Harvey Russell “Liquid Damage” (Independent, 2019)

If you listen to Harvey Russell’s new album ‘Liquid Damage’ on SoundCloud, then there are three hashtags: #Americana (we’ll come back to that), #honkytonk (lots of that on the album) and #alt-country. Well this album shouldn’t really be filed under that as the nine songs on the album are pure, traditional country – in fact it could be #country&western! Continue reading “Harvey Russell “Liquid Damage” (Independent, 2019)”

The Living Street “It Won’t Last” (Independent 2019)

If you only heard ‘Home On The Road’ the first track off The Living Street’s second album ‘It Won’t Last’ you might think you were about to hear the last great summer album of the year before autumn takes a firm grip. With its banjo, acoustic guitars and a little bit of what sounds like a penny whistle, you’d be yearning for some sun whilst warming yourself to the band’s delightful harmonies. However, the rest of the album doesn’t really live up to the opening track and the other eight songs disappoint a little in comparison. Continue reading “The Living Street “It Won’t Last” (Independent 2019)”

Emily Mae Winters “High Romance” (Independent 2019)

Some albums are all about the songs, some albums are all about the production but ‘High Romance’, the second album from Emily Mae Winters is all about the voice. That’s not to say there aren’t some terrific songs and Matt Ingram’s production isn’t superb, but Winters has a wonderful voice and it’s superbly showcased on the eleven songs that make up ‘High Romance’. Continue reading “Emily Mae Winters “High Romance” (Independent 2019)”

Origami Ghosts “Healthy Travel Potions” (Independent, 2019)

If you put “wacky” into a thesaurus you get words and phrases like madcap, weird, zany, way-out, off the wall and mad, amongst others. Origami Ghost’s new album ‘Healthy Travel Options’ is all of those adjectives and more. Many of the songs are straight out of left field with tongue in cheek lyrics such as “My suitcase has a broken wheel – boing, boing” from ‘Lost & Proud’, “I wanna know what the other person is saying” from ‘It’s Not A Séance’, “If you’re not feeling well, take a grumpiness pill” from ‘Grumpiness Pill’ and “Blobby, blobby, blobby” from (of course) ‘Blobby’! Some of the lyrics may have been even wackier than those but unfortunately the vocals are often so low in the mix, that it’s difficult to hear exactly what’s being sung. There are also other unusual song titles such as ‘Brisket’, ‘Doing the Dishes’ and the play on words of ‘Keeper Sutherland’ – this is not your typical, run of the mill Americana album. Continue reading “Origami Ghosts “Healthy Travel Potions” (Independent, 2019)”

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)”