folk music

Jeremy Nail: “Open Door”

Yesterday we celebrated the intrinsic ingenuity of human creativity, but we didn’t touch on one of the most important aspects: writing your way through trauma. It’s a healing property that goes all the way back to the ancient storytelling tradition of African percussion, but for Austin-based singer-guitarist Jeremy Nail, the weightiest wounds were his 2012 cancer diagnosis and subsequent amputation of his left leg. Nail worked through that pain on his 2016 Alejandro Escovedo-produced LP My Mountain, after which he seemed to hit a new stride. However, as with the rest of the world, Nail was confronted by the uncomfortable isolation and disquiet left in COVID’s wake. Because of that, Jeremy Nail’s created yet another piece of fulfilling folk therapy for his fifth full-length, Behind The Headlights. Behind The Headlights heralds the importance of being in the moment, giving yourself space to be alone with your thoughts, reflecting over loss, and planning for the future. The album rolls out next Friday, the same day that Jeremy Nail performs in-store at Waterloo Records. He’ll also be playing Saturday the 27th at Cactus Cafe with opener Kevin McKinney. But before you dive right back into live music, heed Nail’s mission to improve mental health with the soothing respite that is Behind The Headlights‘ serene central bulb, “Open Door”.

Ley Line: “En Busca Del Agua”

Austin’s world music scene has been slowly growing for decades now, and while it’s nowhere near as robust as in places like Chicago or New York, we’ve still got some seriously impressive artists. Multilingual acoustic quartet Ley Line definitely sits around the top of that list, not only in terms of consistent quality, but frequent output, overall focus, and an innate ability to market themselves beyond the realm of singles and record sales.

Having already launched their eponymous Following Ley Line podcast in March, these Studio 1A alums are set to unveil a new visual album in mid-May, which’ll come off the heels of the group’s latest ode to the nature. Inspired by an ongoing worship of water, its healing and connecting character, and its overall lack of availability in Texas during the February cold snap, Ley Line’s first all-Spanish single, “En Busca Del Agua”, won’t leave you in search of any audio essentials for the weekend.

No-No Boy: “Imperial Twist”

Without getting too much into politics, I think we can all agree that the Asian-American experience has recently been catapulted into the national spotlight. And in concern to the historical context of that experience, nobody’s captured it in recent music as comprehensively as Nashville-born songwriter Julian Saporiti.

Appropriating the moniker No-No Boy from John Okada’s 1957 novel of the same name, Saporiti’s Ph.D. dissertation took him across the country to several Asian-American landmarks, often wrought with troubled history, to develop his concept album 1975. Saporiti’s dissection of what constitutes American folk isn’t obscured by his outspoken societal observations; rather the two march hand-in-hand across 1975’s dozen, sonically channeling the likes of Okkervil River, Shearwater, Grateful Dead, and The Avett Brothers while lyrically rising to the challenge of telling American folk tales from a different perspectives, perhaps heard best on “Imperial Twist”.

Erin Ivey: “Where Have You Been All My Life” [PREMIERE]

Longtime listeners of KUTX aren’t likely to gloss over certain Austin songwriters based on remarkable talent, perhaps most notably six-time Studio 1A veteran Erin Ivey. Whether she’s teamed up with Tosca String Quartet, The Finest Kind, David Ramirez, or just going solo acoustic, Ivey’s made countless jaws drop and eyes water with her luminous vocal presence and impressive range dating back to her 2007 debut.

But with seven years having passed since her last studio album, Whisper of the Moon, Ivey’s fans have been in dire need of an update. And they’re in luck! Next Friday Erin Ivey shares her ten-track full-length Solace in the Wild, leaning on her classic indie folk sound with sprinkles of Americana and psychedelia and other powerful nuances throughout. And though another premiere of sorts may understandably be taking up most of the spotlight today, take your mind off the news and enter Solace in the Wild with its lead single, “Where Have You Been All My Life”!

Klezmer & The Art of Mixed Dancing

Views and Brews is a discussion show taped live at the Cactus Cafe. In this episode KUT’s Rebecca McInroy talks with Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, Itzik Gottesman, and David Gilden about the past, present, and future of klezmer music. Along with the interview, five bands join the stage to illustrate the various styles of klezmer.