Jordan Tice “Motivational Speakeasy” (Paddle Records, 2020)

Jordan Tice has made an album of music which draws upon the guitar fingerpicking tradition of earlier Americana artists like John Fahey and Leo Kottke.  Tice uses his own quirky lyrics and flashes of humour which are reminiscent of Jeffrey Lewis especially on ‘Walkin’‘ or Devendra Barnhart.  ‘Motivational Speakeasy’ is a solo recording relying on his guitar and vocals to present his music which is gentle and positive in nature showcasing his clean and clear guitar playing style. The songs are not flashy or written in an overly complex manner so have a homespun laid back feeling. The overall mood of the album could be summed up in a line from ‘Matter of Time’ – “just do what you can, move a little more down the line, you’re going to make it where you’re going in a matter or time.” Continue reading “Jordan Tice “Motivational Speakeasy” (Paddle Records, 2020)”

AmericanA to Z: The Tragically Hip

The Tragically Hip are the biggest (and some might say best) Canadian band to not make much of an impact outside of Canada.  The band from Kingston, Ontario consisting of five school friends who played together for more than 30 years, releasing 13 studio albums, could be viewed as a rock band by some but are much more than this.  They spent their time together celebrating Canadian culture and inspiring many bands in their wake.  Their first few albums probably fit best within the Americana tag consisting of bluesy roots rock with their sound developing into more commercial rock and more experimental music in their later years. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: The Tragically Hip”

Justin Wells “The United State” (Singular Records, 2020)

Justin Wells’ new solo record ‘The United State’ released on Singular Records is a narrative which Wells has written describing the journey between birth and death.  It is bookended by two short instrumental pieces with the songs in between detailing the path through life, choices made and roads travelled down and others avoided.  Wells has stated that he wanted the album to find the Universal in these divided times but to not be political in nature. This could have ended up an overblown concept album about the human condition but it is in fact an album which is full of hope, wistfulness and a really enjoyable listen. Continue reading “Justin Wells “The United State” (Singular Records, 2020)”

Jeff Kelly “When the World Was Younger” (Green Monkey Records, 2020)

The question which will be asked by future generations will be “What did you do during the pandemic of 2020?”.  Which most of us will be able to reply that we gained weight, tried to make sense of it all and found a way to cope in the altered landscape created by COVID-19.  Jeff Kelly found that like many of us he needed to adapt his plans.  Rather than wallowing in misery, he channelled his energies into creating and releasing ‘When The World Was Younger’ showcasing his love of Spanish and Portuguese culture. Continue reading “Jeff Kelly “When the World Was Younger” (Green Monkey Records, 2020)”

David Ramirez “My Love Is A Hurricane” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)

David-Ramirez-2020David Ramirez is releasing his fifth album ‘My Love Is A Hurricane’ via SweetWorld/Thirty Tigers, the second not self-produced after first using an outside producer on 2017’s ‘We’re Not Going Anywhere’. This time that role goes to Jason Burt (who has worked with Leon Bridges), and the album explores different musical influences moving away from the more traditional Americana of his earlier work. The songs make use of soul, gospel and R&B influences with the involvement of other musicians strengthening the production. Continue reading “David Ramirez “My Love Is A Hurricane” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)”

Lorraine Nash “Wildflowers” (Independent, 2020)

21-year-old Kerry resident Lorraine Nash has released her debut EP ‘Wildflower’ and it is an assured and accomplished collection. Nash’s music is influenced by her love of traditional Irish music but the five original songs on the EP use this as a starting point, blending the sound with country and folk music. She is able to draw upon her multi-instrumental talents (piano, guitar, harp, flute and violin) which she developed since she started to perform from the time she was 7 years old. Continue reading “Lorraine Nash “Wildflowers” (Independent, 2020)”

Damien Jurado + Dana Garvanski, FolkeStone Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 1st March 2020

During his outstanding set, Damien Jurado mentioned that it was the first time he had played in Folkestone and he apologized to the local members of the audience for his prior belief that it was only a jetty and not a town.  The venue he played in – the Folkestone Quarterhouse – is at the heart of the Creative movement in Folkestone, focusing on the arts, music and theatre.  It provided the audience an intimate friendly space to absorb Jurado’s songs about longing, loss, love, illness and death. Continue reading “Damien Jurado + Dana Garvanski, FolkeStone Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 1st March 2020”