Norrie McCulloch “Bare Along The Branches” (Black Dust Records, 2017)

There was that awful moment after Mum’s tiny, emaciated body had been lowered into the cold, hard ground with the St. Michael card I’d blu-tacked on the coffin-lid for protection and company; because we left her all alone in the windswept cemetery. Only when the silence became too oppressive did I force myself up into her bedroom, open the wardrobe door and begin to gather her clothes and other personal effects into cardboard boxes for their final journey to the charity shop in the High Street. Norrie McCulloch is also a member of that club no-one wants to join. He writes with such detail of his experience on Safe Keeping. What to give away and what to keep? He knows the excruciating pain that accompanies this task. Continue reading “Norrie McCulloch “Bare Along The Branches” (Black Dust Records, 2017)”

Two Cow Garage “Brand New Flag” (At The Helm Records, 2017)

‘He had a tattoo under his right eye that said ‘Fuck the world!’ and I wasn’t in a position to disagree,’ Say what? ‘Anger is an energy,’ John Lydon once sang. It sure is. If you could bottle Two Cow Garage’s anger we could substitute fossil fuels like oil and petrol and run the world on indignation and rage. Brand New Flag is part scathing social commentary, part-venting, and more than partly responsible for blowing my speakers out. Continue reading “Two Cow Garage “Brand New Flag” (At The Helm Records, 2017)”

Steve Pledger “Somewhere Between” (Noisy Dog, 2016)

steve-pledger-cd-jpegIf he were a reggae musician instead of a folk troubadour, Steve Pledger would be known as a ‘conscious man’, as the Jolly Brothers used to sing. ‘You’ve got to be a conscious man,’ could be his theme tune. It’s his mind set, attitude and subject matter that earns him that soubriquet. Pledger is a man concerned with social justice, a society where the poorest and most vulnerable get the support that they need. Be it the JAM’s (just about managing – this week’s media catchphrase), the disabled, the disenfranchised and those struggling for recognition and equal rights when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality. He’s an ethical sentient being. Increasingly these days, that seems to be a rarity. Continue reading “Steve Pledger “Somewhere Between” (Noisy Dog, 2016)”

Hickory Signals “Noise of the Waters” EP (Hickory Signals, 2016)

hickory-signals-2-jpegIf you are a fan of the awesome Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage and you loved their recent supremely divine album Before the Sun then you are going to love, the new 6-track EP from Brighton-based folkateers, Hickory Signals which has just been released. At their recent gig at Union Chapel, supporting Sarah Jarosz, accolades were running thick and fast, like a delicious meaty broth for Sanders and Savage, whom, if the venerable Pete Frame were still composing his family trees, would confirm that Hickory Signals, if not exactly living on the same strasse as Sanders and Savage, well, were living in the same stockade, in a similar cosy hamlet. Continue reading “Hickory Signals “Noise of the Waters” EP (Hickory Signals, 2016)”

Justin Wells “Dawn in the Distance” (August Music, 2016)

justin-wells-jpegLiving in these ‘post-truth’ times, after the disaster of the Brexit result and the uncertainty following The Donald’s recent election victory and imminent move into the White House, we have to take cold comfort where we can find it. Just in time, Justin Wells, has shown up with his new solo album Dawn in The Distance. Wells used to be a member of Kentucky based-band Fifth on the Floor until they split late in 2014. Continue reading “Justin Wells “Dawn in the Distance” (August Music, 2016)”

Doghouse Roses “Lost is Not Losing” (Yellowroom Music, 2016)

 

doghouse-roses-jpegDear Danny Boyle, if it’s not too late, you should consider some of the tracks from the new Doghouse Roses album for inclusion on the Trainspotting 2 soundtrack. Danny, I know that you know they’re from Glasgow (and not Leith Walk) and that Lost Is Not Losing is their third album. I guess you’ve already picked up on the buzz that Iona Macdonald’s voice has been creating way above and far below the Trossachs. But did you know that there are tracks on Lost is Not Losing that could have been tailor-made with Renton, Spud, Sick Boy, and Begbie in mind? Continue reading “Doghouse Roses “Lost is Not Losing” (Yellowroom Music, 2016)”

Corey Isenor “A Painted Portrait (Of The Classic Ruse)” (Independent, 2016)

coery-isenor-cd-cover‘Hi, you’re through to the Corey hotline: just $4.95 a minute. Here are some words that rhyme with Corey: glory, story, allegory, Montesori…’ If Lisa Simpson could hear this new album from Mr. Isenor, she’d fall in love with Corey all over again and be in deep trouble with Marge over a new phone bill she’d dialled up to the wilds of Nova Scotia. The delicate eco-environment, his beloved Nova Scotian countryside and his fine arts background permeate every glorious note of Corey Isenor’s music. Continue reading “Corey Isenor “A Painted Portrait (Of The Classic Ruse)” (Independent, 2016)”