Monthly Archives: September 2015

Download Neil Young’s 2015 Farm Aid Set

NY15farmFr crop

By Uncle Blurt

Need I mention my abiding admiration for Neil Young? Through thick and thin, good albums and bad ones, he’s my man. So it’s nice to have this free MP3 download of his set the other week, Sept. 19, at his annual Farm Aid concert at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion, Northerly Island, Chicago, Illinois.

MP3: Neil Young – Farm Aid 9/19/15

Taken from a solid webcast by the archivists at Big O zine, it finds him and Promise of the Real in abbreviated but superb shape. There’s also downloadable artwork. Enjoy, and here’s the tracklisting.

      Track 01
. Introduction by John Mellencamp 1:16 (2.1MB)
      Track 02
. Workin’ Man  5:03 (8.5MB)
      Track 03
. A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop 5:36 (9.4MB)
      Track 04
. Big Box 8:56 (15.0MB)
      Track 05
. Alabama 4:59 (8.4MB)
      Track 06
. Western Hero 4:20 (7.3MB)
      Track 07
. I Won’t Quit 5:28 (9.2MB) (new song)
      Track 08
. Love and Only Love 14:28 (24.3MB)

Super-limited (like, 300 copies) Reissue of Roky Erickson LP


As the saying goes, if you don’t move, you lose…

By Uncle Blurt

Dagnabbit, I take a week off to go camping in the Everglades and I miss out on a slew of hot wax that’s been coming out, or announced, over the past 10 or so days. To wit: Newbury Comics’ special The Evil One vinyl edition, which is prepping for reissue by Newbury Comics, in conjunction with Light In the Attic. The catch?

“Double blue/white swirl vinyl LP with etching on side 4, packaged with a 20 page booklet of liner notes. Album includes a digital download. Limited to 300 copies.”

I’m not even going to try to preorder this one, which is officially released, like, in a few days. Sob! How did I miss out on my fave artist? Should I have set my Blackberry on “roam” while out in the wilderness?

Note that this is pretty much a copy of LITA’s 2013 reissue of the same album – the one that had 150 copies pressed on green vinyl, with the rest on black. Still, if you are a colored vinyl freak like yours truly….

Video Premiere: Empire Machines “The Plan”


Beautifully unsettling film taken from just-released EP. And yes, they do indeed appreciate you!

By Blurt Staff

They hail from BLURT’s favorite city, Austin: indie psych-rock outfit Empire Machines have a new three-song EP titled Animal Skin, self-released in July. And our debut of their new video for the single “The Plan” is guaranteed to get under your skin, dear readers. Check it out:

Empire Machines—described by one reviewer as “the Beatles doing Bloc Party”— debuted in 2011 with an eponymous EP. Core members singer/guitarist Matt Blackwell and bassist Trey McKinley initially began making music while rooming together and attending college classes. Over their first amateur years, the band experienced a few lineup changes before settling in with current members Matt Reynolds on drums and Bruce Smith Jr. on lead guitar and backup vocals.

Using a blend of indie-rock as their guide and psych-rock as their inspiration, Empire Machines began gigging heavily and has quickly become a staple in Austin’s ever-growing and thriving music scene. The group will be touring this fall—check the links below for concert dates.

EM cover

On the web:

(Photo Credit: Sarah Mishari)


Simpson, Williams, Mavericks, Shakey Graves are Big Winners at Americana Awards


Nashville’s Ryman hosts the annual event (Sept.16), which brought out the best in everyone—especially Nissan owners!

By Fred Mills

The 16th annual edition of the Americana Music Festival is taking place in Nashville this week, and true to most observers’ predictions, Sturgill Simpson was the runaway favorite at last night’s Americana Honors & Awards ceremony at the Ryman Auditorium. Well, maybe not exactly runaway—he “only” took home Artist Of the Year and Song of the Year (for “Turtles All the Way Down”), as Lucinda Williams snagged Album Of the Year for her stunning return-to-form, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone (reviewed by yours truly HERE).Whether or not Simpson was bummed for his Metamodern Sounds In Country Music (reviewed by Contributing Editor Lee Zimmerman HERE) not making it a trifecta, we’ll never know; he was not in Nashville, but rather out on what’s increasingly turning out to be a sold-out tour.


