Tift Merritt “Stitch of The World” (Yep Roc Records, 2017)

In 2015, after almost two years on the road touring in support of her album Travelling Alone, Tift Merritt decided to take a year off the road, just “to see what would happen to me.” What happened, as Tift enjoyed the solitude of a friend’s ranch in Texas, was the inspiration to write. This was the starting process for Tift’s latest offering Stitch of The World. Her experiences during that period were to lead to songs inspired by her surroundings of the time. Wait For Me, about leaving the disappointments of the past behind and believing that good things are up ahead, was provoked by the long straight roads that she found in Texas. Watching the ranch hands toiling with their daily routine helped provide the theme of working through times of struggle and the persistence of love in the beautiful and hopeful song, Love Soldiers On. Continue reading “Tift Merritt “Stitch of The World” (Yep Roc Records, 2017)”

Interview: Bronwynne Brent

Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, Bronwynne Brent has recorded two albums, the 2011 Deep Dark Water and 2014’s Stardust. Her music and songs have an air of self-confessed melancholy that are delivered with a wonderfully distinctive voice that has been described as sounding like Southern sunshine. Bronwynne topped the female artist category in both 2015 & 2016 Americana-UK polls beating off the likes of Kacey Musgraves and Lucinda Williams so she certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed over here.  Continue reading “Interview: Bronwynne Brent”

Bronwynne Brent, Ritz Acoustic, Burnham on Sea, 16th March 2017

How an unassuming and talented artist from the Mississippi Delta ends up playing at venues such as the cosy and intimate Ritz Acoustic Club in Burnham on Sea is one of the great joys of the music business and a real treat for us music lovers.  Appearing with Johnny Sangster (Guitar), the Seattle based producer of her last album Stardust and Brit, Jay Darwish (Bass), Bronwynne Brent brought her fabulous songs to life in this windy corner of Somerset.  Continue reading “Bronwynne Brent, Ritz Acoustic, Burnham on Sea, 16th March 2017”

Stephen Simmons “A World Without” (Blue Rose Records, 2016)

At a time when the great and good of mainstream Nashville can be found in the UK playing the country fest that is C2C Stephen Simmons’ latest offering acts as an antidote to much of the current anodyne output of that great song writing town. As is befitting a native of Tennessee, his 10th album offers up a collection of self-penned songs that, although having a definite taste of country running through them, have an intelligence and musical nuance that sets them apart. Continue reading “Stephen Simmons “A World Without” (Blue Rose Records, 2016)”

Brigitte DeMeyer & Will Kimbrough “Mockingbird Soul” (BDM Music, 2017)

Despite the fact that Brigitte DeMeyer and Will Kimbrough have been working together for six years and collaborated on two albums Mockingbird Soul is their first official release as a duo. There are lots of influences here; blues, gospel, early jazz, bluegrass, folk. Music that DeMeyer characterises as acoustic soul. DeMeyer has a wonderfully soulful and sultry voice that has in the past been compared to the best of Emmylou, Lucinda and Bonnie Raitt. There are certainly a couple of tracks here that bring to Bonnie to mind, not least the title track and Rainy Day, both of which typify what the album is all about; crystal clear vocals, beautifully symbiotic harmonies and sparse, minimalistic accompaniment. On Mockingbird Soul that accompaniment is restricted to Will’s favourite instrument, his vintage Gibson J-45 while Rainy Day allows Chris Wood on Upright Bass to lead the way. Continue reading “Brigitte DeMeyer & Will Kimbrough “Mockingbird Soul” (BDM Music, 2017)”

Son Volt “Notes of Blue” (Transmit Sound, 2017)

Son Volt was one of the most instrumental and influential bands in launching the alt. country movement of the 1990s that ultimately became Americana. “Notes of Blue” is the twentieth album to which Jay Farrar, the creative force behind Son Volt, has lent his voice and songwriting. Perhaps it is not surprising that someone who has been in the business for that long has come up with such a variety of styles on the album. The songs are said to be inspired by the blues, but not the blues as most would know it. It could have been, in sporting terms, a game of two halves if that was the way the album had been put together. Continue reading “Son Volt “Notes of Blue” (Transmit Sound, 2017)”

The Backyard Devils “Honkytonk Heartbreaker” (Independent, 2016)

Sometimes a new piece of music drops in your lap and even before taking the CD out of the sleeve you have a really good idea of what to expect. Honkytonk Heartbreaker by Canadian band The Backyard Devils fits so comfortably into that category that my job here is almost surplus to requirements. Initially put together by brothers Erik and Remi Arsenault they quickly added Chris Belliveau and Dillon Robicheau and released their first album in 2011 to much acclaim and recognition of a significant emerging talent. To quote the band, they have spent the subsequent years raising hell with their foot stomping music ever since.  Continue reading “The Backyard Devils “Honkytonk Heartbreaker” (Independent, 2016)”