Posts Tagged ‘Old Timey’

no damn goodThe Good Morning Nags is a six-piece NYC based ensemble. The band dates back almost a decade as they formed back in 2010. Today’s version of the band consists of Tim Hassler (fiddle, vocals), Ben Quinn (mandolin, guitar, harmonium, and vocals), Titus Tompkins (percussion, mandolin, vocals) and Britt Reagan (guitar, dulcimer, vocals) as well as Mark Spitznagel (banjo, vocals) and Pete O’Neill (bass, vocals). This ensemble of musicians takes their various musical influences and creates a style that revolves around a Folk-Rock/Country-Rock style of music. Having put out a self-titled release not that long ago, they have returned with a new two-song release they have called No Damn Good.

No Damn Good from The Good Morning Nags begins with the first of two tracks called “Birmingham”. The track begins with the sound of a vehicle turning over and coming to life. The sound of starting a motor actually works as the song is about traveling as the lyrics deal with getting behind the wheel and going on a road trip. In this instance, the song is about going down to Birmingham, just as the song title suggests.  “Birmingham” from The Good Morning Nags is a track that does a fine job of blending together the Old Timey feel of Bluegrass music with a driving feel to the tempo that comes from a more Rock and Roll-type musical approach. The track would fit right in on any radio format that features modern-day Country music and/or Folk-based music. While the energy level for the music of the track would be great for today’s Pop-Rock radio, there is just a little too much of a Country flavor to the song. That being said, fans of modern-day Folk-Rock/Country-Rock musical blends will instantly fall in love with the feel of the song. And with the inclusion of the clapping near the middle of the track and the rather funky feel to the ending, “Birmingham” has a lot of different elements to combine for a song that is fun to listen to.

After the first of two songs comes to an end, the No Damn Good EP from The Good Morning Nags continues with the title track “No Damn Good”. While the first track on the two-song EP blends together Bluegrass with a blend of Country, Rock and Folk, the title track of the EP features a sound that is rather different in sound but is just as varied in its musical makeup. The Bluegrass base that was found on “Birmingham” is joined on “No Damn Good” by a Creole style of music. The result is a track that contains a strong accordion presence to go along with a Country-style approach. The track brings to mind the style of someone like the “Louisiana Man” himself, Doug Kershaw.   “No Damn Good” features a lyrical content that is rather self-deprecating but the strong, driving feel of the track’s pace allows the listener to enjoy the song without truly feeling sorry for the singer. The more Creole approach on this track is a nice contrast to the Folk-Rock/Country-Rock style of music found on “Birmingham”.

Having experienced the sound and style of The Good Morning Nags from their earlier self-titled album, it’s nice to see that the band doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The two tracks on the band’s No Damn Good EP add to the music The Good Morning Nags had already produced and let the listener know that there’s more to come from this talented musical ensemble.


To hear some of the music from The Good Morning Nags, check out the title track from the band’s No Damn Good EP. 

Find the band’s No Damn Good EP  on SPOTIFY.  

For more information, check out The Good Morning Nags’ PR firm of Whiplash PR & Management by clicking on the logo for the company.



Randy SteelePerforming one style of music for many years can make a musician crave something different from time to time; especially if that musician has an inner desire to stretch as an artist. Having spent much time as part of the band Slim Pickens Bluegrass, Randy Steele is one musician who is currently on a mission to create something different from the usual Bluegrass music associated with the band he has been with since 2008. And right now, Randy Steele is getting the chance to do just that as he is currently celebrating the release of a new solo album that features a lot more variety than just Bluegrass.

The resulting collection of new music from Randy Steele is a mix of Americana music that features a variety of sounds. Along with the Bluegrass music that has been a part of Randy Steele’s life for the decade or so, Steele’s solo material incorporates a mix of Country music along with other Roots music influences. Together, these musical influences help to shape the new release from Randy Steele that is entitled Songs from the Suck, a title that refers to Suck Creek, a river near where Steele currently lives.

Songs from the Suck from Randy Steele begins with the track “Northbound 29”. With this track, Randy Steele and his band of musicians create a track that is largely based in the Bluegrass genre. Like much Bluegrass music, the sound of the track features the banjo and the fiddle as the main instruments that help to bring the song to life. The track Of “Northbound 29” comes across as just as authentic as much older songs that have been created by bands like Slim Pickens Bluegrass for decades.

The album continues with the song “Angels with Halos”. Along with the musicians that help to back him up, Randy Steele creates a track that is a lot closer to Country music than Bluegrass. The track contains a much fuller sound as the music contains not only the guitar and fiddle, but also steel guitar and snare drum, creating a track that would be right at home on Country radio formats that feature a mix that incorporates the older styles of Country music. “Angels with Halos” is the perfect track for those listeners who are looking for the sounds of Country music’s past.

