Hannah White “Elephant Eye” (Sound Lounge Records, 2017)

London based Hannah White has gathered a fine crew around her for her latest album, Elephant Eye. Producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore, Martha Wainwright, Joan Baez) plays several instruments, Chris J Hillman adds pedal steel while Jimmy Forres handles guitar duties and Paul Beavis (Andy Fairweather Low, Sandi Thom) is the percussionist driving them on. Continue reading “Hannah White “Elephant Eye” (Sound Lounge Records, 2017)”

Lydia Loveless “Boy Crazy & Singles(s)” (Bloodshot Records, 2017)

Starting off as a punk inspired country siren, Lydia Loveless soon progressed to offering feisty pop orientated numbers, still imbued with a country punk attitude. Boy Crazy & Single(s) is a handy catch up compendium of her 2013 EP, Boy Crazy along with several songs originally released as singles. Released in both CD and vinyl editions it’s the latter which is likely to appeal to hard core fans as none of these have previously been given the vinyl treatment. For others, the CD is a fine introduction to Ms. Loveless’s music. Continue reading “Lydia Loveless “Boy Crazy & Singles(s)” (Bloodshot Records, 2017)”

Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)

“Your friendly neighbourhood Americana supergroup,” they say, and while one might think that it’s a tad pompous there’s an element of truth in this statement. From the ashes of ahab, a band who always seemed to be on the cusp of making it, Stephen Llewellyn, Dave Burn and Graham Knight eventually teamed up with ex Noah & The Whale (another on the cusp band) guitarist, Fred Abbott and Steve Brooks (from Danny & The Champs) to form Orphan Colours. An EP release in 2016 was well received and now we have the debut album, an album forged in the face of adversity. As Llewellyn explains, “At the end of 2013 both ahab and Noah & The Whale had been chewed up and spit out by the music business.” Despite this, Llewellyn was determined to give it another go, the new band revved up and raring to go, the album title referring to his final gamble as he bet all on the band’s success. Continue reading “Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)”

Daniel Carlson “Not A Drawing” (Folkwit Records, 2017)

This third album from New Yorker, Daniel Carlson, is sure to delight anyone who believes that Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson are the bee’s knees, the best, the topper most. Carlson, like them, writes sweet songs, melodic, occasionally quirky, and on this album, uses a panoply of instruments which very much recall the Beach Boys’ head honcho’s “teenage symphonies.” Continue reading “Daniel Carlson “Not A Drawing” (Folkwit Records, 2017)”

First HRH CROWS Festival to be held in Sheffield

Branching out from their usual hard rock promotions, HRH (Hard Rock Hell) have decided to dip their toes into the wild and wacky world of Country Music, or at least their version of it. CROWS (Country Rock , Outlaw, Western & Southern Rock bands) promises to be a bit grungier and harder hitting than your usual Americana weekend with lots of guitar slinging and rock fuelled grooves. Continue reading “First HRH CROWS Festival to be held in Sheffield”

Billy Bragg “Bridges Not Walls” (Cooking Vinyl, 2017)

2017 was a tumultuous year, Brexit and Trump providing an endless spectacle of rancour and discord, right wingers on the march, reason stifled by media barons (aside from those accused of printing “fake news”).  Billy Bragg, a voice of conscience since day one, pondered, “What’s a singer -songwriter to do when events keep challenging the way we see the world?” His answer was to write these six songs, released as recorded over the year and now handily gathered together. Continue reading “Billy Bragg “Bridges Not Walls” (Cooking Vinyl, 2017)”

Chris Stapleton “Songs From A Room Volume 2” (Mercury Records, 2017)

With his second release of the year, Chris Stapleton pretty much cements his reputation as traditional  country music’s biggest star. Songs From A Room Volume 1 (released in May) won the award for album of the year at the Country Music Association Awards and on its release last week, Volume 2 hit the number two spot on the Billboard charts. In what has been seen as a traditionalist fightback against bro country and the pop/rock orientated songs that have recently been ruling the roost in Nashville, Stapleton (who, it could be argued has a foot in each camp) has led the charge. Continue reading “Chris Stapleton “Songs From A Room Volume 2” (Mercury Records, 2017)”

Roots In The Round – Dean Owens +Robert Vincent +The Worry Dolls, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 10th December 2017

Wrapping up a ten date tour,  this caravan of rootsy singer/songwriters pulled into Glasgow for their final gig on a night that saw sub zero temperatures outside. Happily, a hardy bunch came out to see the line up – A Scot, A Scouser (their words) and the London based up and comers The Worry Dolls. Despite nursing a cold Owens led off the night which consisted of each act performing a song before handing the baton to the next one. It’s a concept popular in Nashville and indeed Owens got the idea for the shows while over there for along with The Worry Dolls and Vincent (the Scouser). Continue reading “Roots In The Round – Dean Owens +Robert Vincent +The Worry Dolls, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 10th December 2017”

Martin Rὅssel. “Don’t Blame Me” (Erik Alx Sund Records, 2017)

For an album that’s been ten years in the making, Sweden’s Martin Rὅssel’s Don’t Blame Me turns out to be a relatively taut affair. Turns out that Rὅssel is an in demand producer in Sweden and elsewhere and was continually sidetracked by various projects. As he says in the liner notes, “Deadlines are tough but sometimes good, and I had none.” However he eventually had the songs in ship shape order and managed to recruit an army of around 30 musicians (including Marty Wilson-Piper on guitar) for the recording. Despite the plethora of players Rὅssel turns in a tightly wound selection of songs with several of them saluting the bands and artists he grew up hearing. Continue reading “Martin Rὅssel. “Don’t Blame Me” (Erik Alx Sund Records, 2017)”

Johnny Cash “Greatest Hits – The Sun Records Years” (Charly Records, 2017)

Ho hum. Another Cash (in) collection I hear you say. Well, yes, it is a compilation of songs that any self respecting fan will already have, probably several times over. However these 20 songs arrive encrypted in vinyl, shiny black vinyl, and when spun the sound is as vibrant as the yellow Sun Records label surrounding the spindle. Continue reading “Johnny Cash “Greatest Hits – The Sun Records Years” (Charly Records, 2017)”