Rachel Yamagata “Tightrope Walker” (Frankenfish Records, 2016)

rachael-yamagata-tightrope-walkerRachel Yamagata can boast a who’s who of past co-conspirators – Ryan Adams, Bright Eyes and Ray Lamontagne most notably. To consider her purely on those terms, though, would be quite the disservice. Tightrope Walker is her fourth solo record; the first after a long gap of five years. Her muse for the project was Phillipe Petit – the infamous French high-wire artist who crossed between the Twin Towers in 1974. Petit’s reasoning behind the motivation for his feats, essentially ‘just because’ informed Yamagata’s songwriting raison d’etre –why not just quit? Why keep persevering? Just because – that’s why. It’s what musicians have to do!  Continue reading “Rachel Yamagata “Tightrope Walker” (Frankenfish Records, 2016)”

Stephen Feldman “The Ancient Art” (Independent, 2016)

Finding stephenfeldman1any information about Stephen Feldman on the internet is no easy task which is a pity as it would be good to tell more about an artist who has produced a very satisfying and thoughtful album here. It seems as though he is a Los Angeles based folk musician who is somewhat a veteran having released a number of albums before as part of a group called Poppa’s Kitchen but that is about all that is available. There are eleven songs here all of which have been written by or co written by the artist and all paint pictures of people and events. Continue reading “Stephen Feldman “The Ancient Art” (Independent, 2016)”

Radical Face, The Scala, London – Tuesday 22nd November 2016

The Scala’s stage had been transformed into a magical winter forest – with bare skeletal trees adorned with tiny lights and a drifting mist from the smoke machine making for a Narnian backdrop for both Radical Face and their opener Austin Basham. In a checked shirt and bearded, of course, and sporting a wholly unnecessary – given the rising temperature in the Scala – woolly hat Austin Basham had the appearance of a woodsman, his axe in this case being an acoustic guitar. Continue reading “Radical Face, The Scala, London – Tuesday 22nd November 2016”

Fred’s House “Fault Lines” (Cracking Tunes, 2016)

freds-house-2016Fault Lines is the second album by Fred’s House, following on from their well-received debut, Bonnie and Clyde. Wikipedia cites them as an award winning band based in Cambridge mixing elements of Folk, Pop, Country, Classic Rock and West Coast with a definite vintage feel to their music, echoing the 70’s but creating a fresh new sound that is very much part of now. Continue reading “Fred’s House “Fault Lines” (Cracking Tunes, 2016)”

Hickory Signals “Noise of the Waters” EP (Hickory Signals, 2016)

hickory-signals-2-jpegIf you are a fan of the awesome Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage and you loved their recent supremely divine album Before the Sun then you are going to love, the new 6-track EP from Brighton-based folkateers, Hickory Signals which has just been released. At their recent gig at Union Chapel, supporting Sarah Jarosz, accolades were running thick and fast, like a delicious meaty broth for Sanders and Savage, whom, if the venerable Pete Frame were still composing his family trees, would confirm that Hickory Signals, if not exactly living on the same strasse as Sanders and Savage, well, were living in the same stockade, in a similar cosy hamlet. Continue reading “Hickory Signals “Noise of the Waters” EP (Hickory Signals, 2016)”

Michael Baker ”Dust & Bone” (Keys To The Kingdom Records, 2016)

michael_bakerMichael Baker may be a relative unknown in the world of Americana, but he shouldn’t be. ‘Dust & Bone’ is a mighty-accomplished album, with more than a hint of alt-rock and acoustic folk thrown in with the beautiful songwriting and smooth vocals. Kicking off with ‘Steady & The Stuck’, the acoustic intro quickly drops into a full-band chorus and whilst it is not overly electric or loud, it does contain a lot of power that turns the track into a wonderful introduction to Michael’s Anglo-French take on a classic Americana style. Continue reading “Michael Baker ”Dust & Bone” (Keys To The Kingdom Records, 2016)”

The Ormewoods “The Bedroom Sessions” (Independent, 2016)

Thithe-ormewoodss is unashamedly happy music from a new Atlanta based duo Don McCollister and Claire Pearson who appear all loved up and want the world to know about it. And why not in a year full of fraction and strife? Just to add to the frisson we are told that the record was recorded in the bedroom of Claire Pearson who wrote the lyrics on the ten tracks here. There is an energy and enthusiasm to the music which is refreshing and uplifting and whilst the excellent “Hey Babe” has a rootsy feel in the main the songs are mainstream pop fare.

Continue reading “The Ormewoods “The Bedroom Sessions” (Independent, 2016)”