Summer is approaching and the West Country is coming alive with festivals and events from all walks of the musical spectrum. Robert Plant is back in his old stomping ground, Glastonbury is just around the corner and soulful Americana combo Littlemen are still bringing their own unique brand of melodic country blues to their faithful Somerset following and beyond. ‘Brothers from another mother’, Simon and Nick Allen sat down with Tim Merricks at that last outpost of sanctuary for Bath musicians, ‘The Bell’ to chew over a life out west. Continue reading “Interview: Littlemen”
Not just in a titular sense, the Birds of Chicago’s latest album release has love as its subject matter running like a golden thread throughout the record – Allison Russell, the lead singer, reported to have said recently that any act of love is akin to “an act of bravery” in such troubled times. Founded in Chicago in 2012, but now based in Nashville, this musical collective centred on the husband and wife duo of Allison Rogers and JT Nero, have been quietly but assuredly building a fan base since, and ‘Love In Wartime’ is essentially a companion piece to their previous EP, ‘American Flowers,’ released last year, the latter more country and fiddle influenced, and apparently not best suited to the mood of the new record, which is why it merited its own release. Continue reading “Birds of Chicago “Love In Wartime” (Signature Sounds, 2018)”
‘Easier’ is the second single released from the soon to arrive new album from Sons of Bill (‘Oh God Ma’am’ out 29th June on Loose). It’s a love song, but a modern love song – so not all is well in the garden: “I always know when you’re in trouble by the colour that you dye your hair” sings James Wilson with resignation rich in the vocal. It’s a melancholic ride, that’s for sure. And if you’re wondering about the female vocal – ‘Easier’ also features Molly Parden. The Sons of Bill tour the UK in August.
For the record, the Vickers Vimy was a First World War bomber originally manufactured in County Mayo, Ireland and was the first aircraft to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. It’s also the name of this band of Galway alt-Celtic freewheelers, adopted to drive the patriotic point home. It wasn’t necessary. This collection of bittersweet jigs and ballads may embrace the vivid cinematics and vast soundscapes of faraway lands, but scratch the surface and it’s as green as the shamrock of The Emerald Isle itself. Continue reading “Vickers Vimy “Atlas Of Hearts” (Vickers Vimy Music, 2018)”
When Simone Felice and his brothers went to high school they would hop on a bus in their hamlet of Palenville and ride thirty minutes or so to the county town of Catskill, passing a mural of its most celebrated resident: Iron Mike – The Dynamite Kid. After Tyson fell from grace the mural became neglected and eventually disappeared. Fleeting fame is a recurring theme in Simone Felice’s work. Tonight he half sang, half spoke a vaguely recognisable rhyme that eventually revealed itself as the chorus of ‘Fast Car’, “Be someone …” then seguing neatly into ‘If You Ever Get Famous’. This is one of three “The Duke and the King” songs performed tonight from his acclaimed post Felice Brothers project from around 2010, a critically praised partnership that doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. Continue reading “Simone Felice, Mackintosh Queen’s Cross Church, Glasgow, 13th May 2018”
From her duets album Plays Well With Others, out on June 22nd, this is Lera Lynn and John Paul White this is a gorgeous and subtle song with an atmospheric video.
As we pack our bags for the weekend (and try to escape to the most nationalistic bit of Scotland – friendly advice please…), we leave you with the new track by Neko Case which is taken from her forthcoming album ‘Hell-On’ which is due out June 1 via the ANTI label and features appearances from (in no particular order) Beth Ditto, k.d. Lang, AC Newman, Eric Bachmann, Kelly Hogan, Doug Gillard, Laura Veirs and Joey Burns. “That lot” as Alan Partridge would say. ‘Curse of the I-5 Corridor’ is an epic seven-minute affair and features some rather lovely vocals from Mark Lanegan. Have a good one dear readers.
How many bands have suffered the “sounds like the Eagles” curse? Even if being mentioned in the same breath surely means they must be onto something good, attempting to match the songwriting and vocal skills of Messrs Henley and Frey is surely an invidious task and is doomed to suffer by comparison. ‘Live and Never Learn,’ the first album in five years from I See Hawks in L.A., certainly has that early Eagles country rock feel running through the core of its 14 tracks. The title track offers up a microcosm of what is to come, rhythmic, mid-paced tempo, reverby Telecaster and easy on the ear. The quality of musicianship is spot on throughout the album and much credit for that must go to five-times Grammy-winning mixer Alfonso Rodenas. Continue reading “I See Hawks in L.A. “Live and Never Learn” (Blue Rose, 2018)”
Our attention was drawn this week to the annual festival of gloating in which a national ‘news’ paper rubs the rest of our noses in the dirt by telling us who has the most money in the country. How odd, we thought, that when so many people have so little that it’s deemed acceptable to tell us how so few have so much. And it was also interesting to note how much is given by whom to various political parties. Actually not that varied of course with 99% going ‘blue’. Given our track record you’d think that at this point we would think of some smart arsed quip to make making light of the situation. But we can’t. It’s just too familiar and depressing. So have some ‘blues’ on the subject.
We keep telling anyone who’ll listen that Passenger, aka Brighton’s Mike Rosenberg, is one of the finest contemporary songwriters around and today he’s today released new single ‘Hell Or High Water’ which is in a word fantastico. Directed by long-time collaborator Jarrad Seng, the video is a result of a three-week road trip across the USA, providing the perfect backdrop for the widescreen, Americana-influenced sound which bodes well for the new album. “The song is a personal inquisition,” says Rosenberg. “I came out of a relationship a few years ago, and I was just baffled by it. Was it something I’d done? Something she’d done? The video was shot over a few days in various national parks – Monument Valley, Valley Of Fire, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. These epic and vast landscapes really help to portray a feeling of being lost in a hopeless quest for answers.” You can catch Passenger headlining the Black Deer americana and country festival at the end of June.