The Hazey Janes “Hands Around The City: Live” (Armellodie Records, 2017)

Dundee’s Hazey Janes have been around for over a decade, so releasing a live album would seem well overdue. This one’s different from the norm though as it’s a complete performance of their “lost” (unreleased) album Hands Around the City, originally recorded in 2008 but never seeing the light of day until now. Details of its derailment are hard to come by – a legal dispute of some sort it would appear – but whatever the cause this live version plugs the gap and rather good it is too. Continue reading “The Hazey Janes “Hands Around The City: Live” (Armellodie Records, 2017)”

Keegan McInroe “A Good Old Fashioned Protest” (Independent, 2017)

Protest songs are funny things. On the one hand they’re essential: the voice of the voiceless, musicians prepared to stand on stage and call out the evils of the world, large and small. On the other they tend to preach solely to the converted, are frequently simplistic and equally frequently are just shouty statements of the obvious designed to allow both performer and audience to bask in their self-righteousness. Continue reading “Keegan McInroe “A Good Old Fashioned Protest” (Independent, 2017)”

Curly Strings – “Hoolima” (Independent, 2018)

It’s probably a reasonable bet that Estonian bluegrass hasn’t impinged much on the musical consciousness of most music fans until now but Curly Strings should change all that.  This is their second album (probably, might be their third, your reviewer’s Estonian is a little lacking) and it’s a gem.  The four piece are frighteningly accomplished musicians and in Eeva Talsi they have a great voice to front them.  All the songs are originals and sung in Estonian (for which the CD booklet provides translations) and while they clearly draw on the bluegrass tradition they are no mere copies but draw equally on their countries own music and the European tradition more generally. Continue reading “Curly Strings – “Hoolima” (Independent, 2018)”

Turnpike Troubadours – “A Long Way From Your Heart” (Bossier City, 2017)

It is an immutable law of album reviewing that at the end of every year when things are winding down and there’s very little new around an album pops up that is, quite simply, immense. It’s not a question of there not being much competition either, these records are giants and future classics and this year’s entry is the fifth outing from Oklahoma’s Turnpike Troubadours.  There simply hasn’t been any set of songs released that are any better than the eleven on offer here and the six members play them brilliantly.  It’s an object lesson in how to make new, vibrant, exciting and relevant music in a genre (country) that frequently looks as if it’s running out of steam and consisting of little more than retreads and formulaic dross. Continue reading “Turnpike Troubadours – “A Long Way From Your Heart” (Bossier City, 2017)”