Tag Archives: roots

Folk soaked songs: “Moonshiner” by Kevin Morby

Kevin Morby brings us fine folk-infused songs since 2014.  The former Bass player of indie folk band  Woods and frontman of The Babies,  really makes his mark as a solo musician. With influences like  Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Nina Simone you find yourself listening to a blend of Folk, Americana and Roots songs. My favorite song: “Moonshiner” 

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From Chicago to the Hill Country and from Roots to Soul: The diverse songs of Trainman Blues

They clearly built their music in the house of blues and took inspiration from all styles in the roots, soul and blues genre before it developed into Rock ‘n’Roll. This results in soulful and bluesy songs with a whole lot of diversity. Trainman Blues is hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark and recently released three singles from their upcoming album. 

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“Accompanied by little more than a banjo”: William Elliott Whitmore’s Folk and Roots songs

He grew up on his family farm in Iowa, respecting the land on a philosophy of caring for crops, and to never take more than is needed and, ultimately, to try to leave things better than how they were found.  With that approach, William Elliott Whitmore is recording beautiful albums since 2003 in the Folk and Roots genre.  

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The Blues Sisters from Larkin Poe release Preachin’ Blues from their upcoming album ‘Peach’

The Blues Sisters of Larkin Poe Hailin’ originally from Atlanta Georgia just released a new single “Preachin’ Blues’. as part of their upcoming album Peach. This Cover of  Delta Blues legend Son House contains intense beats, magnificent slide guitar licks, and soulful vocals. 

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Old American Ragtime by the G Burns Jug Band’s

Old American Ragtime by the G Burns Jug Band’s

The G Burns Jug Band  brings you back to old America of 20s and 30s, to the  string bands, the heavy fiddle music and  blues songs from women like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Expect happy up-tempo traditional songs with bluegrass, roots and folk influences of this group.

“Music with an intensity and authenticity rarely heard today: urban Blues, mountain fiddle, and popular music of the nineteen-twenties and thirties.”

This music is very enjoyable and unique for the multiple instruments. The mixed vocals make the band able to perform a whole lot of song in a different style and with different soul. This is  vintage American modern music at his best if you ask me.

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Green Mountain Rebels EP: A distilled a mixture of soulful elegance and raw emotion


Green Mountain Rebels EP: A distilled a mixture of soulful elegance and raw emotion

Besides the great music of this band, the story about how these guys first met in the spare rooms and on the back roads of Eau Claire, Wis., makes you interested in the life of the Green Mountain Rebels.

Since 2004 the riotous Green Mountain Rebels are brewing a unique style of music in a wide genre. It is Blues, it is Roots, It is Americana and a whole lot more but let’s give it the name Americana  Blues for now. I spoke with guitarist David about the band and their latest EP which is like good Bourbon sweet and smooth up front while strong enough to leave you with a fire in  your belly and a swagger in your talk.

Using two Guitars over drinking cans of beer

Guitarist David Koenig and Jered Shaw developed a friendship using two guitars and conversation over drinking cans of beer and that is how we like it.  I was surprised by the diversity of their songs and as a music lover you have to like the Green Mountain Rebels.

Blues and Swamp Influences

The arrangements remind me in a certain way of my favorite Rolling Stones album Exile on Main Street. Think about tracks like ‘Stop Breaking Down’ and ‘Shake Your Hips’. On the other hand, you might recognize a touch of Swamp blues in the guitar and harmonica. Think of songs like the ‘Hoodoo Blues’. The voice of singer Susan Renee Thiede is soulful and confident, the other vocalist, Jered brings a Hill Country feeling to the arrangement. This combination makes the music, as David already told us smooth and strong, like good bourbon.

Well, we are all about making music that you can feel.  We always strive to be authentic, raw, honest and real.  And there’s no other style of music, in my opinion, that you can feel more than the blues. 

Inspiration from Muddy to Dylan to the Rolling Stones

The Green Mountain Rebels were inspired by a whole lot of musicians in the blues genre.  Guitarist David explains how he and Jered shared a passion for blues style songs: ” We listened to the old timers like Bill Broonzy, Howlin Wolf, Willie McTell, Buddy Guy/Junior Welles, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon as well as the more current renditions from the Stones to Zeppelin to Jack White/Black Keys.  We love it all”.

With help from their other heros like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Zeppelin and Muddy Waters, Koenig and Shaw established the basis for what would become their new adventure: the riotous Green Mountain Rebels.

