Anne Elise Hastings and Her Revolving Cast of Characters “Anne Elise Hastings and Her Revolving Cast of Characters” (Independent, 2018)

New Orleans probably isn’t the first place you’d turn to when looking for contemporary folky Americana. However, if you can marry the jazz and blues sounds of The Big Easy with a foundation of folk and roots, then you might be on to something quite interesting. Which is what Anne Elise Hastings quite deftly achieves with this set of songs. Even where the NOLA influences aren’t greatly in evidence, the music still flies fairly high.

Opening track ‘That Man’ quickly introduces a woozy trumpet which adds flavour to a speedy rockabilly shuffle, telling the tale of a wronged lover. It’s a strong start to the album. ‘Mama’s Got Her Ladies’ is a fine country-swing meets blues tune, with the aforementioned trumpet again counterpointing the jazzy guitars and brush snare shuffle. ‘St Paul’ with its banjo and trumpets is full on brooding, almost New Orleans funereal in tone as it tells the tale of an alienated, drug-ruined life. ‘Bruised’ is a Fleetwood Mac-esque, powerful stomp of a song; turning the tables on an abuser. Final track ‘Something Good’ is an exquisite, dreamy ballad with, rarest of things, a whistling solo. It’s an almost hidden highlight within this weighty collection of songs. Kudos too to the record cover and its collection of papier mache, Frank Sidebottom(ish) heads.

8/10

Summary

A beguiling collection of Americana (in the wider sense) blended from the Crescent City

Author: Mark Nenadic

Quite likes music. Doesn't really like people. From The North. Exiled in The Midlands due to radical views on whippets/flat caps. Beards and plaid shirts belong on Willie Nelson. Everybody else should smarten up a bit ..

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