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Black Rose Records (2011)
Roots rock is the new country and ex-Bostonian Tom Hambridge is the style's current MPV.
This steaming pile of songs is emblematic of the state of mainstream country music — all artifice, no heart, calculated anthems written to formula and meant, like the film itself, to do no more than capitalize on the genre's current success and rob its undiscriminating fans.
This exceptional, eccentric guitarist has traced a slow evolution from screamer to dreamer.
Stony Plain Music (2010)
Boston-based blues-guitar virtuoso Ronnie Earl seems to be considering his past on his 23rd album as a leader.
No dust on Sonny Burgess
Sonny Burgess had his first hit for Sun Records in 1956 — two minutes and 26 seconds of howling wild-ass stomp called "We Wanna Boogie."
If you don't speak Malian French, you might not grasp that this is a concept album about separatism and the triumph of the human spirit inspired by Keita's experiences growing up as an albino outcast in his native land. But that doesn't matter.
Blue Bella (2010)
Boston-based roots guitarist Stubbs has a wicked way with a groove and an ability to conjure vintage tones.
Dick 50 Music (2010)
Nothing jells like a band who play constantly.
Hillgrass Bluebilly (2010)
There ain’t a lotta scrappy-ass electric juke-joint blues comin’ outta Allston, but this dirty trio’s first full-length album makes it seems that the Charles River is a direct tributary of the Mississippi.
This Boston music legend’s metamorphosis from party animal to monster songwriter became complete with his previous solo album.
T-Model Ford turns 90 . . . or thereabouts
Bluesman James "T-Model" Ford is a survivor, and has been for a very long time.
It’s astonishing to think that Rickie Lee Jones would turn out an album this organic and free of cynicism 30 years after her debut with the star-making, retro-hipster hit “Chuck E.’s in Love.” Particularly since her songwriting has always been so acutely self-aware.
The erudition of Robert Palmer
“America’s Pre-eminent Music Writer Dead at 52” was the headline on Robert Palmer’s obituary in Rolling Stone after his liver failed in 1997.
This Boston-based blues and soul singer’s seventh album might seem an update of the elegantly funky Stax sound, with its deep grooves and smartly harmonized horns.
Shout! Factory (2009)
This LA-born troubadour with a Dustbowl voice works voodoo on his 24th studio album, conjuring ghosts of the ’60s and ’70s along with apocalyptic visions as he relates tales of gun-toting madmen and dark rifts of the heart.
Digging for gold in the roots and world-music scene
Boston is one of the healthiest markets for live roots music in the country. Here are the 10 roots shows we don't want to miss this fall.
These Nashville-based high ministers of retro-groove — known for their muscular live sermons — broaden their gospel on CD #2.
The agit-pop songwriter of "This Land Is Your Land," "Going Down the Road," "Pretty Boy Floyd," "Philadelphia Lawyer," and a passel of other bedrock American folk classics carried a business card that identified him as "Woody, Th' Dustiest of the Dustbowlers."
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