local scene

We are down with the local sound; music from Upstate Carolina's, both current era releases and heritage artists! Stocking and celebrating artists and bands either currently from this area or whose history had a chapter in the Western Carolinas.

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Keith Davis Trio


CD: $11.98 Buy

Used CD: $4.99 Buy Used

'Lieb' is for the great Dave Liebman, with whom I had the opportunity to study and play at the Banff Jazz Workshop in 1985. New Beginning is about just that! Chrysalis is a silk cocoon, for an old friend, close to my heart. Elis is for the great samba singer from Brazil, Elis Regina. Taiji Camp is inspired by the experience of being at Taiji camp, led every year by Master Yang Yang. Raja Numia is a mystery, inspired by a drum groove by the great Bob Moses, and the wonderful pianist Steve Kuhn. Tadjimon is for my oldest son, Tadji. Suzy's Waltz is for Susan, and old friend. Tadji's Groove was written with the assistance of Tadji, on drums. (Now I have to write some for Sammy!).
Keith Davis Trio - Still
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The musicians in King Cotton and The Remnants have been playing together in various bands for over 30 years. Beginning their current musical venture in 2007, the band has released two albums, 2008's "Borderline Brilliant!" and the recent 2012 release, "The Misery Index." Their sound calls upon the best musical traditions of the South and manifests the sentiments of a decaying and broken American landscape like the fallow fields of modern Dixieland. Here is a recent review by Dan Armonaitis of GoUpstate.com's '85-26' blog: 'Just before I embarked on a vacation earlier this month, I received a copy of "The Misery Index." I dug it upon first listen, and the album became a staple of the road trip. The music consists of jangly, roots-flavored pop that should appeal to those who enjoy the Traveling Wilburys or perhaps John Hiatt. Unbelievably catchy yet lyrically pensive, "The Misery Index" would also fit nicely next to recent works by the aforementioned Matthew Knights Williams. All of the songs are terrific, but I particularly have a fondness for a line in a rollicking Carr-penned tune called "Choagie." It's hard to top "Fire up the jitney, put on some Gene Pitney for the road/In a town without pity, you've got to grab what you see. ..." Nice.'
King Cotton & The Remnants - Misery Index
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Marcus King

El Dorado

CD: $14.98 Buy

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

The debut solo album from Marcus King, El Dorado, is a revelation. Passionate, penetrating and deeply soulful, El Dorado weaves soul music, gospel, R&B and country into a something modern and classic. Teaming with producer Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) for sessions at Auerbach’s Easy Eye Studio in Nashville, the pair co-wrote the 11 songs on El Dorado along with esteemed writers on various tracks including Pat McLaughlin, Paul Overstreet and Ronnie Bowman.

Marcus King - El Dorado
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Marshall Chapman

Big Lonesome

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MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

