Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee, collectively known as The Lowest Pair, made quite a splash last year when they released two albums simultaneously. Uncertain As It Is Uneven was a continuation of their previous releases as a banjo playing duo while Fern Girl & Ice Man employed other musicians to create a fuller band sound with both albums maintaining their interest in traditional American roots music. Both musicians had solo careers and backgrounds in playing with string bands but when they met up in 2013 they recognised their shared interest in traditional banjo techniques and started to share bills before formally setting up the band. Since then they’ve released five albums and toured relentlessly across the States and starting this week they embark on their first UK tour. 24 shows over the next month including a stint at The Shetland Folk Festival and a show at Edinburgh’s Tradfest along with a long sweep through England and Wales. Continue reading “Interview: The Lowest Pair”
The lengthy follow up to last year’s acid confessional ‘Ruminations’ is an expanded version of that self-same album but with added band, tracks and dareonesayit self-acceptance. The bitter starkness has been replaced and perhaps displaced by an album that gladdens the heart and stimulates the brain. Lyrically Oberst has always been able to skewer his own inadequacies in the face of his life and lifestyle but this reworking has prompted some re-examinations and perhaps relaxations. Evidently working with the Felice Brothers (amongst others) has given Oberst a clear sense of purpose and instrumentation. This is as close to the template for ‘Americana’ you are ever going to get. Harmonica, melancholy melodies, storming choruses, image packed lyrics, guitars and drums, raucous backing vocals, beautiful guitar flourishes, a distinct lack of synths or troubling production, a genuinely timeless feel (although at push it could be 1971!) etc. Continue reading “Conor Oberst “Salutations” (Nonesuch Records, 2017)”
“Swift Street” is the first song to be shared from the forthcoming album (the sixth! how did that happen?) from Danny & the Champs, “Brilliant Light”, which will be out on June 23rd. Danny George Wilson co-wrote the song with Polly Paulusma and Carra Bacon: “Swift Street is the house where my mother grew up, the song is about 3 different photographs – one of me and my brothers playing in a billy cart in the driveway, the second is of my grandfather aged 14 standing with his mother outside his childhood home in Aberdeen – he left for Australia after the Second World War. The third is of my folks in the garden of the house in Swift Street before they left to live in London. Each photograph takes a verse. I was nervous about my mum hearing it, but she loves it.”
Aussie singer-songwriter Emily Barker has announced the release of a new album “Sweet Kind of Blue” which lands on May 19th on the Everyone Sang label. Described as “a departure from her folk-based sound” the record reaches more into the Country / Americana space, having been recorded in Memphis with Grammy-award winning producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell) alongside various members of Memphis ‘music royalty’ as her backing band, who are always a better backing band than actual royalty. Continue reading “New Emily Barker record due next month”
Kind of like a singalonga but readalonga. The new album arrives tomorrow and RS have been to it in detail. They report: “Listening to a new Willie Nelson album with a set of fresh ears is almost impossible to do in 2017 – and Nelson knows it. Hovering over all news regarding the Red Headed Stranger are worries about the health of the country icon, who turns 84 on April 29th. So he decided to make the elephant in the room – his own mortality – the focal point of his new LP, God’s Problem Child. Continue reading “Rolling Stone reviews new Willie Nelson track by track”
Sometimes it’s good to get outside your comfort zone and listen to something that you wouldn’t normally expect to enjoy. As the late, great George Michael said – “Listen without Prejudice” Most people know Marty Stuart as the guy who used to play guitar for Johnny Cash and as a big part of the Nashville establishment; a very traditional country singer. If that’s your view this album is going to come as a real surprise. Way Out West is a fascinating piece of record making. There are some traditional sounding tracks on there, songs like Lost on the Desert could’ve come straight from his Johnny Cash days, but there are relatively few of them and even the ones that do sound mainstream have more than a touch of the maverick about them. Continue reading “Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives “Way Out West” (Superlatone, 2017)”
From her new album Gold Rush, out on June 16th, this is a superb new single from Hannah Aldridge. She’s also on tour in the UK in July, dates under the video.