Harbottle & Jonas “Anna is a Dancer” (Independent, 2017)

A descending, modal chord progression plucked out on what sounds like a 12 string guitar, the twang of a string bent here and there – with the first few bars, any listener with a penchant for bluesy American roots music will be frothing at the mouth with excitement.  Surely, this must be one of those songs about Dust Bowl wanders from the ’20s or backwoods murderers living beyond the law. Continue reading “Harbottle & Jonas “Anna is a Dancer” (Independent, 2017)”

The Americans “I’ll Be Yours” (Loose, 2017)

With a CV as long as your auntie Susan’s shopping list, The Americans certainly win the prize for putting in the effort: previously serving as the backing band for Luncinda Williams, Nick Cave and Courtney Love at the David Lynch Foundation’s 60th Anniversary of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, they have also recently made friends with Jack White, T Bone Burnett and Robert Redford to land a spot in the forthcoming PBS documentary series American Epic (airing on the BBC from 16 May 2017).  Continue reading “The Americans “I’ll Be Yours” (Loose, 2017)”

Gallery 47, “Bad Production” (Bad Production Records, 2017)

Housed in a rather lovely (if slightly fiddly) blue box which begs you to slide it open and reveal the bounteous contents (the promo copy we received contained stickers, pins and a CD), the obvious and deliberate peculiarity of this release DOES NOT smack of Loughborough. Of course, it may be a scathingly unfair assumption to make, but Loughborough doesn’t seem like the natural home of gentle, finger-picked, half-whispered Americana. Still… you live and learn. Continue reading “Gallery 47, “Bad Production” (Bad Production Records, 2017)”

Jaime Wyatt “Felony Blues” (Forty Below Records, 2017)

“I stayed out of trouble most the time in jail” is, in its honesty and openness, as stark and discomforting a statement as you would expect an artist to make when describing how they came to make their debut album. But in this case, it’s a real part of the story that led Jaime Wyatt to write and record ‘Felony Blues’. Signed at the tender age of 17, with songs finding their way into movies and TV, it sounds as though Wyatt soon earned her wings as an honorary member of The Eagles and, after robbing her dealer and being served with some rough justice (given the circumstances), ended up serving eight months in jail, followed by six months in rehab, and a further three years on probation. One can only assume that wasn’t the plan.  Continue reading “Jaime Wyatt “Felony Blues” (Forty Below Records, 2017)”

Hillfolk Noir “Junkerpunch” (Independent, 2017)

An obscurely entitled 5th outing if ever there was. “What is a ”Junkerpunch?” we hear you cry. Even good old Google appears to be bereft of answers on that one. Thankfully, the press release accompanying Hillfolk Noir’s 5th album makes it clear – it’s slang for a ‘cheap shot’… the kind of punch that results in the boxer’s break that hampered Travis Ward’s guitar playing for a lengthy 9 months on 2016. As the adopted name of this immense collection of no less than 17 songs and instrumentals, Junkerpunch is also a title that says a lot about the approach adopted by Hillfolk Noir who, let’s face it, write songs like someone thumping, with quite some aggression, at the proverbial door of old time authenticity whilst simultaneously hiding behind a thin veil of playful irreverence like a child hiding behind a curtain, desperate to be noticed. Continue reading “Hillfolk Noir “Junkerpunch” (Independent, 2017)”

Sound of the Sirens “For All Our Sins” (Independent, 2017)

The press release for the debut album from Exeter-based duo Sound of the Sirens paints a rather misleading picture of an (incredibly English) take on Americana. To suggest there is any parallel to be drawn between Sound of the Sirens and The Everly Brothers, George Jones or Tammy Wynette is simply bizarre and will have anyone with a penchant for vintage country raising at least one eyebrow, if not two. Championed by no less that Chris Evans and sharing stages with the likes of (dare I say it…) Rick Astley, the duo have certainly found favour in an increasingly fickle and frustrating industry, but country music this ain’t.  Continue reading “Sound of the Sirens “For All Our Sins” (Independent, 2017)”

Little Lapin “Wake Up With The Sun” (Independent, 2017)

Juxtaposing comparisons with Regina Spektor and Laura Marling against kind words from BBC Cornwall perhaps paints, somewhat immediately, a picture of rural English gentility. And quaint though this, Little Lapin’s third outing, undoubtedly is… unfortunately, it’s also a touch inconsistent. Continue reading “Little Lapin “Wake Up With The Sun” (Independent, 2017)”