their debut album. Éamonn Galldubh's[67] adventurous approach on the whistle and uilleann pipes is coupled with the elegant guitar and vocals of Congolese musician Niwel Tsumbu and underscored on fretless bass by Steve Cooney[72] and Irish bodhrán and West African djembe and calabash by Robbie Harris.

The Porkroll Project "Papa Didn’t Raise Me Right" (CD, Roadhouse Redemption Records, 2021). After a regrouping of Philadelphia's hard-rocking blues band, The Porkroll Project, vocalist-songwriter-guitarist Neil "Porkroll" Taylor and harp player Buddy Cleveland were digging deep into sordid tales of hard times, hard drinking, and the redemption to be found in the blues for their third album, Papa Didn’t Raise Me Right.

Laurel Premo "Golden Loam" (CD, Own label, 2021). Michigan-based Laurel Premo (known from her duo Red Tail Ring) has announced an album of finger-style electric guitar (and lap steel) instrumentals, both original and taken from older sources, 'Golden Loam'. In the vein of John Fahey, she’s reworking these melodies into a new sound, electrifying the old traditions. Watch "Ma's Maw" (Official Video), a solo Norwegian halling dance from dancer Ådne Geicke Kolbjørnshus set to a new composition written in the style of a specific set of Norwegian fiddle repertoire in the tuning FDAE.

Preßburger Klezmer Band "Korene / Roots #25" (Video, 2021). The first Slovakian formation inspired by Eastern Europe's klezmer music and founded in 1995, the Preßburger Klezmer Band from Bratislava is mixing Jewish, Balkan and Oriental music as well as Slovak and Roma folklore with modern styles such as jazz, rock, reggae and Latin music. A new concert program is dedicated to the group's 25th Anniversary!

Punch Brothers "Church Street Blues", "Cattle in the Cane" (Video, 2021). Punch Brothers[49] perform "Church Street Blues" and "Cattle in the Cane" from their forthcoming album. 'Hell on Church Street' is the band’s reimagining of, and homage to, the late bluegrass great Tony Rice’s landmark solo album, Church Street Blues. The record features a collection of songs by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Bill Monroe, and others. In Their Words: “No record (or musician) has had a greater impact on us, and we felt compelled to cover it in its entirety, with the objective of interacting with it in the same spirit of respect-fueled adventure that Tony brought to each of its pre-existing songs.”

Quadro Nuevo "A Journey Into The Light" (CD, GLM Music, 2021). German world music quartet Quadro Nuevo[43][48] have been known for their creative take on music for over two decades, but this winter's release promises something especially epic, "A Journey Into The Light". The band embarked on a journey across the Aeolian Islands and Sicily with a group of 30 adventurers, looking for the heart and soul of Greek mythology. You'll find hymnal improvisations alongside a driven ska groove, a sea bossa nova in early-season 5/4 time as well as a heartfelt lullaby for the fallen Icarus or an earthy ballad for the waiting Penelope.

EJ Ouellette feat. Tomiko Dixon "Munjoy Hill" (Video, 2021). "While researching French and Irish music and migration into Portland Maine for my upcoming album I came upon the story of Munjoy Hill. A community founded as a result of the Northern most post of the Underground Railroad. A thriving community of blacks protecting themselves from confederate agents determined to bring back escaped slaves. I was so compelled I had to put this truly American story into a song." (EJQ) Listen to a href="" target="blank">"Munjoy Hill" (feat. Tomiko Dixon)!

FolkWorld Xmas

Joe Robinson "Christmas au chalet" (CD, Own label, 2021). Australian-born, Nashville-based guitarist Joe Robinson, known for his “one man” solo acoustic/electric show and considered one of the preeminent fingerstyle guitarists today, decided to use his off-the-road time wisely and began working on solo fingerstyle acoustic guitar arrangements for a Christmas album. "Christmas au chalet" includes 13 holiday classics such as "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" and "Let It Snow" performed in his unique style. Robinson's educational platform,, is a 12-week course that covers a variety of music-related topics and features guest mentors Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, and many others.

Tom Rodwell "Wood & Waste" (CD, Fireplace, 2021). English crossover blues guitarist Tom Rodwell is presently moored in New Zealand.[48] On "Wood & Waste" his secret weapon is feel: “All the clues to a song are contained in the 1st bars of a primitive rhythm guitar part, it’s my job to inhabit that space and gradually tease the rest out. You just have to pay attention when a song makes a left hand turn.” Lyrically, many of the songs speak in a late night stream of consciousness: “I want to give the subconscious some legroom. And to me a song is successful when the exact tone is hard to name, like the feeling of a strange dream you only half recall.”

Mark Rogers "Rhythm Of The Roads" (CD, Own label, 2021). Of the many roads one takes in life, being a songwriter isn’t the easiest. Here comes Mark Rogers' sophomore album, “Rhythm Of The Roads”. A folk rock infused commentary on a life lived. Trials and Errors. Love lost and regained.

The Royal Hounds "A Whole Lot of Nothin'" (CD, Own label, 2021). Scott Hinds, The Royal Hounds: “When I was learning to play bass, I used to go to a bluegrass festival called Old Timer’s Day. It was next to a graveyard. There were so many pickers that many groups would spill over into the graveyard and have pickin’ circles out there. I always loved the idea for a song called ‘Pickin' in the Graveyard’. Up the street from where I live is Spring Hill Cemetery. Lots of notables are buried there: Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Floyd Cramer, Kitty Wells, Hank Snow, and my favorite, John Hartford. I just love the notion that the ghosts of the musicians in this graveyard come out at night and have a grand pickin’ party. The final verse is kind of an homage to John Hartford. In the song, I say, ‘Lower me down in a Batman cloak/ we’ll all ride to heaven in a river boat.’ This is a reference to the fact that Hartford was accidentally buried in a Batman cloak and he had a lifelong fascination with river boats. He even had a license to sail them.” The Royal Hounds trio is one of the liveliest honky-tonk and rockabilly bands in Nashville with weekly residencies at Layla’s and Robert’s Western World, the undisputed home of traditional country music in Nashville. Check out their new album ‘A Whole Lot of Nothin'’, and “By Nothin’ we mean fiery honky tonk with a rock and roll edge served with a healthy sense of humor.”

FolkWorld Xmas

Russkaja "Russki Style", "Last Christmas" (Video, 2021). Staying true to their cosmopolitan Austro-Soviet roots, Russkaja deliver their so called “Turbopolka”. Guitarist/Songwriter Engel Mayr says about the first single of their upcoming album, Russki Style: “To me it's the pure Russkaja Energia combining fat riffs and Russian Ska with balkan brass and violin thunder, topped by some lovely vocal hooklines. Check out the video for maximum party feeling. This one will kick your ass!” Russkaja also try to spice up the holiday season, russki style, with a ska-infused cover version of Wham’s smash hit Last Christmas: "That Christmas song that nobody wants to hear anymore just got another twist!"

Phillip Sandifer "Republican Uterine Obsession" (Video, 2021). "Well, what's really to say? In Texas, the Republican party and the religious far right crazies recently passed a law making it possible for individuals to bring lawsuits against anyone that helps a woman terminate her pregnancy after the first six weeks of conception. This includes things like advice from a neighbor, a friend that drives them to a clinic, etc. In other words they've sanctioned and incentivized other Texans to become vigilantes against their fellow man for the sake of financial rewards upon turning people in and successfully prosecuting them. Obviously people feel different ways about abortion but certainly we must corporately object to this type of crazy vigilantism. This song, Republican Uterine Obsession, is a protest song against this law and the fools that made it happen. I know it's unlikely to be reviewed or played but I thought I'd give it a shot nonetheless." (P.S.)

The Mick Schafer Band "Back to the Blues" (CD, Lightning In A Bottle Records, 2021). For ages, Portland blues singer-guitarist Mick Schafer wasn't able to make music full time. Then in 2017, he assembled some of the best musicians of Portland's blues scene and built his own band. The resulting album "Back to the Blues" reflects his lifelong passion for the blues, and finally fulfills the long-held dream born in church choirs as a child, that of spending his life making the music he loves. Watch "If I Win Blues", "Virgin Mary", "Yellow Moon", "Husband Blues", "Astara", "She Woke Up", "Don't Wanna B Judged", "Rich Boy", "Make it Rain"!

