Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best of Uncharted Waters 2011 Part 3

As the final days of 2011 roll by, I'm taking a long look back and still taking in the beauty of this past year's music. Still can't get enough of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Paul Simon, Feist, Katie Herzig, Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, on and on. I'm listening on my new iPod nano a lot of the time and I can't believe how good it sounds.

As one year ends and another begins, we're offered a chance to mark the spot, reflect on the amazing gift that artists give us and themselves with their work and know that this past year's music leads us on into what will soon fill our ears in the new year.

I found this great video of Laura Marling's "I Was A Card". There's nothing I can write that matches the artistry here.

Best of Uncharted Waters 2011 Part 3

“I Was Just A Card” Laura Marling A Creature I Do Not Know
”Timshel” Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
”Discoverer” R.E.M. Collapse Into Now
”One Ticket To The Moon” Dave Stewart The Blackbird Diaries
”Sugar Boogie” Marcia Ball Roadside Attractions
”Dancing At A Funeral” Brett Dennen Loverboy
”Sounds Like Hallalujah” The Head and the Heart The Head and The Heart
“Waking Sleep” Katie Herzig The Waking Sleep
”Spilling Faith” Ben Harper Give ‘Til It’s Gone
“Little By Little” Gregg Allman Low Country Blues
”Scarlet Town” Gillian Welch The Harrow and the Harvest
“Half Moon” Iron and Wine Kiss Each Other Clean
”Major Minus’ Coldplay Mylo Xyloto
“Towers” Bon Iver Bon Iver
”House Full Of Empty Rooms” Kathleen Edwards Voyageur
”Questions for the Angels” Paul Simon So Beautiful Or So What

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best of UW 2011 | Part 2

Each segment of this Best of Uncharted Waters 2011 demonstrates what an amazing outpouring of music we saw over the last twelve months. There's so much variety, depth of feeling and excellence of performance. Check out the list for Part 2 below and see if you agree.

Alison Krauss and Union Station added to the brilliance of the year with "Paper Airplane". It's Alison's 14th record and once again her sweet voice, understated fiddle playing and the band's flawless accompaniment make this an inspiring listening experience.

Here's "Miles To Go."

Best Of Uncharted Waters 2011 Part 2

"Battery Kinzie" Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues
"Old Tin Can" Catherine MacLellan Sillhouette
"Weird Summer" Mike Doughty Yes and Also Yes
"Take It All" Adele 21 XL
"Jesus" Amos Lee Mission Bell
"Humpty Dumpty World" Ry Cooder Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
"City Of Refuge" Abagail Washburn City Of Refuge
"Love and Altar" The Low Anthem Smart Flesh
"Sunset Over Hope Street" Ari Hest Sunset Over Hope Street
"Come See About Me" Tedeschi Trucks Revelator
"All The Way Under" John Hiatt Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
"Miles To Go" Alison Krauss and Union Station Paper Airplane
"Sweet Louise" The Belle Brigade The Belle Brigade
"Rox In The Box" The Decemberists The King Is Dead
"The Most" Lori McKenna Lorraine
"Early In The Morning, I'll Come Calling" James Vincent McMorrow Early In The Morning

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sarah Borges | Radio Sweetheart

How can we resist this radio sweetheart? The probable title of Sarah's new CD describes the way all of us at mvy feel about her. From the moment we heard her first record "Silver City" we were hooked and have loved playing her music and watching her rock ever since.

Sarah is in the final stages of a fundraising campaign for the new album that will be released in mid-2012. It's being produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. If you can help, go to A little goes a long way.

Sarah and I spoke about her campaign the other day, her record and Elliott, her new baby with guitarist Lyle Brewer. Listen to my interview with Sarah

Monday, December 12, 2011

Uncharted Waters | Best of 2011

I've been taking a look back over the music released this past year and zoning in on the songs and artists that I played on Uncharted Waters, mvy's new music show. It's quite illuminating to re-visit SO MUCH great music-there hasn't been a year like this in a while.

Last Friday I started a three part series in which I will play the best of the best of 2011. Out of the 500 plus songs I featured over the year, I found close to 100 that I consider significant. So the 45 songs that will be part of this best of series really represent the cream of the crop.

