Rod Melancon “Pinkville” (Blue Élan Records 2019)

This is Rod Melancon’s fourth album, produced by Adrian Quesada and Will Walden and recorded in Austin Texas. Prepare to be astounded and moved by music that growls at you from The South. The title track is spoken by Rod against a haunting drum, cymbal, and Will Walden’s guitar. Vivid memories of his own childhood in Louisiana: “the Mermentau River,” “the old grey faded house,” and a man with PTSD, “walking back and forth in a daze,” as it turns out, a damaged veteran of the Vietnam war whose confused mind was still “far off in the burning villages of Pinkville.” Continue reading “Rod Melancon “Pinkville” (Blue Élan Records 2019)”

Hegsy and The Elements “My Truths” (Independent, 2019)

This is the debut Hegsy and The Elements album, a record where Mark Hegarty and his band tell and share movingly, with their audiences, stories that make you think and react. All the tracks were recorded at Shabbey Road Studios Cardiff and produced there by Al Steele. So, be prepared, to be taken down many interesting and unexpected roads. ‘Oh Sonni,’ the first track, is a captivating starter with Heulwen Thomas on violin providing, a foot-stomping background for the song of love for a son: “Oh Sonny, I’m by your side.” Continue reading “Hegsy and The Elements “My Truths” (Independent, 2019)”

John Jenkins and the James Street Band “Looking for That American Dream” (Independent 2019)

Here is a notable and established band from Liverpool. The reliability of John Jenkins’ work is demonstrated in the title track ‘Looking for That American Dream’ which begins the record and captures the listener’s attention immediately with its references to ‘The American Song Book, John Denver and Dolly.’ You are in safe hands. Look out for the outstanding promotional video by Phil Calland. The rest of the album follows in its wake. Continue reading “John Jenkins and the James Street Band “Looking for That American Dream” (Independent 2019)”

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)”