“As much as I hate to do this” was Jason Lytle’s comical and straight open to our conversation. As a fan of his and Grandaddy and Admiral Radley, I wondered how much his shy but strong personality would come through in person. He did not disappoint in the slightest. He joked often, took extremely long pauses to think of his answers, and generally seemed uncomfortable with the idea that someone would want to ask him a bunch of questions.
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For over a decade now, Courtney Granger has been a member of the Cajun/Creole outfit The Pine Leaf Boys. Though the band’s sets are usually comprised of exactly those two musics (and sometimes the intersection thereof), over the years there have been moments when Granger was able to sing a country tune or two to the delight of PLB fans. The more often he did, the more fans would approach him after shows and ask him when he was going to do a country-based solo album. He even gave some thought to what songs he might record.
Granger, who is quick to remind anyone asking, that he doesn’t write material, knew that it would be a covers collection. He just needed time and a reason. Then the reason came.
My favorite album so far this year (Run the Jewels 3 dropped in 2016) has been a total left-field selection. Country music doesn’t normally get my attention though the Americana genre being heralded is on my radar. But for whatever reason, when NPR’s First Listen hosted Natalie Hemby‘s Puxico (GetWrucke Productions) I queued it up and found myself hooked. At that time there was little fanfare elsewhere on the web for the singer/songwriter’s debut album but since then she’s been covered by Rolling Stone, The New York Times and more.
It’s easy to mistake the Accidentals for a much older group of people in a much older band. For a trio having just hit their 20s—and for one who have only been doing what they do for almost five years—their megaton “genre-bending” talent has already seen them receive a bounty of acknowledgments and accolades.
Spanning SXSW showcases, sold-out shows at renowned theaters like the Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and performances with the likes of respected veterans of the biz like Andrew Bird, the Wailers, and even Joan Baez, there’s no doubting that the precocious Sav Buist, Katie Larson, and Michael Dause are scaling great heights as they continue to quickly charm audiences throughout the States.
Sometimes a singer’s work is too conveniently packaged. Is this one simply a stylist dedicated to carefully approximating their genre? Is that one an innovator? In the case of Sharon Jones, who died last November after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, the truth is somewhere else.