Tag: Americana

2017, Music

The Wild (2017) by The Rural Alberta Advantage

I first saw The Rural Alberta Advantage at WIMF many years ago. (Possibly before this album came out.) They were appealing in part because of their unique instrumentation – a vocalist and acoustic guitarist, a keyboardist and backing vocalist, and a drummer, nothing else. Also, the drummer played at the front of the stage, sideways, …

2008, Music

“Dark End of the Street” (2008) by Cat Power

I’m a sucker for (some of) Cat Power’s covers and this EP is no exception. I know two thirds of the songs here which probably helps. I will say I have never heard Jukebox and so maybe I’d like this less if I had heard that record. (This is a collection of outtakes from that …

1986, Music

The Way It Is (1986) by Bruce Hornsby and the Range

I know basically nothing about Bruce Hornsby. I remember seeing his name on a Mix 99.9 ad on the subway in high school. And I know he toured with the Dead. That’s all I got.

2001, Music

Time (The Revelator) (2001) by Gillian Welch

I was aware of Gillian Welch, and I think I’ve heard her sing backing vocals on other artists’ work, but I didn’t really know much about her before this. I have some vague memory I might have listened to another one of her albums once and then dropped it, simply because the reviews weren’t quite …

1970, 1971, Music

Little Feat (1970)

I love Sailin’ Shoes. And I generally enjoy the albums that came after it (though not as much as Sailin’ Shoes, which is definitely a favourite of the ’70s). So this first record, the one everyone gets to after they become fans, came as a bit of a shock. (As it always does. Yes, I’m …

1995, Music

The Ghost of Tom Joan (1995) by Bruce Springsteen

My two biggest problems with Bruce Springsteen are the hype I grew up with and Springsteen’s aesthetic as a producer (and/or the E Street Band). I’m slowly getting over the first one. And this is one of his few records that sort of addresses the latter problem.

2000, Music

Hearbreaker (2000) by Ryan Adams

Faithless Street (specifically the expanded edition from 3 years later) is one of my favourite albums of the 1990s and easily my favourite alt country album of all time. I went through a phase where I was chasing that dragon a bit, listening to the other Whiskeytown records and some Adams solo stuff, and never …

1990, Music

No Depression (1990) by Uncle Tupelo

There are people who will tell you that this is the first ever alt country album. They are wrong about that. They have apparently never heard of the Jayhawks or any of the alternative rock bands incorporating country into their music in the 1980s. (I just finished reviewing an album also credited with inventing this …

1997, Music

Devotion + Doubt (1997) by Richard Buckner

I stumbled upon this because of my father. He gave it to me and I had no idea what it was. He didn’t really explain either. By the cover I think I mistakenly thought it either was “classical” initially – I must have read “Bruckner” rather than Buckner – and then I think I thought …

1999, Music

Mule Variations (1999) by Tom Waits

At this point, anyone who has followed Waits since his left-turn in the early 1980s knows what to expect from a Waits album. Aside from from production choices, most Waits albums of the last 35 years have sounded rather similar to each other, with everything in his own inimitable style, and the only major difference …

1988, Music

American Water (1998) by Silver Jews

Pavement were such a big deal – or seemed like they were such a big deal – that I think it’s really easy to understand why they inevitably come up with this band, even though, according to some sources, this band existed prior to Pavement, and certainly in some iteration or other. But even if …

1993, Music

August and Everything After (1993) by Counting Crows

I was talking to a guest of the podcast a few episodes ago and I described how my “alternative” junior high school had been just full of alternative rock, pardon the pun, even though I was firmly into “oldies.” I mentioned the grunge usual suspects, which I do remember hearing for the first time at …

1988, Music

Lucinda Williams (1988)

I was going to say that there’s something about a debut that tempers my expectations in a way that doesn’t happen with other albums. But this record wasn’t her debut; I hadn’t realized she put out two records way, way earlier, in 1979 and 1980. So I guess the positive spin on this is that …

1993, Music

Fuzzy (1993) by Grant Lee Buffalo

I decided to talk about this record, rather than any number of other records from 1988 and 1993, in part because Michael Stipe once claimed it was the best album of 1993. Now, I don’t necessarily share musical states with the lead singer of REM, but I do feel like he had an important role, …

1987, Music

At My Window (1987) by Townes Van Zandt

Though I know of the legend of Townes, I’ve seen the documentary and I’ve heard a fair number of songs through covers, this is only the second album of his I’ve ever managed to get to. And so I cannot evaluate it against his other records,except for the one I’ve heard. That one, his debut, …

1997, Music

Joya (1997) by Will Oldham

Though I have heard far from all – not even half – of Will Olham’s music, I think it’s safe to say that Oldham is one of my favourite songwriters to debut in the 1990s. He may be my favourite. Something about his lyrics connect we me, even though I don’t always recognize his situations, …