I'll post each segment's list (find Part 1 below) along with a video of one of the songs from that week. Check out the video of "I've Got This Friend" by The Civil Wars. The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White was big news and their album Barton Hollow was one of the records that made this year shine!

Best Of Uncharted Waters 2011 Part 1

"Underneath The Sycamore" Death Cab For Cutie Codes and Keys
"All My Possessions (Ode To Troy)" Chadwick Stokes Simmerkane II
"Only God Can Save Us Now" Over The Rhine The Long Surrender
"The Day is Coming" My Morning Jacket Circuital
"Vicksburg Stomp" Hot Tuna Steady As She Goes
"I've Got This Friend" The Civil Wars Barton Hollow
"Try To Understand" Eric Lindell Between Motion and Rest
"Last Leaf" Tom Waits Bad As Me
"No Button" The Little Stevies Attention Shoppers
"Captivity" Ben Sollee Inclusions
"What'll I Do" Lisa Hannigan Passengers
"Sugar Mama" The Deep Dark Woods The Place I Left Behind
"Run Away" Sarah Jarosz Follow Me Down
"Miracle" Superheavy Superheavy
"Tango For Django" Robbie Robertson How To Become Clairvoyant
"Cicadas and Gulls" Feist Metals

Friday, November 11, 2011

Laura Marling | A Creature I Don't Know

The delicacy of precisely placed fingers on a guitar's nylon strings, words sung with care and clarity. A voice speaking from the past, or is it the future, or the spiraling present moment? " and time go way back when...", sings Laura Marling in the song "Don't Ask Me Why". The British singer-songwriter's third album "A Creature I Don't Know", recorded with all acoustic instruments in London by Ethan Johns wafts up like invisible smoke and infiltrates. It carries like the wind; there you were, here you are, changed.

At 21, Laura Marling is confident from years of listening and playing, at first with her parents and siblings in her home in Eversley, Hampshire, England. The youngest of three, she heard the music of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and James Taylor around the house. She stared playing guitar as a child, began performing as a teenager and was a member of England's Noah and The Whale. Marling set out on a solo career in 2007.

With literary references to John Steinbeck and Robertson Davies, and sonic nods to Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, this collection of songs has great depth and power. The living thing that is the record album is all the more vibrant with questions unanswered, time undefined and an interior wanderlust. Thank you, Laura Marling.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feist | Metals

Suggestive, reflective, askew. An image that looks like a photograph, but is it? Just by seeing the cover of Feist's new album "Metals", you get an idea of what's inside. The funny thing is, I didn't see the "F" in the deadwood tree until now and I didn't realize that "Metals" was printed upside down. Either I wasn't paying attention as I pulled out the CD multiple times to listen to over the last few days or, and I think this is it, there's some kind of sleight of hand going on.

Leslie Feist knows how to cast a spell. And it seems even more so now, or maybe in new ways. She took a year-long break from touring and music making at the end of the last decade after going at it non-stop for seven years. "I was being still and trying to learn how to be quiet and remember silence isn't aggressive," she says.

On her return last autumn, she spent three months writing the record in a garage behind her house. In January of this year longtime collaborators Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, joined her in Toronto to arrange the record and then the three, plus percussionist Dean Stone and keyboardist Brian LeBarton, all settled in Big Sur, California to record.

The beauty and the beast of living for life and art and nature rise up through every track. Gentle, swelling vocals, group singing, sweeping synthesizers, and great guitar playing from Feist. "I feel a little more like a narrator now," she says. "Rather that saying here's my truth, I am able to say here's something I just observed to be true. Which depending on the day can be absolutely not true. There's less certainty with time, as much as you'd assume the opposite to be the case."

She found her way to the album title "Metals" as she was thinking about "quiet, raw, dormant ore versus the highly engineered result of forging that into skyscrapers." and the word "'mettle' as in a man proves his mettle by how his reaction takes him from raw act to reaction." "Metals" is a potent, primordial exploration.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Katie Herzig | The Waking Sleep

There are lots of ways to go about recording an album. For Katie Herzig, on the new "The Waking Sleep", it was "building" a record, assembling fragments of sound into a spacious, openly woven album. When she and co-producer Cason Cooley set up in the studio to start, Katie said "I don't have any songs!" Sound by sound, word by word they emerged.

