Big Head Todd And The Monsters: Black Beehive [Album Review]

Big Head Todd And The Monsters Black Beehive Shout! Factory [2017] Fire Note Says: After 25 years, Big Head Todd & The Monsters have remained true to their sound. Album Review: In the 25 years since recording their indie debut album, Another Mayberry, Colorado-based Big Head Todd & the Monsters have proved themselves to be … Read more

Roseanne Cash: The River & The Thread [Album Review]

Roseanne Cash The River & The Thread Blue Note Records [2014] Fire Note Says: Rosanne Cash explores the deep connections that make us who we are. Album Review: It’s been 8 years since Roseanne Cash released the phenomenal Black Cadillac, an intimate reflection on the passing of her parents – Vivian Liberto Distin, the first … Read more

Bruce Springsteen: High Hopes [Album Review]

Bruce Springsteen High Hopes Columbia Records [2014] Fire Note Says: Springsteen once again shows his uniqueness among the great rockers of our era. Album Review: You don’t get very far into the new Bruce Springsteen album before you realize that this is not “Wrecking Ball II.” First, the opening title track, an up-tempo splash of … Read more

Neil Young: Live At The Cellar Door [Album Review]

Neil Young Live At The Cellar Door Reprise Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Neil in his prime! Album Review: By now, Neil Young has become a rock music icon, best remembered for a variety of traits: early seminal work with Buffalo Springfield, his hard rocking anthems with Crazy Horse, his role as the ornery one … Read more

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs: Under The Covers Vol. 3 [Album Review]

Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs Under The Covers Vol. 3 Shout! Factory [2013] Fire Note Says: Sweet and Hoffs revisit the 80’s on their latest Under The Covers installment. Album Review: It’s felt like too long a wait for those who enjoyed Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet’s collection of 60’s and 70’s covers that made … Read more

The Bottle Rockets: Bottle Rockets / The Brooklyn Side (Deluxe Edition) [Album Review]

The Bottle Rockets Bottle Rockets / The Brooklyn Side (Deluxe Edition) Bloodshot Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Two influential Americana records that you should have in your collection. Album Review: While Americana fans are looking forward to the re-issue of the mother ship album that launched a movement and named a fanzine, Uncle Tupelo’s No … Read more

Los Lobos: Disconnected In New York City [Album Review]

Los Lobos Disconnected In New York City 429 Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Los Lobos celebrate 40 years with their excellent new live record. Album Review: What do you do on your band’s 40th anniversary, especially if on your 20th you released an exhaustive two-disc collection of your early triumphs that includes many of your … Read more

Pearl Jam: Lightning Bolt [Album Review]

Pearl Jam Lightning Bolt Monkeywrench/Universal Records [2013] Fire Note Says: This “Lightning Bolt” still doesn’t strike twice in the same place. Album Review: If you were to take your cues from so-called “classic rock” radio (remember radio?), you’d be convinced that Pearl Jam did all its best work on the 1991 debut, Ten, and a … Read more

Elvis Costello And The Roots: Wise Up Ghost And Other Songs [Album Review]

Elvis Costello and The Roots Wise Up Ghost and Other Songs Blue Note Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Teaming up with The Roots is an obvious next step on Costello’s life-long creative quest! Album Review: Over the decades, the one time punk rocker Elvis Costello has proved surprisingly versatile in a variety of musically diverse … Read more

The Civil Wars: The Civil Wars [Album Review]

The Civil Wars The Civil Wars Sensibility/Columbia Records [2013] Fire Note Says: The Civil Wars build on their debut and point toward a viable musical future, should they decide to accept it. Album Review: While we’ve gotten used to the kind of sensational personal drama that makes careers at the expense of the actual music, … Read more

The Rides: Can’t Get Enough [Album Review]

The Rides Can’t Get Enough 429 Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Stills, Shepherd and Goldberg debut their blues. Album Review: If you’ve ever found yourself thinking that the world already has too many blues and boogie bands, then The Rides – the collaboration of Steven Stills, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg – is not … Read more

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Made Up Mind [Album Review]

Tedeschi Trucks Band Made Up Mind Sony Masterworks [2013] Fire Note Says: Tedeschi Trucks Band honors all that was vital and consistently relevant in the tradition with fresh, authentic voices. Album Review: If the combined talents of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks felt like a revelation to so many blues fans when they brought their … Read more

Over The Rhine: Meet Me At The Edge Of The World [Album Review]

Over The Rhine Meet Me At The Edge Of The World Great Speckled Dog Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Even as they write songs about life’s inevitable end in death, Over the Rhine seek the passion and beauty of life’s loves. Album Review: “We are hungry for the secret news about life,” said Stanley Kunitz, … Read more

Todd Rundgren: State [Album Review]

Todd Rundgren State Esoteric Recordings [2013] Fire Note Says: The State of Todd Rundgren’s Union of Pop and Art. Album Review: Although Todd Rundgren stepped away from his band Nazz to begin his eventually successful solo career in 1970, in the 43 intervening years that lead up to this 23rd solo release, State, Rundgren has … Read more

Steve Earle: The Low Highway [Album Review]

Steve Earle The Low Highway New West Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Steve Earle continues to make good (music). Album Review: On this 14th full-length album since his ’86 debut, Guitar Town, Steve Earle has defied expectations of an early drug-fueled demise, only to deliver yet another vibrant, life informed collection of country and folk … Read more

Son Volt: Honky Tonk [Album Review]

Son Volt Honky Tonk Rounder Records [2013] Fire Note Says: Son Volt’s Honky Tonk is like a lost sleeve from the golden era of country music’s creative past. Album Review: Here’s a funny thing: when loading Honky Tonk into my iTunes library, the digital overlords saw fit to label it as “rock,” however, the two … Read more