Adam Schultz "Soulful Distancing" (CD, Blue Heart Records, 2021). When his son Adam showed aptitude towards becoming a professional guitarist, Douglas Schultz took him for lessons with Clarence Spady. The veteran bluesman eagerly took him under his wing, eventually co-producing his debut album, Soulful Distancing. As the album notes say, “Not a boilerplate 12-bar piece to be found, yet blues remains at the heart and soul of each selection.” Check out Adam's Youtube channel!

The Secret Sisters "Quicksand" (EP, New West Records, 2021). New West Records is happy to share The Secret Sisters have released a new four-track EP, 'Quicksand'. It features two new original songs by Laura and Lydia Rogers as well as their renditions of Fiona Apple’s “Heavy Balloon,” and The Strokes’ “Someday”: "“Quicksand” is a song we wrote during the same emotional and transitional season as the songs on our album, Saturn Return. It was written on the porch of a log cabin overlooking Smith Lake, in the humid heat of an Alabama summer. We didn’t know it yet, but we were both on the precipice of our own first pregnancies, and already feeling the weight of the world and grappling with the very real fears that we face in adulthood." Check out The Secret Sisters - 'Quicksand' EP - Artist Statement!

Karl Seglem "Skir" (Video, 2020). Skir is an old Norse word that means pure. It's also the name of one of Karl Seglem's[61] poems included in this song, taken from his work merging music and poetry. His goat horn playing blends with the Norwegian langeleik (droned zither) and mouth harp, up on droning electronics and bass and percussion, pointing forward to a forthcoming musical album and a poetry book/CD.

Jon Shain & FJ Ventre "Never Found a Way to Tame the Blues" (CD, Flyin’ Records, 2021). Jon Shain and FJ Ventre have stayed very busy, even through the pandemic. In 2019, Shain won the International Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category. They also found time to produce a bunch of new music for other artists (including Donna Herula's Bang at the Door which topped the blues & roots radio charts).[75] Never Found a Way to Tame the Blues represents a return to their blues roots and an homage to the blues influences that shaped the duo’s musical sensibilities. They pick up their electric instruments more than in the past, playing all around the borders of the blues, including elements of blues-rock, jazz rhythms, ragtime picking, and John Hurt-esque folk melodies.

FolkWorld Xmas

Tomer Haim Shaked & Iris Mazor "Bells of Winter" (Single/Video, 2020). Israeli singer/songwriters Tomer Haim Shaked and Iris Mazor badly wanted to submit their single Bells of Winter - taking "you through a magical landscape that echoes with biblical references and Christmas time peacefulness, providing solace and comfort at the end of a challenging year. Its gentle folky groove has a bluesy country twang with a big, soaring chorus. Bells of Winter is a perfect addition to any playlist to remind people to stand back, set aside our differences, forget our woes and just listen to the wondrous silence on Earth."

Jake Shimabukuro "Two High", "Stardust" (Video, 2021). The acclaimed Hawaii-born ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro will release his most creatively ambitious project to-date, ‘Jake & Friends,’ featuring collaborations with a who’s who of music royalty including Bette Midler, Kenny Loggins, Vince Gill, Ziggy Marley, Sonny Landreth, Lukas Nelson, Billy Strings, anf many more. Check out "Two High" ft. Moon Taxi & "Stardust" ft. Willie Nelson “I have to pinch myself when I see those names on my own album. It’s like, ‘Did that really happen?’ Making the album was a real challenge, but I’m deeply honored that all of the artists agreed to record with me.”

Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand "Live Vol. 2" (CD, Tydal Wave Records, 2021). Bluegrass Unlimited calls them a “fresh hybrid of new music influenced by bluegrass but featuring the percussive fervor of rock, rap and other styles.” Bluegrass/country artist Ryan Shupe and his band, The RubberBand, are celebrating their 25th Anniversary, and releasing a special live album. An amazing collection of some of the best live songs and performances from Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand since the 90s. Watch "Banjo Boy"! Rock Bluegrass Jamming Fun at it's best!

Sideline "Ups, Downs and No Name Towns" (CD, Mountain Home Music Company, 2021). Bluegrass powerhouse Sideline's newest full length album, Ups, Downs and No Name Towns, finds the celebrated sextet — known for their distinctively stylish and explosive bluegrass that has netted them chart-topping singles and well-received albums — reaching new heights. The album’s title not only describes the band’s journey, but also acknowledges the recent struggle of the music industry — and especially its professional touring musicians — to cope with a months-long, pandemic-driven shutdown. Watch "Just a Guy in a Bar"! P.S.: Founding member Jason Moore passed away after completion of the album.

