Ian Felice “In The Kingdom of Dreams” (Loose, 2017)

Between two things there is often a dilution of each, a middle of the road but there is also the possibility of great fertility. I mention this as when listening to this record my first impression (and so far it’s an unshakeable one) is that on this record Ian Felice finds a beautiful sweet spot somewhere between Bob Dylan and Jeff Mangum (Neutral Milk Hotel). There’s a wonderful off-the-cuff quality to the recordings (it was recorded quickly over 4 days produced by brother Simone and featuring other brothers fraternal and otherwise) as though the way the songs sound on here isn’t necessarily how they will sound again. There are strange lyrical flourishes – “Well the aliens landed on Election Day and they stole your mother’s lingerie” from 21st Century is one example – and at points an almost gleeful release, like it’s a creative cleansing. Continue reading “Ian Felice “In The Kingdom of Dreams” (Loose, 2017)”

Van Morrison joins Americana Awards 2017 line-up

If we could afford to cover this in person we would, although you do avoid Van on a bad day biting your head off (sorry, lazy journalism there). Rolling Stone Country reports: “Eclectic UK rock legends Van Morrison and Graham Nash, both of whom have been directly influenced by American music will both take the stage to perform at the Americana Honors & Awards Show on September 13th at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.  Continue reading “Van Morrison joins Americana Awards 2017 line-up”

Jesse Dayton “The Revealer” (Blue Elan Records, 2016)

Jesse Dayton has had quite the career, playing alongside true legends like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Glen Campbell, time spent making soundtracks for horror movies and even venturing into punk for a spell in the LA band ‘X’, it seems that he can turn his hand to almost anything and ‘The Revealer’, his ninth studio album, serves as a melting pot which sees him take something from each of these influences an blend them into his own sound. Continue reading “Jesse Dayton “The Revealer” (Blue Elan Records, 2016)”

Track premiere: Caroline Reese “Nicotine”

“Two Horses” is the new EP by Pennsylvania raised singer-songwriter Caroline Reese which lands on September 8th, and Gawd bless her she’s shared a track from it with us to delight both of your ears (or one if you’re listening in mono). It’s a lovely piece of subtle alt-country of which she told us: “Nicotine” is about the summer I turned 18, when I was working on a Montana ranch and fell head-over-heels in love with the state and a boy I met at the gas station all at the same time. I had to leave them both to go to college and it broke my heart, but I thought that, eventually, I would get over it. I never did, and seven years later I finally got the courage to move back out there. So “Nicotine” is reminiscing about the past, but is also poised at the present, at the moment before I changed my life dramatically.”

Jason Isbell plays hometown Muscle Shoals gig

Good morning everyone. If you’re in the US and wondered why we didn’t update yesterday it’s because we have these things called holidays. You used to have them once! (Actually not sure if this is true) Rolling Stone reports: “You can take Jason Isbell out of Muscle Shoals, but you can’t take Muscle Shoals out of Isbell. That was the clear Saturday night at the Shoals Community Theatre in Florence, Alabama, where, backed by his longtime outfit the 400 Unit (which the local press recently deemed the E Street Band of their era), the North Alabama native made his first proper full-band appearance since 2010. Continue reading “Jason Isbell plays hometown Muscle Shoals gig”

Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, 20th August 2017

High up on Claverton Hill on the outskirts of Bath is the bucolic setting of The American Museum in Britain. Established in 1961 with the aim of educating the UK, and the world, about American cultural history, it was perhaps fitting that this was the final venue for Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters on their first ever UK tour. Continue reading “Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, The American Museum in Britain, Bath, 20th August 2017”

Thea Gilmore “The Counterweight” (Cooking Vinyl, 2017)

Thea Gilmore has been a song-writing heavyweight on the British circuit for a long time and has shown a knack for consistent quality and a down-to-earth music that fiddles with genre and tweaks the nose of expectation. Can her latest album live up to such heady appeal or has the magic touch run dry for the Oxford singer?  Continue reading “Thea Gilmore “The Counterweight” (Cooking Vinyl, 2017)”

The 4 Of Us “Sugar Island” (FutureCD, 2017)

The album cover does a tidy job of setting the scene for its themes: smiling mum in a floppy hat, car door open, four, maybe five kids squashed in the back, off on holiday in those Seventies days of laxer passenger restrictions and fewer collision avoidance systems. It most obviously relates to Going South, the second of 12 tracks on the veteran Northern Irish outfit’s latest long player, with its bored narrator killing time in the back of the motor “winding down a window so I don’t catch a share of cigarette smoke hanging in the air”.  Continue reading “The 4 Of Us “Sugar Island” (FutureCD, 2017)”