In her new LP, Daughter Of Abraham, Massachusetts-based artist Sandy Bailey weaves an intricate tapestry of introspection, resilience, and the profound connections that bind us. Through poignant storytelling, thoughtful songwriting, and soulful melodies, she delves into the depths of love, loss, identity, and the complexities of modern existence. As a biracial, working-class, single mother who left a Pentecostal upbringing behind for the freedom to create her art, Bailey had no shortage of experiences from which to mine.

    In album opener “I Ain’t Your Honey,” Bailey’s soulful voice takes center stage, delivering lyrics that ponder the packaging of intimacy and vulnerability in the age of internet dating. She juxtaposes the peculiar ways we construct our online personas and navigate technology-driven connections against the quest for genuine human interaction. In “Already Down,” she points out the glaring contrasts of modern society – even in her own seemingly educated, free-thinking community, countless folks grapple with addiction, poverty, and divisive ideologies.  In the album’s standout, emotive  title track, inspired by Bailey’s historic home and its rumored ties to the Underground Railroad, she channels and honors the spirits of her ancestors who may have sought refuge within those very walls. With its slow cadence and swampy guitar licks, the song mimics a former slave’s deliberate pace and treacherous trek to freedom, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable cruelty and injustice.

    “Get The Message Through,” a Linda Ronstadt-esque heartstring-tugger, explores the paradox of our hyper-connected yet increasingly lonely society, while “Waiting on Summer” builds on this idea, capturing a yearning for actual human connection. The track, a collaborative effort with friends and loved ones, opens up sonically like a blooming flower in sunlight. Bailey addresses the struggles of addiction in “Bottles of Emptiness,” its empathetic narrative offering hope and encouragement to anyone facing similar battles.

    Bailey’s opus takes a whimsical yet lighthearted turn in “Time’s Gonna Come,” a song inspired by a chance encounter with a conversational sparrow. “Like You Loved Me,” originally recorded a decade ago,  is a testament to her growth as an artist – its 70s rock-inspired reimagined version features her son’s matured vocals among the chorus of voices at the song’s end.

    “Dear John,” a touching tribute to the legendary John Prine, reflects the unity and sense of loss that prevailed during those recent, uncertain times. The journey ends with “Got Nobody,” a celebration of the freedom and independence of singlehood – a refreshing perspective in a world often dominated by tales (and woes) of romantic longing.

    Amidst the musical mosaic that is Daughter Of Abraham, Sandy Bailey’s artistry shines. The wisdom and soul in this collection of songs resonate long after its final notes fade.




    Frances Luke Accord Safe In Sound Album Cover

    Through the ages, folk music has been a way to share cultural traditions, convey parables, and share stories. From telling tales of chivalry and love to combating fascism and championing civil rights, folk artists have played an integral role in history. With their recent album, Safe In Sound, out now via Two-Dale Records/Tone Tree Music, indie-folk duo Frances Luke Accord weaves the threads of folk past and present into a dreamy tapestry of harmony and poetry. 

    Frances Luke Accord band photo

    The journey begins with soft, yet urgent finger-picking and ethereal vocals in “Window.” “Nowhere to run / No time to hide / Open up your eyes / We will not lie / We do or die / While the world goes by,” they sing in goosebump-inducing harmony, imploring us to be active participants in the world. Inspired by the poetry of an Algerian Sufi Sheikh, “Dust To Dust” explores what it is to “be,” while “Sunnyside,” brimming with steady acoustic strums and yearning violin, encourages us to look towards hope, that someday the light will be brighter. “Maria” features delicate banjo rolls under its message about climate change and the fragility of our world. 

    Later, the band delivers “St. Mary,” an autobiographical story of band member Nicholas Gunty’s near-fatal cycling accident, heavy subject matter delivered in celestial metaphors. “All The Things,” a standout on an album of standouts, earns the band their frequent comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel. Featuring Darlingside’s Don Mitchell on banjo, harmonium, and percussion, “All The Things” is a playful tribute to boundless love. 

    Gunty and bandmate Brian Powers have created one of the most beautiful albums this writer has had the pleasure of experiencing. Each of the 11 tracks housed within the grooves of Safe In Sound is a multi-faceted, sparkling gem. Whether they’re calling us to action, encouraging us to take care of our world and each other, or contemplating the very fabric of existence, Frances Luke Accord delivers deep and timely messages wrapped in unparalleled acoustic goodness.

    Listen to Safe In Sound by Frances Luke Accord:

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  • lund: Right This Time | ALBUM REVIEW

    lund right this time album art

    Comfort zones are generally lovely places to be. They’re warm, predictable, and, well, comfortable, But sometimes, you just know there is something more for you out there. When the longing for that change surpasses the fear of making that change – that’s where the magic happens.

    Right This Time, the debut LP from Asheville-based outfit lund, captured that magic in each of its 10 sparkling gems. After a decade on the management and booking sides of the music industry, classically-trained singer and songwriter Nicole Lund knew the stage was where she was meant to be, and decided it was time to follow that path.

    From the grungy grooves of opener “Paper Tiger,” to the contemplative longing of closer “Something’s Gotta Give,” the album is a portrait painted with the vibrant strokes of soulful, blues rock-tinged Americana.

    Lund’s fierce, smoky vocals are reminiscent of greats like Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, and the band’s studio personnel boasts a who’s who of movers and shakers largely affiliated with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Produced by Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell, a drummer and more who supports TTB in the studio and on the road, this record takes listeners on a journey that, while at times is poignantly heart-wrenching, is a helluva fun listen. Right This Time is right for this time.

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    All photos of lund are by Sandlin Gaither


    The Early Mays Prettiest Blue Album Art

    There’s beauty in simplicity, a sentiment perfectly illustrated in Prettiest Blue, the new EP from Appalachian folk duo The Early Mays. However, don’t misunderstand—simplicity doesn’t mean “simple.” In the first notes of opener “The Ballad Of Johnny Fall,” Emily Pinkerton’s banjo finger-picking constructs an intricate foundation, supported by the deep resonance of guest collaborator Nicole Myers’s cello. Together, their driving, minor-key intensity creates an ominous quality, juxtaposed with the delicate vibrato of Ellen Gozion’s gentle voice. Three elements to build a song – simplicity? Yes. Simple? Not even close. 

    It also is worth noting that while The Early Mays’ music is steeped in the Appalachian folk tradition, the sentiment is absolutely modern. For example, the structure of “The Ballad Of Johnny Fall” is based on murder ballads of yore. Here, The Early Mays push back against the historical misogyny of the genre, and place the power with the abused woman in this story – however, fate intervenes before she takes matters into her own hands.

    In the Pinkerton-penned “On A Dying Day,” inspired by the shores of Lake Michigan, the waves offer redemption to the weary narrator, with the banjo echoing the motion of the rolling water. “On a dying day when the dunes roll down, I’m gonna wear these waves like a wedding gown. Gonna wear these waves over all my skin, in the only place that will take me in,” she sings. 

    The band dips into their influences with the final three tracks on the EP; in the instrumental “Shakin’ Down The Acorns,” a tune by West Virginia Music Hall of Fame royalty The Hammons Family, reminds us of the Celtic origins of Appalachian music. Pinkerton’s buoyant fiddle dances around the warmth of Gozion’s harmonium and Myers’ cello. They take a page from The Carter Family with “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow” and “My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains” to finish the EP. Even after a cursory listen, it’s impossible to overlook the care and respect that went into recording these songs, which are, simply put, timeless.

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    All Photos of The Early Mays by Kristi Jan Hoover


    Byrd's Creek 2022 Festival Poster 1

    Get Ticket Information For The 2022 Byrd’s Creek Music Festival Here

    With summer weather taking hold, there can be no doubt that music festival season is on its way.  With it, comes the 2022 edition of the Byrd’s Creek Music Festival in Crossville, Tennessee.  While many festivals conjure images of being stuck in big crowds, standing in long lines, and putting in miles rushing from stage to stage, Byrd’s Creek serves as a relaxing alternative for lovers of Americana, folk, bluegrass, and traditional country music.  Hosted by Jason Kemmer, and run by his family and a few friends, Byrd’s Creek eschews the corporate feel of modern music festivals and provides a laid-back option to hear some stellar live music.

    Byrd’s Creek always curates a lineup loaded with veteran headliners, rising talent, and a ton of new acts to discover.  For 2022, the lineup is topped by International Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer, Del McCoury. Also topping the bill are bluegrass-meets-honkytonk favorites, Town Mountain; the outlaw-folk of Lost Dog Street Band; and pop-bluegrass legends, The Travelin’ McCourys.  It also includes the boisterous string bands Old Salt Union and The Fumblebuckers; rising folk star Bella White; and the return of a few Nashville artists, Chelsea Lovitt and Mose Wilson.

    The 2022 dates are July 7 through July 10, with the 7th being a special event for Friends of the Farm ticket holders and the main event starting on the 8th. Tickets are on sale now and it’s not hyperbole to say it’s one of the best values you’re going to find.  General admission for Friday through Sunday is only $129.00 plus fees and tax which includes a car parking/camping spot.  There are also VIP, RV camping, and Friends of the Farm options. This festival is special because it’s intimately sized.  If you want to make sure you have your 2022 tickets to the Byrd’s Creek Music Festival, you can look at the options here.

    Mother Church Pew first visited the festival in 2018 and returned last year.  You can check out our past coverage of the Byrd’s Creek Music Festival and see what it’s all about by clicking on the photos:

    Sierra Ferrell on Day 3 of the 2021 Byrd’s Creek Music Festival
    Lost-Dog-Street-Band-Byrds-Creek-Music-Festival 2021
    Lost Dog Street Band on Day 2 of Byrd’s Creek Music Festival 2021
    Mose Wilson at Byrd's Creek Music Festival 2021
    Mose Wison Performed Friday and Sunday at Byrd’s Creek Music Festival 2021
    Larry Sparks Byrd's Creek Music Festival 2018
    Larry Sparks at the 2018 Byrd’s Creek Music Festival

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    Mary Simich How Does One Begin Album Cover
    Photos of Mary Simich by FABIAN FiOTO

    Some of the most memorable movie soundtracks are the ones where the music sets the mood.  It’s our human nature to try to link new experiences with the familiar.  Perhaps that’s why listening to How Does One Begin, the recently released debut album from Mary Simich, makes the mind envision hearing the record paired with a dark western, a surreal thriller, or even artsy noir.

    Produced by King Khan and released through Ernest Jenning Record Co., the twelve-track record takes classic country-western and gives it a haunting edge. Simich’s dusty vocals on, “Problems of Your Past,” feels like a time capsule from the bygone days of country music.  However, the dark chords and plaintive delivery reminds us of more modern takes on the genre ala Orville Peck.  “How Do You Wanna Die,” and “Don’t You Cry,” blend rockabilly elements into their throw-back country sound.  “In These Times,” blends elements of oldies pop with a musical pairing that reminds you of a calliope’s melody.  You can easily envision its part-soothing-part-unsettling aura playing behind wild scenes in a film like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Natural Born Killers, or The Big Lebowksi.

    Mary Simich Artist Photo
    Photos of Mary Simich by FABIAN FiOTO

    Not all the tracks take Simich’s voice down a smoky path.  On the title track, “How Does One Begin,” she showcases a more classic vocal quality and the music itself almost feels like a standalone because it genuinely feels upbeat. A blend of rockabilly and doo-wop influences lets it draw comparisons to some of Logan Ledger’s works or The Everly Brothers. Simich’s ability to hit the high notes on “How Does One Begin” will likely make the listener hungry to hear Simich explore her range on future albums.

    Pop culture always likes to return to the past.  Retro is cool and on How Does One Begin, Mary Simich certainly gives us a healthy dose of throwback country-western and oldies-pop vibes.  However, it’s not yet another album that simply copies sounds from the past.  Rather, like a good movie soundtrack, the album draws us in with what we know but allows our minds to drift to unexpected places. 

    Listen to How Does One Begin by Mary Simich:

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    Photos of Mary Simich by FABIAN FiOTO


    Erika Lewis A Walk Around the Sun Album Cover

    These days, there’s a whole lot of noise out there, so when you hear something special, it’s a refreshing feeling and you know it immediately. That’s exactly what happens as soon as you hit “play” on “A Thousand Miles,” the opening track on A Walk Around The Sun, the new LP from Asheville, NC-based chanteuse Erika Lewis

    Lewis dances between the lines of genre—from classic country laced with yearning pedal steel in songs like “If You Were Mine,” “Love Song,” and the twinkling “Thief And A Liar,” to hip-shaking sass and swagger in mid-century rock n’ rock in tracks like “Loser” and “Unsatisfied,” all unified by her otherworldly vocal stylings. 

    Recorded and engineered by analog wizard Andrija Tokic at his Nashville studio The Bomb Shelter, produced by The Deslondes’ one and only John James Tourville, and with a bevy of Nashville’s finest in the credits—Dennis Crouch, Jack Lawrence, Megan Coleman, Billy Contreras, Kyshona, and more, along with contributions from Lewis’ Tuba Skinny bandmate Shay Cohn, Lewis and company created nothing short of sonic magic.

    Throughout its 11 beautifully crafted gems, A Walk Around The Sun takes listeners on an emotional journey; longing, grieving, and reckoning with the past intensified by the urgency surrounding the album’s creative origins. Lewis was dealing with a diagnosis requiring surgery that could end her career; after encouragement from a friend, she decided to make an album in case it was her last chance to do so. In this gorgeous testament to grace and perseverance in the midst of harrowing circumstances, Lewis steps into the spotlight – and outshines it.

    Listen to A Walk Around The Sun by Erika Lewis:

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    All photos of Erika Lewis, including social media featured image are by Sarrah Danziger


    Susan Cattaneo All Is Quiet Album Cover

    Over the last couple of years, movement slowed, and when we slow down, it makes sense that our observations and perspectives change. It becomes easier to notice even the smallest things. Who else out there noticed birds singing louder than ever without the constant assault of noise from industry?

    And, when things are quiet, it’s easier to hear the truth. Boston-based, award-winning artist (and professor at Berklee College of Music!) Susan Cattaneo’s All Is Quiet was written in this reflection and stillness. 

    Each of the album’s nine tracks is a moving, beautiful distillation of the human condition. Cattaneo writes of being creatively muted in the album’s title track, and uses this album to emerge from that silence. 

    Cattaneo has a knack for metaphor-making, as evidenced in album single, “Time + Love + Gravity.” The song is inspired by a physicist friend who told her that time moves slower in space because there’s no gravity. She took that concept a step further, pondering the idea that when you’re caught in the pain of love’s gravity, it definitely seems like time moves slower. She explores the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters in “Borrowed Blue,” and points out that it takes pressure and patience to turn a rough rock into a beautiful jewel in “Diamond Days.” 

    Cattaneo’s silky vocals flow over delicate instrumentation, her ocean-sized depth produces songs that break your heart in the best kind of way. She reminds us that it’s in the tough times that we really find out who we are.

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    Ali Sperry Artist Photo By Fairlight Hubbard

    Beloved Nashville songwriter and yogi Ali Sperry released her fantastic new LP, In Front Of Us, today; brimming with lush textures and poignant, thought-provoking lyrics, this 10-track Laurel Canyon-esque effort is not to be missed. We’re thrilled to premiere a video for one of the album’s tracks, “Hope,” featuring guest vocals from Jill Andrews and inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem that begins, “hope is the thing with feathers.” 

    “I am an eternal optimist,” Sperry told us. “Sometimes that is one of my shining qualities and there are times when it is to my detriment, but I cling to it like a survival skill. If I can access hope, I’m ok. I have reason to move forward. I also recognize that some of this ability to be hopeful comes as a result of privilege. I have never had to truly fear for my safety or security or my life.” 

    In the past year or so, this theme has been at the forefront of Sperry’s attention, and found her calling on hope, hope that change is possible, “that people–including myself–can be and do better,” she says. Not only on the global scale but on a personal scale for Sperry and her husband/producer, Jamie Dick.

    “Throughout the course of making this record, every month that went by I was hoping against hope to have conceived a child. For any woman who has lived through this, there is a cycle of hope and disappointment that takes hold where the flicker of hope is at times as vulnerable and delicate as a tiny bird in a storm,” she reveals. “When I sat down to write this song, I imagined it being sung in a church, in harmony, with the big bold acoustics of tall ceilings and stained-glass windows and something inexplicably sacred. This was the only song on the record I played guitar on, and it was an extra special honor to be playing ‘with’ (even though we recorded separately) Audley Freed, the result of which evokes in my mind an image of several people sitting around in a circle strumming guitars. I also love singing with Jill Andrews any chance I get and am so grateful to have her voice alongside me in this one.”

    In “Hope,” we get a stripped-down version of a beautiful song—punctuated by the color red, Sperry stands alone with her guitar and a microphone and gives us an intimate glimpse into her deepest self.

    Without further ado, please enjoy the premiere of the music video for “Hope” by Ali Sperry:

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    All photos of Ali Sperry, including featured image by Fairlight Hubbard


    The Accidentals will be celebrating the release of their new EP Time Out Session #2 on March 13, 2022 at Nashville’s City Winery with special guests Kim Richey, Beth Nielsen Chapman, and Maia Sharp.

    The Accidentals Band Photo

    With their Time Out EP series, folk-pop outfit The Accidentals take a literal “time out” from their full-length record releases. Enlisting the wisdom of some of the world’s most celebrated tunesmiths—like Kim Richey, Tom Paxton, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Maia Sharp, Dar Williams, Peter Mulvey, and more—The Accidentals seek to build a musical and relational bridge between generations of songwriters. The band firmly believes that in our disjointed and disunified world, connection, collaboration, and community forge the path to healing. And, with their Time Out project, The Accidentals are practicing what they preach.

    What To Know About The Accidentals

    This Nashville-by-way-of-Northern Michigan power trio’s lyrical prowess, musical mastery, and ethereal harmonies are seemingly delivered from the heavens directly to our ears. Their latest release, Time Out Session #2, is a six-song master class in creative teamwork—from gentle folk to indie rock, the band has beautifully covered their bases. The Accidentals have been on tour for the last week promoting the EP, with special guests and collaborators Richey, Nielsen Chapman, and Sharp, performing in the round. City Winery is the perfect listening room atmosphere for what is sure to be a not-to-miss event.

    About Their New EP Time Out Session #2

    If Time Out Session #1 was “an anthem for how to fix a broken America” (Rolling Stone), then Time Out Session #2 is the manual. The Accidentals are bridging differences in generations and backgrounds to create unforgettable musical alliances.   “These songs are honest and vulnerable and they were written in a safe space with songwriters, that through this process of co-writing, we have come to call friends,” says Katie Larson.“ As producers and engineers on this project, Katie and I tried to stay out of our own way and just serve the songs, not over think it–leave space for the story,” adds bandmate Sav Buist. “I think we did that.”  

    Time Out Session #2 Album Art

    Show Information

    The concert will take place on Sunday, March 13 at City Winery in Nashville. Doors open at 5:30pm and the show begins at 7:00pm. For tickets and show details, click HERE and you can click HERE for VIP package information. 

    TIME OUT Album release tour wThe Accidentals Kim Richey, Beth Nielsen Chapman Maia Sharp

    Listen To Time Out #2

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