Five Cool Ones – Five Cool New Grass Artists That We Like

Much like the bagpipe 0r an overenthusiastic tuba, while we like bluegrass music, a little of it can go a long way. There is no denying the musical mastery of a banjo and a stand-up bass when done right and consumed in the right setting, can bear ear-boggling and soul cleansing, and we are beginning to see the light. While we are not as yet fully converted,  our banjo repertoire has at least advanced past the theme from Deliverance and Roy Clark on Hee Haw. And you know, after checking out some of the New-Grass bands that have emerged over the last year or so, and coming to the realization that bluegrass music goes well beyond the banjo, color us converts.

Billy Strings – Dust In A Baggie

With a moniker like Billy Strings, you had better bring the banjo and guitar goods and this up and coming artist definitely lives up to his name. Already being hailed as the future of bluegrass transcending the genre with his high-velocity picking technique. His new 2019 record, Home, is one of the best of the year, genre be damned

Molly Tuttle – Don’t Let Go

Molly Tuttle is about as gifted an acoustic and banjo player as you will find in the game today. Growing up playing in her father’s bluegrass band her flat-picking and cross-picking skills have made her a much-in-demand session player. Her 2019 Record, When You’re Ready, shows off her string virtuosity as well as her songwriting skills.

Mandolin Orange – The Wolves

There is a real intimate feel in the music that North Carolina duo of singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin and multi-instrumentalist Emily Frantz makes collectively as Mandolin Orange. There is a real Appalachian vibe on many of their songs which adds to the purity of their instrumental interplay.

Lula Wiles – Nashville Man

A real up-and-coming new band, this Boston-based folk trio made up of Isa Burke, Eleanor Buckland, and Mali Obomsawin make traditional Folk-Roots music serving it up on a plate of contemporary subject matter, millennial angst, and semi-subversive undertones. Keep your ears poised for these guys to hit the mainstream in 2020.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel

Ok, we get it, Old Crow Medicine Show has been around a very long time so one would ask why we are featuring them in a piece that is bringing to light newer Bluegrass bands. You know. like the sign says, New-Grass. Well, the answer is we liked everything about their 2019 release, Live at The Ryman, and yes sad to say, this band was new to us. Everything about the album sparkles. The Darius Rucker cover of “Wagon Wheel” sparkles, their version of “CC Rider” is best played loudly, and their own song “Methamphetamine” is stellar. For us, this year, this is one of those where have you been all our loves sort of band.

Five Cool Ones: Five New Albums Released This Week (October 4, 2019)

The Darkness – Easter Is Cancelled

On their latest record, The Darkness, tight-pantsed heroes on a mission to save the world with the power of Rock, don’t make any apologies as they turn the proceedings up to 11 as they gloriously build on their Queen, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy foundation of glorious Glam.

Angel Olson – All Mirrors

A bit of a Swiss Army Kinife sort of artist, here, Angel Olson mostly shreds her country inflected Indie-Folk for a more lavish and expansive sound. Bolstered by a 17 piece orchestra, this record should be a master class in how to do Symphonic Pop the right way. From the title track to the moody and expansive “Impasse” your ears will take you on a journey that would make The Moody Blues proud.

Angel – Risen

Even back in the day, Legendary Glam Rock band Angel never really amounted to anything above cult status. But, as huge fans of the band, we here at Rock is the New Roll are bordering on giddy with the release of their first record in 19 years that features original members Punky Meadows and Frank Dimino. Thankfully, the band doesn’t stray far from the sound they were laying down when they were opening for Motley Crue, Poison, Van Halen, and the rest of the hair band crew back in their Sunset Strip glory days.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Live at The Ryman

Weighing in a lean 42 minutes, Old Crow Medicine Show pays tribute to the iconic palace of Country music on this joyously vivacious live set. From the opening 1-2 punch of “Tell It To Me” and “Shout Mountain Music” the template is laid down for the evening as the band weaves hee-haw nostalgia with contemporary coolness. Margo Price joins in on the fun playing Loretta Lynn to Ketch Secor’s Conway Twitty on “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” with Molly Tuttle and Charlie Worsham jumping on stage for the showstopping and show ending “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”

GospelbeacH – Let It Burn

Much like he did with his former band Beachwood Sparks, with GospelbeacH, lead singer Brent Rademcker, channels Tom Petty and the Laurel Canyon sound with a Country Rock vibe that is timeless. Adding even more to the Pop credentials laid down on the highly excellent 2017 release Another Summer of Love, “Dark Angel” could have been a long lost Heartbreakers song, and even when the band goes low and slow like they do on “Get It Back” there is a cool nostalgia that can be traced back to The Long Run era Eagles. The late Neil Casal, who was a member of Beachwood Sparks, contributes searing solos throughout the record and is a bittersweet presence on an uplifting record.