Anjana Vasan “Too Dark For Country” (Folkroom Records 2018)

Anjana Vasan is an actress who now demonstrates a new side to her talents as a singer / songwriter with a really impressive four track debut EP ‘Too Dark for Country’. This is essentially an acoustic folk record with the essence of blues and country on show. Vasan has a strong and powerful voice which she uses to full effect on each track. Continue reading “Anjana Vasan “Too Dark For Country” (Folkroom Records 2018)”

The Dad Horse Experience “I Am a Stranger Here Below” (Off Label Records 2018)

Fifty years on this Earth in 2018 and Dad Horse Ottn, the German based eccentric behind this wonderful album continues to plough a furrow that is both deep and musically satisfying as well as wonderfully idiosyncratic and original. This is banjo-based Appalachian nu rock n roll! There’s gospel, bluegrass, Blues and bawdiness as well as Southern soul and yodelling, bondage and tram shootings. Continue reading “The Dad Horse Experience “I Am a Stranger Here Below” (Off Label Records 2018)”

The Hanging Stars “Songs For Somewhere Else” (Crimson Crow, 2018)

THS are carving out a nice niche for themselves. They sit somewhere between the Broken Family Band and the Rockingbirds with a dash of psychedelic hot sauce. At their most esoteric they are able to combine traditional Country sounds with something a little less traditional: Dig A Hole starts off with steel guitar leading the way in a country shuffle then a middle section that relocates Calexico to Heckmondwike which changes the perspective before the steel guitar once again cascades over the song like a river of molten lava, for the last section the brass and steel flash against each other. Continue reading “The Hanging Stars “Songs For Somewhere Else” (Crimson Crow, 2018)”

Hannah White “Elephant Eye” (Sound Lounge Records, 2017)

London based Hannah White has gathered a fine crew around her for her latest album, Elephant Eye. Producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore, Martha Wainwright, Joan Baez) plays several instruments, Chris J Hillman adds pedal steel while Jimmy Forres handles guitar duties and Paul Beavis (Andy Fairweather Low, Sandi Thom) is the percussionist driving them on. Continue reading “Hannah White “Elephant Eye” (Sound Lounge Records, 2017)”

Moonsville Collective EPs “I” “2” “3” (Moonsville Records 2017)

These three EP’s are the first three instalments of a planned quartet of releases, and there’s nothing startlingly different about each record. They are all super competent Americana, aiming foursquare for the middle ground, populated by the likes of later period Avett Brothers, five tracks each, short and sweet punches, drawing no blood but spraying sugary harmonies with each jab landing. Continue reading “Moonsville Collective EPs “I” “2” “3” (Moonsville Records 2017)”

Lydia Loveless “Boy Crazy & Singles(s)” (Bloodshot Records, 2017)

Starting off as a punk inspired country siren, Lydia Loveless soon progressed to offering feisty pop orientated numbers, still imbued with a country punk attitude. Boy Crazy & Single(s) is a handy catch up compendium of her 2013 EP, Boy Crazy along with several songs originally released as singles. Released in both CD and vinyl editions it’s the latter which is likely to appeal to hard core fans as none of these have previously been given the vinyl treatment. For others, the CD is a fine introduction to Ms. Loveless’s music. Continue reading “Lydia Loveless “Boy Crazy & Singles(s)” (Bloodshot Records, 2017)”

The Raving Beauties “Raving For Bap” (Farm Music, 2017)

Irishman Bap Kennedy left us far too early, hit by the curse of cancer and passing on at only 54 in 2016.  In his memory, and with all proceeds going to Marie Curie cancer care, comes this great five track tribute EP from The Raving Beauties.  The twist here is that the Beauties don’t actually exist, being in fact a one-off collaboration between Belfast man Brian Bell and Oxford’s rather wonderful Dreaming Spires. Continue reading “The Raving Beauties “Raving For Bap” (Farm Music, 2017)”

Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach” ( Independent, 2018)

Faecal Microbial Transfer. There. I’ve said it. I’m not saying that this debut album from Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine is shit. In fact, the opposite is true: it’s excellent! It’s just that when I say I have a gut feeling about this band, it reminds me of the feeling in his gut that Jeff Leach, anthropologist and founder of the Human Food Project, and American Gut, experienced whilst out on a field trip with the last hunter-gatherers on the planet – the Hadza of East Tanzania. Now, some might say that East Nashville, where Eagle flies, or East Tanzania, ain’t that different in their own sweet, way. They’re both pretty wild. Ask Todd Snider! Anyhoo, engaged with his quest to research the human microbiome, in his enthusiasm, out in the bush, Jeff scooped up a steaming pile of fresh poo, deposited by one of his Hadza guides, with a turkey baster and fired said ca-ca deep into his own rectum and gastro-intestinal system. Continue reading “Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach” ( Independent, 2018)”

Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)

“Your friendly neighbourhood Americana supergroup,” they say, and while one might think that it’s a tad pompous there’s an element of truth in this statement. From the ashes of ahab, a band who always seemed to be on the cusp of making it, Stephen Llewellyn, Dave Burn and Graham Knight eventually teamed up with ex Noah & The Whale (another on the cusp band) guitarist, Fred Abbott and Steve Brooks (from Danny & The Champs) to form Orphan Colours. An EP release in 2016 was well received and now we have the debut album, an album forged in the face of adversity. As Llewellyn explains, “At the end of 2013 both ahab and Noah & The Whale had been chewed up and spit out by the music business.” Despite this, Llewellyn was determined to give it another go, the new band revved up and raring to go, the album title referring to his final gamble as he bet all on the band’s success. Continue reading “Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)”

James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band “High Fences” (Dead Records Collective, 2017)

January is a miserable month. The weather’s terrible, nobody has any money, everyone’s back at work for another year’s grind and there’s next to nothing happening musically. Which makes the release of ‘High Fences’ something to celebrate and then some (ok, it was actually released in mid-December but just go with it ok). Continue reading “James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band “High Fences” (Dead Records Collective, 2017)”