Taking a Listen

by Heather MacIntyre

Ed E. Ruger – Brown Bag Special Vol. I

Wow. I have to say, it’s easier than you think to take local artists for granted when you are exposed to them often and know they are usually within reach to go see live or talk to around town. It’s always easy to play it cool with Triad artists, but I have to give a little bashful Southern-girl curtsey to this album – and I’m a city girl. This album is blooming and booming with every track, possessed with exquisitely mixed beats. What would an Ed E. Ruger album be without cameos from other DJ friends and lyrical artists? For example, the track “Make Em Hurt” features Ty Bru and DJ Phillie Phresh whom I know you’ve experienced at Ed E.’s live shows. It’s an amazing hip-hop collaboration from all these artists that shows the writing and recording was done in such a conspiring effort that it seems as if this is all just one thought connected through the minds of all artists on the album. Great news: Looks like for once, Friday the 13th is a night of good luck – Brown Bag Special Vol. I will be released during a show at Greene Street ( for you to celebrate, experience and get a copy of your own.

Rating: 4 records (out of 5)

Samantha Crain – The Confiscation EP

So, what do you get when you mix Jolie Holland, Yael Naim and Joanna Newsom? Something angelic and sweetly Americana, yet still bluesy. Her name is Samantha Crain, she’s only 21 years old, and is the baby recording artist for Ramseur Records (Avett Brothers, the everybodyfields, Sammy Walker). This five-track folk-rock album is all she needs to open the eyes of the East Coast to this Midwest mountain-song girl. The most popular track of the album, “Traipsing Through the Aisles,” is the single of the cinquet of tunes that you might recognize from a few commercials and background to some TV scores lately. Just barely too folky for the mainstream radio, but it definitely deserves a place of publicity. Though the album doesn’t possess the harps of Newsom, it definitely makes up for it with my personal favorite heart-melting instrument, the lap steel. Her voice is clear and concise, deep in knowledge and comfort, yet still young when she hits a few higher notes. Friday night hip-hop not your style? Go see Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers at the Garage alongside Old Stone Revue.

Rating: 4 records (out of 5)