Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats “Tearing at the Seams” (Stax Records, 2018)

When you think of the good ol’ USA and start to muse on the hotbeds of music over the years, the names of the famous music cities start to drift through the psyche as a misty-eyed reverence pulls you towards them.  You ponder all the greats that have emanated from the fabled places like Detroit, New Orleans, Nashville, LA, New York, Chicago and Denver. Denver?  Well, it did produce Earth, Wind and Fire singer Philip Bailey and one or two others but that’s about it really (sorry Denver!). That may be all about to change with the release of the excellent ‘Tearing at the Seams’. Continue reading “Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats “Tearing at the Seams” (Stax Records, 2018)”

Trampled by Turtles “The Middle” – Listen

The creative bluegrass band named after what would probably be quite a traumatic experience reunited in a Minnesota cabin only a few months back but they’ve already laid down enough tracks for a new studio album – ‘Life is Good on the Open Road’ comes out on May 4th and the second single from it is called ‘The Middle’. Frontman Dave Simonett explained to RS: “The first single was a faster bluegrass song, and this one’s a little more poppy. We’re doing that as a way to represent the entire record. This one fits, ironically enough, right in the middle as far as vibe goes.”

Courtney Marie Andrews “May Your Kindness Remain” (Loose Music, 2018)

‘May Your Kindness Remain’ is a very different album to Courtney Marie Andrews’ previous release ‘Honest Life’, less directly personal and far more sombre. Which is hardly surprising since the last album was driven by the breakup of a two year long relationship whilst ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ is in many ways a reaction to living in Trump’s America. Which is quite clearly not the America that Courtney Marie Andrews recognises or believes in. There’s a big difference musically too, with ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ eschewing the big loud and positive arrangements of ‘Honest Life’ which gave a country spin to what was at heart a Laurel Canyon singer-songwriter album – ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ is nearer to ‘On the Beach’ than it is to ‘Blue’. Continue reading “Courtney Marie Andrews “May Your Kindness Remain” (Loose Music, 2018)”

Ronnie Fauss “Last Of The True” (New West, 2018)

“When I was working at the Saginaw paper mill… “ sings Ronnie Fauss on another Springsteen-esque standout from his third album and all seems right in the world. Electric guitars are raging, drums are pounding and a honky-tonk piano can be heard playing in the distance. So far, so good. The album mixes heartland Americana with barrel-house country and the pace doesn’t let up. Continue reading “Ronnie Fauss “Last Of The True” (New West, 2018)”

Don Gallardo “Still Here” (Southern Carousel Records / Clubhouse Records 2018)

This fine album of richly layered music on the country-rock side of Americana makes for enjoyable listening. The song-writing glistens, the musicianship is stellar, and Gallardo is a compelling singer. The songs deal with drinking, life’s travails, and the need to learn – and indeed, profit – from pain and mistakes. “The bottle puts it off until tomorrow/Then tomorrow blows in like a hurricane … Is this my curse/Or something I gotta learn,” Gallardo sings on the opener, ‘Something I Gotta Learn’. The song is country rock led by chiming electric guitars and a heavy back beat. One can hear female backup singers oohing in the background. The sound is very full indeed. Continue reading “Don Gallardo “Still Here” (Southern Carousel Records / Clubhouse Records 2018)”

Hiss Golden Messenger “Passing Clouds” – Listen

Hiss Golden Messenger have teamed up with indie label Spacebomb Records for new track ‘Passing Clouds’  and they’re donating all proceeds to Everytown For Gun Safety, a nonprofit organization working to end gun violence. The track will be available from midnight tonight (USA midnight, although not sure which one of the four that is) through all download and streaming services, as well as Bandcamp, with a pay-what-you-want-option for those wishing to donate more.  MC Taylor said in a press release: “We’ve been told for so long that a change in gun laws is next to impossible. It is not. We’ve been told that the NRA, and the politicians whom they buy, are too powerful. They are not. The young people in Parkland, Florida, have proven that. I am on their side. I am on the side of peace, hope and love, on the side of grieving parents and spouses and co-workers in Parkland and Newtown, in Aurora and Las Vegas.”

The Yellhounds “The Banks Of The Mississippi” (Independent, 2018)

Manchester-band The Yellhounds’ title-cut ‘Banks Of The Mississippi’ from their new four-track EP sees the release open in a rich, melancholy fashion. A genuine feel of America’s south ensues, one that suggests images of the bottomlands captured through a stylish and imaginative production. Next up, the boys fuel the fire with ‘Day Is Done’ as they combine old-timey and bluegrass on hightailing it into the Appalachian mountain regions. Clawhammer and otherwise, banjo, mandolin and a rock steady bass propel the tune in majestic fashion! On showing even greater drive ‘Ain’t Got No Home’ has the fervour of youthful new ideals raking over ashes of old, and with a full-bodied rhythm section and roving fiddle and able lead vocal The Yellhounds produce a more than adequate authentic blend. Continue reading “The Yellhounds “The Banks Of The Mississippi” (Independent, 2018)”

Dale Watson, The 100 Club, London, 16th March 2018

Shortly after 8.30pm, a passing punter in the 100 Club said to another fellow gig goer, “I thought that was Billy Idol for a moment.” It’s actually a reference to the gravity defying pompadour sitting atop Dale Watson’s head. On conclusion of his set about two hours later the participants of this exchange might have concluded that any similarity between the two crooners began and ended at their hair – and also wonder whether Billy Idol was capable of delivering a performance of two hours’ duration, with a set list chosen largely by his audience. Continue reading “Dale Watson, The 100 Club, London, 16th March 2018”