Author Archive

New bluegrass from Sideline   Leave a comment

Sideline has a new album coming soon. Entitle Front and Center, the album will serve as the group’s first for Mountain Home and I am fortunate to have a copy in-hand. The album has at least five top-notch songs that I can recall after only a pair of listens. The best may be one entitled “Lysander Hayes” while “Old Time Way,” if memory serves, borrows the “Ground Hog” instrumental refrain. The group has released a pair of videos in advance of the album release in late April. “Thunder Dan” currently sits at #2 on the Bluegrass Today chart; Gordon Lightfoot’s “Song for a Winter’s Night” may not prove to be as chart-friendly simply because it isn’t as mainstream a song. Popularized in bluegrass by Tony Rice, this take features Skip Cherryholmes in the lead position.



Posted 2018 March 11 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Elk Run & Riot- Wandering video   Leave a comment

From Canmore:


Posted 2018 March 11 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Dave Richardson- Carry Me Along review   Leave a comment


Dave Richardson Carry Me Along

Dave Richardson is a relatively fresh voice on the North American folk scene, and with just a bit of justice and good fortune could also soon be a familiar voice.

From Vermont, Richardson possesses a strong voice and favours clean annunciation and guitar playing. His writing is similarly straight-forward, eschewing abstract word placement in favour of personable phrasing and descriptive language that captures mood, place, and character much like an effective short story author might. Carry Me Along, his third album (I believe), is most pleasing.

The album opens with a creative paean to an artifact discovered during a trip to the Smithsonian Institute; “Squid” may be the first folk song devoted to a giant cephalopod, and Richardson sings of the mysterious sea beastie with the honesty of an earnest lover. After this yearnsome tune, the aggressive independence of “Bachelor’s Hall”—the Appalachian variant owing more to Jean Ritchie than either Steeleye Span or Martin Simpson—reveals a darker view of courting: the truth seems to be—oceanic or interpersonal—relationships may not be worth the effort.

Similar introversion and introspection are found throughout this album. Featuring a dozen cuts, Carry Me Along is 2/3 original material with a handful of familiar melodies and traditional songs providing evidence of the influence the ballad tradition has had on this emerging and certainly talented artist. Bolstered by several different female vocalists—Liv Baxter, Emily Mure, and Mali Obomsawin, who also provides most of the bass—Richardson encompasses a variety of perspectives in his songs.

Richardson’s voice is quite perfect, neither artfully brooding or overly spry. Singing of companionable “Front Porch Time,” pastoral moments observing the “Rise and Play” of a fox, and astringent recrimination while “Driving So Far,” Richardson’s authenticity is resplendent with sincerity and texture: no one and no situation is one-dimensional. Child Ballad 78—”The Unquiet Grave”—perhaps provides the foundation for Richardson’s approach to folk music: a classic folk song provided a tad of personal inspiration without detracting from that which survived centuries.

Richardson rescues The McGarrigle’s barroom angel “Annie” (written by long-time collaborator Chaim Tannenbaum) from obscurity, late in the set pairing this ’74 out-take with the more idyllic, hopeful, and guitar-rich “Goodbye Baltimore.” Richardson also delivers a masterfully rendered interpretation of the  devastating murder ballad “Polly’s Ghost,” known variously elsewhere as “Love and Murder,” “The Cruel Ship’s Carpenter,” “Polly’s Love,” and “The Ghost Song”: one gets the drift.

Modern folk, true folk—that is music rooted in the tradition and performed within a traditional configuration—is increasingly rarely encountered. All the more reason to celebrate the music of Dave Richardson and his little masterpiece, Carry Me Along. One for the year-end list, I’m predicting.

Posted 2018 March 11 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Wylie & the Wild West- 2000 Miles From Nashville review   Leave a comment


I am really pleased with this review. I enjoyed listening to the album, not a real surprise since I like my country actually to sound like country music. But I also enjoyed writing the review, something that doesn’t always happen. I was able to weave in a couple words and phrases that brought a smile to my increasingly gnarled face. I also received a real nice note of feedback about the review, one that included the words “You are an exceptional writer…” Yeah, that never happens, so some positive feedback love was most appreciated. Regarding my writing, your kilometreage may vary, of course, but 2000 Miles From Home is a darned fine album, filled with memorable songs and performances. Check it out at Country Standard Time.

