Kelly Sloan, The Bellows at The Wheelwright Inn, Colyford, 11th April 2017

The schedule of a touring musician is a thing of mystery at times.  Here we find Kelly Sloan, one of what seems to be a never-ending stream of talented singer-songwriters emanating from Canada, playing to a rapt audience at the wonderfully welcoming and intimate setting of The Bellows at The Wheelwright Arms in Colyford, East Devon (population 550). The next steps on her tour; Milan and various stops around Italy, Sicily, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Credit for how Colyford became a part of that itinerary is down to establishment hosts Mark Newton and Kirstin Reynolds who, judging by the posters of past and future headliners adorning the walls, have an irresistible lure to the discerning musician. Continue reading “Kelly Sloan, The Bellows at The Wheelwright Inn, Colyford, 11th April 2017”

Justin Bernasconi “Barefoot Wonderland” (Mountain King Music, 2017)

Although born in England Justin Bernasconi relocated to Australia in 2004 and formed The Stillsons in 2006. After three critically acclaimed albums he released his solo debut album Winter Pick in 2014, receiving a host of glowing reviews in the process. Justin returns now after a three-year gap with Barefoot Wonderland which is a mix of solo numbers and the accompaniments of band members Cat Canteri (vocals, Gibson Hummingbird guitar), Pete Fidler (Collings mandolin, Sheerhorn dobro), Ben Franz (double bass) and Jeff Lang (vocal). The result is a showcase for Justin’s spellbinding ability with his extensive guitar collection. Whether it be his 1960s Harmony Sovereign on Restless Legs Rag or his Martin D-28 7-string guitar on the title track Justin demonstrates just what a talent he is with whatever is put in his hand. Continue reading “Justin Bernasconi “Barefoot Wonderland” (Mountain King Music, 2017)”

The Brother Brothers “Tugboats EP” (Independent, 2016)

The Brother Brothers are in fact the identical Moss brother twins, Adam and David, and I should perhaps beg forgiveness from Adam and David now if I mix them up at any stage in this review.  Originally hailing from Illinois but now based in Brooklyn, NY, and with both pursing individual career paths, this six track EP represents the first coming together of this musically blessed duo. Fiddler, banjo player and vocalist Adam has played with the likes of Anais Mitchell and Ana Egge. David is a distinguished cellist and guitar picker and winner of the New Folk competition in 2011. As a musical partnership, their talents have been championed by the likes of Sarah Jarosz and, listening to this brief musical introduction to the band, it is not hard to see why. Continue reading “The Brother Brothers “Tugboats EP” (Independent, 2016)”

Rodney Crowell “Close Ties” (New West Records, 2017)

Americana defies easy classification but perhaps the legendary Rodney Crowell, by way of an introduction to his outstanding new album Close Ties, has come up with as good a definition as any. “All the people who represent Americana share a common thread and that thread is poet. Whether they are actual poets or their music exemplifies a poetic sensibility, generally speaking, the Americana artist shuns commercial compromise in favour of a singular vision. Which resonates with me.”  Continue reading “Rodney Crowell “Close Ties” (New West Records, 2017)”

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”