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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Category: Folk
July 25, 2014 at 11:54 AM

Timber! Festival off to a soggy but inspiring start | Concert review

The Timber! Outdoor Music Festival got off to a soggy start Thursday, but by the time Seattle artist Benjamin Verdoes started playing at around 8:30 p.m., it was dry and Tolt-MacDonald Park had started filling up. Now in its second year, Timber! aims to attract a different sort of crowd than most festivals by encouraging attendees…


Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Charles Bradley, Damien Jurado, Horse Feathers

June 6, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Sweet harmonies and stripped-down folk| Concert preview

American folk rock is reaching another apex thanks to bands like The Lumineers and Seattle’s The Head and the Heart scoring big hits with anthemic songs with radio-friendly, pop-driven hooks.

While they may not peddle music as readily accessible as some of their peers, The Milk Carton Kids — who swing through the Neptune Theatre on Wednesday, June 11 — have benefited from the genre’s recent commercial success.


Comments | More in Americana, Folk | Topics: Concert Preview, Milk Carton Kids, neptune theatre

June 1, 2014 at 8:07 PM

James Taylor performs at the Key — and how sweet it is

By Paul de Barros / Seattle Times music critic For nearly three hours Saturday night, James Taylor transformed the sprawling KeyArena into an intimate living room. Chatty and relaxed in sport coat and jeans, the 66-year-old, bald-pated singer-songwriter delivered an expertly paced show, mixing old and new, familiar and unfamiliar, vocals and instrumental jams. He even signed…


Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Concert revieww, James Taylor

May 27, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Johnnyswim finds diamonds in hard year | Concert preview

Johnnyswim plays The Triple Door Saturday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Johnnyswim plays The Triple Door Saturday. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It sounds scripted: at their darkest hour, husband and wife team Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano sit on their living room floor and write an angry song telling off their naysayers, but a trip to a local hospital turns the song into the uplifting title track of their debut album, “Diamonds.”

For Johnnyswim, the reality was much tougher than the soundbite, but they’re left with a brilliant first album full of anthemic tunes that fit well within the current folk-rock soundscape dominated by bands like The Head and the Heart and Mumford and Sons. They bring their new music to the Triple Door on May 31.

“It represents the last three years of our life,” Ramirez said. “These songs were in us and we’d be sick if we didn’t get them out. I lost my dad, Amanda lost her mom and her grandmother, and it all happened within a two or three month period. It was a really hard time of our lives.”


Comments | More in Americana, Folk | Topics: johnnyswim, The Triple Door

May 15, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Nickel Creek keeps the fire alive | Concert preview

Nickel Creek plays the Moore Theater Saturday night.

Nickel Creek plays the Moore Theater Saturday night.

The thing about family is that there’s always unfinished business — even when it doesn’t seem like there should be.

That feels like the case with Nickel Creek, the seminal newgrass trio that hits the Moore Theater Saturday in support of “A Dotted Line,” its first album in nine years and first tour since 2007.

When Nickel Creek went on an indefinite hiatus, no one could blame Chris Thile and siblings Sara and Sean Watkins. After all, the band had been playing together since 1989, when Sara was just 8 years old and the trio was mere children growing up in sunny San Diego County.


Comments | More in Americana, Country, Folk | Topics: moore theater, Nickel Creek

May 12, 2014 at 12:51 AM

Sarah Jarosz thrills packed Tractor | Concert review

Sarah Jarosz played the Tractor Tavern Friday night. Photo by Scott Simontacchi.

Sarah Jarosz played the Tractor Tavern Friday night. Photo by Scott Simontacchi.

If playing the last show of a month-long West Coast tour had Sarah Jarosz feeling worn out, she hid it well Friday night at the Tractor Tavern.

Jarosz was effervescent as her talented roots trio delighted the sold-out room with a choice blend of sublime bluegrass skill and Jarosz’s mature ear for songwriting. And it seems that many of Jarosz’s peers—the Grammy-nominated singer and multi-instrumentalist is just 22—were interested in seeing her play, as there were plenty of younger people to balance out the decidedly older crowd.


| More in Americana, Country, Folk | Topics: Sarah Jarosz, Tractor Tavern

April 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The scattered sounds of Chad VanGaalen | New recordings

Chad VanGaalenChad VanGaalen, ‘Shrink Dust’ (Sub Pop)

Chad VanGaalen lives an artist’s dream.

Thanks to grants from the Canadian government — coupled with a Sub Pop distribution deal — the singer, songwriter, animator and producer has issued new records and video clips with minimal interference since 2005.

But with such freedom one shoulders the burden of oversight alone.

His latest offering, “Shrink Dust,” out Tuesday, is a self-described country album, leading one to wonder what exactly the Calgary native considers country — or how potent the psychedelics are north of the border.


Comments | More in Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Canada, New Recordings, Sub Pop

April 25, 2014 at 6:31 AM

What the Shook Twins do: make great music | Concert preview

It’s entirely appropriate that Portland’s Shook Twins, who play the Tractor Tavern Friday, April 25, named their vibrant new studio offering “What We Do.”

After churning out three studio albums and two live records in six years, making good music is, indeed, what Idaho natives Katelyn and Laurie Shook “do.”

“It feels really good, like it’s got some steam and momentum,” said the band’s lead singer, Katelyn, of the new album. “We’re really proud of it.”


Comments | More in Americana, Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: "What We Do", Concert Preview, The Shook Twins

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