Jess Klein “Back To My Green” (Blue Rose Records, 2019)

Just as the generations have always offered up explosions of outstanding peer collectives down the ages,  so it seems that lately there has been an outbreak of gifted female americana singer-songwriters. Not that Jess Klein is exactly hot off the press – her career spans nearly two decades. She does, however, have an uncanny knack … Continue reading “Jess Klein “Back To My Green” (Blue Rose Records, 2019)”

Dave Desmelik with an Army of Love “Childhood Battles” (Independent, 2018)

As a music reviewer, one strives to approach each release dispassionately. However, on occasion it is nigh on impossible to separate an album from the story behind it. This is one such record. First, the personnel: Dave Desmelik is the journeyman songwriter and musician who has written and recorded all the material herein. The songs feature … Continue reading “Dave Desmelik with an Army of Love “Childhood Battles” (Independent, 2018)”

First names for Black Deer’s 2019 line-up announced

The first names have been announced this morning for the americana and country festival Black Deer’s 2019 line up, and there are some belters on there. In a victory for equestrians, South Califonia’s Band of Horses have been confirmed as the first headliner, with other artists announced including Australian roots-rockers the John Butler Trio, Northumberland’s … Continue reading “First names for Black Deer’s 2019 line-up announced”

American Aquarium + Anthony D’Amato, The Louisiana, Bristol, 30th October 2018

Last time Anthony D’Amato toured he was supporting Ziggy Marley as a last minute addition. Winning over a crowd cheering “Ziggy, Ziggy” and expecting the dreadlocked man to walk on stage was not easy. Tonight, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. D’Amato was on the bill this time to open for American Aquarium, so the … Continue reading “American Aquarium + Anthony D’Amato, The Louisiana, Bristol, 30th October 2018”

Amy Helm “This Too Shall Light” (Yep Roc, 2018)

‘This Too Shall Light‘ is the second album under her own name, but Amy Helm’s music goes back someway longer as a founder member of Ollabelle, and as a backing musician in the Midnight Ramble Band.  Yes, that Helm.  For this album Amy Helm has teamed with Joe Henry as the producer to make a richly … Continue reading “Amy Helm “This Too Shall Light” (Yep Roc, 2018)”

Book review: Iain Matthews “Thro’ My Eyes” (Route Publishing, 2018)

If there was an award for the role of Godfather of Americana in the UK, serious consideration would have to go to Iain Matthews as a deserving nominee. An early member of Fairport Convention, recruited for his fine voice and ability to front a band, he was an early advocate of American singer songwriters like … Continue reading “Book review: Iain Matthews “Thro’ My Eyes” (Route Publishing, 2018)”

Will Hoge “My American Dream” (EDLO/Thirty Tigers 2018)

‘My American Dream’ is the new collection of songs from Nashville singer, songwriter and musician Will Hoge: 29 minutes and eight songs over which he vents his spleen at the state of his home nation. Someone once said that a message with imagery is poetry, a message without imagery is propaganda. There is no doubt … Continue reading “Will Hoge “My American Dream” (EDLO/Thirty Tigers 2018)”

Jimmy LaFave “Peacetown” (Music Road Records, 2018)

This album arrives under the banner ‘Austin Legend, The Late Jimmy LaFave..’ and as such presents a reviewer with a potentially thorny problem. What if it’s no good? Is there anything to be gained from constructive criticism as the artist themselves will not be able to respond or react?  Luckily any concerns were brushed aside by … Continue reading “Jimmy LaFave “Peacetown” (Music Road Records, 2018)”

Giant Sand + Patsy’s Rats, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 10th June 2018

Never a man to resist a whim, Howe Gelb has resurrected the band title he retired a few years back and re-recorded the first album which came out under the Giant Sand name, 1985’s ‘Valley of Rain’. The whys and wherefores for this are myriad perhaps but Gelb reasons that the original album suffered from … Continue reading “Giant Sand + Patsy’s Rats, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 10th June 2018”

Vickers Vimy “Atlas Of Hearts” (Vickers Vimy Music, 2018)

For the record, the Vickers Vimy was a First World War bomber originally manufactured in County Mayo, Ireland and was the first aircraft to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. It’s also the name of this band of Galway alt-Celtic freewheelers, adopted to drive the patriotic point home. It wasn’t necessary. This collection of bittersweet jigs … Continue reading “Vickers Vimy “Atlas Of Hearts” (Vickers Vimy Music, 2018)”