Christopher Rees “The Nashville Songs” (Red Eye Music 2017)

Christopher Rees releases his seventh full album and his first since 2013’s Stand Fast. Rees, who alongside being a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, is also a director of the Red Eye record label. After having been twice nominated for Best Male Solo Artist at the Welsh Music Awards, he finally won the award in 2004 for debit album The Sweetest Ache. Having toured with the likes of Cherryhomes, Chuck Prophet, The Sadies and Steve Earle, Rees is also notable for being the first ever to perform at The Houses of Parliament in 2004.  Continue reading “Christopher Rees “The Nashville Songs” (Red Eye Music 2017)”

Tim Grimm and the Family Band “A Stranger In This Time” (Cavalier Recordings 2017)

One of the leading Folk and Americana exponents, Tim Grimm, delivers his latest album rich in imagery and potent of lyrics. The personal, the political and the social are all examined, alongside tunes of real beauty delivered with glorious textured vocals. Tim is supported, in writing and recording, by his sons Jackson and Connor alongside his wife Jan, who weighs in with harmonica and vocals. Continue reading “Tim Grimm and the Family Band “A Stranger In This Time” (Cavalier Recordings 2017)”

Threefifty “Gently Among The Coals” (Independent, 2017)

Threefifty founders Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick have developed their love of, and influences from, guitar heroes such as Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler through classical guitar training, and released three previous albums. And then they drop ‘Gently Among The Coals’ on us and leave it to us to figure it out. Now grown into an eight-piece, harnessing keyboards, mandolins and violin alongside the traditional guitar-bass-drum package, their sound has evolved into something almost indefinable but also, once heard, inescapable. Continue reading “Threefifty “Gently Among The Coals” (Independent, 2017)”

Ray Davies “Americana” (Sony, 2017)

Ray Davies return with his first album in a decade, if we discount the various Kinks collaborations and choral reworking.  It stands as a testament that everything changes and nothing changes since Working Man’s Café dropped as the newly knighted Sir Ray turns his attention to the country which has had a profound effect on his life, America, yet still manages to return to the recurring themes of isolation reaction to change in the modern world. Continue reading “Ray Davies “Americana” (Sony, 2017)”

David Olney “Don’t Try To Fight It” (Red Parlor Records 2017)

The rules are there are no rules. These seem to be the only guidelines followed by David Olney in the creation of ‘Don’t Try To Fight It’, the latest addition to his considerable catalogue that covers over 40 years recording. Olney is described as something of a ‘Renaissance man’ being not just a recording artist, but Shakespearean actor, writer of sonnets, radio show host in Nashville and online blogger. Clearly a man of considerable talent and interests then and that shines through in ‘Don’t Try To Fight It’, an album that defies easy categorisation. Continue reading “David Olney “Don’t Try To Fight It” (Red Parlor Records 2017)”

Robyn Hitchcock “Robyn Hitchcock” (Yep Roc 2017)

Robyn Hitchcock releases his twenty first studio album, his first since 2014’s ‘The Man Upstairs’, and has chosen after all these years an eponymous title. “It’s ‘Introducing Robyn Hitchcock” he has said, working on the principle that the album will serve as a good entry point for those new to his music. Like it and you’ll find plenty similar throughout his career and if you don’t, well there’s no point in investigating any further. It’s not difficult to envisage many who will be prepared to seek out further work by this surrealist music icon after listening to this as it is a triumphant return. Hitchcock relocated to Nashville in 2014 and the seeds of this album were sown when he was tempted into the studio by producer Brendan Benson who urged him to make a record like the Soft Boys and Hitchcock has responded by delivering a piece of work that ranks alongside anything he has done. Continue reading “Robyn Hitchcock “Robyn Hitchcock” (Yep Roc 2017)”

Michael Rank “Red Hand” (Louds Hymn, 2016)

Michael Rank 2016Michael Rank continues ploughing his exceptionally productive furrow which has seen him release six albums in four years. His previous offering, 2015’s ‘Horsehair’ was described by No Depression as “a superb album” while Americana Music Show stated that Rank was “creating some of the most interesting twangy rock and roll today”. This was both with his original rock and roll band, Snatches of Pink, and his solo career which is usually with the band Stag.  Continue reading “Michael Rank “Red Hand” (Louds Hymn, 2016)”