In 1989, a new literary magazine was born in Oxford, Mississippi, celebrating the history and evolution of writing in the South.  In the years since, this treasured publication has expanded into exploration of all things Southern — including, to the joy of so many readers (and listeners), Southern music.

This time of year, anticipation runs high… mailboxes are checked frequently… and then, it’s here: the annual Oxford American Southern Music issue — which includes 2 CDs and which, this year, we’re thrilled to announce includes tracks from two Yellow Dog Records releases.  Tennessee is the target state this time, and, along with stars by the name of Elvis, Emmylou, Johnny Cash and Al Green, you’ll hear “Where Would I Go” by William Lee Ellis (from Conqueroo) and “Deuce and a Quarter” by the Bo-Keys (from The Royal Sessions) .  Check out the full track listing here!


Fans of bluegrass, blues, country, Americana, Cajun music and other roots styles surely know about MerleFest. This great festival has been drawing music lovers by the tens of thousands to Wilkesboro, North Carolina for 27 years now — and we’re proud to say that the 2014 Merlefest has invited two members of the Yellow Dog Records family to perform!

Mary Flower and Fiona Boyes, two utterly unique and fantastic guitar stylists, will be at MerleFest this year along with Ralph Stanley, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show… with over 130 acts scheduled between April 24 and 27, you’ll want to get in gear and get on down there! Say hi to Mary and Fiona for us…

Described as “powerful” (Blues Blast), “glowing” (Living Blues), “impressive” (Blues Bytes), “captivating” (Cascade Blues), “mesmerizing” (Premier Guitar), “groundbreaking” (About Blues), “slyly subversive” (The New Yorker), “sassy” (Billboard), and “soulful” (No Depression), critics all over the map have been raving about Cassie Taylor’s Out of My Mind.

Now just in time for Halloween… Cassie’s new video for the track “New Orleans” is equal parts spooky, campy, jazzy and bluesy.

Who is that there, in the iTunes blues page banner, right next to venerable Chicago bluesman Otis Rush?  It’s The Claudettes, featuring Chicago piano pounder Johnny Iguana — who has toured with Otis, by the way.

Look down in the first row beneath that banner to the New and Noteworthy grouping… and there are the Claudettes again!  It’s great to see iTunes trumpeting how special this new Yellow Dog release is, especially for those who dig blues piano and fresh, unique spins on the classic Chicago sound. The album’s already spawned features in publications like the Chicago Sun-Times and glowing reviews like this one.

Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED! is still just a hatchling… stay tuned for more Claudettes news!

Summer may be over, but The Soul of John Black‘s A Sunshine State of Mind keeps that mood going year round.  Check out the new video for “Higher Power”, a soulful anthem with an uplifting message that affirms that “we’re all in this together.”

Elwood's BluesmobileCassie Taylor was recently featured on the nationally syndicated radio show Elwood’s Bluesmobile.  The hour-long show mixed cuts from Cassie’s new album, Out of My Mind, with interview clips.  Listen to Elwood Blues and Cassie discuss how she got started in music, her musical influences from Moby to Sharon Jones, and making an album — her own way.

Well, not quite, but The Claudettes did cause quite an uproar with their Legends debut.

The Claudettes eagerly awaited their first show at the famed Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago — which, as fate would have it, fell on Friday the 13th of September. Pianist Johnny Iguana had played Buddy’s dozens of times with other groups including the Junior Wells Band, while this was drummer Michael Caskey’s first time.

As she often does, the band’s boss Claudette sent her assistant Tatyana to sell beers from the stage; this was disallowed by the club. But Tatyana still had a strong effect at Legends, where her flower dress and tap shoes, thick Russian accent and the fact that she didn’t play an instrument caused consternation among the staff. The displeased club manager considered, aloud, throwing beer bottles at Johnny; clearly, some feathers at this Chicago-blues institution were ruffled by the Claudettes’ appearance.

The crowd, though, had a different reaction to the music. Even as Tatyana tried to sell neckties from the stage, chastised the musicians for not smiling and interrupted the band to take phone calls from a worried Claudette, smiles and cell-phone cameras flashed all around the room. Feet were tapping steadily to the amped-up, off-kilter blues attack of the Claudettes as they blasted through 13 songs in 45 minutes. Concerned that the band’s unorthodox sound and style weren’t right for the club and would send customers to the exits, the management cut their set at 45 minutes (it was to have been an hour). Many in the crowd used those 15 extra minutes to come talk to the band and buy Claudettes CDs.

The band rated the night a success. Claudette, like the club manager, was not pleased. Couldn’t Tatyana have sold beer out on the sidewalk where the manager couldn’t see?

How does an esteemed, veteran musician top all of his TV work, studio projects and on-stage triumphs in one fell swoop? Easy: Just join Bob Dylan’s band! OK, nothing happens overnight, not even for a guitarist of Colin Linden‘s considerable caliber. But Colin’s years of accolades for his incomparable guitar skills finally earned him his dream job: a tour as Bob Dylan’s guitarist.

It all happened in July 2013. Colin, a native Canadian, was by then viewing the “Nashville skyline” daily, having moved to Music City in 2001. It was Colin’s work with the cast of the ABC TV series “Nashville” that landed him the spot in Dylan’s band. Check out this recent interview with Colin in which he reveals how the Dylan gig came about, what it’s like and what his guitar style brings to the table.

The White Stripes and Black Keys rock the blues with a guitar attack. Like the Bad Plus, The Claudettes brandish a piano instead. But The Claudettes have created their own fanatical fusion of blues and soul-jazz — like Ray Charles on a punk kick. Imagine an amped-up piano hybrid of Otis Spann, Ray Charles and Mose Allison, joined by a jolly madman drummer and conducted in gonzo fashion by Raymond Scott. File under: post-burlesque? Neo-vaudeville? Cosmic cartoon music? You’ve never seen a piano-drums duo like this.

And let’s not forget the strange but true story of how The Claudettes came to be — starting with Claudette herself, an unhinged bar owner who hired the duo as her “house band” but works out deals to showcase them at other venues: traditional nightspots as well as unconventional locations including Blockbuster Video and Staples Center (literally; the center of a local Staples office store). To read more about the band’s bizarre history, see the detailed backgrounder: .

See The Claudettes, Live in the Studio:

Cassie Taylor - DaytrotterIt’s been the hippest of the hip for more than seven years: the Daytrotter Session. Everyone from hip-hoppers and electronic artists to blues-rockers and indie darlings have instantly upped their cred (and fanbase) by recording one-of-a-kind performances for Daytrotter, who have archived many thousands of performances and yielded many millions of downloads and streams.

Cassie Taylor recently made her debut at the already-legendary Daytrotter Studio in Rock Island, IL. Listen to her exclusive-to-Daytrotter live performances here including her tune “That’s My Man” from her acclaimed Yellow Dog release Out of My Mind .

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