"SonDeSeu en el XXIV Festival Internacional Folk Plasencia" (Video, 2021). Since 2001 SonDeSeu is Galicia's premier folk and traditional music orchestra, conducted by Rodrigo Romaní and constituted by 53 members playing bagpipes, hurdy-gurdys, fiddles, requintas (traditional Galician transverse flutes) and harps.[35] Their live concerts are said to be "a tribute to the recovery of the oral patrimony and its integration into the modern urban life." Check out SonDeSeu @ XXIV Festival Internacional Folk Plasencia!

FolkWorld Xmas

St Agnes Fountain "Night Of A Million Stars" (CD, Own label, 2021). UK folk band St Agnes Fountain (Julie Matthews, Chris While, Chris Leslie and retired David Hughes) had been created performing carols and Christmas music on an annual Christmas Tour: "We are so proud of this album and really think it captures the essence of St Agnes Fountain. It also establishes us as a trio whilst keeping that ‘Aggie’ feel we’ve all come to love over the last 21 years. We can’t tell you how excited we are to finally get to tour together again. Last year was the first time in two decades that we haven’t been able to share the Aggie joy with you all, so this year we’re going to be bursting with all the "comfort and joy" your hearts can bear!" The Aggie’s have been putting up sneak peeks of tracks on their Soundcloud page!

Stash "Walk the Walk" (CD, PoMo Records, 2021). Self-described as the British invasion meeting outlaw country, STASH is the all-star power trio of guitarist Rich McCulley, bassist Ted Russell Kamp [75] and drummer Joey Peters. They recorded over 20 songs during the lockdown and picked their favorites for the record: From the soulful bluesy sound of “Smoke and Mirrors”, to the outlaw country of “Queen of the Highway”, the mandolin-tinged ballad “Into the Sunset”, to the spaghetti western vibe of “Ain’t That Kind of Man”.

The Steel Wheels "Time Is All I Need" (Video, 2021). "Time Is All I Need" (from "Everyone A Song, Volume 2") was inspired by a true story and commissioned by a fan during Covid-19 pandemic. It was recorded by the band in isolation from each other in parts of Virginia, Ann Arbor, MI, and Brooklyn, NY. The video was recorded in Nashville, TN. For a deeper dive into the stories of this project, go to or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Christopher Paul Stelling "WWYLLYD", "Driving The Hearse" (Single/Video, Own label, 2021). The title “WWYLLYD" is an acronym for When What You Love Lets You Down, a song about how, on occasion, we all let down those who we love and who love us back, and vice versa. In Christopher Paul Stelling’s words, "Sometimes it’s not that we aren’t being considered, but that sometimes other people (and we, ourselves) are just dealing with their (our) own shit. Everyone is suffering, not just you as the song suggests is something I try to keep in mind, as it helps me move forward with compassion.” See also Driving The Hearse, the final single of his intimate new album, "Forgiving It All."[75]

The Story Song Scientists "Quantum Lyrics" (EP, Dharma, 2021). After two years in the lab and bursting with synergy, The Story Song Scientists (aka Oxford-based BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards winner Megan Henwood and Glasgow storyteller Findlay Napier) are back with more astonishing discoveries to share through the medium of alternative acoustic music. Living up to their name, the duo have mined a seam of science-steeped stories. Listen to the lullaby-like "Ode To The Man With The Golden Arm" - “The man with the golden arm is James Harrison. After discovering that his blood contained a rare antigen to Rhesus Disease, a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman's blood destroy her baby's blood cells, he decided to donate as much as he could. His donations saved an estimated 2.5 million babies in Australia. This song is an ode to him and his extraordinarily humble altruism.”

Billy Strings "Globe", "In The Morning Light", "Red Daisy" (Video, 2021). Billy Strings is in the midst of a triumphant year after winning Best Bluegrass Album at the 63rd GRAMMY Awards for his critically acclaimed record, Home. “Billy Strings has clearly emerged as a premier guitar flatpicker of this era,” The Wall Street Journal declares. Watch "Globe" (Official Music Video), "In The Morning Light" (Official Video), off his forthcoming album Renewal, and "Red Daisy" (Live on Jimmy Kimmel)! With the new record Billy Strings incorporates his wide range of influences with elements of bluegrass, classic rock, metal, psychedelic music and more. Read more The Bluegrass Situation!

