There's nothing quite like a driving, wailing, sawing, old-time fiddle track. Old Buck, featuring Riley Baugus on banjo and vocals and Emily Schaad on fiddle, delivers just that on the classic tune "Chilly Winds."
Rushing by on a slipstream of bowed bass and sometimes trembling, sometimes wailing vocal rounds, "Although You’re Gone" defines the "dark Americana" sound of Eli August and the Abandoned Buildings.
Among up-and-coming old-time and Americana artists, Betse Ellis is surely one of the most versatile. A deft songwriter, accomplished fiddler and a moving singer, Ellis draws on influences ranging from John Hartford to the Clash. "Golden Road," from her 2013 album "High Moon Order," finds the Kansas City-based musician in a reflective, lush, pedal steel-dappled mood.
Hailing from Masaya, Nicaragua, Milly Majuc fuses ska, reggae, Latin music and contemporary rock in ways that few bands would dare, let alone imagine. Just try to keep from dancing along to the track "Giovana."
With the fizzy, spacey "Never the Same," DoublePlusGood, led by Portland, Oregon's Erik Carlson, combines melancholy '80s pop with contemporary electronic elegance.
Austin-based Americana-pop band the Belle Sounds, led by founders Noëlle Hampton and André Moran, enlisted producer Neilson Hubbard for the finely textured sound of its new EP "Black Stone" and the seductive title track.
The adventurous sound of Funeral Bonsai Wedding is something entirely new for songwriter Steve Dawson, long-known as leader of Chicago rock band Dolly Varden and accomplished solo artist. Suffused with free-swinging jazz and physically-intense romanticism, "As Soon As I Walk In" captures the expressive power of an open-ended musical approach.
The driving force behind veteran Los Angeles soul-jazz ensemble Breakestra, Miles Tackett emerges as a bonafide guitar-slinging, rock 'n' roll heavy hitter on the bluesy track "Everything."
A breezy if slightly nerdy (in a charming way) burst of power pop, "Anna" by Ransom and the Subset captures the ennui of a heartbroken girl with her records and a boy and a band who probably don't stand a chance of winning her back -- though they're not about to stop trying.
The gorgeous harmonies of "Good Luck Charm," the title track from the new album by the Mastersons, is just the most noticeable of many charms. With sparkling guitars, a pinpoint rhythm section and an undeniable hook on the chorus, Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore have created an Americana classic.