By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
Waxman promises to release a song in the near future, but their recording process is obviously complicated.
"It takes quite some time to really get these songs composed," Waxman says. "There are plenty of hours put into each song. It is really quite the process." — Troy Farah
Sara Robinson and Midnight Special (www.facebook.com/SaraRobinson andthemidnightspecial): There's a long tradition of women dominating the blues scene, from classics like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald to a new generation of genre-defying acts such as Grace Potter and The Nocturnals and Black Carl.
These ladies have helped paved the way for soulful, heavy-hitting acts like Sara Robinson and Midnight Special, which is a local supergroup of sorts. Special comprises members of Haffo and Allen Barton Project, and they met Robinson at a blues jam night at Rhythm Room three years ago.
Roughly six months ago, the band started jamming and tried their hand at an open mic night. "We started writing songs like crazy and decided to test them out one night in the battlefield, à la Long Wong's open mic. We had such a good response that we have been booked solid ever since," says drummer Evan Knisely, "We knew there would be people out here who share our love for hard blues."
The Specials have yet to release a physical album, though the band currently is in the studio working on an album that is due in February, just in time for the band's stop at South by Southwest. — Melissa Fossum
The Senators (www.thesenatorsmusic.com): In case you haven't noticed, the "Americana revival" thing is big right now. Rootsy, mostly acoustic acts like Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers didn't just break out of the "No Depression" ghetto; they actually topped the charts.
And though a shift from synthetic gloss toward "authentic" folk music certainly sounds appealing from one point of view, it's starting to feel a little like "dress-up music," like a Halloween party where everyone has come disguised as ol' time-y prospectors.
"Everyone is wearing vests and suspenders now," laughs Jesse Teer of modern Americana band The Senators. "Even if there isn't an acoustic guitar on stage — they'll be playing hard rock. That look is just vogue right now."
The Senators certainly aren't afraid to look the part, but on their Cross of Gold EP, they don't sound like they're singing you a Cracker Barrel sales pitch, either.
"When you listen to old recordings, and then you put on a new pop album, you're like, 'Whoa, this is really polished, this is really produced,'" Teer says. "We listen to a lot of old Sun Records stuff, and in its inception, it wasn't the highest quality studio, but they really got a lot of feel and grit out of what they were doing. That's kind of what we draw on."
But Teer isn't interested in retro-minded re-creation, and with The Senators, he seeks to craft something rooted in today's world as much as in some mythic American golden age that never really existed.
"Thematically, we wanted to push it," Teer says. "We don't want to always sing about a 'railroad down in Dixie,' but we take some of those elements. I can't wait for electronica/alt-country to hit. It probably already has." — Jason P. Woodbury