Thirteen prime slices of hallowed gospel from the Kentucky born Stovall Sisters and The Swan Silvertones to Mississippi’s latest stars, the Como Mamas. I’ve heard some say that God is dead. Others, that he comes in the form of the dollar bills that line your wallet. I’m not sure about any of that, but I do know that when you put on a track like Evelyn Freeman’s “Didn’t It Rain” or “The Upper Way” from The Violinaires, there’s only one word to describe it: transcendental. So go ahead, get saved.

Aquarium Drunkard Presents: Gospel Fire – A Mixtape

Cutting his teeth in Music City, Peter Stringer-Hye is no stranger to the hustle of the music industry. In short time he has been a member of D. Watusi and the Paperhead while manning rhythm guitar for alt-country darlings Promised Land Sound. Enter: the “Sunday Girls” EP, Stringer-Hye’s solo debut. Stacked with 4 cuts of late sixties inspired jingle jangle folk-rock punctuated with buzzing guitar solos, the din conjures up Dillard and Clark from their fantastic expedition. words / d norsen

The EP is out on December 4th via Trouble in Mind Records, pressed in an edition of 500 copies.

ADOur weekly two hour show on SIRIUS/XMU, channel 35, can now be heard twice, every Friday – Noon EST with an encore broadcast at Midnight EST.

SIRIUS 410: Jean Michel Bernard – Générique Stephane ++ Deerhunter – Ad Astra ++ Gary Numan – Are Friends Electric? ++ Deerhunter – Snakeskin ++ Deerhunter – Dr. Glass ++ Beach House – Sparks ++ The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms ++ Josef K – 16 Years ++ Fire Engines – Meat Whiplash ++ Ought – Beautiful Blue Sky ++ The Fall – What You Need ++ The Clash – The Call Up ++ Women – Shaking Hand ++ Viet Cong – Static Wall ++ Women – Eyesore ++ Ought – Money Changes Everything (AD Session) ++ Harlem – Goodbye Horses ++ Sonic Youth – Winner’s Blues ++ Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe – Friendlies ++ Deaf Wish – Mercy ++ Lower Dens – Tea Lights ++ Omni – Wire ++ Vaselines – Slushy ++ The Art Museums – Oh Modern Girls ++ Whitney – No Matter Where We Go ++ Ultimate Painting – Talking Central Park Blues ++ Parquet Courts – Careers In Combat ++ Pavement – Jackals, False Grails – The Lonesome Era ++ The Mekons – Where Were You? ++ Guided By Voices – Sister I Need Wine (Cromag Demo) ++ Pylon – Cool

*Listen for free, online, with the SIRIUS three day trial — just submit an email address and they will send you a password.


Lagniappe (la·gniappe) noun ˈlan-ˌyap,’ – 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

Alex Bleeker’s latest, Country Agenda, lit out last month via Sinderlyn Records. Their third LP, the album finds Bleeker and co. further mining and expanding upon their shared set of influences — a record aptly described by their label as “drawing on the same wizened energy and brilliant restraint as Crazy Horse, the Dead, Moby Grape and other like­-minded cosmic travelers.”

This week’s installment of the Lagniappe Sessions features Bleeker, solo, dipping into both the past and present. The artist, in his own words, below…


It’s so fun to cover other peoples songs. When I was in school I remember transcribing a long passage of Nabokov’s – and just to feel the physical sensation of typing those words – his words, in my fingers, was profound. I feel similarly about covering each of these songs, all of which I consider to be a kind of masterpiece.

Alex Bleeker :: Travelin’ (Jeremy Spencer Band)

Jeremy Spencer was a member of Fleetwood Mac and he left to help establish the Children of God, a heavy Christian Cult. It makes me wonder whose love he is singing about in this song. Nonetheless, it’s an amazing song and has been a tour van favorite for years.

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If Charlie Christian was a gunslinger, there’d be a Whole Lot of dead copycats.

Sure Charles Mingus was referring to Charlie Parker with the “dead copycats” line, but he could have just as well been talking about Charlie Christian. Christian was a pioneering guitar player who was a prime character in the birth of bebop, particularly in the years between 1939-1941, and is acknowledged for transforming the guitar from merely a rhythmic instrument into a line-leading and soloing one.

But innovation does not occur in a vacuum and an ocean away Django Reinhardt was doing his own work playing single note runs, swinging absurdly with his Lester Young-like lyricism. That Django only had three fingers on his chording hand could have something to do with it, necessity being the mother of invention and all.

Is it possible Charlie Christian could have encountered Django Reinhardt? One of Charlie Christian’s closest allies, Teddy Hill, the manager of the after-hours joint Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, and a bandleader in his own right, would joke, “We’re going to bring that Django over here, and he’ll blow you off the stand.” According to Hill, Christian would just smile and mimic a few typical Django phrases on his guitar. The guitarist Mary Osborne recalled seeing Christian play Django’s version of “St. Louis Blues” note for note before breaking into his own style. A direct Django Reinhardt connection is fascinating but implausible, each other’s innovation occurring independently and concurrently.

