Ten years ago, Mumford & Sons didn’t exist. Neither did the Felice Brothers, or the Civil Wars, or Fleet Foxes.
But the foundation of the roots music revival currently flourishing with those bands was laid when the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” became the surprise smash of 2001, set aloft by the gorgeous, plaintive voice of Nashville-based Gillian Welch, who also served as associate producer on the project.
Now, eight years after her last album, 2003′s “Soul Journey,” Welch returns with “The Harrow and the Harvest,” out June 28 on her own Acony Records, and she’s ready to rejoin the ranks of the roots artists that she inspired. “We’re definitely flying the flag,” says the artist, who is just back from a touring run with Buffalo Springfield.”She’s a core artist in the genre,” Acony GM Lori Condon says. “With the success of Mumford and the Avetts, people are more accustomed to hearing banjos and acoustic guitars today. That should help people get ready for what they’ll hear with Gillian. Continue reading
Dr. Ira Unger loves Scotch, but not more than he loves Israel.
That’s why, at his daughter’s recent high school graduation party, he chose to serve bourbon over his preferred Scottish single malt.
“I’ve developed a taste for Scotch,” said Unger, a member of Beth El Congregation of the South Hills’ Men’s Club, “but if this boycott of Israeli goods isn’t solved, I can certainly develop a taste for bourbon.”
So what does Israel have to do with cocktails? Recently the answer has been, quite a bit.
In January 2009, the West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) in Scotland declared a boycott on the purchase of Israeli goods, citing excessive military action against Palestinians during the IDF’s Gaza incursion that year. Earlier this month, Rabbi Charles Simon, executive director of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs (FJMC), sent an email to many of his constituents calling for a response boycott of the Scotch whisky brands created in the region. Continue reading
Some fathers build treehouses with their kids. Robert Ellis Orrall built a record label.
Nearly a decade ago, songwriter/musician Orrall founded Infinity Cat Recordings in Nashville with his sons Jake and Jamin, then 16 and 14. Soon after the boys began working to put out other bands’ recordings they started cutting their own, and Jeff the Brotherhood was born. As the label slowly grew, so did the Brotherhood — with Jake on guitars and vocals and Jamin on drums — sharpening its fuzzy guitar blowouts and garage-pop songs on limited editions and splits with bands like Best Coast and the Greenhornes, constituting much of Infinity Cat’s 60-plus releases.
“It’s been a long, slow climb, and our ethic has always been completely DIY,” Orrall says. “But people started to poke in the last few years.”
One of those pokes turned into an 18-month negotiation and, finally, an announcement in May: Jeff the Brotherhood had signed to Warner Bros., which would distribute the duo’s “We Are the Champions” album on June 21. Continue reading