New Music From Joel Madison Blount


Birmingham, AL-based Americana/folk singer-songwriter Joel Madison Blount is set to release his new album, Our New Moon, on September 29, 2017.  Merging the influence of Southern literary authors with a musical response to the rhythm and melody of life, Blount writes songs about the human experience, meant to offer hope and inspire the listener. The songs appearing on Our New Moon were written in response to the birth of Blount’s first child and represent a new beginning for his growing family, and a new phase of life for Blount and his artistic career.

“A new moon marks the start of the first phase of Earth’s moon during the course of the lunar cycle,” says Blount, “and it also alludes to the mystery surrounding what we will encounter on our journey ahead, as neither are visible from our perspective.” Themes on the album wind their way through a time of sorrow and brokenness, but ultimately lead the listener to witness redemption and an outpouring of grace. “This is a record in favor of the quiet life,” Blount says about his forthcoming album, “best savored while winding down in the peace and calm of the evening.”


Standout tracks on the album include “Beauty that Remains” (which calls upon the listener to reflect upon the beauty of life in spite of personal shortcomings and failures), “Arms Open Wide” (written as a letter to his son after learning he would become a father), and “Inner Monologue” (written as a response to fear and anxiety – with the refrain “just let it go” sung as a reminder for us to let go of the things we can’t control).

Changing the way he usually approached the guitar, through the use of unfamiliar tunings, Blount challenged his songwriting sensibilities, breaking what had become rote in search of new perspectives. Limiting reliance on routine chord progressions allowed him to simplify song structures, discover new melodies, and focus on crafting more pointed lyrical content. He also invited others to collaborate with him in the studio, including producer Brian T. Murphy (The Lone Bellow, Sandra McCracken, Greg Holden, Drew & Ellie Holcomb), guitarist Josh Vigneulle, bassist Will Weir, and drummer Alex Hinson. Production in the studio was intentionally limited to a four-piece band in order to ensure the songs were presented in a simple, yet elegant manner. The album was mixed by Chris Steffen (Damien Rice, Beck, John Mayer, Joshua Radin) and mastered by Harris Newman.

Our New Moon follows on the heels of his first full-length album, Taming the Wind, which released in early 2014, and two EPs (Joel Madison Blount in 2010 and I Believe in Love in 2011); Blount has pursued music professionally as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer since 2010. In a previous life, Blount worked as a CPA in public accounting before refocusing his endeavors solely toward artistic pursuits. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Blount runs a music production studio called The War Room out of a nearly century-old commercial building near his home, he is the band coordinator for a local church, and he is a member of the band War Jacket and A Slim Shadow. Fun fact: he’s a distant relative of the author Roy Blount Jr., another relative is ’70s rocker Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show.

Blount is planning some tour dates in support of Our New Moon. Tour dates will be announced soon.


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New Release from Singer-Songwriter Jillette Johnson

Jillette Johnson

All I Ever See In You Is Me

Genre: Americana


Jillette Johnson is the rare artist who needs little sonic accompaniment to make an indelible impact. Produced by Dave Cobb (the Grammy Award-winner known for his work with Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson), Johnson’s sophomore album All I Ever See in You Is Me offers up sparsely orchestrated songs centering on her spirited piano work and ever-changing vocal texture, an instrument that’s irresistibly powerful whether she’s belting out a refrain or whispering a hushed melody.


Like only the most timeless songwriters, Johnson finds infinite depth within that simplicity. Recorded at RCA Studio A – the historic Nashville space where Dolly Parton laid down ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You‘ in the same three-hour span – All I Ever See in You Is Me bears an unhurried pace and warm intimacy that echoes the purposeful looseness of its production. Drifting between hazy romanticism and resolute self-awareness, Johnson examines heartbreak and resilience with a willful and magnetic vulnerability.




First Listen to Tyler Childers’ Debut ” Purgatory”


photo credit:  David McClister

Tyler Childers’ anticipated debut album, Purgatory is now streaming in full exclusively at NPR Music’s First Listen series.

