The front country is where the wilderness intersects with the city — as opposed to the back country. Likewise the Nashville-based, San Francisco-sown musical ensemble bearing that moniker brings an urban sensibility and sophistication to the classic string-band format, walking a line between tradition and innovation that they refer to as “roots pop.
At last year’s Country Music Awards — an event long famous for gaudy outfits, oversized cowboy hats, and ever-escalating displays of mindless patriotism — Sturgill Simpson made news for busking outside the Nashville gathering and telling anyone who would listen that “Donald Trump is a fascist fucking pig.”
That Simpson was able to perform that act without being physically accosted — a low bar, undeniably — is a testament to how outsider voices are increasingly more tolerated in the insular and conservative world of country music. Acts such as Simpson, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Miranda Lambert have been loath to regurgitate the company line preached by the genre’s standard-bearers.
While country music has always had its brand of anti-establishment figures (a legacy that includes Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard, and the genre’s pioneer, Hank Williams) this latest cadre of interlopers seem to trace their lineage to one group in particular — Drive-By Truckers.
Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Stay with Me,” the latest single off The Minnesota Child's upcoming (and first full-band) EP, Fireflies (independently out 2/1/2018). The pseudonym for Oakland, CA-based musician Ethan Buckner, The Minnesota Child’s heartland folk pop sound is reminiscent of LA’s The Morning Yells and Utah’s The National Parks (an Atwood favorite). But finding yourself in good company is not enough: The Minnesota Child stands out with a dazzling array of finely-executed harmonies and mesmerizing, poetic imagery.
Through some sort of musical magic, “Stay with Me” is a love song, a song of struggle, and a song of acceptance: From the heart, to the heart.
Take a listen HERE!
For longtime fans of Newfoundland combo Great Big Sea, frontman Alan Doyle has some good news and some bad news. On the upside, he has a rollicking new solo effort out, his third — the Bob Rock-produced “A Week at the Warehouse” — which captures Great Big Sea’s kinetic Celt-rocking spirit. On the downside, when the band’s original member Sean McCann left in 2013 after two decades, he and co-founder Bob Hallett discussed amicable ways to continue without him. “We couldn’t come to an agreement so there was nothing left to do but move on,” says Doyle. “So it’s all good, everybody seems to be quite happy doing what they’re doing, and the door is still wide open.”
Click HERE for his interview with the SF Examiner!
There’s an ease that comes across when you talk with Wallows, the Los Angeles alt-rock trio fronted by “13 Reasons Why” star Dylan Minnette. As befits friendships that have lasted since school days, there are inside references and attempts to crack each other up. If there are nerves about the band’s launching its first nationwide tour — as the headliner, no less — they’re nowhere to be seen.
Tommy Emmanuel graced the cover of GP’s August 2017 issue celebrating the top acoustic players of all time, so ’nuff said about his otherworldly ability. Tommy is the cat tons of players turn to for inspiration, and there’s no better way to appreciate Emmanuel’s ninja-like technical precision and exhilarating execution than to catch him live. He’s currently on tour heralding a star-studded record of collaborations, Accomplice One [CGP/Thirty Tigers], which will be released on January 19th, and GP is proud to present a pair of shows in San Francisco on January 11th and 12th.
The first glimpse we got of Accomplice One was Emmanuel and JD Simo putting their stamp on Otis Redding and Steve Cropper’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and Simo happens to be the opening act on this leg of Emmanuel’s tour, so it’s likely they will perform “Dock of the Bay” and more together during this two-night stand at the historic Great American Music Hall. A Guitar Player Presents promotion will be in effect onsite Thursday night—January 11—with free magazines and D’Addario goodies available at the GP table. Tickets are nearly sold out for these special seated shows at the Great American, so get yours right now here. - Guitar Player
If it’s January – which, believe it or not, it actually is – then it’s time for The Easy Leaves to perform in San Francisco.
The Northern California country-rock act hosts its sixth annual Western Winter Formal at the Great American Music Hall on Jan. 6.
So grab your tuxedo and Stetson hat (or, whatever else sounds like proper Western Winter Formal garb to you) and get ready to boogie with The Easy Leaves.
To get a taste for the band, we recommend checking out “Get Down,” which is our favorite Easy Leaves number.
The evening’s lineup also includes Western Centuries, Alison Harris and DJ Golden Graham. - Jim Harrington / The Mercury News
We absolutely dig Camper Van Beethoven, the great indie-rock act responsible for such ’80s gems as “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and, of course, “Take the Skinheads Bowling.”
We also adore Cracker, the alt-rock juggernaut behind such 90s classics as “Low,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now),” “Get Off This” and “Euro-Trash Girl.”
Thus, not surprisingly, we highly recommend those two acts’ co-headlining tour, which rolls into the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco Dec. 30-31.