Marshall on Big Lonesome ... I recorded this album after my best friend in music, Tim Krekel, died in June 2009. He was 58. We were planning to record a duet album called Sweet Talkin' and had booked gigs throughout the summer, including a couple in San Miguel, Mexico. We'd planned to include "Big Lonesome" (the song) on Sweet Talkin'. I originally recorded this song in 1999 at Tommy Spurlock's train studio (in an actual Pullman car parked behind Union Station in Nashville) using ADAT. For years, the ADAT went missing. Then, just before recording this CD, Spurlock found it in a pile of stuff in his garage in Austin (where he now lives), and we were able to transfer it to ProTools. I didn't even know Tim's voice was on it. First miracle. I wrote "Down to Mexico" on July 4, 2009, while flying to Mexico, six days after Tim's memorial service. I've been performing Cindy Walker's "Going Away Party" since the early '70s. I learned it off an old Bob Wills album in my then-boyfriend's apartment in Boston. The relationship didn't last, but the song did. Fans of my music have been hassling me for years about recording it. I'm glad I waited. I wrote "Falling Through the Trees" when I realized my last album wasn't going to happen. At least not as I had hoped. I like how this song and "Going Away Party" deal with the same theme-the devastation following the death of a dream. "Sick of Myself" is the last song Tim and I wrote together. It started as an email from me to him, at a time when I really was sick of myself and thought, If I could be anybody else (for a day, maybe two) who would it be? So it was sort of a love poem from me to him. Within hours, Tim emailed me back with the last two verses. We both agreed this would be an excellent song for Sweet Talkin'. Shortly thereafter, Tim fell ill. We all hoped for the best as he sought treatment. But as things quickly deteriorated, I couldn't help but think, Damn, I'd better get up there and record him singing his part, because he's the only one who can sing it! I never got that chance. Nor did we ever get to put our words to music. In the back of my mind, I knew the song was a shuffle. I finally put it to music shortly before tracking in December 2009. Later, Tim's son, Jason (Mad Tea Party), dropped by the studio and sang his dad's part. The similarity in the timbres of their voices gives me goosebumps. And makes me smile. "Tim Revisited" On Sunday, June 14, 2009, Tim married his longtime girlfriend, Debbie Cooper. Jeff Hanna, Matraca Berg, my husband Chris, and I drove up to Louisville for the occasion. With fifty or so of Tim's closest friends, we stood in a circle as Tim and Debbie exchanged vows in the sweltering heat and sun. I knew Tim had a doctor's appointment that following Thursday. The silence over those days was deafening. Finally the phone rang. It was Debbie. "The news isn't good," she said. "The doctors say there's nothing more they can do. We're going home with Hospice." Her words hit like a ton of bricks. That night, I wrote this song (or it wrote me). Two days later, I sang it to Debbie over the phone. "I want Tim to hear this," she said and put him on the line. He sounded weak and a bit agitated. I didn't know what to do. (over) So I sang the song, fully expecting to hear a dial tone at the end. Instead, he came alive: "Now listen, Marshall!" he said, all animated. "When you go to record this, you be sure and put mariachi horns on it, you hear?" Those were his last words to me. Three days later he was gone. "I Can't Stop Thinking About You" wrote itself one month after Tim died. I imagine Harlan Howard dictated this to me from heaven. I wrote "Mississippi Man in Mexico" while flying back from Mexico (July 8, 2009). I'd spent a magical evening two nights before at a rancho outside San Miguel, where an American expatriate from Mississippi lived, cultivating cacti from all over the world. He and the owner of the property prepared a feast for us - doves which had been wrapped in bacon then cooked over hot mesquite coals, grilled cactus, fresh salsa, and so on. The clear night sky was filled with a million stars and the moon was full. After the meal, I leaned back to see the moon disappear behind a single purple cloud and thought of Hank Williams. Later that night, I played songs for my host and his teenaged son, Mark, until the wee hours-songs long forgotten (i.e., ones I used to sing before I started writing songs) like "Me and Bobby McGee," Buddy Holly's "Everyday," Robert Johnson's "From Four 'til Late," and Hank Williams's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." When I drew a blank on a line in the Hank Williams classic, Mark printed the lyrics out for me from his computer. Over the next few days, I'd sing "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" in the empty courtyard of the house where I was staying, high up on a hill above San Miguel. I believe we captured that courtyard's lonesome sound in this recording. "Riding with Willie" In August 2008, I spent three days on Willie Nelson's bus. (I was there to interview him for my upcoming book.) The story of how this song came to be is documented in the book. I wanted to end the album with a live recording (like Waylon did on Dreaming My Dreams). So we decided on "I Love Everybody" from the 2003 Belgium Rhythm & Blues Festival. Tim plays lead guitar and harmonica and sings on this track, so it seemed right and good. The only problem was we didn't have a multi-track. (Our performance had been directly mixed in Belgium Radio 1's mobile recording unit.) Regardless, the track sounded pretty damn good, so we decided to go with it. After the album was mixed, I called Debbie (Tim's widow) because I wanted her to hear what we'd done. As it turned out, she and her sister were about ten miles outside Nashville (driving north from Florida to Louisville), so we met for lunch at my favorite meat and three. During the course of conversation, she casually mentioned, "You know there's a multi-track of the last time you sang with Tim at the Vernon." You could have knocked me over with a feather. That night, a multi-track of "I Love Everybody" was overnighted to our engineer. The Belgium track got scratched, and what you hear here is the actual last time I played with Tim Krekel. The first time I heard this track, I turned to Mike [Utley] and said, laughing, "Damn! I thought I was using hyperbole when I said we sounded better than the Rolling Stones!" For more information about Marshall Chapman, please contact Conqueroo: Cary Baker  (323) 656-1600  cary@conqueroo.com.
Marshall Chapman - Big Lonesome
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Hard-touring, foot-stompin', guitar beatin, upright lickin, washboard scratchin,' banjo pickin' madness with a voice unlike any other. Charleston, SC-based duo Megan Jean & the KFB (Byrne Klay, Megan Jean) arrange a demented blend of gypsy, circus, americana, and the avant-garde that has been enthralling audiences all over America. Their first full-length album 'Dead Woman Walkin' is a ode to the bizarre in all of us, the dark substances seeping though the cracks in the veneer, and the profane beauty of an epic fall from grace...
Megan Jean & The Kfb - Dead Woman Walkin
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For her hotly anticipated sophomore album Nashville songstress Nikki Lane teamed up with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys for a record that turns the vulnerable singer-songwriter stereotype on its ears. With songs that crucify ex-boyfriends, celebrate one-night stands (as long as she can bolt town right after) and proclaim it s always the right time to do the wrong thing, Lane comes across like a modern-era Wanda Jackson, albeit with more oats to sow. My songs always paint a pretty clear picture of what s been going on in my life, so this is one moody record, she says. There s lots of talk of misbehaving and moving on.
Nikki Lane - All Or Nothin' [Vinyl]
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Yet another luxurious spectacle from the Saraswati Series. Ex-Sun City Girls master guitarist Richard Bishop teams up with Cul de Sac's long time Girls live collaborator, Ed Yazijian. Two grand seigneurs of underground deliver a unique album, deeply Western-rooted, filled with the musical spirit and structures of Indian music at the same time. Elegant interplay, brilliantly arranged, using mostly guitar (lap steel, tenor) and strings (viola), and an Indian stringed instrument, and some piano. A classic Saraswati Series sonic adventure. A contemporary classy polaroid, state of the art in today's underground music. Three untitled pieces which came up right Unrock's alley. 140 gram vinyl; one-time pressing.
Sir Bishop Richard & Yazijian,Ed - Sir Richard Bishop & Ed Yazijian
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The Honeycutters