"Find your voice, find your voice, make a noise," she writes in "Make a Noise". Finding her voice on this record came as she went. From this side, it feels like a giant door opened, and lo and behold, on the other side, there was a path and a process leading to all that she knew deep inside, all that she was capable of.

There is a big world that she and Cooley fashioned inside the tracks, spending hours experimenting with individual sounds, most musical, but some natural sounds--hands rubbing together, a hand brushing over someone's beard. The sound of daily life. Sounds upon sounds, layered and buried, songs rising up to life, and now with the album complete, we're all invited in for the lift, the joy, the revelation.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bon Iver | Bon Iver

Bon Iver's Justin Vernon and his brother Nate found a ranch style house a few miles from their childhood home in Wisconsin. And in the space that once housed an indoor pool, Justin created a recording studio and his new self-titled album, a stunning follow-up to 2008's "For Emma, Forever Ago".

Vernon has assembled a great supporting cast of musicians including pedal steel guitarist Greg Leisz and bass saxophonist Colin Stetson. Bon Iver is out on tour, with friends The Rosebuds on some dates and Kathleen Edwards on others, and many of the shows are sold out.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mavis Staples at Newport Folk

The joyful and effervescent Mavis Staples performed at Newport Folk Festival yesterday, running through a spirited set of songs, both old and new. "The Weight", "I'll Take You There" and "You Are Not Alone", the title track of her 2010 Grammy winning CD.

I sat down with Mavis after her performance. Click here to listen to the interview.

Friday, July 29, 2011

That old feeling...

Walking around Fort Adams today, the grounds buzzing with the activity of intense preparation for the arrival of 20,000 people 35 musical acts, I got that old feeling. The one that washes over me and makes me so happy to have music in my bones, in my heart and in my life.

As we were setting up in our tent backstage, I heard Suzanne Vega's voice floating in the air. I think it was Klondike who was playing a song of hers to check the sound at the Harbor stage. It sounded so beautiful, and everything I was doing and thinking faded into the background and I thought, "this is as good as it gets. I am so happy right now."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chadwick Stokes | Simmerkane II

The first solo album from State Radio and Dispatch band member Chadwick Stokes, was released Tuesday. "Simmerkane II" was recorded in Jim Parr's studio in Oak Bluffs and produced by John Dragoneti. Lots of Chad's musical friends, including Parr, Dragoneti, Embree, White Buffalo and Carly Simon collaborated. A bonus CD is included with three tracks that Chad recorded with The Sierra Leone Refugee Allstars

Chad and his brother took a train-hopping trip across country last summer and many of the songs were inspired by that experience. The songs are tender and insightful. The beautifully detailed lyrics tell stories that reveal a sharp eye and a deep heart.

Chadwick Stokes stopped by mvyradio this week.
Listen here

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tedeschi Trucks Band | Revelator

Husband and wife Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi have been talking about doing an album together for years and now with their new CD "Revelator", the time has come. The two met in 1999 when Susan was opening for The Allman Brothers Band, the group that Derek has played with since he was a teenager. They married in 2001. One would be hard-pressed to find a better title for the record. Much is revealed, and at the heart of it all is their joyful, life-long commitment to the pursuit of musical excellence. It seems that the power of this collaboration could eclipse their successful solo careers, at least for a while.

Susan and Derek spent 2010 writing songs, assembling an amazing band and finally recording the album in their Jacksonville, FL home studio, Swamp Raga. Grammy-winning engineer Jim Scott, co-produced the album with Trucks, and like the primary pairing of Tedeschi and Trucks, this match anchors and focuses the record. "Revelator" is a spirited, loving coming together of two major talents, smack dab in the middle of their prime, supported by a close-knit cast of accomplished players.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sarah Jarosz | Follow Me Down

Sarah Jarosz has just turned 20 and the musical maturity that she displays on her new CD "Follow Me Down" reveals a talent that sounds and feels much older, more seasoned than her years. She commands the space on the record with her confident singing and proficient playing on mandolin, banjo and guitar. Her youth is not lost, and comes through in the wonder and joy of discovery that is evident in each song.

