Danielle French Presents Miss Scarlett & The Madmen “Dark Love Songs” (Scarlet Raven Productions, 2016)

French-Danielle-2016A filmmaker and songwriter from Calgary in Canada, Danielle French delivers here nine songs she crafted while attending a series of songwriters’ workshops, the songs co-writes with fellow attendees and for the most part recorded with her co writers. Despite this plethora of contributors French keeps a firm hand on the tiller to deliver a strong set of songs that can probably be best described as slightly psychedelic folk with some dusty Americana and Weimer Republic cabaret thrown in for good measure. Continue reading “Danielle French Presents Miss Scarlett & The Madmen “Dark Love Songs” (Scarlet Raven Productions, 2016)”

The Hayes Sisters “Another Man’s Shoes” (Hayzey Records, 2016)

hayes-sistersThe Hayes sisters – Cathryn, Angela and Jennifer – had an acoustic folk trio in their teenage years and they played on their local folk club circuit around Manchester. They eventually gave up on it but now, twenty years later, they’ve decided to put the band back together. As well as all playing acoustic guitar, with Jen adding some banjo, their main thing was harmonised vocals – and they can still do that. In fact the best tracks on the album are those that feature their vocals and little or nothing else – the a cappella “Another Man’s Shoes” is one of the better things on the album.  Continue reading “The Hayes Sisters “Another Man’s Shoes” (Hayzey Records, 2016)”

Southern Tenant Folk Union “What Would You Give for a Leader with Soul?” (Johnny Rock Records, 2016)

Southern-Tenant-Fol-Union-2016On the “What would you give for a leader with soul?” EP the Southern Tenant Folk Union continues to blend bluegrass and a first folk revival sound to produce four heartfelt songs of protest and questioning. There’s more than a touch of “With God on our side” about the title track – that’s ok, Dylan got the tune from “The Merry Month of May” via Dominic Behan’s “The Patriot Game”. Folk singing – that’s recycling in operation. There’s no need to guess where the questions it poses comes from – so, you say that you’re tired of career politicians with no convictions, so here’s your challenge: will you vote for a politician offering a New Deal for the future? Continue reading “Southern Tenant Folk Union “What Would You Give for a Leader with Soul?” (Johnny Rock Records, 2016)”

This Frontier Needs Heroes “Real Job” (Independent 2016)

real-job-2The truly memorable first track says it all: “It Don’t Make No Sense”.  All six minutes plus is a good reason for buying this record. Not since the days of Country Joe can I remember my conscience being roused politically so much by a track and an album. “People must have lost their minds,” Brad Lauretti sings with languorous feeling! As he attempts to internalise all that is wrong at the moment, he is able to involve us in the picture: “One million refugees and everyone looks just like you and me. It don’t make no sense.”  Continue reading “This Frontier Needs Heroes “Real Job” (Independent 2016)”

Trevor Alguire “Perish The Light” (Independent, 2016)

album-cover-2Canadian singer-songwriter Trevor Alguire has in Perish The Light his sixth album, and with a wealth of travelling behind him back home and across Europe, he is a seasoned performer. No sooner does the needle drop onto the vinyl and Alguire establishes a groove as he shares stories of his worldly travels, speaks of love and of having to stand strong. “My Sweet Rosetta” produces an eerie piece of music for fellow Canadian, award winner Catherine MacLellan to perform a duet. Gritty, dark and foreboding through fine use of fiddle, Miranda Mulholland (Great Lake Swimmers, Belle Star) a moody and captivating canvas is painted. Continue reading “Trevor Alguire “Perish The Light” (Independent, 2016)”

Adam Torres “Pearls To Swine” (Fat Possum, 2016)

 

pearls-to-swine

American singer-songwriter Adam Torres’ pathway to become a fully committed recording artist has taken longer than it might. I can’t help but think his teaching and voluntary work, in rural villages in the Ecuadorian Andes (and other projects) since his 2006 debut has made the 30 year-old act a more rounded human being and instructed songwriter. Continue reading “Adam Torres “Pearls To Swine” (Fat Possum, 2016)”

Ben Bedford “The Pilot And The Flying Machine” (Waterbug Records, 2016)

a3621921761_10American singer-songwriter Ben Bedford’s fourth album is one of a plaintive, pure open sounding recording. The sound was obtained through utilising the acoustics of Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church in Springfield, Illinois. The Pilot And The Flying Machine was recorded over five days in January of this year, Bedford (acoustic guitar, vocals) and his touring partner of the past two years, Diederik van Wassenaer (violin, viola) and Ethan Jodziewicz (double bass) plus his wife, Kari Bedford who performs graceful harmony vocals. Jodziewicz studied under the legendary Edgar Meyer; and in turn is linked with him when engineer David Sinko (Punch Brothers, Meyer, Yo Yo Ma) does the honours in the department. Continue reading “Ben Bedford “The Pilot And The Flying Machine” (Waterbug Records, 2016)”