Guest Post: Joy Goes to SXSW pt. III: Wednesday March 12

Our intrepid reporter has been somewhat delayed by travel and technology, but has continued undaunted. Below is her report from her first show-filled day.

After spending numerous protracted coffee breaks trying to figure out the SXSW schedule, I finally hiked deep into the heart of No-Man’s Land — past the endless blocks of band parking, through a sea of Econoline vans and long-haired skinny-jeaned men lugging instrument cases — to The Echoplex SXSW Throwdown at Red 7. The bill featured a number of up-and-coming Los Angeles bands, but I only had ears for my new musical supercrush: Kan Wakan.

Determined to stake out a spot in front, I arrived early. But I needn’t have worried: Brandon the Swag Man still had a whole table full of free swag and the venue was far below capacity. Only a few hardcore festival-goers lingered in the courtyard, and I ran into singer Kristianne Bautista practically right away. She, too, was recovering from a fever and general travel fatigue, but was excited to meet a new fan. We chatted about her band’s rising fame while they set up, since a seven-piece act needs a little extra preparation.

Unfortunately, that … Continue reading

Founder of Living Blues Needs Your Help


An important dispatch from Rick Saunders:

JiM O’NEAL (second from the left in the above photo) – Founder of Living Blues Magazine & Rooster Blues Records Has Cancer and No Insurance. Please Help!

Jim O’Neal, the founder of Living Blues Magazine and the late great Rooster Blues Records has been diagnosed with Lymph cancer and is currently undergoing treatment. Like so many in the music industry, and blues in particular, Mr. O’Neal does not have insurance. You can help Mr. O’Neal and his family by sending a donation and helping to spread the word. It’s good karma, baby!

A fund has been set up at Commerce Bank in Kansas City.

Checks may be sent to:

Jim O’Neal Blues Fund
P.O. Box 10334
Kansas City, MO 64171.

You can also donate at to the account “”.

Of course, musicians being who they are are always quick to help their own and a series of benefit shows are being arranged. If you live near any of these locations please show up for a night of great music for an even greater cause. The good that Jim … Continue reading

Now Read This: Deep Blues by Robert Palmer


My co-blogger and I are both tremendous consumers of books as well as of music. Naturally, we also read books about music, and you’ve seen a few examples of that sneak in here and there – Jennifer’s review of Keith Richards’ Life, my write-up of B-Sides and Broken Hearts by Caryn Rose, and the recent blurb about Put the Needle on the Record by Matthew Chojnacki – and there are more to come. To that end, we introduce Now Read This, where we’ll write about music-related books that we get our grubby, grabby hands on.

To inaugurate our new title tag, I am very pleased to present a review of Deep Blues by renowned music journalist/musician Robert Palmer (not that Robert Palmer) from the man who thought of our clever new tag, kick-ass friend of NTSIB, Rick Saunders. (If’n you don’t know, Rick is the commander of his own wonderful blog, also known as Deep Blues. He is the only person I know who can consistently recommend music to my idiosyncratic self, so if you like what I write about here, you’re going to love Rick’s blog.)

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Austin Lucas at Blue Moon Café, Shepherdstown, WV, 8.26.11

Happy to have another guest post from the lovely and talented Michelle Evans (Dear Ben Nichols, The Vinyl District: Washington, D.C.), this time a live review of Austin Lucas and the Bold Party.



I discovered Austin Lucas a couple years ago, but I had yet to see him live. When I heard he was going to be at the intimately set Blue Moon Café in Shepherdstown, WV, with his brilliantly talented back-up band The Bold Party and opening acts Matt Kline (of The Fox Hunt) and Marcellus Hall (from Brooklyn), I packed up my ’89 Honda Accord (with pop-up headlights!) for a road-trip north to see some awesome music (oh, and my sister too).

I am very much a voice and lyrics person. I often say that if I can’t understand what someone is singing, I’m not likely to be very interested in what the singer has to say (although there are, of course, exceptions). While initially drawn by the overall tone and sorrowful beauty of Lucas’ voice, I came to find bluegrass, country (the real kind), mountain, and Old Time influences in his music – some of … Continue reading

Diamond Doves, Brooklyn Bowl, 8.19.11: “We Always Want People To Dance”


NTSIB friend and cohort Joy Wagner kindly offered this sweet little interview/show review to us and the good dudes at Citizen Dick. Check out Diamond Doves’ music at their MySpace (and then entreat them to get off of MySpace).



The odds are good that, if you’re a regular follower of this blog, you’ve already heard of the Diamond Doves. They’ve backed up and opened for several popular acts: A.A. Bondy, The Felice Brothers, Elvis Perkins. In fact, they were Dearland, as in “Elvis Perkins In.”

These days, they’ve struck out on their own, but they’re not trying to ride any coattails. The Doves are doing this all themselves.

“With our band, we’re trying to break every rule we set for ourselves [in the previous band],” says Wyndham Garnett (guitar, trombone, vocals).

Brigham Brough (bass, vocals, saxophone) agrees. “Our past material taught us what we’re capable of and what we wanted to do. But we’re trying less to build off of that platform than to create anew.”

