While not all music-making siblings get along – for example: Ray and Dave Davies, Noel and Liam Gallagher, and Phil and Don Everly – they nearly always make wonderful music together. More specifically, their voices blend together and create a sound that is pure magic. No matter what genre they are performing, when siblings create music, it always comes layered with deep emotion. These are people who grew up together, bathed in the same influences and experiences. In many ways, the Folk, Country, and Americana genres are perfect playgrounds for that sibling magic. This is music that grew up on the dusty backroads of America, performed by musicians rooted in love, religion, and family. Even when siblings go their separate ways and travel on their own musical journeys, their bond still remains. And this is where the Whitmore Sisters come in…

While they have not previously released a full album together, the Whitmore Sisters are certainly no strangers to the music industry. Although she spent time in Steve Earle’s band, Eleanor Whitmore is best known as a member of The Mastersons with her husband Chris Masterson. Over the course of four albums – BIRDS FLY SOUTH (2011), GOOD LUCK CHARM (2014), TRANSIENT LULLABY (2017), and NO TIME FOR LOVE SONGS (2020) – the group has established itself as one of the finest Americana bands currently treading the boards. Eleanor’s younger sister, Bonnie, has been building an impressive catalog of solo albums including PICKING UP PIECES (2004), EMBERS TO ASHES (2011), FUCK WITH SAD GIRLS (2016) and LAST WILL & TESTAMENT (2020). While The Mastersons have appeared on some of Bonnie’s albums, the sisters have not recorded an album together… until now.

2022’s GHOST STORIES may be The Whitmore Sisters’ ‘debut’ album, but it feels as warm and comforting as an old friend. Eleanor and Bonnie’s voices sound wonderful when they work on their own, but together, they intertwine like the best of them. The sisters instinctively know when to step forward and when to fall back, making GHOST STORIES an event to absorb and rejoice in. With tracks like “Learn to Fly”, “Hurtin’ for a Letdown”, “Superficial World of Love”, “Friends We Leave Behind”, and the title track, the Whitmore Sisters sing from the heart… to the heart. These are real songs about very real feelings. Nine of the eleven tracks are new originals with two cover versions, one of which is the Paul McCartney-penned “On the Wings of a Nightingale”, which was written for the Everly Brothers. There’s a gentle, playful spirit that is woven into the music on GHOST STORIES even when the subject matter is a little more serious and heartfelt. And that’s the way it should be.



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Founded in 2005, The Lumineers has become one of the most respected Americana/Folk-Rock bands of their generation. Comprised of singer/guitarist Wesley Schultz and multi-instrumentalist Jeremiah Fraites, the duo began performing in 2002 in New York City under a variety of names before finally settling on The Lumineers in 2005. The band struggled to balance their day jobs and musical career, but after several years, they left the hustle and bustle of NYC and settled in Denver, Colorado. It was there that the duo found their true voice. They had moved on from the cover versions of their early days and connected with an audience with their own unique originals. In order to expand their sound, they recruited cellist Neyla Pekar and, shortly thereafter, things began to happen for The Lumineers.

Signing with Dualtone Records, the group released their self-titled debut album in April 2012. The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and was an international success, reaching the Top 10 in the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, and Ireland. Both critically and commercially successful, the Lumineers became one of the most popular Americana and Indie Folk bands on the scene. Their second album, CLEOPATRA, was released in 2016 and was another success, reaching #1 in the US and UK. Three years later, they followed that up with their third album, III, which hit #2 in the US and Top 10 in the UK, Canada, and Switzerland. Taking a short break, Wesley Schultz released a solo album of covers – VIGNETTES (2020) – while writing songs for the next Lumineers album. In the meantime, Jeremiah Fraites released the instrumental album PIANO PIANO in 2021. With their solo releases in shops, the duo got back to working on the next Lumineers project…

