The Sampler

Tuesday 24 March 2015, with Nick Bollinger

The Sampler: Trinity Roots, Dave Alvin, Rhiannon Giddens,

TrinityRoots Crop
TrinityRoots. Photo supplied.

This week in The Sampler Nick Bollinger reviews a genre-mixing new album from Trinity Roots; a solo debut from Carolina Chocolate Drops singer Rhiannon Giddens; and talks to Americana veteran Dave Alvin about his brother, the blues, and the songs of Big Bill Broonzy.


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Citizen by Trinity Roots

Nick Bollinger immerses himself in the genre-mixing new album from TrinityRoots.


TrinityRoots CitizenIt’s eleven years since the last studio album from Trinity Roots and a lot has happened in that time, some of which is reflected in this record. The drumming of new member Ben Lemi – fluid, playful and polyrhythmic  – contrasts with the more streamlined funk Riki Gooch bought to the earlier records. Also, since the Trinity last hit the studio, Warren Maxwell has led the Little Bushmen quartet whose style leaned much closer to Hendrix and Led Zeppelin than the more reggae and soul-driven Trinity. And some of that electricity has carried over to this latest album, particularly in that heavy metal-meets-Maori melody of the opening track. But the most profound development might be found in Warren Maxwell’s writing. Always a thoughtful, personal lyricist, prone to the odd political parable, this time around he isn’t holding back. He’s called the album Citizen for a reason. These are the songs of a citizen, exercising his right to speak truth to power.

Songs Featured: Bully, Citizen, Haiku, El Kaptain, Village Man, Clarity

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Common Ground -The Songs of Bill Broonzy by Dave and Phil Alvin

Nick Bollinger talks to Americana veteran Dave Alvin about his brother, the blues, and the songs of Big Bill Broonzy.


Dave Phil Alvin Common GroundAs The Blasters, brothers Phil and Dave Alvin made three studio albums between 1981 and 1985, mostly of Dave Alvin’s original songs, before going their separate ways; Phil to pursue his parallel interest in mathematics, Dave to build a solo career around his own great songs. Last year the pair reunited for their first joint recordings since the Blasters days to pay homage to one of their shared heroes, the great bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. Now the pair are coming to New Zealand for the first time, with shows at Auckland’s Tuning Fork and Wellington’s Bodega.

Songs Featured: Go Go Go,  Keep A Knockin’, Border Radio, All By Myself, Key To The Highway, Stuff They Call Money, 4th Of July

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Tomorrow is my Turn by Rhiannon Giddens

Nick Bollinger checks out the solo debut from Carolina Chocolate Drops singer Rhiannon Giddens.


Rhiannon Giddens TomorrowFor the past decade Rhiannon Giddens has been the wonderful singer, banjoist and sometimes violin player for the North Carolina string band The Carolina Chocolate Drops. But she’s recently branched out, first playing alongside Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and others on The New Basement Tapes, and now with her first solo album. On Tomorrow Is My Turn Giddens doesn’t exactly makes the collection of classic folk, blues and country songs her own, or if that is even what she’s trying to do. But she sings them like she feels them and loves them. And that, combined with T-Bone Burnett’s spare yet spectacular production, makes it an album that, in turn, is very easy to love.

Songs Featured:  Last Kind Words, Don’t Let It Trouble Your Mind, Tomorrow Is My Turn, Black Is The Colour, Up Above My Head

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Coming Up on The Sampler

7:30 pm Tuesday 31 March: The Sampler

Nick Bollinger reviews the first solo album of Vancouver soft-rock piano man Tobias Jesso Jr. and talks to Malian kora master Toumani Diabate, and Melody Thomas discusses the downbeat debut of Melbourne singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett.