Tyne Darling “These Ghosts” (Hope Parade, 2017)

Tyne Darling is not a real person but the musical and stage moniker for Tommy Vollman, a writer and artist and it appears the subject matter of a forthcoming book. The songs apparently are a companion to various short stories that Vollman has written and cover a range of ambitious but somewhat ambiguous subjects. For example the promotional material provided suggests that Red-Letter Holiday and Come All You Ghosts offer “a no holds barred examination of the nature of rebellion and its polemic resistance.” Quite.
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Greg Wickham “If I Left this World” (Thirty Days Records, 2017)

Greg Wickham was a member of Hadacol, a rootsy “alt country” band who released two albums at the turn of the century and If I left This World is his first release in 15 years. Reuniting with band members Richard Burgess and his brother, Fred, Wickham was lured back into a studio as he felt the need to leave a musical message for his kids, something they could listen to when he was no longer around. Although he appears to be in fine health, the album is peppered with allusions to mortality and colleagues who have shuffled on, most notably the late Lou Whitney (who produced Hadacol) while there’s a sound clip of his own father singing a snippet of Big Iron. Continue reading “Greg Wickham “If I Left this World” (Thirty Days Records, 2017)”

JD Fox & The Velvet Street Band ‘’A Tribute To Donnie Fritts’’ (Independent, 2016)

The interesting thing about a lot of tribute albums is where the new artists take the songs. Donnie Fritts was a session musician for Kris Kristofferson for 40 years, and a pioneer in the music emerging from Muscle Shoals. JD Fox, or real name Jan De Vos, is a Belgian artist inspired by the roots music emerging from America, previously having recorded a tribute to Spooner Oldham, another pioneer from Alabama. The cross between Belgium and Muscle Shoals really does have the potential to be interesting, reinterpreting these classic American songs for a European audience perhaps not as familiar with the style as those growing up in the rural south. The record is certainly crafted with love, with a groovy backing well done using traditional instrumentation. Having said that, it does feel that JD’s vocals are separate from the backing, rather than being all part of a greater whole as often happens in live recordings. Continue reading “JD Fox & The Velvet Street Band ‘’A Tribute To Donnie Fritts’’ (Independent, 2016)”

Sam Outlaw “Tenderheart” (Six Shooter Records, 2017)

‘Tenderheart’ is the follow-up to Sam Outlaw’s well-received 2015 debut ‘Angeleno’ and Outlaw picks up where he left off to expand on his laid back, So-Cal country sound. Opening track Everyone’s Looking For Home chronicles the sacrifices and decisions made in pursuit of a music career kicking off with a soft vocal and building into a lush string arrangement and from here onward, you can really hear an artist that has found his sound and hit his stride. Continue reading “Sam Outlaw “Tenderheart” (Six Shooter Records, 2017)”

Carrie Elkin “The Penny Collector” (Independent, 2017)

This is a highly personal and emotional album from Texan Carrie Elkin. Named in honour of her father who passed away over a year ago and who was a lifelong collector of pennies it is one of those pieces of work that is a slow grower that demands attention but one which leaves the listener richly rewarded. Elkin has pedigree, learning her craft from many years of touring and working with a number of musicians including the great Sam Baker. Whilst Baker does not appear on this album he is credited with helping to get the songs together. Continue reading “Carrie Elkin “The Penny Collector” (Independent, 2017)”

The Cover Letter “Cities Made Of Sand” (Enter View Entertainment 2017)

Not your average badass college rockers, Austin’s The Cover Letter have the distinction of being one of USA’s Hot 100 Unsigned Bands according to Music Connection Magazine and tireless Texans in the gigging stakes to boot. What is a bit of a mystery is that Cities Made Of Sand is their second EP and they have yet to produce an album. They’ll have their reasons of course but for a collective of such pure energy as this bunch then it strikes an odd note that a full-length offering is yet to hit the shelves.  Continue reading “The Cover Letter “Cities Made Of Sand” (Enter View Entertainment 2017)”

Chantelle Tibbs “Long Time Running” (Mira Records, 2017)

Chantelle Tibbs’ musical tastes cover her first musical experience, that of singing in an R&B group, pop music and a fondness for bluegrass and Americana. Born in Vineyard, New Jersey and later relocating with her family to California, Tibbs is in possession of an incredibly beautiful voice. Tibbs, as a teenager was a member of the group Flipsyde, but was asked to leave because she was too tall. Even as a child Tibbs was involved in artistic activities, an award-winning dancer (one-time member of Dance Attack), and the face on numerous children’s toys. From starting school Tibbs knows what it is to be in front on the camera, but it is only now with her full-debut album “Long Time Running” do we see her throw herself fully into becoming a solo recording act.  Continue reading “Chantelle Tibbs “Long Time Running” (Mira Records, 2017)”