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 June we’re highlighting new tunes from the Wood Brothers, Lucinda Williams, and the Gaslight Anthem.
The Wood Brothers “Heart is the Hero”
Years ago, Oliver and Chris Wood trusted their hearts and moved on from previous projects to start a family band. Now eight albums deep with a fanbase that fills big venues across the country, the brothers celebrate following that instinct on the title track to their latest album. The bluesy porch song celebrates conviction as the siblings lean into the harmonies of the emotional chorus: “The heart is the hero of every song.” – J.F.
Lucinda Williams “Stolen Moments”
Americana pioneer Lucinda Williams is still rolling. The recently minted septuagenarian drops her newest record, “Stories from A Rock & Roll Heart,” this month. The album is a tribute to two iconic musicians, Tom Petty and Bob Stinson (founding member of The Replacements), both of whom left us too soon. Tinged with nostalgia, Williams sings of remembering those we have lost, stealing moments with memories at the most unexpected of times. There is a comfort in the song, with Williams’ shared appreciation that those who are gone are never really that far away. – D.S.
Iron Horse “Better Man”
The quick pickers in bluegrass band Iron Horse are mainstays of the CMH Record’s Pickin’ On series that’s offered string-band tributes to the likes of Nirvana, Modest Mouse, and the Black Keys. Here the nimble-fingered quartet reinterprets a Pearl Jam staple from the landmark album “Vitalogy.” Eddie Vedder’s edgy howling is replaced by polished harmonies and slick fret work in this fun reboot of a 90s gem. – J.F.
After a reunion tour last year, high-energy Jersey rockers Gaslight Anthem solidify their reformation with some new music. “Positive Charge” offers a jolt of anthemic uplift, with Brian Fallon and company delivering a foot-on-the gas ode to embracing the good things in life and being optimistic about what’s ahead. Like many great Gaslight Anthem tunes, the standalone single is fueled by a love of Springsteen’s blue-collar glory, which helps perfectly land the message of hopefulness. – J.F
The Pink Stones
“Who’s Laughing Now?”
The Pink Stones are a killer new band from the fertile ground of Athens, Ga. Their sound revives old-school cosmic country with a vital rock kick, heard clearly on this upbeat single from the upcoming album “You Know Who,” which comes out on June 30. With fast-paced pedal steel and a funky backbeat, the tune is a kiss-off to a bad relationship that, musically, rides along on good vibes right for dancing and fresh starts. – J.F.
“Mirror and a Kitchen Sink”
Tommy Prine couldn’t help it. Considering that this was the first song he wrote after his legendary father’s death early in the pandemic, it only makes sense that John’s lyrical sensibilities would show up in his son’s work. Whimsical words reminiscent of John’s cadence in “That’s the Way the World Goes ‘Round” delivered over a punky garage band rhythm channel the fallen elder, while confirming the son as a more than capable songwriter in his own right. Knowing that there is again a Prine bringing music to the world offers a renewed balance that Covid upset for a time. – D.S.
“Note To Self”
Asheville singer-songwriter Andrew Scotchie violently lost his father in 2008. Understandably, Scotchie was forced to navigate psychological storm clouds for years thereafter. “Note To Self,” the first single off his new record, is an expression of the therapeutic nature of music. Subtly tucked within the breezy nature of the song is Scotchie’s forthright confessions about his internal battles and how he works to make sense of them all. Sincere and honest, Scotchie has provided listeners who suffer similar anxieties with an inspiring anthem for overcoming. – D.S.
Brian Lisik & Hard Legs “Alex Chilton”
Ohioan Brian Lisik’s latest single is an homage to an homage. He and his bandmates, guitarist Robb Myers and drummer Martyn Flunoy, provide a smoking rendition of “Alex Chilton,” originally recorded by The Replacements, who wrote the song to celebrate Chilton, the larger than life Big Star frontman who died in 2010. Lisik and The Replacements certainly share common sonic ground—buzzing guitars and in-your-face rhythms—and it is certain that both bands were influenced by the music of Big Star. Lisik and company’s take on this tune is an apt tribute to both The Replacements and the song’s namesake, their shared inspiration. – D.S.