Folk

Artist: 
Gold Star
Label: 
Autumn Tone

This is classic melancholy alt-country. The vocals are weary and long for something, and the guitar sways and wobbles like any good country album. Most of the songs express themes of alienation and loneliness. Overall the record is very good, but is definitely something you only want to listen to when you're depressed and manically driving around at night. My complaint would be that there isn't really a repreive from the depressing overlay on the entire record--"Sonny's Blues," sounds kind of poppy and upbeat, but not within the conext of the album.

Sounds Like: 
Jeff Tweedy
Sounds Like: 
Sturgill Simpson
Sounds Like: 
Paul Westerberg
Name: 
Will Fotter
Date Reviewed: 
04/11/2017
Artist: 
Old Time Assault
Label: 
Unsigned

Old Time Assault, a clawhammer banjo group from St. Louis, Missouri has recently released their first major album, Caxtons. Caxtons is certainly an ode to folk music and its rugged roots. This banjo-centered composition has a very acoustic feel throughout. With music approaching a point in which it could be considered overwhelming, the appeal becomes prominent. It would be especially useful for easy listening on an afternoon in the house or a quiet moment.  Take time to appreciate the rugged and uncut features of the vocals and instrumentation.

Sounds Like: 
Mumford and Sons
Name: 
Nick Ziolkowski
Date Reviewed: 
03/09/2017
Artist: 
Alison Krauss
Label: 
Hokker, Inc.

This record was a good listen, but at times the easy-listening feel of the record got boring. Not that it's bad by any means--however, the album did not have much variation and I don't think it did a good job of highlighting Krauss's versatility. It's still a classic country record though. If I found this album in my grandparents' records in between Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline I wouldn't be surprised. Krauss's voice is also flawless. She has one of the best voices in all of country music, and this didn't change on Windy City.

Sounds Like: 
Patty Griffin
Sounds Like: 
Dolly Parton
Name: 
Will Fotter
Date Reviewed: 
03/08/2017
Artist: 
Ryan Adams
Label: 
Blue Note Records

This was insanely good. After listening to it in its entirety, I immediately listened to it two more times. I might stay up late and listen to it again. The album is classic Ryan Adams, and he bears his alt-country troubador soul over the course of the twelve tracks. The album is his breakup album after his divorce with Mandy Moore. The songs have a lonely, alienated feel and this record would be good to listen to while driving at night.

Sounds Like: 
Jason Isbell
Sounds Like: 
Jeff Tweedy
Name: 
Will Fotter
Date Reviewed: 
03/07/2017
Artist: 
The O'Reillys and the Paddyhats
Label: 
Metalville Records

The O'Reillys and the Paddyhats are by far one of my favorite reviews of the year. I've always carried a love for Ireland and the sounds of folk-punk/ rock that it pushes out continuously. Being a huge fan of Dropkick Murphys, I picked this album up just to see if it carried a tune, and lo and behold the tune carried me away instead.

Sounds Like: 
Dropkick Murphys
Sounds Like: 
Flogging Mollys
Name: 
Kenny Bartz
Date Reviewed: 
02/15/2017
Artist: 
Gone Beyond Gone
Label: 
Slow Down

This album surprised me at how good it is.  It's a mix between electronic and folk music, which does not seem like it would work, but it really does in this album. I'm going song by song, becuase all of the songs sound slightly different and all deserve attention in their own ways!

Sounds Like: 
The xx
Name: 
Sidney Whitmire
Date Reviewed: 
02/08/2017
Artist: 
Gone Gone Beyond
Label: 
Human Experience Creations

This album is just really really beautiful and just simply instrumental and relaxing. The vocals that appear occasionally are just splendid and I love how soulful they are. This feels like less rpm and more singer/songwriter coffee shop music – but better. It’s really hard to explain because this album feels like an experience. With touches of rpm, alt, and world, this album feels relaxing and plays like a beautiful story book. The simple touches of world drums add to the beat and make it more melodic.

Sounds Like: 
folksy rpm album with earthy vocals
Name: 
Alexis Walker
Date Reviewed: 
02/08/2017
Artist: 
Jim James
Label: 
ATO Records

Jim James is one of the people who carried the American folk tradition into the 21st century. With projects like My Morning Jacket and the supergroup Monsters of Folk, it would be easy for him to rest on his laurels at this point. However, he has started a promising solo career, and his solo releases take his music in a new, exciting direction. Eternally Even is very psychedelic, but contains James's signature mellow-folk style.

Sounds Like: 
My Morning Jacket
Sounds Like: 
Dr. Dog
Name: 
Will Fotter
Date Reviewed: 
01/27/2017

Raw

Artist: 
Keller Williams
Label: 
Freeky Disc

Keller Williams is a jam-band phenomena, known for using wild effects to make his one-man sound come off as imposing and grandiose. However, on Raw, he drops all of that for a solo, acoustic record that truly shows off his musical talent. In his sets with String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Umphrey's, you can see a wide variety of music styles manifest themselves in different forms. Raw is aptly named because that is what the record is. Most of the record is really good.

Sounds Like: 
Greensky Bluegrass
Sounds Like: 
Yonder Mountain String Band
Name: 
Will Fotter
Date Reviewed: 
01/26/2017