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First aid Kit cedar lane

Check Out First Aid Kit’s New Video “Cedar Lane”

Sweden has definitely proven herself a leader in the electro-pop market these days, but Americana?  That’s for, you know, Americans.  Right? Think again. Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the Swedish siblings performing under the moniker First Aid Kit, have spent the last few years building a reputation for giving the American Americana artists (say that five times fast) a run for their money, proving that when the passion is there, “foreigners” […]


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The MIMO Interview: Meet SHEL

The “family band” concept is one that can be either very cheesy or very chic. For sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza Holbrook—collectively called SHEL, an acronym derived from their first names—thankfully, it’s the latter. In fact, given their diverse personalities and sense of style, their dynamic, fun live performances, and their homemade top hats, these siblings from Ft. Collins, Colorado are bringing their own cool vibe to the Americana […]


Over the Rhine Meet Me

Over the Rhine Hit the Mark with “Meet Me At the Edge Of the World”

Great Speckled Dog Records (2013)

There’s a reason why husband-wife indie duo Over the Rhine have developed such a loyal cult following over nearly two decade: they keep putting out amazing music, and they keep putting a fresh spin on things. So it’s no surprise that the arrival of their latest, Meet Me At the Edge Of the World, was met with such eager anticipation—and I can tell you the double album is worth every […]


John Mayer Paradise Valley

John Mayer “Paradise Valley” –Album Review

Columbia Records (2013)

Contrary to popular belief, time apparently does not heal all wounds—or at least, heal them as quickly as people would like. Even though it’s been several years since John Mayer has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, his name still seems to be a bit polarizing when spoken in public, evoking memories of arrogant, off-the-cuff statements and TMI stories of girlfriends past. But here’s the thing: almost […]


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Up-and-Comers: Aoife O’Donovan

It hardly seems fair to classify Aoife (pronounced “EE-fah”) O’Donovan as an up-and-comer, seeing as she’s pretty much a veteran in the Americana/folk scene. Many fans will probably recognize her voice as the centerpiece of string band Crooked Still, and some will also remember her as a member of female folk-noir act Sometymes Why. In her time, she’s shared both stage and studio with the likes of Chris Thile, Sarah […]


Jason Isbell Southeastern

Jason Isbell Finds His Stride on “Southeastern” – Album Review

Southeastern Records (2013)

(Sigh) I could listen to this stuff all day. Seriously. It has to be hard for singer/songwriter Jason Isbell to keep being referred to as “that guy from Drive-By Truckers” (a band he left seven years ago). Two albums under the moniker Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit have helped build a modest reputation for their Muscle Shoals-tinged Americana vibe, but in my own opinion Isbell has remained fairly underrated […]


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The MIMO Interview: Mindy Smith [2012 In Review]

Here’s another gem from the 2012 archives at MIMO–an interview with veteran Americana singer/songwriter Mindy Smith. For her new album released last year, Smith became one of a growing number of label artists to go indie, and during her interview she gave some interesting insights on that dynamic, which is why we’ve included this piece in our “2012 In Review” series. –Ed.   Mindy Smith began making waves in the […]


world from moon

Phillip Phillips Views “The World From the Side of the Moon”

19 Recordings (2012)

Since vocalist Phillip Phillips first arrested America’s attention with his victory on American Idol Season 11, his advance single “Home” has further solidified his place in current pop culture. (You probably recognize the tune even if you don’t know who is singing it.) Now, with the release of his debut album The World From the Dark Side of the Moon, Phillips gives us an even greater taste of who he […]


firstaidkit

Must Listens: First Aid Kit “The Lion’s Roar”

“Must Listens” is a new feature series I’m launching on my column to highlight songs or albums by indie or alternative acts that aren’t necessarily new releases but are getting lots of buzz. This first installment features “The Lion’s Roar” by First Aid Kit.   If you live in Europe, you’re likely to be familiar with Swedish sister folk act First Aid Kit; if you live in the U.S., you […]


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The MIMO Interview: Mindy Smith

Mindy Smith began making waves in the Americana music scene nearly a decade ago when she performed a haunting cover of “Jolene” for the Dolly Parton tribute album Just Because I’m a Woman. The performance resulted in Parton herself getting involved, appearing in the music video (below) and performing with Smith on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  Since that initial introduction to the world, the singer-songwriter has released four […]


mirage rock

Band Of Horses Find Themselves (Again) with “Mirage Rock”

Columbia (2012)

There’s sort of an unspoken belief in indie rock today that says the more experimental you are as a band, the better. Pushing the fringes is “in.” But in their latest release Mirage Rock, Band Of Horses cuts completely against the grain of that belief. What’s crazy is how well it works. The thing is, Band Of Horses could have gone with the flow instead of turning and swimming upstream, […]


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The Avett Brothers “The Carpenter”: Too Much Polish, Not Enough Spit

Universal Republic (2012)

I have to say that listening to The Carpenter, the latest release from The Avett Brothers, left me with mixed emotions. Although all the basic elements are in place that contributed to the band’s breakout success with I And Love And You, it just feels like there is too much of some things, and not enough of others. As far as what has stayed the same, The Avett Brothers are […]


americana

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: “Americana”—Album Review

Reprise Records (2012)

At first glance, Americana, the first collaborative studio release in nine years from Neil Young and Crazy Horse, seems a bit contradictory as a project. In the first place, although Young’s music is ensconced in American culture, the man himself is Canadian, not American. Secondly, Neil Young is best known as a songwriter, and this is an album of covers. However, when I listen to it, it somehow feels like […]


bornandraised

John Mayer’s Confessional? “Born and Raised”-Album Review

Columbia (2012)

Over the years, singer/songwriter John Mayer has dipped his toes into several genres, with his music touching on pop/rock, R&B, blues, and now…1970’s country/folk? Yep. Apparently so. Born and Raised, Mayer’s newest studio album, carries all the hi-fi production value you’d expect from a recording made in 2012, but most of the songs themselves sound like they could have been written 30 years ago.  Furthermore, the arrangements are fairly stripped […]


stormandgrace

Lisa Marie Presley Grows Up on “Storm and Grace”

Universal Republic (2012)

When it comes to being viewed as a serious musical artist, few people have had the particular obstacles that Lisa Marie Presley has had to face. Fame was never the issue—her daddy’s shadow ensured she would spend her life in public scrutiny, and her own colorful past simply enhanced that aspect. Rather, the challenge has always been to rise above those secondary claims to fame and be seen simply as […]


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