Folk/Country

Eli Winter "Maroon"

Eli Winter has released the first single, "Maroon", from his forthcoming album, Unbecoming, which is due out on August 21st via American Dreams.

On this track he is accompanied by Sam Wagster (of fellow American Dreams band Mute Duo) on pedal steel guitar, Tyler Damon (of Circuit Des Yeux) on drums, and Cameron Knowler on nylon string guitar. The song is accompanied by the animated video below.

Photo by Gabriel Barron

   

Mike Flanigin Releases Live Album "West Texas Blues"

 

West Texas Bluesis a live studio album born out of organist, Mike Flanigin, and guitarist Sue Foley’s Texas Blues Party. Streamed live on Facebook, the hour-long program focused on regional history and included interviews with blues legends C.C. Adcock, Angela Strehli and Derek O’Brien.

“That’s almost what jump started the album in a sense.” Flanigin said. “We were just hesitant to do any sort of live stream thing, but we got so bored that we decided to do it, and our angle on it was we wanted to have a theme for the show.”

West Texas Blueswas recorded in a four-hour session at Fire Station Studios in San Marcos with Chris Layton on drums and engineer Chris Bell, who worked with Foley on The Ice Queen and Flanigin’s debut The Drifter.

Mike Flanigin and Sue Foley’s West Texas Blues

“As much as I labored over The Drifteralbum, which took me three years to make, and I had a lot of different types of genres, and people, and guests, this was the exact opposite.” Flanigin said. “This was ‘Let’s go in and let’s do what we do,’ and we play the blues. That’s what we’ve been doing our whole lives.”

The gritty-slow title track on the album by Lightnin’ Hopkins delivers a solid example of the phrasing that gives Austin blues guitar its sound.

“I just love the imagery of it,” Flanigin said, “because when you go to West Texas it’s so vast and the sound of that song is just like that.”

For the past four months, pulling open the red-and-white striped doors at C-Boy’s Heart and Soul on a Saturday night has felt like a distant memory. Flanigin’s crowded weekly residency with Jimmie Vaughan in the shadows of the tallest Capitol in the nation has been on indefinite hiatus as Coronavirus mandates leave night clubs in limbo.

“To me the C-Boy’s gig was kind of our equivalent in Austin to Preservation Hall Jazz Band in New Orleans,” Flanigin said. “Tourists would go, and if you wanted to kind of know what the early styles were of New Orleans music you would go see Preservation.”

Flanigan traces the Austin style back to Bill Campbell, and to the opening of Antone’s as a home for blues artists. Jimmie Vaughan performed nightly with the Fabulous Thunderbirds alongside Muddy Waters, Eddie Taylor, Hubert Sumlin and Lazy Lester at the club. As Vaughan built upon his experiences, local guitarists followed suit and created a unique style for the region that’s played around the world today.

“Jimmie is ground zero for the Austin sound,” Flanigin said. “His phrasing and what he did was copied by everybody who saw it. That was the template.”

When Foley arrived in 1990 from Vancouver, Canada, she immediately performed on stage with Albert Collins, and recorded her debut album Young Girl Bluesfor the Antone’s label. Foley later worked with Derek O’Brien on Lazy Lester’s All Over You,which features the song “If You Think I’ve Lost You.” An updated version shines on West Texas Blues,twenty-two years after the release of Lester’s album. Foley’s melodic solo captures the essence of the county, blues and Cajun melting pot that inspired Lester’s sound.

“He was hugely influenced by country music,” Flanigin said. “I sat with Lazy Lester in the Antone’s office on Guadalupe and he sat with an acoustic guitar and played every hardcore country blues song you could ever imagine... George Jones, Merle Haggard, he loved all that. When you listen to his blues songs, they’re like country songs. The words tell a story.”

Flanigan was touring with Jimmie Vaughan and Buddy Guy as the Coronavirus outbreak shut down the nation. The outlook is especially uncertain in the blues community, as the few living legends that created the genre will have to take additional precautions when venues re-open.

