Marley s Ghost – Jubilee (2012)

If there is a group, in the era after the sad passing of Levon Helm, who can push forward the ageless Americana blueprint of the Band, it might just by Marley’s Ghost.If you haven’t stumbled across this wildly eclectic amalgam featuring multi-instrumentalists Jerry Fletcher, Ed Littlefield Jr. and Mike Phelan, Dan Wheetman and Jon Wilcox, a new guest-filled opportunity arrives with Jubilee. Produced by Nashville legend Cowboy Jack Clement and recorded at the Sound Emporium space that he constructed, the album includes visits from Larry Campbell, Emmylou Harris, John Prince, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart and others.

mp3 VBR~234 kbps | 85 MB | UL

Marty Balin – The Witcher (2011)

While remaining best known for his contributions to the pioneering San Francisco psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane, Marty Balin also enjoyed a successful solo career, scoring a Top Ten hit in 1981 with “Hearts.” Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, OH, on January 30, 1942, he was raised in the Bay Area and later attended San Francisco State University; though he initially pursued a career as a painter, after appearing in a production of West Side Story Balin turned to music, issuing the solo singles “Nobody But You” and “I Specialize in Love” on Challenge in 1962. Two years later he joined the folk combo the Town Criers, followed by a brief stint with the Gateway Singers; in 1965, Balin met singer/guitarist Paul Kantner at the local club the Drinking Gourd, and together they formed Jefferson Airplane. Initially a folk-rock venture, the group came to epitomize the nascent psychedelic scene, scoring a gold record with their 1967 sophomore LP Surrealistic Pillow; although vocalist Grace Slick was the focal point of hits such as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” Balin’s soulful tenor proved a pivotal element of their sound as well, and he also wrote key compositions including “Today,” “Share a Little Joke,” and “Volunteers.”

mp3 160 kbps | 67 MB | UL

Bill Dowey – Straight Up Blues (2000)

Blues singer Bill Dowey is the real deal. He’s got the voice, the feel, the experience, the life. Bill Dowey has got the blues.A powerful and heartfelt voice, a searing slide guitar tone, Bill Dowey one of the most convincing and dedicated blues artists in Canada.

mp3 320 kbps | 110 MB | UL

Flat Mountain Girls – Honey Take Your Whiskers Off (2005)

The Flat Mountain Girls are a high-energy old-time string band based in Portland, Oregon. The Flats are known for tight, raw three-part harmonies, powerful fiddling, and performances that explode with irrepressible glee and bawdy humor. Their repertoire includes arrangements of Carter Family classics, traditional songs from the Southern mountains, cowboy yodels, romping fiddle tunes, and the occasional original, combining tremendous enthusiasm with great respect for the old-time tradition. With Lisa Marsicek playing fiddle, Rachel Gold on banjo, Nann Alleman on guitar and Arthur Parker on bass, the Flat Mountain Girls bring foot-stomping fun to every performance.

mp3 320 kbps | 107 MB | UL

Alejandro Escovedo – Big Station (2012)

Big Station is songwriter Alejandro Escovedo’s 11th album, and his third consecutive collaboration with producer Tony Visconti. This pairing and Escovedo’s writing partnership with Chuck Prophet have already been fruitful, but Big Station, with its headstrong rock & roll heart, is also more ambitious than either of its predecessors. The album is full of diverse musical and production notions ranging from the Clash’s Sandinista! to records by Tinariwen, Rachid Taha, Lou Reed, and Mink DeVille, but bear Escovedo’s own indelible signature. Visconti’s predilection for enormous basslines, female backing choruses, handclaps, and tight rhythm sections is readily evident; it adds to the album’s pleasure factor by ten. Escovedo and Prophet have chosen to write tight songs that contain readily apparent, hooky melodies, juxtaposed against (usually) poignant lyrics. “Man of the World” opens it all with a meld of big glam guitars, handclaps, and a backing Ramones-esque “oh yeah” chorus that is infectious and offsets the tune’s weighty subject matter. The title track, driven by acoustic guitars and an equally electric chorus, is pumped up by percussive elements from hands, snares, and a menacing bassline underneath. It’s a broken, desperate love song, but you’d never know it by its melody or arrangement. “Sally Was a Cop” is a cutting observation about the Mexican drug war, and the choices the country’s citizens are forced to make. On “Can’t Make Me Run,” a muted trumpet and nasty fat bassline front a droning guitar line and airtight percussive groove. The lyric views the world from an utterly disillusioned and bewildered space, vacillating between fear and defiance. Near the end, Escovedo’s protagonist’s homesickness pleads for the guidance of his mother and seems to hear her in the wind as she responds repeatedly: “Don’t give up on love.” Here again, the Miles-like mute on the trumpet, funky bassline, and clapping grab the listener instantly. “San Antonio Rain,” with its sad Americana melody, is tinged with a stirring norteño string chart and contains the devastating line “The last thing I need/Is something that will kill my pain,” which we recall even as the protagonist begins to waver — we never discover if he falters. “Headstrong Crazy Fools” looks back at life and its characters without nostalgia; in their place are wisdom and a hard-earned sense of humor — revealed by the music itself. “Common Mistake” and “Party People” recall late-’70s new wave, but without irony or gimmicks; the music is undeniably catchy but both songs carry lyric heft. Set closer “Sabor a Mi,” sung in Spanish, is the album’s only cover. It was penned in 1959 by Mexican composer Alvaro Carrillo. For all its ambition and poetry, Big Station is consistently great fun. The songwriting and recording employed here take Escovedo’s populist and sophisticated art to a whole new level.

mp3 320 kbps | 109 MB | UL

Lilly Hiatt and The Dropped Ponies – Let Down (2012)

The album is a fine collection of rootsy music encapsulating country, folk and some fine rocking too, Hiatt has already tasted success a solo artist and shared the stage with Americana legends Emmylou Harris and Jim Lauderdale as well as touring and playing with her dad, things really started to come together for her after hooking up with North Carolina guitarist Beth Finney, the girls later hooked up with drummer Jon Radford (Charles Walker and the Dynamites, Drew Holcombe Band) and bass player Jake Bradley (Over the Rhine) together The Dropped Ponies, Let Down was produced by Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, Gretchen Peters).

mp3 160 kbps | 41 MB | UL