The Mining Co. “Mountain Fires” – Listen

The new album from London based indie-folksters The Mining Co. looks back to a different time: “a time of total freedom, a wild childhood, long days and nights spent listening to radio stations like Radio Luxembourg, before the internet and before mobile phone communication and the start of a love for music: Elvis, Springsteen, New Wave: the soundtrack to love – come, gone and missed – a celebration to the past that still shines brightly.”  That’s what the PR says although from personal experience, childhoods in the 80s were Jimmy Young, music drowned in over production and being tucked up in bed by about 5.30pm with cauliflower cheese (again).  This track from it is still lovely.

Paul Brady “Unfinished Business” (Proper, 2017)

With Bob Dylan having declared Paul Brady to be a “secret hero” of his, you know there’s got to be some serious pedigree from an artist in a career spanning some 54 years now. Unfinished Business, Brady’s 15th solo album, features nine new compositions and two traditional folk songs. After a hiatus of 7 years since the release of his last album Hooba Dooba, the music on Unfinished Business is as eclectic as many of his previous studio releases, moving from the jazzy influenced title track, with lovely shared harmony vocals – to more up-tempo, humorous numbers such as I Love You But You Love Him. The latter starts off like a paen to shared domestic bliss with Paul Brady singing the merits of his and his respective partner’s differing interests with clever wordplay – until the payoff chorus kicks in with, “I love you, but you love him.” Continue reading “Paul Brady “Unfinished Business” (Proper, 2017)”

Michael McDermott & Heather Horton hit the UK for dates

To coincide with the release of Heather Horton’s album “Don’t Mess With Mrs Murphy” on Friday (which we could not have been any more glowing about), she will be joining her husband Michael McDermott on his European tour for 4 dates in the UK this month. Collectively also known as The Westies, it is the first time they have toured together in this country. McDermott has recently announced plans for a new album in 2018, following on from his previous release “Willow Springs” and his being voted Best Male artist by our own dear readers last year, the greatest accolade any man could hope for. Click through for the dates. Continue reading “Michael McDermott & Heather Horton hit the UK for dates”

Martin Simpson “Trails & Tribulations” (Topic Records 2017)

Martin Simpson’s latest album rates as his best yet. As one of the foremost singers and inventive players on the folk circuit here, he has gained his reputation not only through hard work but through a deep understanding of what English and American music amounts to, and where its roots are. Consider the thirteen tracks and gleam the stories that linger behind them. The first track is Blues Run the Game: “Catch a boat to England…” Martin’s soft, distinctive and confiding voice and his finger style playing catch and hold their audience effortlessly. Continue reading “Martin Simpson “Trails & Tribulations” (Topic Records 2017)”

Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters “Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters” (Organic, 2017)

Listening to this record solidly for the last three weeks now, it still sounds as fresh and invigorating as it did the first time out. Unlike the last Honeycutters release, on this album Amanda Platt puts her name both front and centre – and given that she writes the songs and sings lead vocal, that seems only reasonable. The opener Birthday Song was written on the eve of Amanda Ann Platt’s thirtieth birthday when, instead of feeling panicked about the end of her “roaring twenties” she felt grateful for being older and wiser. The lyrics reflect somewhat ruefully on the passage of time, with Platt singing about how, “Every Time It Gets Colder I Get Another Year Older, Start Looking for Lines in the Bathroom Mirror.” Ultimately, though, it’s a life affirming meditation on how time is really a gift because, “I’m just so damned glad to be here.” Marvellous stuff. Continue reading “Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters “Amanda Ann Platt and the Honeycutters” (Organic, 2017)”

Paul Kelly “Life is Fine” (Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl 2017)

‘Life is Fine’ as in ‘hanging by a thread’ rather than ‘great’, is a powerful return by Aussie songwriting royalty Paul Kelly. The Australian singer-songwriter is so pleased with it that he is about to embark on his first full band tour of North America to promote it. First listen to opening track Rising Moon will demonstrate why Kelly has such faith in “Life is Fine” as it’s a pretty irresistible R and B number and when the following tracks of Finally Something Good and the rocking Firewood and Candles kick in you can see how the variety of styles reflects the cohesiveness of the full band set up. Continue reading “Paul Kelly “Life is Fine” (Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl 2017)”