By Ben Salmon September 29, 2022
September has been a busy release month for artists of all genres, and those who fit into Daily BandcampBest of Country’s monthly roundup was no exception. The releases below offer a delicious array of rootsy styles, from old-school country and crunchy Americana to French-speaking bluegrass and artisanal indie-folk. Enjoy!
Canadian singer-songwriter Lean Dyck’The country music brand nods to the genre’s classic era, from prominent slide guitar lines to boom-chick beats to vintage-sounding production courtesy of Billy Horton, aka The Guy behind the desk for Charley Croquetrecent sharp rise. Like Crockett, Skinny Dyck is a modern man capable of convincingly inhabiting the sounds and styles of the past, as heard on ‘In On The Upswing’ and ‘TV Blue’ – two excellent tracks that sound as if they had been around for decades, emanating from an antique transistor radio the whole time.
Eagle number 65
The pedal steel guitar is having a moment, as they say, with a recent New York Times article declare the “resurrection” of the instrument and the output of a wonderful compilation of Tompkins Square Records contemporary players earlier this year. Overlooked in all the hubbub is the debut solo album from Lloyd Maines, a master of the pedal steel who has produced or performed on thousands of recording projects over the past five decades. Eagle number 65 is a family affair, with contributions from Maines’ four grandchildren and songs that celebrate the man’s bloodlines, including one from The Chicks, whose singer, Natalie, is his daughter. Along the way, Maines showcases the instrument’s range, playing originals and songs by revered songwriters like Joe Ely, Terry Allenand Terri Hendrix which are jazzy, funky, elegant and, above all, nasal.
Anna Tivel probably don’t see it that way, but his songs are like delicate hand-crafted sculptures sitting on a well-lit shelf, put together with love and in the hope that passers-by will stop and notice the exquisite detail. On the Portland-based singer-songwriter’s new album foreigners, Tivel delves into the love, loss and loneliness of modern life while pushing his sound beyond the boundaries of folk music by incorporating unconventional percussion, atmospheric production and soft ambient touches. It turns out she can push whatever she wants – her songs are not only delicate, but also deeply relatable, resonant and resilient.
Dawn Fox Songs
did you see that viral video the guy who plays the banjo for a wild fox? It was Andy Thornwho is, in fact, not just a guy in a viral video, but a real musician who played with jam band favorites Leftover salmon for years. This month he released a solo album filled with sublime clawhammer banjo tunes designed to ring out cold Rocky Mountain mornings from afar. Thorn doesn’t shy away from his internet fame – the album cover features a painting of him playing for the fox – but with their nimble, airy melodies, these songs stand on their own.
There are people who make mountain music, and then there are Mountain people who make mountain music. Martha Spencer is one of these. Raised in the heart of Appalachia, a few miles from the meeting of Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, Spencer is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who draws heavily on the ancient sounds of her home region and a few more modern influences. . Wonderland mixes bluegrass, old-time, gospel, country and folk music, showcasing Spencer’s nimble soprano voice on songs like the upbeat “Come Home, Virginia Rose” and “Banks of New River,” a duet with the country singer Luke Belldied in August.
One of the hotbeds of American roots music right now is Montreal, where folk singers, bluegrass pickers and country bands put a quintessentially Quebec twist on a sound south of the border. Take for example Veranda, a collaboration between Catherine-Audrey Lachapelle and Léandre Joly-Pelletier, two songwriters whose vocal harmonies sparkle and soar even if you don’t understand French. Supported by a talented group of string benders, There is a sharp and sumptuous version of melodic bluegrass and folk music.
Denim & Diamonds
Produced by Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme Nikki LaneThe fourth album begins with a curveball: “First High,” a swaggering rock song that takes the Nashville singer’s pervasive outlaw tendencies to sonic extremes. Highlights like “First High” and “Born Tough” bear the desert rock icon’s signatures – growling mixes, moody atmosphere – but Lane’s country heart and soul remain more important than ever, and Denim & Diamonds makes the most of this Americana sweet spot. For nearly a decade, Lane was one of the country’s brightest lights underground; here it boosts the power a bit and shines brighter than ever.