Nick Costa “Tell My Mother I Love Her” (Nick Costa Music, 2020)

Pain, loneliness and despair have often driven the creative muse and this is currently the case for Nick Costa. The end of a long term relationship provides the point of reference for his latest work. ‘Tell My Mother I Love Her’ is his second album of original songs, with his previous releases being ‘Devastator’ and a moody covers version of Blink 182’s ‘Enema of the State’. On this recording Nick flexes his multi-instrumental musical talents by performing all vocals, guitars, bass, piano, organ, synth, mellotron, and even some of the percussion. The resultant sound is slow tempo, dark indie-pop. Continue reading “Nick Costa “Tell My Mother I Love Her” (Nick Costa Music, 2020)”

Sleepy Gaucho “Morning Light” (Hear Here Records, 2020)

Morning Light’ is the second album by multi-instrumentalist Andy Goitia. This essentially appears to be a solo album giving Andy the space to explore sonic opportunities with the aid of friends, session musicians and most notably, Patrick Sansone of Wilco. Sleepy Gaucho is appropriately self-described as contemporary cowboy music, with their style being consistent with their name. The resultant sound is fuzzy-edged, dreamy psychedelic country music which sounds like it might have resulted had Gomez ever recorded a session with George Harrison. Continue reading “Sleepy Gaucho “Morning Light” (Hear Here Records, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Wilco “Via Chicago”

The previous Chain Gang offering was Dale Watson’s ‘Tucumcari Here I Come’ which required a search to learn was on ‘More Songs of Route 66: Roadside Attractions’. The choices available to link to songs relating to US routes and highways in Americana must be almost infinite. Obviously one option would be to revisit Highway 61 but even if you choose to stick on Route 66 then you have a choice of classics like ‘Well I’m Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona’ which now has a park dedicated to it. Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Wilco “Via Chicago””

Robert Francis and The End Times “Vol. 1” (Aeronaut Records, 2020)

Vol. 1’ is a curious title for an album by an artist with such a long track record, giving fair warning that there is a new avenue that Robert Francis is going to explore. With the release of ‘Amaretto’ and ‘Vol. 1’ being only months apart it is perhaps inevitable that there is relationship between these two records. The former is Americana recorded in Nashville, the latter is firmly rooted in nineties indie-rock. Continue reading “Robert Francis and The End Times “Vol. 1” (Aeronaut Records, 2020)”

Jenny Reynolds “Any Kind of Angel” (PrettyOkay, 2020)

Jenny Reynolds relocated from New England to Texas in 2003. This is her fourth release and it affirms her status as an integral part of the Austin music scene. Her latest work sits effortlessly within the Americana genre combining strong storytelling lyrics with fingerpicking folk guitar and sublime vocals. The supporting cast of musicians includes Jaimee Harris (harmonies), Scrappy Jud Newcomb (strings), BettySoo (harmonies and mandolin) and Warren Hood (fiddle) amongst numerous others. All the players fit comfortably together to provide an easy structure where the songs unfold without ever feeling too controlled or driven. Jenny observed that “Generally the people I like to play and record with are people who listen to others as much as they listen to themselves, much like jazz musicians do. We may not be playing jazz, but we are responding to each other with that kind of attentiveness and creativity”. Continue reading “Jenny Reynolds “Any Kind of Angel” (PrettyOkay, 2020)”

Tomo “Wayward Son” (Independent, 2020)

Wayward Son’ is the first independent release EP from Tomo, a Bristol-based indie-folk songwriter. It was all recorded and produced by Tomo at his parents’ house in Somerset. There are no trivial topics explored in this collection, the lyrical structure is poetic throughout but each song explores dark and introspective themes, which is in contrast to a consciously bright, albeit melancholy musical composition. Continue reading “Tomo “Wayward Son” (Independent, 2020)”

Frank Turner “Live In Newcastle” (Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records, 2020)

Frank Turner operates in that most ambiguous of roles, the singer-songwriter, with his output being classified variously from punk to folk. This live-work reveals that this is not entirely accurate, he is foremost an entertainer – the genre is irrelevant. This digital release is the complete live show number 2429 including the chat between songs covering his autobiographical journey. He immediately makes this intention clear ‘Good evening friends and welcome to the show… tonight we are going to tell some stories’. The structure frames his personal journey and how his experiences have been incorporated within song. Continue reading “Frank Turner “Live In Newcastle” (Xtra Mile Recordings/Polydor Records, 2020)”

Laura Marling “Song For Our Daughter” (Chrysalis/Partisan Records, 2020)

The seventh solo album by English singer-songwriter Laura Marling was released earlier than planned to provide “something that, at the very least, might entertain, and at its best, provide some sense of union” in these uncertain times. It is notionally written to her imaginary daughter (or younger self) – effectively based on the observations and advice Laura herself might have wanted. Continue reading “Laura Marling “Song For Our Daughter” (Chrysalis/Partisan Records, 2020)”

Pharis and Jason Romero “Bet On Love” (Lula Records, 2020)

Bet on Love’ is the fifth album from the husband and wife Canadian folk music duo that reside in Horsefly, British Columbia. They have converted the banjo workshop into a studio to record their music with the bare minimum of outside assistance, resulting in a genuine home-grown sound that reflects their own chosen place and lifestyle. Continue reading “Pharis and Jason Romero “Bet On Love” (Lula Records, 2020)”

Mark Erelli “Blindsided” (Soundly Music, 2020)

This is the seventeenth studio album by Marl Erelli who has an impressive back-catalogue across a range of genres. He is most recognised as a Massachusetts based singer/songwriter of folk Americana, but he has recorded this album in Nashville with a wide range of musicians to produce an altogether rockier, ballad-oriented set of songs. The resultant sound originates outside of that which may have been expected, making the title ‘Blindsided’ suitably appropriate. Continue reading “Mark Erelli “Blindsided” (Soundly Music, 2020)”