Tom Russell “October in the Railroad Earth” (Proper, 2019)

It takes some sand to put out an album that shoots for “Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield”. Tom Russell’s extensive resume and impeccable pedigree notwithstanding, it’s a high bar to set. The songs on his new album ‘October in the Railroad Earth’ easily sail over that bar. The album’s title track is borrowed from a lyrical poem by Kerouac and serves as both a reflection on and restatement of the urgent search that drove the beat poet. The final track is a return to the first song Russell ever learned, Johnny Cash’s ‘Wreck of the Old 97’. But it’s worth considering whether the album’s larger than life book-ends are merely points of contrast for the most pressing matters taken up in between. Continue reading “Tom Russell “October in the Railroad Earth” (Proper, 2019)”

Danny Schmidt “Standard Deviation” (Live Once, 2019)

Danny Schmidt’s 10th studio album, ‘Standard Deviation’, continues to showcase the strength of his song writing capability, with diverse subject matter covering (among other topics) family, fatherhood, addict recovery, miscarriage and Dylan, all while maintaining a generally positive upbeat feel. The theme of family and friends features strongly throughout. Continue reading “Danny Schmidt “Standard Deviation” (Live Once, 2019)”

Yo La Tengo, EartH, London, February 17th 2019

From the apologetic shuffle onstage and into the woozy beat driven ‘You Are Here’, Yo La Tengo made sure that the faithful who had gathered to see them in this extraordinary venue knew that they were witnessing true artists at work such was the low key nature of both entrance and performance. It fitted perfectly with the surroundings – a repurposed cinema where the stage was in everyone’s view and which had the sense of a scientific lecture as the audience disseminated every movement and instrumental switch made by the band. The feeling was heightened by the minimal lighting that often left the band in a murky darkness whilst the audience was bathed in purple. Continue reading “Yo La Tengo, EartH, London, February 17th 2019”

Songs for the apocalypse: Jackson Browne “Late For the Sky”

On rare occasions when I used to review albums for AUK I’d think “this is a 10” but before long a creeping thought would always enter my mind – that whatever record it was, it wasn’t as good as Jackson Browne’s ‘Late For the Sky’.  Jackson Browne described the song as being “about a moment when you realize that something has changed, it’s over, and you’re late for wherever you’re going to be next.” So not just about missing a plane, and it has aged not one jot in 46 years. Thank the lucky stars that a songwriter like JB is still around.

Track Premiere: Lashes “Daydreamer”

Lashes are a London band who have found that the path to rock ‘n’ roll greatness is paved with the likes of the Stones,  The Band, The Faces and Dylan.   The band name, perhaps not too surprisingly, comes from a night out on “the lash” which encouraged the band to try and  emulate their heroes who would play all night, party until the morning and then get up to do it all over again.

Continue reading “Track Premiere: Lashes “Daydreamer””

Trapper Schoepp “Primetime Illusion” (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2019)

On his fourth full length release Trapper Schoepp has pulled off a trick that only really occurs once or twice in any given decade – the reshaping of folk rock to sound fresh and new. On ‘Primetime Illusion‘ he can be found breathing new life into a dependable genre, with an exuberance that probably hasn’t been heard since Forbert put out ‘Alive On Arrival.’ And with some valid comparisons to that genre defining album, Schoepp can be found in places using Forbertisims in his lyrics. He’s also got an accomplished band backing him, making the album an arresting listen right from the opening notes of ‘Shakedown‘. Continue reading “Trapper Schoepp “Primetime Illusion” (Xtra Mile Recordings, 2019)”

Son Volt release video for new track “Devil May Care”

Son Volt’s new album is on the way next month and our over-excitement isn’t being helped by the drip drip of material from the record, including now a new video which focuses on the daily grind of being working musicians in their new video for the track ‘Devil May Care’, which premiered yesterday on Rolling Stone Country.  RS describes the track as “Cruising along with breezy acoustic strumming, the carefree Americana tune soundtracks a montage of road scenes, featuring frontman Jay Farrar and his longstanding alt-country crew moving from gig to gig. The vintage-hued footage unfolds like a scrapbook of tour memories with shots of highway signs, stage time and laughs over backstage beers. Continue reading “Son Volt release video for new track “Devil May Care””

Radiator King “Roll The Dice” (SoundEvolution Records, 2019)

‘Roll The Dice’ is the latest release from Brooklynite Radiator King (aka Adam Silvestri). His first release since 2017’s ‘A Hollow Triumph After All’, Silvestri has established himself amongst the latest wave of earnest songwriters who have been brought up on punk, but perform Americana-inspired rock and roll and this latest EP is more of the same. Continue reading “Radiator King “Roll The Dice” (SoundEvolution Records, 2019)”

Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves “Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves” (Free Dirt Records, 2018)

If you play with iconic figures like Gillian Welch and Bruce Molsky, as Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves have, then you’re probably going to be pretty good at what you do and so it proves on the duo’s debut album. Lots of people play old time music, quite a few people play it pretty well, but few play it as well as this couple. Continue reading “Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves “Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves” (Free Dirt Records, 2018)”