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)”

Noble Jacks “Stay Awake” (Noble Ground Records, 2020)

Noble Jacks are clear about their aim. They consciously create uplifting social music specifically intended to generate a feel-good factor in a live audience. This is the deluxe release of their second album ‘Stay Awake’ with an additional four tracks including a re-recorded version of the single ‘Enjoy the Ride’. Continue reading “Noble Jacks “Stay Awake” (Noble Ground Records, 2020)”

Classic Album Review: Cowboy Junkies “The Trinity Session” (RCA, 1988)

This is arguably the slowest album ever recorded. It is surely ironic, therefore, that it was recorded in (almost) a single session on 27th November 1987 with no mixing, overdubs or edits. The recording was made on a single Calrec Ambisonic Microphone in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto. The church was picked for its natural reverb and the session was booked under The Timmins Family Singers for a Christmas special. Continue reading “Classic Album Review: Cowboy Junkies “The Trinity Session” (RCA, 1988)”

Americana A to Z – Neutral Milk Hotel

Americana is described as the “amalgam of American music formed by the confluence of the shared and varied traditions”. You might therefore think it inappropriate when producing an article entitled Americana A-Z, to write about Neutral Milk Hotel, who are variously described as indie rock, psychedelic folk, lo-fi or fuzz-folk. Continue reading “Americana A to Z – Neutral Milk Hotel”

Fierce Flowers “Mirador” (Celebration Days Records, 2019)

A mirador classically offers an extensive outlook, which is undoubtedly consistent with the breadth of music produced by this trio from Paris. They have encompassed everything from European folk to Appalachian bluegrass. Many different musical references mix to create a panoramic soundscape. Despite this, the resultant sound does not jar as you progress through the album, the different compositions sit comfortably together to produce a harmonic whole. They have effectively combined professional musicianship across a broad range of cultural styles with outstanding close vocal harmony singing throughout in both French and English which is their undoubted strength. Continue reading “Fierce Flowers “Mirador” (Celebration Days Records, 2019)”