Jo Schornikow “Secret Weapon” (Keeled Scales, 2019)

This album raised two questions – what are the furthest limits of Americana and how do you review music that is not inherently to your taste, but is likely to appeal to someone, somewhere?  Both these issues led to some interesting discussion with AUK headquarters.  Beware of investing in this debut offering if you think it sits at the heart of what you might think of as Americana.  Of course it may not be intended as such and may just be the right music reviewed in the wrong place by the wrong person.  There are those who think it, ‘gorgeous bare bones indie-folk’.  You might struggle to agree. Continue reading “Jo Schornikow “Secret Weapon” (Keeled Scales, 2019)”

Vicky Emerson “Steady Heart” (Independent, 2019)

The cover of Vicky Emerson’s new CD ‘Steady Heart’ is a picture of a strong and confident woman. It is those qualities that are apparent in her music. A level of self-assurance means that inside you will find a relaxed and warmly understated offering musing on relationships and love.  A steady heart indeed. This is in great part due to the quality of her voice, which manages to be both pure and seductively smoky at the same time; it draws the listener right in. This is aided and abetted by some quietly sympathetic violin (OK fiddle if you will) and bass playing. How often does acoustic bass add a dimension that electricity just fails to provide? Continue reading “Vicky Emerson “Steady Heart” (Independent, 2019)”

The Crooked Jades “Empathy Moves the Water” (Independent, 2018)

The Crooked Jades are new to me despite their 24 years and 9 albums.  Listening to this offering I am reminded that somebody once said to me, of a student placement, that over and above all the evidence and reasoning you might produce that the only real question is – have they passed or have they failed? Let me tell you straight away that I think you will find that with this release they have passed with distinction. Continue reading “The Crooked Jades “Empathy Moves the Water” (Independent, 2018)”

Andrew Leahey and the Homestead ‘’Airwaves’’ (Skyline Music, 2019)

36 year old Andrew Leahey was born in Virginia and is now based in Nashville.  He currently fronts The Homestead and has been previously with Hobson’s Choice and The Opera House.  His current release is his second, entitled ‘Airwaves’.  Leahey suffered a concerning hiatus to his career in 2013 due to ill health and is apparently recovered and back to his music. He is known as a touring musician and has added his guitar prowess to others including Rodney Crowell, Elizabeth Cook and Drew Holcomb. Continue reading “Andrew Leahey and the Homestead ‘’Airwaves’’ (Skyline Music, 2019)”