Which isn’t to say that they’re arrogant — just that they’ve learned from experience. Nick Kinsey (drums, clarinet, vocals) maintains “We’ve … Continue reading

A Conversation with Austin Lucas, Part II

NTSIB friend Michelle Evans (Dear Ben Nichols, The Vinyl District: Washington, D.C.) concludes her conversation with Austin Lucas. If you’re in Seattle, you can catch both Austin and Drag the River this Friday at SoundFest



It seems both Austin Lucas and I are quite the chatty pair, which is great for y’all, because we discuss the country music scene, Lucero, Cory Branan, and everything in between.

So what are your thoughts on country music?

I listen to a lot of country radio. I appreciate the songwriting, even though most people hate the songwriting, but I listen to it, and I’m like, “This is so catchy. This person is such a clever, intelligent songwriter.” What a lot of people don’t understand about pop music, in order for something to stay with someone after hearing it one time, it has to be extremely catchy. The average music listener isn’t really a music fan. They want image. They want to lust after somebody who’s a star. So the thing is, if you don’t reel them in with a really, really catchy hook, they’re not interested. Trust me, … Continue reading

A Conversation with Austin Lucas, Part I

We continue our interviews from good NTSIB friend Michelle Evans (of Dear Ben Nichols and The Vinyl District: Washington, D.C.) with the first part of her chat with the lovely Mr. Austin Lucas. Check out Austin, Drag the River and many more at SoundFest in Seattle, which starts today and runs through Sunday.



I was able to catch up with Austin Lucas just after his tour with Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown. We talked about punk rock. We talked about bluegrass. We talked about the music industry. We talked so much, in fact, that we’re splitting his interview over today and tomorrow, when we’ll resume talking about things like his current tour with Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, his experience with the Country Throwdown, and Cory mother-fuckin’ Branan.

I’m of the ilk that while I want the people I love making music to do well and sell records, I wouldn’t wish fame on anyone. It just seems like the worst fate imaginable to me (but that’s just me). One of the things I appreciate most about you is your accessibility. Is that something you … Continue reading

A Conversation with Jon Snodgrass of Drag the River


NTSIB’s dear friend Michelle Evans of Dear Ben Nichols and The Vinyl District: Washington, D.C. has graciously allowed us to share her recent interviews with Jon Snodgrass of Drag the River and, tomorrow, the lovely Mr. Austin Lucas. Catch both gentlemen at SoundFest in Seattle, Washington, August 17-21.



Drag the River have been one of my favorite bands for quite some time, so imagine how stoked I was to hear they are selling their albums in a “Pay What You Can” style. On top of that, they’re back on tour and joining the likes of Lucero, Austin Lucas, and Larry & His Flask at this year’s SoundFest in Seattle. Catch ’em while you can.

So what made you decide to sell the entire Drag the River catalog in a “Pay What You Can” style?

To be honest with you, the only jobs I ever had, ya know, that I never got fired from, were record stores for years – two or three different ones – and it always seemed weird to me, CDs cost $13.99, $15.99, but once it gets unwrapped and comes back, ya know, records … Continue reading

The Dead Exs at the Bowery Electric, New York City, NY, 6.8.11


We’re very pleased to have a guest review from our good friend @Popa2unes.



The Dead Exs release their CD – Resurrection, and it’s a party!

By @Popa2unes and DJ Knucklehead

Photos courtesy Kristin Viens


We wandered into the Bowery Electric and walked down the steep steps to the basement with water pouring down the pealing brick walls from the torrential downpour taking place outside. Large chrome lights dangled from the high black ceilings; it was dark, dank and perfect for what was about to take place: raw, fuzzy roots rock and blues. “The Dead Exs CD release Party.” We found a seat on one of the large Group W benches that surrounded the stage, and planted ourselves. There was a nice size, enthusiastic crowd Hipnik’s, Hipsters, Rockers, Hobohemians and an abundance of beautiful women. I love NYC.

Bang Bang Boogaloo recording artists, The Dead Exs are David Pattillo (henceforth DP) on electric slide guitar and vocals with Wylie Wirth on the skins.



The Dead Exs bring a multitude of influences to their music from Albert King to ZZ Top. Every song seems to have a bluesy … Continue reading

What It Is To be Free: Music As Release

NTSIB’s good friend Brucini, proprietor of The Black Keys Fan Lounge, has graced us with a rumination on the freeing power of music, as exemplified by a couple of his fellow countrymen.

How does it feel to be free? How is it possible to just be yourself? Most folk don’t think about it. Some musicians wittingly or otherwise are emboldened to consider these notions, it informs their way of being.

Musicians through live performance seem to be able to demonstrate a way to be – free, and real, and honest, if just for a fleeting moment.

It’s not a way others can inhabit easily, it’s just a way, their way.

Music historically has opened a door to a type of personal transcendence. Fears, inhibitions, anxieties are either dealt with onstage through lyrics and music or they are simply put aside during those brief moments of performance.

The stage creates a space in which this personal transcendence can take place. The audience pays its respects to this place. The music urges on feelings … Continue reading