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Trail of tunes

Music al fresco at summer fests
The best summer music festivals take something from the season: the smell of the surf, the sight of the mountains, fireworks, lawn seating — or, at least, fried dough.
By CLEA SIMON  |  June 09, 2009
hamilton list

Up in the County

Hamilton's Brokedown Breakdown
Is it bluegrass if it doesn't have a banjo? Or a fiddle, for that matter? Hamilton County, a three-piece acoustic outfit who debut their first CD, Brokedown Breakdown , next week, sure do a good impersonation of a bluegrass band, even if purists might dismiss it on technicalities.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 03, 2009
putnam list

Before the Goldrush

Putnam Smith can't quite find his way home
With a name right out of a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel and hand-pressed CD packaging graced with images of antique farming tools, Putnam Smith does nothing to dispel the notion that he wouldn't mind living in 1809 instead of 2009.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  May 27, 2009
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No man is an island

Two rootsy discs, 20 rootsy players
Anybody who needs to be reminded of the musical talent that swirls around and intermingles throughout our fair city probably doesn't listen to a ton of local music.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  May 06, 2009

King Wilkie | King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers

Dead Oceans (2009)
Today, "risk" is less popular than George W. Bush, but this former Virginia band — now in NYC — are rolling the dice hard.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 28, 2009

Home, at last

Jerks of Grass deliver a disc 10 years in the making.
Other than two tracks on the Greetings from Area Code 207 series, there has been nothing to bring home and put on the stereo for fans of what has been at times Portland’s hardest-working band.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  July 23, 2008

Hybrid rhythmic engine

Nation Beat is a gas
Fusions are the lifeblood of music, but too often they come with a whiff of high-concept gimmickry.
By JON GARELICK  |  July 15, 2008

Gabba gabba hayride

Tommy Ramone’s roots show in Uncle Monk
Punks in the know will tell you that the club where the music started, CBGB, is an acronym for “country, bluegrass, and blues.”
By STEVEN BEEBER  |  July 08, 2008

Drinking and driving

The Molenes release Songs of Sin and Redemption
Dave Hunter and his Molenes show they’re more than just a guitar band.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  June 04, 2008

Indie gets the blues

The Gossip, the Black Keys, and the Kills
White rockers generally come by the blues one of two ways.
By MATT ASHARE  |  April 23, 2008

Chatham County Line

IV | Yep Rock
Over four albums, this quartet from Raleigh, North Carolina, have retraced the evolution of bluegrass.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  April 02, 2008

Northeast newgrass

The rootsy routes of Hot Day at the Zoo
Lowell is known for Kerouac, its historic canal system, and the Industrial Revolution, not the “high and lonesome” sound of bluegrass.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  January 22, 2008

A philosopher in bunny ears

Steve Martin’s new memoir unlocks the freaky logic of his comedy
Martin’s new memoir, Born Standing Up , grants us our best access yet to this remote and brilliant figure — the cool architect of the comedy.
By JAMES PARKER  |  December 31, 2007

Schools of rock

There’s a whole lot of moving, shaking, and band-building going on in the world of local music instruction
“You walk in here, and you feel as though you’re visiting your favorite aunt or uncle’s house ... it’s a place where you want to visit and you’re willing to take risks.”
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 28, 2007

How I became a Grasshole

Or how my music teacher tricked me into having fun
If it wasn’t for Buckdancer’s Choice, I wouldn’t be a Grasshole, and I’d be a hell of a lot poorer for it.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 28, 2007

Beyond the White Stripes

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant lead an Americana resurgence
There’s a blues and old-school R&B resurgence rumbling in the indie-music underground, and it goes well beyond the icky thump of the White Stripes.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  October 30, 2007


The best of the season’s roots, world, folk, and blues
It’s payback time for Boston’s blues and roots music scene.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  September 12, 2007

Citadel of sound

Nashville’s RCA Studio B celebrates its 50th
Before the digital universe expanded, serious home recording was just a dream.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  July 03, 2007

Ain’t that America

Henry Horenstein surveys country music in the 1970s
Photographer Henry Horenstein crossed paths with Jerry Lee Lewis at a Ramada Inn in Boston in 1975.
By GREG COOK  |  July 03, 2007

Something for everybody

This summer, New England’s music calendar offers everything from Neil Sedaka to Lez Zeppelin
As that great philosopher Brian Wilson once observed, summer means fun.
By BRETT MILANO  |  June 11, 2007

An other Ramone

Uncle Monk, Club Passim, April 6, 2007
“It’s home-brewed stuff,” Ramone explained pre-set.
By JIM SULLIVAN  |  April 09, 2007

Don't call it clawhammer

The Tough cats hit the mainland with Piñata
Of the 3877 songs currently on my iPod (generation two, 20 gigs) none had “unclassifiable” in the genre description until I loaded the Toughcats’ debut full-length into my iTunes.
By SAM PFEIFLE  |  November 29, 2006

The Ditty Bops

Moon Over The Freeway | Warner Bros.  
Armed with mandolin, lap steel guitar, and washboard, Los Angeles’ Ditty Bops reach farther back in time than a synthesizer and drum machine for nostalgia. Songs from Moon Over the Freeway, The Ditty Bops
By MEGAN BELL  |  August 01, 2006

Cheap thrills

Paw Sox, Penny Slots, and Ponies — so cheap, it might cost you
Summertime inevitably raises the question: what are we going to do with our crazy, hot selves? Summer Guide 2006: Cheap thrills from Bar Harbor to New Haven.
By ELLEE DEAN  |  June 14, 2006

On the Racks: June 6

From Strummin' with the Devil to a revived Live
David Lee Roth, AFI, Cheap Trick, Camera Obscura, Elvis Costello, and Live
By MATT ASHARE  |  June 06, 2006

Loose Ends

Growing young with rock and roll
It’s four in the morning and raining. I’m 27 today, feeling old, listening to my records, and remembering that things were different a decade ago.
By JON LANDAU  |  May 19, 2006

Revival meeting

Music, T-shirts, and other matters of life and death in post-Katrina New Orleans
Everywhere you looked during the first weekend of the 37th annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the big theme was, of course, recovery.
By JON GARELICK  |  May 10, 2006

Portland scene report, March 10, 2006

Ocean launches coast-to-coast tour; Jerks of Grass re-tool; Poverty returns to Portland.

Long time coming

Thom Enright’s Intoxicated is a heady concoction
This Friday night at Chan’s you’ll be able to catch Thom Enright and his band the Night Drinkers, with Marty Ballou on bass, Marty Richards on drums, Steve Burke on keys, and Tom Ferraro on guitar.
By BOB GULLA  |  February 01, 2006

Doin’ it live

The winter concert scene’s got something for everybody, from Averi to Zakir Hussain. Okay, I couldn’t resist that bit of alphabetical hackery, but it’s true.
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  October 27, 2008

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