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Friday, Apr 3, 2015
Mary Epworth may be English, but the gentle, vocal harmony-led tune "Sweet Boy" evokes American folk revival greats like Gillian Welch.

Leading up to the release of her new album Dream Life, English singer and songwriter Mary Epworth has already culled some impressive attention in her native UK. Three of her singles have been added to playlists on BBC 6 Music, and her song “Black Doe” was picked as BBC Radio 1’s Hottest Record in the World. She and her band have been fortunate to land sell-out shows at prestigious venues like the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room in London.


One listen to the Dream Life number “Sweet Boy” will make it clear why so many are starting to get taken by Epworth’s music. With a distinctly neo-Americana vibe that recalls the music of Gillian Welch, the track also owes a debt of gratitude to some of the masters of folk vocal harmony: the Everly Brothers. Don’t be mistaken, though: this folk sound is but one of many detours taken by Dream Life, which also incorporates psychedelic and kosmische influences.


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Thursday, Apr 2, 2015
For a catchy Francophone folk jam, look no further than "Confédération", a tune by Québéc's own Le Vent du Nord.

The Québéc roots outfit Le Vent du Nord (“the wind of the north”) consists of Nicolas Boulerice (hurdy-gurdy, piano, voice), Olivier Demers (fiddle, feet, voice), Réjean Brunet (accordion, bass, jaw harp, voice) and Simon Beaudry (bouzouki, guitar, voice). That wide-ranging instrumental palette, when paired with the group’s deep knowledge of the folk music tradition in their native Québéc, results in colorful, complex, and extremely catchy songwriting that’s authentic to the band’s heritage. Le Vent du Nord’s latest LP, Têtu (“Determined”, from the French word for “head”), bears out their passion for their music and for their native country, especially on tracks like “Confédération”, which gives excellent insight into a particular political ethos that’s common both in North American and Canadian politics.


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Thursday, Apr 2, 2015
The latest album by the bi-coastal duo Big Little Lions is a set of pop-anchored folk tunes in the vein of the Lumineers.

The folk-pop duo Big Little Lions make their music from afar. Helen Austin lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she records her portions of the tunes in a little red studio. Paul Otten’s studio resides in the Ohio valley. You could hardly tell this distance from listening to A Little Frayed, A Little Torn, the duo’s latest full-length outing. The conviviality and charm that are palpable in these 12 tunes sound like the product of two people working closely and side-by-side. But, then again, the natural pairing of Austin and Otten is an indication that distance is just a number, one that can’t hold back real musical camaraderie.


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Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015
North Carolina singer/songwriter Chris Stamey got a chance to play around with unreleased Ryan Adams track. The result is the straightforward alt-rock of "Universe-sized Arms".

As the opening track on Chris Stamey’s latest studio outing, Euphoria, “Universe-sized Arms” is a clear statement of intent for the rest of the record. The album ties into Stamey’s long legacy as a musician for many reasons, not the least of which is the guitar he plays on the songs: “I found these songs inside the same dilapidated old Silvertone lipstick guitar that I’d written my first records on. Maybe that’s why it sounds a bit like those records in some ways.” Dilapidated or not, there’s definitely verve in Euphoria, and in particular “Universe-sized Arms”, an unreleased Ryan Adams track given to Stamey by the man himself.


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Wednesday, Apr 1, 2015
With a late '60s/early '70s bluesy rock 'n' roll style that brings Creedence Clearwater Revival to mind, "Brown Dog Blues" is a cool throwback tune.

The San Diego-based Triumph of the Wild, a roots rock duo consisting of Christy Barrett and Ryan Schilling, created their sophomore LP, We Come With the Dust, after a five month trip that stopped off in locations such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Tennessee. The influence of these states shows itself clearly on the album; drawing from both Americana and classic rock influences (the press release for the LP cites Woody Guthrie and Janis Joplin), Barrett and Schilling create a brand of rock ‘n’ roll that’s warmly familiar, but not so beholden to the fast that it feels like a mere act of copy and paste.


Below you can stream one fine example from We Come With the Dust, the ragged, bluesy number “Brown Dog Blues”.


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