Tami Neilson “Sassafrass” (Outside Music, 2018)

Born in Canada, now based in New Zealand, Tami Neilson, confidently presents her sixth album. Tami, part of a musical family, has had a  part in the writing of all the songs here, some with her brother, Joshua Neilson and one with her late father, leader of The Neilsons, a Canadian family band active in the 90’s with whom Tami played from the age of 12. Continue reading “Tami Neilson “Sassafrass” (Outside Music, 2018)”

Fender Undiscovered Artist of the Year 2018, Globe, London, 10th July

The bright future of our young acoustic talent was  showcased in north London tonight as the finalists of the Fender Undiscovered Artist Of The Year awards gathered to battle it out at the Globe. And they WERE all rather bright and rather young – almost disagreeably so – including the hosts and the judges and the compères. And as they introduced the evening’s entertainment, clarifying their position on everything from use of e-cigarettes to the #metoo campaign, your forty-something AUK representative who had somehow sneaked past the beauty police inched closer to the free bar in the knowledge that it could be a longer evening than anticipated. Continue reading “Fender Undiscovered Artist of the Year 2018, Globe, London, 10th July”

Phosphorescent new album and UK dates, October – Listen

Phosphorescent have announced details of a new album ‘C’est La Vie’ which will be released on October 5th in the UK via Dead Oceans. The album was produced by the band’s Matthew Houck and recorded at his Spirit Sounds Studio in Nashville with an array of musicians including Ricky Ray Jackson on pedal steel, Luke Reynolds on guitar and Jo Schornikow (Houck’s missus) on Wurlitzer and organ. According to Uncut, the album describes “a life-altering period which saw him fall in love, start a family, leave New York, build a studio from the ground up, and battle serious illness. “It’s laughable, honestly, how many life-altering events happened in the last half decade,” Houck says. “The most significant moments in your life make you feel your insignificance.”” Continue reading “Phosphorescent new album and UK dates, October – Listen”

Charlie Smyth “The Way I Feel” (Independent, 2018)

Charlie Smyth has come to Nashville where he now resides, having been a veteran of the 1990s Chicago and Seattle punk scenes of the 1990s – and perhaps he brings some of that sensibility to his songwriting in the occasionally inspired offering ‘The Way I Feel’. Opening with a Neil Diamond cover is a safe bet but one that perhaps leads the listener to an early conclusion that may not be entirely true. It is a joyous sound – all mariachi horns and big vocals  – a ‘Beautiful Noise’ indeed, but slightly out of kilter with the rest of the album. Continue reading “Charlie Smyth “The Way I Feel” (Independent, 2018)”

Steve Earle and The Dukes, O2 Academy, Bristol, 17th July 2018

It was with great anticipation that I finally got to see Steve Earle and The Dukes live for the first time when they came to the O2 Academy in Bristol. As anyone who has seen the great man will agree, with 33 albums, 3 Grammies and a roller coaster 44 year career  behind him this guy is Americana Royalty. Continue reading “Steve Earle and The Dukes, O2 Academy, Bristol, 17th July 2018”

Jim Lauderdale “Time Flies” (Yep Roc, 2018)

After seeing him host and judge the Americana and the Independent Music Awards respectively, be an Honorary Chairperson for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest each April at MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, co-hosting – along with Buddy Miller – “The Buddy & Jim Show” on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel, and hosting his own eponymously-named show on WSM Radio, it would be easy to forget that Jim Lauderdale has actually recorded 29 albums throughout his career, in addition to writing songs for George Strait, Blake Shelton, Elvis Costello, the Dixie Chicks, and Vince Gill, among others. Continue reading “Jim Lauderdale “Time Flies” (Yep Roc, 2018)”

David Crosby joins Isbell on stage at Newport – Watch

RS Country reported over the weekend that David Crosby made a surprise appearance during Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s headlining set at the Newport Folk Festival on Friday to perform two Crosby, Stills & Nash classic songs. They report that “Crosby, who was not on the lineup for this year’s Newport Folk Festival, joined Isbell for “Wooden Ships” and the Neil Young-penned CSNY cut “Ohio.” Crosby and Isbell shared vocals on the former track as the two rockers tacked an extended guitar solo to the 1969 track. Continue reading “David Crosby joins Isbell on stage at Newport – Watch”

Besides Daniel “If You Ask Me To” – Listen

Danny Brewer, the mastermind behind Besides Daniel, pulls from his own experiences and life lessons to craft his songs. His new record, “T E E M I N G” (with the letters spaced out) is set for release on August 24th, described as “a subtle reflection on the adventure of putting roots in the ground, committing to love, healing through long-suffering and the celebration of new life.” On the rather lovely new single, ‘If You Asked Me To,’ tenfold vocals croon of devotion, fidelity, and hope, with a moody groove with deep pockets and creative soundscapes. “It’s a song about giving. The concept is describing a willingness to do whatever it takes,” says Brewer. Although childhood memories of “would you jump off the edge of a cliff…” should give the listener pause for thought.

Jimmy LaFave “Peacetown” (Music Road Records, 2018)

This album arrives under the banner ‘Austin Legend, The Late Jimmy LaFave..’ and as such presents a reviewer with a potentially thorny problem. What if it’s no good? Is there anything to be gained from constructive criticism as the artist themselves will not be able to respond or react?  Luckily any concerns were brushed aside by a double album full of heartbreak and celebration as well as an underlying sense of melancholy entirely appropriate for the material as well as the deeply sad back story. Continue reading “Jimmy LaFave “Peacetown” (Music Road Records, 2018)”