Clayton Sturgeon "A Curse In Disguise" (CD, Own label, 2021). Currently, Clayton Sturgeon from Palm Coast, FL is fronting the number one world-touring tribute band to Nirvana, NIRVANNA - A Tribute to Nirvana, and focusing on his solo musical career. Lately, Clayton has been moving from rock to an all-acoustic instrument country-style. He said that this his upcoming release "A Curse In Disguise" is his most personal and raw music to date. Watch two videos pre-released on Youtube: “Bad Bad Blood”, “A Curse In Disguise”!

Sultans of String "Mi Santuario", "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" (Single/Video, 2021). Since releasing their debut album in 2007, Canadian world music group Sultans of String[47] have continually strived to make each album more meaningful than the last. Juan Carlos Medrano co-wrote "Mi Santuario" with the band, performs on traditional flute and expresses in his lyrics how everyone doesn't have the luxury to utilize the legal immigration process like he did. Originally from Cartagena in the north coast of Colombia, he moved to Canada in 2006 as a refugee. "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)", originally written by Sonny Bono and sung by Cher and Nancy Sinatra, is a new take featuring Tara Salah Moneka & Ahmed Moneka and is a benchmark of how the world has changed with the Black Lives Matter movement and the thirst for equality around the world.

FolkWorld Xmas

Sofia Talvik feat Stiko Per Larsson "Midsummer from Nääs Castle in Sweden" (Video, 2021); Sofia Talvik "A Memory of Snow" (Single, 2021). Swedish Folk/Americana artist Sofia Talvik released a new duet of her song Take Me Home - a bittersweet ballad about home and identity, about not quite belonging but still being tied to the place where you grew up - with folk-rock singer Stiko Per Larsson, both were featured in a big Midsummer concert on Swedish National TV (Pharaohs and Friends/Take Me Home).
Sofia's brand new Christmas/Winter single is called A Memory of Snow - a rather soothing tale of lost love and memories of a snow covered Copenhagen - and "actually has no mention of Christmas, which makes it perfect for the whole winter season. What it sounds like: hints and tints of Mumford & Sons (think violin, banjo and hand-claps), Bears Den (think warm bass and glittering keys)." As usual, Sofia's annual Christmas singles are free downloads on her webpage.

Tanxugueiras "Midas", "Figa" (Video, 2021). The Tanxugueiras live show is pure energy and power. The voices of Olaia Maneiro, Aida Tarrío and Sabela Maneiro link in harmony. With or without tambourines, the reformulated sound of Galician music spreads to the other side of the stage to transform the recital into a party. Watch "Midas" & "Figa"!

Tara Fuki "Motyle" (Video, 2021). The success of the "Motyle" album by the cello duo Tara Fuki (Andrea Konstankiewicz-Nazir & Dorota Barová),[74] when the album appeared on the 2nd place of the prestigious European World Music Charts Europe (WMCE), was also reflected in the annual ranking where the album took the 10th place overall. Their special concert for the 20 years anniversary had to be moved to the spring of 2022, in time with the vinyl version of the album. Watch the title track "Motyle" (Live) and the SoundCzech Promo Video!

Julian Taylor "Ballad Of A Young Troubadour" (Video, 2021). "I left T.O. quite some time ago. Sometime in the spring, with just a knapsack and a 6 string. I'd made this deal, I was barely 17, armed with delusions of a dream... And all these miles and miles and miles that I've seen. Each inch of pavement has a story to tell, some I can't recall, others I remember all too well..." Canadian singer-songwriter Julian Taylor, of mixed Black and Mohawk descent, has continued to record and perform after the breakup of iconic Toronto rock band Staggered Crossing. Watch "Ballad Of A Young Troubadour" [Official Video]!

Kate Taylor "Why Wait!" (CD, Red House Records, 2021). 50 years after their first recording session for Kate Taylor's first album, Sister Kate, and subsequently living a life out of the public eye, James and Livingston Taylor's sister[69] reunites with Peter Asher & Co to make a new record. Watch "I Will Follow"!

