Miss Tess “The Moon Is An Ashtray” (Tone Tree Music, 2020)

It’s hard to believe that the 12 tracks on ‘The Moon Is An Ashtray’ clock in at less than 40 minutes. The songs bring together all of the best elements of more than three decades of American music. From 50s ballads that bring Kittie Wells and Patsy Cline to mind to songs that breathe new life into the best of the 70s Nashville Sound—it’s all in there. It gives the album the expansive scope of an epic journey. But perhaps the most impressive and enjoyable things about the album are that it makes it all seem effortless. Every song feels both fresh and familiar. Continue reading “Miss Tess “The Moon Is An Ashtray” (Tone Tree Music, 2020)”

Video: Kacy & Clayton “That Sweet Orchestra Sound”

Two minutes in, shortly before it finishes, the pace changes suddenly and draws you into this new single from Kacy & Clayton; it’s a good example of the quality of their song writing.  ‘That Sweet Orchestra Sound’ is the final song from recent album ‘Carrying On’, which was produced by Jeff Tweedy (Wilco).  The Canadian duo are influenced by traditional country, English folk and 1960s psychodelia, all blended into a warm rich sound.  Ones to watch.

AmericanA to Z – Gordon Lightfoot

There are plenty of Gordon Lightfoot fans out there as attested by his ability to develop a touring schedule for 2020 having started his career back in the 1960s. Significant artists who have praised and been influenced by this Canadian songsmith include Johnny Cash, John Prine, Robbie Robertson and perhaps most famously, Bob Dylan. Lightfoot toured with Dylan including the 1975 ‘Rolling Thunder’ tour. Dylan has said, “Lightfoot became a mentor for a long time. I think he still is to this day” and recorded the Lightfoot penned ‘Shadows’. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Gordon Lightfoot”

Robert Vincent “In This Town You’re Owned” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)

There’s no reason to waste any time, so let’s get straight to the point.  Robert Vincent’s third album ‘In This Town You’re Owned’  is a corker (for those not familiar with this UK term, that’s a really good thing!) and from the moment the first notes of the opening track ‘This Town’ descend upon your eardrums, to the fade-out on the final track ‘Cuckoo’, the quality of the songwriting, the performance and the production never drops beneath a level that can only be described as outstanding. Continue reading “Robert Vincent “In This Town You’re Owned” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)”

Video: Jim Lauderdale “Cackalacky”

Here’s the brilliant new release from Grammy-winning Jim Lauderdale.  It’s fascinating to see these expert performers at work in the studio.  The song is taken from the upcoming bluegrass album, ‘When Carolina Comes Home Again’, due to come out on 27th March.  Unbelievably, this will be Lauderdale’s 33rd album.  He says of the record: “North Carolina has such a long and important heritage in bluegrass music.  Since it’s where I’m originally from and where I started playing bluegrass, it seemed right to go back to my roots in bluegrass there and collaborate with musicians in that area. There’s just something in the atmosphere there.”

The Birds of Ontario “The Birds of Ontario” (Independent, 2019)

For their self-released album of the same name The Birds of Ontario shamelessly dial the clock back to the 1970s, and a worthwhile trip back in time it is too. Opening track ‘She’s Got Time‘ references the Rolling Stones, driven by a fat riff, and very Jaggeresque vocals, while the second track  ‘Trick of Survival‘ has echoes of The Faces, and throughout the album nods to favourite sounds can be heard, including Mott the Hoople, T Rex and even early Status Quo. Continue reading “The Birds of Ontario “The Birds of Ontario” (Independent, 2019)”

Bonny Light Horseman + Sam Airey, The Lexington, London, 1st February 2020

 Remember when Mary Travers told Peter and Paul, “To hell with this, I’m through with this crap. Jerry gave me a call and I’m going to go sing with the Grateful Dead“?  Bonny Light Horseman surely do, and they brought that alternate reality to fruition in The Lexington for their first ever headlining gig in London. They are a side project band for Anais Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson (of Fruit Bats) and Josh Kaufman, supported by JT Bates on drums and Michael Libramento on bass. Their recently released album has been garnering rave reviews – deservedly – making this sold out gig in the intimate Lexington an unmissable prospect. Continue reading “Bonny Light Horseman + Sam Airey, The Lexington, London, 1st February 2020”

The Haden Triplets “The Family Songbook” (Trimeter Records/Thirty Tigers, 2020)

That ‘Family Songbook’ sounds so routinely Haden Triplets; just like we might expect it to if we’d heard (and enjoyed) their first album on Third Man Records, is perhaps something of a wonder. Despite the heft of the history, influences and associations that the sisters lug around with them their character still manages to shine remarkably brightly through the haze of the record. This has to be something that we would welcome from any artist and any record, indeed if it weren’t verging so close to being a ‘management speak’ cliché we might laud the LP’s ‘authenticity’. In this case however it is perhaps not always to the benefit of the record, but more of this later. Continue reading “The Haden Triplets “The Family Songbook” (Trimeter Records/Thirty Tigers, 2020)”

The Coo “Low Country Girl” – Listen

Matt Arthur and Jara Holdert met by chance at an open-mic in Amsterdam and found that their two-part harmonies worked so well together that they continued on until they found that they had evolved both a deep musical and personal relationship that bridges the North Sea. Continue reading “The Coo “Low Country Girl” – Listen”

Jason Isbell and 400 Unit announce new album “Reunions” and UK dates

Four time Grammy Award winner Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit have announced their triumphant return with a new album ‘Reunions’ due out May 15th on Thirty Tigers and a European tour at the end of this year. The first track from the new record comes in the shape of melody-packed, anthemic new single ‘Be Afraid’ which you can listen to below. Continue reading “Jason Isbell and 400 Unit announce new album “Reunions” and UK dates”