Anais Mitchell recommends Amy Correia

Anais Mitchell and Amy Correia

Anais Mitchell and Amy Correia

Anais Mitchell’s recommendation: “I’m really into this songwriter Amy Correia’s record You Go Your Way. I first heard a song from it called Powder Blue Trans Am (mp3 below) which is probably the single she’s gonna get sick of everyone asking her to play, but it is SO unbelievably catchy funny sad and anatomically perfect, that she’ll have to deal with it for the rest of her life. I mean I quote entire verses and choruses of this song to other songwriters and when I play the track for people I go, ‘okay listen, okay check this out, okay BEST BRIDGE EVER coming up,’ like a crazy person. For that song I admire amy as a master craftswoman but then there are other songs on the record that are so raw and true and heartbreaking, she’s able to come right out and sing “LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING” and you feel her as a humanist, emotionalist, true artist… her poetry is just… there’s a real tough honest straight-up thing mixed with very careful high art. Just like on the record there’s these awesome deep simple, dirty Jay Bellerose drums, but then there’s also these gorgeous string arrangements and backup singers (like actually backing up call-and-response style). and Amy’s VOICE too is a mix of the fact that she can do anything she goddamn wants, and the fact that she never ever ever shows off. This woman live is like, it’s like watching a volcano, its so effortless and so mind-blowing at the same time. In my world she is a classic, iconic singer and writer. she also happens to be a beautiful humble friendly great person.”

MP3: Powder Blue Trans Am by Amy Correia from You Go Your Way

More about Amy Correia

Anais MitchellAbout our guest author, Anais Mitchell: We were first turned on to Anais a few weeks ago when Peter Mulvey recommended her in a post right here on For those who are unfamiliar with Anais, she is best known for her Hadestown musical production and recording, a folked-up retelling of the Orpheus tale (myth summary here). When it came time to make the record, she was able to enlist top-notch talent: Greg Brown sang the part of Hades, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) took on the role of Orpheus, Ani DiFranco nailed it as Persephone, and Ben Knox Miller (The Low Anthem) donned the Hermes persona. The reviews of the album are nothing short of stellar as The Guardian gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 score and Stereo Subversion’s Jonathan Sanders said it was “a lasting example of where folk music can go when the right musicians take hold of history.” After picking up the album, be sure to click on over to Anais’ site to see where she is performing Hadestown this summer.

Sam Sprague of The Donkeys recommends The Flamin’ Groovies

Sam Sprague of The Donkeys and The Flammin' Groovies

Sam Sprague of The Donkeys and The Flamming Groovies

Sam Sprague’s recommendation: “A band The Donkeys really love is The Flamin’ Groovies. Especially fond of the early Roy Loney era records. The Groovies really proved that it’s okay to span all type of genres in music, something The Donkeys really appreciate because all four of us write songs which in turns brings alot of diversity. But enough about us. The Groovies are a Rock n Roll monster. They are just so fun and excting. So many bands forget that Rock n Roll should have a lighter side. The Groovies write such amazing songs. And they just are a kick ass tight machine. Sneakers, Super Snazz, Flamingo, Teenage Head. You can’t go wrong. Teenage Head was the first one I got. I can’t believe these guys weren’t as big as The Rolling Stones. I love and appreciate all their records. I think Norton has re-released some of the early albums. Grab ‘em up and Bam-A-Lam all night long!”

Sam SpragueAbout our guest author, Sam Sprague: Sam is the drummer and lead singer of The Donkeys, a band that Rocktorch learned about from, you guessed it, an artist recommendation. Craig Finn of The Hold Steady was asked during the Jim Beam Music Series who the best kept secret in music is and Craig chose The Donkeys. We snagged up their CDs and found one treasure after another. Each album is stocked with laid back tunes that would get thumbs up from Gram Parsons, Wilco and Pavement fans alike, but their appeal easily can spread beyond the alt/alt-country sphere. Are The Donkeys alternative? Country? 70′s throwbacks? We’d say yes to all and just add that this is simply good music that has to be heard. Be sure to catch The Donkeys on tour and pick up their latest album, Born With Stripes.

