Album premiere: The Heart Hunters “American Eclipse”

Just like the buses, we have no album premieres for weeks and then two come along in the one day, and this is rather ace. Heart Hunters is Drew de Man’s new project with his wife, singer/songwriter Brianna Blackbird (surely one of the loveliest names on the planet earth) and their new album ‘American Eclipse’ is produced by Peter Case with some gorgeous two-part harmonies accompanying sparse acoustic folk songs and epic anthems featuring lush string sections, along with some worldly wariness of the capitalist ideal and the crisis it’s engendered. Continue reading “Album premiere: The Heart Hunters “American Eclipse””

Rebekah Rolland “Seed and Silo” (Sky Island, 2018)

Spoiler alert – the album title pretty much gives the game away here. Inspired in part by the original homesteaders of the Nebraskan prairies; also from Rolland’s involvement with the National Parks Service in the USA, this record is a fully immersed collection of rural American folk/bluegrass, delivered by the clearest, purest of voices. Continue reading “Rebekah Rolland “Seed and Silo” (Sky Island, 2018)”

Arthur Buck “Arthur Buck” (New West, 2018)

Arthur Buck is the coming together of erstwhile REM guitarist Peter Buck and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. There was a time back in the 1980s when Buck was knocking on the door of rock royalty. Since the demise of REM he’s been knocking around more generally – working with Mark Eitzel, being part of The Minus and The Filthy Friends, as well as producing his own solo material to mention just a few; he is a man much in demand. Continue reading “Arthur Buck “Arthur Buck” (New West, 2018)”

Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real + The Americans, The Garage, London, 10th July 2018

The Garage at Highbury Corner  is one of those large black sheds which holds around 600 people and it was sold out on Tuesday night for Lukas Nelson’s first big headlining gig in the UK. Already making waves after backing  Neil Young on several albums and tours, Lukas Nelson was one of the standout performers of C2C earlier this year, his appearances there winning him many new fans who turned out to watch him on a hot and sticky London summer night. Continue reading “Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real + The Americans, The Garage, London, 10th July 2018”

Album premiere: Simon Patrick Kerr “Doldrums”

‘Doldrums’ is the new album by Simon Patrick Kerr, and it aptly couldn’t come at a better time what with the absolute state of parliament this week – for the new record Kerr forgoes the rowdy psych-rock of his band The Wans in favor of a more stripped-down approach to songwriting, crafting intensely personal Americana and indie-folk songs inspired by Nashville-outsider heroes like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, while chronicling one of the more tumultuous periods in his life including the grief of losing a close friend to cancer and the commodification of religion in the Bible Belt. Described as “once stripped-down and symphonic” by Rolling Stone no less, it’s a lovely listen.  ‘Doldrums’ is out on Friday.

Bert Jansch restrospective for October release

Bert Jansch, the dazzling folk guitarist who picked up Davey Graham’s torch and ran with it.  The Pentangler, the creator of themed instrumental albums, one half of ‘Bert and John‘, the surprising seventies electric guitar singer-songwriter with a Monkee for a producer.  So many sides to this talented player, and that is what the upcoming release ‘Just a Simple Soul‘ is aiming to capture.  It’ll be available as a 2LP or 2CD set, and will be the first such collection to run chronologically from his eponymous solo album in 1965 all the way to his final release ‘The Black Swan‘. Continue reading “Bert Jansch restrospective for October release”

Jim James “Uniform Distortion” (ATO, 2018)

Here I stand / goin’ through the motions with the mic in my hand,” so begins the lead-off track, ‘Just a Fool’ from the new aptly-titled Jim James album, ‘Uniform Distortion.’ Like many these days, James feels he’s going through the motions by spending too much time on his phone / online / “on the grid” – a feeling that is drawing more and more of us back to the concept of vinyl, physical books, and magazines.  This feeling is part of what led James to a thrift shop where he happened upon a copy of The Whole Earth Catalogue.  Continue reading “Jim James “Uniform Distortion” (ATO, 2018)”

Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage “Awake” (Sungrazing Records, 2018)

For their second record together, Sanders and Savage continue to mix ethereal traditional folk with dabs of colour from across the musical spectrum. The mix of six originals and five covers offer no easy distinction between the two pools; they all feature the spring water fresh vocals of Sanders or the gruffer tones of Savage against a backdrop of instruments that capture each note as though it is worthy of preservation and curation. The attention paid to the detail pays off, each track contains painterly touches such as the pedal steel that wraps itself around ‘I Met a Man.’ Continue reading “Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage “Awake” (Sungrazing Records, 2018)”