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.

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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)”

Luke Tuchscherer “Always Be True” (Clubhouse Records, 2017)

This is the second solo album release from Bedford based singer songwriter Luke Tuchscherer (pronounced Tuck-Shearer) and it is a real cracker. Tuchscherer who previously had a stint as singer and drummer with The Whybirds has written an album which sounds every inch a classic of its genre. This is a real Americana masterpiece with great tunes, mournful lyrics and terrific playing throughout. Recorded in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk with it seems an all British cast, this shows that home grown Americana can mix it with the very best that our American cousins have to offer. Continue reading “Luke Tuchscherer “Always Be True” (Clubhouse Records, 2017)”

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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