I reviewed 19 showcases at the Folk Alliance Conference on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’m not particularly enthused by dust bowl ballad revivalists, bluegrass traditionalists or fiddle champions, but I found plenty of international acts, outsider musicians and straight-up rock bands to embrace. Video links to my ten favorite Folk Alliance acts of 2016 follow.
- Lady Maisery (absurdly talented British trio)
- Maarja Nuut (visionary Estonian woman)
- Tarabband (dance band led by an Iraqi refugee)
- Chris Bathgate (Midwestern chamber-rock)
- WÖR (the Belgian band goes “back to the 1780s”)
- Sutari (enchanting Polish trio)
- Birds of Chicago (Joe Henry produced the freaky rock band’s new album)
- Twelfth Day (Scottish art-folk duo)
- Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers (Canadian beardos)
- Leyla McCalla (a former Carolina Chocolate Drop)
I reviewed Bill Frisell’s concert at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on Sunday.
I reviewed a concert by Vance Joy, Elle King and Jamie Lawson on Thursday.
I reviewed Live at Pilgrim Chapel, the new album by David Basse and Joe Cartwright, for KCUR.
I write weekly music previews for The Kansas City Star and Ink magazine.
Denise Matthews, the woman better known as Vanity, has died. She was my first celebrity interview. I met her in a hotel suite as she was promoting the action movie The Last Dragon. I haven’t forgotten the scent of her perfume and each alluring fold of her bathrobe.
The EPK about Lou Tavano doesn’t convince me that I need to hear the French vocalist’s album, but her speaking voice… oh man.
Lawrence Brownlee and Jason Moran for the win.
Herlin Riley’s New Direction has a few nice moments. RIYL: jazz drummers, Roy Haynes, swing.
(Original image of Chris Bathgate’s band by There Stands the Glass.)