Rivers of Song

Inspired by many trips across the country

Amos Lee

The most recent album from Amos Lee, 2013’s Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song, focuses heavily on hard times. Much of the content was inspired by Lee’s many trips across the country and the people he met along the way. “There’s going to be hardships, and I think that goes for anybody who’s been born onto planet Earth,” Lee tells me. “There are people who struggle so mightily, and yet keep a lightness about them, and those are the people who inspire me the most.” But it’s not just the people putting on a brave face for the world that stand out to Lee. Continue reading 

Taking the Helm

The language of heaven

Amy Helm

Amy Helm is still quite taken with one of the views her late father — famed drummer and singer Levon Helm — had about the deeply profound effect that music can have on people’s lives. “My father used to call it the language of heaven, and I very much agree with that,” Helm says. “Music has saved my life many times and continues to, in small ways and in big ways.” Continue reading 

New Toads

Nowhere near obscurity

Toad the Wet Sprocket

When people talk about the glory years of alternative music, most of the bands that get mentioned are from the alternative rock, Brit-rock or grunge strain — Pearl Jam, Oasis, Soundgarden, Nirvana. But the alternative pop bands who came in a shade before these guys made quite the impact on the Generation X music scene too; Toad the Wet Sprocket was among the most notable.  Continue reading 


There can be joy in collaborating with someone you trust

Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin

Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin are both solo singer-songwriters. They also happen to be in a relationship, but don’t always have time together since they have separate projects. For now, however, the songbird couple has discovered a solution to this problem. “We were touring so much, individually, that we never got the chance to see one another,” says Schmidt. “So we decided to try touring together in a song-swap format, adding harmonies to each other’s songs, and good-natured ribbing in between songs.” Continue reading 

Float On

Definitely putting [something] together


Nowadays fans get itchy for new material if a band hasn’t released anything in three and a half months, so the fact that Floater hasn’t released any new material in three and a half years (2010’s Wake) is saying something. Of course when you’ve been around for two decades, you can get away with it, but that’s not to say the band is making people wait on purpose; the timing just hasn’t been right. Continue reading 

Travel by Crain

Singer-songwriter Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain

Singer-songwriter Samantha Crain decided to take a different tack with the creation of her most recent album, Kid Face, which came out in early 2013.  “I wanted to do something autobiographical,” Crain explains. “Most of my songwriting has been based on my love for stories and characters, even if some of those songs were based on things that have happened in my life. When I started writing this album, the first few songs were much more personal, so I decided to take the whole album in that direction.” Continue reading 

Grog and Toad

Toad in the Hole, photo by Slainte Photography

If you’re looking for the life of the party, look no further than Celtic folk-punk outfit Toad in the Hole. And since EW last caught up with them in January, they’ve brought some new partiers to the scene. New Toaders are Tiffany Holliday on fiddle and Chris Leland on guitar (both formerly of electric Irish punk-rock band ManOverBoard), as well as Graeme Pletscher on tin whistle (of Sol Seed sax fame). Meanwhile, veteran Toader and bodhran player Joel Kenney is on indefinite hiatus because of a study abroad stint in St. Petersburg, Russia.  Continue reading