Of the album, NPR Music’s Ann Powers declares, “Childers is a vocalist muscular enough to carry an outlaw rocker like ‘Whitehouse Road’ and agile enough to roll with a cosmic meditation like ‘Universal Sound,’ a road song that ends up as philosophical as [Sturgill] Simpson’s best work,” and continues, “Childers manages to really live within the stories he tells, having learned how to be unlearned and as authentic as possible.”



Recorded at Nashville’s The Butcher Shoppe studio, the 10-song record was produced by Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson. In addition to Childers (vocals, acoustic guitar), the album features a variety of world-renowned musicians including Simpson (acoustic guitar, background vocals), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Miles Miller (drums, background vocals) and Russ Pahl (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel, Jew’s harp) among others.

Of the album, the Lawrence Country, KY native comments, “I am extremely grateful for Miles Miller introducing me to Sturgill Simpson, and also for Sturgill and David Ferguson taking the time to work with me. I think we both wanted to make an album for east KY, and I reckon that’s what we did. It’s not about rock, or grass, or country…it’s just hollerin’ in the mountains and stirring shit up! The band Sturgill and David put together was an all-star cast, and an honor to work with and learn from. I hope to do it again, but once is more than most are blessed with. For that I am thankful.”

In support of the album, Childers will tour throughout 2017, including a sold-out show tomorrow at Prestonsburg, KY’s Mountain Arts Center, an August west coast headline run, a September residency at Nashville’s The Basement and a special show supporting Drive-By Truckers in Hazard, KY on September 24.  See below for full details.

Tour Dates:

July 28—Prestonsburg, KY—Mountain Arts Center (SOLD-OUT)
August 1—Kansas City, MO—The Riot Room
August 3—Abilene, TX—Grace Museum (SOLD-OUT)
August 4—Amarillo, TX—Hoots Pub
August 5—Denver, CO—Lost Lake Lounge
August 6—South Fork, CO—Rhythms on the Rio
August 7—Phoenix, AZ—Valley Bar
August 9—San Diego, CA—The Casbah
August 10—Los Angeles, CA—The Echo
August 12—San Francisco, CA—Hotel Utah Saloon
August 15—Portland, OR—Doug Fir Lounge
August 16—Seattle, WA—Sunset Tavern
August 18— Whitefish, MT—The Remington Bar
August 19—Bozeman, MT—Live from the Divide (SOLD-OUT)
August 22—Minneapolis, MN—7th Street Entry
August 26—Lexington, KY—MoonTower Music Festival
September 11—Nashville, TN—The Basement*
September 12-17—Nashville, TN—AmericanaFest
September 16—Irvine, KY—Kickin’ It On The Creek
September 17—Bristol, VA—Bristol Rhythm & Roots
September 18—Nashville, TN—The Basement‡
September 23—Gallipolis, OH—River Rat Beer & Music Festival
September 24—Hazard, KY—The Forum+
September 25—Nashville, TN—The Basement§
September 30—Roseland, VA—Devil’s Backbone

*with special guest Miles Miller
‡with special guest William Matheny
+with Drive-By Truckers
§with special guest Kelsey Waldon





New Jim Croce Song Surfaces



“Name of the Game” is released on A.J. Croce’s ninth studio album, Just Like Medicine, in stores August 11

Name of the Game” available on all digital streaming and purchase platforms
on Friday, July 28


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As the son of legendary singer-songwriter and Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Jim Croce, A.J. chose to not follow in the folk footsteps of his father, and instead forge his own musical path in his career.

Only after 18 years of an established career did A.J. Croce begin to explore playing a song or two of his Dad’s at shows.

