John Flanagan Trio “Honest Man” (Independent, 2018)

‘Honest Man’ is the latest album release from ‘Australiana’ artists the John Flanagan Trio and it’s a solid addition to the folk, bluegrass and country music genres. The songs are varied and well written. There is craft and confidence here that draws you in. They also truly sound Australian and that is so refreshing. All the tropes of Americana are present and respectfully correct but there is also an authentic thread running through this work. From the accents to the narrative stories in the songs this is a traditional offering with an original spin. Continue reading “John Flanagan Trio “Honest Man” (Independent, 2018)”

James Perryman “The Narrow Gate” (Independent, 2018)

‘The Narrow Gate’ is the new EP release from James Perryman. Consisting of five high quality songs with a clear American roots sound, this is a mature collection with a varied approach. Never over-produced, there is an overall impression of quality without the need to make a fuss. This a slow burn that is rewarded by repeat listens. There is melody, depth and subtlety here, but also great songs. Continue reading “James Perryman “The Narrow Gate” (Independent, 2018)”

Rob Cheatham “Villains and Ghosts” (Delicious Records, 2018)

The latest album from Rob Cheatham, ‘Villains and Ghosts’ is an assured, alternative country offering, with strong songs and a sense of melancholy that runs through the work like a rich vein. Self-described as a singer-songwriter from Charlottesville, Virginia he has played in bands including The Nice Jenkins, Gunchux and The Borrowed Beams of Light before embarking on his solo journey. This is a band project though, with a powerful but understated sound. Influences include Springsteen, Adams and Isbell but that fine list doesn’t tell the whole story. Music must come from somewhere and although the influences are visible this is not derivative at all. The songs have their own presence and character. Continue reading “Rob Cheatham “Villains and Ghosts” (Delicious Records, 2018)”

Kim Richey “Edgeland” (Yep Roc Records, 2018)

‘Edgeland’ is the new album from Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Kim Richey. There has been a five year wait for this and it has been worth it. Recorded in Nashville and produced by Brad Jones, it’s a collaborative album of sophisticated country music and there are many highly respected players and songwriters to be found here. This is a reflection of the consistent quality present throughout Richey’s career so far, this being her eighth studio album and it contains twelve original songs of depth and grace.

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Darling West “While I Was Asleep” (Jansen Records, 2018)

Norwegian country trio Darling West are on a roll. International performances, a US Country Chart Top 100 placing, over three million Spotify plays and prestigious European and American festival performances have firmly established them on an upward trajectory. A tour with Sam Outlaw, support with Lucinda Williams and a Grammy from their native Norway reflect their quality. Third album ‘While I Was Asleep’ is set to raise their profile even further in the UK as their journey gathers momentum. Continue reading “Darling West “While I Was Asleep” (Jansen Records, 2018)”

Korby Lenker “Thousand Springs” (Soundly Music, 2018)

East Nashvillian Korby Lenker does not take easy options. Deciding against traditional studio recording, seventh album ‘Thousand Springs’ was recorded in a variety of personally significant  spaces, including the edge of the Snake River Canyon, a cabin north of Sun Valley and his undertaker father’s mortuary. A guitar, a tent and some recording gear captured the ideas, then an extensive road trip led to recordings with a wide range of folk collaborators.  This honed and edited result is an intelligent, sincere collection of songs that is a travelogue of ideas. The process of production is as interesting as the art itself.  Continue reading “Korby Lenker “Thousand Springs” (Soundly Music, 2018)”