The Glass Mountains, Folk Modern – Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton, 5th October 2017

“If life were a hotel, then I’d be checking out right now,” sings young frontman Owen Davies. A little extreme for a 25 year old maybe, but All kinds of Trouble, written by one of the more senior members of the band, is delivered with credible sincerity by Davies. The Glass Mountains are slightly incongruous in this folk club atop the Brixton branch of the Picturehouse boutique cinema chain. It’s Americana-UK’s first trip to the club and I imagine that the band’s Stetsons and denim shirts are not de-rigueur for this monthly showcase. Continue reading “The Glass Mountains, Folk Modern – Upstairs at the Ritzy, Brixton, 5th October 2017”

Thunder and Rain “Start Believing” (Independent, 2017)

Thunder and Rain are a four piece from Golden, Colorado who describe their music as an exploration of rock and country music using bluegrass level acoustic musicianship. There are songs here, particularly those that highlight the mandolin of Pete Weber and the lap steel of Chris Herbst, where the music does indeed have a hint of bluegrass running through it but the overall feel of the album is more akin to country pop. Continue reading “Thunder and Rain “Start Believing” (Independent, 2017)”

The Winterlings “American Son” (Independent, 2017)

The history of popular music is littered with chance encounters and the random coming together of artists but surely the Buddhist fire ritual that brought Wolff Bowden and Amanda Birdsall together must be right up there as one of the most unlikely. The Winterlings were borne out of that chance encounter and a move to the wilderness that is the Pacific Northwest seven years ago has subsequently given birth to a creative and productive partnership that continues with the new album American Son. Continue reading “The Winterlings “American Son” (Independent, 2017)”

Dia del Mercado “Another Clumsey Mile” (Root and Branch Recordings, 2017)

Tumbleweeds roll through a dusty town, the barroom doors clatter back and forth in the wind and the Ennio Morricone soundtrack rattles with a raucous choir. It’s not, however, a cheroot chewing man with no name who stumbles into view – rather it is Ruud Slingerland, the Dutch multi-instrumentalist behind the Dia del Mercado name.  Another Clumsey Mile (and, by-the-by, that is the given spelling) is a selection of five new songs taken from a return to Slingerland’s musical roots – putting together tracks home recorded in his living room. Continue reading “Dia del Mercado “Another Clumsey Mile” (Root and Branch Recordings, 2017)”

Sophia Marshall “Bye Bye” (Independent, 2017)

Following on from her solo debut EP last year comes a full album from Leicester’s Sophia Marshall, once half of the much missed Havenots.  It’s a slender little thing, with nine songs clocking in at a tad over thirty minutes but there’s much to like and indeed love.  All are Marshall originals bar Losing You, co-written with former Havenots partner Liam Dullaghan and it’s a little ironic that it’s the co-write that is the least successful piece here.  It’s catchy, poppy and boasts a great tune but just doesn’t quite seem to be Marshall in the way that the other songs are and some of the higher notes are somewhat strained. Continue reading “Sophia Marshall “Bye Bye” (Independent, 2017)”

Cameron Blake “Fear Not” (Independent 2107)

This is a very thoughtful and in some respects mystical album from Cameron Blake a classically trained music scholar now resident in Michigan. The album consists of twelve songs all written by Blake who is also the co-producer here. The tracks cover a wide subject range and lyrics are clever and sensitive. The album kicks off with the title track Fear Not featuring Blake on piano with viola, cello and upright bass accompaniment and strings. A love song of sorts the song is finished with choir backing the classical training of the artist clearly coming through. Continue reading “Cameron Blake “Fear Not” (Independent 2107)”

The Travelling Band “Sails” (Sideways Saloon Records, 2017)

First off, it’s nice to have a vinyl release to review. Vinyl has a warmer sound and a better tonal range than CDs or downloads, so it’s nice to hear a band making the most of the format. It’s a good quality pressing too and on white vinyl – very stylish. Of course, it doesn’t matter how stylish or upmarket the format is – it’s the music that matters and Mancunian rockers, The Travelling Band, serve up an extremely good selection of music on this album. Continue reading “The Travelling Band “Sails” (Sideways Saloon Records, 2017)”