A.J. was only two years old when Jim Croce died in an airplane crash in 1973, so he didn’t know his father’s music firsthand. Instead, “I came to love it in the same way everyone else did,” he explained, “by listening to the albums.” While he describes his father’s music as “part of me, part of my life,” A.J. had never really performed those songs live. As a piano player, his interests tended to favor the blues and jazz-rooted music of musicians like Ray Charles and Allen Toussaint.

A few years ago, however, A.J. was digitizing some of his father’s old tapes and came across a cassette filled with covers of old blues and folk tunes by the likes of Fats Waller, Bessie Smith and Pink Anderson. It was a revelation to him. “He was playing stuff I played myself,” A.J. says, adding that “stuff made sense” discovering that his father and he had “all the music in common.”

When it came time for A.J. to record his ninth studio album in 2017 (Just Like Medicine, due out August 11, 2017 on Compass Records), and bring songs to his producer, Dan Penn, A.J. brought 16 of his own and snuck in “Name of the Game,” written by his father. Without having been told about the song’s origin, Penn chose it for the record and said that it reminded him of A.J.’s father.

The track is notable for many reasons. One is that it finds A.J. Croce connecting with a part of his soulful legacy that hits close to home because the bluesy gem is a previously unreleased song by his father — the only known completed song written for the elder Croce’s next album, and the last song that he wrote. A.J. explains, “‘The Name of the Game’ is a song I had known about for a really long time. It was destined for my dad’s next record that he never got to make. The song had been bootlegged, just him playing guitar, but it had never been properly recorded. I thought this song really fit this album. We listened to a couple of my father’s demos and final recordings and tried to treat the song with the respect it deserves — while still making it my own. At the beginning of our track, Colin Linden — who’s amazing — is playing the same guitar my father wrote the song on. You can tell it’s a Jim Croce song, no doubt. And I just love Vince Gill’s playing, so I called him up to add his musical touch to it too.”

Jim Croce found long-overdue success in 1972 following years of struggling to make a name in the music business. That year he released two albums, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim and Life and Times, that spawned the hit singles “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels),” “Time in a Bottle” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” (the latter two tunes both reached Number #1). His final studio effort, I’ve Got a Name, was released in December of 1973, less than three months after his death. Three more hits (“Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues,” “I’ll Have to Say I Love You in a Song” and the title song) came from that album, which reached #2 in the album charts. A.J. pointed out that these three classic albums amazingly were recorded in just a one-and-a-half-year time period. Both Jim Croce and his longtime collaborator, lead guitarist Maury Muehleisen, died in that fatal plane crash in 1973. Jim Croce was just thirty when he died, and has had his folk-rock music remain popular over the years. His record sales have surpassed the 45 million mark, and his songs have appeared on more than 375 compilations. Jim Croce’s music continues to be used in films, television shows, and commercials including X-Men, Transparent, and the recent Apple Siri commercial.

A.J. Croce has been inextricably linked to a version of his own story by virtue of his name. He’s experienced a lifetime of comparisons to a father he lost at age two, whose music bares little resemblance to his own output yet still serves as a reference point despite the years that have passed and the many iconic mentors who have stepped in to offer their counsel, creativity, and endorsement throughout his long career.

It’s curious then that it now feels necessary to include the reference, as enough time has passed that a new generation of tastemakers and journalists might not know who Jim Croce was — that he was a golden-voiced everyman, a singer-songwriter-guitarist who died too soon, leaving one of pop music’s most beautiful and memorable ballads (written about a young A.J.) in his wake.

Croce the younger, on the other hand, is a piano man, first and foremost, and a vocal stylist second. His muted growl pulls from a host of American traditions and anti-heroes — it’s part New Orleans, part juke joint, part soul, but somehow evokes New York, a continuum where John Lurie meets Lou Reed. He is further a songwriter, driven by a personal muse, informed by a life on a boomerang of tragedy.