2022’s BRIGHTSIDE, the group’s fourth album, finds the Lumineers sounding confident while also continuing to explore and experiment. But don’t be scared by the words ‘explore’ and ‘experiment’ make you nervous – this is most definitely a classic Lumineers album. However, there have been a lot of changes in the world since 2019’s III and you can feel that in the music. The atmosphere of BRIGHTSIDE is heavier, darker, and drips with emotion. There’s still plenty of joy to be found – these folks are definitely in love with creating music – but the pandemic has changed everything for all of us. Songs like “A.M. Radio”, “Big Shot”, “Never Really Mine”, “Rollercoaster”, and the title track use the Lumineers’ distinct sound with an additional layer that you ‘feel’ more than hear. With all that being said, this perfectly fits in with the Lumineers’ natural progression and will undoubtedly be yet another timeless gem in their treasure chest. But enjoy it now – it is a gift for the present… so be present for the gift!



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The son of post-bop jazz saxophonist Roland Alexander, Taru Alexander began playing drums at the age of seven. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was surrounded by his dad’s friends and bandmates including Freddie Hubbard, Reggie Workman, and others. Taru’s first professional gigs came at the age of 13 as a member of his father’s quintet. His first recording came when he worked with Fred Houn and the Afro-Asian Music Ensemble on the 1985 album TOMORROW IS NOW! A well-known figure in the New York jazz scene, Taru became an in-demand sideman and recorded albums with Rodney Kendrick, Carlos Garnett, Sonny Simmons, and Salim Washington’s Harlem Arts. In all, Taru has appeared as a sideman on more than 50 albums. Outside of his recording commitments, toured or performed with Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Hank Jones, Carlos Garnett, and many others.

For his 2022 album, ECHOES OF THE MASTER, Taru Alexander has chosen to move forward while also looking back. In order to celebrate the musical legacy of his father and his father’s contemporaries, he gathered together an amazing group of musicians to record a handful of classic Jazz compositions but inject them with new energy. On the album, he is joined by Memphis-born pianist James Hurt, who has been part of the New York jazz scene for nearly three decades. The album also features saxophonist Antoine Roney and bassist Rashaan Carter, who Taru met on a recording session led by saxophonist Michael Marcus in 2008. The sessions also featured vocalist Hanka G, who scats and sings up a storm on “I Mean You”.

ECHOES OF THE MASTER begins with the group’s interpretation of Roland Alexander’s “Change Up”, a stellar opener filled with energy and swagger. The album continues to build energy with the previously mentioned take on Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins’ “I Mean You”. The album also includes covers of Buster Williams’ “Deception”, McCoy Tyner’s “Peresina”, Wayne Shorter’s “Pinocchio”, and another Roland Alexander-penned track, “A Kojo Time”, which was written when Taru was born. While ECHOES OF THE MASTER is rooted in the past, it offers a fresh and invigorating spin on this material and of the genre. The album mixes Bebop with straight ahead Jazz and Taru’s unique skills as a leader and drummer, which brings Taru’s musical journey full circle.



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Rock ‘n’ roll saved the world. Back in the mid-1950 when it came rumbling out of nowhere, parents tried to stop their kids from listening to this new raw, primal, and edgy music that blended Hillbilly with Rhythm & Blues and a huge dollop of adrenaline. As we know, Rock ‘n’ Roll was too wild to contain, and it spread throughout the U.S. and then made its way around the world in just a matter of months. Rock ‘n’ roll scared the older generation because they were not familiar or comfortable with the ‘noise’ that the kids made. And those ‘kids’ were the musicians that we now consider legends – the long list includes Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and the man who invented the Rock ‘n’ Roll guitar riff, Chuck Berry.

