Roots Music

Social Distortion’s Jonny Two Bags – Salvation Town (2014)

Social Distortion’s Jonny Two Bags – Salvation Town (2014)

You might think you know Jonny Wickersham, if you’ve followed Social Distortion. Wickersham, better known as Jonny Two Bags, joined in 2000 after the passing of Dennis Danell

Something Else! sneak peek: moe., “Blond Hair and Blue Eyes” from No Guts No Glory (2014)

Something Else! sneak peek: moe., “Blond Hair and Blue Eyes” from No Guts No Glory (2014)

Only a free-form improvisational group like moe. could start out with the aim of a barn-recorded acoustic album and somehow end up working with a producer who made his name in hip hop-circles.

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

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.

‘As long as it’s fun, then I’ll do it’: The Pogues’ rogue frontman Shane MacGowan isn’t going anywhere

‘As long as it’s fun, then I’ll do it’: The Pogues’ rogue frontman Shane MacGowan isn’t going anywhere

In a newly posted interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan talks about surviving his famously debauched rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and, yes, the state of his choppers.

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Get Up Jake” from Rock of Ages (1972)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Get Up Jake” from Rock of Ages (1972)

Chasing down “Get Up Jake,” this dollop of hilarious country funk that outlines a crew’s failed attempts to rouse a boozy womanizing deckhand, is every bit as difficult as divining the concrete narrative on knotty fables like “The Weight.”

Ozomatli – Place In The Sun (2014)

Ozomatli – Place In The Sun (2014)

I can say without reservation that the Los Angeles-based Ozomatli puts on the best live show I’ve ever experienced. The term “show” doesn’t do the band’s live gigs justice since the audience can’t help but be caught up in the “Ozobeat.” There’s no passive involvement in an Ozomatli concert.

On Second Thought: Bob Marley and the Wailers – Kaya (1978)

On Second Thought: Bob Marley and the Wailers – Kaya (1978)

Following the assassination attempt on Bob Marley’s life in December of 1976, he flew to London to escape the imminent threat hanging over him in Jamaica. He’d spend more than a year in Britain, developing and recording songs that would eventually make up both 1977′s Exodus album and Kaya, the subject of this piece. In addition to the overwhelming stressRead More

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Blind Willie McTell” from Jericho (1993)

Across the Great Divide: The Band, “Blind Willie McTell” from Jericho (1993)

That this song, a legendary outtake from Bob Dylan’s 1983 album Infidels, heralded the Band’s long-hoped-for return to the studio was fitting.

John Gorka – Bright Side of Down (2014)

John Gorka – Bright Side of Down (2014)

John Gorka’s music reflects his life as a working troubadour, no matter how long it takes the albums to arrive. In the case of Bright Side of Down, it’s been five years since the folk singer’s most recent album of originals.

One Track Mind: Lee DeWyze, “Blackbird Song” from The Walking Dead (2014)

One Track Mind: Lee DeWyze, “Blackbird Song” from The Walking Dead (2014)

Utterly engrossing, and full of dusty portent, Lee DeWyze’s “Blackbird Song” couldn’t have put more space between his time on American Idol and where he is now. DeWyze, who won Season 9 of Idol, issued the more country pop-leaning Frames last summer. Forget that