Brooklyn’s Elenna Canlas and Peter Matson are a bedroom production team working under the Big Everything moniker. Their music springs from the fertile wellspring of New York club culture and incorporates soul, funk, and hip-hop into the electronic mix and the end result is the Big Everything Mixtape. This is their first release and it’s mainly new material surrounded by a few classics from Janet Jackson, Nate Dogg, and Genesis. Meanwhile, Big Everything has brought some exciting guests into the project, including Bajah (Sierra Leone rapper) and female rappers Awkwafina and Tierra Whack. It’s all a great bit of fun loaded with summery grooves.
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Seminal Americana band Marley’s Ghost is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year with the new release The Woodstock Sessions coming July 15th via Sage Arts. Marley’s Ghost are true Americana musicians in the sense that Americana is made up of multiple roots genres and this band can play all of them with virtuosic skill. Rock, country, bluegrass, soul, blues, these guys combine all of these into a delicious stew of American roots music.
Nashville singer-songwriter Jerry Castle has taken a novel route to mental enhancement as a means of sparking creativity. He’s not talking about cannabis, but rather sensory deprivation tanks, which have afforded him the opportunity to feel like he’s floating in space. Castle says, “there really is nothing like it. When I go into the tank, it takes me to another area. It definitely has opened me up as a songwriter. Music and lyrics come to me quicker. I can remember ideas longer and my music sounds pretty different.” Trippy. Castle really knows how to pen empathetic songs full of emotion like “She Kills”, which drops the male gaze in looking at his female subject and focuses on carefully relating to and telling her story. The music itself, gentle but fully laden with textures, carries off a feeling of floating just like those sensory deprivation tanks.
If there’s any one musician who truly personifies that always ephemeral definition of Americana music, it’s Bill Kirchen, who founded what many consider to be the original Americana band, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen back in 1972. Blending together country, R&B and rock together, Kirchen has led a storied and rich career, including 30 years he’s spent collaborating with pub rock legend Austin de Lone. This August the two roots rock masters unite for an amazing new album recorded in Austin and London called Transatlanticana. By way of preview, “Hounds of the Bakersfield” is a song that Kirchen originally wrote as a tribute to Merle Haggard, a tune that’s timely again given Haggard’s recent passing.
In the lead up to this year’s Pickathon, we’ve been sharing an exclusive series of videos from last year’s fest. One of the best things about Pickathon is its musical variety with indie rock nestling right up against Americana, hip-hop, and soul. It’s a potent mixture and the common denominator is that all of the acts are really good. Up today, we have a live performance from rock ‘n’ roller JD McPherson and band that’ll get you up off your seat and dancing around the cubicle. McPherson remains dedicated to the early rock ‘n’ roll and rockabilly of the 1950s, updating and enlivening the music for a whole new generation.