Longtime fans of Wooden Wand forsook consistency long ago, if they ever expected any at the start: During the last decade, James Jackson Toth has used that handle and variations on it to release a mountain of barely compatible material, from the wild-eyed incantations of his often-knotty early work with Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice to the outlaw country ignominy of Born Bad, released simply and defiantly as WAND. He traveled to the very fringes of what’s been dubiously dubbed freak-folk on Buck Dharma, and he settled in for hearthside romanticism and wanderlust on 2010’s Michael Gira-produced Death Seat. During his very brief tenure with Ryko, and under his given name, he experimented with the role of refined ringleader, guiding players like Nels Cline, John Dieterich, and Carla Bozulich through crackling, generally concise and great rock tunes. A year before, however he’d stretched ideas into 10- and 12-minute sprawls as the high-for-life Hassara. The enormity and variety of Toth’s oeuvre confounds the usual appellations like singer and songwriter, bandleader, and pied piper; rather, he’s seemed mostly a headstrong musician, conceding one by one to an array of artistic impulses, for better and worse.
But on Blood Oaths of the New Blues, Wooden Wand’s proper debut for British vanguard Fire Records, the sometimes-arduous job of tracing Toth’s stylistic shifts culminates in an album that captures the best essences of his career in 41 seamless minutes. At once, Toth has merged the singer with the songwriter with the shaman, delivering some of his most potent lines with his most assured singing, surrounded by a band that seems to have learned rock ‘n’ roll’s tropes only to stunt or subvert them. Like the finest work of Richard Buckner or Phosphorescent, Blood Oaths of the New Blues recasts songs that could have come from country music or the blues or Bob Dylan in an intricate Americana gloaming. At last, Toth treats the words and the arrangements with the same ingenuity and devotion, arriving at the most accessible and narcotic record of his career.
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The Cloud Appreciation Society is the poignant new album of acclaimed Sydney-born songbird Melanie Horsnell. Five years on from her celebrated album Complicated Sweetheart, this new offering shares heartbreaking songs of small town love and loss written in Candelo, her new home beneath black mountains. The Cloud Appreciation Society glows with a live acoustic stripped-back sound and is intermingled with Melanie’s quintessential starry-eyed voice, lyrics to die for and a delicate but timeless presence which has made her so adored both here and abroad.
Tilford Sellers And The Wagon Burners, based in Columbus, Indiana play straight-up original Honky Tonk dance tunes and Hillbilly Boogie.
Go through Tilford Sellers’ swinging doors and find honky tonk so muddy you’re bound to lose your boots. They play cheating songs that won’t make you cry, and songs about taking life one day and one drink at a time.
New album from the Grammy-nominated guitar virtuoso. Bringing It Back Home is a stunning study in soul, style and virtuosity that cuts to the heart with its exceptional, emotion-laden musicianship. The disc also brings the five-time Grammy nominated stage and studio legend back to his earliest roots as a performer, playing blues. Bringing It Back […]
The Mavericks are back after a seven-year hiatus with an album that sounds like it could have come from anytime since their founding in 1989, if not earlier. So the group titled the release In Time. Go figure. The music is far from ironic. The Mavericks sing and play as if time mattered—every second is […]