Gordie Tentrees "Mean Old World" (CD, Own label, 2021). "Mean Old World", the new album by acclaimed Yukon-based folk/Americana singer-songwriter Gordie Tentrees,[66] explores his path from foster child to foster parent in songs like ‘Every Child’. Gordie spent time in the social service system before growing up to be a schoolteacher and youth worker, then coming back full circle as a foster parent to an indigenous child. ‘Wind Walker’ is inspired by close friends who found each other while leading reconciliation by example.

Allan Thomas "The Journey" (CD, Black Bamboo Recordings, 2021). As a kid, Allan Thomas played the 1970s coffee house circuit in Greenwich Village backing himself on acoustic guitar. His 7th album "The Journey" celebrates 50+ years of recording and is featuring members from Steely Dan, Sting and James Taylor. The songs cover wide ranging material, including the reggae infused rock single "Van" and several spoken word pieces with music.

Jordan Tice "River Run" (Video, 2021). Jordan Tice[73] and Paul Kowert, two members of Hawktail,[72] join forces on a Tice original, "River Run," a tune that evokes a swift, ambling river through guitar and bass dialogue. In Their Words: “‘River Run’ started with a little lick I had been carrying around in the key of D — a speedy little cascading thing that felt good to let roll off the fingers that I’d find myself playing in idle moments. I slowly built upon it while sitting around during lockdown and my dear friend, Paul Kowert, tied it all together with his wonderful bass part. To me, the song evokes the lightness and constancy of a swiftly moving river as it passes over rocks, rounds curves, and speeds and slows as its channel widens and narrows. Hope you experience the same sense of motion while listening and are able to glean a little bit of levity from it.”

Johnny Tucker Featuring Kid Ramos And The Allstars "75 And Alive" (CD, Blue Heart Records & HighJohn Records, 2021). Johnny Tucker’s 2018 release, Seven Day Blues,[66] was a back-to-basics spartan affair. For this 2021 album, 75 And Alive, HighJohn Records wanted a much bigger production to match his exuberant personality. So they recruited guitarist Kid Ramos, saxophonist Ron Dziubla and harp player Bob Corritore to record an authentic set of West Coast jump, low down blues and funky soul, live off the floor on what was Johnny's 75th birthday - October 17, 2020. Watch Johnny Tucker feat. Kid Ramos & The Allstars - "Have a Good Time Tonight - Play Your Soul, Johnny"! Check out HighJohn Records Youtube channel!

Unspoken Tradition "Irons In The Fire" (Video, 2021). As lead singer Audie McGinnis notes, “Early on in the band's life, we started using the slogan ‘working class bluegrass’ as an attempt to brand ourselves and connect with our audience. I still think we hold true to that slogan today.” Western North Carolina’s Unspoken Tradition has released a music video for their latest single, “Irons In The Fire,” which captures the corrosive effects of dreams deferred and the anxiety and urgency that surround our collective emergence from the enforced idleness of quarantine.

The Vegetarians "Bill Haley" (CD, Annellssongs, 2021). The Vegetarians is a project by composer Hans Annellsson from Malmø/Sweden, working together with several different singers such as John Tabacco and Marc Mollan. The Vegetarians started around 2000 as a vehicle for recording some prog covers. The new album, “Bill Haley,” is a mixture of prog, alternative and classic rock, and consists of 14 original songs.

"Joseph Veloz Presents: Joseph and the Velozians" (CD, Big O Records, 2021). With Joseph And The Velozians, bass player Joseph Veloz presents his signature fusion of blues, funk, R&B, roots and rock music with the best internationally performing musicians from his home in Michigan.

Brad Vickers and his Vestapolitans "The Music Gets Us Thru" (CD, Man Hat Tone, 2021).! The Music Gets Us Thru ... just about everything, even this extraordinary year, with blues, folk, jump and American roots'n'roll.

Marco R Wagner "Back To The Plow" (CD, Several Records, 2021). Grandson of an orchestra director of German descent, son of a Spanish painter and a pianist from Brazil, Marco R Wagner was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro's 1960's art scene. During these difficult months worldwide Marco has been honing his observation on what might make us persevere with humility. Channeling it through new compositions for his 6th album of original songs, he has recorded alone in his home studio in Spain all instruments and vocals for 13 new tracks. Watch Marco R Wagner's full live concert @ De Floeren Aap, Mechelen, Belgium!