When Bitter Met Sweet

CD: $16.98 Buy

Used CD: $0.00 Buy Used

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

In a world that is becoming increasingly digitalized and impersonal, The Honeycutters are building a reputation based on live performance and songs that tend to stick with you. Fitting into the Americana realm, Mountain Xpress's Alli Marshall calls The Honeycutters' sound, "Old school country in the truest sense... free of twang and ten-gallon hats but full of real emotion, family history, quick wit and strong liquor." In an interview with the Folk to Folk Blog, Amanda says that part of The Honeycutters appeal is that their sound harkens back to simpler, more honest times. "In times like these, people want something real," she said. "They're just really craving something that's just going to connect them to that basic human pool of emotion." The Honeycutters are excited to introduce their second full length studio release, When Bitter Met Sweet on June 5th, 2012. Like their first release, Irene, When Bitter Met Sweet features singer/songwriter Amanda Anne Platt, who has been hailed as "one of the best songwriters coming out of WNC these days" by WNCW programming director Martin Anderson. Peter James accompanies her on lead and rhythm guitar as well as harmony vocals. They are backed up by Tal Taylor's signature mandolin playing, Ian Harrod on bass, and Jon Ashley on drums creating an original brand of americana that has proved equally appealing to both the musician and the music lover, the country and the city, and the old and the young. Platt's songs are shaped by a raw honesty that comes straight from the heart and emits a sort of melancholy happiness. The album features 11 tracks that touch upon childhood and loss of innocence, finding a sense of belonging and one's voice, truth, love and patience, traveling and embarking on new life-journeys (and the fears that go along with these), and the understanding that comes about when life's circumstances come full circle. The title track, "When Bitter Met Sweet" is a song about the end of love looking back at the beginning. Platt says, "I think it's important not to lose sight of what was good about something even if it is ending." "For Eleanora," was inspired after reading a biography of Billie Holiday and reflects on a similar thought of polarities that, "It seems like so often the partners of extreme talent and specialness are self-destruction and doubt." The song "90 Miles (The Tennessee Song)" is featured on Blue Ridge Outdoors Trailmix for 2012 Merlefest Artists. It was written after her first trip to International Folk Alliance in 2010, an event that can be quite overwhelming at first. An admitted introvert, Amanda was faced with the challenges of how to be heard amongst all of the activity of events such as these. And make herself heard is exactly what she went on to do; becoming a finalist at 2011 Merlefest's Chris Austin songwriting contest for her song song "Little Bird" (unrecorded). She was asked to return as a guest judge for the contest, along with Jim Lauderdale, for the 2012 Merlefest (Where The Honeycutters will also be performing a few sets this year). The same song won first place in the Great Lakes Song Contest in February 2012. "All I Got, " is a song Amanda calls, "a love song I wrote a long, long time ago, before I had actually ever been in love" and was selected for WNCW's 2010 Crowd Around the Mic Vol. 14. "Fancy Car" features Platt's father on harmonica. He also sits in on "Not Over Yet" which she says that when she sings it she imagines a child leaving home for the first time, wanting freedom but scared of what it might cost. When Bitter Met Sweet was co-produced by Amanda and Peter with the assistance of Aaron Price, and was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville NC after securing funding through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Along with the full band, many special guests make appearances on the album including Matt Smith (pedal steel and dobro), Nicky Sanders (fiddle), Mark Platt (harmonica), Je Widenhouse (coronet), and on drums Mike Rhodes and Richard Foulk and for various songs. The album was engineered (and partially mixed) by Jon Ashley with the assistance of Julian Dreyer, mixed by John Keane and mastered by Dave Harris at Studio B Mastering in Charlotte, NC. Their first full length studio release Irene, released in May 2009, has landed them in Ian Hughes' NoDepression Podcast's Top 20 of 2009, Fret Knot Radio Hour's "Nine you need to know from '09?, and #32 in WNCW's listener voted Top 100 of 2009. Since putting out Irene The Honeycutters have shared the stage with such Americana favorites as Tony Rice, The Greencards, Jill Andrews, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Donna the Buffalo, and The Seldom Scene. They have been voted Western North Carolina's favorite local Americana act (2011 Mountain Xpress reader's poll) and delighted audiences from upstate New York to Seattle, Washington. They are currently touring around the release of When Bitter Met Sweet.
The Honeycutters - When Bitter Met Sweet
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Carolina Confessions features 10 brand-new songs, all written by Marcus except for 'How Long,' which was co-written with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach and veteran songwriter Pat McLaughlin. Whether it's the searing rock exorcism of 'Confessions' or the propulsive road-bound soul of 'Where I'm Headed,' Marcus exhibits an almost Southern gothic sensibility in his songs, owning up to failed relationships, portraying his complex connection with his hometown, arraying a sprawling musical firmament in the process.