With the next song, Randy Steele creates an instrumental track entitled “Shove the Pig’s Foot a Little Closer to the Fire”. The feeling of a Bluegrass reel on the track creates a song that, once again, makes good use of Steele’s Bluegrass background.

Randy Steele continues his album with the track “Mobile Soon”. With this track, Steele returns to a Country state of mind in the music as he plays a slow-paced song that feels very much like an ode to the city. The use of guitar and fiddle make a solid yet simple combination in the music to create a track that feels timeless in nature. Whether today or twenty years ago, “Mobile Soon” could find a large audience on Country music radio stations. “Mobile Soon” is easily one of the tracks on Steele’s Songs from the Suck that stands out for all the right reasons.

One of the tracks on Songs from the Suck that stands out because of the more progressive feel of the music is “Hard Givin’”. Randy Steele and the rest of the band seem to seamlessly combine the Country and Bluegrass genres to create a hybrid sound in the song’s music. The track feels as if it has brought the Bluegrass genre into a more modern age. “Hard Givin’” is yet another track on the release that listeners will gravitate towards.

Taking the music back to an earlier time, Randy Steele and company create the track “1983,” a song that feels as if it had been influenced by the likes of Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt of Foggy Mountain Boys fame. The track features the banjo and fiddle as the track brings to mind the earlier days of recorded music. The track of “1983” even feels more authentic as the entire track falls under the two-minute play-time, which would have been perfect for a 78 RPM gramophone record.

The final track of “…To the New Perspective” features a simple banjo and vocal arrangement. The track of the release brings to mind the music of someone like Earl Scruggs as the track’s simplistic approach has a definite Old Timey feel to it. That retro feel to the music seems to have been the perfect way to bring the Songs from the Suck to a close as it recalls the early recordings of Bluegrass music.

There is much to love about the Songs from the Suck release from Randy Steele. Whether it is the classic Bluegrass approach or the more modern musical style, the album features songs that will fit nicely within any Country or Bluegrass lover’s music collection.

To check out the music of Randy Steele, listen to the song “Hard Givin’“.

For more information, check out Randy Steele’s PR firm Whiplash PR.

In every major city in the United States, there exists a very versatile musician or musicians that have the musical talent and ability to create music that consists of many different genres or styles that change from one song to the next. One such musician right here in Cleveland is Rachel Brown.

With her, piano, singer-songwriter Rachel Brown is able to combine together Honky Tonk, Jazz, Blues, Country, even Rock and Roll into songs that are as varied as the genres that help to create them. Brown is one talent that can be put into the Americana musical genre because of her generous use of those individual genres in her songs.

In order to bring her music to life, Rachel Brown is backed up by several musicians who call themselves the Beatnik Playboys. The Beatnik Playboys consist of Bill Watson on bass, Roy King on drums and Dave Huddleston on guitar. As versatile as Brown, the three musicians easily transition from Blues to Jazz to other styles and are the perfect musicians to back up Rachel Brown. And together, Rachel and the Beatnik Playboys create one of Cleveland’s premier bands.

Having already released one album of original music called Just Look My Way, Rachel Brown made a name for herself with that release and has since become one of the most sought after acts in Cleveland. Recently, Rachel and the Beatnik Playboys followed up that release with another album. The 2014 release from Rachel Brown and the Beatnik Playboys is called Once Again.

Once Again begins with the title track. “Once Again” is a slow-paced Country track that brings to mind artists like Loretta Lynn or others who would now be classified as Classic Country. The writing style of Rachel Brown feels as authentic as anything that would have been created back during those classic years that are now seen as so influential to today’s up-and-coming artists that are creating their own take on the Country music genre.

The new release continues with the song “Mama and Daddy”. Staying within that Classic Country sound, the song features the Beatnik Playboys as much as it features Rachel Brown. The trio of bassist Bill Watson, drummer Roy King and guitarist Dave Huddleston creates a strong guitar-based track with plenty of twang courtesy of Huddleston’s guitar. The heartbreaking lyrics contained within the song refer to what a family might do if they no longer had their parents. Those lyrics feel as poignant today as they would have 20-30 years ago. Lyrics like “What would we do if Mama and Daddy were gone?” bring that Old-Timey feel to Rachel Brown’s music.

Rachel Brown is not the only writer within the musical ensemble. The song “It’s Not Easy” features the writing style of bassist Bill Watson. The trio of Watson on bass, Huddleston on guitar and King on drums help lay down a simple jazz sound that Brown adds her piano playing to. The results end up being a track that feels like a Jazz standard. Taking a listen to the track, you’ll swear that you’ve heard the song before as it feels so familiar. You may even start to sing along. That simple feel in the lyrics and music is what makes the song work.

