Dirty Dozen: Tall Heights

Getting there is half the fun, as the old saying goes, but the journey is really the whole point for Boston progressive-folk duo Tall Heights. Singer/guitarist Tim Harrington and singer/cellist Paul Wright know where they’ve been, and where they want to go. As for the route, well, “we’re just mapping it out as we take it, day by day,” says Harrington. They’ve reached their biggest junction so far — Neptune is Tall Heights’ first album for Sony Music Masterworks, and the latest step in the ongoing evolution of their sound and style. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Tall Heights”

Shirley Collins, The Barbican, London, 18th February 2017

Shirley Collins holds a unique place in the pantheon of English folk music – her 1959 song collecting journey in the USA, assisting Alan Lomax, is legendary enough but she also shook up the folk scene with collaborations with Davey Graham and her recordings with her sister Dolly which brought new arrangements to old songs which were sung in an unaffected English voice.  She was widely lauded as carrying a distinctive folk purity, acting almost as a vessel for the music, through the late sixties and into the seventies.  And then she lost her singing voice. Continue reading “Shirley Collins, The Barbican, London, 18th February 2017”

Rolling Stone interviews Jay Farrar on new Son Volt record

Good interview here which muses what Woody Guthrie would think about world events unfurling today. Rolling Stone Country reports: “”The title is obviously a nod to the blues, which ended up becoming the framework of this entire record,” states singer-guitarist Jay Farrar about Son Volt’s adventurous new album Notes of Blue. “Over the years I’ve done a couple blues-oriented songs here and there, but this time around there was an opportunity to focus a bit more on it all the way through.” Finding its aesthetic anchor in the storied blues tradition, Notes of Blue is the eighth studio album from Farrar’s Son Volt, a band who often works to widen the fence posts of the alt-country genre it is often credited with helping establish. Continue reading “Rolling Stone interviews Jay Farrar on new Son Volt record”

Neil McSweeney “A Coat Worth Wearing” (Hudson Records 2017)

An album that features an Edward Thomas poem on its sleeve notes is always going to be worth the time spent on it and the rule remains true with this latest offering from the Sheffield folkster. Muscular production and some stunning soundscapes lift the material above the simply strong and into the realm of the memorable. Forlorn Hope has some deep booming beats that underpin the groove and gladden the heart. But it is Danse Macabre that genuinely grabs the listener by the scruff of the neck demanding attention. Hymnal and elegiac the palette grows as vocals collide in a processional celebrating the wolf. There are comparisons to be made with Wolves by Phosphorescence not only in the haunted quality of the storytelling but in the subject matter and manner the story is told. Continue reading “Neil McSweeney “A Coat Worth Wearing” (Hudson Records 2017)”

OCMS ready Dylan tribute album

And after you’ve read this if you want to see them BURST into Columbia Nashville unannounced (the bare faced arrogance) then watch the clip below. Rolling Stone Country reports: “In May 2016, Old Crow Medicine Show paid tribute to Bob Dylan’s 1966 masterpiece Blonde on Blonde with a live re-creation of the album at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The Grammy-winning roots-music group, known for transforming a Dylan song sketch into the ubiquitous hit “Wagon Wheel,” recorded the performance and will release 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde on April 28th.  Continue reading “OCMS ready Dylan tribute album”

Ryan Adams’ inaugural Beats 1 Radio Show airs

Are you sick of Ryan Adams news yet?  Fear not, plenty more to come. Pitchfork reports: “Ryan Adams’ inaugural episode of his Beats 1 radio show “The Midnight Wave” aired last night, and featured music selections from the singer-songwriter as well as discussions between Adams and his friends Todd, Marshall, Charlie, and Robox about various topics. The group play a game of “Who Said It: Trump or Morrissey?”, talk about what “taking an L” means, and even write a song on the spot. Check out the full episode here and watch a trailer for the show below. Adams recently released Prisoner.”  You can listen to the show on iTunes or via Pitchfork hereContinue reading “Ryan Adams’ inaugural Beats 1 Radio Show airs”