Mar 242017
 

concrete jumpers

In the early 2000s, “emo” was a label that few musicians wanted stuck to them. Even Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carraba – as much the poster boy for the genre as anyone – disavowed it. “I didn’t think it was an appropriate name for grouping us together, but it stuck,” he said a few years back. “It’s like the term ‘hipster’ that was very cool but is now meant as an insult. That’s what happened with ’emo.'”

Carrabba prefers the less charged “singer-songwriter,” which would also apply to Vermont musician Sam Wiehe – but he doesn’t mind if you call him emo. “I know it has a certain stigma and can be attached to ‘sad boys’, but to me, emo music just means music that is emotional,” Wiehe says. “And that really is all I wanna make.”

The 20-year old Wiehe records as Concrete Jumpers – or, rather, recorded. His new album Dear Madison is his last under that name. It’s a breakup album filled with heart-on-sleeve emotion and sometimes devastatingly personal lyrics. So…emo. Continue reading »

Mar 162017
 

Cricket Blue

Roots music fans know that when you’re listening to an album by “Gillian Welch,” you’re really listening to the musical partnership of Welch and her longtime collaborator David Rawlings. Ditto for an album released under the name “Dave Rawlings Machine.” Rawlings and Welch share one of the strongest and most enduring musical partnerships in Americana music. Their albums arrive infrequently though, so Welch and Rawlings fans impatient for more would do well to discover Vermont-based duo Cricket Blue.

Last year we named Cricket Blue’s “Angela Carter” one of the Best Vermont Songs of 2016 and they’re already back with a best-of-2017 contender. Though they haven’t released a studio version yet, “The Milkman” is available via a beautiful live video (below). Continue reading »

Feb 212017
 

sam morris

The night Leonard Cohen died, Vermont songwriter Sam Morris wrote two songs. Heartbroken at the passing of his favorite songwriter, Morris channelled his grief into lyrics that recall Cohen’s earliest albums.

“He has been number one in my book for quite a while,” Morris says of Cohen’s death. “It was a lot like getting kicked in the face. I went on a binge for about a week afterwards, listening to nothing but New Skin For the Old Ceremony and Songs of Love and Hate. I wrote the last two songs the night he died, with the first one nagging at me for a few more days.”

Titled Songs to Help You Sleep – a nod to Cohen’s early album titles – Morris’s new EP offers a musical balm to those similarly mourning the loss of one of music’s greatest songwriters. The Cohen influence is clear throughout, but Morris’s songs stand up beyond mere homage (for one, he has way more “gift of a golden voice” than Cohen ever did). Standout track “Left the Candle Burning” channels Cohen’s gift for blending darkness and light, Leonard-esque lyrics like “I touched the clouds of murky night / From which the day is born / I left the candle burning / As the beast tore off its horn” segueing into a softly melodic sing-along chorus. Continue reading »

Jan 062017
 

When I launched this blog last month, I kicked things off with The Best Vermont Albums of 2016. I said after that I’d move on to what’s next, not just what already happened. Which I will, I swear (and I have a bit, highlighting great new material from Vultures of Cult (R.I.P.), The New Line, and 1881). But first, one final retrospective.

When putting together the Best Albums list, I realized many of my favorite 2016 songs were not on proper albums. They were from EPs, singles, preview tracks from 2017 albums, covers, or other one-offs. So, for one last look back, we’re counting down our favorite Vermont-made songs of the past year. Then onto 2017. Promise. Continue reading »

Dec 282016
 

Welcome to County Tracks, a new blog that aims to explore music new and old from the great state of Vermont. We’ll be kicking off in full in January, but we couldn’t let 2016 pass us by without a look back at all the great music the Green Mountain State produced. From heavy metal to light-as-air folk, Burlington to Brattleboro, Vermont musicians delivered incredible albums across the musical spectrum. Check out our countdown below, and see you back here next year. Continue reading »