Brad Byrd “Phases” (Elusive Tiger, 2019)

This latest sonic offering from the journeyman songsmith Brad Byrd is somewhat middle of the road in places, but has charm, and moments of soaring brilliance. Describing his music as somewhere between indie-rock and alt-country, California resident Byrd has been writing songs his whole life, and that certainly comes through in the polished sound of ‘Phases‘, which is an album of self-examination. The songs take us all the way from Byrd’s childhood in Massachusetts to the sun-soaked hills of California where he lives today, exploring a number of elements drawn from personal experience. Overall, it’s a record which documents the ups and downs of life, and the strange melancholy experienced when reminiscing about a long lost past. Continue reading “Brad Byrd “Phases” (Elusive Tiger, 2019)”

Pete Gow “Here There’s No Sirens” (Clubhouse Records, 2019)

Pete Gow, veteran frontman of the acclaimed Case Hardin,  has recorded his first solo record ‘Here There’s No Sirens.’ Released on the same label as Case Hardin, Gow’s sound is a deliberate departure from the band’s usual fare. This album is stripped back, focused, and deeply personal. The songs are a mixture of an almost confessional style, with some character driven tracks and one good old fashioned story song, ‘Some Old Jacobite King’. Continue reading “Pete Gow “Here There’s No Sirens” (Clubhouse Records, 2019)”

Henry Derek Elis “The Devil Is My Friend” (Independent, 2018)

Henry Elis is a stalwart of the Los Angeles metal scene, fronting many bands over the years, and currently lead vocalist for the trash metal supergroup “Act of Defiance“, which was formed by ex-Megadeth memebers  Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover. Within the context of this background, the theatricality of “The Devil Is My Friend” starts to make sense. Clearly strongly influenced by heavier genres, Elis is pushing his own brand of dark ‘southern gothic americana’. We are invited Continue reading “Henry Derek Elis “The Devil Is My Friend” (Independent, 2018)”

Lucy Kitt “Stand By” (Wineberry Records, 2019)

Lucy Kitt has been writing and performing music as an independent artist for the last decade, and her experience really shines through on ‘Stand By,’ her debut record, which is a showcase for her consummate musicianship. Kitt first gained exposure by making it to the semi-final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk awards in 2006, which opened up a lot of gigging opportunities, supporting various folk stalwarts, including Cara Dillon and The Unthanks. She has also found success more recently with a number of internet sessions for Mahogony and Ont’ Sofa, among others. Continue reading “Lucy Kitt “Stand By” (Wineberry Records, 2019)”

William Tyler “Goes West” (Merge Records, 2019)

William Tyler, perhaps best known for his work with Lambchop and Silver Jews, has been quietly ploughing his own furrow for the last decade. This has culminated in ‘Goes West,’ his forthcoming album and fifth release on Merge Records, which is described by his friend M. C. Taylor (AKA Hiss Golden Messenger) as the best music Tyler has ever made. Continue reading “William Tyler “Goes West” (Merge Records, 2019)”

Bear Paw “Something More” (Independent, 2018)

With ‘Something More‘, Bear Paw have given us a wonderfully energetic piece of work; from the first strum to the last it’s an E.P. that crackles and pops with old-school indie energy. These four lads from the marshes of North East London grew up listening to a wide variety of music, and it shows through in the varied nature of the tracks. The folk influences come to the fore on the lead single ‘Santa Maria’. Inspired by old sea shanties, it’s a slow and melancholy number about dissatisfaction and longing which drifts and twists along nicely. Continue reading “Bear Paw “Something More” (Independent, 2018)”

Stuart Smith “Warhorse” (Independent, 2018)

After a decade working as a minister Stuart Smith has returned to music, presenting us with a reflective set of songs about life, family, and his own personal journey into a new world. The record is musically diverse and interesting, with sparkling pedal steel, laid down by Nashville veteran Cowboy Eddie Long, being a particular highlight. The instrumentation complements Smith’s songwriting chops, and helps what may otherwise be fairly run-of-the-mill efforts to pop.
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