Dan Webster “Devil Sky” (Paper Plane Records, 2018)

Dan Webster is a UK singer-songwriter who has embraced the Americana tradition in an impressive way. His fourth album release ‘Devil Sky’ has just emerged and is a ten song, full band album of interesting and superbly produced songs. Previous releases have garnered excellent reviews and BBC Radio 2 airtime and there is no indication that this won’t continue apace now.  Continue reading “Dan Webster “Devil Sky” (Paper Plane Records, 2018)”

Licking the Moose “The Death of Henry Miller and Many Others” (Independent, 2018)

‘The Death of Henry Miller and Many Others’ is the latest album from Norwegian Americana band Licking the Moose. Their first since 2009, it is a collection of confidently written and performed songs that could be held up as a primer for fledgling musicians. Their style is varied and polished. Think of a type of country music and you’ll find it here. Piano ballad, Elvis rockabilly, country swing and songs that should be the theme tune for the next series of ‘True Detective’ sit together like old friends. They feel genuine though. Even on first hearing, these songs feel like old familiar tunes. This is something borrowed and something blue but never a cliché and never a pastiche. Continue reading “Licking the Moose “The Death of Henry Miller and Many Others” (Independent, 2018)”

Lora Kelley “Lora Kelley” (Independent, 2018)

Charlottesville based, singer-songwriter, Lora Kelley has released a new self-titled EP and it showcases her personal songs and accomplished musicianship really well. Life experiences are the basis for these songs and it’s clear that family and relationships strongly influence the creative process. The music is built around an acoustic guitar backbone and the songs could be described as pop Americana. The delivery is upbeat, catchy and polished. The songs are accessible and well written. So far so good… but listening more closely is rewarding. Continue reading “Lora Kelley “Lora Kelley” (Independent, 2018)”

The Nelson Brothers “Migrant Tales” (Independent, 2018)

Sometimes it can be good to take your time. ‘Migrant Tales’, the fourth album from The Nelson Brothers, has been written over the course of twenty years. Loosely based on the Irish Diaspora, the songs deal with family, history, migration and travel. There are stories here that link to the past of several countries. Steve and Simon Nelson, the heart of this accomplished band, hail from Stafford in the UK but have Irish heritage and links to the United States. Their travels and their relationship with the past have clearly influenced their music in an eclectic and positive way. Continue reading “The Nelson Brothers “Migrant Tales” (Independent, 2018)”

Simon Patrick Kerr “Doldrums” (Independent, 2018)

Simon Patrick Kerr is releasing his first solo album, ‘Doldrums’, and it’s a change in direction from the driving rock pop of his regular band The Wans. As frontman for the trio, Nashville based Kerr writes catchy, upbeat, rock songs but there is more to his music than an infectious hook. Of the change in direction Kerr says, “I never want to get to the point of being comfortable as a songwriter. So I wanted this album to be as vulnerable as possible.” The music has softened and deepened; influenced by personal life issues and the wider political landscape. This is growth and positive change on a record. Things are getting serious and it’s a pleasure to hear. Continue reading “Simon Patrick Kerr “Doldrums” (Independent, 2018)”

The Milk Carton Kids “All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do” (Anti-Records, 2018)

The Milk Carton Kids are Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale. Up to now an acoustic duo who are gaining growing recognition and acclaim, but for their latest release ‘All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do’, their sound is expanding to incorporate a full band and all the extra dynamics that can bring. Nominated for two Grammy awards and Americana Music Association Award-winners for best duo there is anticipation of quality in the air. Continue reading “The Milk Carton Kids “All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do” (Anti-Records, 2018)”

Jill Jackson “Are We There Yet?” (Independent, 2018)

‘Are We There Yet?’ is the fifth solo album by Glasgow based singer-songwriter Jill Jackson and her journey to this point has been intriguing to say the least. Relocating to Nashville led to an embrace of storytelling songwriting and a renewed source of inspiration. A tour of fifty states in fifty days speaks of her commitment to sharing her music far and wide. Previously being signed to a major label brings experience and self-knowledge. In short, Jackson knows what she wants and has the drive to make it happen. Continue reading “Jill Jackson “Are We There Yet?” (Independent, 2018)”

Chuck Westmoreland “Long Winter Rodeo” (Black and Gold Records, 2018)

‘Long Winter Rodeo’ is the second solo outing for Portland-based, singer-songwriter, Chuck Westmoreland. Available on Black and Gold Records, it’s an infectious collection of well written story based songs that exude honesty and emotion. There is a darkness in these tunes that feels real. The music paints a picture that draws you in and the words make you want to stick around. Continue reading “Chuck Westmoreland “Long Winter Rodeo” (Black and Gold Records, 2018)”

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)”