The Whiskey Charmers “The Valley” (Sweet Apple Pie, 2017)

They may not have invited the audience to lick peanut butter off their chests like Iggy Pop, but Detroit band The Whiskey Charmers hold their former neighbour in high esteem. “Clearly Iggy Pop is doing something right. It’s really inspiring to see that he is still out there performing at age 70 and still shirtless. This might be a great way to connect with our audience,” reckons singer Carrie Shepherd, suggesting that guitarist Lawrence Daversa be the first one in the band to try it out.  Continue reading “The Whiskey Charmers “The Valley” (Sweet Apple Pie, 2017)”

Heather Lynne Horton “Don’t Mess with Mrs Murphy” (At The Helm, 2017)

“When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch!” so Bette Davis remarked some years ago. Thankfully things have improved since then. Not so much third wave feminism, perhaps nearer to a new wave of alt-country, Heather Lynne Horton has championed the maxim – Women are equal to everything – for just as long as Lord Hale has. Continue reading “Heather Lynne Horton “Don’t Mess with Mrs Murphy” (At The Helm, 2017)”

Rachel Baiman “Shame” (Free Dirt, 2017)

It’s been a while since Shirley and her illustrious Company castigated us (rather unjustly) for our collective inability, or flat refusal, to dance, declaring this to be a damn Shame, Shame, Shame. Anyone missing such admonishment should check out Rachel Baiman’s excellent new album. Shame may be on the agenda again, but this time the target of ire isn’t discotheque wallflowers, but the purveyors of organised religion: to be more precise, the tenets of the Church, which Baiman believes inculcate negative feelings of shame from birth onwards with concepts like Original Sin.  Continue reading “Rachel Baiman “Shame” (Free Dirt, 2017)”

Ron Pope “Work” (Brooklyn Basement Records, 2017)

Ron Pope is living proof that if you can find a job you love, then you never do a day’s work in your life. Though paradoxically, to borrow a phrase from James Brown, Pope is currently one of the hardest working musicians in show business. “I wanted to work to live, not live to work,” says the braided singer who doesn’t work for The Man, but who runs his own Brooklyn Basement label (he used to be based in New York) from East Nashville with the help of his wife, Blair. Continue reading “Ron Pope “Work” (Brooklyn Basement Records, 2017)”

Steve Gardner “Bathed in Comfort” (TAG Records, 2017)

Chuck Prophet recently tweeted a comment from his buddy and console-maestro, Matt Winegar, who, at sound check while they were balancing the EQ before a gig, advised Chuck that, ‘By the time we get forty or fifty beards in here, it’s really going to change the sound.’ A few months before this wonderful post, Chuck received an unsolicited request from fan boy, Yorkshire man, singer and music dabbler, Steve Gardner – not to be confused with the American musician, Mississippi-based Rambling Steve Gardner.  Continue reading “Steve Gardner “Bathed in Comfort” (TAG Records, 2017)”

Zervas & Pepper “Wilderland” (Independent, 2017)

Cabin fever! Jack Kerouac spent 63 days working as a fire watch, on top of Desolation Peak in the North Cascade Mountains in 1956. Zervas & Pepper spent 28 days in a remote cabin in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado late last year. Kerouac went on to use the material gained from that experience for The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels. Paul Zervas and Kathryn Pepper spent the time writing songs for Wilderland, their triumphant new album, and also going for long walks, enjoying the tranquillity of undisturbed absorption in nature and relishing their solitude away from the distractions of mobile phones and the internet.  Continue reading “Zervas & Pepper “Wilderland” (Independent, 2017)”

Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)

Rear-ended by a car which sent me and my bicycle flying through the air, the kerb-stone rose up and smashed me in the face. Paramedics diagnosed a broken nose, fractured arm, wrist and cracked ribs, and as I lay there bleeding, I pondered that the only other thing to have made such an impact on me recently is this amazing new album by Donald Byron Wheatley. Moondogs and Mad Dogs is essentially a tribute by Wheatley to his father ‘Big Don’, who came from a family of showmen who have worked on fairgrounds up and down our fair land for the past one hundred and fifty years. Continue reading “Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)”