It’s no secret I like my roots and country music… I always tell folks that my music collection is a) Colorado (rock, pop, country, blues.. whatever) and b) Americana, Alt-country, folk, bluegrass. That’s it, really. This week’s MMMM features two of the top new Colorado Americana records of the year so far for 2010. What I like most about these albums is their adherence to tradition. I read somewhere recently that too many of today’s americana bands have become cosmo-americana – not necessarily a good thing if you’re a fan of real authentic American roots music… folk, country, jazz, blues, whatever… modernity is where these two albums leave off. Faux-country they are not. And, telling just by the personnel list on each album, they’re stacked with some of the best roots music players in the state.
Romano Paoletti – Story of a Lifetime
Genre/Style: americana, country, country-folk
Produced by Eric Thorin
Romano Paoletti – lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Sally Van Meter – Scheerhorn resonator guitar, acoustic guitar, lap steel
Betse Ellis – fiddle
Caleb Roberts – mandolin, electric mandolin
Eben Grace – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, pedal steel
Eric Thorin – acoustic bass, electric bass, vocals
Todd Moore – drums
Michael Crittenden – acoustic guitar
Erick Jaskowiak – acoustic guitar
Amanda Rose Paoletti – vocals
John McVey – vocals
Mollie O’Brien – vocals
4. Can You Canoe
1. Ragtime Blues
2. Can You Run
3. Hearts And Bones
6. All This Time
Notes: I first heard about this record last summer. Dave McIntyre (booking, sound, Oskar Blues, Lyons) turned me onto Romano’s music at the Brews & Brewgrass festival, that Romano had been invited to perform at. I believe Romano released this album in December or January, but it took my friend Mac giving me his personal copy for me to get it in the library. Boy am I glad he did that. Thanks Dave!! 🙂
From Romano’s website: Romano was born into a musical family. His grandfather, “Ragtime” Bob Darch, was the only living inductee of the Ragtime Hall of Fame. At a young age, Romano was taken with his grandfather to tour the East coast hitting the saloons and scuttlebutts. While Bob Darch pounded on a piano Romano played the spoons and bartended for his Grandpa’s act. At this point in Romano’s life he learned how to be an entertainer. Romano’s mother, Norma Jean, was always a singer and was signed by Smokey Robinson of Motown Records. She taught Romano from a young age how to sing and often placed him on stage with her to sing before an audience.
David Williams & the Wildgrass Band featuring Kristina Murray – The Crazy KindGenre/Style: americana, country, bluegrass, country-folk
Produced by: David Williams
Recorded by: Brian Hunter @ Swallow Hill and Mousetrap studios in Denver
David Williams – vocals, guitar, mandolin
Kristina Murray – vocals, guitar
Katie Glassman – fiddle (Lannie Garrett, Hazel Miller, E-town)
Chris Elliot (Spring Creek) – banjo
Jordan Ramsey (Long Road Home, The Grant Farm, Winner 2007 Rockygrass mandolin competition ) – mandolin
Duane Webster – bass
1. Annie Oakley
13. Heaveny Road
5. Why Do Angels Get Wings?
7. Ukraine Girl
Notes: I became a fan of David’s music about five years ago now. He had just released Joplin, MO… and I was enthralled by the literacy of his lyrics, and the depth of his sense of tradition musically. I didn’t get around to reading his bio for a couple of years, to be honest. When I did, I was more than pleasantly surprised to learn just how exceptionally talented and skilled David is. This record is a continuation of David’s love for American country, bluegrass, and folk music, following Joplin, MO. On his last wonderful release, Django Jazz (2007), David explored his passion for Django Reinhardt, and turned in one of the best roots-jazz records of the year. David also enjoys mixing it up when it comes to who is on the next record… the one constant being Duane Webster (bass)… and as indicated on the Who Played list… they’ve all got some major cred as players.
From David’s Myspace bio: 2009 EMMY AWARD WINNER IN COMPOSITION AND WRITING. Influenced by everything from gypsy jazz to folk, delta blues, swing, rockabilly, bluegrass & folk. As a singer-songwriter, David’s known for his way with words and melodies, which conjure up the American musical landscape. His songs touch on everything from the difficulties of love to the people and places along old Route 66, or a carnival from his childhood, or swing tunes reminiscent of Tin-Pan-Alley—in a wide range of CDs released over the last 30 years. In 2008, he was nominated for an Emmy in songwriting for his work for PBS. David has also recorded and performed with people such as Greg Brown and Dave Moore, and he studied and performed with the great Jethro Burns, of Homer and Jethro fame. He holds a Ph.D. in English, and he has been a writer in residence at a number of colleges and universities in the US. He is an ALA and NAPPA award-winning albums for children and is currently the songwriter for the PBS children’s show The Big Green Rabbit.