Chip Taylor: Glasgow Americana Festival The Classic Grand – 7th October 2016

You know you’re in the presence of greatness when the artist onstage is recounting his recent meetings with Tom Petty and Elvis Costello and you just know that they were in awe of the artist as opposed to the other way around. But then not everyone is Chip Taylor, a man whose story is so entwined with the history of rock music that they’re virtually inseparable. Of course he’s the man who famously penned Wild Thing and Angel Of The Morning, really just the tips of his musical iceberg. Able to draw together county, pop, rock and rythym’n’blues he penned hits for a host of names in the sixties before releasing his own prototype of outlaw country on several seventies albums. In the eighties he turned his hand to professional gambling and apparently excelled at this, reputedly banned from every casino in Atlantic City as they couldn’t keep up with his winnings. The late nineties saw him return to music with his own solo albums abetted by several acclaimed collaborations with Texan violinist Carrie Rodriguez. On his albums Taylor comes across as a sage, the songs ruminations on life and in particular, the absurdities and injustices that life throws up enveloped by his dry wit, comforting voice and occasional scabrous lyric. Continue reading “Chip Taylor: Glasgow Americana Festival The Classic Grand – 7th October 2016”

Hubert Murray “Shorten The Road EP” (Independent, 2016)

"Murray-Hubert-2016"Galway born Hubert Murray is already acclaimed for his flatpicking and slide guitar skills through his work with The Hot Rock Pilgrims and “bluegrass fusion” band Lands End. On Shorten The Road, his six track debut EP he steps up to the mic and proves he’s also a very accomplished singer and writer. If it weren’t for his bio one would swear on listening to the EP that he’s escaped from Texas as soon as the opening song “Will You Love Me Again” is out of the trap. With his guitar and assured voice accompanied by Leanne Thorose’s mandolin and harmony vocals it’s a bitter sweet country styled slice of life, the singer pleading for his lover to give him one more chance as he recalls their good times. Played with a nimble dexterity it wouldn’t be out of place on a Steve Young album. Continue reading “Hubert Murray “Shorten The Road EP” (Independent, 2016)”

Blue Rose Code: St. Andrews In The Square Glasgow Americana Festival – 5th October 2016

“I’m going to start with my most miserable song.” Thus opened the 10th Glasgow Americana Festival, the words spoken by Ross Wilson of Blue Rose Code as he opened his set with a solo rendition of the achingly beautiful “Pokesdown Waltz”. Well, Americana (and Country) fans do love their misery so no complaints there then especially when it’s a curtain raiser for Wilson’s latest sold out show in Mother Glasgow, the dear green place having clasped this Leith born troubadour to its bosom.  And while there’s a pedal steel on stage this is no country song jamboree, no tears in your beers, more reflections in a rain swept loch. Wilson and his current line up deliver his increasingly Celtic ruminations with wild flurries of notes which capture the grandeur of the Highlands along with the more introspective moments one has come to expect from a writer who has used his songs as a confessional on more than one occasion. Continue reading “Blue Rose Code: St. Andrews In The Square Glasgow Americana Festival – 5th October 2016”

Proudfoot “Flower Of London” (Reckless Records, 2016)

"Proudfoot-2016"Proudfoot are essentially a vehicle for the songs of Michael Proudfoot, a man who has had one foot in the musical world since his student days singing in bars in Nottingham. These days he runs a film production company.  Overall,  Flower Of London is an album that manages to engage the listener despite Proudfoot’s limitations as a singer and the occasional dip in his song writing. This is largely due to the very talented Duncan Kerr, Proudfoot’s sidekick guitarist and a man he first met back in those Nottingham days. A veteran who started off in Plummet Airlines, a 70’s pub rock band recording for Stiff Records Kerr currently plays with Darts and The Brainiac 5.  Playing 6 and 12 string electric and acoustic guitars here he can transform a song into a pastoral reverie, on a few occasions sounding positively Byrdslike, elsewhere he throws in vibrant lead and slide guitar. Continue reading “Proudfoot “Flower Of London” (Reckless Records, 2016)”

Danielle French Presents Miss Scarlett & The Madmen “Dark Love Songs” (Scarlet Raven Productions, 2016)

French-Danielle-2016A filmmaker and songwriter from Calgary in Canada, Danielle French delivers here nine songs she crafted while attending a series of songwriters’ workshops, the songs co-writes with fellow attendees and for the most part recorded with her co writers. Despite this plethora of contributors French keeps a firm hand on the tiller to deliver a strong set of songs that can probably be best described as slightly psychedelic folk with some dusty Americana and Weimer Republic cabaret thrown in for good measure. Continue reading “Danielle French Presents Miss Scarlett & The Madmen “Dark Love Songs” (Scarlet Raven Productions, 2016)”

Georgia Ruth “Fossil Scale” (Navigator Records, 2016)

Ruth-Georgia-2016On her second album Welsh songstress Georgia Ruth, nominated in 2014 for a Radio Two Folk Award, offers more radio friendly music although in this instance it’s more likely that it will be Radio 6Music who will be championing her. Discarding for the most part her usual instrument, the harp, and sticking to lyrics in English (aside from her cover of Meic Stevens’ Sylvia sung in Welsh) Ruth layers her voice over a gently pulsating wave of keyboards, synths and guitars throughout the album, the end result a shiny and laid back slice of almost ambient music. Continue reading “Georgia Ruth “Fossil Scale” (Navigator Records, 2016)”

Johnny Dowd “Execute American Folklore” (Mother Jinx Records, 2016)

Johnny-Dowds-2016By now you either get or don’t get Johnny Dowd. Ten albums in this Ithaca NY resident continues to move further into the outfield with each release. Execute American Folklore features Dowd’s darkly humorous and idiosyncratic lyrics, his pronounced drawl becoming ever more robotic, over a hyperkinetic drum machine with guitar, keyboards and bass fed through pedals and gizmos, fuzzed and funky and above all freaky. Originally lumped in with the Gothic Americana crowd Dowd now seems to have more in common with Snakefinger, sometime associate of The Residents, psychedelic funk and on several songs here, that brand of Tropicalia as practised by Os Mutantes while the grim humour approaches  Lenny Bruce satire. Continue reading “Johnny Dowd “Execute American Folklore” (Mother Jinx Records, 2016)”