Interview: Rodney Crowell

Houston-born singer-songwriter and longtime Nashville resident Rodney Crowell continues to lift his game as a songwriter, and his latest album ‘Close Ties’ (New West) qualifies as the most honest set of work he has ever done. Crowell has seen his songs recorded by countless people, ranging from his old boss, Emmylou Harris to Johnny Cash by way of blues legend Etta James, Bob Seger, George Strait, Steve Young, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw, and of course a man he co-wrote a few jewels with, Guy Clark. With Clark’s death in 2016 still very much in the mind of the singer-songwriter community, Crowell was keen to share his admiration with Maurice Hope. Continue reading “Interview: Rodney Crowell”

Interview: Jim Miller (Western Centuries)

Americana musician of long standing Jim Miller is breaking new ground with fellow creative minds Cahalen Morrison, Ethan Lawton and other members of Western Centuries as they bring a new and exciting, and slightly experimental sound to the table. “Weight of the World”, the band’s debut has been met with much praise, so much so people are already marking it down as one of the best of 2017. Maurice Hope spoke to Jim Miller. Continue reading “Interview: Jim Miller (Western Centuries)”

Scott Cook “Further Down The Line” (Independent, 2017)

Studious Canadian-born Americana singer-songwriter Scott Cook was influenced by Woody Guthrie among others. Further Down The Line is a unique release in that it comes complete with a 132 page book; a celebration in photographs of his ten years in the business, one that’s seen him travel the world. He doesn’t stop there because the chords for the songs are also included, and there are also notes about those mentioned in his songs. Continue reading “Scott Cook “Further Down The Line” (Independent, 2017)”

John Alexander “Of These Lands” (Independent, 2017)

John Alexander is a Scottish singer-songwriter with a ton of influences and a load of natural talent. With people like John Martyn, Greg Brown, Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters on his list, as one would expect pretty and fluffy doesn’t come into the equation. His lived-in vocals and rootsy style of playing see images of the road, and everyday life ease across the skyline in authentic fashion. Alexander’s music isn’t short of takers. One track from his last album “Nowhere To Go” was used on the US TV show, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles, and with his sound steeped in good old-fashioned earthy organic roots Americana,  Alexander possesses a sound more akin to the banks of the Mississippi than his native River Clyde.  Continue reading “John Alexander “Of These Lands” (Independent, 2017)”

David Starr “The Head and The Heart” (Independent, 2017)

Americana singer-songwriter David Starr, with a well-received tour of the UK and a new 6-track under his belt, finds his reputation as a performer has taken on another dimension. Such is the quality of the recording I find it hard to accept he isn’t a bigger name. Then again, that goes for a number of acts, and vice versa regards those hailed as stars, in reality nothing special on the Americana (or otherwise) scene. Depending largely on word of mouth, Starr is a most articulate singer-songwriter. Continue reading “David Starr “The Head and The Heart” (Independent, 2017)”

Philip Marino “Days Like These” (Independent, 2017)

Philip Marino is an American singer-songwriter living in England, Essex to be precise. Here is a simple case of our gain and their loss. Days Like These was recorded in New York’s Catskills Mountains, and produced by a man from the area, Simon Felice. Beautifully produced, as one would expect with Felice having something to do with it, the 5-track release has both Simone and his brother, James Felice contribute. Simon plays drums, percussion and harmony vocals, while James’ harmonium, piano, organ, accordion, synthesizer and harmony vocals form a solid working bass. Anna Sauchuk likewise lends vocal support to Marino (guitar), and doesn’t his guitar sound good. Continue reading “Philip Marino “Days Like These” (Independent, 2017)”

Anna Coogan “The Lonely Cry Of Space & Time” (Independent, 2017)

Boston-raised singer-songwriter Anna Coogan began her performing career in Seattle (Washington) before moving to her present home of Ithaca, New York. Her diverse musical background, which includes both classical opera and alt-country, shines through on her new album. The Lonely Cry Of Space & Time, Coogan’s fourth solo album (including her album with J.D Foster, The Birth Of Stars), follows on from her collaboration with Pacific Northwest-based alt-country band 19. Continue reading “Anna Coogan “The Lonely Cry Of Space & Time” (Independent, 2017)”

Chantelle Tibbs “Long Time Running” (Mira Records, 2017)

Chantelle Tibbs’ musical tastes cover her first musical experience, that of singing in an R&B group, pop music and a fondness for bluegrass and Americana. Born in Vineyard, New Jersey and later relocating with her family to California, Tibbs is in possession of an incredibly beautiful voice. Tibbs, as a teenager was a member of the group Flipsyde, but was asked to leave because she was too tall. Even as a child Tibbs was involved in artistic activities, an award-winning dancer (one-time member of Dance Attack), and the face on numerous children’s toys. From starting school Tibbs knows what it is to be in front on the camera, but it is only now with her full-debut album “Long Time Running” do we see her throw herself fully into becoming a solo recording act.  Continue reading “Chantelle Tibbs “Long Time Running” (Mira Records, 2017)”

Alun Parry “Freedom Rider” (Independent, 2017)

The voice of Americana folk singer-songwriter Alun Parry bursts from the speakers in a bouncy, upbeat fashion. He loves to delve into themes rich in social injustice. Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie and Roy Bailey among others of the ilk have no doubt been a huge influence on his music and helped him find a voice in the world. He sings and writes about real people, real situations and of what to some might be small  issues but shape lives, shape the world even, as in the case of the mid-paced title-track Freedom Rider where he speaks of the 1960s struggle for equality in the American South, and though a little lightweight Parry delivers the message. Give it a little Billy Bragg-esque fire to his vocals and lyrics and he would have a winner!  Continue reading “Alun Parry “Freedom Rider” (Independent, 2017)”

Louie Ludwig “I Got Nothin To Say” (Independent, 2017)

New Orleans singer-songwriter Louie Ludwig makes music that jumps off the page as he and his friends have put together an electric variety of sounds. Somewhat quirky, always original Ludwig and this fine set of Louisiana players serve up country, folk, blues, jazz with a hint of pop and 1970s American singer-songwriter.  There are major contributions from Chris Waterman (bass), Clay Parker (acoustic, electric guitar, banjo), Danny Kane (steel guitar) and Eric Reed (drums) plus slots from Gina Forsyth (fiddle), Bart Ramsey (piano), Patrick Sylvest (mandolin), Mike Rosato (harmonica) and brass from Derek Huston (saxophone) and Craig Klein (trombone) and others. Ludwig’s music is about a sound, a thoughtful cool as they come groove; his lyrics are simple, his homespun philosophy of the kind the listener can quickly become lost absorbing the gorgeous hues.  Continue reading “Louie Ludwig “I Got Nothin To Say” (Independent, 2017)”