Favorite song “Down & Dirty Blues”

From The Green Mountain Rebels  EP, my favorite song is  “Down & Dirty Blues”, which is in every aspect complete. The vocals rhythmically built up, the guitar is smooth in the solo tunes and in the riffs. The piano brings some gold old’  Honky Tonk.  And then when the interlude starts  you might think you have seen it all.  But no.  Next to come is the beginning of maybe one of the best finals in a song I’ve heard.

Writing the “Sweatheart Dance”

From all the songs they recorded David picks one of his favorites:  “The Sweetheart Dance”. “This song was always a crowd favorite at our live shows, with the emotional and at times hostile lyrical exchanges between a man and his woman.  The music of that song came from a piece of music I had written years before I met Jered.  When I brought it to Jered, he developed the melody and lyrics and the back/forth structure between the male vocal and female vocal.  Jered gave that song heart and soul, it really came alive.  You can still feel it, even after playing it time and time again.  In my humble opinion, there isn’t another song out there like it.  It’s a very unique blues song, it doesn’t really follow the typical blues structure and within the song two people are actively arguing and taking cheap shots at each other!  It has a theatrical side to it when you see it performed live.  This version, as with every version we ever recorded of this song, was recorded completely live”. 


 “What you hear on the EP is what we are, no more no less.”  

Latest Green Mountain Rebels Blues  “Move On”

Another song you will like is “Move On”. This song kicks off with  hill country blues vocals. The combination of Jered and Susie makes this song peak very fast. The following  Harmonica solo is nicely found. It is a newer blues song of the Green Mountain Rebels and doesn’t follow the traditional blues structure, but that doesn’t matter.  While David tells he “was playing around with a lot of palm muting, sort of in the fashion that Neil Young would and found himself simply going between two chords (D & F) in a very “choppy” rhythm.  When that got too repetitious he tossed in a G7 and held that to build the tension back into the main D & F progression.  It is pretty much the entire song. Jered then gave it life with very loose, drenched in bluesman style vocal and bruising harmonica”.


5-piece band

For the Release of the EP The Green Mountain Rebels have strengthen their forces to the delivery of the songs, toward the power of a 5-piece band. Chuck Caldwell (drums) and Matt Staudenmaier (bass) were enlisted to protect the basic principles of the newly constructed music by driving the rhythm section.

It was a great pleasure to listen to the Green Mountain Rebels, I met David and the band as great musicians with a whole lot of love for the Roots genre. Their EP is available at Bandcamp and Amazon.

Follow the Green Mountain Rebels on Facebook for more music!

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Arhoolie movie Down Home Music

“Without collector Chris Strachwitz, there’d be no record of some of America’s greatest folk music, from zydeco to the Delta blues.”

— San Francisco Chronicle headline

Chris Strachwitz Arhoolie Records

Arhoolie records played a major roll in the development of Folk, Blues, Zydeco, Cajun and Tex-Mex music. Founder Chris Stachwitz always had a lot of love for roots music. So when he started recording his heroes in 1960s the start of one of the best label around was a fact. Stachwitz is a hero for recording the artist he, and we too, like so much. He travelled around the country to find his heroes and in many cases the adventure to finding these musicians is very intersting, danger and funny.

DVD Down Home Music

On the DVD Down Home Music – A Journey Through the Heartland 1963 you will see how in 1963 German filmmaker Dietrich Wawzyn set out to shoot a series of films for German television that took him through the southern US in search of American jazz and roots music. He contacted Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz, who jumped at the chance to join him and share his enthusiasm for regional musical traditions. (source Arhoolie)

Gospel, Blues and Hillbilly music

Wawzyn made three films, dealing with blues, gospel, and hillbilly music. The negatives to those films were lost. This film re-creates the journey from the best elements still available and includes much previously unreleased footage.

This film documentary is absolutely worth watching with a pencil in your hand, because every artist in it, is worth looking up. Musicians such as Clifton Chenier, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, George Lewis, Los Pinguinos, Big Joe Williams, Jesse Fuller, Country Joe McDonald and many more would not have otherwise been heard — or would have been less heard — if it weren’t for Strachwitz’s determination and love for the art.

More from Arhoolie Records…

Visit the Arhoolie Website to find more musicians and also check Chris Strachwitz blog-site. You will find it here.

A World of Down Home Music from Megan R. Orr on Vimeo.

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