Indiana’s Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is huge on the tour circuit, playing more than 250 shows a year and possessing one of the most charismatic frontmen on the blues scene. Now Reverend Peyton is stepping out with an album of more stripped-down, casual performances called The Front Porch Sessions. “It started as a literal whim on my part, but it turned into something really special,” Reverend Peyton says. “I wanted it to feel like you’re on my front porch. You can almost hear the wood creaking.”These recordings have that handcrafted homey feeling down pat as they crackle with heart and authenticity.
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Like many up-and-coming singer-songwriters, Leah Nobel plants her base of operations out of Nashville, though with the added incentive of being one of Big Yellow Dog Music’s consummate staff songwriters. Given the benefits of such a signing, one has got to assume that this isn’t just an indie artist who’s budding, but who’s in a full-blown bloom. If this much hasn’t been proven with the awards she has already received for her work from the Indie International and John Lennon songwriting competitions, let alone global synchs with the likes of Starbucks and Cinemax, perhaps her latest project will turn you towards her musical gifts.
“Post-punk”, in the most general terms, has come to refer to the resulting boom of musical experimentation that developed out of this industry-wide sea change, but without any more definitive attributes, the term could just as easily apply to almost any working musical artist of the early ‘80s, from R.E.M. and U2 to Grace Jones and the Police to Flipper and the Minutemen. Perhaps the easiest way to understand post-punk, then, is both as a somewhat narrow genre classification as well as, from a historical perspective rather than an artistic one, an umbrella term under which fell anything that retained even the remotest connection to the subversive, anti-establishment ethos of punk music in the wake of its rapid commercialization: jangle pop, goth rock, new wave, synthpop, early electro, etc.
Yep Roc Records has called the Sadies’ new album, Northern Passages, an “acid-folk-country-punk trip” and that gets at the eclectic approach this seminal band takes on its albums. But there’s a missing word in that descriptor, and that’s “rock” or maybe more accurately “rawk” in the case of the Sadies. The band’s new single “Another Season Again” rocks the house with killer harmonies, some slashing riff-based guitar playing and a whole lot of attitude.
North Carolina’s Sarah Shook and the Disarmers shake up classic country sounds with a heavy dose of punk rock energy. Yeah, they’re a country band, but not of the sort currently dominating the mainstream Nashville country scene. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers are outsiders and proud of it. Remember the term “insurgent country” that was coined to describe hard-driving alternative country? That may as well be this band’s main descriptor as the “insurgent” aspect of the phrase best characterizes their independent spirit.