Elvis has been referred to as the ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ for decades, but music historians have challenged that title for almost as long as it has existed. Sure, Elvis was the acceptable face of Rock ‘n’ Roll and was the best-selling artist of the era, but was he actually the ‘King’? Elvis moved quickly from a Hillbilly/Rockabilly singer to Rock ‘n’ Roll star, to movie idol in such a short amount of time, trading some of his Rock ‘n’ Roll edge for a shot at superstardom. Some argue that the real king of Rock ‘n’ Roll was Chuck Berry, and there’s a lot of proof out there that backs that claim up. From his Rock ‘n’ Roll riffs to his rebellious attitude, Chuck Berry personified the true essence of the genre. And besides, many iconic groups – from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to the Beach Boys – covered or ‘borrowed from’ Chuck Berry’s biggest hits but rarely touched an Elvis tune.

Chuck Berry stuck to his guns throughout his career, playing Rock ‘n’ Roll music his way. Rarely straying from the formula, he created, Chuck was a tough cookie with some of the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll guitar riffs in history. He didn’t always make the Top 40, but his reputation never dimmed. Even during those long spells between studio albums, he was always on the road, keeping the primal and raw edge alive. On LIVE FROM BLUEBERRY HILL, a previously unreleased live show from 1996, his playing is a little slower, but his Rock ‘n’ Roll spirit is alive and well and ready to strike. Gathering together 10 of his greatest songs – including “Johnny B. Goode”, “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, and “Rock and Roll Music” – LIVE FROM BLUEBERRY HILL presents the man himself continuing to do what he was born to do. The show is rough and sticks to the same spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll that Berry invented over 60 years ago. While Elvis may have gone out as an entertainer, Chuck Berry was still a true rocker. Some say he was the ‘King’, but that is for you to decide.



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The COVID-19 pandemic cast a large and menacing shadow over every aspect of our lives. In 2020, families were kept apart, businesses suffered, large gatherings of people were forbidden, and it seemed as if things may never get back to normal. But what was normal before the pandemic and what is the new normal? For some folks, things never changed. For others, their mental health was most certainly challenged by all the confusion and radically different talking points. The music business was thrown for a loop, with tours being cancelled or postponed and recording sessions brought to a halt. Record stores shut their does, some of them for good while others had to refocus their attention to their online business in order to survive. Things have always been changing and evolving over the years, but in 2020 and 2021, the music business scrambled to adapt to a whole new way of life.

But what about the artists? Well, if they weren’t able to tour, they focused on creating their art. And over the course of the last year, we have been able to experience the fruits of their labor. From Greatest Hits sets to archive compilations, acoustic recordings to new albums, we have been witnessed to the positives that can emerge by a virus that has wreaked havoc across the globe. Take Bria, for example. Essentially a duo featuring Orville Peck/FRIGS members Bria Salmena and Duncan Hay Jennings (plus backing vocalist Jaime McCuaig, FRIGS drummer Kris Bowering and vocalist Ali Jennings), Bria occupies that musical universe which incorporates Country, Folk, and Americana. However, this group of talented individuals chose not to write a batch of songs inspired by the pandemic. Instead, they decided to record a small handful of cover versions that connected with their emotions. As Bria Salmena states: “I wanted to listen for what might reflect my life back to me, six tracks that could be my mirror.”  CUNTRY COVERS VOL. 1 is the resulting EP.

As 2021 comes to a close, CUNTRY COVERS VOL 1 arrives just in time to wrap up the year melody, melancholy, and mystery. Featuring songs originally released by Karen Dalton (“Green Rocky Road”), Waylon Jennings (“Dreaming My Dreams With You”), John Cale (“Buffalo Ballet”), Mistress Mary (“I Don’t Wanna Love Ya Now”), Lucinda Williams (“Fruits Of My Labor”), and the Walker Brothers (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”). The recordings are not rough and raw, but they aren’t polished to perfection, either. These are songs with a heartbeat – human to a wonderful fault. This is as real as it gets and doesn’t flinch in allowing emotion to dart between the beats and breaths of the songs. Only six songs, CUNTRY COVERS VOL. 1 leaves the listener wanting more. But if you go back and take another listen, the songs will unravel a different layer and feeling. Listen again, and same thing. Go ahead and give it a spin. Over and over again.



