Move over Arlo, Stephen Kellogg’s “Thanksgiving” is new holiday anthem

Stephen Kellogg - Thanksgiving (single)“This year for Thanksgiving, I’m keeping my list short,” sings Western Mass singer/ songwriter Stephen Kellogg on the holiday-themed tune “Thanksgiving” from his 2013 solo album Blunderstone Rookery.

And, in keeping with the true spirit of the holiday (yes, I’m talking to YOU – Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, etc), I’m going to keep this blog post today short as well, so I can spend as much time as possible with family and friends. I recommend you, dear reader, do the same.

But…if you have a moment to revel in the words and passion of what may just be my new number one holiday anthem, cue the video folks. Sit back and enjoy. No offense Arlo, but I think Mr. Kellogg has taken the torch from “Alice’s Restaurant” and created his own classic. All “mass-a-crees” to be postponed until further notice.

Watch the official video for “Thanksgiving” by Stephen Kellogg here:

Happy Thanksgiving!

For more information on Stephen Kellogg please visit www.stephenkellogg.com.

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James Keyes celebrates new album with Haydenville show

James Keyes The MiddleJames Keyes

The Middle

(DIY)

While past album reviews have labeled New England singer and songwriter Keyes as a purveyor of “stripped down, bluesy folk with alt-country overtones,” his latest release finds the musician expanding his trademark sound with pleasing results.

Opening with the stomping, piano-led instrumental “Root For The Bull,” the record engages a listener’s attention immediately with horns and electric guitar before segueing to the more twang-filled cut “Darkness Comes Creeping.” Featuring lyrics that mention “hounds of hell,” an “old black train” and a “never ending war,” the song is filled with mythic subject matter.

Though similar themes are explored on numbers like “The Traveler” and “Roll With The Punches,” the real appeal of this album lies in its approach to more lighthearted material. The harmonica-laced “Taking My Time” swings as comfortably as a porch-hung hammock, and “Little Bird” plays like a sweet, genuinely heartfelt ode to a loved one.

Yes, Keyes can come off like a gruff balladeer at times. But when his growl is backed as ably as it is here, there’s no arguing with his bite.

Watch video of James Keyes performing his new song “Darkness Comes Creeping” here:

James Keyes performs November 23, 5:30 p.m., Bread Euphoria Bakery and Cafe, 206 Main St., Haydenville, (413) 268-7757, www.breadeuphoria.org.

For more information on James Keyes please visit www.jameskeyes.com/home.cfm.

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Breathe Owl Breathe mines familiar terrain on “Passage of Pegasus”

Passage of Pegasus album coverBreathe Owl Breathe

Passage of Pegasus

(Self-released)

Six albums in, the sound made by this indie folk trio differs little from that of the band’s 2004 debut.

Much like on that initial release, the impression here is of a talented group of musicians influenced by nature, fairy tales, and the world of dreams. “Ferns Move” glides along with finger-picked guitar and sighing cello, while “Sand Stone” features a repeated electronic synth figure over a pounding drum beat that speeds up halfway through the song.

Additional sound effects pop up throughout the album, adding both immersive realism as well as insular eclecticism to the proceedings.

Though at times charming in its seemingly naïve approach and choice of subject matter, the record also boasts too many mid-tempo songs, which lack enough variation to help listeners tell them apart. There are glimmers of difference, but the group could be well-served in the future by expanding its sonic palette.

Watch the official video for “Explorer” by Breathe Owl Breathe here:

For more information on Breathe Owl Breathe or to see future tour dates please visit www.breatheowlbreathe.com.

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Album review – Cass McCombs “Big Wheel and Others” – November 5, 2013

Album review – Cass McCombs “Big Wheel and Others” – November 5, 2013

“Behind the Beat: Room Service” Mother Elk – November 5, 2013

“Behind the Beat: Room Service” Mother Elk – November 5, 2013