Ralph McTell “Hill Of Beans” (Leola Music, 2019)

Ralph McTell has notched up more than 50 years as a recording artist, and in that time has released over 50 albums with ‘Hill of Beans‘ being the latest. It’s his first solo studio album since 2010’s ‘Somewhere down the Road‘ although McTell hasn’t been unproductive in the last nine years with a slew of live recordings, guitar “noodlings” recordings and a brace of albums recorded with Wizz Jones – the appropriately entitled ‘About Time’ and ‘About Time Too’. ‘Hill of Beans‘ fits in as very much a continuation of the kind of music that featured on ‘Somewhere down the Road‘ – stories and remembrances both historical and personal and often both at the same time mixed in with carefully observed cinematic scenes such as ‘Gammel Dansk‘. Continue reading “Ralph McTell “Hill Of Beans” (Leola Music, 2019)”

The Dead South “Sugar & Joy” (Six Shooter Records, 2019)

It’s fair to say that The Dead South are making noises with a burgeoning reputation as a kick ass, high-energy bluegrass band. The Canadian four-piece can’t help but enhance that reputation with the release of their new album ‘Sugar & Joy’. Sometimes, when scratching around for the right words with which to articulate the feel of an album, it is in the expressions of others that the perfect descriptor come to mind. The late departed Terry Wogan, admittedly not oft quoted in these parts, had an affectionate term for music like this. This, in Tel’s own words, is “hooligan” music at its finest. Continue reading “The Dead South “Sugar & Joy” (Six Shooter Records, 2019)”

Sturgill Simpson announces UK dates for 2020

AUK favourite Sturgill Simpson has announced a 9 date European tour, with his full band, including London’s O2 Forum on 28th January.  The tour will follow the release of the singer-songwriter’s new album ‘Sound & Fury’ and its accompanying Netflix anime film, which will be released simultaneously on 27th September.  Presale starts at 9am on Wednesday 18th September, with general on sale starting on Friday 20th at 9am. Continue reading “Sturgill Simpson announces UK dates for 2020”

A Picture Made “Heal” – Listen

So, imagine the editorial meeting if you will and the heated exchange which ended with the comment “so, what you’re saying is that it’s prog?“.  Well, no, not Prog as such – obviously that would be ridiculous.  Concept albums? Ha!  Well, unless it Drive By Truckers or The Decemberists.  And that Jon Boden chap is ok.  No, what A Picture Made have produced is more of a concept single. Continue reading “A Picture Made “Heal” – Listen”

Daniel Johnston “True Love Will Find You in the End” – Listen

We leave you this week dear reader with an achingly beautiful song by Daniel Johnston who died earlier this week following a heart attack. He was troubled but exceptional – as Jeff Tweedy said: “Daniel has managed to create in spite of his mental illness, not because of it. He’s been honest in his portrayal of what he’s been struggling with without overtly drawing attention to it.” True love found him in the end in the form of tributes which have been pouring in since the news of his passing was announced. RIP to another great artist whose loss will be felt keenly.

Tim Grimm announces UK dates and new album

Tim Grimm, the Indiana-based folk-americana singer-songwriter and actor, has announced a short UK tour in support of his latest and current #1 album on the US Folk Radio Chart ‘Heart Land Again’ which is  a re-recording of his ‘Heart Land’ album originally released back in 1999 – the new version is due for UK release next month. Continue reading “Tim Grimm announces UK dates and new album”

Freya Ward “Written With Hindsight” (Independent, 2019)

The breakup record has a long history in music and this six track EP is rising folk-hued singer-songwriter Freya Ward’s contribution to the genre. As the title suggests the songs were written somewhat afterwards and they chart the events in question from the recognition of a problem in ‘Say Something’ (complete with beautiful guitar work) via pleading ‘Go Easy On Me’ (“I try, you know I try”) and the documentation of the actual split in ‘After Everything And Me’ before closing with the self-explanatory ‘I Would Do It All Again’. Continue reading “Freya Ward “Written With Hindsight” (Independent, 2019)”

Grand Canyon “Yesterday’s News” (Independent, 2019)

Joan Jett succinctly stated that “I love Rock and Roll – So come on take some time and dance with me“. Of course Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker wrote those words for her, but you get the point. Joan Jett is not alone in this attitude as LA’s Grand Canyon would happily sign up to this manifesto. Grand Canyon are a group of accomplished musicians who have played in their own bands and spent studio and stage time with a range of acts – they are, in short, successful “side men” who have come together due to their shared love of classic rock and ‘Yesterday’s News‘ is a 5 track EP which demonstrates this to great effect. Continue reading “Grand Canyon “Yesterday’s News” (Independent, 2019)”