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For a musician, longevity is always the goal. No musician wants to leave their mundane day job, make a few records, and tour the country several times, only to be back working a day job in two- or three-years’ time. However, even if they do fall into that all-too-common situation, they still create music in their spare time. A true artist never stops creating – it is in their blood. Very few musicians are able to push forward, leap over obstacles, overcome failures, and continue on their quest to take their art to a new level. It takes determination, strength, belief, and passion to accomplish anything in this universe, but you must possess a little magic in order to connect with an audience and, more importantly to maintain that connection. Jeff Rosenstock is one of those artists.

Born in Long Island, he first came to prominence in 1998 as a member of ska-punk band The Arrogant Sons of Bitches. His next high-profile project, Bomb the Music Industry! debuted in 2005. And let’s not forget the other bands he was involved with – Pegasuses-XL, Kudrow, Antartictgo Vespucci, and the Bruce Lee Band. And then there is his production work for The Smith Street Band, Binary Heart, Mikey Erg, Laura Stevenson, and others. And we haven’t even touched on his successful solo career including the albums WE COOL? (2015), WORRY (2016), POST- (2018), and NO DREAM (2020). An artist that is capable of moving between genres with ease – sometimes in the same song – Rosenstock has become a critical favorite and has built a loyal following over the years. With NO DREAM drawing rave reviews, the pandemic brought live shows to a halt. With time on their hands, Rosenstock and his band contemplated their next step. They settled on something very special…

2021’s SKA DREAM is a blending of Rosenstock’s past and present: a complete Ska re-working of NO DREAM. Where the original album was energetic modern Punk, SKA DREAM takes the songs in a more spirited direction. Still packed with that Punk edge, they Ska rhythms add a different layer to the songs, taking removing the angst and replacing it with a more playful style of angst. SKA DREAM does not remove the emotional punch of NO DREAM – it just redirects it in a different direction. There’s no denying that Rosenstock’s career has taken him on many different paths, but this album brings everything full circle without feeling like it is just a trip down Ska Punk nostalgia lane. It is new, fresh, and fun. And as we know, we could all use more fun in our lives!



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Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde is a monster. Well, not literally a monster, but if you listen to his guitar riffs – the way they slither, slide, and strike – they will haunt and enchant your dreams in equal measures. Just like those Universal Monsters and Hammer Horror films. His monstrous riffs make an impact and leave their mark. A dyed-in-the-wool Hard Rock fan, Wylde understands every nuance of what makes rock music a powerful tool. He’s learned from his influences and has added his own stamp to the music that he has been creating on his own for nearly 30 years. While many artists tend to lose their power and focus three decades into their career, Zakk Wylde just keeps knocking those astonishing riffs back like cans of cheap beer at a July 4th barbecue… and he shows absolutely NO signs of stopping.

Zakk Wyle first came to prominence in the late 1980s when he joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band and made his first appearance on 1988’s NO REST FOR THE WICKED album. After several more albums with Ozzy, Wylde released the 1994 self-titled album with his band Pride & Glory. The album was still heavy, but the group’s sound was largely influenced by Southern Rock. In between more albums and tours with Ozzy, he released the solo album BOOK OF SHADOWS in 1996. Wylde stepped things up a notch when he formed the band Black Label Society, who released, SONIC BREW, their debut album, in 1999. The perfect project to display his talents, Black Label Society has been Wylde’s main artistic vehicle since he left Ozzy’s band after the 2007 album BLACK RAIN. While BLS has forged a distinct sound over time, they also move forward with each release. And 22 years after their debut, they remain fresh and invigorating.

