Langhorne Slim “Zombie” – Listen

Langhorne Slim’s new album “Lost at Last Vol 1” is out November on the Dualtone label and he’s released an EP previewing three tracks from it, one of which you can hear below (and it’s not a Cranberries cover, just to get that disappointment in now).  Paste writes: “The main vein of the song is unrequited love: “She drank red wine in the pouring rain / She read me books about the human brain.” The woman Slim depicts in this song isn’t emotionally available beyond intellect and friendship—true to patriarchal form, Mr. Slim puts the mysterious mistress in the body of a monster. But he also puts himself in one. As Slim sings towards the end of the song, “he wanted her heart” in the same way a zombie wants the brain.”

Mark Lavengood “We’ve Come Along” (Earthwork Music, 2017)

If americana is the world, then bluegrass is Austria, impossibly beautiful and incredibly conservative. Often I find the genre to be more about the preening and display of beautiful musical plumage and less about making music that really matters. Thankfully Lavengood is more musically dishevelled, there are loose threads that can be pulled and there’s plenty to get to grips with. He certainly has some chutzpah, opening with the title track which weighs in at 7 minutes and sets the tone for the rest of the record – there is some really excellent fluid playing and there’s also space for digression, for pause and for the imperfect. It varies in pace and texture and is happy at times to use jazz or rock influences. He shows off his genre chops on the standard Ol’ Slew Foot and Ralph Stanley’s Bound to Ride but in many ways they are the least interesting pieces on the record. Continue reading “Mark Lavengood “We’ve Come Along” (Earthwork Music, 2017)”

Blitzen Trapper are back with “Wild and Reckless”

Would you be disappointed if we told you it’s not a double cover album of Erasure and Bryan Adams? Earlier this year, the Portland, Oregon based band staged a musical titled “Wild & Reckless” that ran for 28 performances at Portland Center Stage. Today, the band has announced a new album of the same title that was born from that stage production. Continue reading “Blitzen Trapper are back with “Wild and Reckless””

Kenny Foster, The Bedford, Balham, 4th September 2017

What a great space the Bedford is for a singer songwriter to perform in, shaped as it is “in the round” like the Shakespearean Globe. Despite a sparsely attended London showcase, Kenny Foster treated a quietly enthusiastic audience to an acoustic selection of eight of his songs, seven of them drawn from his recently released debut album ‘Deep Cuts.’ Continue reading “Kenny Foster, The Bedford, Balham, 4th September 2017”

David Ramirez “Stone Age” – Listen

David Ramirez has shared a new single Stone Age which is taken from his  album “We’re Not Going Anywhere” which comes out today on Thirty Tigers Records. The songs focuses on Trump’s wall as Ramirez ruminates about the state of the country from the perspective of Mexican heritage on his father’s side. Discussing it, Ramirez says: “I was visiting my girlfriend in London during July 4th week last year, and waking up every morning there was a lot of stuff going on here in the States. I was reading the news as far as police vs. Black Lives, violence and things like that, marches and rallies and the gay club in Orlando getting shot up. It was just strange. I found myself in a state of mourning for the country, so I started writing that song over there, thinking, ‘Maybe I should stay here.’” Honestly David, between X Factor, Brexit and the royal baby, you’re better off for now picking France. Always welcome though.

Lydia Ramsey “Bandita” (Independent, 2017)

Recently seen in the UK as a solo performer touring with Joe Purdy, Lydia Ramsey’s debut album Bandita is an enticing combination of folk and country that sparkles as modern Americana. Here backed by a full band Ramsey presents a collection of songs of crystal clarity, sung with such warmth and, more often than not, a vocal that conveys a half smile and a knowing wink – as on Springtime where she makes an offer that can’t be refused Continue reading “Lydia Ramsey “Bandita” (Independent, 2017)”

David Crobsy “Sky Trails” – Listen

David Crosby has shared the title track with Billboard from his forthcoming third solo album “Sky Trails” which he wrote with singer songwriter Becca Stevens. He told them: “We both spend a lot of time on the road and when you’re on the road, after the second or third week you don’t know where you are. You’re out there somewhere, and all the cities look roughly the same, and you lose track. I know it sounds funny, but it happens to us road musicians all the time, and that leads to a kind of disorientation. There’s no instruction book for this, you know?” But there is David!

Tami Neilson “Don’t Be Afraid” (Outside Records 2017)

Tami Neilson is a Canadian born, New Zealand based singer and songwriter who has won a host of awards in her adoptive country. Her previous album, “Dynamite”, released in 2014, was one of The Guardian’s Top Ten Country Albums for that year. So, she has form – and she has pedigree; her father was talented Canadian musician Ron Neilson, who was a full time musician throughout his life and Tami’s early experience was with the family band, The Nielsons, touring throughout North America.  Continue reading “Tami Neilson “Don’t Be Afraid” (Outside Records 2017)”

Interview: Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly is a big deal in Australia – his latest record went straight to number one and he supported Bob Dylan on his 2011 Aussie tour, although he still remains one of his country’s best-kept secrets for UK audiences. (But everyone knows what Neighbours is. Oh the injustice). The new album “Life is Fine” is a collection alive with energy and good humour, described by the Guardian as containing some of his “best songs in years”.  Mark Whitfield caught up with him at the start of the UK leg of his current tour and chatted about how the new record came about, writing songs from poetry and why nobody does Hank Williams songs like Hank Williams. Continue reading “Interview: Paul Kelly”