David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)

David Crosby always wanted to sing jazz, and he made some forays into jazzier territory even within The Byrds with songs like Mind Gardens, but has really only indulged this urge more fully within the most recent releases from the duo Crosby-Nash and, most completely, with his work with CPR. Sky Trails features the R of CPR – in the form of Crosby’s biological son James Raymond – across the album and as producer whilst the P – that’s Jeff Pevar – appears on one track. Perhaps unsurprisingly Sky Trails sounds quite CPR-ish. Continue reading “David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)”

Dan Michaelson “Careless” – Listen

There’s nothing careless about this track – the string section is magnificent, Dan Michaelson’s cracked vocal is simply embodying the distress of unravelling love.  Someone should check Dan’s ok.  But before you do that take a listen to the second single from his upcoming album First Light, which will be out early December.

Billy Bragg, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 7th November 2017

A rainy night in Islington is the setting for this second appearance by Billy Bragg at the elegant Assembly Hall. This has been billed as the Bridges Not Walls Tour – and there’s a new EP of the same name with a set of commentaries on today’s political situation. It’s a delayed reaction to Brexit and the election of Trump. Delayed, as Billy Bragg ruefully acknowledges, because whilst the world was being turned upside down he was out on tour singing songs about trains with a more and more depressed Joe Henry, and thinking long and hard about skiffle for his recent book. Continue reading “Billy Bragg, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 7th November 2017”

Joan Baez has new album and last tour upcoming

Photo by AGF s.r.l./REX/Shutterstock 

Joan Baez has a pair of big announcements about 2018 – the first is that she’ll release her latest album in May, her first album for ten years.  The second is that she’ll be touring the UK, with dates in March and May, in support of this album.  The sting in the tail is that this will be her final tour – to be precise Baez has said “Next year is my last year of formal touring. There will be four different tours, one month each, and then that’s it. I can choose if I want to go sing at a protest (but) the voice is so difficult to deal with now that having a point where I don’t have to do it anymore will be wonderful.”  Continue reading “Joan Baez has new album and last tour upcoming”

Jon Boden “Afterglow” (Hudson Records, 2017)

Jon Boden is of course a significant figure in the English folk scene – Spiers & Boden set a new benchmark for duo’s to meet, Bellowhead became a major label crossover band, and his legendary Folk Song a Day project was a landmark contribution towards a singing revival. Constantly pushing at boundaries his solo output indulges wider interests, as here on Afterglow the second of a putative trio of post-apocalypse albums that was initiated with 2009’s Songs from the Floodplain. Continue reading “Jon Boden “Afterglow” (Hudson Records, 2017)”

Ora Cogan “Crickets” – Listen

It sometimes seems that the dreamy – albeit they were dark dreams – psychfolk sound died out somewhere around the release of Espers III. Montreal based singer Ora Cogan is doing her best to reverse that state of affairs with the eerily compulsive Crickets, the title track of her new album released on the 3rd of November. It blends her fey vocal with Russel Kotcher’s violins and some deeply atmospheric electronica. It’s a haunting listen.