David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)

David Crosby always wanted to sing jazz, and he made some forays into jazzier territory even within The Byrds with songs like Mind Gardens, but has really only indulged this urge more fully within the most recent releases from the duo Crosby-Nash and, most completely, with his work with CPR. Sky Trails features the R of CPR – in the form of Crosby’s biological son James Raymond – across the album and as producer whilst the P – that’s Jeff Pevar – appears on one track. Perhaps unsurprisingly Sky Trails sounds quite CPR-ish. Continue reading “David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)”

Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)

A mini-LP with something of a Californian West Coast vibe, yet delivered from the wilds of Essex. On vinyl too! Russell and The Wolf Choir actually nail a power pop/indie sound pretty well in the first part of this record. Big fuzzy choruses abound, with hints of Pixies guitars, Teenage Fanclub harmonies, Tom Petty arrangements (God rest his soul) and suitably non-bombastic vocals. Continue reading “Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)”

Hayley Thompson-King “Psychotic Melancholia, Hard To Kill Records, 2017

It is only with the closing track here that you’d know that HTK is a trained opera singer, the rest of the time she is belting out garage rock like No Room for Jesus or immersing herself in good old country music as on her straight-ahead take on Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You. Whatever she does, she does with conviction, never shying away from raw emotion; whether it’s the Breeder’s like Teratoma or the feral rock and roll of Lot’s Wife, she doesn’t mind shredding her vocal chords for the cause. Continue reading “Hayley Thompson-King “Psychotic Melancholia, Hard To Kill Records, 2017”

The Barr Brothers “Queens Of The Breakers” (Secret City Records, 2017)

Welcome to the big time, where everybody knows your name, where they are waiting to see if you will soar on high or sink like a stone because in this game once you’ve made it, the hard part is sustaining it.  The Barr Brothers third record was alarmingly dubbed “Anthemic”, although in truth the term was only officially used in relation to the release of title track Queens Of The Breakers, a ballsy call back to Brad and Andrew’s youth as cross-dressing scallywags terrorising the residents of Newport, Rhode Island and the hilltop mansion of The Breakers where the song – and the album – takes its name. Continue reading “The Barr Brothers “Queens Of The Breakers” (Secret City Records, 2017)”

Jon Langford “Four Lost Souls” (Bloodshot Records 2017)

Jon Langford has an interesting and genre-hopping career as founding member of punk icons, the Mekons (celebrating their 40th anniversary this year), as well as alt-country pioneers, the Waco Brothers. Music aside, he’s also a celebrated artist, his paintings and prints of many illustrious music heroes having been exhibited all over the world, including the Country Music Hall of Fame. Continue reading “Jon Langford “Four Lost Souls” (Bloodshot Records 2017)”

Andrew Combs + Eric McEntee, The Victoria, Dalston, 1st November 2017

If you are a lover of beautifully crafted, passionate and intelligently written Americana songs then an Andrew Combs gig is always going to be something special.  Andrew is one of those enigma artists who everybody that comes across his work is amazed that he is not far more famous than his current standing. Tonight was a small gig in a room behind a pub in the increasingly trendy Dalston.  Sadly for Andrew, Dalston is also one of the places in London not served by the underground and a bit too far out of the way for everyone except the locals and his determined fans.  Continue reading “Andrew Combs + Eric McEntee, The Victoria, Dalston, 1st November 2017”

Dave Stewart “Nashville Sessions – The Duets” (DSE/Membran, 2017)

Dave Stewart is most likely to be best known for his work alongside Annie Lennox – however, he is more than just the co-founder of The Eurythmics. With a career spanning over 40 years, millions of records sold, a number of high-profile collaborations and various forays into other channels of media,  Stewart is one of the most renowned and respected musicians in the business and his newest release, is a collection of songs made up of the best duets recorded during the album sessions for three different records ‘The Blackbird Diaries’, ‘The Ringmaster General’ and ‘Lucky Numbers’ recorded and released over a three year period. Alongside Stewart on the record, are some very talented and very famous friends including Stevie Nicks, Alison Krauss Colbie Caillat, Joss Stone and many more, who, without exception, deliver brilliant vocal performances and perfectly justify why they themselves, are all household names in their own right. Continue reading “Dave Stewart “Nashville Sessions – The Duets” (DSE/Membran, 2017)”