The telltale sign of a good songwriter is the ability to write in such a way that the song being performed actually feels like a story. The ‘story’ of “Jimmy C” from Rachel Brown is one of those songs that seem to bring a character to life as Brown sings of an old friend. The combination of all of the musicians on this track creates a song that easily could be heard on Country music formats on today’s radio.

If there was one particular song on the new release of Once Again from Rachel Brown and the Beatnik Playboys, it would have to be “My Best Friend is My Song”. The track begins with the combo of Brown on piano, Bill Watson on bass and Chris Hanna on organ. The first minute or so of the track is simply the three musicians creating an instrumental moment before Brown adds her vocals. The song’s music will hit you in the heart with its beauty from the very first few bars. With the addition of the lyrics, Brown proceeds to explain the meaning of the title of the song. The lyrics and the music work well together to bring the lyrics to life.  “My Best friend is My Song” is easily one of the best moments on the album.

Just like her previous album of Just Look My Way, Rachel Brown’s Once Again is a strong release from beginning to end. And with plenty of variety in the music, there’s bound to be something for everybody on the songwriter’s new release. Take a listen and see why everybody’s talking about Rachel Brown.

Check out Rachel Brown in concert as she performs the song “My Best Friend is My Song“.

Susan Cattaneo is a singer-songwriter that has been making music for several years now. The musician side of Cattaneo comes out only when the professor side of her personality is not busy. She has been creating albums of her original music for years now. Her newest release, Haunted Heart is now available.

The new release from Susan Cattaneo begins with “Haunted Heart Prelude”. While only a short introduction to the album’s title track, the soft and easy track gives a nice preview to what is to come.

The Haunted Heart release from Susan Cattaneo officially begins with the track “Abide”. The track features a folk/blues sound in its musical approach. The lyrical content about the hardship of living through a drought also adds a bit more of the folk influence to the track. The two musical styles of blues and folk seem to blend flawlessly into one simple style that brings the lyrics to life.

The song of “Lorelei” seems to be very timeless. The song brings to mind something to would have been created by Loretta Lynn and feels as if it would fit in perfectly with anything that is considered “Classic Country” while still having a modern-day appeal for modern Country listeners. With the timeless feel to it, the track proves that Susan Cattaneo knows what she is talking about when she teaches her students about songwriting. The musicians that helped Cattaneo create this track should be proud of making something that sounds so incredibly authentic.

With the song “Well Worth the Whiskey,” Susan Cattaneo lets out her inner bad girl. The lyrics of the song add a bit of humor to the album and seem to show a slightly different side to her personality. The track about someone who is a lot more fun with a few drinks has a fun, modern Country feel to it and the track would easily fit alongside anything that is found on today’s Country radio stations.

While “Well Worth the Whiskey” has a lot energy to go along with the slightly humorous lyrics, the track “Revival” slows things down with an easier musical delivery. The song once again brings together the blues and a little folk flavor to create a track with a gentle rolling feel. While not a religious song, the track revolves a story of a travelling revival show that comes to town. “Revival” is yet another song on the Haunted Heart release from Susan Cattaneo that shows off Cattaneo’s writing skills as this track allows Cattaneo to shape a storyline within the lyrics in the song. The entire track becomes a very entertaining four minutes of musical entertainment.

The track “Queen of the Dancehall” is a song that once again puts Cattaneo’s songwriting skills to use as she creates another song that puts a story to music. The lyrics of this song easily take the listener into small town America and set the scene for a brief glimpse into the life of a lady who entertains the people of that small town. The slow pace of the music helps add a little sadness to the Haunted Heart release from Susan Cattaneo.

It takes a long time to get to the title track but it’s worth it. The track “Haunted Heart” finds Susan Cattaneo creating a track that seems like a mix of Classic Country and Old Timey music. The track contains one of the best chances for the listener to hear Cattaneo’s abilities as a singer as the slow pace of the track gives her the chance to let her voice shine. The soft, slow music of the song takes the listener to another time and place as the track has a definite timeless feel to it. The lyrics of the song are definitely from a simpler time, as well. The title track is yet another track on the release that shows off Cattaneo’s songwriting ability.

The Haunted Heart release from Susan Cattaneo is a real find if you enjoy listening to songwriters who know how to draw the listener in to their music. This album proves that Cattaneo is one of those writers.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: **** (four stars)

Click HERE to check out the video to “Haunted Heart” from Susan Cattaneo.


Author Susan Cattaneo
Comment Dear Matheson! Thank you so much for your lovely review of my album, Haunted Heart! It made my day, week, month, year! xo Susan 🙂