Sue Foley- The Ice Queen review   Leave a comment

sue foley

Sue Foley The Ice Queen Stony Plain Records

When one considers contemporary blues guitarists, naturally several come to mind, and being a bit northern-centric, Sue Foley immediately jumps to the fore. That paisley-bejeweled pink Telecaster wouldn’t be nearly as impressive in lesser hands, and over the course of nearly three decades as a touring bandleader, the Ottawa-native has certainly established a niche all her own.

Finger-picking his Foley’s forte, and the title track is an ideal example of her inimitable style; clocking in at six-plus minutes, the playful and self-deprecating number provides the album with a rock-solid foundation. But, as she has with various international sounds over the years, Foley also extends herself acoustically late in the set when she plays “The Dance,” this time utilizing the flamenco style.

As significant as the guitar playing is throughout the album—from Foley, of course, but also her guests including Charlie Sexton, Billy Gibbons, Jimmie Vaughan, to name the three most familiar—what is even more impressive is the depth she goes to give voice to these songs.

She gets low and bluesy a la Lucinda singing the many and diverse qualities of cruel ol’ “81” (“She’s a two-headed snake, and she winds her tail, from the mighty Appalachians to the gates of Hell”) while roaring above a lively ruckus on “Run,” a free-spirited jam featuring thick bass-notes from Austin’s Johnny Bradley and drumming from George Rains from Vaughan’s Tilt a Whirl band. This trio propels a pair of additional numbers—with help from others—Bessie Smith’s “Send Me To the ‘Lectric Chair” and “If I Have Forsaken You.”

Throughout, Foley’s singing is engaged as she brilliantly slips from one style to the next, each authentic within her blues experience. Foley’s haunting acoustic country-blues treatment of her own “Death of A Dream” is quite simply stunning, while  a lively (and apparently near-elusive) “Cannonball Blues” serves as an ideal conclusion to a collection set in tradition.

Featuring a bevy of Texas heat, The Ice Queen allows several of Foley’s musical friends an opportunity to make significant appearances. Charlie Sexton’s initial contributions—on the opening “Come To Me” and its follow-up “81”—are impressive, and set the theme for the album with masters collaborating in expected ways to yield extraordinary results. I’ve never been a particular fan of Vaughan’s, but he and Foley slip into “The Lucky Ones” with companionable ease. Producer Mike Flanigin’s Hammond B3 punctuates several songs, most effectively on the ramblin’ “Gaslight,” while Billy Gibbons gets fair gritty with Foley on “Fool’s Gold,” another number on which Flanigin is prominently featured.

The Ice Queen is Sue Foley’s first album in six years, and a more welcome, forceful, and confident return couldn’t be imagined. I imagine it is everything fans have been waiting for, and more. Now, to finesse an early-April road trip to Red Deer…



Steve Sainas- Simple As This review   Leave a comment


Steve Sainas Simple As This Sainas Songs/

Steve Sainas has been playing the blues throughout British Columbia’s lower mainland for years, with his band Mud Dog releasing three albums of straight-ahead, contemporary acoustic blues/rock.

Wielding an aggressive approach to resophonic and flat-top guitars, Sainas’ first release under his own name is an appealing slice of blues with a noticeable singer-songwriter bent. Emphasizing descriptive songwriting, Sainas provides listeners a guitar-rich journey through original creations.

A self-produced, self-released project, Simple As This is elevated by the cohesion of Sainas’ songs. Optimistic where the blues is frequently pessimistic, Sainas has elected to (largely) emphasize positive aspects of a society increasingly destructive through upbeat, engaging, and lively songs.

“Ruby Jo” benefits from a breezy approach befitting a tale of strength and freedom, with the apocalyptic “Cities On Fire” featuring forceful drumming from Kelly Stodola. “Why Do We Fall” and the title track are softer in their approach, and “Got Your Love” features nimble picking in the Doc Watson style. The searching quality of “So Alone” is buoyed by the throaty “My Darkest Days Are Done,” with “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” sending us off into the good night.

Given that instrumental parts of the album—guitar, bass, and drums—were captured in isolation at three separate studios and—one supposes—melded together, Simple As This is a surprisingly unified recording.

With little fanfare, Steve Sainas has delivered a satisfying and appealing trio album with lyrics receiving prominence not usually encountered in modern blues.

Posted 2018 February 19 by Donald Teplyske in Uncategorized

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Thomm Jutz- Crazy If You Let It review   Leave a comment


I missed posting this review that was published at Country Standard Time late in 2017. So, here it is.

Link to Thomm’s website.