Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

A mid tempo masterpiece. Don’t let the pace fool ya’, what “I Like It Down Here” lacks in speed is made up in spades with vibe. Yes, this album is a vibe machine and evokes a beautiful emotional shield that protects the listener. Beside the pace, every song is completely unique and stands alone quite nicely. This is Will’s first solo release in five years. That is a bit uncommon, since Will’s pattern used to be an album every two years or so. But it isn’t like Will was just relaxing. He is a very sought after producer in addition to his musical prowess. (more…)

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Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Local Baltimore hero Cris Jacobs is at it again. This is his follow up to Dust To Gold. I can’t believe it has been two and a half years since Cris’s last release. I honestly thought is was about a year. That gives you all some indication about my incredible ability to underestimate time. A sign of getting older, I guess. I must say , the sound of Color Where You Are is done in a very similar style to Dust To Gold. This current offering may be even more understated than the last one.  (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Holy cow, this is good! Mighty fine songwriting. And the arrangement, composition, and recording is brilliant. As you know, or should know, I have a penchant for independent music. This is indie AF. But is doesn’t sound home made at all. The sound, mix, and production is professional studio caliber. The transitions from vocals to solos or from lead vocals to harmonies are perfect. (more…)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
The jongleur of Jacksonville is at it again, releasing his first new album in five years. Peak is a misnomer because Roy is still on the rise. A five year gap is understandable between albums since Roy has a lot of balls in the air (writing, producing, putting on shows, etc.). How’s that for tying in the juggler motif? Alright let’s back to the topic at hand, the sound waves. Roy makes some killer waves, ten waves to be exact. Some of the waves are rather compact and tightly contained while others are very grand and powerful. Be careful or some of these “waves” will swallow you up whole. 
This time, I will begin at the beginning. Sylvia Sylvia (Track 1) is Roy’s first offering on this collection and it is a beautiful tune with luxurious acoustic guitar parts that really ground this song and allow Roy and the other musicians to explore a bit. But they always come back to the foundation. The song is quite complex, the fills are fairly intricate, but not too fancy as to over power the other elements. Balance is the key here.
Roy’s voice is very interesting and quite pleasing to listen to. He doesn’t have the vocal range of some, but he makes up for that with his fine writing and musical prowess. The Radioactive Kid (Track 3) perfectly exemplifies this. Just take a listen to those pedal steel riffs. Heaven, here I come. Roy’s voice is the perfect voice for this music, much like Neil Young. I absolutely adore the spacey, country vibe that makes me feel like I am somewhere else. Somewhere a million miles away. Thank goodness this song is only five minutes long or I may have drifted into the abyss.  
Time to put your money where your mouth is. I know you all say you support independent music. Prove it. Roy Peak is as “indie” and “DIY” as humanly possible. And besides that, An Ever Darkening Sky is a damn good album. I can say with pride that I have added the album to my best playlist and eagerly await listening ASAP. 
Listen and buy An Ever Darkening Sky

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
In the two, almost three, years I have been doing TwangriLa, this is the third Baltimore band that I have reviewed. I hope that Overgrown by Haint Blue is a precursor of things to come. I would love nothing more than to review more local bands that are in the Americana space. Unfortunately, Baltimore doesn’t seem like the town that supports those types of acts. Until now. I do believe that this release will be a turning point for the Baltimore Americana music scene. And Haint Blue have appeared on Tiny Desk Concert. That’s street cred.

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Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Pure spirituality. People talk about being born again or being enlightened. This is the closest I can say I have ever gotten to either of them and it is because of Medium Cool by Luther Russell. This is uplifting in addition to being a vital release. I am going to take out Ms. Sally’s magic mirror from Romper Room. I think a lot of those names were made up, but what I am about to write is 100% authentic, like the music I am listening to. So instead of see, I hear REM, The Byrds, The Cramps, Cheap Trick, The Velvet Underground, and some Big Star. As I have stated before, pop does not have to be a dirty word. In this case, pop is the ultimate compliment. 

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Photo courtesy of Irene Young
John McCutcheon is a singer, songwriter, and musician with 47 plus years of performance experience. He just released his 40th album, To Everyone In All The World: A Celebration Of Pete Seeger. This is a collection of songs of music written and performed by Pete Seeger who was one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th century, among Pete’s other attributes. John speaks in detail about his new album as well as touring, and many other interesting topics.
               JM – John McCutcheon                                         TL – TwangriLa
TL: Thank you for doing this interview. I really appreciate it. It’s an honor.
JM:  Well I appreciate you taking an interest in the project.
TL: I’m speaking with John McCutcheon, a musician and performer with a 50-year career and 34 albums under his belt. With John’s biography, there are endorsements from Johnny Cash and Pete Singer. Welcome. (more…)