Tag Archives: Folk

BHP Best of 2015

2015 is wrapping up quickly so I felt it was best I get this out of the way before I become too involved with the holiday festivities.

As much as I wish I was more active on this blog, I will admit I am still listening to as much music as possible whenever time admits.  I am not giving up just yet folks.

With that said, here are my choice releases for 2015:


BHP Best of 2015

Beach Slang
Beach Slang – The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
-This album was one of my favorite releases of 2015 before it was even released.  I knew I was going to adore it before I heard it and I did.  This is one of those bands that has really reached back into the 90s with their style and I love everything about it.

Yotam
Yotam Ben-Horin – Distant Lover
-Yotam blew me away with his latest solo album.  This dude rules and is one of my favorite songwriters out there.

Lucero
Lucero – All A Man Should Do
-I love Lucero.  With that said, when I first listened to this album, I was not digging it much.  In fact, it was not until my third listen that I realized how solid the album is.  I can not stop listening to it.  Yeah, it is not like their older material but it still owns.

Baroness
Baroness – Purple
-This album was literally just released (12/18/2015 for those of you who are wondering).  Luckily there is that edit option on there here ol’ blog because this needs to be on my list.  This album is perfect, absolutely perfect.  After all this band has been through, it is nice to see them return with such force.

John Moreland
John Moreland – High On Tulsa Heat
-John Moreland is incredible.  Words can not express my appreciation for this album.  Seriously, I can not write anything about this, you will need to listen to it for yourself.

Frank Turner
Frank Turner – Positive Songs For Negative People
-I do not think it is possible for Frank Turner to release an album that I do not like.  This guy is a modern-day musical hero to me.

NRNS
Nathanial Rateliff & The Night Sweats – Self-Titled
-This album was a blast to listen to.

TBR
Teenage Bottlerocket – Tales From Wyoming
-Spite losing Brandon recently, Teenage Bottlerocket gained a lot of attention with their power pop punk release.  This catchy as hell album guarantees for a good time.

Annabel
Annabel – Having It All
-This album seriously made me want to be a better person.  I find myself listening to this album on the days where I feel like I need a boost in the feelings department.

Sidekicks
The Sidekicks – Runners In The Nerved World
-I swear this band matures more and more with every release.

Joey Cape
Joey Cape – Stitch Puppy
-This album was so beautiful yet gloomy.  Cape has proved himself to me once again that he is one of the best songwriters on the face of this planet.

Purple
Purple – (409)
-Purple are fun and encompass rock n roll to the max.  I do not even know what that means.  This band is all about the fun and released an amazing album full of catchy tracks.

toyGuitar
toyGuitar – In This Mess
-If this album happened to fall under your radar, you are totally missing out.  Happy-go-lucky-punk-rock-beach-jams should sum up this album.

Success
Success – Radio Recovery
-Success dropped one of the most catchy punk albums of the year.  I love these dudes and think everyone needs to check them out.  I also love the fact that their album cover pays tribute in a sense to Fifteen.

Refused
Refused – Freedom
-The last time these guys released something, it was the late 90s.  I never thought they would put something out again, but they mostly regrouped after some touring and dropped this killer album.  A lot of people said it was over-produced and forced, but I still like it.

Sam Russo
Sam Russo – Greyhound Dreams
-This was an excellent album that I am glad I was able to check out.  Sam Russo takes storytelling and songwriting to the best level.

Dr Dre
Dr. Dre – Compton
-This was the album I listened to the most this year easily.  For over two months, I listened to this album in full every single day.  I had a slight obsession with it.  The best part about about this is the first time I heard it, I thought to myself that it was not even that good.  By the time the album ended, I was hooked.  I even listened to it this morning.

Patrick Sweany
Patrick Sweany – Daytime Turned To Nighttime
-This album just makes me want to drink whisky on a porch at night with my close pals.  Nice to see Pat continue on with his passion.  I sure do miss the days whenI could hit up the Zephyr and see him play.

Johnathan Richman
Johnathan Richman – “O Sun” & “Keith” (7″ Releases)
-I had the privilege to review both of these singles thanks to Blue Arrow Records and all I have to say is that I can not wait for Richman to release his next full-length…


Well folks, that is all I have at this time.  I am sure I am missing something and will probably edit this post 7 more times.  For any of you paying attention, this blog has been updated just a few times…

Until then, happy holidays to you and yours.  I appreciate anyone who has ever taken a moment to check out what I have to share on this site.  If it was not for you, I would probably have thrown the towel in a long time ago.

Album Review: Sam Russo – Greyhound Dreams

Sam Russo - Greyhound DreamsThere’s something to be said about storytelling and incorporating it into music.  Sam Russo does that without skipping a thought or a beat.

(Speaking of beat, I should be clear and note that I am talking about the musician Sam Russo, not the button pushing DJ.  I just wanted to make myself clear there.  Thanks.)

Hailing from Haverhill, England, Russo has been playing his own style of a punk-ish Americana folk-rock for years now.  Having released his debut over 3 years ago, Greyhound Dreams (Red Scare Industries) is an impressive follow up.

Russo is not just another punker with a guitar and some pent up anger.  When I listen to him, I think of a hybrid mix of Tim Barry, Dave Hause, and Frank Turner.  The beauty of Russo is that his music does not sound like a rip off of any of the previously mentioned and  is genuine and at times flooding with anguished, heartfelt memories.

Opening track “Sometimes”, a blatant blast at a harsh personal outcry, was simple yet whole, especially when others jumped in to sing along in the chorus.  The song was depressing as hell when you realize why Russo admits being unruly.

Sam Russo“Dream All You Want” contained so many visuals in the lyrics that I had to listen to it over a couple of times to my mind could settle down.  Russo singing “you either chase your dreams, or you chase your dreams away” made it clear to me, this was not a happy song.  This song wasn’t just about dreams, it also was the unspoken reality of those dreams never coming true.

“Crayfish Tales” was one of the better tracks on this album in my opinion.  I swear to god, this guy and I have lived in the same shoes at one point in our past.  I almost predicted that he was going to sing a couple of times.  “Runaways” was also a great tune and a little more upbeat and personable.

I loved that “Forever West” spoke on Russo’s journey that he experienced in the states.  While listening to it, I could not help but think of my own past experiences from the time I stayed in a ghetto Motel 6 in the hood of Baltimore to when, years later, my fiancé and I drove 2800 miles to New Mexico almost non-stop.  It really hit home, especially when he sung about the sun coming over the mountains as I experienced that and it was amazing.  It was like a musical observation, but different.

Russo sang his heart out on “Nobody’s Fool”.  I feel that this was a more important track for him as reminisced on his past pain caused from heartbreak.  “I would give you everything and just disappear” was sung towards the end making for a true statement of love.

“Western Union” closed the album down strong.  Things picked up in the middle with some extra help on vocals, but mostly Russo held this song down solo.  Not the happiest of stories, but incredibly impactful on those lonely memories.

Russo touched on something often on Greyhound Dreams that I think we all need to consider:  Life is short and full of difficulties.  We’ve all been through a personal hell at some point, but Russo really leads by example in his songs (and even song titles) by singing about moving on and never stopping.  No one ever said being a human being was an easy thing.

I will be honest and say I never gave Russo the chance I should have.  I missed out, that is a fact.  Hell, the dude even supported The Falcon overseas and I still was lame and did not buy everything he ever recorded.  (Disclosure:  I would have been privy to Russo years ago had I made it to that Tim Barry show at the Grog Shop…)

If you are a fan of early Frank Turner music, you will adore this album.  I am not sitting here trying to compare the two, I just know what I like, and Greyhound Dreams is pretty outstanding.  Russo has won himself a new fan and probably a whole lot more once they give him a well-deserved chance.

With the year coming to an end, I just found myself another album that needs to be penned onto my best of 2015 post.  Nicely done Russo.  I look forward to hearing more from you.

Check It Out: Unsung Episode #1: Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain

jmpress_2015aI owe my pal Kyle for turning me into a huge Jason Molina fan.

Yesterday, WXPN aired a hour-long special on the late and great Jason Molina.

 

The moment I learned of this, I stopped what I was doing to tell him.  Now I am sharing this with you.

Last night, WXPN in Philadelphia aired the first of Folkadelphia’s Unsung specials of which Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia were the focus. The hour-long feature centered around a watershed moment in Molina’s career, specifically the time leading up to Didn’t It Rain, it’s creation, and the transition to Magnolia Electric Co. Host Fred Kittel guides us through the time period and explores Molina’s impact on a larger scale. The episode includes conversations with important partners in the creation of Didn’t It Rain as well as a compilation of Songs: Ohia covers by local Philadelphia bands. Stream the full episode, covers, etc via the links below.

