@mcondo, I don’t know your age, so am not going to assume you know about the album and the group of musicians who made it that are largely credited with being a primary source of inspiration and guidance in all things Americana; the one, the only, The Band and their 2nd, self-titled album, also known as the brown album. Absolutely essential listening!
The original Capitol pressing (look for the mastering engineer’s initials---RL, for Robert Ludwig---scratched into the run-out by the LP’s label) is good, as is the newest version (2013) on Mobile Fidelity LP (MFSL 1-419) and SACD (UDSACD 2129).
At least as good is their debut, Music From Big Pink. Original LP’s are plentiful (though finding a Mint or Mint- copy is not easy), and again there is a newish (2008) Mobile Fidelity pressing available on LP (MFSL 1-346) and SACD (UDSACD 2044). This past September Capitol Records did a 50th Anniversary reissue of MFBP on both LP and CD, and in a deluxe boxset. The boxset is more than all but the obsessed really need, but I'm hoping they do the same for The Band's second album this year!
You might check out Meg Baird, particularly her work with the band "Espers" out of Philly. It’s more psych-folk than Americana but it is based on American folk music, with a twist. Esper’s "The Weed Tree" is a good start. Baird is pretty prolific and is associated with a number of other acts if you decide you like her.
I did a brief write up of a band out of Brooklyn called The National Reserve, whose album, Motel La Grange, reminded me a little of Bob Seger, Little Feat and The Band. The thing I liked about the record is that it sounded like a real band playing in a bar rather than a studio confection.
As I’m wont to say almost every time the topic comes up, get thee to see the great David Lindley if he is out on tour anywhere near you. Not a ’new’ talent, but so formidable, makes you appreciate why he was the go-to guy on so many albums out of LA in the ’70s.
Good one whart! David Lindley is a monster lap steel player, with a style employing, unlike most steel players, lots of sustain and over-driven tube distortion. He's great live, and his first two solo albums (he was in the late-60's band Kaleidoscope, and on many L.A. recordings of Jackson Browne and other singer/songwriters) are not just musically excellent, but also unusually good sounding for Rock 'n' Roll records. I have long used the first (which includes David's fantastic version of "Mercury Blues") for hi-fi evaluations.
Listening to "by the way, I forgive you" on vinyl right now. Musically, I really like the album. However, it does suffer from SQ issues, probably compression. Too bad, as it is really good. Makes me wonder how much more I might enjoy it if it was recorded differently.
Question for those who understand recorded music production: "Who is responsible for the amount of compression used? Is it the recording engineer, producer, mastering technician, etc.? Who makes the decision about the amount of compression used?
@bdp24 - you and i have gotten to the point where we can just say something in code and we both go on a roll- remember the old joke about telling jokes using numbers?
I think El-Rayo-X is being remastered on vinyl by one of the audiophile reissue labels. I have an early copy somewhere here, i’ll have to pull it out and play it.
Here it is: http://www.speakerscornerrecords.com/products/details/524/david-lindley-el-rayo-x?sort=release-date%7Cdesc&display=grid