Hailing from Oakland CA and describing their music as “slow southern folk” The Shants are – Skip Allums (guitars,vocals,piano), Samuel Tokheim (pedal steel) , Carver Cordes (bass) and Adam Burstein (drums) with Maggie Morris on harmony vocals.
The lead off track from their debut EP Russian River Songs sets the tone nicely and fits easily into the Americana genre, the mood created by the pedal steel and acoustic guitar set against the weary vocal and hushed harmonica fitting the song perfectly.
The EP was created in a cabin in the redwoods near the Russian River, recorded live to tape in one or two takes and has that natural organic sound that fits the songs well. As the album progresses the clear winner for me in this 8 track 30 minute song cycle is the steel playing of Samuel Tokhein that weaves through the songs offering a perfect foil for the laid back vocals of Skip Allums.
This album may not shout out to be noticed but it manages to subtly win over your attention, check out more from the band at their website
The band have plans to record and release a full length album soon – watch this space for updates.
San Francisco born actress and singer-songwriter Daisy McCrackin came to my attention through a recent email along with a link to listen to her current EP The Rodeo Grounds released through Astronaut Records the six track release proving to be a thoroughly enjoyable listen, Daisy’s voice, fragile and ethereal lending itself to her self penned brand of indie folk pop with it’s stripped down production and delicate acoustic arrangements, a mellow and thoughtful collection of love songs. Opening track Tell Her is my favourite from EP, advice from a girlfriend to her married lover.
Having posted last year the Kasey Chambers contribution to this Soundstage performance, here’s the other part to go with it from Americana legend Lucinda Williams, I was late to Lu’s music first taking notice of her fifth release the Grammy award winning album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road which won Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1998 (this is the same category that Neko Case is nominated for in this year’s Grammy’s for Middle Cyclone), the album was re-packaged, remastered and released in deluxe form in 2006 to include three bonus tracks and a 13 song live set. Car Wheels remains a favourite album of mine and is a seminal release in the genre, a read of the credits for this album tells the story, Gulf Morlix, Steve Earle, Greg Leisz, Buddy Miller, Emmylou, Jim Lauderdale, Charlie Sexton. This broadcast set from the July 2003 performance at PBR’s Soundstage includes tracks from Lucinda’s albums, Essence, World Without Tears and Car Wheels. Ventura