The genius of Charlie Christian is not just what he did on the electric guitar but the way he did it, creating long flowing improvisations, repeating mini phrases to build tension, and slowly releasing the valve for the remainder of his solo. Listen for the way he repeats notes or phrases in the first few bars of a solo, rotating back to them in short succession, referencing the song’s theme while pulling away from it. For example, Christian’s solo on “Airmail Special” with Benny Goodman’s band, beginning around :32. Once you’re aware of this dramatic device it’s impossible not to notice in subsequent listening.

It’s a big couple of weeks for Velvet Underground fanatics, with Rhino’s six-disc Re-Loaded box set and the four-disc Complete Matrix Tapes both hitting shelves, immersing listeners in the band’s latter days. What we’ve got here today doesn’t appear on either release, but it links them. It’s the earliest known version of Loaded‘s signature tune, “Sweet Jane,” recorded by future Richard Hell / Lou Reed guitarist Robert Quine during an afternoon rehearsal at the Matrix. Played in its familiar “slow” arrangement from the Live 1969 album, “Jane” isn’t quite there yet, but you can feel how much the VU enjoys playing that now-legendary sequence of chords, grooving easily as Lou throws out a few (probably) improvised lines. Heavenly wine and roses, indeed. words / t wilcox

The Velvet Underground :: Sweet Jane (Matrix Rehearsal)

1500x1500srThe story of Bay Area funk master Doug Hream Blunt is a simple one. In 1985, at the grown-ass age of 35, he enrolled in a class called “How To Form A Band.” He then proceeded to learn electric guitar and formed a group with his classmates, with whom he recorded a full-length LP, Gentle Persuasion, and a six-song EP called Big Top, both self-pressed and bound for obscurity.

But while Blunt’s origin story is a simple one — and a testament to the power of will — the music found on Luaka Bop’s new collection of his work, My Name Is Doug Hream Blunt: Featuring the Hit “Gentle Persuasion,” is less easily parsed. There’s a uniqueness and complexity in his sideways grooves that can’t merely be attributed to the amateur chops of Blunt and his group.

The lyrical focus shifts throughout these songs, from the social commentary of “Fly Guy” to the psychedelic journey of “Trek,” from the weird character study of “Big Top” (“This is a freak check,” Blunt explains) to the lusty, open-hearted sex jams of “Gentle Persuasion” and “Love Land.” The melodies and rhythms weave in-and-out of sync, and occasionally Blunt’s guitar rises above the rhythm section and synthesized chords, wild and careening. In liner notes by Amanda Petrusich, Blunt cites artists like Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Curtis Mayfield, Billy Ocean, and the Whispers as inspirations, but he doesn’t sound like them. Blunt’s his own man —funky, chill, and smooth.

“Like ice, your butt is like dice now, damn,” he croons on “the hit,” “Gentle Persuasion.” The meaning isn’t easily ascertained reading on the page, but when he sings the line, it somehow makes perfect sense. words / j woodbury

Doug Hream Blunt :: Ride The Tiger

0918JRJohn Renbourn and Bert Jansch came together to weave beautiful guitar tapestries in Pentangle. But the pair, of course, did plenty of work on their own. Both have passed on, but two recent archival releases are very much worth digging into.

First up is Renbourn’s charming Attic Tapes, which pulls together some of the guitarist’s earliest (and previously unreleased) efforts. Kicking off with expert renditions of the Britfolk scene’s ur-texts, “Anji” and “The Blues Run The Game,” the collection ably demonstrates how skilled a player Renbourn was from the very start. Drawing from Davy Graham, Big Bill Broonzy and Charles Mingus, his taste and style are absolutely impeccable. The Attic Tapes also features great liner notes from Renbourn (penned just before his death earlier this year) and guest appearances from Beverley Martyn, Mac MacLeod and Davy Graham himself. Jansch doesn’t show up in the flesh, but there’s an ace cover of his “Courting Blues,” which Renbourn says was recorded before the pair even met. Clearly they were already communing on some other plane.

John Renbourn :: Blues Run The Game

Next, we’ve got Earth Recordings’ essential reissue of Moonshine, Jansch’s first post-Pentangle solo LP. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, with Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson handling production duties. But there are a few inspired curveballs here, including an appearance by Mingus’ drummer of choice Dannie Richmond and a lovely “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” performed as a duet with British pop singer Mary Hopkin. But the focus is where it should be: on Jansch’s unmistakable guitar work and his arresting vocals — both of which might have been at their very peak in 1972, when the album was recorded. In a career full of fantastic albums, Moonshine sits very near the top of the heap. words / t wilcox

Bert Jansch :: Moonshine


It’s Halloween. If there was ever a time to celebrate the sonic aesthetics of filmmaker/composer John Carpenter…well, this is it. Halloween (1978), Escape from New York (1981), Prince of Darkness (1987), Dark Star (1974), The Fog (1980), The Thing (1982) and beyond.

Go ahead — rev up those dark synths and play this while you pass out the candy. Trick or treat.

The World of John Carpenter (via Spotify)