David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)

David Crosby always wanted to sing jazz, and he made some forays into jazzier territory even within The Byrds with songs like Mind Gardens, but has really only indulged this urge more fully within the most recent releases from the duo Crosby-Nash and, most completely, with his work with CPR. Sky Trails features the R of CPR – in the form of Crosby’s biological son James Raymond – across the album and as producer whilst the P – that’s Jeff Pevar – appears on one track. Perhaps unsurprisingly Sky Trails sounds quite CPR-ish. Continue reading “David Crosby “Sky Trails” (BMG, 2017)”

Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)

A mini-LP with something of a Californian West Coast vibe, yet delivered from the wilds of Essex. On vinyl too! Russell and The Wolf Choir actually nail a power pop/indie sound pretty well in the first part of this record. Big fuzzy choruses abound, with hints of Pixies guitars, Teenage Fanclub harmonies, Tom Petty arrangements (God rest his soul) and suitably non-bombastic vocals. Continue reading “Russell And the Wolf Choir “Every Spark Is An Indication” (Independent, 2017)”

Dan Michaelson “Careless” – Listen

There’s nothing careless about this track – the string section is magnificent, Dan Michaelson’s cracked vocal is simply embodying the distress of unravelling love.  Someone should check Dan’s ok.  But before you do that take a listen to the second single from his upcoming album First Light, which will be out early December.

Video: The Rockingbirds “Gradually Learning”

In the week when the UK Americana Association has announced that its Grass Roots Award for 2018 will go to Alan Tyler and Steve Pulford (and quite right too) it seems appropriate to have a track from Alan’s Rockingbirds for this weeks retro slot.  Something from The Arlenes next week.  Have a good weekend everyone.

The Travelling Band “Mopping Forwards” – Listen

New single Mopping Forwards sees the Travelling Band’s trademark “Mancunian Americana” take the inspiration for lyrics sparked after long night at a bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter where lead singer and songwriter Jo Dudderidge used to play a regular Country DJ set: “There was a new guy working his first shift and at the end of the night, he got the mop and bucket out ready to clean the floor. But he started pushing the mop forwards instead of backwards: he was walking the dirt off his shoes right into the floor he’d just cleaned… and he carried on regardless; I’m not sure he even noticed what he was doing. I thought it made a wry metaphor for life, and the lyrics to Mopping Forwards stemmed from there.” If you’ve ever tried mopping forwards, it’s actually quite difficult to do.

Hayley Thompson-King “Psychotic Melancholia, Hard To Kill Records, 2017

It is only with the closing track here that you’d know that HTK is a trained opera singer, the rest of the time she is belting out garage rock like No Room for Jesus or immersing herself in good old country music as on her straight-ahead take on Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You. Whatever she does, she does with conviction, never shying away from raw emotion; whether it’s the Breeder’s like Teratoma or the feral rock and roll of Lot’s Wife, she doesn’t mind shredding her vocal chords for the cause. Continue reading “Hayley Thompson-King “Psychotic Melancholia, Hard To Kill Records, 2017”

Van Life: JD & The Straight Shot

Fresh from touring with The Eagles, Chicago, and most recently The Doobie Brothers, it’s fair to say JD & The Straight Shot are taking their Americana message further afield than most. The band have just released their new album, Good Luck And Good Night, and just completed a UK tour with the aforementioned Doobies. Americana-UK caches up with guitar player Marc Copely and asks what’s currently lighting their musical fires in the splitter bus.

Continue reading “Van Life: JD & The Straight Shot”

The Barr Brothers “Queens Of The Breakers” (Secret City Records, 2017)

Welcome to the big time, where everybody knows your name, where they are waiting to see if you will soar on high or sink like a stone because in this game once you’ve made it, the hard part is sustaining it.  The Barr Brothers third record was alarmingly dubbed “Anthemic”, although in truth the term was only officially used in relation to the release of title track Queens Of The Breakers, a ballsy call back to Brad and Andrew’s youth as cross-dressing scallywags terrorising the residents of Newport, Rhode Island and the hilltop mansion of The Breakers where the song – and the album – takes its name. Continue reading “The Barr Brothers “Queens Of The Breakers” (Secret City Records, 2017)”

Jon Langford “Four Lost Souls” (Bloodshot Records 2017)

Jon Langford has an interesting and genre-hopping career as founding member of punk icons, the Mekons (celebrating their 40th anniversary this year), as well as alt-country pioneers, the Waco Brothers. Music aside, he’s also a celebrated artist, his paintings and prints of many illustrious music heroes having been exhibited all over the world, including the Country Music Hall of Fame. Continue reading “Jon Langford “Four Lost Souls” (Bloodshot Records 2017)”