June 30, 2016

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Music Spotlight: The High Kings

The High Kings is a folk group from Ireland.  The band came together in 2008, and has released four studio albums as a group.  NPR initially wrote a story about them when the band was first formed, and one thing I loved from their story on The High Kings was the meaning behind the band's name: 

"The way the music is all-embracing — it belongs to everyone. You know, the high kings 'disbanded,' for want of a better word, so long ago in history that nobody really knows where the royal blood lies in Ireland, or who's the real families. So we just thought everyone in Ireland can claim to be royalty."

What really attracted me to The High Kings is the way they are able to take folk music and make it their own- yet still preserving the tradition of their country. Nothing encompasses this more than their song Red Is The Rose: 

You can follow The High Kings on Twitter @TheHighKings.  Their music is available here

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

May 09, 2016

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Music Spotlight: Maren Morris

Marren Morris is a musician, singer and songwriter from Arlington, Texas.  While she has recently found mainstream success with her hit single My Church, Morris had been writing songs for years before Keith Urban invited Morris on tour after listening to a few of her songs.  Morris is releasing a full-length album, Hero, on June 3. Her quote in the Star-Telegram sums up what to expect incredibly well: 

“It’s a good blend of, I feel like, country and R&B,” Morris says. “I just grew up in a house of not musical parents, but music lovers. … I feel like it’s hard to box this record into any one genre and I don’t think people listen to music like that anymore, anyway. There’s something for everybody.”

My favorite songs include My Church, I Wish I Was, & 80's Mercedes

You can follow Maren Morris on Twitter @MarenMorris.  Her music is available here.

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

 

April 20, 2016

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Music Spotlight: Josh Garrels

Josh Garrels is an American singer-songwriter with a focus on Christian music.  His music lends a folky substance with a unique blend of melody that provides for an incredible listen.  Garrels path to becoming a musician is intimately intertwined with his spirituality.  Jeff Koch's article on Garrels sheds some light on this connection: 

"Singer-songwriter Josh Garrels admitted it took a while for the gospel to “sink in.” Throughout the haze of drugs and partying in his teen years, Garrels felt a calling on his life. “Even when I was on these crazy acid trips I had this weird sense that the Sprit of God was with me,” he told Christianity Today. After his sister came to faith and brought him to church, things came together, and Garrels decided to follow Christ."

My favorite songs include Born Again, Colors, White Owl, & Don't Wait For Me.

You can follow Josh Garrels on Twitter @JoshGarrels. His music is available here.

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

January 21, 2016

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Music Spotlight: Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile is a country/folk singer and songwriter from Ravensdale, Washington.  Carlile's 2015 album release, Firewatcher's Daughter, recently received a grammy nomination for 'best americana album.'

There's plenty of reason for the critical acclaim.  Carlile's voice has this combination of power and range that brings out this sense of urgency and beauty in her music.  NPR's Ken Tucker had this to say regarding Carlile's musical stylings:

"Brandi Carlile has such a powerful voice, strong and surging and urgent with controlled emotion, that much of her previous work has showcased her vocals against a subdued background.  In other words, it was easy to think of her in a folk or pop context rather than in terms of rock or country.  But it's clear that one of Carlile's goals on "The Firewatcher's Daughter" has been to expand not just into other genres, but into new degrees of intensity."

My favorite songs include Wherever Is Your Heart, Hard Way Home, If There Was No You, & I Belong To You. 

You can follow Brandi Carlile on Twitter @brandicarlile.  Her music is available here and here.

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

January 07, 2016

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Music Spotlight: Joe Pug

Joe Pug is a singer/songwriter from Greenbelt, Maryland now residing in Austin, Texas.  Pug's voice is as smoky as Austin barbecue, and when combined with his lyrics creates an authentic and unique brand of music.  

One of the things that caught my attention after I discovered Pug's music was how he got his start.  From his website biography

"After dropping out of college and taking on work as a carpenter in Chicago, he got his musical start by providing CDs for his fans to pass along to their friends. This led to a string of sold out shows and a record deal with Nashville indie Lightning Rod Records."

There was a time before social media became a staple of discovery, where becoming a well-known artist took a distribution channel comprised of family and friends.  Joe Pug is proof that system still produced some incredible artists. 

My favorite songs include Hymn #76, Bright Beginnings, The Measure, Messenger, and Hymn #101. 

You can follow Joe Pug on Twitter @joepug.  His music is available here

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

December 22, 2015

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Music Spotlight: Della Mae

Della Mae is a americana/folk/roots band from Boston, Massachusetts now residing in Nashville, Tennessee.  I love the old school, harmonic, & gospel feel to Della Mae.  The band released their third album, self-titled Della Mae, in May of this year. 