Marcus and his five bandmates - drummer Jack Ryan, bass player Stephen Campbell, trumpeter/trombonist Justin Johnson, sax player Dean Mitchell and keyboard player DeShawn 'D'Vibes' Alexander - are in top form on Carolina Confessions, exhibiting an intuitive sense of control and expression as they tackle their most sonically layered and emotionally complex compositions to date.

Black vinyl. 180g.

The Marcus King Band - Carolina Confessions [LP]
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At only 20 years of age, Marcus King's dazzling musical ability is on full display throughout The Marcus King Band, the young phenom's 2nd full-length LP. The album was produced by King's champion Warren Haynes, who expertly wraps the band's muscular live energy around a rising young songwriter of unusual clarity and depth. The album was largely written during this past year on the road while the band played ever-larger venues and festivals to a burgeoning fan base. Haynes expertly captured the group's blazing live sound as well as the restrained and subtle talent of a passionate young singer-songwriter reaching well beyond his years and into the future.
The Marcus King Band - The Marcus King Band [2LP]
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The Marshall Tucker Band

Greatest Hits [Remastered]


MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

At long last, the first-ever MTB best-of compilation, GREATEST HITS, is back in print! Originally released in 1978 and containing just 8 songs, GREATEST HITS has now been expanded by an additional 6 songs, making this the most complete look ever at their crucial 70s recordings.
The Marshall Tucker Band - Greatest Hits [Remastered]
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On Sept. 3, 1977 Marshall Tucker Band took the stage at Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ in front of 150, 000 screaming fans. A legendary performance, playing in front of the Grateful Dead, captured on multi-track recorders and released for the first time. Every fan there had the same reaction, 'Glad I was there!'. Now all fans can feel the same way.
The Marshall Tucker Band - Live Englishtown NJ Sept. 3, 1977
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Tyler Ramsey

For The Morning [LP]

Vinyl: $22.98 Buy

MP3 Album: $9.99 Download

For the Morning, written and produced by Ramsey, connects the listener to this setting with dexterous guitar fingerpicking and radiant acoustic piano; affecting pedal steel and gorgeous languid vocals. Ramsey, along with engineer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Joan Shelley, Strand of Oaks) and Seth Kauffman of Floating Action (and touring musician for Jim James, Ray LaMontagne) recorded a clutch of Ramsey demos at La La Land studios in Louisville, KY. For The Morning is complemented by spots from several guest musicians, including Joan Shelley, Thad Cockrell, and Molly Parden who sing harmony on various tracks, the pedal steel player Russ Paul, Nathan Salsburg and Gareth Liddiard from The Drones on guitar.

