Mavis Staples has UK dates in June & July

Following on from her latest Jeff Tweedy produced album If All I Was Was Black and then touring with Bob Dylan the legendary Mavis Staples has announced a handful of European dates for 2018, including two nights back-to-back at London’s vaunted Union Chapel.  The album was released in the Autumn of 2017 to much critical acclaim and late night appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Later… with Jools Holland and most recently a Martin Luther King Jr. Day performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Continue reading “Mavis Staples has UK dates in June & July”

Track Premier: Jesse Terry “Mr Blue Sky”

Jesse Terry has a brand new album coming out, hot on the heels of last September’s ‘Stargazer’.  It’s an album of duets with female artists including: Dar Williams / Sarah Darling / Erin Rae/ Kim Richey & more.  This track premier is taken from that album – a cover of  Jeff Lynne’s Mr Blue Sky. Explaining why he chose this track Jesse has said “Mr Blue Sky is one of those rare songs that can instantly turn my day around, and change the way I view the world. To me, the song feels like emerging from sadness and embracing the light in a spirited rejoice: “Mister Blue Sky, please tell us why, you had to hide away for so long, where did we go wrong?”…when you change the tempo and instrumentation, everything feels different – and that gorgeous melody and lyric takes on a new life and meaning. I think that’s the mark of a truly great song”. Jesse Terry is on tour in the UK in April.

Will Varley, Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 9th February 2018

It’s taken Will Varley nearly 15 years to cross Shepherds Bush Green, from where he used to play at Ginglik (a venue in a converted Edwardian public toilet at the other end of the roundabout) to the Shepherds Bush Empire, a venue he would pass walking home after playing there. Tonight Varley took to the Empire stage on his own with just his acoustic guitar and launched into ‘As For My Soul‘ and received an immediate response from the enthusiastic crowd with a sing-a-long on his first song of the evening. Continue reading “Will Varley, Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 9th February 2018”

Ruby Boots “Don’t Talk About It” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)

Ruby Boots – real name Bex Chilcott – throws a handful of dust into the eyes on the opening two tracks of Don’t Talk About It, which come out of the blocks running, and punching out in a glam-rock way. It’s So Cruel stomps all over the leather clad tough talker who’s a little backward at coming forward, much to the chagrin of Ms Boots who suggests “we got a spark but it’s not quite a fire / let’s get it burning with a touch of desire”. Even meeting his ex-wife, and his girlfriend, doesn’t do much to cool her ardour. Over fuzzed up guitars and stomping drums he eventually gets the idea. Some guys. Continue reading “Ruby Boots “Don’t Talk About It” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)”

Video: Robert Plant “Carry Fire”

We are, these days. less interested in the fact that Mr Robert Plant was once in another band, and that he was a Golden God.  No – our interest in Mr Robert Plant, we hurry to inform you, is due to his being the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association UK.  Raising Sand may have influenced that a little.  His work with the Sensational Space Shifters probably had an influence.  Here he is from Manchester Apollo in November on his 2017 sell-out UK tour, singing the title track of his critically acclaimed album Carry Fire.

Ginger Wildheart “Ghost In The Tanglewood” (Round Records, 2018)

There’s a dichotomy at the heart of these songs – they are generally explorations of mental illness and especially Wildheart’s struggle with depression, and yet the songs sound joyous. ‘Daylight Hotel’ which opens the record was penned whilst he was in hospital receiving treatment and it sounds like a celebration, a big rousing chorus, a call for recovery. It is a refreshing change from the usual maudlin self-centred responses to the issue. Continue reading “Ginger Wildheart “Ghost In The Tanglewood” (Round Records, 2018)”

Ryan Adams releases Valentine’s Day single online – Listen

Ryan Adams has a shot of V-Day love for the world this year with the release of a special Valentine’s Day single today. ‘Baby I Love You’ is exactly what it sounds like: a song to someone’s baby (colloquial as opposed to small child, although it might work either way) who they love—a unique twist on Ryan Adams’ classic recipe, with key ingredient “sad” replaced by “happy.”  Head over to the Pax Am website for more info.

Interview: Sarah Jarosz (I’m With Her)

I’m With Her is a group consisting of Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins. All three are multi-instrumentalists and vocalists and have their own solo careers. After an impromptu performance together at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival 2014, they realised they had something special. Sharing many awards between them, including three Grammys, they have released nine solo albums to date and co-founded two influential bands (Nickel Creek and Crooked Still). As I’m With Her, they have previously released a single and EP and their much anticipated first album ‘See You Around is due out on 16th February. The album was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in Bath and co-produced by Ethan Johns with the band.  Continue reading “Interview: Sarah Jarosz (I’m With Her)”

Rod Picott lands in UK for tour next month

Rod Picott has been recording for 17 years now which is almost as long as this century’s been around, his debut album ‘Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues’ putting a nail in the coffin of his construction career and launching his second wind in life as a songwriter.  His new album ‘Out Past the Wires’ spans two discs, a 22 track journey between different musical styles centred around “the lives of working people and the losses, defeats and small victories than can come hard won in a calloused world.” Continue reading “Rod Picott lands in UK for tour next month”