Buffalo Jones “Standing By” (Independent, 2019)

Buffalo Jones have been releasing music and playing together for over ten years now, and their latest release is shot through with a suitably reflective tone. There are songs about loss, heartbreak, the realities of touring, and, through it all, the hope and joy of playing music with your friends. The band describes itself as a rock band with “just enough twang to keep it interesting”,  and they are in danger of selling themselves short.  Continue reading “Buffalo Jones “Standing By” (Independent, 2019)”

The Mining Co. “Three Kings” (PinDrop Records, 2019)

Irish born singer/songwriter Michael Gallagher is back with his second release of the year, the Christmas themed EP ‘Three Kings’’.  We reviewed his full length album ‘Frontier’ earlier in the year, describing it as “a gently, intelligently romantic record”, and ‘Three Kings’ is very much more of the same, but with added festive flavour. Continue reading “The Mining Co. “Three Kings” (PinDrop Records, 2019)”

Kirsty McGee & The Hobopop Collective “The Deafening Sound of Stars” (Hobopop Recordings, 2019)

Over a decade since her initial founding of the band, Kirsty McGee is back with her Hobopop Collective, a band that she describes as ‘an ever-changing bunch of leftfield misfits’. Their sound is wide-ranging and clearly wrought from years of touring and collaborating. McGee’s website describes the sound as sitting in a nameless space, somewhere between Jazz, Folk, Gospel, and Americana, and this sums it up perfectly. Continue reading “Kirsty McGee & The Hobopop Collective “The Deafening Sound of Stars” (Hobopop Recordings, 2019)”

Jonah Tolchin “Fires For The Cold” (Yep Roc, 2019)

Jonah Tolchin grew up surrounded by music; his father worked at a record store in Mississippi, and Tolchin fell in love with the blues at a young age. As a teenager he met legendary guitarist Ronnie Earl, after which he became obsessed with making music himself. He hit the road straight out of high school, and  self-released an EP and an album before making his debut at the historic Newport Folk Festival in 2012. In the following years he signed to Yep Roc records and continued to produce music – his first studio release in 2014 garnering much praise from the Continue reading “Jonah Tolchin “Fires For The Cold” (Yep Roc, 2019)”

Here Be Wolves “Here Be Wolves” (Accelerator Records, 2019)

Here Be Wolves began in 2018, when Karla- Therese Kjellvander met Mikael Petersson. Kjellvander’s musical journey began in the Swedish hardcore scene of the 90’s, and has slowly made her way to folk music over the years whilst working with her ex-husband Christian Kjellvander, who also appears on the album. Petersson is a songwriter at heart, his lyrics often inspired by his deeply held religious beliefs. After the two met they quickly decided to work together, but had to find a way to Continue reading “Here Be Wolves “Here Be Wolves” (Accelerator Records, 2019)”

Dan Bern “Regent Street” (Independent, 2019)

Dan Bern has been relentlessly creating things for at least the last quarter of a century, very probably longer. Paintings, books, radio stations, and, most relevant to our interests here, songs. Twenty-five releases deep he shows no signs of slowing up; his latest effort, ‘Regent Street‘ is Bern at his prolific, sardonic best. Having lost two of his finger-tips in a snowblower accident at the beginning of last year, Bern was unable to play guitar for an extended period. Continue reading “Dan Bern “Regent Street” (Independent, 2019)”

Ida Mae “Chasing Lights” (Thirty Tigers, 2019)

Chasing Lights‘ is the debut album from this British-born duo, and what a debut it is; showcasing a depth and breadth of talent as well as a range of styles, from tender folk to swaggering rock and roll. Now based in Nashville, the pair have their feet planted firmly in the fertile soil of American roots music. Even their band name, Ida Mae, comes from an old Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee song, and this heritage courses through the record with dazzling vitality. Continue reading “Ida Mae “Chasing Lights” (Thirty Tigers, 2019)”

Harrison Whitford “Afraid Of Everything” (Screwdriver Records, 2019)

The opening track of singer-songwriter Harrison Whitford’s latest album starts off with some gentle strumming and tender, vulnerable vocal work. So far so average. Then the drums kick in, along with backing vocals, the fuzzy electric, and it all comes together. ‘Take a Walk‘, the opening track, sets the bar high. It lifts itself above the standard singer-songwriter dirge with some excellent production, instrumentation, and a chorus that sticks in your head.

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Daniel Norgren “Wooh Dang” (Superpuma Records, 2019)

The opening to ‘Wooh Dang‘, Swedish musician Daniel Norgren’s eighth record, drifts dreamily into focus. With a mixture of birds and ambient nature sounds, as well as strange sci-fi noises, it sounds like a BBC sound effect archive mash-up. Then, somewhere in the background, Norgren’s high pitched vocal and guitar playing seep in. Before you know it you’re snapped into the next track, ‘The Flow‘, and pulled along into this sun-soaked dream river of an album.

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AmericanA to Z – David Rawlings

David Rawlings is best known for his work with Gillian Welch, with whom he creates achingly beautiful and melancholy music. The couple were part of the Bluegrass Class of 2000 who suddenly found that they had mainstream appeal after the huge success of the Coen Brother’s ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?‘ At that point, Rawlings and Welch had already recorded two albums with legendary producer T Bone Burnett, who also produced the ‘O Brother…’ soundtrack. They weren’t exactly flying under the radar, but the impact on the Coen brothers film cannot be understated. The follow up documentary ‘Down From the Mountain,‘ followed the various artists involved in the soundtrack, including Rawlings and Welch, culminating in a concert at the Ryman in Nashville. This was wildly popular and paved the way for bluegrass-influenced bands like Nickel Creek to enjoy massive mainstream popularity in the early 00’s. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – David Rawlings”