The Mastersons “Transient Lullaby” (Red House Records, 2017)

Married couple Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore, the Texan voices and pens of The Mastersons, have spent a lot of their time in recent years as part of Steve Earle’s touring band The Dukes. They even double up as Earle’s opening act. This is their third album in five years. Clearly they’re busy people! For the most part Transient Lullaby is a gentle, introspective blend of country/pop-rock. Continue reading “The Mastersons “Transient Lullaby” (Red House Records, 2017)”

Scott Cook “Further Down The Line” (Independent, 2017)

Studious Canadian-born Americana singer-songwriter Scott Cook was influenced by Woody Guthrie among others. Further Down The Line is a unique release in that it comes complete with a 132 page book; a celebration in photographs of his ten years in the business, one that’s seen him travel the world. He doesn’t stop there because the chords for the songs are also included, and there are also notes about those mentioned in his songs. Continue reading “Scott Cook “Further Down The Line” (Independent, 2017)”

Le Vent Du Nord, The Stables, Wavendon, 13th June 2017

Quebec four piece folk sensation Le Vent Du Nord made a return visit to The Stables on a UK tour which is mostly taking in a number of folk festivals offering the group high billing. Drawing on a heritage of imported European traditions their sound offers a blend of French, English and Irish music in particular as well as Le Vent Du Nord’s own writings in the Quebecois traditional style and an unexpected (even by the band) touch of country music. It turns out that not every book of lyrics found in an attic is actually all that old. Continue reading “Le Vent Du Nord, The Stables, Wavendon, 13th June 2017”

Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)

Rear-ended by a car which sent me and my bicycle flying through the air, the kerb-stone rose up and smashed me in the face. Paramedics diagnosed a broken nose, fractured arm, wrist and cracked ribs, and as I lay there bleeding, I pondered that the only other thing to have made such an impact on me recently is this amazing new album by Donald Byron Wheatley. Moondogs and Mad Dogs is essentially a tribute by Wheatley to his father ‘Big Don’, who came from a family of showmen who have worked on fairgrounds up and down our fair land for the past one hundred and fifty years. Continue reading “Donald Byron Wheatley “Moondogs and Mad Dogs” (Maiden Voyage Recording Co, 2017)”

Dream Machine “The Illusion” (Castle Face Records, 2017)

Having wound up his band Warm Soda, going out with an excellent final album, Matthew Melton returns with his new band Dream Machine. Gone are the power pop leanings of Warm Soda and in comes a late sixties “heavy” band, which, not unlike H.P.Lovecraft, mixes swoops of electric organ and a garage rock feel but then also adds in the not-part-of-the-summer-of-love attitude of early Black Sabbath. Continue reading “Dream Machine “The Illusion” (Castle Face Records, 2017)”

Hannah Aldridge “Gold Rush” (Rootsy Music, 2017)

Hannah Aldridge. Remember that name because, I suspect, you’ll be hearing a lot more of it. “Gold Rush” may well be the best “non-name” release of the year to date but though Hannah Aldridge herself is not that well known yet (and it really is only a matter of time) you may recognise the surname, since her father is well respected Nashville songwriter Walt Aldridge – proving yet again that old adage that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Continue reading “Hannah Aldridge “Gold Rush” (Rootsy Music, 2017)”

Chris Shiflett, 100 Club, Oxford Street, London, 13th June 2017

In these reviews I often find myself harking back to a period in London’s long lost rock history: the pub rock and early punk days of 75/76 that, in particular, the west of the city became associated with. Tonight’s gig is in the legendary 100 Club slap bang in heart of town. It’s a busy affair. The man I’m here to see is supporting Jet’s Nic Cester and veteran indie /punk broadcaster is Gary Crowley is DJing. It’s a superb gig, full of the right amount of joviality, rawness and musicianship, but as the sun rises the next morning, I’m thinking of west London again and the tower blocks that flank the Westway, the landscapes so evocative of early Clash artwork. Continue reading “Chris Shiflett, 100 Club, Oxford Street, London, 13th June 2017”