The Travelling Band – The Borderline, 21 November 2017

Having premiered their Sails album live in full for the first time back in August at the Water Rats in King’s Cross, The Travelling Band returned to the Borderline in London on Tuesday as part of a tour to promote the new record. The scope and breadth of The Travelling Band’s ambition is fully apparent throughout Sails – traversing a range of styles from pop to folk, and from indie to Americana. Continue reading “The Travelling Band – The Borderline, 21 November 2017”

William The Conqueror, Moth Club, London, 14th November 2017

Expectations for William the Conqueror’s first headline London performance were high given that Ruarrri Joseph’s latest musical project has resulted in a debut album which is one of four nominees for UK Americana album of the year in 2018. The buzz around the three piece has already been building through a recent touring slot supporting Danny and the Champions of the World, and also with the band forming part of the UK cohort of the Americana Music Association’s delegation to Nashville’s Americana Music Festival. However, the MOTH Club – which is an acronym for the Memorable Order of Tin Hats – is about as low key a place as possible for a headline slot, a former ex-serviceman’s club converted into a nightlife and music venue, the only glitz provided by the glittery ceiling and a gold tinsel curtain by way of stage backdrop. Continue reading “William The Conqueror, Moth Club, London, 14th November 2017”

Richard Schroder “Drive” (Tinderbox Music, 2017)

Richard Schroder certainly looks like he’s put in the spade work with his debut album, seeking out advice from songwriting coach, Steve Seskin, who says that what separates the debutant from his peers is his willingness to undertake endless re-writes of songs in order to hone them to perfection. Aside from the two years it’s taken him to make the album, Schroder also surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in the business, including Duke Levine (who’s worked with Roseanne Cash and Mary Chapin Carpenter), as well as getting the record mastered by a Grammy award winner who’s assisted Carrie Underwood. Continue reading “Richard Schroder “Drive” (Tinderbox Music, 2017)”

Billy Stoner “Billy Stoner” (Team Love Records, 2017)

Billy Stoner’s unlucky number has to be 37. That’s because it’s taken this record 37 years to see the light of day, and during that time Stoner also spent 37 months in prison – the latter a pivotal time that sabotaged what was shaping up to be a promising musical career. In at the ground level of the outlaw country scene in the 1970s – which was turbo-charged by the arrival of ‪Willie Nelson‬ in Austin – Stoner fell in with the wrong crowd at the end of that decade when he was caught up in a DEA sting and this resulted in him being institutionalised until 1984 – even if it sounds like the prison warden was sympathetic to him forming a band of fellow pickers in prison called the Austin Fall Stars. Continue reading “Billy Stoner “Billy Stoner” (Team Love Records, 2017)”

James Fredholm “Love Is The Answer” (Honeybee Records 2017)

James Fredholm’s debut album is unusually accompanied by a small book of his poetry, titled Uncaged. This is a clear indication as to where his priorities now lie as, having spent much of his adult life pursuing a business career, Fredholm considers himself to be on his ‘road not taken’ as a full-time poet and singer-songwriter. Described as a “country/indie/rock” artist, Fredholm’s music covers the gamut of all three, although it isn’t particularly easy to classify.   Continue reading “James Fredholm “Love Is The Answer” (Honeybee Records 2017)”

Jon Langford “Four Lost Souls” (Bloodshot Records 2017)

Jon Langford has an interesting and genre-hopping career as founding member of punk icons, the Mekons (celebrating their 40th anniversary this year), as well as alt-country pioneers, the Waco Brothers. Music aside, he’s also a celebrated artist, his paintings and prints of many illustrious music heroes having been exhibited all over the world, including the Country Music Hall of Fame. Continue reading “Jon Langford “Four Lost Souls” (Bloodshot Records 2017)”

Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock “Underwater Dancing” (Gregsongs, 2017)

Clive Gregson’s musical pedigree – not only as the founder in 1975 of his band, Any Trouble, and his work with Richard Thompson, but in the partnership he forged with Christine Collister over five albums between 1985 and 1992 – is well documented. It was during a tour he undertook with Liz Simcock in 2015 to revisit the Gregson/Collister back catalogue that led to the collaboration on this current album, Underwater Dancing. Continue reading “Clive Gregson & Liz Simcock “Underwater Dancing” (Gregsongs, 2017)”

Dweezil Zappa, Royal Festival Hall, London, 10th October 2017

Dweezil Zappa could just be the finest current example of a chip off the old block in the world of rock and jazz. Not that there’s anything wrong in the slightest with tribute bands, but Dweezil playing his Dad’s inventive music is in a different class entirely. He seems almost to channel Frank’s guitar and yet also has a style all his own, albeit one that draws on and takes inspiration from his musical heritage. ‬ Continue reading “Dweezil Zappa, Royal Festival Hall, London, 10th October 2017”

Adrian Bates “Small World” E.P. (Strange Reality, 2017)

Adrian Bates is a singer songwriter and folk balladeer from South Elmsall, an ex-mining village on the border between South and West Yorkshire. It’s clear that his debut solo E.P, titled “Small World” draws heavy inspiration from his birthplace. Hard WorkinMan, the opening song on the E.P. is about a truck driver working all hours to put food on the table for his family, “One day I’m going to get there; I’m giving all I can; success is for the taking, for every hard workin’ man.” It’s a reflection on the difficulties facing so many people in low wage, insecure employment these days, with the knowledge that the hard working man of the song title is ultimately unlikely to succeed in his quest for success. The key difficulties with the song are Bates’s somewhat flat vocal delivery and the rather clunky lyrics which don’t particularly scan. Continue reading “Adrian Bates “Small World” E.P. (Strange Reality, 2017)”

The Orphan Brigade “The Heart of the Cave” (At the Helm Records, 2017)

The Orphan Brigade’s “The Heart of the Cave” is about as aptly titled a record as it’s possible to get seeing as it was recorded it in 2,500 year caves below the streets of Osimo, Italy. The Brigade’s previous outing, the award winning Soundtrack to a Ghost Story, was the brainchild of producer Neilson Hubbard in collaboration with Ben Glover and fellow singer-songwriter, Joshua Britt. It was inspired by a time – the American Civil War – and place, Octagon Hall, a supposedly haunted plantation house near Franklin, Kentucky. Continue reading “The Orphan Brigade “The Heart of the Cave” (At the Helm Records, 2017)”