Mike Frazier “Where The Valley Kissed The Sky” (Geneva Records, 2019)

Mike Frazier hails from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and it’s this region that informs and infuses his new album ‘Where The Valley Kissed The Sky’, with the singer/songwriter drawing on his observations -living and working in and around various towns in the valley.
The Shenandoah Valley is, apparently, an area that encompasses a range of communities from college towns to rural farms and is, by all accounts, a region that has experienced a lot of rapid cultural and economic upheaval in recent years and it’s this that provides a loose concept for Frazier’s songs; a concept that serves the album well. Continue reading “Mike Frazier “Where The Valley Kissed The Sky” (Geneva Records, 2019)”

Van Life – The Southern Fold

Ireland’s love of American roots music is something that has long been championed and applauded. There are any number of bands an artists who take inspiration both from the giants of the genre – Zandt, Clark, etc – and those that head a little further afield trawling the old alt.country archives. The Southern Fold are one such example. Led by guitarist and vocalist Emlyn Holden the band draw as much from Son Volt and Creedence for their guitar driven sound with the band making their UK debut at Red Rooster Festival at the end of May.  Americana-UK caught up with Holden at Kilkenny Roots Festival to chat about life on the road and those all important CD’s for the glovebox. Continue reading “Van Life – The Southern Fold”

Lo Carmen “Now You Know Nashville” – Listen

On her latest single, Lo Carmen plays out a tale of the ingenue fresh in town and relying on her battered paperback guide to see her through. It’s honky-tonk country to its (probably dyed) roots, and features a cheatin’ cowboy who in the traditional way kisses off with “well you’ll get a song out of this“.  Seems he was right.

Daddy Long Legs, Rough Trade East, London, 16th May 2019

When a well-respected music fan informs you that the best performers at last year’s Red Rooster Festival are performing an in-store at London’s Rough Trade East you know it’s got to be worth checking out. Over for an 8 leg(ged) tour of the UK to promote their new album, ‘Lowdown Ways’, Brooklyn-based trio Daddy Long Legs, played a mightily impressive 45 minute set of stompin’ and hollerin’ blues and R&B influenced music that at the end left the audience breathless and calling out for more. Continue reading “Daddy Long Legs, Rough Trade East, London, 16th May 2019”

Tyler Ramsey “For The Morning” (Fantasy Records/Virgin EMI, 2019)

For those unfamiliar with Tyler Ramsey, he was the lead guitarist and one of the core songwriters in Band of Horses throughout their astronomical rise to the top of their game and, having left the group in May of 2017, has returned with his first work since 2011 and it was more than worth the wait. Continue reading “Tyler Ramsey “For The Morning” (Fantasy Records/Virgin EMI, 2019)”

Songs for the apocalypse: Tim Rogers & the Twin Set “I Left My Heart All Over the Place”

‘What Rhymes with Cars and Girls’ was the first solo album by You Am I frontman Tim Rogers, and the only release featuring the backing band The Twin Set. I grew to love the album with every bone in my body from the time when I first heard it in Australia back in 1999, and so it seems did a theatre company in Melbourne, the city where the album originated, who turned the whole thing into a musical in 2015. As the Director of that musical said, the record is “somehow a conversation between lovers about the tricky business of love” and few do it as well as Tim Rogers. Just lovely.

David Quinn “Wanderin’ Fool” (Independent, 2019)

“Chicago cosmic country!” thus David Quinn is introduced via the gimmick weary world of the media press release. The resulting introduction into the life of this travelling proponent of country rock tells a different story. From the northern woods of Wisconsin to the California pop-rock scene, right up to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and on down to Texas on what he calls his “quarter-life crisis”, there’s more to the man than the label. Continue reading “David Quinn “Wanderin’ Fool” (Independent, 2019)”

Hayes Carll + Travis Linville, Deaf Institute, Manchester, 15th May 2019

Hayes Carll is in a pretty good place right now. His new album ‘What It Is’ is a triumphant return to form following two releases which some considered somewhat flat. In addition,  at the start of an eight date tour of the UK in Manchester, he had some news to impart as he  announced that just three days earlier  he had married his partner, Alison Moorer.  This news was greeted with cheering and applause, something that was to be repeated regularly as the evening unfolded. Continue reading “Hayes Carll + Travis Linville, Deaf Institute, Manchester, 15th May 2019”

Book Review: David Berman “Actual Air” (Drag City, 2019)

It seems poetry books are a bit like buses – you wait ages for one and then two come along at once! Following on from our recent review of Doug Hoekstra’s ‘Unopened’ we now have David Berman’s acclaimed ‘Actual Air’ to evaluate – and this is quite a different beast! To start with, Berman’s book is a re-issue; originally released in 1999, this collection of modernist poems saw Berman hailed as a natural successor to Wallace Stevens and drew major critical acclaim from the likes of The New Yorker and G2. Twenty years on the impact of these poems has not diminished in the slightest. Now it is being re-issued, initially as a limited edition (one thousand copies) hardback, with a paperback run scheduled to follow. Continue reading “Book Review: David Berman “Actual Air” (Drag City, 2019)”