Best of Indiana: Roots-Rock in 2010

At Rockforward, we live right in the middle of Indiana,  and fan our reach outward from Indianapolis.  Here’s the best of what we heard this year from (mostly) Hoosier roots-rock artists.

2010 Local Roots Rock/Americana Album of the Year
Cara Jean Wahlers/”Goodnight Charlotte”How did this quiet, intelligent, duet-like release from an acoustic guitar player and cello player get to the top of my roots-rock/Americana list full of worthy candidates?  Especially coming from a guy (me) who unabashedly enjoys the gritty side of loud guitars, drums and a sweet Hammond B-3?  It happened because this is a deserving place for “Goodnight Charlotte”, as Wahlers’ and Grover Parido’s cello quietly cuts into your heart with hauntingly beautiful music and lyrics that evoke black and white movies. Continue reading “Best of Indiana: Roots-Rock in 2010”

Roots-Rock Album: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – “Pills and Ammo”

Fans of authentic East Coast/R&B/Jersey Shore rock and roll need to take a listen to the new album from Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes. Pills and Ammo is newly released (info at and the record has a decided (and welcome) rock and roll edge.

from his website:
“While still tinged with the exuberant rhythm and blues feel that is the Jukes’ trademark, and loaded with the driving sound of the legendary Jukes horn section, this new CD has a sharper, guitar-oriented, rock and roll feel to it. A harder edge for harder times.”

→ Hear “One More Night to Rock

Continue reading “Roots-Rock Album: Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – “Pills and Ammo””

Southside Johnny’s Live New Record, Top Drummers and Madison Folk Festival Lineup Announced

Need some bar rock and R&B from one of the best ever? Take a listen to Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – 1978: Live in Boston, just out for our beer-soaked listening pleasure. Recorded December 23, 1978 and recently unearthed, the set features seminal Southside tracks like “This Time It’s For Real” and “I Don’t Want to Go Home”, both written by Springsteen guitarist and sidekick Steve VanZandt.

In fact, every track except for to Santa tunes at the end and Sam Cooke’s “Havin’ A Party”, every song was either written by VanZandt, Springsteen or both. Bluesy, rowdy and great horns.

A tremendous lineup has been announced for 4th Annual Ohio River Valley Folk Festival, as it returns to Madison, Indiana May 21-22 On Friday, The Asylum Street Spankers are the final band of four, with Americana darling  Eilen Jewel (her album “Sea of Tears was #1 in the  TOP 100 of 2009 at WFHB in Bloomington) playing a full set preceding the Spankers.

Then Saturday, it’s the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the sublime Loudon Wainwright III, and legendary Subdudes.  They play from 6-10pm, each with 90-minute sets.  Damn good lineup for the still growing festival.  Best yet, and not many festivals in Indiana could do better. 

I used to live in Madison – First job after college and ended up doing mornings at WORK radio in town.  Had a blast.  Fun town, and easy to get to from Indy  South on 65, and turn left at the Austin exit. Head to the river…

Between Dave Grohl on Saturday Night Live and Zak Starkey filling in for the Who’s Keith Moon during the Super Bowl, Rolling Stone asked online for readers to tell them who is the greatest drummer of all time. Apparantly a grass-roots effort to get The Muppet Show’s Animal on the list, we kept the results to drummers with a human pulse.

Can’t argue with the top 7, though the order could be wrong.  Jimmy Chamberlin?  Huh?  Charlie Watts should be top three. Get rid of Danny Carrey.  Kenny Aronoff should be on there somewhere, as should Max Weinberg 
1. John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
2. Neil Peart (Rush)
3. Keith Moon (The Who)
4. Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Them Crooked Vultures)
5. Stewart Copeland (The Police, Oysterhead)
6. Ringo Starr (The Beatles)
7. Ginger Baker (Cream, Blind Faith)
8. Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins)
9. Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones)
10. Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band)
11. Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience)
12. Danny Carey (Tool)
13. Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
14. Buddy Rich
15. Alex Van Halen (Van Halen)

Read more of Rob’s writing at – NUVO NEWSWEEKLY – Celebrating 20 Years in Indianapolis