The Texas Sapphires – As He Wanders (2010)

TEXThe theme of the Texas Sapphires’ As He Wanders… is wrestling demons, but with glimmers of hope throughout, however fleeting. As the sophomore effort to the highly and widely claimed Lloyd Maines produced ‘Valley So Steep,’ the Austin-based outfit is back with twelve well-crafted and superbly executed songs featuring some of Texas finest: Scotty Matthews (Dixie Chicks, Derailers) on drums, Billy ‘Dee’ (Dale Watson, David Allen Coe) on bass and Tommy Detamore on dobro (Jim Lauderdale, Moe Bandy). Dual front persons Billy Brent Malkus and Rebecca Lucille Cannon churn out duets in the spirit and tradition of Porter & Dolly, George & Tammy, even John Doe & Exene Cervenka.

mp3 320 kbps | 108 MB | UL

Zoe Mulford – Coyote Wings (2013)

ZSince releasing her first album in 2003, Zoe Mulford has established herself as a writer of contemporary folk songs with a grounding in traditional American, English, and Celtic music. “Coyote Wings” incorporates a wider range of sounds, showing the influence of contemporary songwriters like Richard Shindell and Suzanne Vega, slipping in a snatch of spoken word, and taking a few leaves from the Great American Songbook. The instrumentation includes drum kit, soprano sax, piano and clarinet as well as cello, viola, mandolin, cajon, and washboard.

mp3 320 kbps | 117 MB | UL | CL

John D. Hale Band – More Than I Can Handle (2012)

Produced by Reckless Kelly’s Cody Braun, the third album from Missouri’s John D. Hale Band is a swaggering, distressed Southern melange of rough living, relationship troubles, and proud men fallen on hard times. While Hale finds sweet harmony with Dani Flowers on the starcrossed “Hearts Like Us,” even the rougher-sounding tunes never stray far from accessibility. Chalk that up to solid, unfussy playing/production and intelligent songcraft that provides plenty of lyrical meat without giving short shrift to melody. Hale originals like the title track and excellent “Desperate People” bristle with real, lived-in detail; in the latter, the first-person narrator summarizes himself as a well-meaning “desperate man with a mind like a loaded gun,” a characterization that serves as a kind of coda for More Than I Can Handle as a whole. Self-penned slices of life on the margins easily hold their own alongside well-chosen covers of Fred Eaglesmith (“Harold Wilson”) and Ricky Skaggs (“One Way Track”), both assimilated so completely into the band’s own Red Dirt outlaw style as to be nearly unrecognizable as outside cuts. And that loaded gun? It only goes off twice, not bad as far as rural roots music body counts go. Fitting for a collection that’s more about finding ways to survive whatever comes your way in life and love than it is about extreme measures for their own sake.

mp3 VBR~275 kbps | 78 MB | UL

Michael Martin Murphey – Cowboy Songs (1990)

MIA “cosmic cowboy” in the country-rocking ’70s, Michael Martin Murphey revived his career as a cowboy traditionalist with this 1990 release. Mixing campfire chestnuts such as “Home on the Range, “I Ride an Old Paint,” and “Happy Trails” with contemporary hokum such as “Cowboy Logic,” the album returned the western to the music formerly known as country and western, and its success inspired a series of sequels on the Warner Western label. Though nothing here is as cloying as 1975’s “Wildfire” ballad, Murphey’s biggest hit, this smooth stylist emphasizes the romance rather than the grittier realities of the cowboy’s life.

mp3 320 kbps | 153 MB | UL

John James – John James in Concert (1971/2012 )

johnJames learned the rudiments of music at the piano, switching to the guitar at the age of 12.Initially he learnt his craft playing in local Pop and R&B bands but later focused on solo acoustic guitar work. He first made a name for himself in the folk clubs of the UK around 1968, playing arrangements of old blues, jazz and ragtime tunes (by composers such as Scott Joplin, and Reverend Gary Davis).With a Career spanning over four decades, James has recorded over 15 albums and toured extensively, playing with artists as diverse as Jools Holland, Ralph McTell, John Renbourn, John Martyn (Who was the best man at his wedding!) Led Zeppelin (he played support at their debut gig at London’s Round House in the 60s!), Happy Traum, Eddie Walker and Dick Heckstall-Smith famed for playing in Jazz-Rock Band Colosseum, John Mayall and Jack Bruce, as a footnote, he was also a guest artist on the last ever Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry UK Tour of 1976. He has performed at many prestigious venues including the Royal Albert Hall (London), the Paris Olympia, Edinburgh and Cambridge Folk Festivals etc.

mp3 320 kbps | 144 MB | UL | CL