The Boston Globe had a stellar review of the album, which was summed up nicely with this one sentence:

“Della Mae” is smart and assured, a continuation of the band’s penchant for blurring the lines between bluegrass, folk, soul, and old-time traditions.

While Della Mae's music is impressive on its own, what really caught my attention was what Caleb Murphy noted in his article about the band: 

"As a part of the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad program, the group, formed in Boston and now based in Nashville, has played concerts in Pakistan, Kazakhstan and many other places around the world." 

The article explains the mission of the American Music Abroad Program-which is to expose people in other countries to American music while aiming to make cultural connections.

Put this all together, and there is only one concusion: Della Mae is a band made up of wonderful people who make incredible music.  My favorite songs include Boston TownHigh Away Gone (Listed as one of NPR's favorite songs in 2015), Pine Tree, & Sweet Verona. 

You can follow Della Mae on Twitter @heyheydellamae.  Their music is available here.

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

November 04, 2015

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Music Spotlight: Andrew Peterson

Andrew Peterson is a folk/gospel/country artist currently residing in Nashville, TN.  He is also a founding member of the Square Peg Alliance, a group of Christian Songwriters.  Peterson's ability to craft lyrics is readily apparent in his music.  Couple that with a voice that gracefully dances from one note to the next, and the result is incredible music. 

Peterson released his latest album, The Burning Edge of Dawn, in October of this year.  My favorite songs from this record include My One Safe Place, The Dark Before Dawn, Rejoyce, & Be Kind To Yourself

You can follow Andrew Peterson on Twitter @AndrewPeterson.  His music is available here

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

October 28, 2015

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Music Spotlight: Mipso

Mipso is a bluegrass/americana stringband based out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The familiar folk feel from the combination of strings is the result of Jacob Sharp on Mandolin, Joseph Terrell on guitar, Libby Rodenbough on fiddle, and Wood Robinson on double bass.  What I love about this band is the way the harmonies perfectly move with the strings, producing a new school kind of bluegrass- something that really draws you in to every note.  Cybergrass elegant description of Mipso's newly released album Old TIme Reverie says all you need to know: 

"Birthed from the ongoing renaissance currently enriching and expanding the traditional vocabularies of old time and bluegrass music, Old Time Reverie finds rising stringband Mipso putting time-honored tools to work on new terrain – with evocative, intoxicating results."

My favorite songs include Carolina Calling, Honeybee, Marianee, Louise, & Down in the Water. 

You can follow Mispo on Twitter @mipsomusic.  Their music is available here

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

October 06, 2015

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Music Spotlight: The Milk Carton Kids

The Milk Carton Kids are a folk/indie/americana duo from Eagle Rock, California. This duo sets the standard when it comes to harmonizing lyrical melodies, layered over beautiful guitar play.  NPR's Stephen Thompson had high praise for the band in his review of The Milk Carton Kids' recently released album, Monterey:

"The Milk Carton Kids' Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan craft soft, timeless ballads in close harmony — and, as such, recall the reverently beautiful likes of Simon & Garfunkel."

My favorite songs include Poison Tree, New York, Wish You Were Here, Michigan, & Honey, Honey

You can follow The Milk Carton Kids on Twitter @MilkCartonKids.  Their music is available here

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

September 30, 2015

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Music Spotlight: Trampled By Turtles

Trampled By Turtles is a bluegrass/folk/americana band from Duluth, MN.  As someone born in the great state of Minnesota and a finisher of Duluth's Grandma's Marathon, I definitely have some bias when it comes to this group.   This band reminds me of the Turnpike Troubadours, though Trampled By Turtles plays more with melodies (and does so beautifully) than the aforementioned.  NPR's Bob Boilen had this to say about the band after a Tiny Desk Concert:

"What immediately attracted me to Trampled by Turtles when I first saw the band was its speed, but the Minnesotans are about more than just blistering bluegrass. They also write beautiful, heartfelt folk-pop songs."

I think the comparison to Turnpike Troubadours has to do more than just the folk/americana classification.  Both bands craft lyrics in such a way that no word is empty- each word is written to have meaning, and when coupled with the incredible instrumental play of Trampled By Turtles, you get incredible music. 

My favorite songs include Wait So Long, Come Back Home, Winners, & Where Is My Mind? (Pixies Cover).

You can follow Trampled By Turtles on Twitter @tbtduluth.  Their music is available here.

Hogjim is a small business specializing in innovative guitar gear.  To check out some of their products, click here.

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