Other big winners: veteran twangers the Mavericks for Group/Duo Of the Year (go HERE to check out our review and photo gallery of their Aug. 29 concert in Raleigh), Shakey Graves for Emerging Artist Of the Year (the same award that Simpson got in 2014), and Lifetime Achievment Awards for Los Lobos, Ricky Skaggs, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings and, er, Don Henley (say what?). The full list is below.

As Rolling Stone additionally reports, standout performances on the Ryman stage included the Mavs, Welch & Rawlings, Shakey Graves, Jason Isbell (2014’s Artist Of the Year, natch) w/wife and brand new mother Amanda Shires, Nikki Lane, and Keb’ Mo’. Attendees were undoubtedly knocked out, a perfect way to kick off the Americana bash.

For all the rest of us not in Nashville and stuck at home, we’ll be watching for videos to surface that we can share with readers. In the meantime, go HERE to watch NPR Music’s video of last year’s Awards ceremony and performances.

Album of the Year: Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Lucinda Williams
Artist of the Year: Sturgill Simpson
Group/Duo of the Year: The Mavericks
Song of the Year: “Turtles All the Way Down,” Sturgill Simpson
Emerging Artist of the Year: Shakey Graves
Instrumentalist of the Year: John Leventhal
Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award: Buffy Sainte-Marie
Lifetime Achievement Award, Trailblazer: Don Henley
Lifetime Achievement Award, Songwriting: Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Lifetime Achievement Award, Instrumentalist: Ricky Skaggs
Lifetime Achievement Award, Performance: Los Lobos
President’s Award: B.B. King



Watch New Calexico Video (w/Neko Case)


Song taken from their outstanding recent album.

By Barbi Martinez, Blurt Intern

On constant rotation ‘round the Blurt cubicle of late has been Calexico’s latest album for Anti-, Edge of the Sun. They’ve now got a very cool live video for the track “Tapping On the Line”—and yes, that is beloved songstress Neko Case sharing mic duties with her old pal Joey Burns. Nice musical reunion, that. (via Pitchfork)

Directed by Jason Roark, the video was shot live in July at Flora Recording & Playback in Portland, OR, the occasion being a pitstop during the band’s tour withThe Decemberists. Calexico is currently in the process of finishing up the American leg of their EOtS tour and will be headed to Europe next month.

US Tour Dates:

09-18 Chicago, IL – Goose Island Fulton Street Brewery
09-19 Shakopee, MN – Festival Palomino
09-20 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall *
09-22 Louisville, KY – Headliner’s *
09-23 Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre *
09-24 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom *
09-25 Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge *
09-26 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West *
09-27 Graham, NC – The Haw River Ballroom *
09-29 St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House *
09-30 Boulder, CO – eTown Hall ^
10-01 Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre *
10-02 Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theatre *
10-03 Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre *
10-04 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom *

Album Stream: Randall Bramblett’s “Devil Music”


“What, me worry?” Guest-star-studded album drops this week on New West. Ton o’ tour dates listed below.

 By Blurt Staff

Randall Bramblett new studio album, Devil Music, arrives tomorrow (Friday, September 18) on New West Records, and it is, put succinctly, kickass. His 10th album to date, it was cut in Nashville and features guests like Mark Knopfler, Derek Trucks and Chuck Leavell. Its swinging, gutbucket roots ‘n’ blues vibe is headed up by Bramblett’s gravel-scoured vocals, the songs bearing such a wide-open-skies ambiance that a blindfold test might convince you this is a live album cut outdoors on the side of some mountain.