The busiest man in the house, of course, will be David Lowery, who is a member of both bands. And that’s cool with us, since we’re always in the mood for a double dose of that terrific singer-songwriter-guitarist. - Jim Harrington / San Jose Mercury News
One of the Bay Area’s indispensable musicians, drummer Scott Amendola can often be found in stripped-down settings, duking it out in his long-running duo with Hammond organist Wil Blades in Amendola vs. Blades or investigating spacious soundscapes in his new duo with bassist Zach Ostroff, Turning Into a Butterfly.
But as one year gets set to metamorphosize into the next, Amendola is assembling a formidable collection of improvisers in Orchestra di Pazzi (which could translate as crazy orchestra), which includes vocalists Aurora Josephson and Pamela Z; guitarists Henry Kaiser, Fred Frith and John Schott; ROVA saxophonists Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, Bruce Ackley and Steve Adams; vibraphonist Mark Clifford; cellist Crystal Pascucci; violinists Alisa Rose and Christina Stanley; and percussionists William Winant, Robert Lopez and Jordan Glenn. Whether splitting up into various smaller configurations or playing all together, the ensemble is conceived as a vehicle for impromptu exploration of sonic textures, dynamics, and interplay.
The gang will perform Dec. 30 at Slim’s in San Francisco. - East Bay Times
25-year-old Myles Parrish has been top-charting in the pop-rap scene for more than three years now. The Bay Area-born singer-songwriter is best known for his work years ago as a duo with Kalin White called “Myles and Kalin.” That ran its course in early 2016, and since then Myles has released the youthful, energetic mixtape Vomac and toured alongside house-name rappers Hoodie Allen and Luke Christopher on the recent “Hyphy Holidays Tour.” (For those who don’t know, “Vomac” refers to the name of the street that Parrish grew up on as a kid in Dublin, Calif.) On the introductory track of the same name, he raps about where he came from and where he is now, hoping his listeners also walk in the direction of their dreams and pursue what they love. Each track has a kick-back-and-relax feel alongside themes of reflection and an appreciation for the challenges and payoff Parrish has received during his career. The road ahead is only becoming brighter for him as we continue to see both his fan base and album listens across streaming services grow. - SF Weekly
Long before Green Day and Rancid became household names and 924 Gilman St. morphed into a West Coast CBGB's, the Bay Area's not-quiet-on-the-Eastern-front cities were churning out punk rock groups by the dozens. Corbett Redford's surprisingly thorough doc traces the scene's evolution from its early days crawling out of San Francisco's shadow to being dubbed the Next Seattle. Worth its weight in tattered Xeroxed 'zines. - Rolling Stone
The Minnesota Child is the moniker of Oakland, California-based, multi-faceted musician Ethan Buckner. His songs channel classic songwriters like Paul Simon and Justin Vernon, while not giving into overt nostalgia. Instead, The Minnesota Child transforms indie folk into something new, something larger and more immersive for their listeners. The production on “Fireflies” is lush, adding a sweet, delicate feel to their thoughtful instrumentation. The Minnesota Child is just getting started with “Fireflies” and it will be exciting to see what’s next for the inspired folk mastermind.
““Fireflies” is a call to remember that we all have the strength to get through whatever life in these crazy times throws at us. It is so common to feel broken, isolated, and alone, despite living in a time when we supposedly are more connected than ever. “Fireflies” is a reminder that we are actually not alone, that many have dealt with similar challenges before us, and that we can find our way in the darkness”, states Buckner.
The Minnesota Child will be releasing a new EP, titled Fireflies, on February 1st. - The Big Takeover
Get ready for a double dose of David Lowery, as the accomplished singer-songwriter-guitarist leads both of his best-known bands — Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven — into the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco for a two-night stand, Dec. 30-31.
It will be good to hear Camper Van motor through such indie gems as “Pictures of Matchstick Men,” “The Day That Lassie Went to the Moon” and, of course, “Take The Skinheads Bowling.”
But it should be even better to catch Cracker crank up “Low,” “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)” and other rockers. We just can’t get enough of Johnny Hickman’s lead guitar work. - San Jose Mercury News
The Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s December concerts are a Bay Area holiday tradition with a lot to say about why we love it here. The choir welcomes people of all faiths, colors and gender to sing the gospel of praise and generosity. The choir just got back from a tour of the South where they joined the San Francisco’s Gay Men’s Chorus for concerts raising money and awareness for LGBTQ equal rights — so these holiday shows should feel like a triumphant homecoming. LeVar Burton, former host of the PBS series Reading Rainbow, emcees the concert Dec. 2 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. They’re also doing two shows with the San Francisco Symphony, one with the Oakland Symphony, another show at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, and capping it off with a Christmas Eve show at Slim’s. - KQED The Do List
Dirtybird’s Justin Jay has predominantly been a solo DJ. From what started around as a group of friends jamming out, his band has morphed into a full-time musical endeavor. He spoke to SF Weekly about his newfound love of choir and opera, the Tame Impala reference on the cover art for his new album, Home, and the differences between touring as a DJ and as a member of a band.
Click HERE for the SF Weekly's interview!