Susto, Omeara, London, 6th February 2018

Is there anybody in there? / Smoking weed with God.” This song, ‘Waves,’ the fifth in their set tonight, typifies much of where Justin Osborne is at: namely songs about his drug taking past and the religious undertones of what’s described as “soul loss” (the loose translation of the Latin American term, Susto). All that – and maybe the search for some kind of meaning in an increasingly complicated and troubled world. Continue reading “Susto, Omeara, London, 6th February 2018”

Lucinda Williams working on autobiography

She’ll probably never reach the heights or depth of Anthea Turner’s “Fools Rush In” (the “forthright, emotive and inspiring account of the life of a great survivor on planet fame” – that’s Anthea!) but Rolling Stone reports on a new autobiography Lucinda Williams has just announced: “Due out in 2020 via publishers Henry Holt and Company, [it] will chart the singer’s life and career from her Louisiana childhood to her Grammy-winning success of 1998’s Car Wheels on a Gravel Road to “her experience navigating the unfriendly record industry,” the New York Times reports. Continue reading “Lucinda Williams working on autobiography”

Ed Romanoff “The Orphan King” (PineRock Production, 2018)

Ed Romanoff is a storyteller, his songs vehicles for the narratives, and stories we get whether they be ghost Miss Worby’s Ghost, the freak show Elephant Man, crime The Ballad of Willie Sutton, and of course at heart all of these are love songs. Along with the switch of genres the songs also meld into other genres from the basic folk beginning, so A Golden Crown throws in some Celtic fiddles and elsewhere there are snatches of gospel, blues and some country soul. Knitting it all together is Romanoff’s deep vocals that inhabit his characters and keep everything centred. Continue reading “Ed Romanoff “The Orphan King” (PineRock Production, 2018)”

Deer Tick, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 30th January 2018

Like any band that has been playing together for over a decade Deer Tick have seen an evolution of their music, most strikingly laid out on their recent eponymous twin album release which share common artwork of a pair of condiment jars, with the mood of the two albums split between the folkier and more acoustic “ketchup” and the electric flair of “mustard“. New albums always shape a band’s set, even more so with a double albums worth. Deer Tick’s solution to keeping a balanced set list when they have so much new material also shapes the structure of the gig itself. Continue reading “Deer Tick, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 30th January 2018”

James Perryman “Why Do You Only Love Me When I’m Stoned?” – Listen

West-London based singer-songwriter James Perryman raises a pertinent question on his newly  released single.  There’s an EP to follow in April.  Multi-layered vocals  add an appropriate fuzzed-up feel to the smooth vocals.  If you like what you’re hearing then it’s worth noting that James Perryman will be playing The Coppermill on Friday 16th.

The Mavericks + The Strange Blue Dreams @Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 4th February 2018

It’s the last night of Celtic Connections and the big guns are wheeled out for this packed show at The Old Fruitmarket. The doors opened one hour before the support band were due on and by the time your scribe arrived there already was a good crowd packed up front, camped out as it were in order to get a close up view of The Mavericks, and an odd crowd, not one you’d expect at a Celtic Connections gig. Although there were no pink Stetsons on show this was the type of crowd you’d get at a Dolly Parton concert, star quality drawing in the paying public who want a good time and a good time was what the headliners delivered tonight. Continue reading “The Mavericks + The Strange Blue Dreams @Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 4th February 2018”

Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Stables, Milton Keynes, 31st January 2018

Supporting the always excellent Mary Gauthier, East Nashville native Aaron Lee Tasjan promoted his excellent ‘Silver Tears‘ album with a troubadour’s turn here. Just him and his guitar….and what a revelation. ‘Silver Tears‘ is a great album and it is beautifully produced couching some great songs with some strong instrumentation and harmonies but here, stripped back, they sound wonderful, unadorned and spontaneous. This is enabled in no short measure by a fabulous set of pipes which Tasjan uses to full effect. Holding notes and bending melodies in a style not unlike Arlo Guthrie or on occasion John Sebastian of whom there is a hint in the sartorial style of embroidered waistcoat, jeans and some killer boots! Continue reading “Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Stables, Milton Keynes, 31st January 2018”

Arkansas Dave “On My Way” – Listen

Arkansas Dave has all the right credentials – born and raised in the piney swamps of Camden, Arkansas, started his musical journey with drums at five years old and by 12 was playing guitar every Sunday in church. Then it was bands in dive bars and the best honky tonks in Arkansas and Texas.  The events of On My Way are drawn from life – and were recorded in Muscle Shoals.  It’s the southern rock first single from his upcoming eponymous album release due in April.