So we are absolutely stoked to serve up for our readership a full-album stream of it to get you in the mood to run, don’t walk, to your local record store tomorrow. (Or your favorite digital retailer, sure, but hey, we like to support the indie shops.) Check it out:

In addition to Bramblett’s solo work, he’s written songs for Bonnie Raitt, Bettye LaVette and Hot Tuna, while adding his saxophone, keyboards and vocals to the music of Greg Allman, Steve Winwood and Widespread Panic among countless others. The title for his latest album was inspired by the Howlin’ Wolf biography, Moanin’ at Midnight: The Life & Times of Howlin Wolf.


On the web:

Tour Dates:

September 17 – Hendershot’s Coffee – Athens, GA *

September 18 – Cox Capitol Theatre – Macon, GA

September 19 – Walker County Fair, Mountain Cove Farms – Chickamauga, GA

September 22- September Sounds – Anderson, SC  (Solo)

September 25 – Sails Concert Series – Hickory, NC

September 26 –  Southland Ballroom – Raleigh, NC

October 1 – Charleston Music Hall – Charleston, SC ^

October 2 – Isis Music Hall – Asheville, NC

October 3 – Double Door Inn – Charlotte, NC

October 9 – High Cotton – Hartwell, GA

October 10 – The Foundry – Athens, GA

October 17 –  The Wire & Wood Songwriter Festival – Atlanta, GA

October 18 – The Rooster’s Wife – Aberdeen, NC

October 23 – Headliner’s – Louisville, KY

October 24 – The Old Feed Store – Cobden, IL

October 30 – The Loft – Columbus, GA

October 31 – Arnett’s Gulf Side Stables – Grayton Beach, FL

November 4 – Sweet P’s Songwriters in the Soul House – Knoxville, TN

November 27 –  Terminal West – Atlanta, GA

December 11 – Steve’s Live Music  – Sandy Springs, GA

December 26 –  The Foundry – Athens, GA

January 30 – Red Clay Theater – Duluth, GA

February 2 – 6  – Panic en la Playa  – Riviera Maya, Mexico

* Devil Music Listening Party

^ w/ Paul Thorn


Ministry + Mayhem + Sunn 0))) + Psyclon Nine = Alien Vampires


Collaborations rule!

By Barbi Martinez, Blurt Intern

They are called Alien Vampires and you should be very, very afraid: this “dark electro” supergroup is prepping an unholy release in the form of Drag You To Hell, due this fall on Alfa Matrix (Recoil, Front 242). The band’s Nysrok Infernalien and Nightstalker spent the last couple of years at The Old Truman Brewery studio in Brick Lane (Shoreditch) in London conceiving the newest Alien Vampires, in the process hooking up with Sin Quirin (Ministry), Attila Csihar of Mayhem and Sunn O))), Charles Edward Alexander Hedger (also of Mayhem) and Nero Bellum from Psyclon Nine.

Below, watch a video teaser for the new album.

The electro-industrial band formed in 2000 and has recorded half a dozen studio releases. Collaborations seem to be in the musicians’ blood as well, having worked with numerous other groups, including Suicide Commando, In Slaughter Natives, and Noisuf-X. More details and loads of awesome photos like the one above at their Facebook page.


Incoming: Album of Early/Unreleased John Renbourn


Master guitarist was working on the project at the time of his death.

 By Blurt Staff

Legendary Brit-folk icon, the late John Renbourn, is set to have a trove of long lost tapes dating back to the early 1960s cut prior to his debut album for Transatlantic Records. Titled The Attic Tapes, it’s due Oct. 16 on the Riverboat label. The vintage collection of previously unreleased recordings and early works is, in the words of the late Renbourn (1944-2015), “What was happening to me at the time and a reflection of the general scene” in England then.

Among the songs are Renbourn originals as well as tunes by Jackson C. Frank and Davey Graham; appearing on the album are Graham, friend and guitarist Mac MacLeod (it was MacLeod who discovered the tape box in his attic) and Beverley Martyn, whose two tracks were recorded at a gig they shared with a visiting American, folk/blues artist Spider John Koerner.

