Chris Stapleton “Starting Over” (Mercury Records,2020)

The multi-award winning recording artist Chris Stapleton has already made himself the number one man in country music, and with his new record ‘Starting Over’, he not only solidifies this position once again, but also shows off some new styles that we haven’t seen before which are possibly a step into something new. The LP was recorded at Stapleton’s favourite recording studio, the historic RCA Studio A in Nashville, where he again teamed up with producer Dave Cobb. At 14 songs, it’s the same length as his debut album ‘Traveller’, but offers a wider variety of songs than five years ago. The first song and title track of the album ‘Starting Over’, feels like Stapleton’s attempt at writing a song that is in the same vein as his cover of ‘Millionaire’ from his previous record ‘From a Room: Volume 2’. Whilst it has the same great feel, the lyrics just seem quite cheesy compared to what we’ve come to know from Stapleton. But that’s not to say that it is a bad song and it actually really sets the vibe for the laid back parts of the album. Continue reading “Chris Stapleton “Starting Over” (Mercury Records,2020)”

Sam Morrow “Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down'” (Forty Below Records, 2020)

Sam Morrow’s fourth record, ‘Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down’, is hiss most guitar and groove-driven album to date. Wanting to create an album that is rooted in grease, grit, and groove, Morrow focused on making his LP full of hip-shaking rock & roll, and he does so with great success. The album starts with ‘Rosarita’, a song which sets the tone for the whole album. As soon as you hear the first riff on the guitar, you know that it is going to get you feeling both chilled out with the groovy vibes it creates, but also on your feet dancing along. Ultimately, it’s a song about a woman who Morrow can’t get enough of, but actually ‘only brings him rain’. You feel like this song is very real with the detail of the lyrics and Morrow has experienced all of this himself. Continue reading “Sam Morrow “Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down’” (Forty Below Records, 2020)”

RB Morris “Going Back To The Sky” (Independent, 2020)

RB Morris, the musical poet, released his latest album ‘Going Back To The Sky’ earlier this year, filled with songs that he wrote on his road trips out west when he was on his youthful adventures. The LP’s first main song is ‘Red Sky’, which really shows off Morris’ style and you hear the intricacies of his song-writing. This is soon followed by a much more upbeat and bouncy song ‘Me and My Wife Ruth’. It’s a fun story about Morris welcoming in a traveller to at least meet his wife Ruth, even if he doesn’t want to actually stay the night. It has this really nice country groove that is extremely popular right now, and is one that modern country acts such as Mo Pitney have been trying to emulate in recent years. Continue reading “RB Morris “Going Back To The Sky” (Independent, 2020)”

Ross Bellenoit “Where Does The Light Go” (Independent, 2020)

The latest full length album for Philadelphia singer-songwriter Ross Bellenoit offers a meditation on love, loss, secrets and the ways that our relationships affect our understanding of the world around us. The album is really what Americana is all about and includes Bellenoit’s brilliant guitar playing and his wide-ranging vocals. It starts with the title track, ‘Where Does The Light Go’, which works like an overview for the whole record and he begins his album-long exploration of attempting to reconcile relationships. The song’s theme might be sad, but it has a brilliantly infectious tune and actually makes you feel uplifted and happy rather than miserable. Continue reading “Ross Bellenoit “Where Does The Light Go” (Independent, 2020)”

Americana A to Z – Lyle Lovett

It was about 2015 that I first developed a love of country music. Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘don’t start talking about how much you love Dolly Parton’, but let me finish. It didn’t take long for my family members to also take an interest in country music, but like me they weren’t particular fans of the now ever-present pop-country, but much more fans of things that could definitely be described as Americana. Continue reading “Americana A to Z – Lyle Lovett”

Zach Phillips “The Wine of Youth” (Independent, 2020)

Noticing that his friends wanted something to listen to during quarantine, San Diego based singer-songwriter Zach Phillips decided to release ‘The Wine of Youth’ earlier than he first anticipated, but with his music described as ‘a hybrid of experimental roots and folk-rock, chamber pop and indie country’, you feel like this mismatch of styles don’t quite fit together throughout the album. Continue reading “Zach Phillips “The Wine of Youth” (Independent, 2020)”

Brother Starling “The Weight of Change” (2020)

A quintet hailing from Philadelphia, Brother Starling are an Americana and Classic Rock band who have just released their debut LP, ‘The Weight of Change’. The album itself focuses on these volatile times which we live in, looking at both life and death. The album starts with the driving and anthemic song ‘Cobbled Streets’ which is about starting afresh after tragedy. The song crescendos to a powerful chorus where the lead vocalist, Geremiah Giampa sings ‘Let’s run, run away’. The song has greater meaning when you learn that Giampa was hit with two tragedies at the time of recording the album. He explains how it ‘ended up guiding the theme of lyrics and the soundscape’ for the album. Continue reading “Brother Starling “The Weight of Change” (2020)”

Nicole Atkins “Italian Ice” (Single Lock Records, 2020)

Named after her favourite sweet treat in Asbury Park and her alter-ego while shooting dice on the Jersey Shore, ‘Italian Ice’ is the latest album from the extremely talented Nicole Atkins. The album features a wide array of equally brilliant talent, including members of the Bad Seeds, Dap-Kings, the legendary Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Seth Avett and more. Continue reading “Nicole Atkins “Italian Ice” (Single Lock Records, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Brothers Osborne “Weed, Whiskey and Willie”

While the previous chain gang entry was all about Willie Nelson and the song ‘City of New Orleans’, I myself am not looking at his son or even his granddaughter, but I thought I would look at a Brothers Osborne song from their most recent album ‘Port Saint Joe’: ‘Weed, Whiskey and Willie’. The song is a welcome uplift for the current world we are living in, reminding us that even when everything is taken away from you, as long as you have weed, whiskey and Willie, everything will be alright. And John Osborne says exactly that: ‘It’s not so great to live on your vices, but we all do it sometimes. You put on a record and just have a drink and relax. It just brings you back to earth.’ At this time, many of us are enjoying our vices, be it an album or something else!

Henry Jamison “Tourism” (Color Study, 2020)

Tourism’ is the latest EP from Henry Jamison, one which breaks the typical boundaries of Americana. The collaboration EP, featuring artists who Jamison met on the road, was written after a break-up and months of touring. Jamison’s hard work really shows as each song has been well thought through and perfectly fits the vocals of who he sings with. Continue reading “Henry Jamison “Tourism” (Color Study, 2020)”