The Captain of Sorrow “Racetrack Babies” (Musikministeriet, 2018)

Late of the Danish band Racetrack Babies, Hans-Christian Segaard Andersen wanted these 12 songs to sound like 12 different bands and the title of each song is meant to be a possible name for a band. It doesn’t make for continuity but it does make it interesting. Buzzword Surfers is a decent name for a band, and a decent song,  restrained with all of the ingredients folded in together, a little like Arcwelder as the song reins in and then releases the power. Hollow Empty Void is a noisy buzzing song; sounding like it might have been on Amphetamine Reptile Records if it were a little more truculent. Continue reading “The Captain of Sorrow “Racetrack Babies” (Musikministeriet, 2018)”

Chris Blevins “Better Than Alone” (Horton Records, 2017)

Chris Blevins’ music is like a breath of fresh air; his narrative and full-bodied sound and way he removes the veneer to get to the source sets him apart from the field. Americana music has many branches but not too many where the trunk is as stout as with this Oklahoma native and fruit so succulent. On reading the blurb that came with the CD, one phrase is certainly most apt as the quote: ‘artful musical chameleon,’ in part hits the spot. As I buried myself further into the album I could not but help think of John Fullbright. I mention this not just because Fullbright performs wurlitzer on the record but due to the many aspects of Blevins work. His songwriting, vocal delivery and finely worked ambience of the songs make him worthy of comparison. Continue reading “Chris Blevins “Better Than Alone” (Horton Records, 2017)”

Details of new album from Joan Baez

Some details have come through on Joan Baez’s upcoming new album.  To be released on March 2nd 2018 via Proper Records Whistle Down the Wind will feature a selection of songs by Baez’s favourite songwriters. Whistle Down the Wind  was produced by Joe Henry, and was recorded over ten days in Los Angeles.  It’s been a long time coming – her  last studio album was 2008’s Day After Tomorrow, which was produced by Steve Earle. Continue reading “Details of new album from Joan Baez”

Cheap Wine “Dreams” (Independent, 2017)

These Italian stalwarts have been pumping out Americana records for two decades now; this is their twelfth and the third in a trilogy that began with Based On Lies. This record, and the previous Beggar Town, share the same characters. These characters have endured hardship and are now finally looking beyond the dire economic circumstances to find redemption in love and dreams. Like all of their records this is pretty down the line roots rock, the biggest influence that I can discern being the Walkabouts, who are deservedly huge in Europe. Cheap Wine as the name suggests don’t have the subtlety of the Seattle band, they lack the light and shade but these are stark line drawings as songs that are effective in their own way. Continue reading “Cheap Wine “Dreams” (Independent, 2017)”

Do you like Good Music ? A year in review

There’s an inevitability that December brings some reflection on what has gone before, there’s this midwinter pause that offers an opportunity for this stocktaking. And this is a personal reflection – there’s some “best ofs”” down below, which in their own way are as inevitable as socks as Christmas presents, but they are in no-way the official best ofs for Americana-UK. I take all the blame for them, although there’s a fair chance I’ll have disowned them – or at least in part – by the time New Year comes around. Continue reading “Do you like Good Music ? A year in review”

Ed Askew “A Child In The Sun: Radio Sessions 1969-1970” (Drag City 2017)

The energy which oozes from this collection of early recordings retrieved from the archives of old Ed Askew radio sessions provides a strong urge to delete the pesky mp3 and rush out and buy the vinyl version. That’s how this album should be heard if truth be told. But even played via digital format the scratchy crackle of analogue reel to reel feels wonderfully raw while Askew’s Martin Tiple ukulele and nasal growl provides  music to match the exposed production. Continue reading “Ed Askew “A Child In The Sun: Radio Sessions 1969-1970” (Drag City 2017)”

Judy Collins & Stephen Stills “Girl from the North Country” – Listen

A track taken from the duo’s recent album Everybody Knows –  which sees them dragging in another contemporary in the form of Bob Dylan to provide words and music.  It’s a song Stills has recorded previously, but here it is with both artists.


Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards “California Calling” (Compass Records 2017)

Laura Cortese, a force already as a solo singer, has gathered around her, in Boston, other alumni from Berklee College of Music: Cellist, Valerie Thompson, fiddler, Jenna Moynihan and bass player, Natalie Bohrn. Together, they are a foursome to be reckoned with. Laura has written or has had a part in writing nine of the songs on this remarkable album. It doesn’t take long to become immersed in the music that the quartet provides. The first two tracks capture you. Continue reading “Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards “California Calling” (Compass Records 2017)”