STREAM FULL SHOW VIA SOUNDCLOUD
https://soundcloud.com/secretlycanadian/folkadelphia-songs-ohia-xpn/

SONGS: OHIA WXPN FOLKADELPHIA COVERS
https://soundcloud.com/secretlycanadian/sets/folkadelphia-songs-ohia-covers/s-ThSEr

Listen to Unsung Episode #1: Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain. Make sure you have some spare time on your hands as you are going to get sucked into this.  It is a very interesting look into Molina and his time in Philadelphia while recording and those influenced by it.

Now comes the cool part…  Some of those folk who were influenced by the late and great Molina have contributed to a very appropriate compilation.

Stream and download the entire Songs: Ohia Folkadelphia Covers Compilation, which features RestorationsPsalmships (ft. Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner), The Weaks (ft. Frances Quinlan from Hop Along), Teen MenLaura Baird, and Adeline Hotel performing Jason Molina’s music.

Enjoy.  I know I did.  Especially that Restorations cover…

Album Review: Tim Barry – Lost & Rootless

Tim Barry - Lost & RootlessIt’s no lie, Tim Barry just dropped one of my favorite albums of 2014.

After hearing it just one time through, I had no choice but to make an immediate edit to my best of 2014 post.  I was blown away.

Lost & Rootless, Barry’s fifth studio release as a solo artist, is the best thing I’ve heard from him to date.

The Richmond, VA folk crooner is one of the most talented music writers I consider myself a fan of and he just further proved that to me with his latest effort.  To say he is on top of his game is a complete understatement.

Barry, on his website, said the sound to his latest release could be described as “Wooden.”  He stated “that’s the feel that I was going for when I picked the songs. There’s violin, voice, a wooden resonator guitar…there’s a very subtle electric bass on one track, but otherwise I wanted to do a wooden record.”

“Wooden” is the perfect description when you think about it.

Hiding out in a backyard shed with his sister and pal Josh Small, Barry recorded Lost & Rootless with no time frame  and no worries at all. The result is a tireless release that I have listened to over and over and found myself enjoying more so than the last listen.

One thing I adore about Barry is his storytelling abilities.  In Lost & Rootless, Barry doesn’t hold back with his tales that do not necessary have a theme to them but certainly reach back to other stores of past albums.  There is no concept to be heard and to be honest, I think Barry and crew just recorded whatever was on their mind.

Starting the album off was “No News From North”.  This was actually taken from Barry’s Laurel Street Demos, but re-recorded just as he has done with other selections. I loved the rendition of this song from its original. It sounded so much more homely and emotional.

“Poppa’s Porch” had me thinking of Barry on his front porch with his wife and kids singing to them on a weekend morning. This song told a story about the neighborhood that surrounds said porch full of fisticuffs and shenanigans. This was overall such a friendly track to listen to. It was like Cheers, but different.

“All My Friends” painted such a beautiful picture of who Barry surrounds himself with. This was a very old-timey sounding story about people who took to the streets for entertainment and communication.

I can honestly say I know exactly what “Breathe Slow Let ‘Em Pass” was all about. My rebel youth recalled those days when the law passed me by and I turned into stone until they were far away only to release a tightly held in breath. This track was amazing based on the idea of it.

The cover of “Clay Pigeons” by the late and great Blaze Foley was just amazing to listen to. Having just learned about the Austin musician myself, I can understand why Barry chose to record his own version of the song.

The somber story told in “Solid Gone” reflected hard times with family and finances and the outlawed methods to make things manageable resulting in further calamity. I can not say I have heard a song quite like this before and found myself captivated throughout it. This is one track I think everyone needs to check out on this album.

“Lela Days” was clearly written for Barry’s daughter. I have the feeling she loves it when he sings this song to her. It is a fun folky jam with real life expectations hidden within.

I can not tell you the number of times that I thought to myself how much I enjoy Tim Barry’s music.  This is coming from a aging punk rocker who has matured just a bit but still has a lot of growing up to do.  It’s nice to see that I still get excited about things.

By now, it shouldn’t matter that Tim Barry once was in Avail.  Even though his former punk act will always be one of my favorites, it is perfectly clear why Barry has moved on and started something he can call his own.

It’s no wonder he has no plans of ever getting Avail back together, his new direction just makes so much sense and does not seem to be going off track.  He has been going strong for 10 years and I hope to hell he has no intention of slowing down.