Author Archives: ChuckDauphin

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper – On Down The Line

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper have a certain flair that they perform with. If you need any proof of that statement, just take a listen to “Too Late For Goodbyes,” the lead-off cut from their new disc. Whether it be his lead vocals on the cut or the plucking banjo of one Glenn Gibson, there’s just a certain amount of pizazz that the band operates with. And, it only gets better from there. Cleveland’s fiddle work on “Fiddlin’ Joe” will leave…
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Danika Portz – Set This World On Fire

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Iowa native Danika Portz sounds like nobody you’ve heard of lately. And, to be honest with you, when I heard her debut single, “Greatest Show On Earth,” it did make me do a little bit of a double take. She is That different. So, I listened again, and again. And, by the forty-first listen, I was not only hooked – but also a fan. The single has a very different feel, and Portz’s vocal – while it might take a little getting used to – will absolutely
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Old Crow Medicine Show – Remedy

Earlier this year, I had a conversation with Ketch Secor. One of the subjects we discussed was their 2013 induction into the Grand Ole Opry. Citing that moment as the career highlight of the band, he said now that they were there – they felt even more of a need to prove their worthiness of the distinction. Well, on this – the band’s first set since Marty Stuart extended the olive branch of Opry membership, I would dare say OCMS is…
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Jeffrey Halford & The Healers – Rainmaker

Sometimes, when you hear a Blues artist, you wonder if they really feel the lyrics of what they are singing – just how deep do the emotions run. Well, when you hear Jeffrey Halford on “Second Chance,’ you just….know. These are words that he has actually lived – and actually felt. On the latest project from this California resident – by way of the Lone Star State, you get a lot more songs just like it – all about the struggles that…
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Jen Chapin – Reckoning

Until I read the description of Jen Chapin’s bio of her music as “Urban Folk Soul,” I have to admit that I had never heard those words all strung together in that form before. However, the terminology definitely applies – as her musical style is all of those terms – and a whole lot more. Music is something that is entrenched deep into her soul – and she comes by it naturally as the daughter of the legendary singer-songwriter…
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Cory Branan – The No-Hit Wonder

Trying to figure out a place where Cory Branan belongs musically is kind of tough. At times, he’s a little bit on the Country side, but then again, he also has a definite rock and roll swagger that is mixed somewhat with a little bit of Punk sounds. His music doesn’t stay in one style long enough to be labeled any one specific genre, so there lies the challenge. Just how do you label the Mississippi native? The answer,,,
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Jacob Thomas, Jr – Original Sin

Louisiana native Jacob Thomas, Jr. had a musical upbringing not too much unlike a lot of artists growing up in the heart of Cajun country. There was a lot of playing – musical and otherwise – at the clubs around home, as well as performing at Church on Sunday morning. However, for his debut album, the singer-songwriter takes more of a laid back and intimate approach, as evidenced as his performance on such sparse…
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Shooter Jennings – Don’t Wait Up (For George)

One thing that is very much apparent whenever you talk to Shooter Jennings – he is definitely a “Music Man.” And, it truly doesn’t matter if the genre is Country, Rock, Folk, or Pop. He appreciates and loves it all. At the same time, his latest release is more than just a musical offering – it’s a way to remember someone who was very much family – George Jones. Of course, Jones and Shooter’s parents – Waylon and Jessi…
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Cody Bryan Band – Wreck Me

Upon first listen – and additional research, one might just want to label the Cody Bryan Band a “Texas Music Act” and be done with it. But, while Bryan definitely is proud to hail from the Lone Stat State, there’s a lot more to his sound than just those parameters. You can hear that on the wide-open title cut,which he sends into the rafters with some impressive guitar work but also some first-rate harmonies from his fellow…
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The Howler Weary – Travel On

The Howler Weary is a three-piece band that comes from Livingston, New Jersey. OK, that’s the easy part – telling you where they come from. The toughest part about this band is defining their sound. In their press kit, there are terms such as “Blues” and “Folk,” and discussion about their influences – which range from Frank Sinatra to Bob Dylan. That sounds very eclectic – and indeed it is, but let me float a name out there…
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Gann Brewer – Peddlers & Ghosts