With the release of DOOM CREW, INC., Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society return with a monster of an album. While the title of the album my reference the group’s tendency to travel down darker avenues, the album is far from depressing. In some ways, the sound of DOOM CREW, INC. reflects the times we live in – dark, grey, and ominous – yet it also features moments that are quite haunting and beautiful. Wylde’s pounding riffs and bellowing vocals give way to ethereal acoustic guitars that seem to float and swirl around the room. Like Led Zeppelin and other Classic Rock bands, Zack Wylde and Co. know how to balance the heavy riffs, the melodies, and the inner groove of the songs, creating powerful music that sticks with you long after the party has ended. Highlights from DOOM CREW, INC. include “Set You Free”, “Forever And A Day”, “Love Reign Down”, “You Made Me Want To Live”, and “Gather My Sins”. It’s time to give in to the power of Black Label Society!



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Founded in Orange County, California in 2004, alt-rock band Cold War Kids was formed by Nathan Willett (vocals/piano/guitar) and Matt Maust (bass) with Jonnie Russell (guitar) and Matt Aveiro (drums). After several well-received EPs, the group released their debut album, ROBBERS & COWARDS, in 2006. The album was an international hit, entering the Top 40 in the UK, Scotland, and Belgium, but only reached #173 in the U.S. However, the album created a buzz that got louder with each passing month, paving way for the release of LOYALTY TO LOYALTY (2008), which reached #21 in the U.S. and charted high internationally. The group became favorites with critics and music fans alike, moving from strength to strength and building their career bit by bit, piece by piece. And their success didn’t stop there…

MINE IS YOURS (2011) was another international hit, proving that the band – who continued to evolve with each release – had hit on a winning formula. Although they lost original guitarist Jonnie Russell (replaced by former Modest Mouse member Dann Gallucci), the group’s commercial and critical momentum continued with DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS (2013). By the time they released HOLD MY HOME (2014), original drummer Matt Aveiro had been replaced by Joe Plummer, another former member of Modest Mouse. The group had expanded by one member as well with the addition of keyboardist Matthew Schwartz. Guitarist David Quon replaced Dann Gallucci by the time L.A. DIVINE was released in 2017. The band’s obvious funk and soul influences came to the fore on their seventh album, NEW AGE NORMS 1 (2019), the first in a trilogy of releases. The second volume, NEW AGE NORMS 2, was released in 2020.

As 2021 draws to a close, Cold War Kids release their ninth album NEW AGE NORMS 3, the closing chapter of the trilogy. The rough and raw sound of the group’s early EPs and debut album has evolved over time. Still filled with Pop hooks and inventive arrangements, the group has roughened out the edges and upped their songwriting chops. This evolution is not new – the band has been moving in this direction for over a decade – but the ending results are quite impressive. The album’s lead single is “What You Say” but the album is filled with ‘should-be-hits’ including “I Can’t Walk Away”, “Wasted All Night”, and “Always” to name a few. For a band that could easily rest on its laurels, Cold War Kids have decided to sharpen their focus and create an album that will reach a new legion of fans while not alienating their longtime followers. NEW AGE NORMS 3 may be the final word in this trilogy but the group leaves things open for new stories and new musical explorations… so stay tuned!



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Does anyone remember who won the great Britpop war of the 1990s? Was it Oasis or was it Blur? Or maybe Suede? My Life Story? Super Furry Animals? Back then, it seemed like such a big deal but now it is just another thumbtack on the road map of pop culture. In hindsight, you’ll realize that very few of the Britpop bands survived the battle without losing band members or falling apart altogether. While the Britpop bands’ music continues to be played and talked about, only a handful of the musicians involved had any longevity in the music industry. The sparring Oasis brothers (Liam and Noel Gallagher) certainly did since both are still releasing music (separately, of course). Suede, My Life Story, and a few other bands have returned from the shadows after hiding away for a bit. However, only one of the Britpop artists involved has thrived – and evolved – since the wars died down: Damon Albarn.

