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Nikkie Lane, Gone Gone Gone

On the cover of the EP that precedes her debut full-length in September, Nashviller Nikki Lane wears a red, white and blue bustier and holds a diaphanous American flag over her head.  Fortunately, she sounds little like you might imagine her to, based on the cover.  She possesses a fine, classic country voice, backed by tracks that echo that genre and early rock-n-roll.  What updates her sound, however, is the same kind of reverb and buzz that do the same for Secret Sisters and Neko Case, f’rinstance.  Bodes well for the album to come.

Produced by: dunno

Label: I Am Sound

File Under: Americana


Jonny Corndawg, Down On the Bikini Line

From the name to the packaging, this release smacks of a novelty tongue-in-cheek sendup of a certain brand of country music.  While he’s got a sharp sense of humor, Corndawg (nee Fritz) knows his stuff, which harkens to 60s and 70s country if you don’t listen too closely.  He’s also joined by a posse of reputable types, including Caitlin Rose, Patty LeMay and Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and the playing is typically strong.  Is it all a bit odd?  Sure.  From his site, “His music is more in the vein of that obscure ’70s gay country that housewives would discover on a Bear Family reissue in twenty years. In addition to pursuing the lost art of the Real Deal, Corndawg is an airbrushing, leather-working, marathon-running, truck-driving American.”

Produced by: Loney John Hutchins & Jonny Corndawg

Label: Nasty Memories

File Under: Americana


* Dead Man Winter, Bright Lights

Like several programmers I know, I’m a fan of Minneapolis’ Trampled By Turtles.  Here, TBT leader Dave Simonett has convened an extended assortment of players for an album that abandons much of his earlier band’s grass for more roots and rock sounds (think TBT crossed with Deep Dark Woods).  The results still prominently feature fiddle and some steel, but in a darker light than TBT.  DMW will be in FoCo on the 17th, with a couple days’ worth of shows in Boulder, Denver and Breckenridge, too.  Recommended.

Produced by: Dave Simonett

Label: Banjodad

File Under: Americana

Keb Mo, The Reflection

Hard for me to believe this actually marks Keb’s Nth album since his auspicioius 9999 debut.  Much has changed musically as well.  While he still wields that soulful voice and guitar, he’s no longer the Robert Johnson devotee of that first disc.  With guests like Dave Koz and India.Arie, Keb’s evolved into more of a “adult alternative” artist.  Not so much about chops anymore, he’s much more about smooth, “With bluesy guitars, groovy Hammond organs and Keb Mo’s rich, smoky voice.”

Produced by: Keb

Label: Ryko

File Under: Rock


* 3 Twins Broadband, 3 Twins Broadband EP

An EP from this local sprawling, 8-piece featuring John Magnie, Tim Cook and Steve Amedee from Subdudes, along with a horn section from 12 Cents For Marvin.  Very “front porch,” and quite infectious in a decidedly New Orleans fashion.

Produced by:

Label: Cook Music Group

File Under: Americana

* Rose Hill Drive, Americana

First release in a couple years for the Boulder-based band kicks things in more of a contemporary rock direction. RHD’s classic-rock-inspired sound is so over the top and heavy that it merits previewing.  Despite the title, there is really nothing “americana” about this disc.  Nevertheless, it’s garnered some very positive press.

Produced by: RHD & Jason McDaniel

Label: Slow and Shirley

File Under: Rock


Delicate Cutters, Some Creatures

Anybody remember Freakwater?  A pair of female singers whose harmonies were so edgy it felt things could derail at any time, but in the end it turned out to be beautiful.  This Birmingham 4-piece features only one singer, but her voice reminds me of Freakwater or Boca Chica.  The band’s sound is much more fleshed out, but still leaves room for accordion, fiddle, piano and the rest, sounding just this side of sinister.  Seems fitting they borrowed their name from a Throwing Muses tune.

Produced by: Brian C Moon

Label: Skybucket

File Under: Americana

Jonell Mosser, Fortunes Lost Fortunes Told

While Nashville singer/songwriter Mosser has sung behind everyone from BB King to Rodney Crowell, this marks only her fourth released CD.  Like the obvious comparison, Bonnie Raitt, Mosser has a classically bluesy voice that can take her anywhere, from silky ballads to gritty country.  She spans the spectrum here on mostly originals, recorded with her touring band.  Especially notable is the electric guitar work from frequent collaborator Tom Britt.

Produced by: Mosser + co

Label: City Hall

File Under: Americana


> Milk Carton Kids, Prologue

This duo’s new album comes along with a short piece  by Joe Henry on his first encounter with Gary Louris and Mark Olson of the Jayhawks.  This is relevant, since the shared vocals of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan bring that duo’s harmonies to mind (they’ve also been likened to Simon and Garfunkel).  Unlike Jayhawks, Milk Carton Kids are very sparsely accompanied, generally only by a guitar, which focuses even more attention on their harmonies.

Produced by: MCK and Eric Robinson

Label: Self

File Under: Americana

> Mary Flower, Misery Loves Company

From the Oregonian:  “Flower gives us a luscious lusty mix of rootsy styles, anchored by her immense finger-style guitar technique and warm-as-honey-and-whiskey voice. Her meter-perfect guitar work is inventive, dexterous and rock solid. Her voice is as comforting as a winter quilt and effortless as a breeze.”  Mary’s accompanied on this 7th CD by luminaries such as Curtis Salgado, Colin Linden, Dave Frishberg and more, on originals and covers of tunes by Muddy Waters, Elizabeth Cotten, Rev Gary Davis, et al.  A remarkable fingerstyle picker, Flower is appearing at Avo’s on 8/28.

Produced by: Mary Flower

Label: Yellow Dog

File Under: Blues


> Ollabelle, Neon Blue Bird

Not the most prolific band in the bunch, this marks only the quintet’s third studio album, though it’s worth the wait.  More than most other bands, Ollabelle knows how to take an old standard or a familiar traditionalpiece and breathe new life into it.  On Neon Blue Bird, each member takes a turn on vocals, with tunes ranging from gospel to folk and blues.  Lots of strong, airable tracks here.  Recommended.

Produced by: Ollabelle

Label: Thirty Tigers

File Under: Americana

>  Driftwood Fire, How To Untangle a Heartache  <Colorado Artist>

From FoCo itself, this duo’s sophomore album blends Brandi Carlile’s passion, Sarah McLachlan’s gloss and Indigo Girls’ grit for an impressive effort.  Recorded in Boulder and produced by John McVey, the album also features contributions from Sally Van Meter on dobro and Chris Engleman on bass.  Composed of vocalist Lynn Scharf and multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Formichella, Driftwood Fire has already played several festivals, including the Rocky Mt Folks Fest and Honorable Mention at Telluride.

Produced by: John McVey

Label: Self

File Under: Colorado / Folk


Ray Bonneville, Bad Man’s Blood

Canadian-born, Austin-based (one-time CO resident) blues/roots guitarist’s 7th album is his most consistent to date.  With his voice drifting ever closer to the grizzled growl of Greg Brown, Chris Smither or Malcolm Holcomb, Bonneville adds little besides a guitar and “foot percussion” to his songs.  Like Smither, Bonneville manages to be both smooth and down-and-dirty at once.

Produced by: RB & Justin Douglas

Label: Red House

File Under: Americana

-Reviews courtesy of Scott Foley for KRFC.