Chastity Brown, Borderline, London, 13th June 2017

Chastity Brown apologises for the four year hiatus in her albums. “But I’m from Tennessee” she remarks. It could be that the record company need that explanation but it pretty much looks like every man and woman in here tonight is simply happy to see Chastity Brown back with new material no matter how long the break. Androgynous and self- assured, she grew up near Memphis but her adopted home for the last twelve years has been Minneapolis and the material on offer tonight from new album Silhouette of Sirens befits her biker boots, black waxed skinny jeans and jacket as there is a more obvious rock edge. Continue reading “Chastity Brown, Borderline, London, 13th June 2017”

Le Vent Du Nord, The Stables, Wavendon, 13th June 2017

Quebec four piece folk sensation Le Vent Du Nord made a return visit to The Stables on a UK tour which is mostly taking in a number of folk festivals offering the group high billing. Drawing on a heritage of imported European traditions their sound offers a blend of French, English and Irish music in particular as well as Le Vent Du Nord’s own writings in the Quebecois traditional style and an unexpected (even by the band) touch of country music. It turns out that not every book of lyrics found in an attic is actually all that old. Continue reading “Le Vent Du Nord, The Stables, Wavendon, 13th June 2017”

Chris Shiflett, 100 Club, Oxford Street, London, 13th June 2017

In these reviews I often find myself harking back to a period in London’s long lost rock history: the pub rock and early punk days of 75/76 that, in particular, the west of the city became associated with. Tonight’s gig is in the legendary 100 Club slap bang in heart of town. It’s a busy affair. The man I’m here to see is supporting Jet’s Nic Cester and veteran indie /punk broadcaster is Gary Crowley is DJing. It’s a superb gig, full of the right amount of joviality, rawness and musicianship, but as the sun rises the next morning, I’m thinking of west London again and the tower blocks that flank the Westway, the landscapes so evocative of early Clash artwork. Continue reading “Chris Shiflett, 100 Club, Oxford Street, London, 13th June 2017”

Yola Carter, The Borderline, London. 8th June 2017

At a recently revamped Borderline, Yola Carter took to the stage amidst an air of anticipation with Carter having recently won UK Artist of the Year at the AMA UK Awards. Carter is an immediate stage presence, both warm and welcoming and clearly the leader of the band. She immediately engages with the audience and throughout the night is both humorous and open with her  self-deprecating banter. Continue reading “Yola Carter, The Borderline, London. 8th June 2017”

Joe Purdy, The Portland Arms, Cambridge, 9th June 2017

Perhaps the events of the previous night gave this Joe Purdy gig an additional frisson – who couldn’t be even more than usually moved by songs asking for – nay, demanding – equality, tolerance and understanding the day after divisiveness and insularity had been so strikingly rejected ? Here, in a small venue behind the main bar of The Portland Arms, was an audience waiting for Joe Purdy to articulate the way that they were feeling – and he didn’t disappoint. Continue reading “Joe Purdy, The Portland Arms, Cambridge, 9th June 2017”

Ron Sexsmith, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 24th May 2017

Late spring London was showing off its finery on an exceptionally warm evening, whilst Lori Cullen was inside the Islington Assembly Hall as opening act for Ron Sexsmith, singing her light jazzy songs – some of them co-writes by her husband and Ron (who provided the lyrics) – that make up her new album. The inattentive and chatty audience aside, it’s the perfect gentle scene setter for the main man. Ron Sexsmith is, of course, a songwriter deep in the tradition of the craft – if I was the kind of person who used the phrase I might say Old School – hell, he even has a slide show from a genuine slide projector to accompany his set. Continue reading “Ron Sexsmith, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 24th May 2017”

Kilkenny Roots Festival, 28th April – 1st May 2017, Kilkenny, Ireland

This was the second time your intrepid reporter has attended the annual celebration of all things good in Roots and Americana music that’s held in the beautiful city of Kilkenny in Ireland and now that it’s done and dusted, I can only scratch my head and wonder why only twice? Arriving on the Friday afternoon the first stop was Cleeres bar and on entering a pint of the local ale was thrust into my hand amidst many welcoming cries. It’s that kind of weekend. Folk I’d met once before at last year’s fest instantly said hello, some were veterans who have been attending since the nineties, some fellow newbies and soon we were all perusing the festival programme and working out our itineraries. Continue reading “Kilkenny Roots Festival, 28th April – 1st May 2017, Kilkenny, Ireland”