Greg Felden “Made of Strings” (Independent, 2019)

Already an established musician in America, where he is based in Los Angeles, this is Greg Felden’s full length debut album. His choice of producer here is significant – Al Sgro who began his professional career working with Gary Jules, touring the world on the success of ‘Mad World’. His experience shines through here, through Felden’s singing and songwriting and the support of known and respected LA musicians. Continue reading “Greg Felden “Made of Strings” (Independent, 2019)”

Chris Rawlins “Bring on The Rain” (Chris Cialdella, 2019)

Chris Rawlins is based in Chicago. This is his debut album, and significantly it has been produced by none other than Steve Dawson. So here is an unusual and remarkable record, in Chris Rawlins’ own words, “It’s a hawk that screeches in the winter wind.” Rawlins has written here songs about ordinary life, its personal nature, and how, very often, from different perspectives, it has differing effects on the people involved in the songs, and on an audience, or an individual listening. Continue reading “Chris Rawlins “Bring on The Rain” (Chris Cialdella, 2019)”

Eric Bolander “The Wind” (Eastwood Records, 2019)

Eric Bolander is from Garrison, Kentucky,where he is an art teacher by day and a singer-songwriter by night. This album was recorded in Lexington Ky and produced by Duane Lundy (Sturgill Simpson). Listen to the title track to see how you are captured immediately by this masterpiece as he sings, “Why don’t the wind blow me away?” Slowly, almost thankfully, always mellifluously, Bolander accepts what life presents to him, and here that sentiment is echoed perfectly by Trenton Jenkins’ soft banjo. “Tried and tested, but I’m here to stay,” sings Bolander, and one gets the feeling that he knows the score in every sense! Continue reading “Eric Bolander “The Wind” (Eastwood Records, 2019)”

Sean McMahon “You Will Know When You’re There” (Blind Date Records 2019)

Here is a record that provides a tantalising glimpse of Americana in Australia. McMahon, from Melbourne, has a distinctive voice that resonates here – wistful at times, but always a winning, must listen to, and thoughtful sound. He has gathered around him, with producer Roger Bergodaz, a team of interesting Australian musicians including Kelly Day, Freya Josephine Hollick and Matt Dixon. Continue reading “Sean McMahon “You Will Know When You’re There” (Blind Date Records 2019)”

Suzanne Jarvie “In The Clear” (Wolf Island, 2019)

 Suzanne’s sophomore album follows confidently and precisely in the lines of her first album, ‘Spiral Road.’ Her family worries have now abated; her songwriting skills are powerfully varied and imaginative.‘In The Clear  demands your attention and moves you at the same time. ‘Headless Rider‘ is a perfect starter, traditional in its settings, “A lonesome switchback mountain road” and mysterious narrative: a woman on the stage being driven away, with a phantom, meaning to take her life. A gothic thriller then, with Jarvie’s voice holding you firmly with musicianship of the highest quality. Here are the Abrams Brothers providing violin and guitar echoing the narrative, and Burke Carroll’s pedal steel sustaining the thoughtful notes, with the realisation at the end of the song that “Everything she had it was burning away.” Continue reading “Suzanne Jarvie “In The Clear” (Wolf Island, 2019)”

Modern Hinterland “The Hoppings” (Label Fandango, 2018)

This is  Modern Hinterland’s first album. It is built around Chris Hornsby, who produced the record, wrote all the songs, and who sings and plays guitar. He is accompanied here by Tim Thackray on bass and Colin Marshall on drums. Try to listen to Hornsby’s single, ‘Helium’ which is taken from his first album. It is a taster for ‘The Hoppings.Continue reading “Modern Hinterland “The Hoppings” (Label Fandango, 2018)”

Philippe Bronchtein “Me and the Moon” (Independent, 2018)

PMe and the Moonhilippe Bronchtein comes from Madison, in Nashville, Tennessee. This is his fourth full length album, but the first under his real name; before this, he was Hip Hatchet. Check out the track, ‘Sun Can’t Walk’ from Hip Hatchet’s 2011 album, “Men Who Share My Name’. You will hear a taster of Philippe’s appealing and honest sensitivity. This new album was recorded at 2-Track Mind in Portland Oregon, Phil’s bedroom, and The Adrift Hotel’s band cabin in Long Beach WA. With him, singing and playing keys are two musicians: Jason Montgomery on pedal steel and dobro, and Anna Hoone harmony vocals. Be prepared to be moved by a portrayal with insight into everyday life. Continue reading “Philippe Bronchtein “Me and the Moon” (Independent, 2018)”

Tony Rose “Medicine Tunes” (Cannery Row Records 2018)

Tony Rose is from Glasgow and this is his first solo record. He has previously recorded as a member of Two Dollar Bash and has a career extending beyond Scotland, playing across Europe, jamming and swapping songs from Prague to Berlin and Amsterdam and all across Canada and the USA, promoting this important bluegrass related brand of music. What a force! And a what a joy to discover his style, and his ability, apparently, to overcome and record life as it really is. Continue reading “Tony Rose “Medicine Tunes” (Cannery Row Records 2018)”

Lyman Ellerman “I Wish I Was A Train” (Woodshed Resistance, 2018)

Lyman Ellerman is based in Bon Aqua, Tennessee and has written all the songs and, with Jason Morgan, produced this remarkable record. Listening and being drawn into the eleven tracks, one can’t fail to draw up a picture of the humanity of Lyman that makes him so remarkable. His voice, his guitar work, and the power of his lyrics just underline this presence. Bigger Plans,’ the first track, is a confident, thought provoking, and uptempo starter. You get the measure of Lyman straight away. His words are full of wise warnings of the vicissitudes of life. It’s no good being “bound and chained to your treasures” or “shackled to your fears.” The fact is you’ll never see what’s really coming. “Foundations will crumble,”  because you’ll never see what’s really coming, being “too busy making bigger plans.” And the message is swayed up by fine guitar work, here and throughout the album. Continue reading “Lyman Ellerman “I Wish I Was A Train” (Woodshed Resistance, 2018)”

Tami Neilson “Sassafrass” (Outside Music, 2018)

Born in Canada, now based in New Zealand, Tami Neilson, confidently presents her sixth album. Tami, part of a musical family, has had a  part in the writing of all the songs here, some with her brother, Joshua Neilson and one with her late father, leader of The Neilsons, a Canadian family band active in the 90’s with whom Tami played from the age of 12. Continue reading “Tami Neilson “Sassafrass” (Outside Music, 2018)”