Darlingside, Union Chapel, London, 3rd July 2017

Darlingside are an American folk band starting to make quite a stir after a bumped higher up the bill appearance at last year’s Cambridge Folk Festival earnt them a lot of new fans this side of the pond. They’ve been back for some tour dates and brought along a friend – the woman described as their “Big Sister” – who provided the opening support set. Caitlin Canty is a Vermont girl gone Nashville, and sings modern folk songs tinged with a fairly generous helping of country. She’s enjoying being in the UK – commenting that if she lived here she’d be writing train songs instead of ones featuring cars as an escape. Get Up is her standout song, with its thrumming guitar line and insistent lyrics “Get up get up get up / no time to rest or run for cover / Get up get up get up / before the road pulls you under” which restlessly hints at a chaotic scramble away from an unbearable situation. Continue reading “Darlingside, Union Chapel, London, 3rd July 2017”

Tom Russell has a new album coming soon

Having put out one album already this year – Play One More: The Songs of Ian and Sylvia, Tom Russell isn’t letting the grass grow under him. He’ll be releasing another brand-new studio album Folk Hotel on Proper Records. Folk Hotel will be out on September 8th, in advance of his UK tour. The physical version – which is the one you’ll be wanting to buy – showcases 13 new Russell originals plus, as one of two bonus tracks, Bob Dylan’s “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues,” a duet with Joe Ely, featuring Joel Guzman on Tex-Mex accordion. Continue reading “Tom Russell has a new album coming soon”

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band, The Stables, Wavendon, 21st June 2017

More than thirty years after departing from Mott the Hoople, Ian Hunter is still forever associated with the band which gave him his big break. That must be something of a poisoned chalice as he’s produced a significant body of solo work over those years and his current musical unit – the Rant Band – are responsible for two of his finest albums When I’m President and last year’s Fingers Crossed both of which show him to be a songwriter very much at the top of his game. And as befits this status he works as many of the new songs into his set as possible…or perhaps that should be he works as few Mott songs into the set as he feels he can get away with. Continue reading “Ian Hunter & The Rant Band, The Stables, Wavendon, 21st June 2017”

Hot Flash Heat Wave “Soaked” (OIM Records, 2017)

Sunshine filters all through Hot Flash Heat Wave’s second album Soaked, which sees this San Francisco based four piece explore the perils of early adulthood, feelings of time passing and, more specifically, the pitfalls of dating. It’s an attractive dream pop sound which occasionally bursts out with some near-grungy guitar riffing revealing something of the band’s early influences.  Bye-bye baby is one such song, which tries to salvage some shred of self-respect from being dumped with a snarling “Bye-bye baby I really hate to see you go” which tries to turn it around, but this, like the churning guitars, is just bravado. Continue reading “Hot Flash Heat Wave “Soaked” (OIM Records, 2017)”

Fleet Foxes “Crack-Up” (Nonesuch, 2017)

Fleet Foxes have not been exemplifying the work ethic – having dramatically emerged onto the music scene in 2008 with the Sun Giant EP and then their eponymous debut it was a full three years until the follow up Helplessness Blues. That was three years in which the Foxes achieved an ubiquity rarely accorded a band with so little recorded material to their name. Three years pales into nothingness compared to the six it has taken to produce album number three. Continue reading “Fleet Foxes “Crack-Up” (Nonesuch, 2017)”

Joe Purdy, support Lydia Ramsey, The Horn, St Albans, 15th June 2017

Does it get better than this – a beautifully warm evening, driving off to see Joe Purdy for the second time in a week, Bob Harris Country on the radio and Bob’s interviewing Jason Isbell. Oh and he closes the show with Waylon’s Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love). Everything’s looking – and sounding – very promising. Things take a downward trend when arriving at The Horn to find there’s no crowd – and I mean, no crowd: the venue’s deserted. Even when the stage times roll around things haven’t improved all that much – can St. Albans and the surrounding area really only scrape together thirty odd people for Joe Purdy? Continue reading “Joe Purdy, support Lydia Ramsey, The Horn, St Albans, 15th June 2017”

Darlingside UK dates – now !

On their third trip to the UK, Massachusetts based indie-folk band Darlingside are continuing to build their reputation as a knock-out live band.  With subtle musical shadings taking cues from folk, chamber pop, bluegrass, classical music, and modern indie rock, and aching harmonies they have a sound which recalls the likes of CSN, Fleet Foxes and Great Lake Swimmers.  The four piece – bassist Dave Senft, guitarist and banjo player Don Mitchell, classical violinist and folk mandolinist Auyon Mukharji, and cellist and guitar picker Harris Paseltiner  – also have a well received new album Birds Say, which features the superbly tuneful My Girl, My Guy, there’s a video of it just a little further down (coincidence, huh ?).   Continue reading “Darlingside UK dates – now !”