JP Den Tex “Wolf!” (Cavalier Recordings, 2017)

Wolf! is described as an Americana concept album – the story of a 57 year old German music producer who finds his life falling apart when he makes some unwise investments, and his wife leaves him and he has to become a sixties folk revival singer – and finds that his audience just want to mock him. That’s what it says on the inlay card anyway. If one just listened to the music on the album it would soon become clear that there isn’t a single clear tie-up with the concept. Continue reading “JP Den Tex “Wolf!” (Cavalier Recordings, 2017)”

Elliott Brood “Ghost Gardens” (Paper Bag Records, 2017)

Elliott Brood are a three piece band – musicians Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin – who hail from Ontario, Canada and “Ghost Gardens” is their sixth full length studio album and the first since 2014’s “Work And Love”. Apparently this album came about with the rediscovery of a misplaced hard drive that held a number of lost songs from the band’s earlier years – rough demos and song outlines. Hence the album’s title, as Ghost Gardens refers to gardens of houses that have been abandoned but the plants continue to grow. Continue reading “Elliott Brood “Ghost Gardens” (Paper Bag Records, 2017)”

Southbound Attic Band “Seekers Of Solace” (Independent, 2017)

Up and down the country there are any number of unsung musical outfits. Most never play further than twenty miles from home and they’ll never win an award or be featured in a broadsheet (or even a music magazine). But they do it for love (heaven knows there’s no money) and a lot of them produce some fine music along the way. Liverpool’s acoustic outfit the Southbound Attic Band, aka Barry Jones and Ronnie Clark, are a fine example of these unsung heroes and their fifth album has a baker’s dozen songs that you’d be more than happy to run across (and then run across again). Continue reading “Southbound Attic Band “Seekers Of Solace” (Independent, 2017)”

Jessica Lea Mayfield “Sorry Is Gone” (ATO Records, 2017)

There are times when great pieces of music can be produced out of the most unlikely source material. As, in her own words, the poisonous marriage of Jessica Lea Mayfield unfolded before her eyes, she started to write lyrics that began to reclaim her life as she reflected on years of domestic abuse. As the songs took shape they acted as therapy and the end product is a searingly open and honest piece of work. Continue reading “Jessica Lea Mayfield “Sorry Is Gone” (ATO Records, 2017)”

The Strange Blue Dreams “The Strange Blue Dreams” (Holy Smokes Records, 2017)

Amongst the many strands of American inspired revivalist music – whether it be Appalachian folk or pre-war Blues, the sounds of the sixties folk boom or the reclaiming of minstrelsy and old-time music one musical thread that has not been so heavily championed is – with the possible exception of Rockabilly and hep-cat music – that strange melange of styles that was present at the birth of Rock and Roll.  Scottish band The Strange Blue Dreams are setting out to redress the balance a little on their debut album with a diverse collection of songs that sound like nothing more or less than a 1956 juke box. Continue reading “The Strange Blue Dreams “The Strange Blue Dreams” (Holy Smokes Records, 2017)”

The Doomed Bird of Providence “Burrowed into the Soft Sky” (Front & Follow, 2017)

TDBoP are the most evocative of the bands working in the post-rock landscape; their music always conjures up images even before you have any idea of the concepts behind them. That’s due to the purpose behind the songs – it’s not music of escape or abandon, it is music rooted in ideas and concepts, so whether passages are sweeping and grand or intimate and scratchy they are always driven by something and it’s the vision of something that makes them so compelling. Continue reading “The Doomed Bird of Providence “Burrowed into the Soft Sky” (Front & Follow, 2017)”

Kathryn Rose Wood “In The Ashes” (Independent 2017)

This is a debut album. It is a challenging album and a difficult album, but it is also an absolutely beautiful album. Kathryn Rose Wood, a singer/songwriter based in New Orleans, is also a clinical music therapist with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and therefore well aware of how powerful music can be in healing and improving well-being. It is poignant then, that the album is comprised of six songs that she wrote while grieving the suicide of her younger brother Preston and which chronicle the stages of grief. Continue reading “Kathryn Rose Wood “In The Ashes” (Independent 2017)”