Morton Valence “Europa” (Bastard Recordings, 2017)

Were it not for the declaration on the album cover that “millions of us…consider ourselves as both citizens of the UK and Europe” Morton Valence’s latest release would represent the subtlest political album you’re ever likely to encounter. At first glance it’s a collection of multi-lingual cover versions, capped off with a reworking of the band’s own Sailors’ Return. Look a little closer and there’s a subliminal message here : je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais takes Serge Gainsbourg’s song and makes of it a lament for the EU Referendum vote, following it up with a crackling Weimer republic version of Wenn ich mir was wunschen durfte that hammers home the message. Continue reading “Morton Valence “Europa” (Bastard Recordings, 2017)”

Joe Purdy has something to sing about.

It is often said that hard times, or difficult times, bring forth the best music. You know – Woody and the Dust Bowl, the Civil Rights Movement and Dylan, Thatcherism and Bucks Fizz. Or should that be Billy Bragg? Anyway, that kind of thing. It does sometimes make one pause and wonder if the hard times are worth going through just to get the music, but then if they’re unavoidable at least having someone who’ll stand up and be counted, point a few fingers and tell a few home truths makes them a little easier to take. The craziness of the last couple of years has thrown up more than a few protest singers worth the name, but none more worthy than Joe Purdy. Continue reading “Joe Purdy has something to sing about.”

Mike Felten “Diamonds And Televisions” (2017, Independent)

It’s refreshing to come across an Americana album that’s essentially a fun listen, so kudos to Mike Felten for that feat alone. A Chicago native, he’s been a record store owner, open miker and gigging troubadour for the best part of half a century. Daresay that he’s pretty much seen it all… Continue reading “Mike Felten “Diamonds And Televisions” (2017, Independent)”

Slaid Cleaves previews track from new album

Over on Rolling Stone Country, much underrated Americana troubadour Slaid Cleaves has been talking about his upcoming new album  Ghost on the Car Radio and previewing the first song from it Drunken Barber’s Hand.   It’s a co-write with frequent collaborator Rod Picott who, as is often the case,  has released his own version of the tune.  Drunken Barber’s Hand sees Cleaves revisiting the more political bent he took on his last LP, 2013’s Still Fighting the War. Continue reading “Slaid Cleaves previews track from new album”