“I wonder in my mind, ‘Are some of these people going to retire and never come back?’” Flanigin said. “We might get a vaccine tomorrow. We all may be back in two months and all this may sound ridiculous, but these thoughts do cross my mind.”

West Texas Blues focuses on material from Juke Boy Bonner, The Nightcaps, Guitar Gable and others to preserve the history of the Texas sound.

“I want people to know there is a real history to Ausin blues, and it’s complicated, and it’s a rich history, and it’s a wonderful history,” Flanigin said. “Everything we do, everything we’ve ever done, has been a celebration in honoring these people.”

-Andrew Blanton

   

Briscoe Releases New Psych-Folk Single "Sailing Away"

 

They profess inspiration from both modern Americana and Van Morrison, and Briscoe hit the bullseye on their new single, “Sailing Away”. The inspirational muses are wisely chosen, too; much of Van Morrison’s early works morphed from singer/songwriter odes drenched in the warm notes of Irish folk music to psychedelic works more in line with what the Wilson brothers were cooking up - and modern Americana, as broad a genre as it may be, has a whole branch that swings down into Texas Country Rock; the two musical stylings mesh swimmingly because the writing pushes the listener to really feel what the singer is feeling, and in turn focus less on what is being said.

“Sailing Away” beams in like an easy Galveston breeze over some finely-plucked guitar strings. The first chorus lays down the groundwork for a nicely built-up second chorus that beefs up the instrumental, while the narrator’s tone is bright and saccharine. “She told me she was leavin’,” he sings with an aching drone, a wail that tugs at your shirt from behind you as you walk away.

Whether or not he just goes back to sit on that sandy and sunny European beach, our narrator surely is going to lose the girl he wants. She’s leaving, and he’s out on the ocean of his own mind, sailing away. But is shesailing away, too? Is hereally leaving her?The back-and-forth of perspective, especially when it shifts so quickly, is engaging; it lends an endearing quality to the narrator’s story, even if he is too sun-dazed to notice he’s told the same story three times.

Briscoe is the project of Austin-based musicians Philip Lupton and Truett Heintzelman. Lupton wrote “Sailing Away” and first released performance videos on his personal YouTube channel in 2017, before partnering with Heintzelman. “Sailing Away” ups the production quality from their recent releases and points them in a clearer direction going forward for more Americana surprises.

-Mike Floeck

   

Evelyn Cormier continues to blossom in new single "Little White Rabbit"

As if inside a cavern of delightful sounds and shimmering lights, Evelyn Cormier’s latest single “Little White Rabbit” is meant for exploration and admiration. The delicate acoustic guitar riffs of the song dance to resounding chords and piano notes that trickle towards the commanding vocals of Cormier, gentle and assertive all at once. The story “Little White Rabbit” tells is of separation and its accompanying heartache but also of the bravery that brews beneath the surface of that, the courage to let to go, the resolve to begin again. Cormier, the New Hampshire artist, delivers a brand of indie-folk that is immediately recognizable, and that continues to blossom; stream her latest single “Little White Rabbit” below. - Rene Cobar

   

Ian Wayne examines love in the longterm on “Baby,” new LP out 9.18

Love songs tend to be fairly focused in their subject matter, yet Queens-based folk songwriter Ian Wayne takes an eagle-eyed approach on new track “Baby,” penning a ode on an “imagined longview of life in love” that speaks the universality of the emotion. Sweetly sparse and consistently grounded, Wayne’s vox glides over a downtempo indie, almost Americana saunter, offering a plainspoken view of adoration that accepts both the good and bad in equal measure. With an economy of language and an ear for balance between the track’s winding guitar solos and a softer central voice, his capacity to render emotional intimacy in terms comprehendible to any warrant praise and a careful listen. Stream it below, and keep an ear out for Wayne’s forthcoming record Risking Illness, out September 18th on Whatever’s Clever.