His gritty and accomplished ninth studio album, produced by legendary soul singer-songwriter and producer Dan Penn, is the latest and arguably greatest effort yet. Penn, of course, is writer of such hits as “The Dark End of the Street,” “Cry Like a Baby,” “I’m Your Puppet” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” and producer of The Box Tops’ “The Letter,” as well as songs and recordings by Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Blue Bland, Clarence Carter, and Alex Chilton. Also making appearances are Grammy Award-winning country artist Vince Gill, Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MGs, Blues Brothers, author of many Stax hits), the McCrary Sisters and the Muscle Shoals Horns. In addition to the Jim Croce composition, there’s a tune written by A.J. and Dan Penn, as well as a co-write by A.J. and the late great Leon Russell.

Just Like Medicine is an exploration of relationships, the disappointments and the confusion, and reflects Croce’s realization about the role music has played in his life. “I’ve been to therapy for 25 years and it never helped me as much as sitting down and playing the piano or writing a song.”

As he explains, “I wanted to make a real soul album, but not a throwback Stax album or a Motown album or anything like that — even though Dan was producing and there are great players from that world and Muscle Shoals on these tracks.” Sonically and in every other way, the intention on Just Like Medicine seems to keep things real. “We recorded this album in mono, to analog tape, primarily to two tracks and we never used more than sixteen tracks,” says Croce.

We did that not to be cool or trendy, but because these days everyone seems to be listening to music primarily on little devices and tiny speakers. In a world of amazing audio possibilities, we’re all basically listening to music on transistor radios again. After that first session, Dan explained that when he worked with the Box Tops, they only had like three tracks — one for the band, one for the vocals, one for string and horns. So that became our starting point.”

Croce has lived longer now than his father did — at 45, he is 15 years beyond the age his father was when he died. With Just Like Medicine, an authentic version of his story, which contains both unimaginable sorrow and many blessings, can be felt and understood.


New Music From Lilly Hiatt


Lilly Hiatt is set to return with Trinity Lane on August 25th, 2017. The 12-song set was produced by Michael Trent of Shovels & Rope and engineered by Andy Dixon at Trent’s Studio Bees in Johns Island, SC. In addition to her backing band, Trent is featured as a musician throughout, and is joined by his wife and Shovels & Rope partner Cary Ann Hearst for backing vocals on “Everything I Had.” “Lilly is as real and honest of a songwriter as they come,” says Trent. “Fearless and thoughtful and a total joy to be around.” 


The Will Morgan Holland-directed video for the album’s single “The Night David Bowie Died” hit today.  Of the song, Hiatt offered “The night David Bowie died, I was in disbelief. I wanted to talk to someone, but it was too late to make a phone call. I cried quietly and went to bed. The next day, I picked up my guitar and hit record on Garage Band. I started to sing and those were the first words that came out. I felt like Bowie was giving me a little gift.”

Hiatt’s love of the ‘90s alt-rock she was raised on shines through on Trinity Lane in the distressed guitars and urgent backbeats. She cites the Pixies, Breeders, Dinosaur Jr., and her favorite, Pearl Jam as influences, but there is also something distinctly Americana lurking in the songs. After moving out of an ex’s house, Hiatt settled into a new apartment off of Trinity Lane in her East Nashville neighborhood and went on tour with friend John Moreland to the West Coast and back. The intensely personal, autobiographical album was written largely upon her return, in isolation, facing the issues she escaped while on the road. Every time she wanted a man, she picked up her guitar. Every time she wanted a drink, she picked up her guitar. Hiatt says, b“Love will take you to the darkest places but also the most honest places if you let it. Learning how to love myself is something I’ve always been lousy with, and I spent some time on that. I thought about my sobriety, what that means to me, the struggles I’d had throughout the years, since I was a 27-year-old and hung up my toxic drinking habit. I thought about my mother, who took her own life when I was a baby, not far from my age at 30 years old, and I related to her more than ever. As you can see, there was plenty of time spent on my own. I didn’t talk to that many folks, albeit a few close friends, and leaned into my family. I stayed away from men, and danced alone in the evenings, looking out my window observing my humble and lively neighborhood. I found power in being by myself. I found peace in the people I was surrounded with – we didn’t really know one another, but we smiled when passed on the street. One time I almost rear-ended an older woman in her car backing out of my driveway and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m just not used to any cars coming around this bend. She replied, ‘This is our little hideout, baby,’ And it really was.” She continues, “After a while, I had all these songs to play, and wanted to share them. I wanted to get out of town to get some distance from everything, so after an ongoing conversation with Michael Trent, I took my band to Johns Island, SC and we holed up for a few weeks. I poured my heart out, and trusted them with it, and these guys gave it right back. I think we all understood what it’s like to question home, intention, demons, love…I think most people understand that.”

