Simon Linsteadt “February” (Stormy Deep Records 2018)

This album exudes relaxed California cool, which is just as well really as the artist is a native of that State. Without the knowledge that this was a new release it is likley that you would assume that the music here hails from the early 70’s. There are many comparisons that can be made such as America, Poco (indeed Linsteadt’s voice is not unlike that of Timothy B Schmit) Seals & Croft and almost all of the Laurel Canyon brigade. There is a gentleness to the whole work which is essentially acoustic demonstrating Lindsteadt’s guitar skills. Continue reading “Simon Linsteadt “February” (Stormy Deep Records 2018)”

Anjana Vasan “Too Dark For Country” (Folkroom Records 2018)

Anjana Vasan is an actress who now demonstrates a new side to her talents as a singer / songwriter with a really impressive four track debut EP ‘Too Dark for Country’. This is essentially an acoustic folk record with the essence of blues and country on show. Vasan has a strong and powerful voice which she uses to full effect on each track. Continue reading “Anjana Vasan “Too Dark For Country” (Folkroom Records 2018)”

Daisy Chapman “Good Luck Songs” (Songs & Whispers 2017)

Good Luck Songs is the third album from Bristol based Daisy Chapman who presents here an album of eight original songs and one remake of an old standard. With a distinctive soaring vocal she is able to set herself apart from other singer-songwriters with the opening title track being a perfect example. Effectively saying good luck in many languages the overall refrain is Kila la Kheri,  which appears to be that sentiment in Swahili, delivered over lush strings and choir. This really is a mesmerising and enchanting track. Continue reading “Daisy Chapman “Good Luck Songs” (Songs & Whispers 2017)”

Jesse Terry “Stargazer” (Jackson Beach Records 2017)

Jesse Terry  has lived a life even though he is still a young man. A teenage runaway he endured a difficult time which has certainly inspired his song writing although this album is no downbeat affair and is generally uplifting. The opener and title track Stargazer is an optimistic piece about facing your own fears and the world generally. Lushly orchestrated this has pleasing harmony and soaring chords. A US citizen, Terry is aware of the divisions in American society and sings of them but remains hopeful. His website carries a nice quote which is worth repating here: “I think I will always be innately hopeful, because I’ve seen how much life can change…and I’ve seen how much people can change, if they open up and allow themselves to do so.” Continue reading “Jesse Terry “Stargazer” (Jackson Beach Records 2017)”

May Erlewine “Mother Lion” (Independent, 2017)

34 year old May Erlewine is from Big Rapids, Michigan who remarkably has over 15 albums of original work to her name since the beginning of her career which was in the early 2000s although on occasion she has released work under the name of Daisy May. An undoubted talent she is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a singer and has had her songs covered by many other artists. This has the feel of a coming of age album and indeed it has garnered praise from many quarters including Ricky Ross who has played a number of tracks on his Another Country programme on BBC Radio Scotland. Continue reading “May Erlewine “Mother Lion” (Independent, 2017)”

Sunfields “Mono, Mono” (Exit Sign Music 2017)

Hailing from Montreal Sunfields is a group of four although their undoubted leader is Jason Kent who wrote all eleven songs on this album which is credited as being produced by the whole band. An antidote to the winter blues and dare it be suggested those who may not wholly take on board the Christmas spirit this is an uplifting and fun piece of work full of jangly guitars and addictive harmonies. Continue reading “Sunfields “Mono, Mono” (Exit Sign Music 2017)”

Jeff Crosby “Postcards From Magdalena” (At The Helm Records, 2017)

This is the fourth full-length album from Jeff Crosby, a well travelled Gent originally from Idaho – and a cracking slice of proper Americana it is too. Crosby has taken inspiration for this album from his travels and the description of why the album is named Postcards From Magdalena is worth repeating here. The opening track The Best $25 I Ever Spent was written in Tanganga, Magdalena in Columbia and Crosby refers to an urban dictionary description of the term Magdalena as “a girl who is sophisticated, gorgeous and down to earth. A Magdalena is a person who is a modern hippie, loves the beach and smoking joints. You can find her dancing in the rain.” Continue reading “Jeff Crosby “Postcards From Magdalena” (At The Helm Records, 2017)”

Bruce Cockburn “Bone On Bone” (True North Records 2017)

A lot is expected of a new release from one of Canada’s finest musicians so this new offering after a hiatus of around six years has been eagerly awaited. The good news is that it does not disappoint and keeps getting better after every listen. Cockburn now resident in San Francisco is a new father and this together with new energy and spirituality provided from his local church, from whom he even gets backing vocals on many tracks, has resulted in a fresh and vibrant piece of work which is his 33rd album release since his debut from 1970. Continue reading “Bruce Cockburn “Bone On Bone” (True North Records 2017)”

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)”