REnbourn 2

Renbourn’s notes were written only very shortly before his death in March, and he had put a lot of time into this project over the last couple of years, carefully selecting tracks, cleaning them and. He was looking forward to the release with great enthusiasm. Comments Riverboat, ‘Unfortunately we were due to send over the finished artwork to him the day after he passed away, so it’s really sad that he never got to see the finished product… He was also going to do some further digging to see if he could find out the dates, so unfortunately we will never know exactly when most of these recording were made.”

Renbourn of course was a mainstay of the British folk scene, solo and as a member of Pentangle. In later years Renbourn toured regularly, often in company with Stefan Grossman, Robin Williamson and Wizz Jones who he was touring and recording with at the time of his death. John’s last official album was 2011’s Palermo Show, itself his first album in 13 years.

Below, watch a fascinating interview in which the guitarist demonstrates various guitar styles of the ’60s common on the folk/blues circuit.

john renbourn on sixties guitar styles from sgafilms on Vimeo.

No Depression Magazine Returns to Print!


Nicely timed at that—the American fest is about to kick off!

By Fred Mills

In 2008 we were crushed to learn that No Depression magazine was folding after an amazing decade-plus run. (Full disclosure: I was a contributor to it.) No long after Harp magazine (which I, uh, full disclosure once more, edited) also went out of business, and it was dark time indeed for the music magazine print world. Since then we’ve lost quite a few others.

Now, though, ND is returning to print, having announced plans to resume publication several months ago. (They’ve operated online as a website/blog in the interim.) This is outstanding news all around. Below is the official press release, and meanwhile, congrats all around to the ND crew—y’all have been missed. For more details: go to


“Skirting advertising and retail distribution, No Depression’s new print era sees the definitive roots music magazine printed on 144 pages of high-quality, 100% recycled paper, using biodegradable ink. Five long features explore in-depth the stories of Jason Isbell, Dave Rawlings Machine, Greensky Bluegrass and Infamous Stringdusters, Punch Brothers, and I’m With Her. There are also 13 shorter profiles of Americana pioneers like Lucinda Williams and Robert Earl Keen as well as groundbreaking artists Valerie June and Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. There are expansive photo essays, contributions from artists like Abigail Washburn, stunning concert photography, and original illustrations.

“The finished product feels more like a coffee table book than a glossy magazine, but that’s the point. Each new issue of No Depression is intended to be a print keepsake of great art and storytelling around American roots music. After all, we’ve always celebrated quality handmade music, and we believe handmade music deserves a quality magazine you can hold in your hand. While the 2015 issue is available individually for $20 apiece, subscription options will be available for future issues, beginning in Spring 2016.”

 LIVE EVENT: No Depression Editor Kim Ruehl will be at Grimey’s Too & Howlin’ Books in Nashville on Wednesday, Sept. 16, during Americana Fest to show off the print magazine, which will be sold on site. Meet Kim and some of the writers and photographers whose work is featured in the magazine from noon to 3 p.m.

Sharon Jones Says Her Cancer has Returned

Sharon Jones

Daptone Records mainstay will start chemo therapy this week.

By Fred Mills

In the summer of 2013 dynamo singer Sharon Jones, of the mighty Dap-Kings, announced that she had cancer. (She further noted that it was a stage one tumor on a bile duct.) As a result the band’s then-upcoming album, Give the People What They Want, was delayed, although following her completion of treatment the group came back to the concert stage with a vengeance, additionally notching uniformly rave reviews for the delayed record. As we put it at the time, of the January album, “Gettin’ on with the gettin’ on via 10-song set of soulful sonic manna… there’s nary a moment missed by the band to demonstrate that Sharon Jones is one of the greatest female vocalist currently operating.”

Sadly, her cancer (determined to be of the pancreas) has returned, with Jones announcing it officially this weekend at the Sept. 11 premiere in Toronto of the new documentary Miss Sharon Jones! “I start chemo on Wednesday. But I’m gonna keep fighting. We got a long way to go.”

Our prayers and wishes for a solid and speedy recovery go out to Sharon—speaking personally, she’s been a hero(ine) of mine ever since I heard her first Daptone album over a decade ago. I’ve seen her at least 5 times and she has never been less than a revelation. Below, watch an amazing concert from 2010 of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings.