Steve Lowis “Chapters” (Independent, 2017)

Albums capture your imagination in different ways. Some grab you by the throat and demand that you listen, some come with a reputation to live up to, some come with expectation and curiosity; every so often one comes along and quietly makes its presence felt and that’s the case with “Chapters”, a new offering from singer/songwriter Steve Lowis. Listening to this collection of well-crafted songs you may not be immediately grabbed but you slowly come to realise that this really is a very good album, well put together and well interpreted by the musicians involved. Continue reading “Steve Lowis “Chapters” (Independent, 2017)”

Glen Hansard “Between Two Shores” (Anti, 2018)

This is the third solo album from Glen Hansard, singer/songwriter, frontman for excellent Irish rockers The Frames and actor, forever famous as Outspan Foster, the guitar player in the film “The Commitments”. This is a man who gets around a bit. The Frames have been a big part of the Dublin music scene for many years, have put out seven well-received albums and have even toured as support act to Bob Dylan himself. He is also one half of The Swell Season, along with pianist Marketa Irglova.  In 2007 they wrote the music for and starred in the movie “Once”.  The song, Falling Slowly, from the film won the Academy Award for Best Original song. Glen Hansard has some serious musical credentials. Continue reading “Glen Hansard “Between Two Shores” (Anti, 2018)”

The Mining Co. “Mountain Fires” (Independent, 2017)

The Mining Company is singer/songwriter Michael Gallagher, indulging in the modern fashion of operating under a band name rather than his own. “Mountain Fires” is his second album, following on from 2016’s “Burning Sun and The Atomic Powers Within” and it’s an assured collection of well-written material. Given that it’s common for artists to use all their best material, often built up over a number of years, for their debut album it says a lot about Gallagher’s talent as a writer that he’s able to put out such a solid album so soon after his first offering.  Continue reading “The Mining Co. “Mountain Fires” (Independent, 2017)”

Eugene Tyler Band “Young Randy” (Cold Folks Home Records, 2017)

“Young Randy” is the new album from the Eugene Tyler Band – but who, exactly, are the Eugene Tyler Band?! The review copy of the album came with no accompanying information and no info on the album cover itself, beyond a track listing and the fact that it’s produced by Marc Jaffee for Cold Folks Home Records.  Even the band’s own website and Facebook page isn’t particularly forthcoming about the band. It’s possible that they’ve decided to let their music do the talking. If so, it’s a very astute decision, because the music is very good indeed! Continue reading “Eugene Tyler Band “Young Randy” (Cold Folks Home Records, 2017)”

Ethan Gold “Songs From a Toxic Apartment” (Gold, 2017)

As the title for this album might already suggest, if you’re looking for some music to get a Saturday night party underway this is not going to be your first port of call. “Songs From a Toxic Apartment” is not easy listening in any sense of the term. When you read Ethan Gold’s backstory it’s not surprising that this collection of songs is particularly bleak. He’s the son of American novelist Herbert Gold and Melissa Gold (nee Dilworth). They divorced and Melissa died in the helicopter crash that also claimed her boyfriend, rock promoter Bill Graham. Continue reading “Ethan Gold “Songs From a Toxic Apartment” (Gold, 2017)”

Head For The Hills “Potions And Poisons” (Independent, 2017)

If you enjoy good, unflashy, down to earth Bluegrass music then this album will definitely appeal. Head For The Hills are a 4 piece band from Colorado who boast a very healthy, no-frills approach to their music. Between them, Adam Kinghorn, Joe Lessard, Sam Parks and Matt Loewen play guitar, violin, mandolin and bass and that pretty much covers what you will hear on this album. Continue reading “Head For The Hills “Potions And Poisons” (Independent, 2017)”

Elliott Brood “Ghost Gardens” (Paper Bag Records, 2017)

Elliott Brood are a three piece band – musicians Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin – who hail from Ontario, Canada and “Ghost Gardens” is their sixth full length studio album and the first since 2014’s “Work And Love”. Apparently this album came about with the rediscovery of a misplaced hard drive that held a number of lost songs from the band’s earlier years – rough demos and song outlines. Hence the album’s title, as Ghost Gardens refers to gardens of houses that have been abandoned but the plants continue to grow. Continue reading “Elliott Brood “Ghost Gardens” (Paper Bag Records, 2017)”

The Travelling Band “Sails” (Sideways Saloon Records, 2017)

First off, it’s nice to have a vinyl release to review. Vinyl has a warmer sound and a better tonal range than CDs or downloads, so it’s nice to hear a band making the most of the format. It’s a good quality pressing too and on white vinyl – very stylish. Of course, it doesn’t matter how stylish or upmarket the format is – it’s the music that matters and Mancunian rockers, The Travelling Band, serve up an extremely good selection of music on this album. Continue reading “The Travelling Band “Sails” (Sideways Saloon Records, 2017)”

Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer “Not Dark Yet” (Silver Cross Records, 2017)

For those that don’t know, and there can’t be many, Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer are sisters (Shelby was christened Shelby Lynn Moorer), Shelby Lynne being the elder by three years. Yet, despite both having been established performers since they were in their teens, this is their first album together. We should’ve been treated to this collaboration so much sooner! Continue reading “Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer “Not Dark Yet” (Silver Cross Records, 2017)”

Mo Kenney “The Details” (Pheremone Records, 2017)

“The Details” is the fascinating third album from multi award winning Canadian singer-songwriter Mo Kenney. Kenney was discovered by noted Canadian rocker, Joel Plaskett, while she was still at school and released her debut eponymous album in 2012. While that album was still groaning under the weight of awards and award nominations she put out her second album, 2014’s “In My Dreams”, which also attracted awards nominations by the bucket load, including a Nova Scotia Music Award Winner for Recording of the Year. At a tender age it’s fair to say that Mo Kenney is already a well-established name in her native Canada, even if she’s yet to make a major impact wider afield. Continue reading “Mo Kenney “The Details” (Pheremone Records, 2017)”