The Excello Story Includes a Rock 'n' Roll Rarity

Blues and R&B weren’t writer Randy Fox’s natural beat. He was a fan of the ’80s American underground rock ’n’ roll explosion that produced Husker Du, Sonic Youth, The Replacements and Black Flag. At the end of the ‘80s, that moment was fading, but the CD reissue boom helped him scratch that same itch. When companies realized that there was money to be made by reissuing music on CD that they had already paid for and that vinyl collectors collected, they began to aggressively revisit artists that had become legendary in their absence, many of them blues and R&B bands.

Bully Does What's Natural

Alicia Bognanno’s voice is a powerful instrument, raw as sushi and stuffed with endless ennui. Her band, Bully, is a traditional 4-piece outfit—two guitars, a bass, drums—that backs Bognanno with crunchy, forceful grooves. They are currently on tour behind their second full-length, Losing, and will play Gasa Gasa Sunday night, with support from Cincinnati shoegazers Smut.

Blank Range is Happily Bummed Out

Grant Gustafson laughs a lot. He laughs when describing how him and Jon Childers, the other guitarist in Blank Range, started writing songs at different stages in life (“Jon was definitely interested in that earlier on, so we strike a good balance”). He laughs when I point out that a chunk of their Facebook posts promote other artists (“Hmm”). He laughs after revealing the name of Blank Range’s homegrown cassette label, (“Yeah, we call it Sturdy Girls Records”).

Jazz Fest Preview: The Mavericks Remember Riding the Ride

(Last year's set by The Mavericks at Jazz Fest was one of the festival's most joyous, so when the band returned to New Orleans last October to play Tipitina's, I took the opportunity to talk with founding member Robert Reynolds about the days before the band split up. Here's an encore presentation of that story since the band returns to Jazz Fest today, where it will play the Samsung Galaxy Stage at 3:40 p.m.)

Corey Smith Wants Time at Home

Country singer Corey Smith is an independent success story, having parlayed a common sense strategy of regional touring and a web presence into an income that allowed him to quit his day job teaching in 2005 and earn more than a million dollars a year as a musician. He successfully worked MySpace (when it mattered), social media, file sharing platforms and his website to energize a fan base that supported him when radio didn’t.

The Mavericks Get to Be Mavericks Again

"Raul feels we're at our apex," says The Mavericks' Robert Reynolds, reflecting singer Raul Malo's belief that the reunited country/Tex-Mex/swing/Latin band has never been better. Reynolds fondly remembers the band's early club dates in Miami when they played like a Latin-country Clash to 200 or so people, but he understands where Malo is coming from.