Richard Thompson “Acoustic Classics II” (Proper Records, 2017)

Richard Thompson has something of a reputation as a perfectionist, and this trait caused him, a couple of years back, to review his available acoustic recordings with a critical ear.  Mostly consisting of acoustic spots or complete solo acoustic concerts there was a lot of material available, but perhaps they weren’t the very finest recordings – not perfect presentations of band songs reconfigured for just one guitar and voice. Continue reading “Richard Thompson “Acoustic Classics II” (Proper Records, 2017)”

Songdog “Joy Street” (Junkyard Songs, 2017)

A new album from Lyndon Morgans, aka Songdog, is something to be eagerly anticipated, then played endlessly and treasured once it appears.  There truly is nobody else like him, nobody who does what he does and precious few as good.  In a more just world he’d be the subject of adulatory profiles in the broadsheets and sell out the finest concert halls in the land.  In this one though he’s a secret, garlanded with critical acclaim but clutched to the breasts only of those in the know, who hang on his every word and every song as if they were gold dust, which of course they are.

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David Crosby “The Broadcast Archive” (Gossip/Hobo/Zip City ,2017)

This live broadcast box represents how good these “archive” (aka bootleg) sets can be. This particular collection is made up of three CDs, two of which have been generally available for a few years. Towering Inferno is a Crosby, plus backing band, appearance from 1989, New Years Eve with the Dead is dated to 1986 whilst David and the Dorks is Croz with the Dead again, this time from 1970. Taking these from most recent to the earliest – Towering Inferno has a mix of songs from Oh Yes I Can, alongside classic CSN tracks. The sound is spot on, no complaints at all. Continue reading “David Crosby “The Broadcast Archive” (Gossip/Hobo/Zip City ,2017)”

Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)

Peter Graham is a Canadian singer-songwriter from the village of Millbrook, Ontario. Despite having a decade of song writing behind him this 5 track EP, Nowhere in Tacoma, is his debut. His music blends traditional country instrumentation and the narrative verse of folk, with an emphasis on concise and honest lyrics. Peter has surrounded himself with top notch musicians for this collection and they play a huge part in the overall sound. Opening track Tell Nobody Nothing has a lovely rhythmic feel with Anthony Carone’s piano, Dave Gibson’s drums, the pedal steel of Aaron Goldstein and the backing vocals of Brittany Clarke combining to great effect to produce a warm, radio friendly track. Continue reading “Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)”

Paul McClure and the Local Heroes “Paul McClure and the Local Heroes” (Clubhouse Records, 2017)

Given the number of gigs he plays up and down the country it comes as something of a surprise to find that Paul McClure, aka the Rutland Troubadour, has managed to find the time to record anything, but he has, and we should all be grateful for it as the world is a better place for the five songs on this EP.

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Catherine MacLellan “If It’s Alright With You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan” (True North Records, 2017)

Gene MacLellan’s not a name this writer is familiar with but mention two of his songs, Snowbird (a hit for Anne Murray) and Put Your Hand In The Hand (covered by just about everyone including Elvis and Johnny Cash) and it’s a fair bet that most folk will have a memory of hearing these.  MacLellan was a Canadian who recorded four albums in the seventies but it was his writing skills that attracted the likes of Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez and Bing Crosby to record his songs. Continue reading “Catherine MacLellan “If It’s Alright With You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan” (True North Records, 2017)”

Slaid Cleaves “Ghost on the Car Radio” (Proper Records 2017)

Slaid Cleaves releases his first album since 2013’s “Still Fighting the War” and it has to be said that the four-year wait has been worthwhile as “Ghost on the Car Radio” is an outstanding return. Born and raised in Maine but now a resident of Austin, Texas, Cleaves has clearly used the time wisely as this is an outstanding bunch of songs, full of insight and characters who are wrestling with the realities of modern life in small-town America such as the reflective tone of the amateur racer in Primer Gray who dwells on life’s changes as her relates his family’s connection to the sport. Or there are the changes that cause hardship to the family farm in Hickory as the narrator accepts that “you can’t stop the march of time”.  Continue reading “Slaid Cleaves “Ghost on the Car Radio” (Proper Records 2017)”