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)”

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)”