I double-parked a red Jetta toward the back of Off Broadway's parking lot as I tossed the butt of my smoke through the cracked window. Hold Steady fans of various ages milled through the parking lot and headed on across Lemp Ave. with a hungry gate that could only be satiated by bar rock. I crunched across the gravel of Off Broadway's entrance/porch and found myself amidst other like-minded music fans, basking in the warmth of Tim Barry's acoustic folk.
As ambivalent farewell songs go, "Numb and Blue" by Hayley Reardon (who is based out of Boston and is all of 17) cuts to the beautiful, bittersweet quick.
Toronto musician Barzin Hosseini, who records under the name Barzin, returns with the gossamer, string-swept track "All the While," a meditation on patience, forgiveness and waking up to the world.
The Lowest Pair serves as a vehicle for Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee to explore the bottomless well of American folk music, with an emphasis on banjo, guitar and front-porch harmonies. The double-banjo duet of "Living Is Dying" captures that sound exquisitely.
This has felt like the official year of "Well, it's about time!" recordings. There seemed to be so many albums from top-flight players who haven't released anything in, literally, years. In all cases, it was worth the wait.
It would be hard to overstate the importance and the beauty of the Everly Brothers' music, though with the passing of Phil Everly on January 3, 2014, many have tried. But that beauty always slips away. For a moment, Detroit-area band Frontier Ruckus manages to capture some of that elusive grace in its cover of "Like Strangers."
There were so many releases in 2013 and I know I only heard a small fraction of them. In my relatively small overall sampling of 2013 album releases, I found a whole lot to like, and it was difficult to narrow them down to a list of 10.
The year 2013 brought so much wonderful new music, but, like every year, it brought so much sad music news. The loss of Jason Molina, leader of Magnolia Electric Co. and the voice and vision behind Songs: Ohia, was one of the toughest. "Just Be Simple," a demo from the Songs: Ohia release "Magnolia Electric Co.," is a poignant reminder of his astonishingly honest, unpretentious art.