Some of the best players in the folk, country and bluegrass world provide support. Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, Dan Tyminksi, Victor Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Stuart Duncan join in. Most of the songs are written by Sarah and the covers are well chosen. Chris Thile and The Punch Brothers collaborate on Radiohead's "The Tourist" and Vince Gill and Jerry Douglas bring it on home with Sarah on Bob Dylan's "Ring Them Bells". Gary Paczosa produces with great care.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adele and The Civil Wars in Boston 5/15/11

There was a seemingly endless line that snaked down Landsdowne Street this past Sunday night as Adele fans waited to walk into The House of Blues for the British singer's show that sold out months ago. These were people WITH tickets! and everybody wanted get in early to claim a spot for the night.

At other shows at HOB, I have found a place in the back near the sound board, but Sunday we made our way to the front of the floor section and found room, stage right with a great view of what would be an unforgettable night of music.

From this vantage point, I was able to see the roadies set up for Adele's set and this was a part of the show that I didn't expect to witness. They were getting everything just right. The straight mic stand, the stool, the table with water and tea, the fan, and the four (or was it five?) monitor wedges that would surround Adele with her voice, the voice that everyone was coming to hear.

When we did hear her, it was from off-stage. And when she appeared, it was simply, with her trademark openness, humility and thankfulness, and to great applause and cheers.

The talent that Adele displays is equally matched with the love, admiration and appreciation that her fans have for her. The appreciation is the main thing. Adele does something for her fans beyond just dazzling them with her vocal prowess and stunning presence; it seems that she holds a mirror to their best qualities.

"Rumor Has It" was one of the highlights of the show. Adele tells the story behind the song

The Civil Wars opened the show and...WOW! It was great to finally see them live to get the full picture of what they do and how well they do it. Joy Williams sang with every part of her being, using her entire body to deliver the songs. John Paul White kept the set going with his confident guitar playing and his precise vocals. They moved together in a most unusual way, an intimate musical and familial conversation that we all were part of.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hot Tuna | Steady As She Goes

It's been 20 years since Hot Tuna released an album, so the new "Steady As She Goes" is a welcome arrival and well worth the wait.
Produced by Larry Campbell at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock NY, the album is firmly fixed in the 60's and 70's acoustic/electric rock n' roll that Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady first established in The Jefferson Airplane and their early days in Hot Tuna.

According to Kaukonen, both he and Casady felt very comfortable and free to create in the recording process due Campbell's support of their vision and the producer's clear view of what the final product would sound like. Not only did Campbell produce the record, but he plays multiple instruments, including fiddle and violin, recalling the great sounds of Papa John Creach. Barry Mitterhoff is on mandolins and Skoota Warner on the drums, making this a real band album. Teresa Williams provides harmony vocals, and in a couple of songs sounds like The Airplane's Grace Slick. The effect is perfect, and it's one of the many fine touches that serve to recapture a sound that could well be lost and forgotten but lives on in their music making.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alison Krauss and Union Station | Paper Airplane

The sepia tone of the picture of Alison Krauss and Union Station on the cover of their new album "Paper Airplane" sends a message before the first notes of the record sound. Tradition is important here. Over the course of the past thirty of her thirty-nine years, Krauss has mined the folk and bluegrass traditions of American roots music, recording for the first time when she was fourteen. She has stayed true to her original record label, Massachusetts based Rounder Records, signing with them in 1985. She has worked with Union Station since the early 80's

This album flows like a rolling river, steady and strong, mighty, but contained. There is a depth of experience, a certain world weariness in Krauss' voice that ever so softly permeates the songs she sings here. The twenty plus years of playing with Union Station secures the music so there is not one false note. Dan Tyminski confidently takes the lead vocal on a couple of the tracks. Richard Thompson's "Dimming of the Day' and Jackson Browne's "My Opening Farewell" are nice additions to the new material written for the record.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Little Stevies | Attention Shoppers

I started listening to this new album by The Little Stevies, a band for Melbourne Australia, just before I went on vacation in March. I took it with me and it ended up in a endless loop in the rental car cd player. These guys have great musical chops and an innate ability to connect heart to heart. The album was recorded in L.A. and produced by Ethan Allen who has worked with Tim Finn and Kristin Hersh.

After doing multiple takes for a video for one of the songs "Feel It", they ended up taking the 10th and last one for the final video. Sisters Sibylla and Bethany Stephen and their band mate Robin Geradts-Gill dance through the shot just like they did when they were kids putting on dance routines for their parents in the back yard. You'll see their folks applauding at the end of the video.

Check it out on Youtube

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dawes | Time Spent In Los Angeles

We played the new song by Dawes today on mvyradio's What's New For Lunch. The new album "Nothing Is Wrong" will be out June 7th. The song is very SoCal- the band proudly hails from North Hills, CA. It's reminiscent of early Jackson Browne and The Eagles, with Jackson himself, and Benmont Tench appearing on the record. Dawes starts a tour May 5th in Houston, with Brett Dennen joining them on some dates, and will be doing select TV dates and live shows with Robbie Robertson.

Here's a clip of "Time Spent In Los Angeles":
Click here

The band appeared with Robertson on Letterman recently, performing his "He Don't Live Here Now More". Robertson says "They're all at the top of their game. I'm the one that's a little rusty."

See the video on Youtube

Friday, April 15, 2011

Abagail Washburn | City Of Refuge

Abagail Washburn's artistic aspiration of bringing traditions forward and creating music that offers "a line of connection between hearts" is more than realized in her new album "City of Refuge".

The singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player who was with the bands Uncle Earle and Sparrow Quintet, collaborated with many musicians on the record including songwriter, vocalist and instrumentalist Kai Welch and producer and percussionist Tucker Martine, who has worked with Tift Merrit and Decemberists. Washburn decided to work with both Welch and Martine for their indie flair, purposefully going outside of the folk music world to get a new sound working into her music.

Washburn's voice is captivating, both in it's purity and expressiveness. The tone and presence of her banjo is perfectly suited to the Asian musical colors that infuse the album. "I wouldn't be a musician if it weren't for China", she says. She lived there for years and was to return to become a lawyer in Beijing when she got sidetracked and became a musician. The music of that country seems to be written in her soul and provides a unique sensibility here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fleet Foxes | Grown Ocean

Following the sounds...Here's the video of another song from the new Fleet Foxes album "Helplessness Blues". Nice!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Brett Dennen | Loverboy

"Loverboy", the new album from Brett Dennen is a joyful, spirited and confident cruise. The movement comes in the sweet match of music and lyrics, each urging the other on. There are a lot of musical ideas and styles working- folk-rock, soul, world, pop- and it all settles into an inviting groove.

The liner notes give meaning to the album title. Brett writes, "This is an ode to the wonderful feeling of love. Whether it be romantic, friendly, or just plain caring for people." The feel is loose but precise, it floats and busts out like a bird set free. Great songwriting, tight band. Production by Brett, with Martin Terefe assisting on a few tracks.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Civil Wars | Barton Hollow

With so much tragedy and strife in the world, the soft and simple coming together of two voices and two musical paths soothes the troubled heart. The Civil Wars is Nashville based, California born Joy Williams, already a music veteran at the young age of 29 and Alabama's John Paul White. Both are accomplished vocalists, songwriters, and instrumentalists who met at a writing camp in 2008. There was a spark of musical recognition between them and they decided to work together. They have just released "Barton Hollow" on Sensibility Records, a record label started by Williams and her husband Nate.

Their band name is beautifully provocative and apt for musicians who have differing musical sensibilities, but what the record reveals is a civil union of their different stylistic approaches to music making. Williams comes from a more pop sensibility and White from a more alt-country one. The resulting dynamic tension is the fuel they travel on. Standout tracks are "20 Years", "I've Got This Friend" and the only instrumental on the album, "The Violet Hour".

Friday, March 11, 2011

R.E.M.| Collapse Into Now

Michael Stipe sings "oh my heart, oh my heart", the refrain in the song of the same name on R.E.M.'s new album "Collapse Into Now". His voice rises to each note, precise, pleading and full of emotion. His vocal delivery has a new simplicity and brilliance that sets the tone for the whole record. "It's sweet and it's sad and it's true, how it doesn't look bitter on you." Here is R.E.M. 2011, 30 years in.

