New Music from the Blue Ridge and Beyond
Every month our editors curate a playlist of new music, mainly focusing on independent artists from the South. In August we’re highlighting new tunes from Old Crow Medicine Show and Buck Meek.
Buck Meek is the inventive guitarist in indie rock heroes Big Thief, but in his solo project the Texas native leans into trippy country music. The title track to his new album, out August 25, is a drifter’s anthem about finding love in unlikely places. “Now that I live here on this haunted mountain/ I know I’m never coming down again,” Meeks sings, as beautiful sunbeams of pedal steel enhance the soul-searching sentiment. – J.F.
“Falling Angels of Rock ‘n’ Roll”
Cordovas, the throwback collective led by singer-songwriter Joe Firstman, continue to churn out vintage country-rock that will please fans of the Grateful Dead and Flying Burrito Brothers. “Falling Angels of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the first look at the group’s new album “The Rose of Aces,” is a freewheeling ode to the power of music, with Firstman singing about heroes from the sonic beacons of Memphis and Muscle Shoals and the importance old songs can have in one’s life.
On a Darlingside song, the instrumentation can become an afterthought. To be clear, that is not a disparagement of the band’s instrumental prowess; they are certainly more than proficient musicians. Instead, it is a compliment to their harmonies that are, frankly, unparalleled. On “Right Friend,” a beautiful ode to friendship, it isn’t difficult to get lost in the vocals, letting the strings and percussion become subtle accents on what is a mesmerizing harmonic journey. – D.S.
Old Crow Medicine Show
Old Crow Medicine Show lets bygones be bygones in the plaintive new track “Miles Away.” Longtime Old Crow leader Ketch Secor sings, “Don’t let the past hold the reins,” reflecting on friendships gone sour and how time heals old wounds. And appropriately joining him on the track from the new album “Jubilee” is Willie Watson, a former band member who left the group acrimoniously over a decade ago. – J.F.
Goose featuring Trey Anastasio & Father John Misty
“Tomorrow Never Knows”
Last summer, Goose stopped at Radio City Music Hall for a two-night run, and the pair of three-set shows were recorded and recently released as a live album. Father John Misty and Trey Anastasio joined the band during night two, with both ending up on stage for the encore, a rendition of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” This spirited cover, highlighted by the blistering guitar runs traded by Anastasio and Goose’s Rick Mitarotonda, closes out a set of shows that marked a sense of arrival for the ascending jam band. – D.S.
The Baseball Project
The Baseball Project is a supergroup featuring Peter Buck and Mike Mills of R.E.M., along with Steve Wynn of the Dream Syndicate. As the name suggests, they play songs that honor America’s favorite pastime, albeit in the jangly, alt-rock style the musicians are known for. “Journeyman,” from the band’s new album “Grand Salami Time!,” is a country-leaning tune about utility players that always get the job done but often end up moving from team to team in relative obscurity. – J.F.
Malcolm Holcombe “Bits & Pieces”
North Carolina songwriter Malcolm Holcombe and longtime collaborator
Jared Tyler headed to the studio last year soon after Holcombe’s cancer diagnosis; a sense of urgency dictated getting these songs recorded now, because nobody knew what later was going to bring. Thankfully, later brought a clean bill of health, and Holcombe is still here to deliver the title track of the new record live, complete with gravelly growl and a percussive finger picking style that dares his guitar strings not to respond with the notes he wants. – D.S.
“Cup of Sugar”
Despite what the Good Book says, Tim O’Brien doesn’t think you absolutely have to love your neighbor, but you better have a cup of sugar ready if he needs it. With a tongue-in-cheek sagacity, O’Brien offers wit and wisdom on the title track to his latest record, singing of the joys, challenges, and responsibilities that come from simply having neighbors, aptly capturing the juxtaposition between intimacy and distance that simply being on the other side of a fence can bring. – D.S.
Cover photo: Old Cr.ow Medicine Show release the new album “Jubilee” on August 25. Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins
To hear these songs and more, follow the Blue Ridge Outdoors’ Trail Mix playlist on Spotify.