Nick Mulvey to guest curate Cambridge 2019

So the weekend beckons dear readers.  Have a good one whatever you get up to. Leaving you today with news that Cambridge Folk Festival have announced that local lad Nick Mulvey will be returning to Cambridge in 2019 as the Festival’s guest curator. Responsible for selecting five of his favourite artists to deliver sets for the Cherry Hinton crowd, Mulvey’s curation will sit across the line up in August next year. Continue reading “Nick Mulvey to guest curate Cambridge 2019”

Billy Wylder “Strike The Match” (Sand & Gold Records, 2018)

Billy Wylder is the songwriting project of Avi Salloway who was a touring member of African Tuareg/desert rock band Bombino for years. Salloway’s social and environmental activism has taken him across Africa, the Middle East, the South Pacific and back to the USA and the Standing Rock Indian reservation. That background has inspired an album that sees Salloway attempting to reconcile the contradiction of a world awash with beauty yet defined by almost incomprehensible social struggle. Continue reading “Billy Wylder “Strike The Match” (Sand & Gold Records, 2018)”

Jason Isbell is the Twitter big hitter against right wing trolls

RS Country has a nice piece in it today about Jason Isbell’s excellent track record with combating Trump supporting Twitter combatants which, let’s face it, would be a drain on anyone. They describe how almost a decade on from first joining the social-media service in March 2009, he has evolved into a blackbelt of the platform, “spending much of his downtime perfecting a delicate balance between music talk, irreverent fun and serious discourse.  Continue reading “Jason Isbell is the Twitter big hitter against right wing trolls”

Pick of the Political Pops: John Cale “Buffalo Ballet”

The track ‘Buffalo Ballet’ taken from John Cale’s 1974 album ‘Fear’ describes the scene in Abilene, Texas, the sparse piano-based sound lulling you into a deceptive ease as it starts off describing the town as “young and gay” with “cattle roaming.” Idyllic ay! The next verse goes on to describe a sleepy, almost decaying scene before the killer bridge: “We all joined in and all joined hands; All joined in to help run this land; Then soldiers came, long long ago; Rode through the town and rode down those who were sleeping in the midday sun.” The scene describes the US cavalry’s defense of landowners against peasant populations, often immigrants, while nowadays the peasant populations often form the cavalry. Cale himself called the song a “European version of the Old West.” (Paul Kelly’s version is better than the original imho but not available outside of Australia on YouTube sadly.)

Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band “Stormville” (Independent, 2018)

‘Stormville’ is the third release from New York City’s Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band. The three-piece already have a diverse back catalogue, having covered punk on their debut ‘Call The Cops!’, before going a tad more melodic on sophomore record ‘Last Goodbye’. Their latest record follows on in the vein of the latter and settles on an alt-folk style with dashings of Americana. Opener ‘Tonight’ stomps into action, delivering a choral singalong chorus. ‘Arkansas To NYC’ is the first real genuine highlight, gradually building before a grandiose chorus featuring a brass section. The horns remain on ‘Hey Now’ which follows, however, do not give the same effect. Let down by a simplistic melody, it is a poor man’s Lumineers. Continue reading “Matt Krahula & The Nightmare River Band “Stormville” (Independent, 2018)”

Video: Plainsong “Even The Guiding Light”

Now here’s a thing for this week’s retro slot.  According to Youtube less than 200 people have watched this which is a crying shame as it’s a lovely 1972 performance of a delightful country-rock song from Plainsong’s great album In Search Of Amelia Earhart.  Have a watch and a great weekend everyone.

Interview: Matthew Logan Vasquez

A collection of songwriters holed up on the outskirts of Santa Fe in a ramshackle house, fuelled by alcohol, camaraderie and hot tubs, Glorietta sounds like some kind of creative utopian dream.  Delta Spirit’s Matthew Logan Vasquez, alongside buddies and contemporaries David Ramirez, Noah Gundersen, Adrian Quesada, Kelsey Wilson and Jason Robert Blum have recorded a truly wonderful album together that manages to combine beautifully all their collective talents without ever losing that overriding sense of fun.  Americana-UK speaks to Delta Spirit’s Mathew Logan Vasquez about ego management,  the art of collective songwriting, and basic logistics of making a project like this actually happen.  Continue reading “Interview: Matthew Logan Vasquez”

Vanessa Peters “Foxhole Prayers” (Idol Records, 2018)

This is an infectious record and one of those which has many “ear worm” moments but all in a good way. Vanessa Peters is a Dallas based singer-songwriter and this her eleventh album is a triumph which has its inspiration in the turbulent times that we live in. That it can be a critique on many of the things that are troubling in the world yet still retain a sense of positivity and inspiration is a credit to the artist who has written all bar one of the ten tracks on this album herself. The publicity that comes with the record refers to Peters’ passion for literacy and her view that the current times are much like the years depictited in “The Great Gatsby” by Scott-Fitzgerald. There is certainly a cutting edge to the lyrics with Carnival Barker making the point that whilst voices of reason are out there they get drowned out by the man with the money and the big machine. It won’t take much imagination to work out who and what world event she is alluding to there. Continue reading “Vanessa Peters “Foxhole Prayers” (Idol Records, 2018)”

Alejandro Escovedo “The Crossing” (Yep Roc, 2018)

Alejandro Escovedo is renowned for his eclectic catalogue; slipping easily between genres and unafraid to tack between diverse musical reference points he is as comfortable with the raucous six strings of his guitar as he is a lush string ensemble. Diversity comes between and within his albums. His backdrop however remains roots rock and alt-country, and it is that which provides the building blocks for the 17 songs on ‘The Crossing’. The twist with this release is that it is, whisper it, a concept album. No, it’s OK, come out from behind the sofa, the promo sticker on the album cover is still likely to read ‘for fans of Steve Earle’ rather than ‘Yes’ and the music grooves, shuffles and raps out some straight- eight chugging rhythms in a most pleasing way. It also delivers a heartfelt political message. Continue reading “Alejandro Escovedo “The Crossing” (Yep Roc, 2018)”

Dan Wilson “Leave My Baby Alone” – Listen

Dan Wilson, The Guardian says, makes Tom Waits sound like Tiny Tim and we don’t disagree – His debut album ‘All Love is Blind’ was released in 2015 and the title track was singled out as one of the iTunes “hot tracks” for weeks on end, the album receiving some great reviews internationally as he played European festivals and shows alongside Dylan, Mark Lanegan and Jim Jones. His new single ‘Leave My  Baby Alone’ is blisteringly good with some neat little Sadies-esque chord changes and that amazingly evocative voice. His new album, with his band the Counterfactuals, comes out in January 2019, but until then, this is the best thing you can do with three minutes today (that or send a brick Freepost to Conservative Central Office).