On this, their 15th album, the band takes stock of itself. Older, wiser, still searching, and relaxing into their emerging sound. Evidently, Patti Smith, a friend and collaborator on this and 1996's "New Adventures in Hi-Fi", suggested the title of the album. Nice. Long time Patti Smith guitar player Lenny Kaye, Eddie Vedder and Peaches make appearances. Jackknife Lee, the producer of R.E.M.'s last record, "Accelerate" returns to produce. The band has no plans to tour in support of the album, citing tour fatigue. "I just don't want to," says Michael Stipe.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Adele | 21

“As soon as I got a microphone in my hand, when I was about 14, I realized I wanted to do this,” Adele says. “Most people don’t like the way their voice sounds when it’s recorded. I was just so excited by the whole thing that I wasn't bothered what it sounded like.”

This part of Adele's story is at the heart of her popularity. Underlying all the musical talent that she possesses, the skill in her songwriting and delivery, the powerful vocal technique that feels like it's just the tip of the iceberg of what is yet to come in her career, lies the fact that Adele is completely at home in her music. There is no space between her and it. This authenticity is so appealing and it makes it easy to find a place at her table.

Multiple producers including Rick Rubin worked on the record. Paul Epworth, Ryan Tedder, Fraser Smith doubled on producing and co-writing tracks. Dan Wilson co-wrote three. Adele covers Robert Smith's "Love Song", paying respects to The Cure, the first band she saw in concert -she was three years old.(!) Now 22, she's the one on stage. Her concert tour starts in Olso, Norway on the first full day of spring, March 21st, and she comes to the States in May.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Low Anthem| Smart Flesh

An 40,000 square foot abandoned pasta sauce factory proved to be a worthy challenger and container for "Smart Flesh", the new album from The Low Anthem. Most of the record was recorded at Porino's in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where, incidentally, the band will re-claim the space for a one-time performance on March 12th.

Amazing that a album that is so warm could come in from the reported cold of that building. The songs that were forged there would certainly have been different if they had been recorded in a more comfortable studio setting and that's the point. The space inside of these songs is vast and alive, and in the experience of listening, a world of hurt and wonder wafts in on the wind and takes a deep and gentle hold.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Over The Rhine | The Long Surrender

Over The Rhine's Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler, along with collaborator/producer Joe Henry have left me riding high in the vast expanse of their brilliant expression and openness to the artistic process. This lofty language is sorely lacking and doesn't come close to describing the impact and value of their new release, "The Long Surrender".

An supremely able musical crew was assembled last May at Joe Henry's studio in Pasadena, CA for a week of recording. Henry enlisted Greg Leisz, Keefus Ciancia, Patrick Warren, Levon Henry, David Piltch, Jay Bellerose, Niki Harris, Jean McClain, James Gilstrap and special guest Lucinda Williams for the album that was financed with the support of close to a thousand of the band's fans.

The excellence of the musical compositions and performances, and the layers of life experience that are reflected are only part of the story. It's the gentle, genuine invitation to enter their sweet 'ole world world that touched me the most. I found it impossible to resist. Great exchange, precious gift.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Robbie Robertson| How To Become Clairvoyant

The title track of Robbie Robertson's new album "How To Become Clairvoyant" seems to offer some insight into where the 67 year old musician is at in this time of his life and career. World weary, yet still searching. Investigating, confessing, coming to terms. All with a wry, peaceful and forgiving touch.

Robbie Robertson started "seeing around corners" with the nylon and steel as a teenager in his native Toronto, and made an everlasting mark in the hearts of many as singer, guitarist and primary songwriter for The Band. Now, after 4 solo albums and multiple soundtracks, including many for "bad boy" buddy Martin Scorsese, his former housemate during the editing of The Last Waltz, Robertson has a new solo record, his first in thirteen years.

It all began a couple of years ago when Robertson's and Eric Clapton's guitars started "talking" and the two came up with material that Robertson returned to last year. He knew he had something. Clapton was delighted to do anything on the record. He co-wrote three of the tunes and plays on six, taking lead vocals on "Fear of Falling". Guitarists Tom Morello and Robert Randolph join in. Robertson praises the two, saying "they do something that I don't understand at all; they play a different instrument". Trent Reznor, Steve Winwood and producer Marius De Vries round out the amazing supporting cast. The CD is set for release in April.

