Chris Stapleton “From A Room (Vol. 1)” (Mercury Records, 2017)

So here’s the big dilemma for the average, long time Americana fan, Chris Stapleton.  Americana has become hip, it’s the cool genre for the older music fan, those of us that started in alt-country have seen the ‘beards’ move in and dare to say it – it’s got trendy.  The relationship between what is and indeed isn’t Americana promotes much debate, Stapleton is the antithesis of this. Not country enough for Music Row, too popular for the hardcore alt-country fans.  The fact of the matter is, his music, his background, his trek to the top and his attitude is everything that alt-country (and its funkier non-deplume, Americana) is. Continue reading “Chris Stapleton “From A Room (Vol. 1)” (Mercury Records, 2017)”

Gregg Allman final album is out in September

Rounder Records has announced the release date for Gregg Allman’s final studio album, and you can watch the launch trailer below. “Southern Blood” arrives worldwide on Friday, September 8th and NPR premiered the album’s first song, “My Only True Friend” today. It’s his first record since 2011’s “Low Country Blues” and includes songs written by an array of big names including Jackson Browne, Willie Dixon, Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter, Lowell George and Spooner Oldham & Dan Penn, meant to serve as a salutary farewell to his legion of devoted fans and admirers. You can read an extensive piece about the record over at Rounder now. Continue reading “Gregg Allman final album is out in September”

Jon and Roy “The Road Ahead Is Golden” (Blue Heron Music, 2017)

Jon and Roy is perhaps the most understated name for a duo or a band: it suggests modesty and a certain lack of pretension. And that’s exactly what they deliver, simple songs performed simply with a minimum of fuss decoration or development. The vocals are like a comfortable soft cotton shirt, the melodies are clear and easy to pick, there’s a definite skill about the writing and performances, and they make a (and I’m going to use the word again) modest version of Americana. It is intimate and open, the songs are easy to get, they are inclusive and inviting. Continue reading “Jon and Roy “The Road Ahead Is Golden” (Blue Heron Music, 2017)”

Jon Boden “Moths in the Gaslight” – Listen

Jon Boden is the ex lead singer of folk legends (we can safely say that now they’ve disbanded) Bellowhead and he’s just announced a new album “Afterglow” which will be released on October 6th on Hudson Records.  It will be his first album proper since disbanding the band and a companion release to his 2009 release ‘Songs From The Floodplain’ “imagining a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails.” Boden will curate and perform at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival which kicks off tomorrow, or you can catch him in November on tour – dates are below.

Continue reading “Jon Boden “Moths in the Gaslight” – Listen”

Deer Tick announce new albums for September, two of them

For the first time in four years (imagine life back then if you will), Providence, RI quartet Deer Tick have announced the release of not one new album on September 15th but two, creatively entitled: “Deer Tick Vol. 1” and “Deer Tick Vol. 2”. The albums were recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN and reflect completely contrasting styles, both of which accurately represent the two distinctive musical personalities of Deer Tick in a kind of Low Anthem way — quiet and thoughtful / loud and raucous. You can listen to the melanchony “Sea Of Clouds” from Vol. 1 and the garage punk-infused “It’s a Whale” from Vol. 2 below. Continue reading “Deer Tick announce new albums for September, two of them”

Dino Valente “Dino Valente” (Floating World Records, 2017)

In February 1968 Dino Valente entered the CBS studios in Los Angeles to record what would be his only solo album. Although he was known at the time as the underground Bob Dylan, Valente probably had more in common with Leonard Cohen circa Songs from a Room. The common denominator here was CBS Records producer Bob Johnston who was assigned to Valente post working with Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde and who would go on to work with Cohen on the aforementioned Songs album.  Continue reading “Dino Valente “Dino Valente” (Floating World Records, 2017)”

The Hellfire Club, The Troubadour London, 20th July 2017

Full credit to sound guy Stacey, the venue owners and the staff for their enthusiastic running of this basement bar of a music venue in London’s West Brompton, the easy option to have the premises solely as a bohemian cafe/bar in the increasingly by the day gentrified area. First of the acoustic support acts is Elliot Pritchard with a very fine vocal and mix of earnest songwriter with British indie melodies. He was followed by Anglo Aussie duo Hux whose dual guitar upbeat riffing combined with fine harmonies was received well by the sold out crowd. The Headliners, the Glasgow based Hellfire Club can only yearn for a wide stage but tonight the eight piece (vocals/guitars/bass/drum/keys/fiddle/saxophone) daren’t move too much due to the small stage limitations. Continue reading “The Hellfire Club, The Troubadour London, 20th July 2017”

The Mountain Goats “Goths” (Merge, 2017)

Whatever concept inspires John Darnielle is almost incidental to the progress that he has made as a writer and performer. The last record was predicated on the sad tawdry circus of wrestling and this one on Goths. Both continue his development into one of the great contemporary songwriters. The sonic palette continues to expand – you might expect a record about Goth to subculture to in some way ape the genre but Darnielle sidesteps this smartly. There are a few musical Goth references but mostly the songs eschew guitars and synths and rely on the subtle shading of woodwinds. Continue reading “The Mountain Goats “Goths” (Merge, 2017)”