The Grahams “The Grahams And Friends (Live In Studio)” (Independent, 2017)

If you were to judge an outfit by their friends this American husband and wife duo would rate pretty highly.  On this set they rope in Cody & Luther Dickinson from the north Mississippi Allstars, John Fullbright, Sara & Sean Watkins, Kenneth Pattingdale from Milk Carton Kids and Alvin Youngblood Hart to name but a few.  Of the fourteen songs here five are taken from the deluxe version of their second album “Glory Bound” (not previously available in the UK) with the remainder coming from “Rattle The Hocks”, a live album and documentary they produced in 2015/16.

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Megan & The Common Threads – “Stories To Tell” (Independent, 2016)

This six track EP shows that Britain can do contemporary country just as well if not better than America.  From Nashville, but now living in London, Megan O’Neill and her five piece band (who co-write the songs with her) have a polished country sound that, while it has poppy overtones has just enough grit to keep it interesting and stop it sliding into that formulaic Nashville sound.  Yes there are big choruses, yes there are hooks galore, yes there are big ballads and yes there’s a rocky number or two but the band make them their own.  They play with style and panache, with Mairead Furlong’s fiddle being particularly notable, and O’Neill’s crystal and emotive vocals carry everything along perfectly. Continue reading “Megan & The Common Threads – “Stories To Tell” (Independent, 2016)”