War & Pierce "Mercy" (Single/Video, 2021). Roots and soul duo War & Pierce[73] (that’s Sunny War[74] and Chris Pierce[74]) are back with a powerful new single and video that takes on the specter of police brutality in America, MERCY: “Our new single ‘Mercy’ deals with the constant resilience required by people of color in the United States and beyond. It recollects real-life situations while demonstrating that in life and death situations there remains no assurance that mercy will be shown or even considered on those targeted. It challenges those who target human beings based on race and intolerance to not live in fear and not make decisions based on fear.” The single will be part of a forthcoming full length album from the pair coming in Spring 2022.

Watchhouse "Watchhouse" (CD, Own label, 2021). Watchhouse (formerly known as Mandolin Orange):[61] "It’s been a long year and a half. Knowing that we had this record made truly saved our minds when the pandemic began. We know some of you are thrown off by this new name deal, and yes, it’s a huge thing. But it’s also not. We’re just humans with abstract ambitions and evolving identities, and there’s no way to know ourselves better without trying. We are deeply, deeply grateful to each of you who are still here for the musical ride."

FolkWorld Xmas

David Wilcox "Christmas Song" (Video, 2021). »Not everyone will agree, but in the annals of holiday music, we think The Christmas Song is one of the all time best. Nat King Cole! Those fabulous chord changes! (Thanks to Mel Tormé and Robert Wells) So here's David's beautiful new version. Enjoy it, have a great holiday, and we'll see you in the new year.«

Walt Wilkins "Pedernales" (CD, Own label, 2021). "Songwriter, singer, traveler, troubadour - the calling I answered, the life I chose, the way I make my way. I chose to go full time on this road 25 years ago. Its been a spiritual quest, an amazing trip, at turns heartbreaking & transcendent. In that time I've made 9 solo records, 4 records with The Mighty Mystiqueros, 1 with my wife Tina, and there's a new live record with my friend Kevin Welch. I've had 100 or more songs recorded by other artists, traveled a fair part of the world, and had some very, very large times." (W.W.) Check out "Pedernales"!

FolkWorld Xmas

Kathryn Williams & Carol Ann Duffy "Midnight Chorus" (CD, One Little Independent, 2021). Liverpudlian singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams has already released 14 studio albums to date, plus a 20-disc anthology boxset two years ago. This Christmas she teamed up with Scottish-born playwright and former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. "Midnight Chorus" marks the meeting of two gifted writers, ruminating on a season with obvious affection and a joyous, honest tenderness which never shies away from the darkness beyond the light. Watch the animation video for the Beatles-esque title track, "Midnight Chorus"!

Big Daddy Wilson "Hard Time Blues" (CD, Continental, 2021). Big Daddy Wilson came to Europe with the US Army, married a German girl and discovered the blues. Hard Time Blues is "a reflection of the time we are living in right now and all the anxieties that life brings… Corona, Poverty, Injustice and other hardships." It is as much a social statement as a soulful blues album and in various ways a departure from Wilson's more traditional approach to blues on earlier releases: "Glen Scott and I wanted with this album to reach out to a broader and younger audience. We wanted to mix a bit of soul, R&B, blues, roots and spirituals. This was the music I grew up with and so we wanted to bring a modern taste of blues to the Big Daddy Wilson fans. We wanted to blend acoustic and electric sound, but still make them sound very roots orientated." Watch "Poor Black Children" & "Maybe It's Time"! At the time being, Big Daddy Wilson and Hans Theessink are working on a duo album which will be released in November.

Elly Wininger "The Blues Never End" (CD, Earwig Music, 2021). “Before I could read or write, I was transported by my parents' 78s: Vera Hall's Black Woman; Blind Willie Johnson's Dark Was The Night and Lead Belly, who I used to try to sing like, much to my kindergarten teacher's dismay,” says Elly Wininger. “I had no idea what or who I was listening to, but it stirred something in my soul that has been swirling ever since.” This new set of 13 songs, including 4 original compositions, brings a contemporary set of aesthetics, rooted in tradition, to a variety of blues and gospel styles. Watch the title track, "The Blues Never End"!