Somewhere along the Delta region of Mississippi today, there’s a singer on the back porch who is simply strumming their guitar to the sound of their latest composition. Gann Brewer is one such artist. There’s a laid back and inviting feel to this album that reminds you of such an afternoon in the south. ‘Dancin’ In Memphis,” where the title of the album comes from, offers proof of this. It’s simply modern day Folk Music – something Brewer…
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Sunny Sweeney – Provoked

With her natural Texas twang, her breathtaking good looks, and her quirky and irreverent personality, Sunny Sweeney has developed quite a fan base – thanks to her hit singles “From A Table Away” and “Stayin’s Worse Than Leavin.” After a record label change, and a topsy turvy past few years in her personal life – with a divorce, a swearing off of marriage, and (naturally!) a new marriage, Sweeney is ready to tell her updated…
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Kelsey Waldon – The Gold Mine

Upon first listen to Kelsey Waldon, you might be prone to think “What a great Retro Country Album.” While she would appreciate the compliment, that’s not the way the talented singer / songwriter looks at it. This is simply Country Music to her – the kind she listened to growing up in Western Kentucky. And, she does it very well. Kicking off with “Town Clown,” you know that you are in for something special. Featuring Brett Resnick on…
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MacLear & Waters – Self Titled

There are a ton of talented new acts out there, which kind of makes it frustrating because you know there’s not a slot for everybody. That being said, I would definitely clear a place at the table for this very talented duo comprised of Tom MacLear and Heather Waters. They possess a harmony blend that definitely has a little bit of a Pop / Rock edge, but make no mistake, this is definitely Contemporary Country, as…
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Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins – Traditional Duets

Sometimes, things are exactly as they appear to be. In the case of Lynda Dawson and Pattie Hopkins, that turns out to be the case. The name of the album is Traditional Duets. And, from beginning to end, that’s exactly what you get. These songs have been part of the American consciousness for years, and the talented duo wisely sees no need to try to reinvent the wheel. Songs like “Long Time Gone” and…
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Amy LaVere – Runaway’s Diary

Michigan native Amy LaVere has quickly became one of the most critically acclaimed artists on the musical landscape as of late – and with good reason. She sings and she writes from a place that is very much real – drawing on her own experiences for inspiration. In fact, several of these songs were drawn from the singer’s past, where she and a friend rode a bus from Detroit to Chicago. You can hear some…
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Dale Watson – The Truckin’ Sessions

Dale Watson is one of those singers that is identifiable from the moment you first hear him sing. His music is for that audience that feels that Country Music has changed. In fact, if you were to ask Watson, he doesn’t even label himself as a “Country” performer anymore. Rather, he calls the style of music he does “Ameripolitan.” For his current project, Watson has assembled two of his previous discs -The Truckin…
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John Hiatt – Terms Of My Surrender

Question – What do Kenny Rogers, Rosanne Cash, Paula Abdul, and B.B. King have in common? The answer is they have each recorded a song from the ever-flowing well of John Hiatt. The Indiana native’s talent has touched many over the years – as both a tunesmith and as a performer. Hiatt returns with a new album that is sure to leave his fan base satisfied, and could also serve as an introduction as to…
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Carissa Leigh – The Blackbird EP

Spend any amount of time with newcomer Carissa Leigh, and you will come away enchanted with her playful personality, stunning good looks – and her vocal talent. The Canadian has been making waves as of late with her seductive single “Bad Boy,” which definitely alludes to that playful side. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg to this woman’s amazing charisma and vocal talent. The rest of this EP – recorded at John…
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The Pfeiffer Twins – Nobody’s Puppet

Wow. I don’t know if I have ever started a review off with simply one word before. However, in the case of the Pfeiffer Twins, it applies. I will forewarn you. This is one of those reviews where I gush. There’s no flaws about this record. The vocals, the writing, the instrumentation – it’s all ‘through the roof’ good – whatever that means. Comprised of sisters Lindsay and Carrie, this album is chock-full of air tight harmonies…
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