Jupiter Owls “The Fallow Cry Of The Jupiter Owls” (Cupboard Under The Stairs, 2016)

Jupiter Owls are a four piece band hailing from Frome in Somerset. This is their first release with all eleven tracks here (one co-write excepted) having been written by John Libert who appears to be the driving force and lead vocalist. Described by the band as providing a chilled mix of folk / pop with a sound evocative of the early 70’s West Coast scene, you get the idea of the vibe and style on display. The playing is really good throughout with some terrific slide guitar in evidence particularly on Lightning Strikes The Sea where the standard is up there with the very best.

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Paul Kantner “Venusian Love Songs” (Floating World Records, 2017)

Paul Kantner was one of the original hippies of the 1960’s and champion of the counter culture being an integral part of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. An interesting character and activist he was an important musician of that era passing away in January 2016 leaving a fascinating musical legacy of which this double album is a part. Involving an informal grouping of musicians and artists known as the Windowpane Collective this was his second album offering and was intended for release shortly after it was recorded in 2011 to coincide with St Valentines Day, hence it is presumed the title of the record. However, no release came in Kantner’s lifetime. It is certainly eclectic with twenty-one tracks and two demos featuring a core of musicians and many guests on vocals.

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David Hershaw & Sandie Forbes “Here Comes Tomorrow” (Independent, 2017)

This is a twelve track debut album from a Scottish contemporary folk duo with all but one of the songs being largely written by them. The album is very strong and demonstrates the undoubted talents of both musicians who, whilst being joined by a few guests provide almost all instrumentation with Hershaw a clearly accomplished guitarist and Forbes a mean fiddle player. Most vocals are provided by Hershaw but it is the harmonies that stand out and on Old Wooden Heart, a charming love song, they compliment each other beautifully.

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The Byrds “Live At The Fillmore – February 1969” (Floating World Records, 2017)

Oh to have been there – February 7th and 8th 1969 at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West! The irony is that The Byrds were a warm up act on this occasion, a sound check for others including Paul Butterfield, and just happened to be recorded by the Columbia engineers who were there and thankfully the tapes were kept. This is a fantastic record of one of the great bands in their 1960’s country rock heyday featuring the line up of Roger McGuinn on lead vocal and guitar, John York on bass, Gene Parsons (not Gram!) on drums and one of the truly great guitarists and innovators Clarence White whose distinct style shines through here and really lights up the performance.

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Tyne Darling “These Ghosts” (Hope Parade, 2017)

Tyne Darling is not a real person but the musical and stage moniker for Tommy Vollman, a writer and artist and it appears the subject matter of a forthcoming book. The songs apparently are a companion to various short stories that Vollman has written and cover a range of ambitious but somewhat ambiguous subjects. For example the promotional material provided suggests that Red-Letter Holiday and Come All You Ghosts offer “a no holds barred examination of the nature of rebellion and its polemic resistance.” Quite.
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Carrie Elkin “The Penny Collector” (Independent, 2017)

This is a highly personal and emotional album from Texan Carrie Elkin. Named in honour of her father who passed away over a year ago and who was a lifelong collector of pennies it is one of those pieces of work that is a slow grower that demands attention but one which leaves the listener richly rewarded. Elkin has pedigree, learning her craft from many years of touring and working with a number of musicians including the great Sam Baker. Whilst Baker does not appear on this album he is credited with helping to get the songs together. Continue reading “Carrie Elkin “The Penny Collector” (Independent, 2017)”

Screen Door Porch “Play It Forward” (Yella Dog Records 2017)

This five track EP from Jackson based Screen Door Porch is their fourth such CD offering. They have been touring since 2010 and are clearly a tight band. The Parade opens the CD and is a rock orientated number with heavy organ and slide guitar to the fore. There is diversity in the vocals with transition between male and female which adds an extra dimension to the work. Continue reading “Screen Door Porch “Play It Forward” (Yella Dog Records 2017)”