This is rather good, from a band who include Lindsay Lou of Flatbellys fame and who’ll be in the UK in August at Towersey festival and elsewhere with dates to be announced.
Most records we get have such a limited scope and ambition that we can at least attempt to encapsulate them within a few hundred words. This record is of such ludicrous sweep and ambition that I doubt I could ever even start to detail its borders. It contains a chamber orchestra, a soprano (Donna Lennard) and the Bedford Arts choir. It consists of eight movements with the lyrics constructed from short statements submitted by the local community. It appears to be both a logistical nightmare and one of those projects that seem worthy of approbation but are seldom enjoyed. If it were American I’d be talking about Charles Ives, John Adams, Saul Chaplin, Michael Daugherty and how it fits into Americana in its broader sense. I have fewer British reference points, possibly Benjamin Britten, then I’m at the limits of my knowledge. Continue reading “Johnny Parry “An Anthology of All Things” (Songs & Whispers, 2017)”
And what better excuse for sticking a picture of Rhett Miller up for a Friday morning than a new RS Country interview with him where he talks about the Old 97s’ new record. They report: “When the Old 97’s decided to record their new album Graveyard Whistling in the same West Texas studio they’d recorded in 20 years ago, it was anything but a safe decision. Sonic Ranch, a recording studio built into an old hacienda on a giant pecan orchard in the border town of Tornillo, outside El Paso, hadn’t changed much over the years. But the lives of singer Rhett Miller and his band mates couldn’t have been more different.” Continue reading “RS Country talks to Rhett Miller”
A lovely live performance of the title track of their latest album from this Michigan-based duo.
Scottish folk musician Alasdair Roberts kicks off his fairly extensive UK tour tonight, just before the release of his new album which lands on Friday, and in commemoration of both (sort of) he’s released a new video for the treeeeeeemendous (remember that?) new song “Pangs” which finds Alasdair hitching a ride through hostile counties, standing on the rock of Hadrian’s Walk (the ancient Roman wall built in the north of England to mark the boundary of their empire) and returning, prodigal-son style to a remote castle where children play and a preacher leads his flock. There’s magic involved, via a selenite Crystal Wand, and an evocation of end times. A stark but compelling vision that reminds us to consider others as we do ourselves. With a guitar solo too! Here’s those dates and the video. Continue reading “Alasdair Roberts begins UK tour and releases new video – Watch”
I don’t know how many records Stanley Bring aka Andre Herman Dune has been involved in or how many gigs he’s played, hundreds for the former and thousands for the latter. He’s completely at ease as a performer and these songs, like much of his catalogue (at least that much known to me), ooze a kind of infectious convivial bonhomie that immediately put you at ease, constantly referencing social situations, friends getting together and drinking and the love songs are everyday tales told from the perspective of a courtly lover, a man full of respect for his audience, his peers and the objects of his desire. Continue reading “Stanley Brinks and the Old Time Kanicks “Vielles Caniques/Nouvelle Caniques” (Fika Recordings 2017)”
A new album would be quite nice, but in the meantime Pitchfork reports on our favourite prince since Caspian: “Bonnie “Prince” Billy has shared a new song called “Treasure Maps.” It appears on a new four-song compilation where all the proceeds are going to the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s out May 5 via the Oxford, Mississippi record store, the End of All Music. It also features songs by William Tyler, Patterson Hood, and Adam Torres. Check out the song, the artwork (by Maude Schuyler Clay from the book Mississippi History), and tracklist below. Continue reading “Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy releases new song on benefit EP – Listen”
From his new album, Souvenir, due out on April 21st, this is a fine, topical and thoughtful song from Mr Holcomb.
Getting there is half the fun, as the old saying goes, but the journey is really the whole point for Boston progressive-folk duo Tall Heights. Singer/guitarist Tim Harrington and singer/cellist Paul Wright know where they’ve been, and where they want to go. As for the route, well, “we’re just mapping it out as we take it, day by day,” says Harrington. They’ve reached their biggest junction so far — Neptune is Tall Heights’ first album for Sony Music Masterworks, and the latest step in the ongoing evolution of their sound and style. Continue reading “Dirty Dozen: Tall Heights”
Shirley Collins holds a unique place in the pantheon of English folk music – her 1959 song collecting journey in the USA, assisting Alan Lomax, is legendary enough but she also shook up the folk scene with collaborations with Davey Graham and her recordings with her sister Dolly which brought new arrangements to old songs which were sung in an unaffected English voice. She was widely lauded as carrying a distinctive folk purity, acting almost as a vessel for the music, through the late sixties and into the seventies. And then she lost her singing voice. Continue reading “Shirley Collins, The Barbican, London, 18th February 2017”