Lilly Hiatt On Tour:
July 27 – Nashville, TN @ Basement East (John Prine Tribute Show)
August 24 – Lexington, KY @ The Burl
August 25 – Nashville, TN @ Fond Object (Album Release Party)
August 26 – Nashville, TN @ Grimey’s
August 26 – Bowling Green, KY @ The A-Frame
August 27 – Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
August 28 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
August 29 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
August 30 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2)
September 1 – Charlestown, RI @ Rhythm & Roots Festival
September 3 – Cambridge, MA @ Atwood’s Tavern
September 5 – Vienna, VA @ Jammin’ Java
September 6 – Baltimore, MD @ Club 603
September 7 – Roanoke, VA @ The Spot On Kirk
September 8 – Asheville, NC @ Isis Music Hall (Lounge)
September 9 – Charlotte, NC @ The Evening Muse
September 12-17 – Nashville, TN @ AMERICANAFEST
September 19 – Athens, GA @ The Foundry
September 21 – Atlanta, GA @ Smith’s Olde Bar (Atlanta Room)
September 22 – Florence, AL @ 116 E Mobile
September 23 – Birmingham, AL @ The Nick
September 24 – Mobile, AL @ Callaghan’s Irish Social Club
September 26 – Houston, TX @ McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
September 27 – Austin, TX @ Cactus Cafe
September 28 – Dallas, TX @ Prophet Bar
September 29 – Springfield, MO @ Southbound Bar and Grill
September 30 – Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads (The Living Room)
October 1 – St. Louis, MO @ Duck Room At Blueberry Hill
October 3 – Iowa City, IA @ Big Grove Brewery
October 4 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
October 6 – Newport, KY @ The Southgate House Revival
October 7 – Knoxville, TN @ Barley’s Taproom And Pizzeria





Suzanne Santo and Butch Walker Duet on New Song “Better Than That”


Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Suzanne Santo will release her solo debut album Ruby Red on August 11th. Best known as one-half of Americana duo HONEYHONEY, Santo steps out on her own for the first time and, more than 10 years into an acclaimed career, turns a new corner. Today, she released a third song from the album titled “Better Than That,” an elegant stripped-down ballad featuring a stunning duet with multi-platinum Grammy nominee Butch Walker who also produced the record.

I’ve never worked with a more selfless, motivating, and positive force who cares, first and foremost, about the music,” Santo told L.A. Weekly. “It’s not about him. I think that more often than not, producers or collaborators don’t coalesce as well. You get a little ego in the room. I just never felt that, not for one second. I’ve had great experiences, but this one is the best one.”
Ruby Red is caught halfway between the dark swoon of pop-noir, the raw rasp of soul music, and the honest punch of Americana. It’s an album about love, life, and lust in the modern world. A moody, fierce, melody-driven 11-song offering, Ruby Red ranges from Southern-gothic anthems to slow-burning soul ballads to explosive rockers, all anchored around Santo’s voice: an electrifying, elastic instrument that’s capable of both vulnerability and ferocity.
 Check out the leaad single “Ghost In My Bed
Before they collaborated on Ruby Red, Santo made multiple appearances on Butch Walker’s latest album Stay Gold. She joined him on the road, too, singing harmonies and playing violin, guitar, and banjo during a nationwide tour in 2016. During breaks in her touring schedule, she began diving into a different type of songwriting, looking to diverse albums by Erykah Badu, David Bowie, Townes Van Zandt, and the Alabama Shakes for inspiration. For years, she’d always been somebody else’s bandmate. This was a time to explore her own identity. To write her own music. To ignore genres and defy expectations. To determine what, exactly, she wanted to say, and find out the best way to deliver it.
This record is so fucking sexy, I can’t deal,” stated Butch Walker. “Proud to have been in the room when these songs were going down. Put it on and turn out the lights.
Following album release shows in August in LA and NYC, Suzanne will join former Old Crow Medicine Show co-founder Willie Watson on tour this Fall, kicking off in Louisville and hitting Chicago, Washington DC, and Philadelphia among many others.