Listen for tracks from the album on mvyradio's new music show Uncharted Waters Friday (2/11) at 9 PM ET (repeats Sunday 2/13 at 9 PM ET) on

Friday, February 4, 2011

Amos Lee | Mission Bell

The quiet soulfulness of Amos Lee's new album "Mission Bell" offers a sweet and deep listening experience and a mainline connection to the heart of one of America's best singers and songwriters.

This is Lee's fourth album and a number of elements have lined up to make it his best yet. The clarity, soft resonance and round tones of Lee's voice combine with his unwavering commitment to delivering every note as if his life depended on it.

Lee's producer and band on the record support his vision to a T. Joey Burns of Calexico produced "Mission Bell" and he and Calexico band mates, drummer John Convertino and trumpet player Jacob Valenzuela, along with Jaron Olevsky on keyboards and Greg Leisz on pedal steel are a perfect match for Lee.

The songs are lyrically and musically well-defined and spacious. Each one has a spiritual element, with the underlying sentiment being one of compassion for and connection to humanity. Amos Lee rings his mission bell for us all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lori McKenna | Lorraine

In the title track of her new album "Lorraine", Lori McKenna writes about her mother, her namesake.

"No one’s had a bigger say
In who I am today
I swear I’ve tried to be worthy of
The name they gave me when I was young
But I ain’t that pretty and I ain’t that brave
My kids have seen me cry
They should have given her name to my sister Marie
That don’t mean a thing to you but it does to me"

Lori's mother died when Lori was seven. This album is a testament to her and the deep and lasting impact she has had and continues to have on Lori's life. McKenna's lyrics have always been personal. Her life as a mother, wife, daughter and a hometown girl who lives blocks away from her family of origin's home in Stoughton, MA provides rich material. Her skill as a songwriter is sharp and her ability to write and deliver one powerfully nuanced lyric after another is stunning. This is Lori's 6th album and a welcome heart opening experience. I found myself tearing up often as I listened.

Friday, January 21, 2011

DeVotchKa | 100 Other Lovers

Denver, Colorado based DeVotchKa will release their fifth album "100 Lovers" on February 15th. Played the song "100 Other Lovers" today on What's New For Lunch. Check it out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

James Vincent McMorrow | Early In The Morning

It feels like someone flipped a switch -a couple of weeks into the new year and here comes the new music!! My first excursion into the sound 0f 2011 came as I, happily, put my hands and ears on "Early In The Morning", the new cd by James Vincent McMorrow. The album actually was released last year in Ireland, but this is the year that many will hear the high and lonesome voice of the Irish singer-songwriter from Dublin. It's a smokey, reedy, and haunting voice. It's elusive and slippery, and it commands attention. I don't think I have heard a voice that got inside me so deeply so quickly since the first time I heard Jeff Buckley.

McMorrow found his way to an isolated house by the sea and made this record over the course of 5 months, recording and playing all the music himself. The cd will be released January 25th in the U.S. and Canada. A very impressive debut.

This video was shot in a Parisian park for Soul Sessions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Brett Dennen | Sydney (I'll Come Running)

I think the first time we met Brett Dennen was during an mvyradio On The Road adventure in Louisville, KY in 2007. We already knew how unique his voice was. As soon as you hear it, it makes it's mark on your brain. He came to our hotel suite for an interview with PJ and we immediately discovered another thing about him-- he is very tall. What, maybe 6'5"? He towered over PJ and PJ isn't what you would call short. Well, it's all relative and I digress.

Upon my return to the mvy studios yesterday after some time off, PJ and I listened to some new music and Brett Dennen's new song "Sydney (I'll Come Running)" was one of the songs. It's a catchy, free-wheeling tune about standing by a childhood friend. Great lyrical run in the chorus -- "...Straight from the airport, (I'll come running), cutting through the customs' line (I'll come running), bust down the courthouse doors, (I'll come running) Sydney, I would testify..." Not sure, but the beginning bass line seems to be a reference to Van Morrison's "I'll Come Running" --nice nod.

Check out multiple Brett Dennen performances, and that interview he did with PJ in the mvyradio Archives Scroll to "Brett Dennen"