Joshua Radin “Here, Right Now” (Nettwerk, 2019)

It’s hard to begin listening to a Joshua Radin record without it conjuring visions of the kind of melodramatic scenes that might feature in a certain breed of US television drama. Radin first found success in 2006 when actor Zach Braff had a hand in selecting one of his songs for his movie ‘The Last Kiss’, from which Braff got Radin’s songs featured on a number of episodes of his television series ‘Scrubs’. Over the past decade or so, Radin has gone on to become a familiar voice on American network TV, becoming one of a crop of singer-songwriters whose names became ubiquitous with a particular kind of heartstring-pulling drama (his songs were in multiple episodes of ‘One Tree Hill’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, for example). Continue reading “Joshua Radin “Here, Right Now” (Nettwerk, 2019)”

Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective “Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls” (Broken Sparrow and Burst & Bloom Records, 2019)

“Sweet brother moonchild / We’d talk til all hours / You told me about that time that you had all the power / You brought the sunlight / The rain brought the flowers,” Sidney Lindner sings of his late brother on the opening of the first album from himself with his Wilderness Collective. His haunting baritone, that rivals the likes of Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, sets the tone for what turns out to be an ethereal set of songs. Continue reading “Sidney Lindner & The Silver Wilderness Collective “Summer Ghosts / Nightfalls” (Broken Sparrow and Burst & Bloom Records, 2019)”

Robert Ellis, Phase One, Liverpool, 22nd October 2019

Before Robert Ellis took to the stage tonight, a bunch of yellow roses were carefully spread out over the portable piano and the edge of the stage; this act would help set the tone for an evening from the man whose latest album is titled, unironically, ‘Texas Piano Man’. Continue reading “Robert Ellis, Phase One, Liverpool, 22nd October 2019”

Sean McConnell, Manchester Academy 2, 29th September 2019

When Sean McConnell came on stage without fanfare – clad in denim and holding his guitar, testing his microphone before beginning – the audience weren’t prepared for the powerful performance he was about to unleash.

Opening with the title track of his most recent album ‘Secondhand Smoke’ (which gained the rare distinction of 10/10 when it was reviewed here earlier in the year), his fantastic storytelling and powerful vocals went on to win over some new fans during the course of his opening set for country-rock powerhouse Ashley McBryde. Continue reading “Sean McConnell, Manchester Academy 2, 29th September 2019”

Kendra Amalie “Intuition” (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, 2019)

Musically, Kendra Almalie is someone who is hard to put in a box, but on her debut album she offers up an ethereal sonic richness that conjures up comparisons to the likes of PJ Harvey at her most unconventional. When discussing her music, Almalie has said that she comes up with the melody first and the words follow later, usually ending up being something akin to an interpretation of a dream. This composition choice feels evident in the sprawling rise and fall of the music along with the sparse lyrics (although some tracks are entirely instrumental). Continue reading “Kendra Amalie “Intuition” (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, 2019)”

Genevieve Heyward “The River EP” (Painted Recordings, 2019)

“We are like a ship of dreams / Cracked and leaking at the seams / Slowly floating down the river,” Wisconsin musician Genevieve Heyward sings lazily on the opening of her new EP, pulling us in and making ‘The River’ a current we’re pleased to be swept along by. The second track, ‘Love or Lust’, is a standout. Its feet are rooted firmly in classic country – Heyward’s vocals bringing to mind the likes of Patsy Cline – but the lyrics are perfectly suited for the Tinder generation: “I’ve been used up and believed every line / Is it love or lust this time?” she asks worn down by relationships that go nowhere. Continue reading “Genevieve Heyward “The River EP” (Painted Recordings, 2019)”

Josh Rennie-Hynes “Patterns” (Soundly Music, 2019)

After making a name for himself in his native Australia, Josh Rennie-Hynes upped sticks from his home in Queensland and – upon being granted the impressive Nashville Songwriters Residency grant by the Australian Council for the Arts – made Music City USA his permanent base and where he would record his third solo record. The opening lines of the album (from the track ‘Standing Still’) feel like Rennie-Hynes is speaking to himself of the importance of pushing his creative and geological boundaries: “Oh my love you won’t / Ever find the things you want / If you don’t trust yourself once in a while.” Continue reading “Josh Rennie-Hynes “Patterns” (Soundly Music, 2019)”