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)”

Mudcat Landing “Five Songs” (Pink Moon Records, 2016)

When you reach a certain age one tends to get sceptical of 20 somethings sharing their (limited) life experiences in a song. So, when the experienced Liverpool based 4 piece that makes up Mudcat Landing give us their insights wrapped up in a great musical package then it is time to celebrate the wit and wisdom of the well-travelled.  Continue reading “Mudcat Landing “Five Songs” (Pink Moon Records, 2016)”

Matthew Squires “Tambaleo” (Already Dead Tapes, 2017)

"Matthew-Squires-2017"Many a great musician has come out of Austin, Texas. It has historically offered up many left field artists and provided an outlet for music that might otherwise not have seen the light of day. So, Matthew Squires joins a long list of singer-songwriters using that base to get their music heard.
His music has been portrayed as idiosyncratic and ‘Tambaleo’, his sixth album, does nothing to dispel that description. This album is marketed as ‘subtly offbeat psychedelic pop’ which probably best sums up this offering. Easy listening it is not and it can be hard to detect the subtlety here. Marketed under the genre ‘Pop/Psych-Folk/Indie’ this may appeal to die-hard fans but it does not feel like an album that will bring his music to a wider audience. Continue reading “Matthew Squires “Tambaleo” (Already Dead Tapes, 2017)”

The Way Down Wanderers “The Way Down Wanderers” (Independent, 2016)

'The Way Down Wanderers-2016"The Way Down Wanderers hail from Chicago and, although only playing, performing and writing together for 2 years, have steadily built a reputation as a band to watch. The opening track here ‘Dead Birds’ was an International Song Writing Competition finalist and gets the album off to a cracking start and sets a tempo that rarely lets up.  Continue reading “The Way Down Wanderers “The Way Down Wanderers” (Independent, 2016)”

Red Tail Ring “Fall Away Blues” (Independent Release, 2016)

'Red Tail Ring-2016"Red Tail Ring are Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp and ‘Fall Away Blues’ is their fourth full length album. Hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, this duo has produced a stripped back album with gorgeous vocals and harmonies accompanied only by fiddle, banjo and guitar. With a mix of traditional and self-penned songs this feels like a fusion of folk meets blues on a laid-back night in after a hard week at work when all you want to do is turn the lights off with a glass of malt in hand. Continue reading “Red Tail Ring “Fall Away Blues” (Independent Release, 2016)”

Sam Gleaves “Ain’t We Brothers” (Community Music, 2015)

"Sam-Gleaves-2015"Sometimes timing really is everything. The ‘Donald’ is everywhere. A man who, in the course of a presidential campaign unlike any other, managed to insult and denigrate just about every minority on the planet. And so it was, in the midst of the gloom and the bile emanating from across the pond, that a CD arrives from a young man from the mountains of Virginia who shouts, in his own understated way, of tolerance in the face of prejudice. Although released in the USA as long ago as November 2015 its relevance to the political discourse makes it feel current and relevant, and ripe for reviewing. Continue reading “Sam Gleaves “Ain’t We Brothers” (Community Music, 2015)”