In the space of two years (2003-2005), ROSANNE CASH lost her mother, stepmother (JUNE CARTER CASH), and - of course - her father JOHNNY CASH. The result for her musically is the most intense and personal of all of her many releases over a 25-year-plus career.
One of the most promising groups in the Philly Local scene, SLO-MO is led by steel guitarist MIKE BRENNER, a veteran of many bands (including MARAH). Out front is MIC WRECKA, a bona fide hip-hop poet. The groove-oriented tunes are punctuated with sublime female vocals and an absolutely solid rhythm section.
Wrapping up a dizzying year of activity, Adams new album "29" was released the last week of 2005. It was his third (!) official release of the year, hot on the heels of Jacksonville City Nights and the double CD Cold Roses.
Our New Orleans is a benefit album by the New Orleans greats.The net procedes for this album will go to Habitat for Humanity to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Names like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many others newly recorded each of these songs for this album. On the album website, you can stream a video of the recording sessions as well as interviews by many of the musicians. Many of these amazing musicians had homes, studios, family and friends in New Orleans. The intense emotion is clearly visible in their performances.
Chamber pop quintet Matt Pond PA is led by singer/songwriter Matt Pond, who formed the group upon relocating from New England to Philadelphia in the late Nineties. In 2003, Pond left Philadelphia for Brooklyn, and eventually met the rest of the band that would ultimately become the strongest lineup of Matt Pond PA since its inception.
This is a rare band that really sounds like a band - a complete complimentary unit. They have that special combination of natural, grooove-oriented music combined with the fact that, lyrically, they really have something to say.
Since their 1998 debut "Let's Cut The Crap And Hook Up Later On Tonight", the Philly-based band Marah have won fans across the world with their eclectic, rootsy rock & roll. Fronted by the Bielanko Brothers - singer/songwriter/guitarist/banjoist Dave and guitarist/vocalist/harmonica player Serge, they also count as their fans author Nick Hornby, Bruce Springsteen (who played guitar and sang on their 2002 release Float Away With the Friday Night Gods) and Steve Earle (who signed the band to his label and released the band's 2000 release Kids In Philly).
British pianist/vocalist and songwriting Jamie Cullum mixes jazz with melodic pop and rock into a crossover style that brings to mind artists such as Harry Connick, Jr and Norah Jones. Cullum will just as often cover a swinging jazz standard as a modern rock song, and his original compositions move from earnest ballads to songs of sardonic wit. As a showman he's equal parts Ben Folds and Billy Joel and on his 2004 release Twentysomething. he won XPN listeners over with songs like his covers of Radiohead's "High And Dry," The Neptunes' "Frontin'," "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix along with standards like "Singing In The Rain," and "I Could Have Danced All Night."
Recorded in their hometown of Chicago, Illinois on May 4 through the 7th of this year at the Vic Theatre, Wilco's new double album is their first official live album and culls together the best performances of those four night. If you are already a fan of Jeff Tweedy's band and songwriting, this is a must have for your collection. What is truly amazing about this album is how the warm, intimate feel of the original studio recordings
Trey Anastasio moves in a whole new direction on Shine, his first album for Columbia Records. The former Phish guitarist, singer and songwriter continues to evolve and this time around he's exchanged the grooves and full band arrangements that made his 2002 solo debut so exciting for a leaner more pop and rock oriented sound. Definitely gone are the long, noodly jams that brought Phish to jamband acclaim.
Soulive is a funky organ trio who cover a lot of musical ground including jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop. Their grooves are wide and thick, the beats guaranteed to bump your rump all through the night. Formed in the late Nineties, the band include drummer Alan Evans and his brother Neil on keyboards and guitarist Eric Krasno. Since their debut album, they've brought jazz to the dance floor and have become an exciting live band who were one of the highlights of this year's XPN All About The Music Festival. And they are known throughout jam band circles as one of the premier groups drawing on the jams of jazz and rhythms of soul.
XPN Artist To Watch - October 2005 The Magic Numbers Drawing inspiration from many sources, the band craft a sound which, like The Flaming Lips or Beck, is coming from everywhere but is uniquely theirs. more....
The rave reviews are coming in for My Morning Jacket new album, Z. David Fricke in Rolling Stone wrote: "America is a lot closer to getting its own Radiohead and it isn't Wilco. Kentucky's My Morning Jacket take Dixie rock to the astral plane." And a five star review in the October edition of the British magazine Mojo calls the band's fourth album a religious experience and hailed it as "an instant classic."
Susan Tedeschi flaunts her vocal skills in her long awaited fourth album, Hope and Desire. Her voice simply soars in this twelve track collection of lesser known blues numbers by names like Ray Charles, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. Taking a break from her own songwriting and her guitar, Tedeschi focuses on vocal interpretation and puts her own personal mark on each of these songs.
Neil Young's Prairie Wind completes a trilogy of acoustic-based albums he began with the landmark Harvest in 1972 and continued with Harvest Moon in 1992. On the new album, Young is joined by keyboardist Spooner Oldham, pedal-steel guitarist Ben Keith, drummer Chad Cromwell, percussionist Karl Himmel, bassist Rick Rosas, vocalist Emmylou Harris, Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers.
Welcome back Mr. David Gray!
How much do XPN listeners and members love your music?
Let me count the ways.
For starters, our infatuation began with David long before his 1999 breakthrough record, White Ladder. From his 1993 debut, A Century Ends, we marveled at songs like the title song, “Shine,” “Wisdom,” and the brilliant “Let The Truth Sting.”
Two years after the release of the remarkable, critically acclaimed Let Go, Nada Surf return with another infectious collection of super-melodic guitar driven pop songs. There isn't a better album of smart guitar pop you'll hear this year than Nada Surf's The Weight Is A Gift.
If you're already a fan of blues singer Shemekia Copeland you'll be happy to know she's made the best album of her career. The Soul Truth is the third album from the daughter of the late great bluesman Johnny Copeland, and is Ms. Copeland's funkiest, grittiest, blues-iest rockin' record yet.
Lead vocalist Ben Gibbard sings like an angel and the songs on this CD make great use of jangly guitars and sinewy synthesizers. Bellingham, WA, indie pop quartet Death Cab for Cutie may remind you of a cross between REM and New Order, but they craft truly unique songs about relationships that draw you completely in.
As witnessed by his incredible performance at the XPN All About The Music Festival in July, Rodney Crowell has returned with yet another amazing album of country influenced rock songs. The Outsider is the third of a trilogy of CD’s that he’s released (The Houston Kid and Fate’s Right Hand being the first two) that find him at yet another creative peak of his long outstanding career.
On their new album Why Should The Fire Die? the newgrass trio Nickel Creek continue to grow beyond their bluegrass and folk roots yet demonstrate how those genres have informed the expansion of their musical horizons.
To quote many of the music reviews coming in on singer-songwriter Sufjan Steven's new album, "this might be the year's masterwork." Every once in a while a record comes along with such breathtaking creativity and audaciousness and Illinoise is this year's model.
In the Fall of 2002, XPN listeners got their first listen to a new artist who at the time was a complete unknown, not heard on any other radio stations in our listening area. He was just another guy with a guitar and a head and heart full of lyrics.
Some quick history: In 1993 the seminal alternative-country band Uncle Tupelo broke up due to differences between their co-leaders. Jeff Tweedy went on to form Wilco, and Jay Farrar went on to form Son Volt - the more traditional leaning of the two bands that resulted from the split.