Bluegrass

Tommy Shaw – The Great Divide (2011): On Second Thought

Tommy Shaw – The Great Divide (2011): On Second Thought

Bluegrass, I like. Tommy Shaw, I like. But together? You couldn’t help but wonder how ‘The Great Divide’ would ever work. But it did.

Robert Earl Keen, “Footprints in the Snow” from Happy Prisoner (2015): One Track Mind

Robert Earl Keen, “Footprints in the Snow” from Happy Prisoner (2015): One Track Mind

Robert Earl Keen’s take on Bill Monroe’s “Footprintw in the Snow” is this the best kind of cover song — timeless but personal.

Levon Helm, “False Hearted Lover Blues” from Dirt Farmer (2007): Across the Great Divide

Levon Helm, “False Hearted Lover Blues” from Dirt Farmer (2007): Across the Great Divide

When Levon Helm decided to return to the Americana roots that had for so long nourished his career, he did it his way.

Red Molly – The Red Album (2014)

This heretofore traditional Americana trio offramps into a diaphanous, mystery-filled place.

Erik Friedlander – Nighthawks (2014)

The unexpected solitude the master cellist found from the five day loss of power in lower Manhattan from Hurricane Sandy gave him the perspective and focus that provided the material for his bluegrass-tinged combo’s second release, Nighthawks.

The Howlin’ Brothers – Trouble (2014)

More American Beauty-era Dead than picking-and-grinning Scruggs redux, the Howlin’ Brothers steer the current fascination with string-band hominess back toward rock music.

Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line (2014)

Nickel Creek formed in 1989 when Sean Watkins was just 11 years old. By the time 2007 rolled around, the trio, which also includes Sara Watkins (fiddle, vocals) and Chris Thile (mandolin, vocals), took an “indefinite hiatus.” Despite the fact that this shocked many fans, it wasn’t that surprising. The band had already walked countless miles together. With an eternityRead More

Something Else! sneak peek: The Seldom Scene with Emmylou Harris, “Hickory Wind” (2014)

Emmylou Harris returns to a Gram Parsons song she first took on for 1979’s Grammy-winning Blue Kentucky Girl, only this time alongside the Seldom Scene as the DC-area bluegrass group makes its Smithsonian Folkways debut.

Cool cover of Jackson 5’s ‘I Want You Back’ propels Lake Street Dive to spotlight ahead of LEAF

On a Boston sidewalk, the brassy, sassy combo Lake Street Dive tears into an acoustic soul cover of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”

Steve Earle – The Warner Bros. Years (2013)

Steve Earle – The Warner Bros. Years (2013)

This set represents an often-overlooked period, and one of intense experimentation, for Steve Earle — who couldn’t have been further removed (personally or professionally) from his earliest triumphs