Tyler Ramsey - For The Morning [LP]
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Fat Possum Records is proud to announce it's first official release with Ben Birdwell's (Band of Horses) label Brown Records. Tyler Ramsey's hometown of Asheville, North Carolina features a music scene where a tight-knit community of players always always share the stage, and no one is in just one band (Tyler is a full-time member of Band of Horses). Amid all the recording studios, listening rooms and PBR-fueled bars of Asheville, Tyler stands out. As a formidable talent on guitar, piano, bass, percussion, and vocals, the name Tyler Ramsey has become synonymous with awe-inspiring talent, taste and style.
Tyler Ramsey - A Long Dream About Swimming Across The Sea
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• Texas music legends. • Remastered reissue features eleven previously unissued bonus tracks. • New liner notes include a history of all the 1970s reissues and their variations. “Walter Hyatt, David Ball and Champ Hood have been an inspiration to me ever since the first time I heard Uncle Walt’s Band,” said Lyle Lovett, a journalism student at Texas A&M University when he first heard the band. “Musically, their finely crafted original compositions reflect diverse influences, while lyrically they demonstrate a sensitive, sophisticated understanding of the dignified South.” Uncle Walt’s Band, from Spartanburg, South Carolina, was an eclectic music trio that moved to Nashville in 1972 and shortly thereafter, to Austin at the urging of Willis Alan Ramsey. An attempt at an album with Ramsey at the helm was unsuccessful, so the band headed back to Spartanburg in 1974 to produce their own debut LP, Blame It On The Bossa Nova. One thousand copies of the original self-released vinyl were pressed, sold through performances and self-promotion, disappeared quickly. Heat was gaining for the band, so they headed back down to Austin with a reissued album now titled, Uncle Walt’s Band. (Original pressings of Blame It On The Bossa Nova change hands for hundreds of dollars these days). While the album gained many fans and followers, it wasn’t enough to sustain the band’s larger ambitions. After a hiatus a second album, An American In Texas was released in 1980 followed by a live album, Recorded Live in 1982. (a cassette-only release of studio sessions, 6-26-79 was also released along the way). Gaining the love of Texas music fans, performing regularly throughout the state, yet unable to get traction nationally, they called it quits in 1983. Although remaining friends and working on various projects over the years, each went on to pursue solo music careers. Hyatt release several albums, plus performed on Austin City Limits. Hood became a Texas Music Hall of Fame sideman playing for artists like Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker and more, and Ball’s success with the hit, “Thinkin’ Problem” established him as a Country music star. Following the first-ever, career-spanning Anthology: Those Boys From Carolina, They Sure Enough Could Sing, Omnivore is now proud to present a deluxe reissue of the original Uncle Walt’s Band album, expanded with eleven bonus tracks and remastered. New liner notes include a history of each re-pressing of this private press classic (reissued no less than six times with different covers and sequence variations back in the ’70s)! If you were one of the lucky owners of an original that you’ve worn out across the years, here’s your chance to retire that well-loved copy and double the fun discovering the new bonus tracks. For the rest of us, it’s the opportunity to own the classic!

Uncle Walt's Band - Uncle Walt's Band [LP]
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Uncle Walt's Band has always been a hidden gem. One of those bands that, if you knew them, you loved them, but in their time, if you weren't at the right place at the right time, you didn't know about them at all. In their heyday, they were well known in their adopted home of Austin, but if you didn't get a copy of one of their albums from a band members' trunk after a gig, you didn't have anything to tide you over until their next show. An American In Texas returns nearly 40 years after it's initial release, this time on vinyl LP courtesy of Omnivore Records. Packaging contains photos and new liner notes from Austin writer Rush K Evans III, which trace the UWB story, and the reunion that resulted in this classic piece of Americana - from a time when no one had ever used the word. Take a trip back to what would become the future - Uncle Walt's Band's An American In Texas.
Uncle Walt's Band - An American In Texas
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Wanda Johnson is an intense and emotional modern singer whose music is a blend of soul, pop, blues, gospel, and folk influences. 'Natural Resource' is her second CD, a collection of fourteen original songs (some of which she wrote, others written by producer/bandleader Shrimp City Slim)...Some rockin', some tender, all passionate. Wanda (b. 1963, Anderson County, SC) comes from a large farming family and has lived with music all her life. She has been performing semi-professionally since the early 1990s. Many, after seeing her perform at the Chicago Blues Festival, Pocono Blues Festival, Lowcountry Blues Bash, Carolina Downhome Blues Festival; overseas (Italy, France, China, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, etc.), wonder when she will become a household name. Both this album and her other two CDs have numerous songs in regular rotation on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio's 'Bluesville' station. Get on board with this beautiful and fresh talent for the international music scene.
Wanda Johnson - Natural Resource
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