2023 TJ Stocking Stuffers with Jaime Wyatt, Uncle Lucius, Bastards of Soul, Emma Jo and Gram Parsons

By Brian Rock

In the words of the late, great Tom Petty, “It’s Christmas All Over Again.” If you find yourself caught off guard by its sudden arrival and in need of some last-minute gift inspiration, we’re here to help. Here are a few can’t miss stocking stuffers for the music fan on your nice list.


Soulful Americana

Jaime Wyatt Feel Good

Simply the most dynamic singer in Americana. She merges her outlaw country ethos with strong strains of Memphis soul and Laurel Canyon folk rock on her latest outing. Singing about justice and the environment and love – but mostly about love; her voice sounds like love feels. Both the euphoric highs and the devastating lows are brought to life through her intensely cathartic vocals. “Feel Good,” “Hold Me One Last Time,” “Where The Damned Only Go,” “Jukebox Holiday,” and “Ain’t Enough Whiskey,” are musical testaments to the pain and power of love.

Sugar Plum Single: “Love Is A Place”

Modern soul music at its very best. This song is a rapturous celebration of the healing power of love. Hammond organ, pulsing horns and funky lead guitar riffs recreate the magic of Steve Cropper and Booker T era Stax Records. Wyatt’s voice is a perfect blend of naughty and nice and is a welcome treat anytime of year.  |  fb  |  buy stuff


Jam Band Rock

Uncle Lucius Like It’s The Last One Left

After an extended winter’s nap, the band returns, centered and focused. Exploring themes of peace of mind and self-awareness, the band combines jam band, cosmic cowboy and a touch of outlaw country to express their meditative message. “Keep Singing Along,” “I’m Happy,” “Love in Kind,” “Trace My Soul,” and “Heart Over Mind,” all exude the peace that comes from abandoning material pursuits and focusing on more emotional and spiritual rewards. The band mixes tempos and genres to get the message through on multiple wavelengths. Lead singer, Kevin Galloway’s throaty baritone adds an extra layer of gravitas to the music.

Sugar Plum Single: “All The Angelinos”

A honky-tonk two-stepper, the song bemoans the sudden influx of Californians to the band’s hometown of Austin, TX. Although worried about the effect on the local cultural ecosystem of this new invasive species, the music is surprisingly upbeat and optimistic.  |  fb  |   buy stuff



Bastards of Soul Give It Right Back

Two years after the passing of lead singer Chadwick Murray, the band releases the last of his recorded works on this jubilant tribute to his beautiful voice and beautiful heart. Filled with songs of love and heartache, the album alternates between the rose and the thorn of love. Murray’s passionate vocals plumb the depths of heartbreak on “The Truth Won’t Change Your Mind,” “Your Love Has Turned My Heart To Bitterness,” “You Let Me Down Again,” and “Woman of Hell.” Conversely, his voice radiates joy on “This Love,” “Try A Little Love,” “While It’s Hot,” and “It’s Gonna Be Alright.” More Philly soul than Memphis, the band incorporates string sections, funk infused base lines and spacey keyboards to recreate 70’s era radio friendly soul music.

Sugar Plum Single: It’s Gonna Be Alright

A powerful anthem of faith and faithfulness, Murray and the band create a true message of comfort and joy. A rousing horn section, gospel hand claps and a strong Carolina shag melody make for a dance floor ready ode to joy.  |  fb   |   buy stuff



Emma Jo Girl Bandit

Rising star, Emma Jo follows in the footsteps of Kacey Musgraves. A strong DIY attitude and honest storytelling guide her music. Polished, but not overproduced, she sings about romance, regret, and redemption. Her vocals and lyrics shine on “Queen of the Silver Lining,” “Straight Into Mine,” “In the Ozarks,” “The Road to Ruin,” and the Ragtime-tinged, “Kansas City In The Autumn Time.” Free of cliché’s and full of insight, Emma Jo seems poised to take her place among the luminous ladies of country who came before.

Sugar Plum Single: “Girl Bandit”

A rollicking tribute to the days of the wild west, with a girl power twist. A choogling rhythm section conjures the feel of a train rolling down the tracks, while Emma Jo sets her sights on stealing the payroll from its mail car. But cash isn’t her only target, as she also steals hearts before riding off into the sunset.   |  fb  |  buy stuff


Original Americana

Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels The Last Roundup: Live From the Bijou Café

It may be overstating to say that Gram Parsons is the father of Americana. But his impact on the genre can not be overstated. His influence casts a shadow fifty years long and growing. Sadly, there are no lost original tracks from Gram on this set, but there are never before released versions of his solo and Flying Burrito Brothers classics along with noteworthy covers of Hank William’s “Jambalaya,” and Merle Haggard’s “California Cotton Fields.” The rock and folk influences that were prevalent on his studio albums are mostly absent here. This is Gram’s return and tribute to his country roots. Classic songs like “We’ll Sweep Out The Ashes,” “Cry One More Time,” “Sin City,” and “Big Mouth Blues” get a more rustic rendition here. Equally compelling are the occasional spoken intros by Gram Parsons and his partner in crime Emmylou Harris. Hearing them speak is like reconnecting with a long lost loved one.

Sugar Plum Single: Jambalaya

Yes, it’s not a Gram Parsons original. But this version with Emmylou Harris captures the informal, front porch spirit of the album. It also marks the convergence of three musical legends in one song.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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