Bluesky Bullet Points: July 7, 2024

This week’s roundup features strong efforts from Silverada, Alice Wallace, and Sam Williams.


Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore


Never less than good vibes, but rarely more than that, either. These two don’t really challenge the other’s established SOPs, but they do complement each other awfully well.


Austin Snell

Still Bleeding

Didn’t I just review this? No, that was Matt Stell. But who can actually tell any of these guys apart? Like all the rest, this works better when he sounds like a more tuneful, slightly less adenoidal Nickelback, works less when he appropriates hip-hop like Wallen.



Sam Williams

Act I:Scarlet Lonesome [EP]

He’s finally, gloriously figuring out who he wants to be as an artist, and the thoughtful ways he engages with his famous lineage from a songwriting standpoint only to subvert expectations with his broad range of stylistic influences is just riveting stuff.


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

South of Here

To appreciate what they do now is to accept that they’ll never top “S.O.B.” or try to. That raucous energy, at least intermittently, could liven up this set, which is very Americana-by-numbers, sonically. Solid, often great songs that NR sings the fire out of.


Zach Bryan

The Great American Bar Scene

CTRL+V: A few stunners to justify the roar of the crowd (“28,” “Oak Island”), and a whole lot that could’ve been cut for concision and quality. Lack of growth is troubling, but with a vocal cult of devotees and little self-reflection, where’s the motivation to do, be better?


Alice Wallace

Here I Am

A powerful declaration of self, agency from one of the genre’s finest– and certainly most under-the-radar– vocalists. Her tone is a marvel of clarity, which is perfectly matched to songs that refuse to apologize for her POV as a woman in a hostile world.




Not this crew’s finest record, but, if you think of it as a debut album, it’s a pretty great one. Always more mainstream-ready than some purists would care to admit, here they sound ready to dethrone the likes of Old Dominion et al as the genre’s premier band, and amen.


  1. Re. Alice Wallace: Yes, she does fly under the radar because, while she recorded this new record in Nashville, she has taken the spirit of her native Southern California with her (as she had done on her 2019 album Into The Blue). And she certainly remembers what one of heroes Linda Ronstadt once said: “You don’t have to be original, just authentic.

  2. …not much love for old dominion around here – i wonder why. snell isn’t stell?!? just don’t get me started on kameron and dylan marlowe, of which the former is actually a rather fine vocalist. unfortunately, just looking and sounding a lot like nate smith.

    zach bryan always kind of reminds me of vincent van gogh when the dutchman was at his most manic. not everything really would be a keeper, if it wasn’t a van gogh, that is. yet, some of bryan’s the stuff is – “pink skies” as another example. i remain curious and hope he finally figures out that music is more than lyrics from the (almost) same perspective and sounding somewhat alike. sort of like discovering that a good hot dog is more than just a roll and a sausage. well, springsteen didn’t become “the boss” overnight either.

    how bloody elegant, came to mind after listening to some of the songs of alice wallace’s new album the other day. pretty wow!

    good bless mike harmeier and the moonpies of silverada.

  3. “Elegant” is an apt descriptor for the Wallace record, for sure. Reminds me of how Alison Krauss, at her best, makes Bluegrass music sound *classy*. It takes a very particular set of aesthetic choices and an uncommon skill to pull off those choices, and Wallace certainly does just that.

  4. Didn’t I just review this? No, that was Matt Stell.

    Oh, so very well done!

    I liked the Silverada album quite a bit. It seems like the next step in the natural evolution of their sound when listened to in the context of their catalog. I don’t think it quite measured up to that Steak Night at the Prairie RoseOne to Grow On run of albums, but that was an almost impossibly high bar to cross as far as I was concerned.

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