James The Fang & Serious Sam Barrett “The Dime Horseshoe” (Independent, 2017)

Having spent a few months every year touring the States playing with the likes of Al Scorch, Charlie Parr and The Pine Hill Haints, Yorkshireman Barrett here is on great form with James The Fang (of the afore mentioned Pine Hill Haints) for their second release together.  They are very much old souls, and this could quite easily be a lovely scratchy 78. Continue reading “James The Fang & Serious Sam Barrett “The Dime Horseshoe” (Independent, 2017)”

Mikko Joensuu “Amen-2” (Svart Records, 2016)

Mikko Joensuu has set himself a daunting task – to release a trilogy of albums in the space of a year. Having been brought up in his native Finland with a strong religious background, the album series tells in sweeping terms the story of his gradual realisation that there is no deity, and the doubt, angst and anxiety that having this prop removed caused him. Which sounds very depressing – but Amen-2 whilst at the heart of this epiphany has a soaring gorgeous sound that carries the listener along like a starship sailing the solar winds. Continue reading “Mikko Joensuu “Amen-2” (Svart Records, 2016)”

Ruth Theodore “Cactus” (Aveline Records, 2016)

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by the cover, but this has been kicking about a while, the sleeve just didn’t want to make me play it.  I was wrong, it’s a sort of Alisha’s Attic does dustbowl blues, strange.  Wonky and slightly out of focus its wordy off kilter is like little else, refreshingly.  The cacophony of odd ball percussion and woozy ethereal voice is like the first time you hear Kate Bush, revelatory, we she sings “can’t help who you love” it recounts those pangs of teenage love in real clarity. Continue reading “Ruth Theodore “Cactus” (Aveline Records, 2016)”

Neil Young “Peace Trail” (Reprise, 2016)

Peace Trail is one of those Neil Young albums that it’d be easy to dismiss as a failure of Neil’s quality control process.  However, like those who dismiss Greendale, Fork in the Road or Chrome Dreams II, that’d be a mistake – Peace Trail on first listen may sound overly casual and unfocused but repeated listens reveal that Neil Young has actually turned in an album of extensive depth and thoughtfulness. Maybe with the odd clunker along the way, but nobody’s perfect all the time. Continue reading “Neil Young “Peace Trail” (Reprise, 2016)”

Chaim Tannenbaum “Chaim Tannenbaum” (Storysound Records, 2016)

Ah, the eponymous debut album marking the emergence of a new talent. Only that’s not quite it this time, Chaim Tannenbaum has been active in music, on and off, for more than forty years. When he hasn’t been distracted by his other love, that temptress the Philosophy of Mathematics, he’s been adding guitar, banjo, a little fiddle and vocals for the likes of the McGarrigle sisters and Loudon Wainwright III as well as contributing the occasional song of his own to their recordings. Continue reading “Chaim Tannenbaum “Chaim Tannenbaum” (Storysound Records, 2016)”

Andy Shauf – UK Dates

Acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf has announced an extensive European tour in February 2017. Starting in London on February 8th, there will be dates in Manchester and Leeds before he heads to the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland. The tour follows his thirteen-date, sold out North American tour, and the release in 2016 of his concept album The Party.  This series of linked songs reminded more than a few people, somewhat uncomfortably, of parties they’d been to…but still garnered more than a few favourable comments right here on Americana-UK to add to those for its predecessor The Bearer of Bad News.  The Party has garnered comparisons to the works of Nilsson and Newman – it’s smart, ironic, lyrically rich and is redolent of that branch of Seventies singer-songwriters.  It’s good.   Continue reading “Andy Shauf – UK Dates”

Band of Heathens stream new album – Listen

Not to get mixed up with horses, although they both begin with the letter ‘h’. Americana with the swagger of the Stones, Rolling Stone Country reports: “On a January morning in Austin, it’s chilly enough to snow. Hometown heroes the Band of Heathens are leaving their winter gear at home, though, and prepping for tropical weather instead. In a few hours, they’ll set sail on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Cruise, a yearly trek that rounds up three dozen acts – from Red Dirt royalty to Americana up-and-comers – for a week’s worth of performances and parties. It’s the Heathens’ fifth time onboard. When the ship returns on January 13th, the guys will hit the mainland on the same day their eighth album, Duende, hits stores.  Continue reading “Band of Heathens stream new album – Listen”