Wayne Graham “Mexico” (K & F Records, 2016)

Wayne Graham is a duo, Hayden and Kenny Miles, brothers from Whitesburg, South-East Kentucky, where their father founded a church and they backed the services on drums and bass. Wayne Graham is a composition of both their grandfather’s first names. Both were coal miners, as were their father and uncle, until the closure of the mines, following the strikes of the United Mines Workers in the 1970’s. Barbara Kopple’s Oscar winning film “Harlan County USA” depicts the area at the time – a reminder of the miners strikes in the UK. Continue reading “Wayne Graham “Mexico” (K & F Records, 2016)”

Chuck Prophet plays live on Andrew Marr

Chuck Prophet, whose new album “Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins” came out a few days ago (and which we reviewed rather glowingly) popped into the Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning to play the song Bad Year for Rock and Roll from that record which you can watch over on the iPlayer here. The clue is in the name for the song’s theme, reading like a gloomy roll call. Chuck is in the middle of a series of UK dates at the moment – you’ve still got time to catch him in Bristol’s Tunnels tonight and London’s Garage tomorrow evening. Or if you don’t want to risk the chance of seeing Liz Truss talking about Brexit, you can at least hear the song in all its original glory below.  Continue reading “Chuck Prophet plays live on Andrew Marr”

Jackalope Tales “Let Me Tell You a Story” (Independent, 2017)

‘Let Me Tell You a Story’ is the second full-length album from the Sheffield based folk trio Jackalope Tales. It is comprised of three previously released EPs plus a couple of bonus tracks, the band mainly performing songs written by their American songwriter Linda Lee Welch. The album opens with a group composition A Jackalope Tale. What’s a jackalope you ask?  Well… a jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a fearsome critter) described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns. Thanks Wikipedia. Still no wiser; the track appears to be an attempt at an adult nursery rhyme listing as it does things related or pertaining to this creature. It swings along but the vocals unfortunately are not good or idiosyncratic enough to bring any charm in the lyrical nonsense to the fore, and consequently the track doesn’t escape the boundaries of some naive lyricism and rudimentary bluegrass.
Continue reading “Jackalope Tales “Let Me Tell You a Story” (Independent, 2017)”

Elouise “Deep Water” (Independent, 2016)

Well, here’s a thing we’ve been waiting for: another subdivision of the Americana genre, with Elouise Walker and her band declaring their sound to be Blackgrass. It’s distinctive from the already familiar Southern Gothic by (for the most part) eschewing the overtly “spooky” overtones and concentrating more on dissipation, disassociation and a generally downtrodden and bleak outlook on life – and then coupling that with reworked Bluegrass and Old Timey standards. Amazing Grace, to just take one such, swings back and forth like a drunken addict mumbling to herself in a cracked and wheezing vocal which carries little conviction of the reality of the salvation that’s being claimed. Continue reading “Elouise “Deep Water” (Independent, 2016)”

Martha Tilston releases double A-side to preview new album: Listen

Martha Tilston has announced details of her new album “Nomad” which will be released via Squiggly Records on May 12th. Her seventh album to date, it will be preceded by the double A-side single Nomad Blood/Little Arrow, and there’ll be UK tour dates to follow.  Previously part of the duo Mouse, Martha Tilston – who is the daughter of Steve Tilston – has gone on to pursue a nice little solo career, receiving a nomination for Best New Act at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards alongside collaborations with Zero 7, J-Spool and Tru Thoughts Records. The new album was born while Tilston and her collaborators were recording her previous album “The Sea” hidden away in a seaside cottage in Cornwall. Listen to (both sides of) the new single, which also has rather fetching cover art, below. Continue reading “Martha Tilston releases double A-side to preview new album: Listen”

Passenger releases anti-Trump song for refugees – Watch

We can’t tell you how heart-warming this little number is – the sentiments might be laid on thick but there’s more than a hint of humour in it, it’s not your traditional angsty protest song. As Rosenberg writes on his site: “Let me start by saying I have never felt the need to write a song like this before. I am by no means an expert in global politics nor feel that my opinion should be any more valued than the next guy. I do feel however that we all have a responsibility to speak out about the things that we believe in, whatever they may be and in whatever fashion we choose. This should be a basic right for everybody.” Continue reading “Passenger releases anti-Trump song for refugees – Watch”

Aaron Lee Tasjan “Silver Tears” (New West, 2016)

The cover image for Aaron Lee Tasjan’s latest release shows him sporting a two-piece suit entirely bejeweled with 10p-coin-sized silver sequins (or quarter-sized, in US coinage). Looking at this scaly, Stetson-wearing disco ball of a merman glisten in the sun, one can’t help but think “OK, this is going to be quirky. And not necessarily in a good way”. Fortunately, any suspicions of empty showmanship are dismissed from the very first moments of playback. The opener Hard Life is air-tight, with a 70s funky groove rolling slowly but assuredly forward, carrying playfully witty lyrics along with it. It sets the tone for the rest of the record nicely, “tight” and “70s” being keywords here. Continue reading “Aaron Lee Tasjan “Silver Tears” (New West, 2016)”