Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)

Those of you familiar with Richard Warren’s previous solo records will know what to expect from this fourth album – Disentangled.  You won’t be disappointed either. Sounding like a stoner/psychedelic happening featuring Duane Eddy on guitar and Richard Hawley on vocals; it’s equal parts weird, hypnotic and excellent. Welcome to the fertile outer edges of Americana. Continue reading “Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)”

Alela Diane announces new “motherhood” album “Cusp”

Portland, Oregon based singer-songwriter  Alela Diane has announced her return with a new album “Cusp”, the follow up to 2013’s “About Farewell”.  The new album is about the unspoken artistic taboo: “Have a baby if you must. But for goodness’ sake, don’t write songs about it.” (To be fair, it’s not so much a hostility to songs about motherhood, more a reaction to parents saturating everyone else’s newsfeed with pictures of their irritating children doing anything at all.  It’s ruined it for everyone.)  “This music is about motherhood,” Alela says of Cusp. “Even just by saying that, it feels like people will write you off. As women, our music is sold based on our sex-appeal. There’s a lack of spaces for women to move into that aren’t based on appearance. Those are conversations I’m interested in having.” Continue reading “Alela Diane announces new “motherhood” album “Cusp””

Alex Hedley “Let it Roll On” – Listen

Dorset based Alex Hedley has released his new single ‘Let It Roll On’ taken from his ‘This Life’ EP which comes out later next month. If Nick Drake-esqe acoustic folk is your thing, you’ll probably enjoy this. Not only has he got a rather amazing voice, but he fronted a band called Saturday Sun whose debut got some nice attention from The Guardian among others.  One track was described by a writer as “quite possibly the quickest 5 minutes of my life,” kind of like the opposite of listening to a Frank Turner record.

First new John Prine album in 13 years on the way

Unlucky for some, unless you’re a baker.  Rolling Stone reports: “John Prine, whose 2017 highlights included headlining the Newport Folk Festival, releasing his first-ever book, John Prine Beyond Words, and winning Artist of the Year at the Americana Music Honors & Awards ceremony in September, already has a memorable 2018 shaping up, including a spring [US] tour and the release of new music.  The new LP will be Prine’s first consisting of original music in 13 years. More details about the upcoming record are expected soon. Prine’s Fair & Square, his last LP of new solo material, was released in 2005 and earned him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.” Continue reading “First new John Prine album in 13 years on the way”

Blitzen Trapper “Wild And Reckless” (Lojinx, 2017)

The thing which saved Blitzen Trapper from being run of the mill was their embracing of risk: they can be joyous and frustrating, and on this record they are no different, only, in common with their recent releases, less so. They start with the blue-collar Americana of Rebel and then they hit paydirt of sorts with the title track which hits the spot somewhere between the Drive By Truckers and Bryan Adams, which is not meant to sound snide. The song is a fist-pumper, balancing a strain of nostalgic melancholy with an uplifting chorus that cuts straight to the point. It should be the sound that pours out of a thousand convertibles. Continue reading “Blitzen Trapper “Wild And Reckless” (Lojinx, 2017)”

Ralph McTell re-releases “Streets of London” for Crisis

Singer-songwriter Ralph McTell has re-recorded his classic song ‘Streets of London’ with a choir made up of clients from Crisis – the national charity for homeless people – and guest vocalist Annie Lennox, to raise money for the cause in the run up to Christmas.  First penned 50 years ago, the single shares its birthday with Crisis, whose 50th anniversary also falls this December. To mark the occasion, Crisis’ homeless clients and staff from across the country came together to form an 88-strong choir to sing alongside McTell and Lennox. The choir was conducted by Only Men Aloud’s Tim Rhys-Evans, while the recording also features Fairport Convention’s Richard Thompson on guitar. Continue reading “Ralph McTell re-releases “Streets of London” for Crisis”

James Summerfield “Doubt” (Say AARGH Records, 2018)

Birmingham man James Summerfield’s sixth album both conforms to and belies its title. Conformity comes from the earlier songs, where he explores and, I fear, chronicles from personal experience, struggles with mental health. But as things progress one, two, more cracks appear and the light gets in so that by the end things look, if not rosy, certainly distinctly more positive. Such subject matter might appear unpromising and the fare on offer here is certainly not light but it is uplifting and inspiring, in both its honesty and its hope and the music, regardless of the subject matter, is simply glorious. Continue reading “James Summerfield “Doubt” (Say AARGH Records, 2018)”

Mary Gauthier to Lead AMA-UK songwriting workshop 2018

Mary Gauthier has been announced as leading the AMA-UK Conference Songwriting Workshop 2018 in Hackney in January. Held on the second day of the conference, the Songwriting Workshop is described as “an opportunity to delve in to what really makes Americana tick: the song” and gives AMA-UK members and delegates the opportunity to workshop one of their songs with some of the top songwriters and experts in Americana. Joining Gauthier on the panel are songwriters and artists Chris Difford, Beth Neilsen Chapman and Sam Baker.  Continue reading “Mary Gauthier to Lead AMA-UK songwriting workshop 2018”