When Amanda Shires isn't on stage -- performing her own songs or in support of her husband Jason Isbell or the legendary John Prine -- she pursues her MFA in creative writing; on her latest LP, My Piece of Land, she walks the line between biography and fiction. Shires sings three new songs and talks at length about her writing process, life on the road and much more. Songs performed are "Harmless," "Pale Fire" and "When You're Gone." Recorded on November 3, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
On her debut album "Beyond the Bloodhounds," singer and guitarist Adia Victoria uses an updated and dark-tinted brand of electric blues to tell her stories and consider the intersections of her black, Southern, female identities. On this episode, we'll talk with Adia Victoria about the legacy of music as social protest in the era of Black Lives Matter. Songs performed are "Dead Eyes," "Head Rot" and "Invisible Hands." Recorded September 25, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs combined their first syllables and their musical talents in creating Oh Pep! in their native Melbourne, Australia a few years ago. Both have studied music at the university level but their earliest recordings show an unfussy freedom in adopting folk and Americana forms. On this year's full-length Stadium Cake, the pair embrace a fuller palette of pop sounds while still tackling some big-ticket issues in their lyrics. Songs performed are "Wanting," Doctor Doctor" and "Afterward." Recorded August 3 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Engineered by Jon Valley.
Will Johnson led the beloved Denton, Texas-based Centro-matic for over 15 years, and after that band's friendly dissolution, he released Swan City Vampires and embarked on a series of living room tours. Johnson will play three songs from that new LP -- "Call, Call, Call," "Nameless, But a Lover" and "Pulleys" on this episode. Recorded on May 25, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis. Engineered by Andy Coco.
The three Stavely-Taylor sisters -- Emily, Camilla and Jessica -- have been recording as the Staves for a number of years, fusing the austerity of British folk with the rich overtones of their harmonies. Their latest, the three-song EP "Sleeping in a Car," reunites the band with Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who lends production help on these songs as the Staves move outside of purely acoustic music and embrace electronic and ambient textures. Songs performed for this session are "Make It Holy," "Outlaw" and "America." Recorded on June 25 at KDHX in St. Louis. Engineering by Jon Valley.
Call the Jayhawks an Americana band if you must, but singer Gary Louris is more than likely to sling some German noiseniks your way. The band's latest, "Paging Mr. Proust," was recorded with Peter Buck and Tucker Martine, and Louris' detail-rich songs study the twin poles of stillness and movement. We'll hear three acoustic versions of tracks from that new LP: "Leaving the Monsters Behind," "Lovers of the Sun" and "Comeback Kids." Recorded at KDHX in St. Louis on June 27, 2016. Engineered by Jon Valley.
Robert Ellis' latest album is self-titled; that tidbit, along with a recent divorce, has had critics and writers salivating for a broken-heart narrative. But to hear Ellis tell is, he's still exploring the grey area in relationships, where people struggle to get what they want. We'll talk with Ellis at length and hear three new songs on this week's episode. Songs performed are "Perfect Strangers," "Amanda Jane" and "California." Recorded at KDHX in St. Louis on June 7, 2016. Engineering by Andy Coco, mixing and mastering by Jon Valley.
Oscar Scheller self-records his songs under his first name, and the tracks on this year's Cut & Paste place his elegant baritone voice against scuzzy garage rock and the rainbow-colored remnants of Brit Pop. We caught him on his first full tour of the U.S. whilst opening for Bloc Party, and on this episode he'll talk about his musical upbringing, his fascination with American pop culture and the challenge of adapting home recordings in a full-band setting. Songs performed are "Sometimes," "Breaking My Phone" and "Good Things." Recorded at KDHX in St. Louis on May 24, 2016. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Miles Nielsen leads the rock-and-roots combo the Rusted Hearts through warm, weathered Americana on this year's Heavy Metal. We'll talk with Nielsen and the band about its evolution, its Midwestern sensibilities and growing up in the shadow of Cheap Trick. Songs performed are "Simple Times," "Is This The End" and "Honey Bee." Recorded on May 12, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis. Engineered by Andy Coco.
Lily Cato leads this New York-based sextet with clear nods to '60s girl-group harmonies and an increasing reliance on taut, muscular synth pop. Parlour Tricks plays three tracks (including one as-yet-unreleased tune) on this week's show, and we talk with Cato and harmony vocalists Darah Golub and Morgane Hollowell about the band's evolution, its rejection of gender-as-genre, and how all the best post-show compliments deal with music theory. Songs performed are "Gone," "Requiem" and "Leave Your Light On." Recorded on March 7, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis. Engineered by Andy Coco and Paul Roach.
These two singer-songwriters take different approaches to their craft -- Grant-Lee Phillips is often ruminative and mystical, while Poltz treats his songs as a catch-all for his expansive and idiosyncratic worldview. But as tour mates, Phillips and Poltz find commonality both in the songs and in conversation, as this special two-for-one episode of Collector's Edition proves. Phillips performs "Smoke and Sparks" and "Holy Irons" from his latest The Narrows, and Poltz plays "I Want All My Friends to Be Happy" and "Folksinger" from his latest, also called Folksinger. Recorded on February 16, 2016 at KHDX in St. Louis. Recorded by Dan Kinney, mixed and mastered by Haley Hudson.
This Los Angeles-based quartet calls itself the Americans, a broad and startlingly simple name and one that fits the group's catch-all approach to American roots music. After two self-recorded releases, the Americans will issue the studio album "I'll Be Yours" this spring. We talk with all four band members during this session and hear three new, forthcoming songs: "Stowaway," "Harbor Lane" and "I'll Be Yours." Recorded on January 14, 2016 at KDHX in St. Louis, Missouri. Recorded by Andy Coco, remixed by Haley Hudson.