Team Love “Team Love” (Independent, 2020)

Team Love describes themselves as “Victorian Americana” which, as Steampunk as that sounds, in fact, means they hail from Victoria, Australia: Team Love are Ruby, Ruby, Monique and Shaun from Melbourne. These four string players, without a drummer or an amp between them, carve out a poignant acoustic place with only guitar, piano and fiddle. Continue reading “Team Love “Team Love” (Independent, 2020)”

The Ghost of Joseph Buck “Until it Ends” (Independent, 2020)

The Ghost of Joseph Buck is a new band of well-seasoned musicians. They are an off-beat five-piece based in Colorado that includes a classically trained trumpeter, a double-bass player from Austin, a drummer who doubles as an audio engineer, the pianist who writes the music for Beck, and the guitarist with whom she explores the world and life. Continue reading “The Ghost of Joseph Buck “Until it Ends” (Independent, 2020)”

Ferris & Sylvester “I Should be on a Train” (LAB Records, 2020)

Ferris & Sylvester have managed to be around on the folk scene around for years while not having a single album to their name. With twelveish singles and now two EPs, appetite for their particular brand of soulful folk is thoroughly whetted. Ferris & Sylvester are a duo from Streatham who have been singing their way into festival revellers’ hearts since BBC Introducing introduced them to the scene in 2018. Their close harmonies and gentle blues-tinged guitars sound familiar and well-worn, but this duo is unusual in that both Ferris & Sylvester have voices like squeezy honey in a truckstop diner’s booth. They sing about Streatham as if it were somewhere just off Route 66! Continue reading “Ferris & Sylvester “I Should be on a Train” (LAB Records, 2020)”

Oh Susanna “Sleepy Little Sailor Deluxe Edition” (MVKA, 2020)

Oh Susanna is what happens when Vancouver foments a Massachusettes girl. Discovered in a bar in 1999 and flung into a steady drip of albums since then, Oh Susanna has turned back to her second album from 2001 to dig a little deeper. This “deluxe” re-release contains acoustic versions of six of the album tracks, which she has accompanied with music videos for the first time. The originals are hardly raucous noise fests, and the changes are as simple as telling the drummer and pedal steel player to stay home, but ironically, losing instruments is often an effective way of revealing more about a song. Continue reading “Oh Susanna “Sleepy Little Sailor Deluxe Edition” (MVKA, 2020)”

Bill Kirchen “The Proper Years” (The Last Music Co, 2020)

Before hearing this double album I was unaware of the existence of the rockabilly hall of fame, so these 25 tracks have been not only a pleasure but an education. Bill Kirchen began in the ’70s with Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen opening for bands such as Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers. This band boasts not only 23 albums, 12 singles and 4 chart entries, but to be cited as an influence by heavy-hitters such as Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Put simply, Bill Kirchen plays the guitar, and he plays it a lot. Kirchen’s style has been called “one of the most distinctive, pure-Fender Telecaster tone guitar sounds in modern music” by The Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The story goes that he plays a pretty sunburst 1959 Telecaster that he got in 1967 when he swapped his Gibson SG with a random on a bus; The rest is not history. Guitar Player magazine dubbed him “The Titan of The Telecaster” after he “played the heck out of his guitar” in New Haven. Continue reading “Bill Kirchen “The Proper Years” (The Last Music Co, 2020)”

Pi Jacobs “Two Truths and a Lie” (Traviana Records, 2020)

“Two truths and a lie” refers to the icebreaker party game where you reveal three statements about yourself. This album records Pi Jacobs doing the same, only musically. Which tracks are the truth? We may never know, but we can all enjoy the stories she tells even if some may be fiction. Pi Jacobs is like many folk artists a well-travelled woman. Raised in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district and growing up in California communes, Jacobs moved to New York where she got her record deal in 2017. Her dusty music started before this with a string of EPs in 2013 and 2015. Her first album ‘A Little Blue’ mixes folk and soul, and ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ continues this exploration. Continue reading “Pi Jacobs “Two Truths and a Lie” (Traviana Records, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Mark Lanegan “Man in the Long Black Coat”

Last week’s Chain Gang piece explored a Bob Dylan song that was later covered on ‘I’m Not There’ OST  (Columbia, 2007) by The White Stripes. Naturally, I revisited this gem of a soundtrack and then had the hard task of picking just one track from it to show and tell. Mark Lanegan’s cover of ‘Man in the Long Black Coat‘ is such flawless Americana that even Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and The Black Keys covers have to wait their turn. Continue reading “AUK’s Chain Gang: Mark Lanegan “Man in the Long Black Coat””

Steady Habits “Hold In Your Breath (EP)” (Independent, 2020)

There is a band called Steady Habits which are a Connecticut-based American punk-ska band: this is definitely not them. This Steady Habits is the unmistakable new Americana project of Sean Duggan of Loud Mountains, and there is nothing loud about it but the statement he makes. Sean and Kevin of Loud Mountains made a quiet splash on the Oxford folk scene these last few years and recently went their separate ways when Kevin went off to Nashville; Happily means twice as much music for the world. Continue reading “Steady Habits “Hold In Your Breath (EP)” (Independent, 2020)”

Gretchen Peters “The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury” (Proper Records, 2020)

Inducted into the Nashville Hall of Fame just six years ago after a twenty-year career in music, Gretchen Peters is a singer-songwriter who has enjoyed writing for many notable country artists including Shania Twain, George Strait, and Trisha Yearwood. ‘The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury’ – a collection of covers – is her tenth solo album since her debut ‘A Secret Life’ was released in 1996. Continue reading “Gretchen Peters “The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury” (Proper Records, 2020)”

Luke Sital-Singh “New Haze”(EP) (Raygun Music, 2020)

Americana is a broad church, one which warmly welcomes L.A. dweller and English ex-pat Luke Sital-Singh to its blended choir. Sital-Singh got his big break in 2017 writing a song that was used for Silent Witness and is now based in LA. His acoustic, almost lullaby, singer-songwriter style straddles dream pop and folk, but like most interesting music, defies strict generalisation. Continue reading “Luke Sital-Singh “New Haze”(EP) (Raygun Music, 2020)”