Paul Goodwin “The Northern Lights In The Neon Tube” (Independent, 2016)

"Goodwin-Paul-2016"Four years in the making but The Northern Lights In The Neon Tube is not the result of endless hours spent tinkering in the studio, budgets be blasted. Instead the gap is explained by Cambridge musician Goodwin as due to him being, “incredibly slow at doing things.” Well, good things come to those who wait and Goodwin certainly delivers here with a melancholic set of songs that he has handcrafted virtually by himself as he plays all instruments bar drums, the songs recorded at his home. Continue reading “Paul Goodwin “The Northern Lights In The Neon Tube” (Independent, 2016)”

Andy Ferrell “At Home And In Nashville” (Independent, 2016)

"Ferrell-Andy-2016"As football commentators love to say, “It’s a game of two halves” and the same goes for North Carolina’s Andy Ferrell’s debut album. Comprised of 12 songs the first six were recorded in Nashville with a band complement while the remainder are a capture of a solo show in his home town of Boone effectively reminding this reviewer of the days when one had to flip a disc over midway through listening. It’s not only the reminder of this old ritual that recalls the “good old days” when listening to At Home And In Nashville as Ferrell is yet another of these youngsters who are looking to singers and songwriters from the seventies for inspiration. Ferrell notes Townes Van Zandt as one of his heroes but on listening to the album there are reminders of Arlo Guthrie and Loudon Wainwright to be heard while the live tracks span a tradition that goes back to Woody Guthrie. Continue reading “Andy Ferrell “At Home And In Nashville” (Independent, 2016)”

Albert Af Ekenstam “Ashes” (Kning Disk, 2016)

"Ekenstam-Albert-2016"Ashes is the debut album from Albert Af Ekenstam, a Swede who seems to have been in various bands prior to this including “post rock” instrumental band Tempel and who cites as influences Bon Iver and Mogwai. One can see the influence of both here, haunting soundscapes as heard on soundtracks such Les Revenants are evident on the two instrumental tracks while Iver’s early hushed rusticana breathes on (almost literally) several of the songs. Continue reading “Albert Af Ekenstam “Ashes” (Kning Disk, 2016)”

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)”