Western States “From The Center Out” (Independent, 2019)

I wanted to dig up old demons who still pull the strings…” declares Tim Lloyd, whose previous band The Doxies, were once hailed as “that rare creature, the great Midwestern rock band”. Now fronting the Western States, Lloyd continues to harness the Mississippi River winds, providing country-infused rock to the St Louis faithful around the old Soulard district and further afield. ‘From The Center Out’ is a collection of character-driven narratives on populist disillusion. Snapshots from the opposite end of the American Dream. Continue reading “Western States “From The Center Out” (Independent, 2019)”

Songs for the apocalypse: Colin and Caroline “Like Home”

Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Colin Healy and Caroline Mauck attended high school together, and after years of pursuing music in different directions, they were reconnected at a local spot in their hometown. Known for their lowkey covers but describing their sound as “folk rock”, they occasionally conjure up something original, like this delightful three-minute ditty from 2015 which isn’t a cover of the Eminem song of the same name.

Rickie Lee Jones “Kicks” (The Other Side of Desire, 2019)

This is Rickie Lee Jones’ fifth covers album if you include the ‘Girl at Her Volcano’ EP, following on from 2012s ‘The Devil You Know‘. As usual ‘Kicks‘ mixes ’70s rock covers with some jazz and standards. This one feels more of a mixture than some of her previous entries. The song choices are interesting, starting with one of her best ever cover versions in ‘Bad Company‘ featuring some fine electric guitar work from Jones herself. Continue reading “Rickie Lee Jones “Kicks” (The Other Side of Desire, 2019)”

Signe Marie Rustad “Die With Your Boots On” – Listen

Taken from Signe Marie Rustad’s third album ‘When Words Flew Freely‘ this is a warm and perfect piano led singer-songwriter outing very much in the way of Carole King or Joni Mitchell.  And that’s a big claim but one listen to Norwegian-American Signe Marie Rustad ‘s voice will affirm that it’s no exaggeration.  With beautiful evocations of the bleakness of “concrete deserts” it’s an encouragement to keep on keeping on, or as Rustad says “The phrase ‘Die With Your Boots On’ is kind of an alternative way of saying ‘don’t give up’. Despite anything you may be going through, don’t ever give up. Don’t take those boots off – don’t stop walking onwards

Hegsy and The Elements “My Truths” (Independent, 2019)

This is the debut Hegsy and The Elements album, a record where Mark Hegarty and his band tell and share movingly, with their audiences, stories that make you think and react. All the tracks were recorded at Shabbey Road Studios Cardiff and produced there by Al Steele. So, be prepared, to be taken down many interesting and unexpected roads. ‘Oh Sonni,’ the first track, is a captivating starter with Heulwen Thomas on violin providing, a foot-stomping background for the song of love for a son: “Oh Sonny, I’m by your side.” Continue reading “Hegsy and The Elements “My Truths” (Independent, 2019)”

Video Premiere: Ellis Paul “The Battle Of Charlottesville”

Here’s a powerful and emotive song, and an equally strong video, from Ellis Paul which commemorates the death of Heather Heyer at the hands of a man who attended the infamous “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017.  It’s from his new album ‘The Storytellers Suitcase‘ out on September 6th.

Tenement & Temple “Tenement & Temple” (Thrum Recordings, 2019)

Monica Queen and Johnny Smillie first came to prominence in the ’90s as part of the Scottish Indie rock band Thrum.  During their initial, but somewhat short-lived incarnation, Thrum achieved critical acclaim, but only relatively modest commercial success and they eventually split in 1995. Monica Queen continued to make music as a solo artist, mostly produced by Smillie and is also recognised for her numerous guest appearances, most notably duets with Shane MacGowan, Snow Patrol and Belle and Sebastian, particularly on the latter’s early classic ‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’. Continue reading “Tenement & Temple “Tenement & Temple” (Thrum Recordings, 2019)”

Whitney Rose and Ags Connolly, The Lexington, London, 23rd July 2019

Ags Connolly and Whitney Rose may hail from Oxford and Canada, respectively, but they both share a spiritual home in Austin. For Ags it’s the place he relates most to musically, while for Whitney Rose it now represents home following her move from her native Prince Edward Island. While Ags Connolly and Whitney Rose may be at opposite ends of the musical alphabet they are both ruggedly independent acts who demonstrate tonight that they should be filed under the letter ‘C’ for classic country. Continue reading “Whitney Rose and Ags Connolly, The Lexington, London, 23rd July 2019”

The Highwomen perform with Dolly and Isbell – Watch

The Highwomen, if you haven’t heard, are a like a new up to date female version of the Highway Men (geddit?), the country supergroup from the 80s which included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. The Highwomen are Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby, and they performed the song ‘Eagle When She Flies’ at the Newport Folk Festival Saturday night, with backing from Mr Shires, Jason Isbell.  Their self-titled debut album is coming out in September.

Robert LaRoche “A Thousand Shades” (Independent, 2019)

The six songs on Robert LaRoche’s new EP, ‘A Thousand Shades’, chart a journey through addictive, obsessive love and relationship break-ups. LaRoche’s pop background in The Sighs is evident in the rhythms, the warm vocal and the variety in pace and tone. This is the Austin-singer’s second solo release, characterised by catchy, immediately likeable melodies. Continue reading “Robert LaRoche “A Thousand Shades” (Independent, 2019)”