Dirty Dozen: James McArthur and The Head Gardeners

Burnt Moth is the second album from Welsh-born folk singer/songwriter James McArthur. Having acquired years of experience as Paul Weller’s stickman, he moved frontstage to create his debut album “Strange Readings From The Weather Station” which was met with much well-deserved attention from the likes of Uncut, Prog and Record Collector. Now comes ‘Burnt Moth’ assisted in the making of by Joel Magill from the brilliant, Syd Arthur. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: James McArthur and The Head Gardeners”

Dirty Dozen: When Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday

Singer-songwriter Jo Mango has teamed up with an array of songwriters, academic researchers and sustainability organisations to create the When Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday project. The project’s aim is to bring together academic, musical, artistic and practical knowledge to imagine a future in a more sustainable world. They have released three free download tracks along with a video documentary to help promote the cause. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: When Tomorrow Becomes Yesterday”

Arborist “Home Burial” (Kirkinrola Records, 2016)

This is a most impressive debut by the Northern Irish band. It’s an Americana soufflé wearing its graft and craft lightly, the apparent effortlessness coming at the price of hard work and talent. There is substance and quality at work here. The word artisan is apposite, the songs flowing like an Anthony Hopkins performance, art without artifice, a direct connection, no obfuscation, just an immediate contact with the essence of the songs. There’s no barrier between the listener and the pleasure to be had from the songs. Continue reading “Arborist “Home Burial” (Kirkinrola Records, 2016)”

Tim Houlihan “Another Orion’ (Independent, 2016)

Tim Houlihan has a voice made for country music and a grasp of a broad range of Americana styles. If he wasn’t a veteran of the scene this would sound like a perfect calling card for Nashville. ‘I Get Lonesome Too’ is the type of song that would be an enormous hit if it reached the right artist and featured in a film or on TV. ‘Send Me Back To You’ puts pedal to metal and Houlihan sounds uncannily like Billy Joel belting out a country rocker. The title track gets a little bit experimental (within limits) with the burble of electronics before hushed acoustics bring on the big ballad. Houlihan does everything without affectation, with enthusiasm and skill; it’s almost enough to sweep the listener away. Continue reading “Tim Houlihan “Another Orion’ (Independent, 2016)”

Interview: Austin Lucas

Indiana-born, much-travelled singer-songwriter Austin Lucas places enough spark into the Americana scene to ignite an atom bomb! Son of bluegrass songwriter – producer Bob Lucas (his songs have been covered by Alison Krauss no less) is no stranger to Europe. He lived in the Czech Republic from 2003 to 2008. The same goes regards his association with punk music. He was in a number of bands as a teenager, and a while after that.   Continue reading “Interview: Austin Lucas”

Rami and the Whale “Rami and the Whale” (Wooded Shrine Recordings, 2016)

This is a solo album from Swedish singer songwriter Rasmus Blomqvist. It is a mainly acoustic offering which is dark, introspective, melancholy and brooding perhaps reflecting those dark Swedish winter nights. The songs were written over a period of ten years and recorded in what is referred to as a “poor people’s home”. Continue reading “Rami and the Whale “Rami and the Whale” (Wooded Shrine Recordings, 2016)”

Dirty Dozen: Torgeir Waldemar

 

Torgeir Waldemar took the Norwegian people and music press by surprise with his eponymous debut album in 2014. Who had thought that the black-clad, longhaired and bearded man would deliver an album that captivated and moved us as much as it did? An acoustic masterpiece that sounded like it came straight from the rehearsal room of a young troubadour from Laurel Canyon in the seventies. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Torgeir Waldemar”

AmericanA to Z: The Accident That Led Me To The World

TATLMTTW are exactly the kind of band that gave rise to the idea for this column , they made a couple of really good records and then disappeared. Firstly the self-titled release from 2005 that we reviewed here and the follow-up ‘The Island Gospel‘ that we also loved from 2008 (both on Nobody’s Favourite Records). Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: The Accident That Led Me To The World”