Issue 36: Dynamic Trio
This year, Hanukkah came early. My musical inspiration came very late, but I’m very excited about this gift.
All year, I had been looking for an artist that moved me, really moved me – the way Gillian Welch and Patty Griffin had done in the past.
I had been looking for that musician or group that had “it,” like Josh Ritter has – someone that made me feel special watching and listening to them perform, like they were singing just for you, and appreciated that you took the time to listen.
And I was looking for something different, the way the Avett Brothers were only a couple of years ago, when they burst out with their brand of punky mountain music.
So I spent a lot of this year searching…
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers was a nice surprise, providing a bit of throwback ’70s-style Linda Ronstadt rocking R&B; Jason Isbell’s thoughtful and touching album, “Southeastern,” was completely and wonderfully unexpected; and Gary Clark Jr. electrified my brain with his bluesy guitar rock.
But it wasn’t until November when, urged by friends, I finally abandoned my stubborn judgment and went to see the Lone Bellow perform. They are exactly what I was missing. I wanted to hug each one of them the way Josh Ritter allows us to do after his shows, thank them personally for making my year.
I remember when their debut album was released in January. I read the plaudits, but passed on it. I was worn down by the overload of Americana acts. “I can’t take another band with acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins!,” I cried. The scene had been flooded with acts trying to replicate the success of Mumford & Sons and the Avetts.
The Lone Bellow was the first band announced to play Newport Folk last summer. Again, an eyebrow was raised but, nope, I was on a mission to find another sound.
I should have listened to those friends, my music-loving friends who constantly inspire me to come out with them and to listen to artists I would normally ignore. “Have you listened to so-and-so yet, I think you’d really love him!,” “I’m going to see so-and-so, who’s in?”
At last, I gave in, and it was good. Very good. Amazing, even. I found the Lone Bellow.
So this is a revival issue of Modern Acoustic, my music magazine that went on hiatus at the end of 2011.
At the time, I was burnt out. Thirty-five issues over eight years was a great run, but the late nights it took to see all the shows, the hours spent listening to new albums, and the pursuit of trying to make each issue special finally took its toll – that on top of my real job and kids… I guess that is why most bloggers are young and single.
But hearing all that music was amazing and the good vibes I received from the people who read the magazine kept me going.
It’s been two years since then. I don’t know how far this will go – whether there will more issues to follow. But I do know that when I hear something that rocks my musical world, I need to write about it.
So cheers, Lone Bellow, you rocked my world.
To see the full issue pdf, click HERE.
FAVORITE SONGS OF 2013
“Powder Blue Trans Am,” “You Go Your Way,”Amy Correia – Rumbling through the streets of relationship issues.
“Bleeding Out,” “The Lone Bellow,” the Lone Bellow – Just plain exhilarating.
“Wild Old Dog,” “American Kid,” Patty Griffin – This song almost makes me cry every time.
“Elephant,” “Southeastern,” Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – Another sad, sad song that is so amazing.
“Hopeful,” “The Beast in Its Tracks,” Josh Ritter – From a divorce album, a song as hopeful as its title.