Dino Valente “Dino Valente” (Floating World Records, 2017)

In February 1968 Dino Valente entered the CBS studios in Los Angeles to record what would be his only solo album. Although he was known at the time as the underground Bob Dylan, Valente probably had more in common with Leonard Cohen circa Songs from a Room. The common denominator here was CBS Records producer Bob Johnston who was assigned to Valente post working with Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde and who would go on to work with Cohen on the aforementioned Songs album.  Continue reading “Dino Valente “Dino Valente” (Floating World Records, 2017)”

Susan Cattaneo “The Hammer & The Heart” (Jersey Girl Records, 2017)

For her fifth release Boston singer songwriter Susan Cattaneo has pushed the boat out with a double album comprising 18 tracks. With the two discs independently titled The Hammer / The Heart it will come as no surprise that each disc has a distinctive feel to it. With the majority of tracks being either self-penned or co-writes and, with production credits for the whole album bar one track, Cattaneo clearly lacks neither talent nor a work ethic. Continue reading “Susan Cattaneo “The Hammer & The Heart” (Jersey Girl Records, 2017)”

Alan & The Big Hand “Yellow Car No Return” (Lost Wasp Records, 2017)

Alan & The Big Hand are described as a folk collective headed by Alan McClure. McClure is a writer and musician based in Galloway, south-west Scotland.  His creative output encompasses oral storytelling, poetry, songs, novels, short stories, audio sketches, singer and chief songwriter with The Razorbills, occasional member of The Wee Folk Storytellers. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough he is also a primary school teacher.

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Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)

Peter Graham is a Canadian singer-songwriter from the village of Millbrook, Ontario. Despite having a decade of song writing behind him this 5 track EP, Nowhere in Tacoma, is his debut. His music blends traditional country instrumentation and the narrative verse of folk, with an emphasis on concise and honest lyrics. Peter has surrounded himself with top notch musicians for this collection and they play a huge part in the overall sound. Opening track Tell Nobody Nothing has a lovely rhythmic feel with Anthony Carone’s piano, Dave Gibson’s drums, the pedal steel of Aaron Goldstein and the backing vocals of Brittany Clarke combining to great effect to produce a warm, radio friendly track. Continue reading “Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)”

Danny & The Champions Of The World “Brilliant Light” (Loose Music, 2017)

For his new Champions album Danny Wilson wanted something different, a collaborative effort that encouraged all the band members to contribute to the song writing process. So, over a period of months and a number of sessions, a collection of songs was accumulated and the end result is a mammoth 18 track, double album. 78 minutes of soulful country rock that gives the chance for all band members, plus a few more guests besides, to showcase their talents for the collective good.

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Gerry Spehar “I Hold Gravity” (Independent, 2017)

During the 1970’s and up until 1986 Gerry Spehar was based in Colorado and had a thriving musical career.  He played as a duo with his brother George in the 70’s and in the Spehar Brothers Band with both George and brother Tom.  He then performed solo until meeting Bobby Allison whom he began writing and performing with in 1981. During all this, Spehar opened shows for the likes of Merle Haggard, Boz Scaggs and Townes Van Zandt. In 1986 Gerry made what he describes as the hardest decision of his life, turning his back on the music business to focus on providing a stable foundation for his family. Continue reading “Gerry Spehar “I Hold Gravity” (Independent, 2017)”

Sam Baker “Land Of Doubt” (Independent, 2017)

Sam Baker’s 2013 album, Say Grace, was a highly-acclaimed body of work, prompting one well known music publication to put in in the top 10 country albums of that year. It is difficult to see Sam’s latest offering, Land of Doubt, making that particular list. Not because it isn’t very good, because it is, but because this is such a unique album in musical terms that it defies easy genre pigeon holing.

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