Blue Rose Code + Roseanne Reid, The Queens Hall, Edinburgh, 3rd November 2017

When you hear another member of the audience say, “This was like Van Morrison’s Caledonia Soul Orchestra,” on the way out, and you don’t think it’s hyperbole, then you’ve been to a rather special show. Similarities with Morrison abound when one hears and sees Blue Rose Code, the band name for Ross Wilson’s endeavours. There’s the Celtic soul, the blend of folk, jazz and rock that infuses the music and then there’s Wilson’s voice. He doesn’t sound like Morrison but he has a similar way of rolling with the flow, almost scatting at times while his soft brogue has improved to the extent that he has recently been nominated Scots Singer of the Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards 2017 Continue reading “Blue Rose Code + Roseanne Reid, The Queens Hall, Edinburgh, 3rd November 2017”

Ian James Stewart “Articana” (Independent, 2017)

Cast your mind back to the eighties and the age of poodle haired AOR (Album Orientated Rock) bands and it’s the likes of Foreigner and Journey who come to mind. Some delving reveals that a bunch of Scots lads, under the name of Strangeways, were serious contenders back then although they just missed out on the big time. They’re still a going concern but the reason for mentioning them is that their guitarist (and sometime lead singer), Ian James Stewart, has released his second solo album, Articana, an album far removed from chest beating arena rock. Heck, even Robert Wyatt appears on it. Continue reading “Ian James Stewart “Articana” (Independent, 2017)”

Jesse Dayton +James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band, Stereo, Glasgow, Wednesday 25th October 2017

“It might get loud in here,” Jesse Dayton’s opening words on arriving on stage for this hotly anticipated gig. He wasn’t kidding. From the moment he and his two sidekicks slammed into Daddy Was A Badass, the bass drum was thumping in my chest while Dayton’s guitar was a direct attack on the eardrums, a cracking start to one of the most energetic shows of the year so far.  Holy Ghost Rock’N’Roller followed in similar hi octane fashion, a distorted wall of sound blasting from the stage before the band paused for Jesse to say hello to the crowd, greeting some old friends and their old T-shirts. The Way We Are then lurched into sight, its outlaw country beat loping along with Dayton’s guitar squawking like a chicken at times. Continue reading “Jesse Dayton +James Edwyn & The Borrowed Band, Stereo, Glasgow, Wednesday 25th October 2017”

Glasgow Americana Festival, 4th – 8th October 2017

Now in its 11th year, Glasgow Americana brightened up the dark nights coming in as we prepare for winter. Over five days the festival provided a strong set of concerts which showcased some of the brightest talents from the Scottish roots scene along with the usual complement of visiting stars. Altogether over 20 acts appeared at several venues across the city with many of the shows selling out, the venues including converted churches, a brewery, tiny pub back rooms and, according to Michael Weston King of My Darling Clementine, a squash court. As often happens when such a lot of music is squeezed into such a tight time line there were clashes meaning your correspondent had to forego some shows however online comments and actual chat with those who had gone to those shows beamed back with positive smiles and thumbs up. There was a fine mix of standard gigs featuring a headliner along with a couple of portmanteau shows offering a range of acts playing shorter sets. Continue reading “Glasgow Americana Festival, 4th – 8th October 2017”

The Penny Black Remedy “Maintaining Dignity In Awkward Situations” (Mondo Del Mundo, 2017)

This third album from the London based “folk, punk, ska and country” specialists, The Penny Black Remedy (TPBR from now on) dials down the feel good dance factor that has characterised their live shows and which featured on their two previous albums. Maintaining Dignity In Awkward Situations (MDIAS from now on although it’s doubtful I’ll have recourse to mentioning the title again) instead hones in on the vocal partnership of Keith M Thomson and Marijana Hajdarhodzic with some of the album reminding one of The Handsome Family or, more particularly, the much missed Blanche. Continue reading “The Penny Black Remedy “Maintaining Dignity In Awkward Situations” (Mondo Del Mundo, 2017)”

Carousel “Carousel EP” (Independent, 2017)

A youthful four-piece band from Southend On Sea, Carousel dive into the increasingly crowded pool of UK bands playing Americana on this, their debut recording. They hover around the radio friendly sounds of bands such as The Shires and The Lone Bellow although at times there is a tougher edge on show. Continue reading “Carousel “Carousel EP” (Independent, 2017)”

Nathan Xander “Blue House” (Trailer Fire Records, 2017)

Originally from Pennsylvania, Nathan Xander terms himself a troubadour, widely travelled in the States as he sings his songs. Blue House was recorded in upstate New York with a small band set up – guitar, bass, drums and occasional keyboards – allowing Xander to deliver a mixed bunch of dusty memories and raunchier recollections. Continue reading “Nathan Xander “Blue House” (Trailer Fire Records, 2017)”