Town Meeting “Make Things Better” (Independent, 2020)

‘Make Things Better’ is the third full-length album from the Boston based band and what a superb album it is full of fresh sounding, sublime harmonies and superb playing from a band that would be just at home in the back room of a bar or at an outdoor festival, although at the moment they’re a bar band without a bar and a festival band without a festival. Continue reading “Town Meeting “Make Things Better” (Independent, 2020)”

Uncle Sinner “Trouble Of The World” (Independent, 2020)

Judging by the title of his first three albums, ‘Ballads And Mental Breakdowns’, ‘A Pocketful Of Glass Eyes’ and ‘Let The Devil In’, Michael Bodner who records as Uncle Sinner must have been to some dark places during his lifetime. Wikipedia says about Uncle Sinner that they’re a “Canadian Gothic country/Death Gospel” band and even Bodner says (probably tongue in cheek) that his music fits in with the old “post-traditional, post-modern, existential death country folk-blues” genre. He may be in a minority of one in both those genres but whatever box you want to put Uncle Sinner in, their (Bodner’s?) music is not exactly a barrel of laughs. Continue reading “Uncle Sinner “Trouble Of The World” (Independent, 2020)”

Peter Oren “The Greener Pastures” (Western Vinyl, 2020)

Peter Oren "The Greener Pasure"Peter Oren’s latest album ‘The Greener Pastures’ with its mentions of death, being fenced in, loneliness, isolation, phone dependence and its overall melancholic tone, could be seen as a prophet and seer in this age of Covid-19 as the album was recorded before the coming of the virus and it seems all too prescient. Continue reading “Peter Oren “The Greener Pastures” (Western Vinyl, 2020)”

Trudy & Dave “Out Of Our Minds” (Blue Mood Records, 2020)

Trudy & Dave’s debut album ‘Out Of Our Minds’ isn’t accurately speaking Americana as the band hail from Norway but Norwayicana doesn’t really work as a category (and is impossible to say) so if you’re looking for the album in a record store (remember those halcyon days just a few short weeks ago?), it’ll probably be filed under Americana. Continue reading “Trudy & Dave “Out Of Our Minds” (Blue Mood Records, 2020)”

White Owl Red “Afterglow” (Hush Mouth Records, 2020)

Less than a year after the release of ‘Existential Frontiers’, White Owl Red have released another album ‘Afterglow’ and unfortunately it doesn’t reach the heights of its predecessor. White Owl Red is basically singer/songwriter Josef McManus and some unnamed musicians who play the usual alt-country/Americana instruments such as Dobro, pedal steel, squeezebox, drums, bass and the occasional twangy guitar. Continue reading “White Owl Red “Afterglow” (Hush Mouth Records, 2020)”

AmericanA to Z – Old Crow Medicine Show

Over the past 55 years or so (yes I’m that old!), I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of gigs from tiny venues in pubs to Wembley Stadium, with everything in between. I have very few artists on my bucket list but one of the bands I haven’t seen and would really like to, is Old Crow Medicine Show. Now this could be remedied in March as they’re playing at the O2 as part of the Country To Country festival but the thought of seeing a band that should be playing at somewhere like the late lamented Borderline or something similarly intimate, at the vast barn that is the O2 means I’m going to have to wait a little longer to see them performing live. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Old Crow Medicine Show”

Dana Maragos “October” (Independent, 2020)

Following on from her 2017 three-track EP, Dana Maragos has just released ‘October’, her first full-length album although with only eight tracks and a running time of just under twenty-seven minutes, it’s more like an extended EP – if there is such a thing! Maragos is a Chicago born and based singer-songwriter, but you’d never guess that from this album as it has all the feel of rural America rather than the big city. The songs are all about going on journeys, losing jobs, love, not belonging and they’re based in places like Virginia and Menomonee. The album has the sound and feel of the open road and a big sky – not the urban blues of Chicago’s south side although one track, ‘Come And See Me’ has a bluesy feel to it with slide guitar and harmonica providing a different texture to most of the other tracks on the album. Continue reading “Dana Maragos “October” (Independent, 2020)”

Neil Bob Herd & The Dirty Little Acoustic Band “Every Soul A Story” (Cattlecall Music 2020)

‘Every Soul A Story’ is the debut solo album from Neil Bob Herd, the former lead singer and guitarist of Alt Bluegrass band, The Coal Porters and an eclectic mix it is. Herd is ably backed by The Dirty Little Acoustic Band which consists of fellow ex-Coal Porter Paul Fitzgerald (various instruments), Glenn Lambert (bass) and Gary Smith-Lyons (drums). On some tracks they’re superbly augmented by Lucy Edwards (accordion) and Gemma White (fiddle). Continue reading “Neil Bob Herd & The Dirty Little Acoustic Band “Every Soul A Story” (Cattlecall Music 2020)”

Cox’s Army “New Richmond Town” (Independent, 2019)

As Ken Burns’ recent documentary series “Country Music” highlighted, bluegrass music was a big part of country music’s history – in fact without it, the genre probably would have sounded a whole lot different and might not have been born. So, the release of traditional bluegrass band, Cox’s Army’s second album ‘New Richmond Town’, couldn’t have been timelier. Continue reading “Cox’s Army “New Richmond Town” (Independent, 2019)”

Jeremy Johnson “Insecuriosity” (Independent, 2019)

If you saw the album’s cover and then just heard ‘A Song For Agnes’, ‘Unrelenting’ and ‘The King And The Thief’, the first three tracks of Jeremy Johnson’s debut studio album ‘Insecuriosity’ you’d think here was a traditional English folk troubadour following in the storytelling footsteps of the likes of Nick Drake, Richard Thompson, Ralph McTell and Clifford T Ward – even the titles sound like folk songs. However, when you get to the fourth track on the album ‘I Roam’, everything changes – the album throws the listener a curveball and there’s suddenly a funky bass intro, drums and a distinctly pop feel to the track. This continues with ‘Runaway Train’ which features drums, bass and electric guitar and ‘Predictable’ another track with a pop sensibility. Continue reading “Jeremy Johnson “Insecuriosity” (Independent, 2019)”