Here is true international Americana collaboration of the highest order. Playing together are Ben Riddle, established singer songwriter from Australia, and Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes also well established musicians, from Southern California where they called themselves The Fallen Stars. They all met while touring in Germany. This is their second album and with them on drums is Tom Bremer. Continue reading “Riddle & The Stars “New Coastline” (Songs and Whispers 2016)”
Here is a winner, an unforgettable record with its American buffalo cover that takes you securely into thoughtful, rocking Americana territory. This is the band’s first full length studio album. The first, unforgettable, track, has a winning hook line “You got a heart of stone. / Where’s your mamma gone wrong?” With strings in the back ground (courtesy of Paul Cartwright who has toured and recorded with a vast spectrum of artists), building to a crescendo and the resolution “I’ll stand free”, the band who have written all the songs themselves, are making a clear statement: Listen. We’re from Bakersfield, California. To be taken seriously! Continue reading “Lonely Avenue “Lonely Avenue” (Aum Studio Music, 2016)”
Fat Lil’s is a small club in Witney. Here were a hundred or so people prepared to sit, listen and applaud appropriately, knowingly and loudly. The supporting band Curse of Lono got the gig off to a perfect start. Here were an up and coming London band who had accompanied Uncle Lucius on a short tour of Europe beforehand and, according to them, had learned a great deal from the experience. Watch out for their EP and make all attempts to see them. I certainly will.
Anyway, Uncle Lucius are named, apparently after an old friend of the band, an eccentric old man named Lucius from down in the Louisiana swamps. The band members, all outstanding as part of a team, are Kevin Galloway, powerful vocalist, (though they all sing); Michael Carpenter, important role as lead guitar; Josh Greco on drums; Jon Brossman, keys, and Nigel Frye on bass. They are all involved in the song writing process and singing and their music making is co-ordinated and very effective. Relaxing before the gig, next door in the small restaurant, there was already something impressive about them. Continue reading “Uncle Lucius: Fat Lils, Witney. 1st November 2016”
The Lucky Strikes, from Southend, have been together for ten years now and this is their fifth album. Without doubt they are one of our best Americana bands. Lead singer is Matthew Boulter, long time member of the Simone Felice group and an accomplished solo artist in his own right with four albums. With him here are Will Bray on drums, Paul Ambrose on bass and Dave Giles on piano and accordion. Continue reading “The Lucky Strikes “The Motion and The Moving On” (Harbour Song Records 2016)”
The opening, title, track stops and starts you in your tracks. Tommy Hale, from Dallas, sings, “It seems I’ve let time slip away. It goes over the hill like a wild dog.” Here is the celebration, a eulogy of misspent youth. And so the album advances, with a wider, and varied list of themes and stories. Recorded in Wiltshire, maybe initially for a UK audience and so, perhaps, the record needs a proper introduction: “Magnificent Bastard” in American English is someone who is intelligent, capable, supremely competent, and always in control; the sort of person who gains grudging admiration, from friend and foe alike. Continue reading “Tommy Hale “Magnificent Bastard” (Holiday Disaster, 2016)”
The truly memorable first track says it all: “It Don’t Make No Sense”. All six minutes plus is a good reason for buying this record. Not since the days of Country Joe can I remember my conscience being roused politically so much by a track and an album. “People must have lost their minds,” Brad Lauretti sings with languorous feeling! As he attempts to internalise all that is wrong at the moment, he is able to involve us in the picture: “One million refugees and everyone looks just like you and me. It don’t make no sense.” Continue reading “This Frontier Needs Heroes “Real Job” (Independent 2016)”