For nearly two decades, Willie Watson has made modern folk music rooted in older traditions. He’s a folksinger in the classic sense: a singer, storyteller, and traveller, with a catalog of songs that bridge the gap between the past and present. On Folksinger Vol. 2, he acts as a modern interpreter of older songs, passing along his own version of the music that came long before him.
Southern gospel. Railroad songs. Delta blues. Irish fiddle tunes. Appalachian music. Folksinger Vol. 2 makes room for it all. Produced by David Rawlings, the album carries on a rich tradition in folk music: the sharing and swapping of old songs. Long ago, the 11 compositions that appear on Folksinger Vol. 2 were popularized by artists like Leadbelly, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry Lewis, and Bascom Lamar Lunsford. The songs don’t actually belong to those artists, though. They don’t belong to anyone. Instead, they’re part of the folk canon, passed from generation to generation by singers like Watson.
And what a singer he is. With a quick vibrato and rich range, he breathes new life into classic songs like “Samson and Delilah,” one of several songs featuring harmonies from gospel quartet the Fairfield Four. He’s a balladeer on “Gallows Pole,” whose melancholy melodies are echoed by the slow swells of a four-piece woodwind ensemble, and a bluesman on “When My Baby Left Me,” accompanying himself with sparse bursts of slide guitar. “Dry Bones” finds him crooning and hollering over a bouncing banjo, while “Take This Hammer” closes the album on a penitent note, with Watson singing to the heavens alongside a congregation of Sunday morning soul singers.
Arriving three years after Folksinger Vol. 1 — his first release since parting ways with the Old Crow Medicine Show, whose platinum-selling music helped jumpstart the 21st century folk revival — Vol. 2 expands Watson’s sound while consolidating his strengths. Several singers and sidemen make appearances here, including Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothers’ Paul Kowert, and Old Crow bandmate Morgan Jahnig. Even so, Watson has never sounded more commanding, more confident, more connected to the music that inspires him.
“I’m not trying to prove any point here,” he insists, “and I’m not trying to be a purist. There’s so much beauty in this old music, and it affects me on a deep level. It moves me and inspires me. I heard Leadbelly singing with the Golden Gate Quartet and it sounded fantastic, and I thought, ‘I want to do that.’ I heard the Grateful Dead doing their version of ‘On the Road Again,’ and it sounded like a dance party in 1926, and I wanted to do that, too. That’s the whole reason I ever played music in the first place — because it looked and sounded like it was going to be a lot of fun.”
Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan met 10 years ago, late one night backstage at a theatre in rural Pennsylvania.
Brian's band Enter The Haggis and Rose's group Burning Bridget Cleary were sharing a stage that evening, and the two bonded over a love of Irish fiddle tunes, Radiohead, and 4 AM whiskey. Their paths crossed a dozen times over the next decade on the road, but it wasn't until the Folk Alliance 2014 conference in Kansas City that they finally became musical collaborators. Burning Bridget Cleary's guitarist and drummer had their flights canceled at the last minute, and Rose (in desperation) asked Brian to grab a guitar and join her onstage. The two performed with virtually no rehearsal for over an hour, and their connection was powerful and immediate. A few months later Brian moved from Canada to Philadelphia, and as a tribute to the first tune Rose ever taught Brian, House of Hamill was born.
Brian and Rose are both accomplished traditional fiddle players and classical violinists, and despite being young, have over 25 years of writing and performance experience between them. Together, they write unusual new fiddle tunes and exciting, unpredictable original songs while also breathing new life into traditional and contemporary songs. Both are confident and unique lead vocalists, and the blend of their two voices in harmony is hypnotic and irresistible.
Whether House of Hamill is playing songs from their debut album "Wide Awake" (September 2016) or stomping through a set of original jigs and reels from their follow-up "March Through Storms" (2018), their chemistry onstage is always engaging and often hilarious. Spend an hour listening and you'll leave with tired feet, a huge smile, and a new appreciation for the versatility of folk instruments in a modern context. House of Hamill is on the bleeding edge of a new generation of traditional musicians.
Bio:Slippery Creek is a group of young pickers from the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. Focusing on the deep traditional roots, Slippery Creek brings that old time style of hard drivin' bluegrass to today's audience. With lonesome vocal harmonies and solid instrumental arrangements, they will take you back to the early days of the Grand Ole Opry.
When Arlo takes the stage, prepare to feel every heart in the room begin to crumble under the weight of honesty and emotion in McKinley’s lyrics. He's been on the mission of writing truthful and honest songs since his self titled release Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound (2014).
Arlo's songwriting crosses genres of country-folk/rock with gobs of soul and deep and profound introspection. Being billed alongside musicians such as Tyler Childers, John Moreland, Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle and many others have helped Arlo McKinley get his name outside his hometown of Cincinnati and has gained him fans across the US & Europe.
Arlo’s sophomore album Die Midwestern Vol. 1 comes out in early 2019, and is sure to continue cementing him as a one of the important voices in American music that speak to love, struggle, loss & redemption.
On their new album Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, New York-bred band TAUK offer an unsettling but ultimately exhilarating look at artificial intelligence and its potential to upend our world. With its dynamic sense of tension and cinematic mastery of mood, TAUK’s all-instrumentalblend of progressive rock, hip-hop, and jazz proves to be the perfect backdrop for such explorations, giving way to an album that’s both powerfully hypnotic and intensely thought-provoking.
“We’re all very much interested in A.I., and this idea of machines getting out of the hands of thepeople trying to control them,” notes TAUK guitarist Matt Jalbert, whose bandmates include bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel. “This album felt like a good setting to tell that kind of story, but in a way where we could have fun with it and let the listener escape into a whole other world.” Equally inspired by classic sci-fi like Blade Runner and more recent films like Ex Machina, Shapeshifter II: Outbreak embeds that narrative into TAUK’s most sonically adventurous, emotionally expansive work to date. A continuation of their early-2018 EP Shapeshifter I: Construct, the new album picks up its predecessor’s narrative thread with “Prelude”: a fantastically unsettling intro track whose frenetic keyboard work and chilling vocal samples set the tone for what’s to come. “The idea is that in the EP you’re seeing the construction of this being, and in the album you’re seeing it break out and become something that you can’t ignore
anymore,” Carter explains.
From there, TAUK charge forward with the driving rhythms of “Recreational Outrage” (a tracklaced with the ominous throb of a robotic heartbeat), the futuristic soundscape and heady grooves of “CMF 9000,” the gauzy reverie and glorious chaos of “Checkmate,” and the bright melodies and soulful guitar sprawl of “Convoy.” One of the album’s most mesmerizing moments, “Let It Ride” builds a brilliant tapestry from its luminous keyboard tones, kinetic guitar work, and kaleidoscopic rhythms. And on “Upside Down,” TAUK close out Shapeshifter II: Outbreak witha thrillingly epic burst of unfettered experimentalism.
Buckethead is well known for wearing a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket on his head, and an expressionless white mask (which, according to him) was inspired by seeing the movie "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers." He also incorporates nunchaku, and robot dancing into his stage performances.
Buckethead has received critical acclaim for his electric guitar playing, and is considered one of today's most innovative musicians.