The Abrams “The Abrams” (Warner Music Canada, 2016)

This is the major label debut EP from Canadian brothers John and James Abrams who, despite only being just into their twenties, already carry an impressive CV, having the honour of being the youngest Canadians to appear at the Grand Ole Opry and having already put out a couple of albums under their own auspices. Now they’ve been picked up by a major label (Warner Music Canada) and have their first EP produced by Gavin Brown, who has also produced for such bands as The Tragically Hip and Barenaked Ladies.  Continue reading “The Abrams “The Abrams” (Warner Music Canada, 2016)”

Steepways “Holy Smoke” (Mansion House Records 2017)

This is a strong first album from London songwriting duo Blair Chadwick and Charlie Bateson, operating under the nom de guerre of Steepways.
They’ve assembled a talented group of musicians around them – Drummer Jamie Shaw, pedal steel player Darren Buddell, Andy Fairclough on Hammond Organ and other keyboards (is there such a thing as a song that can’t be improved by the addition of a Hammond Organ?!) and Chris Clarke playing bass and making a major contribution as producer. They also have former Alabama 3 singer Siobhan Parr providing some outstanding backing vocals and a nice duet on penultimate track Rather Be Alone.  Continue reading “Steepways “Holy Smoke” (Mansion House Records 2017)”

Ned Roberts “Outside My Mind” (Aveline, 2017)

“Outside My Mind” is the follow-up album to 2014’s eponymous debut from London based folk artist Ned Roberts – and it’s a confident and well-produced recording. In fact, in many ways this album belongs almost as much to producer and multi-instrumentalist Luther Russell as to Roberts himself, with Russell providing drums, electric guitar, piano and backing vocals as well as studio guidance. But it is Ned Roberts’ album and it’s a strong one. Ned has a great voice, slightly reminiscent of Nick Drake but also with a little James Taylor in his tone – no bad thing for a singer-songwriter. He’s also a fine guitar player in the folk finger picking style and his songs, pulled together over a three year period for this recording, are very listenable indeed.  Continue reading “Ned Roberts “Outside My Mind” (Aveline, 2017)”

The Sweet Water Warblers “With You” (SweetWaterWarblers, 2017)

Wow! These ladies can really sing. The quality of the harmony work on all the tracks on this EP is just outstanding. Hailing from Michigan, the Sweet Water Warblers are Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou and May Erlewine, three women who had already forged independent reputations on the American Roots circuit, they came together at a festival appearance in 2014 and haven’t looked back since. Continue reading “The Sweet Water Warblers “With You” (SweetWaterWarblers, 2017)”