Cameron Blake “Fear Not” (Independent 2107)

This is a very thoughtful and in some respects mystical album from Cameron Blake a classically trained music scholar now resident in Michigan. The album consists of twelve songs all written by Blake who is also the co-producer here. The tracks cover a wide subject range and lyrics are clever and sensitive. The album kicks off with the title track Fear Not featuring Blake on piano with viola, cello and upright bass accompaniment and strings. A love song of sorts the song is finished with choir backing the classical training of the artist clearly coming through. Continue reading “Cameron Blake “Fear Not” (Independent 2107)”

Steve Grozier “A Place We Called Home” (1232 Records)

Steve Grozier hails from Glasgow and this is his second EP offering which has four tracks all dealing with love and loss in various forms. He wrote or co-wrote all the tracks on this CD which kicks off with the rocking Where The Roses Grow a brooding piece alluding to lost love and dreams. This is followed by The Hardest Thing a deceptively tragic song with intelligent lyrics delivered with an easy vocal. Continue reading “Steve Grozier “A Place We Called Home” (1232 Records)”

Levi Cuss “Just Below Radio – Volumes 1 & 2” (Independent 2017)

This offering is a double EP from Canadian Levi Cuss, a Steve Earle lookalike with similar attitude and style. Quite why the EP’s do not form a full album is not clear but whatever the reason these are two really good bluesy offerings. Both EP’s were recorded at the Henhouse Studios in Nashville owned by Steve Dawson a renowned Canadian artist and producer who has not only produced these records but also plays acoustic and electric guitars and pedal steel.

Continue reading “Levi Cuss “Just Below Radio – Volumes 1 & 2” (Independent 2017)”

Robert Cline Jr “American Mojo” (Mockingbird Records 2017)

This is the second album from Robert Cline Jr, a musician based in the Muscle Shoals area of Alabama who has provided here an album oozing with the spirit and feel of that part of the world. Recorded in Sheffield, Alabama with  members of Muscle Shoals studio musicians known as The Swampers the whole record has a great feel. Cline has a soulful voice which lends itself to the Muscle Shoals style and this really is a quality piece of work. The album notes reference the fact that he has journeyed across the Southern US and as he puts it has found his Mojo. The various musical styles of that part of the world bleed through in all the 13 tracks written or co-written by Cline. Continue reading “Robert Cline Jr “American Mojo” (Mockingbird Records 2017)”

Brewer and Shipley “Tarkio / Weeds / Shake Off The Demon / Rural Space” (Floating World 2017)

This is a fine compilation of four complete albums from the early seventies by duo Brewer & Shipley. Whilst they have much in common with similar vocal groups of the time, they differ in that they were not based in sunny California but preferred the Midwest, settling in Kansas City. Therefore the style is a little more rootsy than the smoother fare from CSN and the other LA balladeers which sets this compilation apart and for anyone not familiar with their work, opens a door into a whole new world of early seventies country /folk rock. Continue reading “Brewer and Shipley “Tarkio / Weeds / Shake Off The Demon / Rural Space” (Floating World 2017)”

The Turnpikes “Band From The North Country” (Independent, 2017)

The Turnpikes are a five piece band hailing from Sweden and have been going since 2000. This is their third full-length album having thirteen songs, two of which are original, the rest being a collection of classics that they like and have been performing for many years. The songs picked are top drawer and the originals aren’t bad either. So far so good – but that unfortunately is pretty much where the good bit ends because this really is a disappointing album in many ways. Continue reading “The Turnpikes “Band From The North Country” (Independent, 2017)”

Over The Moon “Moondancer” (Independent 2017)

This is a fabulously simple debut album of old time music from the couple Suzanne Levesque and Craig Bignell hailing from the Rocky Mountains in Alberta who call themselves Over The Moon – and why not. There are ten tracks here, half of which are self-penned including a track entitled Over The Moon, a western swing style track featuring great fiddle. Recorded at home there is certainly a strong sense of place in evidence something clearly shown in the title track, the wonderful Moondancer by one of the fathers of Canadian music, Ian Tyson. Another great cover takes the form of By The Mark by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings which is given he full bluegrass treatment with great harmonies and finger style banjo to the fore. Continue reading “Over The Moon “Moondancer” (Independent 2017)”