Matt Waldon ”Grow Up” (Independent, 2017)

In many ways beginning a record with an instrumental track is a big risk in the days of instant gratification and snap judgements on an artist. However, if you have stumbled across Matt’s music you are likely not to be the kind of listener who is so fickle, since Waldon’s craft is not of sexy radio singles, but of heavy-hitting music bordering on Rock. 7 Beers is our first taste of him as a vocalist, and with a driving electric guitar and drum rhythm, his grungy, gravely vocals match the style very well, much like Steve Earle can on some of his rockier tracks. Similarly, 14 Rooms has a rock vibe, albeit with a more melodic guitar backing and slightly softer vocals. Continue reading “Matt Waldon ”Grow Up” (Independent, 2017)”

Dan Raza ”Two” (Independent, 2017)

Growing up in the Home Counties to British & Indian descent, Dan Raza is a soft-sounding songwriter of sincere disposition. His record ”Two” is an impressive mix of musical styles and instrumentation, from the electric organ to the accordion and fiddle. This creates an interesting listen and an intriguing record. Silent’s The Night Wind kicks off the record, with an acoustic, sincere vibe. This is a good introduction to Dan as a writer and musician, with a whole host of influences, from celtic folk to the classic rock organ. This erupts in Payday which is a blues-rock song with a slight twist of heavy fiddle in the verses and Dan’s vocals not quite possessing the depth or grit to make it quite as deep as Rock ‘n  Roll goes. Continue reading “Dan Raza ”Two” (Independent, 2017)”

Alex Seel ”Circles EP” (Independent, 2017)

Native of the UK, Alex Seel has been steeped in folk music, and this is audible in the guitar playing on this ”Circles EP”, especially in the title track kicking off the EP. With gorgeously rich picking and with vocals almost secondary, this feels quite authentic and without polish. There is more of a full beat on Broken Faucet, which adopts more percussion and bass to create a richer sound. There is also a bit more bounce and power in the vocals, particularly in the chorus which uses more different rhythms to keep the listener interested. Continue reading “Alex Seel ”Circles EP” (Independent, 2017)”

Nolan McKelvey & Dave Desmelik ”Where It Takes Us” (Independent, 2017)

”Where It Takes Us” is a product of 20 years of friendship, musical partnership and mutual support between these two veteran artists. Both Nolan & Dave have had long careers in various pursuits of roots music, both writing and performing anything from Bluegrass to Rock ‘n Roll. Whilst the writing for this record is a recent collection, there is a timeless quality that only hard miles on the road and experience can give an album. Continue reading “Nolan McKelvey & Dave Desmelik ”Where It Takes Us” (Independent, 2017)”

Jemima Price Band ”Fragile House” (Wisecrack Records, 2017)

Jemima Price Band bring their second record ”Fragile House” as a follow-up to the acclaimed ”No Alibi For Alice”, a record also created as a project of love for roots music between Jemima and her long-time guitarist/producer Mirek Latosek. Jemima herself as a great voice, beautifully rich and meshing perfectly with her backing band. Nights On Fire opens the record, and indeed is one of the highlights as one of the more memorable melodic efforts on the album. The unobtrusive percussion helps drive the track forwards and the melody itself brings it to another level. Continue reading “Jemima Price Band ”Fragile House” (Wisecrack Records, 2017)”

Danny Worsnop ‘’The Long Road Home’’ (Earache Records, 2017)

Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria and We Are Harlot fame has gone solo and released a country record. We’ve seen stories like this coming out of Nashville in great Americana records by Don Henley, to more questionable releases from Steven Tyler. Danny certainly has a story to tell, from homelessness to drinking problems and hospitalisations, and it shows in the record, with plenty of well-written songs that do feel personal to him. Continue reading “Danny Worsnop ‘’The Long Road Home’’ (Earache Records, 2017)”

Doug Schmude ‘’Ghosts Of The Main Drag’’ (Independent, 2017)

The great thing about music, and particularly Americana, is that it comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. Songs to make you cry, to make you drink, to get you off your seat and to jam to. Doug Schmude is no different, and I haven’t quite heard much like him in the genre. Comparable to bands like Blink 182 or All American Rejects, he has added a deal of twang and instrumentation, as well as lyrical depth, making an interesting, messy and worthwhile album. Continue reading “Doug Schmude ‘’Ghosts Of The Main Drag’’ (Independent, 2017)”

JD Fox & The Velvet Street Band ‘’A Tribute To Donnie Fritts’’ (Independent, 2016)

The interesting thing about a lot of tribute albums is where the new artists take the songs. Donnie Fritts was a session musician for Kris Kristofferson for 40 years, and a pioneer in the music emerging from Muscle Shoals. JD Fox, or real name Jan De Vos, is a Belgian artist inspired by the roots music emerging from America, previously having recorded a tribute to Spooner Oldham, another pioneer from Alabama. The cross between Belgium and Muscle Shoals really does have the potential to be interesting, reinterpreting these classic American songs for a European audience perhaps not as familiar with the style as those growing up in the rural south. The record is certainly crafted with love, with a groovy backing well done using traditional instrumentation. Having said that, it does feel that JD’s vocals are separate from the backing, rather than being all part of a greater whole as often happens in live recordings. Continue reading “JD Fox & The Velvet Street Band ‘’A Tribute To Donnie Fritts’’ (Independent, 2016)”

Alison Krauss ”Windy City” (Decca/Capitol, 2017)

Alison Krauss is phenomenal. Whether you look at figures like her record 27 Grammy Awards, millions of records sold, career longevity or simply judge her from the purity of her vocals, Krauss really is one of the stand-out performers in modern music. Windy City is her first solo record in 18 years, after she took a hiatus to record music with her Union Station band. The album is a tribute to older classics, with tracks such as those originally performed by artists like Glen Campbell, Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson and The Osborne Brothers. With a sensitive touch provided by producer Buddy Cannon, it’s a masterpiece of music re-interpretation and a fitting ode to the giants on whose shoulders present artists stand on.  Continue reading “Alison Krauss ”Windy City” (Decca/Capitol, 2017)”

Old Crow Medicine Show ‘’Best Of’’ (Nettwerk, 2017)

Old Crown Medicine show are known for their amazing and energetic live shows and a fantastic folk repertoire throughout their discography. This greatest hits package comes exclusively from their three albums released with Nettwerk, including O.C.M.S in 2004, Big Iron World in 2006 and Tennessee Pusher in 2008. “Best Of” kicks off with Wagon Wheel their original song made a mega-hit by Darius Rucker covering it, selling it as a multi-platinum single. Old Crow Medicine Show’s version is much more palatable, with real grounding in roots, dominated by fiddle, banjo and folk harmonies. Indeed, Old Crow don’t escape string-dominated roots music for any of the record, and indeed for any of their discography. Continue reading “Old Crow Medicine Show ‘’Best Of’’ (Nettwerk, 2017)”