So, we mentioned at the beginning of yesterday's Shuffle that we have gone through almost an entire 1/4 of 2013 without naming a Band of the Week, Band of the Month or Featured Artist. It's funny because, it was circumstances beyond our control which initially created this situation, but as with much of what we do, it seemed to be the right thing to do.
You may be aware, that once we feature a band/artist, we kind of add them to our family in a way. We have Twitter Lists and Facebook Lists that we have created and that we follow regularly.
One of the things I wanted to avoid was naming someone a Featured Artist and then barely featuring them. It has happened, though not intentionally. So, as March winds down, I thought I would look back at the first part of this year.
Ear to the Ground Presents.... after the jump
Old Friends, New Music:
Thus far in 2013, we've had the chance to review three new records from three old friends who we already considered part of the Ear to the Ground Family.
Gypsy West Back in January, we reviewed the 3rd EP in the Accomplices trilogy which was subtitled No Barcodes. Check out our review here.
Tim Lee 3 In February, we did what was one of the first reviews/previews of the highly anticipated new record from Knoxville based Tim Lee 3, called Devil's Rope. Here is our review. Did you know that Tim Lee was part of the legendary 80s band, The Windbreakers who recorded with Mitch Easter and collaborated with Richard Barone among others?
Calicocat Nashville-based Calicocat called it quits, but before they did they released another, final great release. Mighty Superfluous has been in heavy rotation on our playlist this month, and along with their other releases, leaves behind a great legacy of music. We wish the band members well as they pursue a number of different projects.
We continue to meet new people, and tonight we are going to add three artists/bands/whatever to the Ear to the Ground musical family. They came to us in different ways and play vastly different styles of music, but that is exactly how we like it. All three of these artists have appeared thus far in Shuffles, although not as often as we would like. We have it in our heads to review all three of their newest released which made there way to us, but it's time to present them formally, and we'll keep working on those official reviews. Unofficially, all three of these albums are worth buying and all three of these artists are worth getting to know....
Mark Robinson/Mark Robinson Band
Although Nashville is better known for commercial Country Music and more recently for our indie-rock transplants like Jack White and The Black Keys, the city has a long history of outstanding blues men and women. Many of the great players spent/spend their days backing some of the mainstream Country music being produced in Music Row studios, and then gathered in dark, smoky bars to play the music that they really loved - The Blues. By now, the Nashville Blues scene is pretty well established and is attracting great players from all over. Mark Robinson moved to Nashville from Bloomington, Indiana a few years ago, and he just recently released his second solo record, Have Axe, Will Groove which features track after track of great sounding modern blues music. The album features some local players and singers who are well-known enough for even this non-Blues affectionado to know.
As I mentioned, our three new featured artists this time, cover a pretty wide range of musical styles and influence. New York artist Marla Mase covers a a lot of territory on her own, and in fact, really creates her own particular space on the musical spectrum. Mase is a performance artist in the truest sense of that term, but rest assured, her album Speak - which was released in 2011 and just recently given the deluxe treatment is great music. We've featured a couple of her songs in our Morning Shuffles, and the album is full of a number of challenging and great sounding music. The Deluxe edition of her album includes a fantastic Dub mix of the title track by the legendary Bill Laswell. Back in September Mase was invited to perform in China as part of UN Global Peace Day.
California Singer-Songwriter Susan James reached out to us on Facebook. She just recently released her latest album called Driving Toward the Sun which is a stunning gorgeous collection of folksy, rootsy music that has California written all over it. Working with producer Ryan Ulyate who has worked with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison, the album features ex-Lone Justice drummer Don Heffington and guitarist Neal Casal who has worked with Ryan Adams among others. We've already featured a couple of songs in Shuffles and are really in love with this record.
We are happy to feature these artists, and to add them to the bands and artists we follow. In the last couple of weeks and in the weeks to come, more great music is making it's way to our ears and we will continue to bring you as much of it as we can. Look for new music from our old friends Killing Kuddles and Taco Land plus the highly anticipated new album from 2012 Band of the Year Skeletons in the Piano which is due out soon on Magnetic Eye records.
In the meantime, please check out this special Playlist featuring all of the bands featured in this post....