Posted tagged ‘honky tonk’

THE SAVAGE HEARTS, “Playing It Forward,” Airshow. 11 tracks

October 31, 2016


The Colorado-based Savage Hearts describe their style as “fiery Route 66-flavored honky-tonk & bluegrass where tradition meets innovation with a surprising Latin flair.”

When you read something like that, you’ve just got to check it out for yourself,

The band has cut more than 30 albums and it’s well seasoned.

Leader Annie Savage boasts a background in bluegrass, classical and mariachi music.

And it all blends into a musical style that’s hearty and tasty.

Jim Croce‘s 1969 hit, “Age,” — “I’ve traded love for pennies and I’ve sold my soul for less” — becomes straight bluegrass with The Savage Hearts.

“Compadres in the Old Sierra Madre,” an old Riders in the Sky song, and the salsa beat of Puerto Rican composer Rafael Hernandez Marin‘s “El Cumbanchero” provide the Latin flavor.

Bob Wills‘ “Faded Love” begins as an a capella duet between Savage and Kevin Slick and then turns into an instrumental.

There’s gospel in “Working On A Building/Old Time Religion.”

And original music with Slick’s “Heaven on Earth” and “Child’s Song.”

Several fiddlers join Savage for twin fiddling throughout the album.

Good album by a seasoned band and something you don’t hear every day.

Can’t find it in stores?



JAMES REAMS AND THE BARNSTORMERS, “One Foot In The Honky Tonk,” Mountain Redbird Music. 15 tracks.

April 18, 2011

These days, most people think of outdoor family-oriented festivals when they think about bluegrass.

But, as James Reams writes in the liner notes to “One Foot In The Honky Tonk,” bluegrass pioneers like Red Allen, Jimmy Martin, Earl Taylor, Charlie Moore, Don Reno, Red Smiley and Carter Stanley honed their music in the honky tonks, roadhouses and beer joints of an earlier era.

Reams, who was born in the Kentucky foothills of Appalachia, has lived in Brooklyn, N. Y., for more than two decades now.

But his music, which straddles the border where traditional country meets bluegrass,   remains untouched by years of city living.

“Honky Tonk” includes songs of rural life like “Cornbread, Molasses & Sassafras Tea,” an uptempo dance tune; “Bailing Again,” a song that finds a farmer talking to his dead father about crops and kids; and the traditional gospel song “City That Lies Foursquare.”

But the heart of the album lies with the honky-tonk theme.

The title cut finds a man listening to a “hillbilly song on the jukebox” with a painted woman on his knee — “one foot’s in the honky tonk, the other’s in the grave.”

The theme continues with “I Can’t Settle Down,” “In The Corner At The Table By the Jukebox,” “King of the Blues,” Stonewall Jackson’s “Almost Hear The Blues” and Harlan Howard’s “Goin’ Home.”

Reams wrote “River Rising” about a flood that washes a family away and, with the late Tina Aridas, “Snake Eyes,” a song about gambling with love.

The band — Mark Farrell, Doug Nicolaisen and Nick Sullivan with an assist from Kenny Kosek and Barry Mitterhoff — gets to strut its stuff on such tunes as “Susquehanna Getaway,” “Florida Blues,” “Rocky Creek” and “Passamaquoddy.”

Good album by a good band.

Can’t find it in stores? Try