Tom Paxton “If The Poor Don’t Matter” – Listen

We make no secret of the fact that we’re big fans of Tom Paxton, so you can imagine our excitement that his next UK tour will start just a week from now.  You can find the dates here.  And sure, this song comes from 2015’s ‘Redemption Road’ but it’s looking as if it’s going to be topical for a long time yet.

Bruce Springsteen Box Set Bonanza due next month

It is a limited edition…there is not an unlimited supply.  We believe it.  The next massive release in the ongoing Bruce Springsteen Archival LP releases is Volume 2: 1987-1996.  Thus there are vinyl pressings of ‘Tunnel of Love’, ‘Human Touch’, ‘Lucky Town’, ‘In concert / MTV Plugged’ and ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’.  To sweeten the deal Columbia are throwing in the EPs ‘Chimes of Freedom’ and ‘Blood Brothers’ – and that last has never been on vinyl.  Never.  Continue reading “Bruce Springsteen Box Set Bonanza due next month”

Jesse Terry “Natural” (Jackson Beach Records, 2018)

On his fifth album Jesse Terry has moved away from his usual roots-rock arrangements for a stripped down and mostly acoustic take on songs familiar from his previous albums – with a cover thrown in for good measure. An additional twist is that Terry has teamed up with a number of his favourite female singers – amongst them Dar Williams and Kim Richey – to make this also an album of duetting voices, although on a few tracks it’s predominantly Jesse Terry with guest-star backing vocals. Continue reading “Jesse Terry “Natural” (Jackson Beach Records, 2018)”

Maria Kelly “Small Talk” – Listen

A faltering, introverted, vocal carries this delicate song of social anxiety and an inability to connect with others.  Alienation and anxiety and a tense swell of fear building within her “there’s a storm in my chest / I can’t catch my breath/…/ I can’t spit it out – don’t mind me”.  The only downside is that Maria Kelley drew on her own experiences on ‘Small Talk’.

Jonathan Wilson, Omeara, London, 19th March 2018

Omeara is a fairly new venue south of the river, not very far south, and in quite a hip area with a sizeable presence of pubs and cafes close by. Inside the performance space is bijou, with a capacity of around 350, and it’s well laid out with several slightly different levels ensuring pretty good sightlines. The decor is tastefully distressed – with the fresh paint work carefully replicating paintwork that has been scuffed up by the years of punters that have yet to pass through the doors. Continue reading “Jonathan Wilson, Omeara, London, 19th March 2018”

Khari Wendell McClelland “Song Of The Agitators” – Listen

Taken from Khari Wendell McClelland’s new album ‘Freedom Singer’ which has re-arranged and re-invigorated a set of songs that were contemporary with his great-great-great-grandmother’s escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad.  Some are quite well know – like ‘No More Auction Block’ – but others are being dragged from historical obscurity and given a shining new coat of paint and presented once more as a reminder of just how hard life could be in the Land of the Free only 150 or so years ago.

AmericanA to Z: Acres and Acres

Half forgotten bands, albums that slipped away – that’s what this part of the site is about.  Canada’s Acres and Acres were one of the first bands, possibly the actual first, that I reviewed a CD for back in the distant days of Americana-UK (but not the dim and distant days – that was before my time). They were basically a duo of Kris Pope and Dave Scolten at the time, although they were ably supported by friends on their debut recording ‘All Nations’. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z: Acres and Acres”

Tom Waits releases for Record Store Day, but not on Gold vinyl

Gold would surely have been the obvious choice, not because Waits’ voice reminds one of the Spandau Ballet dirge, but because that’s what his 2006 triple album ‘Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards’ achieved in terms of sales.   What the first ever vinyl release will be though is red, grey and blue – it’s a triple album after all.  So that’s yet another reason to be camping outside the Friendly Local Record Store (FLRS) on the evening of the 20th of April. Continue reading “Tom Waits releases for Record Store Day, but not on Gold vinyl”

Track Premier: The Lied To’s “Buffalo”

Susan Levine and Doug Kwartler are The Lied To’s – and the lies they both got told have to do with love and romance as they each weathered bitter divorces and were left to pick up the physical, financial, and emotional pieces.  Fortunately they put this emotion into their shared music to come up with a debut album in 2015, with the next one,  ‘The Lesser of Two Evils’ due out on May 11th featuring this perfect travelling with no real destination song.

The Decemberists “I’ll Be Your Girl” (Capitol Records, 2018)

Everything you’ve heard about ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ is true – it’s a glorious confection that is spectacularly different from everything that has gone before. And yet it’s also so recognisably in keeping with everything that The Decemberists have ever done. The big difference is that synthesizers and keyboards are given a prominence not heard since ‘The Hazards of Love’, but unlike that coherent experiment in developing a folk-rock opera in the mode of, but so much better than, Jethro Tull ‘I’ll be your Girl’ plays with different styles – from ecstatic release to the Floydesque and through various modes of British influenced Glam-rock.  Continue reading “The Decemberists “I’ll Be Your Girl” (Capitol Records, 2018)”