Jinder “Kingsize Blackfoot” (Din of Ecstasy 2017)

This is Phil Dewhurst (Jinder)’s 10th album. He lives and works in Dorset, and by his own words has played, sung, recorded, engineered, produced and mastered this album himself at a studio in that county. The name of the album “Kingsize Blackfoot” has been adopted for this project to honour Jinder’s / Phil’s direct connection to Native American Blackfoot Sioux Roots, and also as a comment on his stature (6’7’’). Note also the classic album cover: a buffalo on the plains, with the sun rising.  Continue reading “Jinder “Kingsize Blackfoot” (Din of Ecstasy 2017)”

Red Moon Joe “Time & Life” (DBS Recordings, 2017)

Here is up to date, relevant, British, Liverpool-produced Americana at its best. The songs are confiding, forceful sometimes. As it says in the first track, “Every page and chorus sweet refrain/ Filled with joy and some… filled with pain.” All you need really! Red Moon Joe are: Mark Wilkinson, who is the founder member (originally forming the band in 1985), producer, singer, electric and acoustic guitars; Steve Conway, pedal steel, dobro, acoustic guitar; David A Smith, bass; Dave Fitzpatrick, harmonica, banjo; and Paul Casey, drums. Continue reading “Red Moon Joe “Time & Life” (DBS Recordings, 2017)”

The Gage Brothers “The Gage Brothers” (Independent 2017)

Here is a new Bluegrass band of great note. The Gage Brothers are brothers, Ben (harmonica, Cajon beat box) and Zach (lead vocal and guitar), now with Brendan O’Malley (mandolin) and Chris Volpe (banjo and pedal steel). The album was recorded in Cleveland where it was produced by Jim Stewart. These four musicians work together in a special way. The first track beds that thought. A confident and short a capella introduction, “Feed my desires with all you are.” It’s all here: banjo, mandolin, harmonica, with an infectious rhythm.   Continue reading “The Gage Brothers “The Gage Brothers” (Independent 2017)”

John Guliak “Fluke or Flounder” (Independent, 2016)

Dust, the first track on this outstanding album, is up there with the best of them. It has, all over it, the care and confidence of an expertly produced record. Here is homage to the dust and rain and the riven days on the Canadian prairies. John’s gentle voice centres movingly on the remembered details of small life there “where a girl’s eyes were the stars. /No need to look far for the sky”. Such understated storytelling, and simply expressed detail abounds in John Guliak’s songs. Continue reading “John Guliak “Fluke or Flounder” (Independent, 2016)”

Rab Noakes “The Treatment Tapes EP” (Neon Records 2017)

This is an outstanding and unforgettable record for two reasons: Firstly, it shines musically, and secondly, it tells the specific story of the discovery and treatment of Rab’s tonsillar cancer, diagnosed early in 2015. For both reasons the EP will appeal to most peoples’ inner sensitivity, drawing them in, in a particular and very personal way. This, musically and lyrically, is a short collection, but it takes you firmly along what could be a difficult path, where a “howling ghost” lurks, but ends up somehow in a place where a sense of hope survives, in whatever context you would allow it to blossom in. Continue reading “Rab Noakes “The Treatment Tapes EP” (Neon Records 2017)”

Wayne Graham “Mexico” (K & F Records, 2016)

Wayne Graham is a duo, Hayden and Kenny Miles, brothers from Whitesburg, South-East Kentucky, where their father founded a church and they backed the services on drums and bass. Wayne Graham is a composition of both their grandfather’s first names. Both were coal miners, as were their father and uncle, until the closure of the mines, following the strikes of the United Mines Workers in the 1970’s. Barbara Kopple’s Oscar winning film “Harlan County USA” depicts the area at the time – a reminder of the miners strikes in the UK. Continue reading “Wayne Graham “Mexico” (K & F Records, 2016)”

Chuck Prophet “Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins” (Yep Roc, 2017)

“One Two Three Four,” Chuck chimes in. And we are away! This is his fourteenth album, as always, catching you unawares. The origins of the first, title track explain a lot: One day, sitting in his “office,” South of Market, San Francisco, listening to old records with poet friend, klipschutz, apparently, he picked up his guitar with the words, “I hear that record crackle, the needle skips and jumps,” and klipschutz, spontaneously filled in the rest: “Bobby Fuller died for your sins.” Continue reading “Chuck Prophet “Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins” (Yep Roc, 2017)”