Luke Winslow-King & Roberto Luti "Lissa's Song (Playing For Change | Live Outside)" (Video, 2021). Playing For Change is "proud to share this heartfelt performance from our dear friends Luke Winslow-King and Robert Luti. Lissa's Song is a musical tribute written by Luke and Roberto that honors the life of the late Washboard Lissa Driscoll, a New Orleans street singer and former wife of Roberto, who touched the lives of countless people through her one-of-a-kind country-blues renditions. Let this song remind us to cherish each and every day and to appreciate all the beauty life has to offer."

FolkWorld Xmas

Ye Banished Privateers "A Pirate Stole My Christmas" (CD, Napalm Records, 2021). “If given enough time, every artist will eventually lose their last ounce of self-respect, and release a Christmas album. Ye Banished Privateers are no strangers to self-loathing commercial stunts, and with our new album we aim to officially join the ranks of Christmas legends such as Maria Carey and Bing Crosby. Our album is compiled of 11 classic carols defiled into an unrecognizable pulp of rum-drenched atonal pirate madness. If you didn't hate Christmas before, this is certain to change your mind!” Wrapped in the swag of pirate folk rock, the newly interpreted, grim covers of beloved Christmas classics draw the listener into a dark underworld of blood and bones. (“Oh Christmas Tree” gets a new coat of paint re-worded to “O Cannonball”.) Watch the Swedish sea dogs' "Ring The Bells", "Carol Of Bellows" & "Sulphur Ahoy"!

Yosh & Yimmy "Down & Out" (Single/Video, 2021). After meeting in 2015, when Josh Glenn opened for Jimmy Willden at the final show of his 2015 tour, the two bearded gingers continued playing shows together. Over time, the shows evolved into Yosh & Yimmy, as they performed as a duo, and began writing songs together. Currently, Yosh & Yimmy are in the studio working on their debut full-length album. The first single, “Down & Out”, Down & Out’ is “inspired by how we as artists tend to deliver our best work when we are down on our luck, or heartbroken. It’s basically an upbeat song about being — down and out!”

Dan + Claudia Zanes "Coming Down" (Single, Smithsonian Folkways, 2021). Smithsonian Folkways is thrilled to share "Coming Down", an uplifting new song from Grammy award–winning children’s performer Dan Zanes and Haitian-American music therapist/jazz vocalist Claudia Zanes: "Someone asked why we would write about the dismantling of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and militarism. Aren’t those subjects box office poison? Maybe so, but really, liberation is always a hot topic. People have been singing about it for thousands of years! Who doesn’t want freedom for one and all? Especially when there’s a party on the other side." The tune comes from Let Love Be Your Guide, a collection of songs conceived during the 2020 Black Lives Matter uprisings and coronavirus pandemic.

Zedashe "Silver Sanctuary საძირკველი ვერცხლისო" (CD, Electric Cowbell Records, 2020). Directed by Ketevan Mindorashvili, the Zedashe Ensemble from the medieval fortress city of Sighnaghi in the heart of the Caucasus, Georgia, was founded in the mid-1990’s to sing polyphonic chants that were largely lost during the Communist era. The complex three-part melodies date back to pre-Christian times and comprise music sung for the Orthodox Christian liturgical services. Their repertoire also includes folk songs and dance melodies. Check out "Silver Sanctuary": “We all recorded several feast songs and allegoric songs that are performed at traditional Georgian supra feasts. Good wine is at the heart of the feast — Georgia is where wine was invented 8,000 years ago — but a traditional supra also wouldn’t be complete without music, dancing, singing, poetry and toasting. On this record we ended up recording five wedding songs, which surprised me. I found myself drawn to the storylines of these songs, which are very dramatic and often depict love triangles. Some are hundreds of years old, but are the poetry is as vivid as any film or novel. For me this is very close to the poetry of Rumi.”

Various Artists

Bluegrass At The Crossroads "Ernest T. Grass" (Single/Video, 2021). The latest single from Mountain Home Music Company’s unique collaborative project, Bluegrass At The Crossroads, features musicians spanning the range from traditional-flavored bluegrass to today’s jamgrass — and, in a move that highlights the connections that join players of differing generations, too, this one serves up a brand-new take on a classic of modern bluegrass — “Ernest T. Grass”! Written by Ronnie Bowman and Dan Tyminski it has become an organic standard favored across the bluegrass spectrum and gives all of the players ample room to ring changes on the tune’s catchy melody and rhythmic variations as it gets passed from one to another in a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic whirl of contrasting tones and textures.

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