Blitzen Trapper announce European tour dates

Blitzen Trapper’s new album ‘Wild & Reckless’ has been getting some rather nice reviews from the likes of Mojo, The Independent and Clash and to celebrate the fact (or perhaps with no relation to that fact at all) have just announced Europe / UK tour dates for next year. The UK shows are a bit threadbare, happening only in Glasgow, Leeds and London, but the promise is that they will be “filled with intense pure rock n roll and heartfelt alt-folk greatness.”  Full dates below, and in the meantime why not enjoy the title track from their latest album. Continue reading “Blitzen Trapper announce European tour dates”

Grant Lee Phillips brings “Widdershins” to the UK next year

Grant Lee Phillips (nee Buffalo)’s new album “Widdershins” named after former Tory MP and Strictly contestant Ann Widdershins is out on Yep Roc on Feb 23rd over here – and he’s announced some UK dates to promote it, starting with a date at the wonderful Bush Hall before taking it around the country.  Recorded over four days at Sound Emporium in Nashville, the 12 tracks on the new album were cut largely live in the studio as a trio with Jerry Roe (drums) and Lex Price (bass), mixed by Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, The Decemberists) and engineered by Mike Stankiewicz.  Continue reading “Grant Lee Phillips brings “Widdershins” to the UK next year”

Feral Conservatives “Better Lives” (Egghunt Records, 2017)

When your album has been produced by Jon Auer (Posies, second incarnation Big Star) then you’ve pretty much been anointed as a credible new entry into the legion of Power Pop bands. If you also have a female lead singer and a distinctive quirk – in the case of Feral Conservatives it’s that the mandolin is right there at the front of the band driving the tunes forward – then that’s a lot of flags flying in your favour. If, like Feral Conservatives, you also have a clutch of excellent songs then you’re flying. Continue reading “Feral Conservatives “Better Lives” (Egghunt Records, 2017)”

Mandolin Orange announce UK dates

North Carolina folky americanay duo Mandolin Orange, named after the respective instruments they both play, are the sort of band you could take home to meet your mum and have announced some UK dates for January (and one in February) including an appearance at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival which is the most fun you can have on Burns Night Eve without a haggis.  The new album “Blindfaller” is indeed blinding and proves their adage that “a good song, and just one good take, will always shine through any studio sorcery.”  Continue reading “Mandolin Orange announce UK dates”

Folk By The Oak Announce Headliners

Over the last decade Folk by the Oak has established itself as the essential “only just outside London close to a railway station one day folk music showcase” and this year looks to be no different. The one-day festival is held in the grounds of Hatfield House and has just announced the first three Main Stage Headliners.  These are Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, The Young’uns, and promoted from the festival’s Acorn Stage a return visit by Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys.   Continue reading “Folk By The Oak Announce Headliners”

Album premiere: Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach”

We’re premiering the rather fantastic new album from Nashville’s Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine this morning, the best artist called Eagle since Eye Cherry and a band who make “raw, left-of-center rock & roll” (we like all four bits of that).  Recorded in three days at East Nashville’s Bomb Shelter studio, the album is their full-length debut, a batch of guitar-driven songs about “loving, leaving, and living with intention.” Continue reading “Album premiere: Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach””

Chris Stapleton “Songs From A Room Volume 2” (Mercury Records, 2017)

With his second release of the year, Chris Stapleton pretty much cements his reputation as traditional  country music’s biggest star. Songs From A Room Volume 1 (released in May) won the award for album of the year at the Country Music Association Awards and on its release last week, Volume 2 hit the number two spot on the Billboard charts. In what has been seen as a traditionalist fightback against bro country and the pop/rock orientated songs that have recently been ruling the roost in Nashville, Stapleton (who, it could be argued has a foot in each camp) has led the charge. Continue reading “Chris Stapleton “Songs From A Room Volume 2” (Mercury Records, 2017)”

Nahko “My Name Is Bear” (SideOneDummy Records, 2017)

The bearable parts of this record are rendered unbearable by the spoken word interludes that are snippets of (a lack of) insight usually centred on smoking weed and trivia from his life as a touring musician that I wish I’d not had to hear. Nahko – formerly of Medicine for the People – sounds at times like the Avett Brothers (who themselves are moving ever nearer the insufferable). Nahko has already completed that journey for them. Creation’s Daughter concludes the case for the prosecution in any plagiarism case. Dragonfly the lead single is Avett-lite crossed with Disney movie. Same with Goodnight, Sun: it is sub-sixth-form poetry, now I’m aware that a lot of these songs were written between the ages of 18 and 21 but you have to be able to censor and edit yourself. Continue reading “Nahko “My Name Is Bear” (SideOneDummy Records, 2017)”

Howie Payne “Mountain” (Full Stack Records, 2017)

This album was recorded in just four days with a band that had never played together before and most of the songs were done live in a couple of takes; given that genesis, the record sounds remarkable with subtleties that you’d only expect from painful rehearsal and painstaking planning. As ever, Payne’s songs are tightly constructed. It’s hard to pick them apart as everything slots together so seamlessly. They aren’t overly ambitious and they stick to a quite narrow genre but they do exhibit differences in texture, tempo and melody, which keeps everything fresh. He works in the borderlands between folk, country and rock with a spattering of gentle psych thrown in, at his most folkish on After Tonight a gentle troubadour with an acoustic guitar and a gentle touch. Continue reading “Howie Payne “Mountain” (Full Stack Records, 2017)”