Peak Of The Week™

Thursdays at 9pm

A new release - handpicked by WNCW's Programming Staff - is sampled throughout Renee Denton's Music Mix on Thursday evenings.

Recorded in August of this year at select sold-out shows, former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell and his well-seasoned band The 400 Unit have an engaging live album that captures the love and passion of his fans in his home state.  From Muscle Shoals soul to hardcore country to lay-it-all-out rock, this collection will make for a great foundation to your Thursday night music mix this week.

One might be surprised at how much Australia and the American South have in common, and you might hear it when Kasey Chambers sings Appalachian folk melodies as naturally as anyone from our neck of the woods.  She has teamed up with her husband Shane Nicholson for their 2nd collaboration, "Wreck & Ruin", and the harmonies, arrangements, and songs on it make it one of the strongest Americana releases of the year.  Country & folk, Australia & Appalachia, Kasey & Shane, this Thursday night.   

English singer/songwriter Beth Orton, who impressed the world with her seamless blend of folk and electronica on 1996's Trailer Park, is back with her first album in 6 years, "Sugaring Season."   Inspired by her new child and her Vermont husband (hence the maple syrup reference in the title), this introspective, re-energized release has some of her best writing to date.  Orton recorded it in Portland, Oregon with producer Tucker Martine (Decemberists, Laura Veirs, Tift Merritt). 

This Thursday we feature Black Mountain-based Seth Kauffman and his lo-fi, groove-heavy project Floating Action.  Their (his) 5th album Fake Blood is being trumpeted by Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and is getting national exposure thanks to him and Asheville-based Harvest Recordings.  Even if you're not one of the lucky 500 who received a limited edition LP version, you can feel the vinyl warmth of this one -- perfect for this chilly Thursday night. 

“Even though Iris DeMent admits she likes to work at her own pace when it comes to songwriting, 16 years is a long time. The songs themselves are as languorous as a hot summer afternoon, evoking DeMent’s early childhood in Arkansas. In an era when we demand instant gratification from everything, DeMent’s new CD says a lot for taking your sweet time.”  --Meredith Ochs, NPR

This 3rd solo release from the frontman for the Drive-By Truckers may have a sound that is at home with Truckers fans, but it's definitely more stark and personal than his work with the band.  Hood visits his family's farm & homestead in rural Alabama for this great one.  

Thursday, October 25th, 8pm-12am: CALEXICO - Algiers

Oct 19, 2012

Named for the New Orleans neighborhood in which they recorded this, the latest album from Calexico once again has more of an indie, inward foundation of, say, Iron & Wine or Neko Case than the Crescent City or their hometown of Tucson, AZ.  Still, you'll hear subtle influences of both regions in this strong new one from them. 

As he enters his 40th year as a solo artist, John Hiatt sounds like he's still having an awful lot of fun writing songs and fronting a band. 

Mystic Pinball is much more electric, lively, and rough around the edges than last year's Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns, though they share the same producer (Kevin Shirley).  We'll play all the tunes from it throughout your Thursday night mix. 

Recorded at shows in 2005 and 2006 at The Grey Eagle in Asheville, this live collection shows the friendship and collaborative spirit of two of WNCW's favorite modern Americana songwriters.  You can also hear the warmth and passion of the cause that these shows were about: fundraisers for the Arthur Morgan School in Celo, where they each had a child enrolled.  Don't let the name of this fool you -- it's outstanding! 

In their 2nd album produced by Rick Rubin, the boys from Concord, NC pick up where they left off with "I And Love And You", though less piano-based, and more of a focus on Scott's banjo.  They also focus on the concept of death here, with both foreboding and benediction.  As music critic James Christopher Monger writes, "The Avett Brothers aren't rewriting the book, they're just translating it for a new generation."