Luke Sital-Singh “A Golden State” (Raygun Records, 2019)

Luke Sital-Singh was, reportedly, a fan of loud rock music in his teens, but finding inspiration in the energy and passion of Damien Rice’s legendary live shows he ditched the metal band and converted to the angsty folk singer-songwriter we’ve come to know and appreciate. A string of EPs released around 2012 (produced by Snow Patrol’s Iain Archer) caught the eye of Parlophone records and the subsequent release of the single ‘Nothing Stays the Same’ in October 2013 made the UK top 100. Having come a long way from singing ‘Canonball’ at open mic events, ‘The Fire Inside’ album peaked at 43 in the UK charts in 2014. While the two studio albums have explored creativity and inventiveness, notably using big multi-tracked harmonies to great effect, the core appeal of Luke Sital-Singh is a remarkable voice, sad songs, and impassioned emotional performances. Continue reading “Luke Sital-Singh “A Golden State” (Raygun Records, 2019)”

Kristina Stykos “River of Light” (Thunder Records, 2019)

‘River of Light’ is the fifth studio album from Vermont based singer-songwriter Kristina Stykos. For the most part it’s an upbeat optimistic collection of songs which have the distinct feel of poetry set to various styles of traditional Americana music. Indeed, some of the lyrics are spoken not sung. Stykos explains the meaning behind the album title as follows; “Luckily humanity will come together as tributaries do, when it rains hard enough and each twisted stream straightens out its path with unerring focus. That’s right. It’s time, for we are the River of Light.” Thought provoking, spiritual, mysterious, full of deeper meanings and insights wrapped in clever word play is basically what we’re getting here. What we’re not getting is catchy hooks and memorable refrains. It’s an album one needs to sit and listen to in a contemplative frame of mind rather than sing along to while doing the dishes. Continue reading “Kristina Stykos “River of Light” (Thunder Records, 2019)”

Jackson Pines “Gas Station Blues and Diamond Rings” (Independent, 2019)

Acoustic duo Jackson Pines are singer-songwriter guitarist Joe Makoviecki and stand-up bassist James Black.  Originally from the Pine Barrens of New Jersey they are now based in Philadelphia and have received multiple local awards (Asbury Music Awards/Jersey Acoustic Music Awards).  On tour they have opened for Old Crow Medicine Show, Margo Price, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Joe Pug, Nicole Atkins, The Felice Brothers and Band of Horses over the last few years across the U.S. and in the U.K. Continue reading “Jackson Pines “Gas Station Blues and Diamond Rings” (Independent, 2019)”

Whoa Melodic “Whoa Melodic” (Wiaiwya, 2019)

Having previously played with Singing Adams and the French Drops and The Hayman Kupa Band, the anagrammatically eponymous ‘Whoa Melodic,’ aka Michael Wood, has released his first solo album featuring ten delightfully melodic indie-pop tunes. Patiently hand-crafted in his home studio — a “cupboard under the stairs” — and following a process he likens to an artist adding layers of paint to a canvas; multi-instrumentalist Michael Wood demonstrates an extraordinary knack for catchy hooks and memorable refrains reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub and Squeeze with echoes of World Party. Continue reading “Whoa Melodic “Whoa Melodic” (Wiaiwya, 2019)”

Haint Blue “Overgrown” (Independent, 2018)

Haint Blue are a popular seven-piece folk pop/rock outfit from Baltimore, Maryland with a loyal fan base and a four track eponymously titled EP under their belts released back in 2015.  Judging from posted videos their live shows are uplifting and energetic featuring strong lead male vocals, layered harmonies, duelling fiddles, banjos and mandolin and whoops and hollering a plenty. Their debut album ‘Overgrown’ is due out February 15th according to the promo pack and features eleven tracks all of which demonstrate solid confident songwriting, strong musical performances and creative arrangements staying well within the bounds of their chosen genre and yet still sounding fresh and very entertaining. Continue reading “Haint Blue “Overgrown” (Independent, 2018)”

Amigo The Devil “Everything Is Fine” (Regime, 2018)

Banjo wielding singer-songwriter Danny Kiranos, stage name Amigo The Devil, teamed up with renowned hard rock/metal producer Ross Robinson (Korn, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot) to deliver this striking debut album entitled ‘Everything Is Fine’. It’s a collection of darkly humorous, brutally honest and cleverly crafted songs about death, regret, death, self-loathing, more death, a little depravity and, well, how to be a better person. Phew! The end product is recognisably Folk – there are elements of Southern Gothic, Country and Bluegrass – but what makes this album standout from the crowd maybe are the heavier rockier moments and the tragicomic theatricality of the songwriting and vocal performance. Continue reading “Amigo The Devil “Everything Is Fine” (Regime, 2018)”