Tour Dates:
08/10 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater
08/23 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
09/21 – Tahlequah, OK @ Medicine Stone Festival
10/13 – Louisville, KY @ Galaxie Outer Space*
10/14 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark*
10/15 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bluebird*
10/17 – Newport, KY @ Southgate Revival House*
10/18 – Chicago, IL @ Old Town School of Folk Music*
10/19 – Cleveland, OH @ Music Box Supper Club*
10/20 – Lexington, KY @ The Burl*
10/21 – Columbus, OH @ the Basement*
10/23 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd*
10/25 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade*
10/26 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge*
10/27 – Hudson, NY @ Club Helsinki*
10/28 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt*
10/30 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle*
* w/ Willie Watson



New Single From Emerging Artist Aaron Lee Tasjan


Praised as “a study in sturdy, [Tom] Petty-esque hooks” by NPR Music, Aaron Lee Tasjan’s new single “Till The Town Goes Dark” is a standout track from his critically acclaimed debut album SilverTears.

They state, “The lo-fi and occult clip features detectives, hippies, gypsies, cats, and a banana phone, all of which effectively capture the alternative energy of the mid-tempo Americana track.” 

SilverTears emerged as a breakthrough album of 2016 with year-end accolades such as NPR Music’s “Best 50 Albums of 2016,” American Songwriter’s “Top 50 Albums of 2016,” Rolling Stone’s “10 Best Country Videos of 2016,” and many more.

Never one to shy away from life on the road, Tasjan has been touring extensively since the release of Silver Tears with appearances that include support for Sheryl Crow, Lucinda Williams, The North Mississippi Allstars, Shovels & Rope, and St. Paul & the Broken Bones, as well as notable sets at Cayamo, Luck Reunion, Stagecoach, and Bonnaroo. Tasjan’s summer tour will continue with performances at both Newport Folk Festival and FloydFest, followed by the End of the Road Festival, Electric Picnic Festival, and multiple headlining shows in the UK.


In September, he will play a showcase at Nashville’s Americanafest in celebration of his “Emerging Artist of the Year” nomination for the Americana Music Association’s 2017 Honors & Awards, as well as make an appearance at Pilgrimage Music Festival along with Justin Timberlake, Eddie Vedder, Ryan Adams and more.  

Tour Dates:

July 28 – Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Fest
July 29 – Floyd, VA @ FloydFest
July 30 – Floyd, VA @ FloydFest
August 4 – Huntsville, AL @ Tangled String Studios
August 10 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Colorado Classic
September 1 – London, UK @ End of the Road Festival
September 3 – Laois, IE @ Electric Picnic
September 4 – London, UK @ The Islington
September 5 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Gullivers
September 7 – Glasgow, UK @ King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
September 12-17 – Nashville, TN @ Americanafest
September 23 – Franklin, TN @ Pilgrimage Festival (ASCAP Shady Grove Stage)
September 24 – Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Festival
September 29 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
September 30 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room
October 2 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
October 3 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
October 9 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
October 29 – Birmingham, AL @ Vulcan Aftertunes Series