Dylan Stewart “The Scarecrow Sessions” (Independent, 2019)

They used to say that Leonard Cohen wrote songs to slash your wrists to and whilst Dylan Stewart’s fourth album ‘The Scarecrow Sessions’ isn’t quite in that league, it certainly isn’t an album to blow away the blues. Dylan Stewart is renowned for writing some of his best work in the dead of night, or when he’s in the depth of grief, and it shows on this collection of twelve numbers.  Continue reading “Dylan Stewart “The Scarecrow Sessions” (Independent, 2019)”

Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds “Honey’s Fury” (Independent 2019)

‘Honey’s Fury’ is the debut album from the Alabama based Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds. Molly is best known for her violin work on other singers’ albums such as Todd Snider, Will Hoge and Matthew Ryan, but for this album she’s teamed up with The Rare Birds who consist of Rick Hirsch (guitar), John Milham (drums) and John Keular (bass). Continue reading “Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds “Honey’s Fury” (Independent 2019)”

Union Duke “Golden Days” (Independent, 2019)

Album coverUnion Duke are self-styled “folk quintet” from Toronto made up of Ethan Smith, Jim McDonald, Matt Warry-Smith, Will Staunton and Rob McLaren, five long-time friends who have in their third album ‘Golden Days’, made a very friendly album. It’s radio friendly, headphone-friendly, stereo system friendly and when they tour or play festivals, live friendly too. Continue reading “Union Duke “Golden Days” (Independent, 2019)”

Pretty Archie “Hanging On” (Curve Music 2019)

Pretty Archie are a five-piece band from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, although a listen to any of the nine tracks on their fourth album ‘Hanging On’, would lead the listener to believe the band were from somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line – more Carolina than Canada. There’s a lot of twangy guitars, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, harmonica blowing and mandolins – lots of mandolins – but there are two exponents of the instrument in the band! These are five good old boys with facial hair having a blast. There are old timey, up tempo country gospel songs and pure country ballads, songs that chugalug, slow acoustic ballads and high energy bluegrass. Continue reading “Pretty Archie “Hanging On” (Curve Music 2019)”

Roses & Cigarettes “Echoes and Silence” (Independent 2019)

Some albums are like a good malt whiskey – they need to be sipped, savoured, delighted in and make you want another one or two – or in the case of an album, listened to again and again at your leisure. And the new album from Roses & Cigarettes ‘Echoes And Silence’ is precisely one of those. Continue reading “Roses & Cigarettes “Echoes and Silence” (Independent 2019)”

White Owl Red “Existential Frontiers” (Hush Mouse Records, 2019)

There are certain albums that cry out to be the soundtrack to a long road trip and White Owl Red’s third album ‘Existential Frontiers’ is one of those, whether you’re driving from Nashville to Memphis or Norwich to Middlesbrough. The album gets off to an excellent start with the Dylanesque title song, with its ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ feel, set to a chugalug, loping rhythm. Continue reading “White Owl Red “Existential Frontiers” (Hush Mouse Records, 2019)”