Martin Simpson has a new album and a big tour

The new Martin Simpson album ‘Rooted‘ emerges on Topic Records on August 30th (the deluxe 2CD version of the album will include a companion disc ‘Seeded‘).  And if that title conjures up images of zipping up boots and such, well the singer-songwriter does have a theme in mind for this album, as he explains “The music and songs embrace nature and travel, mental health, real life stories, loss, politics and history… and the threads that bind all this together can be followed back a long way, to 1965 when I got my first guitar and started to soak up material and ideas at a very rapid rate.Continue reading “Martin Simpson has a new album and a big tour”

Katie Rose “Beginnings” – Listen

Beginnings‘ is a big piano-led ballad, with layers and layers of sound building it up, but take an ear to the lyrics and it’s clear that Katie Rose’s new single is not some lightweight love song.  It’s about the journey into depression – “If you don’t know where to start and it’s breaking your heart and this isn’t what you planned” – and it proffers a hand of friendship and understanding.


Karine Polwart unveils her Scottish Songbook and UK dates

Karine Polwart is well known for her contributions to folk music – she has after all won six BBC Folk Awards and was 2018’s singer of the year.  Her newest project has an interesting slant on popular song, and particularly the popular song of Scotland.  With her band, Karine Polwart has re-imagined and reshaped a host of songs originally by artists such as the not surprising John Martyn to the rather less obvious choices of Chvrches and Biffy Clyro. Continue reading “Karine Polwart unveils her Scottish Songbook and UK dates”

The Hollywood Freeway Ghosts “Flying” – Listen

Gordon Tichell formed The Hollywood Freeway Ghosts when he moved from LA to Luxembourg, the band name coming from a song title he’d written for a band that broke up before he could get them to play it.  ‘Flying‘ comes from the EP ‘On the Way’ which eclectically mixes a synthesizer-infused instrumental, some guitar-infused alt-rock, and some splashes of jazz and Americana.  Don’t panic though as ‘Flying‘ is somewhere between Tom Petty and Andrew Gold.

Jade Jackson “Don’t Say That You Love Me” – Listen

Jade Jackson’s back, two years after her album ‘Gilded‘ she has now released a whole bunch of new songs on the well received (read the review here) ‘Wilderness‘.  This, her latest single, has a chorus that trades the confusions of love and desire back and forth with the pain of previous rejections and disappointments “But don’t say that you love me /  Say that you love me / Don’t say that you love me / Say that you love me.

Bob Dylan “The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings” (Columbia Records, 2019)

In many ways it was not the best of times for Dylan – having bared his soul on ‘Blood on the Tracks‘ he’d found a release in a whole new musical direction – a direction which would eventually lead to the album ‘Desire‘. Having helped out Roger McGuinn on his abortive ‘Gene Tryp‘ project – which delivered such landmark songs as ‘Chestnut Mare‘ – Jacques Levy had now upgraded to being Dylan’s songwriting buddy. Dylan had further found in Scarlet Rivera his new sound – wild gypsy violin that added drama to the new songs. So, this is Dylan emotionally drained, with sufficient writer’s block to require a songwriting collaborator, and scrabbling around for a new direction to immerse himself in. Continue reading “Bob Dylan “The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings” (Columbia Records, 2019)”

Lucy Dacus “Forever Half Mast” – Listen

Lucy Dacus has been releasing new music with holiday themes, and her latest touches on Independence Day – not so much the movie more the soul of her country.  Over a slow beat and peals of pedal steel she intones “America, the tried and true / Red and white and black and blue / Tell me, who did this to you? / If it was me, I hardly knew.”  The song is a response, Lucy Dacus says, to the “daily dissonance one endures as an American wherein much of our joy is counterweighted by shame, where much of our pride lives in tandem with injustice and suffering. ‘Forever Half Mast’ is about confronting this unavoidable culpability as an American citizen and consumer. Instead of allowing this guilt to paralyze us, we should try to let it influence us in positive ways”.

Mt. Joy, Bush Hall, London, 25th June 2019

It was a sweaty night outside and in as London enjoyed raised temperatures and the threat of rain. The ever elegant Bush hall was a good way towards full for Mt. Joy, making a stopover appearance in London before heading to the Lollapalooza festival in Sweden. Mt. Joy are label mates with both the Felice Brothers and The Lumineers, and that’s fully appropriate as their music fits neatly into that American-Indie-Folk sub-division of Americana. But what can you do when you’re an internet sensation – less than a handful of songs attracting millions of listens before you, as a band, even have an album out and then when the album emerges it’s a big hit and straight away you’re a headlining band ? Well, if you’re Mt.Joy then you just take it in your stride. Welcomed to the stage with a great cheer – Matt Quinn’s suggestion that we should all “have some fun” – was not going to be met with any disapproval. Continue reading “Mt. Joy, Bush Hall, London, 25th June 2019”

Track Premiere: Origami Ghosts “Elancourt”

Origami Ghosts, as you might imagine, don’t make music like other people’s music – and that’s a good thing, right ?  Originality is, surely, what we crave.  ‘Elancourt‘ is the first release from the band’s new album ‘Healthy Travel Potions‘ (out July 12th) and is as good an example as any of Origami Ghosts’ blend of jangly-guitar-folk-pop. as it recounts the restless travelling life of lead-singer and band mainstay  J.P. Scesniak.  Continue reading “Track Premiere: Origami Ghosts “Elancourt””