The Flat Five “It’s A World of Love And Hope” (Bloodshot Records, 2016)

flat-five 2016The Flat Five are a Chicago based ‘supergroup’ . Between them they’ve worked with Neko Case, The Decemberists. Mavis Staples, Iron and Wine, plus a host of others. Without question an impressive collective pedigree. Ten years and more since their first live collaborations, this debut record is a real gem. Songwriter Chris Ligon is a purveyor of sweet , slightly off the wall, undeniably catchy tunes. The band comprises Chris’s brother Alex Ligon, Alex Hall, Kelly Hogan, Casey Mc Donough and Nora O’Connor. Opening track Florida is pure folky joy, a stone-cold obscure classic, dreaming of the Sunshine State whilst table waiting in cold Chicago.  Continue reading “The Flat Five “It’s A World of Love And Hope” (Bloodshot Records, 2016)”

Rachel Yamagata “Tightrope Walker” (Frankenfish Records, 2016)

rachael-yamagata-tightrope-walkerRachel Yamagata can boast a who’s who of past co-conspirators – Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes and Ray Lamontagne most notably. To consider her purely on those terms, though, would be quite the disservice. Tightrope Walker is her fourth solo record; the first after a long gap of five years. Her muse for the project was Phillipe Petit – the infamous French high-wire artist who crossed between the Twin Towers in 1974. Petit’s reasoning behind the motivation for his feats, essentially ‘just because’ informed Yamagata’s songwriting raison d’etre –why not just quit? Why keep persevering? Just because – that’s why. It’s what musicians have to do!  Continue reading “Rachel Yamagata “Tightrope Walker” (Frankenfish Records, 2016)”

The Good Intentions “The Long Unbroken Line” (Drumfire, 2016)

good-intentions 2016Lovers of old-time country/folksy ballads probably know about Liverpool’s ‘The Good Intentions’ by now. This latest record, as with 2013’s ‘Travelling Companion’, sits outside of the constraints of time and trends. The knowing, wistful tones of R. Peter Davies (with a hint of Gram Parsons in timbre), augmented by spouse Gabrielle Monk’s sympathetic harmony voice, retell familiar yet enduring stories.  Continue reading “The Good Intentions “The Long Unbroken Line” (Drumfire, 2016)”