Liam Betson is best known in rock circles nationwide for his two stints as a guitarist in New Jersey punk/indie rock band Titus Andronicus. In the interim between touring with them, he has made multiple full-length albums under the pseudonym Liam the Younger. Some, like 2007’s After the Graveyard, are coated in a beautiful, delicate layer of ambient noise, its lo-fi origins coming to the fore. Others, like 2010’s Revel Hidden Worlds, have a more punchy, but still organic production. The one constant, regardless of the production quality, is Betson’s smooth strumming and haunting, plaintive vocals and lyrics.
When I was studying music, one thing I remember my professors kept driving home was that you don't just stop when you see a "rest" in music notation. You play silence. Silence acts as a frame around the sounds you're producing and helps make those sounds feel more profound. Think about what a picture frame does for a photograph.
As the winners of the SongTown USA songwriting contest with their song, “Love is Like Rain," Robyn Collins and Jordan Reynolds prove their undeniable writing chemistry. Competing against hundreds of entries, Robyn and Jordan struck a chord with the team of judges, lead by hit Nashville songwriters Marty Dodson and Clay Mills. The reward of the contest? A co-writing session with these two master writers!
Here we talk to this songwriting team about their winning song, their journey and what's next.
One of Kansas’ first acoustic songs, the iconic and wistful “Dust in the Wind” peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of April 22, 1978, making it Kansas' only top ten Billboard Hot 100 charting single. Here songwriter Kerry Livgren shares the inspiration behind the song.
I was approached by three different people to do cover sets last year. I really wanted to do it, and had no idea how I was going to get through three hours of singing AND guitar playing by myself. One of those gigs was to play covers for ballroom dancers to practice to. (Talk about pressure to stay on rhythm.)
On the verge of releasing his latest album, Flesh and Blood, John Butler took a few minutes to sit down with us in the Acoustic Nation studio. We laughed, we played, we talked about new music and songwriting and a whole lot more.
Here's a killer acoustic version of Pantera's "Mouth For War" performed by Sam Westphalen. Hailing from down under, Westphalen has a prolific assortment of superb acoustic covers on YouTube and this one exemplifies the collection. Westphalen is currently studying Composition and Music Production at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM) and that's where this gem was recorded.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Nick Drake, one of the most unique and talented singer/songwriters to ever pick up a guitar, or any instrument for that matter. His incredible fingerpicking skill, unique use of melodic textures like cluster chords, and vague, morbid lyrics make his songs stand out like those of no other musician of the time. Afflicted with severe depression for most of his adult life, Drake died of an accidental overdose of prescription pills at the age of 27.