Dave Richardson “Carry Me Along” (Independent, 2018)

A drift of New England based contemporary (yet traditional) folk, if such a thing exists. Dave Richardson’s stock in trade is ‘old school’ roots, certainly in terms of song subject and structure. That’s no bad thing. Inevitably, the music is counterpointed by the obligatory folkie beard; a fine specimen sported for us by Dave, who resides in Vermont and recorded this release in Boston. Continue reading “Dave Richardson “Carry Me Along” (Independent, 2018)”

Luke Daniels “Singing Ways To Feel More Junior” (Gael Music, 2017)

Luke Daniels looks a little like a refugee freed from a Mumford and Sons labour camp. His new album makes use of children’s rhymes for grownups everywhere. That’s enough to set of very loud alarm bells hereabouts. Fear not, the record’s okay (if a little unremarkable) and the beard/braces look is close to being a legal requirement for the self-respecting folkie of today. Daniels is a member of Cara Dillion’s band, also of Riverdance Orchestra. He’s certainly no chancer in the folk music scene. Accordingly this is a solid collection of songs and the children’s rhymes are largely understated; worked into the songs rather than standing out like the proverbial sore thumbs. Continue reading “Luke Daniels “Singing Ways To Feel More Junior” (Gael Music, 2017)”

Thorp Jenson “Odessa” (Independent, 2017)

Springsteen-tastic! Petty-rific! Okay, Virginia’s Thorp Jenson (aka Chris Ryan) isn’t the first musician to wear their influences proudly on their sleeve. It’s certain that he won’t be the last either. So the fair thing to do is to consider this record on the strength of the songs, which (eventually) stand up to a different type of comparison pretty well. Continue reading “Thorp Jenson “Odessa” (Independent, 2017)”

Terry Kitchen “The Quiet Places” (Independent, 2017)

Terry Kitchen is a decidedly old-fashioned, storytelling folkie. He’s been plying his trade around New England for a quarter of century, so it’s safe to say he should know what he’s doing by now. Well-written, poignant and sometimes witty songs are delivered with confidence, backed by a handful of musicians adding dobro, trumpet and mandolin with fitting subtlety. Continue reading “Terry Kitchen “The Quiet Places” (Independent, 2017)”

Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)

Those of you familiar with Richard Warren’s previous solo records will know what to expect from this fourth album – Disentangled.  You won’t be disappointed either. Sounding like a stoner/psychedelic happening featuring Duane Eddy on guitar and Richard Hawley on vocals; it’s equal parts weird, hypnotic and excellent. Welcome to the fertile outer edges of Americana. Continue reading “Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)”

Rebecca Pronsky “Witness – Hillary’s Song Cycle” (Independent, 2017)

A mini album dedicated to Hillary Clinton’s ‘defeat’ in the 2016 US Presidential Election and her (imagined) personal aftermath. Let’s not dwell on the name of her opponent, shall we? As is fitting for such a subject, a cast of six female musicians underpin Brooklynite Pronksy’ self-penned song suite in fine style. Although an idea firmly out of left field, it’s a pretty good record; full of the poppy/folky/jazz character you’d expect from Rebecca Pronsky. Continue reading “Rebecca Pronsky “Witness – Hillary’s Song Cycle” (Independent, 2017)”

Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)

A mini-LP with something of a Californian West Coast vibe, yet delivered from the wilds of Essex. On vinyl too! Russell and The Wolf Choir actually nail a power pop/indie sound pretty well in the first part of this record. Big fuzzy choruses abound, with hints of Pixies guitars, Teenage Fanclub harmonies, Tom Petty arrangements (God rest his soul) and suitably non-bombastic vocals. Continue reading “Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)”

Grant Earl Lavalley “From Lavalley Below” (Exit Stencil, 2017)

Having a vinyl LP to review is a great treat, but such subjective fascinations won’t cloud any impartiality hereabouts. Much. Grant Earl Lavelly as a musical whole, pretty much sums up ‘brooding Americana’. An Ohio native, now working on his craft in the Joshua Tree Desert, complete with long beard and dishevelled clothing fitting of his wild abode. He’s described as a Gothic Gene Clark or a desert dwelling Will Oldham. Both of which seem appropriate. Continue reading “Grant Earl Lavalley “From Lavalley Below” (Exit Stencil, 2017)”

Joseph Childress “Joseph Childress” (Empty Cellar 2017)

Another record born from an authentic American experience – this time Childress’s time in the Old West, including cattle ranching in Wyoming. Nobody seems to write songs in their dingy flat anymore (apart from the handful that Childress wrote for this album in a small San Francisco apartment!) This is his second album, following 2013’s The Rebirths. Musically speaking, Childress isn’t your hardened country cowboy though. He’s a counter-tenor in the mould of Conor Oberst or M.Ward, maybe even a touch of Neil Young too. Continue reading “Joseph Childress “Joseph Childress” (Empty Cellar 2017)”

Woodley Taylor ‘Breathe A Little Deeper’ (2017, Independent)

Woodley Taylor’s bio namechecks many of the classic rock acts that echo through this, his debut album. Perhaps Cambridge is a strange location from which one might develop to pay homage to 1970s Los Angeles, but nonetheless it’s a more than accomplished effort. There’s a handful of conventional Americana influences – some twang and acoustic flourishes – but in the interests of full disclosure, one should state that Fleetwood Mac seem to be the biggest influence on Taylor. Continue reading “Woodley Taylor ‘Breathe A Little Deeper’ (2017, Independent)”