David Starr “The Head and The Heart” (Independent, 2017)

Americana singer-songwriter David Starr, with a well-received tour of the UK and a new 6-track under his belt, finds his reputation as a performer has taken on another dimension. Such is the quality of the recording I find it hard to accept he isn’t a bigger name. Then again, that goes for a number of acts, and vice versa regards those hailed as stars, in reality nothing special on the Americana (or otherwise) scene. Depending largely on word of mouth, Starr is a most articulate singer-songwriter. Continue reading “David Starr “The Head and The Heart” (Independent, 2017)”

Daudi Matsiko “An Introduction to Failure” (Naim Records, 2017)

It’s clear from the moment the steely opening arpeggios breath life into Daudi Matsiko’s first full release, that this is going to be an up-close and personal journey. It’s one that starts like a rainstorm with opening track Home’s gentle bursts of fingerpicked melody giving way to a more substantial flow of strummed heartbreak. Before too long a bass drum brings the promise that it’s going to hammer it down and as the song builds, it briefly does, before giving way to the gentle drip of the storm’s end. Continue reading “Daudi Matsiko “An Introduction to Failure” (Naim Records, 2017)”

The Holy Innocents “Fortune” (Independent, 2017)

Belfast based The Holy Innocents surely have a rock’n’roll heart as they released this album late last year on vinyl and it’s only recently that a CD version has become widely available. A listen to the album reveals that the blood pumped through this heart has been transfused from across the water as it’s a wonderful homegrown amalgam of rootsy country, rock and country rock. Continue reading “The Holy Innocents “Fortune” (Independent, 2017)”

Philip Marino “Days Like These” (Independent, 2017)

Philip Marino is an American singer-songwriter living in England, Essex to be precise. Here is a simple case of our gain and their loss. Days Like These was recorded in New York’s Catskills Mountains, and produced by a man from the area, Simon Felice. Beautifully produced, as one would expect with Felice having something to do with it, the 5-track release has both Simone and his brother, James Felice contribute. Simon plays drums, percussion and harmony vocals, while James’ harmonium, piano, organ, accordion, synthesizer and harmony vocals form a solid working bass. Anna Sauchuk likewise lends vocal support to Marino (guitar), and doesn’t his guitar sound good. Continue reading “Philip Marino “Days Like These” (Independent, 2017)”

David Broza “The Set List” (Broza Records 2017)

The stalwart of Isreali musical co-operation and advocacy David Broza has spent his entire career trying to encourage dialogue and co-operation in a land where intolerance is common currency and oppression is a way of life.
This is a retrospective of a 40 yr plus career which has included being a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and performing with everyone from Jackson Browne and Townes van Zandt to the Palestinian rapper Muhammad Mughrabi and Steve Earle. Continue reading “David Broza “The Set List” (Broza Records 2017)”

Old Crow Medicine Show “50 Years of Blonde on Blonde” (Columbia, 2017)

This was always going to be a major undertaking anyway you dice it. Old Crow Medicine Show, all fiddles and banjos, decided to perform Dylan’s iconic “Blonde on Blonde” album in its entirety to mark its 50th anniversary. The members of this band weren’t even born when the original album was recorded! But they’re on record as being huge Dylan fans and that fandom rings through this album loud and clear. First off, it’s worth taking a moment to remember just what an important record Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde is. Continue reading “Old Crow Medicine Show “50 Years of Blonde on Blonde” (Columbia, 2017)”

MYATB (Me You & The Boy) “MYATB” (Independent, 2017)

Hmmmm. This is a short EP that gives a taster of the the acoustic guitar-based duo MYATB (Me You & The Boy). Essentially it sounds as if the duo have taken their busking exploits into a studio and captured the live sound. No bad thing if the songs are sufficiently arresting and inventive and the arrangements compelling. However that is not really the case here. The songs themselves do not benefit from an apparently flat production and the performances although musically competent (apart from one guitar break during “Pennypot Lane” wherein the guitarist appears to get lost) do not grab the listener – after a couple of plays the strident vocal delivery begins to irritate. Continue reading “MYATB (Me You & The Boy) “MYATB” (Independent, 2017)”