As leader of Blur, he was the voice of young England in the 1990s and withstood the punches and blows from his main competitors, those cantankerous Gallagher brothers. When the dust settled, he set Blur aside and pursued many different musical avenues including Gorillaz, Mali Music, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and many other side-projects and collaborations. More importantly, Damon Albarn experimented with many styles of music – from electronica to hip hop, pop to world music. Using his high profile for good, Albarn was also one of the forces behind the Honest Jon’s Records label, helping to release many obscure and eclectic artists. While his musical projects have been successful both artistically and/or commercially, Albarn has continued to follow his muse, creating or supporting music that he feels passionate about.

Now, in 2021, Damon Albarn unleashes THE NEARER THE FOUNTAIN, MORE PURE THE STREAM FLOWS, an album that stands apart from his previous releases yet still retains that classic Albarn songwriting style. Initially, the album was meant to be an orchestral album inspired by Iceland’s landscapes but the pandemic – and ensuing lockdowns – changed the direction of the project. The album evolved and became a proper solo album with Damon’s voice surrounded by a landscape of electronic noises, both modern and vintage. The songs can sometimes feel cold and barren yet, overall, they are wonderous in their honest beauty. Without making too any comparisons, fans of Albarn’s past projects will embrace the album, but it will also interest fans of pioneering rock legends like David Bowie. In fact, Bowie’s presence can be felt between the different atmospheres that Albarn creates on THE NEARER THE FOUNTAIN, MORE PURE THE STREAM FLOWS. This is an album with depth and emotion that is buoyed by wonderful melodies. If you think you know Damon Albarn, then give this album a spin. You will find that he’s still evolving, still experimenting, and still as relevant as ever.



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Founded in 2011, New Albany, Indiana-based alternative blues band Houndmouth was founded by Matt Myers (guitar/vocals), Zak Appleby (bass/vocals), Shane Cody (drums/vocals), and Katie Toupin (keyboards/vocals). The quartet began playing locally and in surrounding areas, building up a cache of self-penned material. As their popularity began to grow, the members of Houndmouth realized that the next logical step was to head into the studio and record the material that they had been working on. In 2012, they released their self-titled EP to great acclaim. In order to build their audience outside their area, the quartet headed to Texas in March 2012 to promote the EP. Their live performance impressed audience member Geoff Travis, the head of Rough Trade Records, who signed the band to his label. There was no looking back for Houndmouth…

The band’s debut album, FROM THE HILLS BELOW THE CITY, was released in 2013. The album was embraced by the Americana crowd, and it earned the band press, television appearances (Letterman, Conan, etc.), high profile live shows and music festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, the Americana Music Festival, and more. Houndmouth’s second album, LITTLE NEON LIMELIGHT, earned them even more kudos and the band headed out on the road to promote the album and the #1 single “Sedona”. The album landed in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Folk Albus chart and Indie Albums chart. However, Katie Toupin departed Houndmouth in 2016 and the remaining trio signed to Reprise Records. They released the album GOLDEN AGE in 2018 to more acclaim. Over the course of the next three years, Houndmouth left Reprise Records and signed with respected indie label Dualtone Records and began work on their fourth album.

In 2021, the trio finally release their long-awaited fourth album GOOD FOR YOU. While the classic Houndmouth sound is alive and well on the album, there is more emotional depth and intimacy on songs such as “Cool Jam”, “Miracle Mile”, “Goodbye”, and “Good for You”. The album was recorded with Brad Cook (Waxahatchee, Hiss Golden Messenger) and mixed by Jon Ashley (The War On Drugs, B.J. Barham), both of whom brought that warm and rustic sound out of the band again. In some ways, this is a return to the band’s early sound, yet they sound fresh and invigorated and ready to take on the world. Further GOOD FOR YOU highlights include “Make it To Midnight”, “Ride or Die”, and the single/video “Las Vegas”. In a world that sometimes feels like it is going topsy-turvy, Houndmouth’s GOOD FOR YOU is a reassuring audio hug when you need it most.



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