There's a quiet storm brewing in an old shotgun house on Magazine Street. Walk by during certain hours — on your way in or out of overnight ports Le Bon Temps Roule or Ms. Mae's — and you might hear the rumbles: a pedal steel guitar ringing out among predawn bird calls, the faint thump of a kick drum lending meter to cricket creaks. It's home to Chad and Morgan D. Carson, the brother-and-sister duo behind Bear America Records, whose grassroots imprint and Uptown studio is fast becoming an unassuming hub for Southern Americana. In recent months, the space has put its warm stamp on recordings from Monroe's Woody Ledbetter, Little Rock, Ark.'s Swampbird and the Kid Carsons, a house band that frolics in folk, bluegrass and acoustic country, built around a cooperative creative vibe and the siblings' heliced guitar-and-voice harmonies.
Their debut EP Settle Down moves gracefully from tried-and-true escapist fantasies ("Chicago") and tortured family torch songs ("Even So") to the centerpiece "Oh My God," a tempo-shifting, taffy-tempered stomper co-written with Nashville's W.B. Givens (who recorded a wrangler's version of the song on his own LP, Locomotion). "Some are born to lose," Chad Carson reminds on the title track, an inexorable country closer in the tune of Magnolia Electric Co.; others are born to do this. The Districts and Pine Barons open. — Noah Bonaparte Pais