Download these tunes and more in this month’s Trail Mix.
Folk Soul Revival /Sam’s Gap
That rumble you hear emanating from down in Southwest Virginia is the music of Folk Soul Revival, a quintet of musicians fast making a name for themselves out in the mountains. Anchored by a core of three of the finest young songwriters in the Appalachians and four part harmonies reminiscent of the old time pickers found in the hills and hollers of the band’s stomping grounds, Folk Soul will release its second record, Words Off A Tongue, in early August. Both rowdy and reverential, the band will return to both FloydFest and the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion for the second time this festival season. Check them out at www.folksoulrevival.com.
Keller & The Keels/Teen Angst
Few musicians personify the heart of Virginia folk music as do loop-meister Keller Williams and bluegrass flatpicker extraordinaire Larry Keel and his wife, Jenny. Keller and the Keels have made a habit of performing together in recent years, and Thief represents their second collaboration in the last four years. Keller has long added quirky renditions of cover songs in his solo sets, and Thief is a 13 track dance through the eclectic ballroom of Keller’s mind. Keller and the Keels cover Ryan Adams, Kris Kristofferson, Danny Barnes, Marcy Playground, and Butthole Surfers, among others. Included in this month’s Trail Mix is the band’s take on “Teen Angst,” a monster hit from Cracker, another famed Virginia band. You can get your copy of Thief at www.kellerwilliams.net.
James Justin & Co./Turn This Thing Around
A good buddy sent me an email a few months back that included a very simple message: “You have to check this guy out.” The guy was James Justin Burke, a native Virginian now living in South Carolina, and my buddy was right—I needed to check him out. Southern Son, So Far, the debut record from James Justin & Co., is one of the finest records I have heard through the first half of 2010—equally grassy and folksy, with a dash of electric guitar and reverb to keep it from slipping into the mass of forgettable grassy/folksy records already out there. James Justin Burke is a rising star on the Southeastern music scene—find out more about him at www.jamesjustinmusic.com.
Truth & Salvage Co./Pure Mountain Angel
Truth & Salvage Co. is a California band, but the band’s roots spread to many places, including Asheville, North Carolina, where members of the band once played in Scrappy Hamilton, an Asheville favorite in the early 2000s that enjoyed a reasonable amount of success throughout the Southeast. After moving west in 2005 and picking up a couple members, the band Truth & Salvage was born. The band’s self-titled debut, produced by Chris Robinson, singer and frontman of The Black Crowes, establishes Truth & Salvage Co. as a roots rock band on the rise. The record showcases the blending of a laid back, easy California vibe with the rootsy nature of the Western Carolina mountains. Just check out the harmonies on “Pure Mountain Angel.” For more info, click www.truthandsalvageco.com.
Now You See Them/Growing Older
This folksy trio hopscotched the world – with stops in Manhattan, Hawaii, and Australia—before landing in Asheville. We’re glad they did, because Now You See Them has become one of the city’s hottest bands. Their jazzy folk transcends musical eras, much like the band’s good friends in Holy Ghost Tent Revival (also featured in this month’s Trail Mix) or Two Man Gentleman Band. “Growing Older” highlights the band’s rich harmonies and retro vibe. Check them out at www.myspace.com/nowyouseethem.
Trent Wagler & Jay Lapp/Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Trent and Jay have been favorites here at BRO for the last couple years. We profiled their fall bike tour of Virginia in March, when Trent and Jay pedaled all over the Commonwealth and played some shows along the way. The Steel Wheels Duo recently did another tour across Michigan, pedaling the highways and byways while stopping to pick some tunes and record an absolutely amazing record. The duo recorded Uncloudy Day, a collection of spirituals and old time tunes, live and in front of a vintage single microphone. The result, as evidenced in “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” is spectacular. Find out more about Trent and Jay at www.trentwagler.com.
Erick Baker/February Wind
Knoxville, Tennessee’s Erick Baker is a rock crooner with soul. Baker recently released his first full length record, Holding The Pieces In Place, and the buzz is growing. Armed with a rich voice and hook-laden folk/rock ballads like “February Wind,” Baker is grabbing the attention of fans and bands alike; he’ll be opening some shows for rock legends Heart in August and will build on the success of Holding The Pieces In Place with the release of a live DVD/CD on August 27th. Check Erick Baker out at www.erickbaker.com.
A good friend of mine whose opinion on music I respect very much once said to me, “Man, Woody Pines IS folk music.” I agree. Woody calls Asheville home, at least when he isn’t tramping around the country to share his old timey ragtime and viper jazz. And Woody definitely gets around. While his calendar includes a healthy number of shows around the Southeast in upcoming months, he’ll also be headed out to Oregon to appear at Pick-a-thon, one of the finest folk festivals in the Pacific Northwest. Take a trip to Woody’s bygone juke joint at www.woodypines.com.
I used to catch Walker’s Run whenever I could during my years in Charlottesville. This hot shot band provided some of the best bluegrass in Hooville. I was super bummed when they called took a hiatus in 2002. But, despite the fact that I no long call Charlottesville home, was excited to hear of the return of the band in 2009. Original members Brennan Gilmore (guitar), Will Lee (banjo), and Zach Blatter (bass) have been joined by Nick Reeb, former fiddler for King Wilkie, and Andy Thacker, one of the finest mandolin players in Virginia to revitalize the spreading of the band’s fiery Rockbridge County bluegrass. Take a listen to “Natalie” here and then head over to www.walkersrun.com to download the rest of Live at Lime Kiln for free.
Holy Ghost Tent Revival/Viper’s Twist
Northbound At Southpaw is the second live release from Holy Ghost Tent Revival, one of the hottest bands to burst forth from the North Carolina music scene in recent years. A bombastic mishmash of horns, banjo, guitar, and keys, the boys in Holy Ghost Tent Revival play with reckless abandon, creating a live show that is a sight to behold. Blending their ‘60s pop influences with rockabilly, soul, and traditional string music has allowed Holy Ghost Tent Revival to create a sound virtually indescribable. Check them out at www.holyghosttentrevival.com.