AM is an all-female Americana trio from Greensboro, NC, with a sound self-described as “vintage country with a moonshine concerto.” I would heartily agree with the sentiment, while adding that there is also a bit of antifolk exuberance and abandon here as well. Produced by Jim Avett (patriarch of the famed Avett Brothers), their new record North, South is getting a heavy promotional push as the group tours through the Southeast. Come out on Saturday so you can say you were there at the very beginning…
This is a great, great record by one of those songwriters who I’ve always liked a lot without ever really digging into any of her records (with the notable exception of her sparse, awe-inspiring debut, 1996’s Living with Ghosts). Well, this record has been in my constant personal rotation since it came out at the end of January. Produced by Buddy Miller and recorded in the Downtown Presbyterian Church in Nashville, the record features a mix of gospel covers (traditional and otherwise) and Griffin originals. Bolstered by the guest talent of Emmylou Harris, Jim Lauderdale, and gospel stars Regina and Ann McCrary, as well as Griffin’s ace backing band, all the ingredients were in place for, if not the best record of Griffin’s career, clearly the most special, unique effort she has ever put forth.
Kasey Anderson – Nowhere Nights
Anderson’s record came to my through a friend of mine (read: my brother) over at Twangville, with an enthusiastic recommendation of the singer/songwriter’s work. While my initial inclination was to dismiss him due to a strong (and I mean strong) vocal (and is some cases musical/lyrical) resemblance to Steve Earle, the songs wore into me too easily to set this aside. Beautiful, reverb-y production and Anderson’s talent for writing some glorious rockers (notably the poppy rocker “All Lit Up,” but also the rootsy rave ups “Torn Apart” and the title cut) and epic guitar ballads (“Leaving Kind,” “Home,” closer “Real Gone”) make Nowhere Nights one of the strongest releases I have heard yet this year, and a possible contender for year-end lists.
Kasey Anderson will by playing The White Mule on April 23rd with Chip Robinson (of the Raleigh alt.country group The Backsliders)