MP3: I Like the Way You Walk by The Donkeys from
Born With Stripes

Don’t Know Who We Are by The Donkeys

Wanda Jackson recommends Elvis Presley

Wanda Jackson and Elvis Presley

Wanda Jackson and Elvis Presley

Wanda Jackson’s recommendation: “Early on in my career I saw how Elvis commanded an audience and kept them in the palm of his hand the entire show. It was quite the impact on me as a young singer in the 1950s. He is the one who also encouraged me to sing rock n roll.”

New to Elvis? Wanda suggests you start here: Elvis Is Back — One of my favorite Elvis albums. I recently cut a song from it called Like a Baby with Jack White for my new album.

Wanda JacksonrAbout our guest author, Wanda Jackson: Where do you even begin to describe the greatness that is Wanda Jackson? You can talk about her well earned titles of “Queen of Rockabilly” or “First Lady of Rock,” but leave it to Bob Dylan to come up with the description that is perhaps the most fitting: “An Atomic Bomb in Lipstick.” Who else but the trailblazing Wanda could have toured with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis and, as her site bio describes it, “was the first woman to perform unadulterated rock and roll?” Wanda signed with Capitol records in 1956 and then blasted up the charts with a top 40 hit, Let’s Have a Party. Since then, she’s been nominated twice for Grammys and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. But the story doesn’t end there. Jack White has produced her latest album, The Party Ain’t Over which features White himself, Karen Elson and My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel. Wanda Jackson is currently on tour and, as Bruce Springsteen mentions in the clip below, has no problem covering Elvis in the show and giving The King a run for his money.

Mark Charles Heidinger of Vandaveer recommends Joe Pug

Charles Heidinger and Joe Pugg

Charles Heidinger and Joe Pugg

Mark Charles Heidinger’s recommendation: “Joe Pug stops me in my tracks. There aren’t many things I can say about his music or his spirit that aren’t abundantly clear the first time you listen to Hymn #101 (clip below) from his first EP, Nation Of Heat. Joe happens to be a friend, which makes the task of writing about him a great deal harder, getting too syrupy about a buddy and all… Anyway, Rosie and I had the pleasure of touring with Mr. Pug and his Hundred Mile Band last fall, and while we were familiar with his music before said run, we honestly weren’t prepared for the dozen-night heart pummeling that followed. I’ve been trying to pick a few lyrics from Hymn 101 to share here, a glimpse, a sample, something to whet the appetite. But every line is so damn poetic I feel slightly irresponsible pulling any one chunk out of context… I’ll just get on with it, for brevity’s sake if nothing else…

And I’ve come to meet the legendary takers
I’ve only come to ask them for a lot
Oh they say I come with less than I should rightfully possess
I say the more I buy the more I’m bought
And the more I’m bought the less I cost

I read an interview of Joe’s a while back where he mentioned spending a great deal of time playing with words to see which ones sound nice together. It certainly shows, ’cause they all sound very nice together. And the sum is simply arresting. I’ve caught wind that he’s working on a new record this year. I know it’s early, but I know exactly what I want for Christmas.”

MP3: Hymn #101 by Joe Pug from Nation Of Heat

Mark Charles HeidingerAbout our guest author, Mark Charles Heidinger: Mark is the frontman and songwriter for Vandaveer, a band whose lineup changes from studio to stage (although Rose Guerin has been a constant in many of the recent press photos). Vandaveer caught tons of buzz when they shared the bill with both Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver and their credibility continues to rise with the release of their latest album Dig Down Deep which was produced by Duane Lundy (Jim James, These United States). There’s been a gush of good press for Vandaveer, including praise from Q Magazine which said that Mark “…mixes French chanson with folk and sounds like an updated Leonard Cohen.” Be sure to check The Vandaveer site to see when they are playing live near you.

MP3: Concerning Past and Future Conquests by Vandaveer