Brady Harris Band “NoHo Calling” (Independent, 2018)

Opening with the Devoesque ‘Let’s Live’ which is all new wave rhythms and hand claps with catchy choruses, you think you have a handle on The Brady Harris band and their new platter ‘NOHO Calling’ (that’s North Hollywood to you and me!) But the next track ‘Raise a Glass’ is pure barrelhouse boozer blues of the soft country lament variety, all crisp shuffle snare and sweet guitar and piano solos . It could be 1am and the bourbon has run out without it being messy. Continue reading “Brady Harris Band “NoHo Calling” (Independent, 2018)”

Rebecca Turn “Waves EP” (Independent 2018)

A Porthcawl native, Hurn was plucked from playing local open mic sessions as her reputation was spreading by none other than Pixie Lott showing a canny knack for spotting a talent.
A glorious voice, mature beyond her years and thankfully lacking the affectations of many of her contemporaries, drives this small collection of pop-inflected whimsy and wistfulness. Patently heading for ‘pop’ success it would be a shame if some of the freshness and verve is lost on the way because this is smashing stuff. Continue reading “Rebecca Turn “Waves EP” (Independent 2018)”

Luke Tuchscherer “Shadows – Touring EP” (Clubhouse Records, 2018)

Ever since seeing Tuchscherer performing with the band The Whybirds in a small Bedford pub this reviewer has been quite partial to their (and his) take on the classic Americana driving song style of most of their material. You know. The jaunty guitars and perhaps a Hammond being propelled by a solid rhythm section and songs about highways, falling in love, poker or good things turned bad. And with his touring EP LT (can’t be writing that name lots of times, I’ll get it wrong!) has delivered something that holds true to the template and some. Continue reading “Luke Tuchscherer “Shadows – Touring EP” (Clubhouse Records, 2018)”

Nathaniel Bellows “Swan and Wolf” (Independent 2018)

Polymath Bellows has released an album and accompanying art work designed to give the listener a whole artistic experience. This reviewer is fairly unimpressed. In order to arrest the attention of an audience, an artist needs to corral some fairly random items but principally we need decent songs and production that highlights the source material in an appropriate way which reflects the artist’s intentions and gives the potential listener a way of accessing the deeper meanings and understandings to be gleaned from the art. [this is possibly the longest sentence ever written on this site – Ed] Continue reading “Nathaniel Bellows “Swan and Wolf” (Independent 2018)”

Owen Williams “Standing Still Will Kill You” (Independent 2018)

Opening with the Gospel-tinged ‘Else The Devil Try’ and then dragging the choir into the far more country rocky ‘The Man Who Ate The Hurricane’ sets Williams’s stall out as a purveyor of the gothic country as demonstrated by the likes of Viarosa and some of Willard Grant (without the apocalyptic vocals). There’s lots of fire and fury with Williams couching his vocals atop a swinging guitar and piano refrain. ‘Oil and Water’ is similar in the way that a motif is created before the echoey vocals dive in, followed by the wailing backing vocals and feedback dripping guitar. This is moody stuff! Continue reading “Owen Williams “Standing Still Will Kill You” (Independent 2018)”

Hunter Muskett “Unafraid and Sober” (Independent 2018)

Now reformed for longer than their original incarnation (1968-1974) Hunter Muskett reconvened in 2010 in the the excellent Aspinall Arms near Clitheroe after a Cherry Red re-release of one of their originals garnered more than a little praise. They liked it so much they set about recording again and Unafraid and Sober is the second album and not a shabby job it is at all. Continue reading “Hunter Muskett “Unafraid and Sober” (Independent 2018)”

Jerry Leger “Nonsense and Heartaches” (Latent Recordings 2018)

Jerry Leger is a Canadian singer-songwriter who hails from Toronto and ‘Nonsense and Heartache’ is a double album with two distinct takes on his songwriting. ‘Nonsense’ is wired hillbilly blues with a wild swagger; there are elements of Chuck Prophet and his previous incarnation Green on Red, particularly in the ghostly 12 bar of ‘On The Fishing Line’ with it’s echoey, snarled vocal and sensational lead guitar. There is also a side order of the marvellous Cracker in the nihilistic ‘For HIre’ with is juicy rhythm guitar and twitchy lead. This all means that ‘Nonsense’ or disc 1 of this double is a joyous salute to the redemptive powers of the plugged in and raucous tempered by some very smart songwriting. Continue reading “Jerry Leger “Nonsense and Heartaches” (Latent Recordings 2018)”

Ordinary Elephant “Before I Go” (Independent 2017)

Crystal Hariu and Peter Hanmore are the married couple that are Ordinary Elephant and this is a very considered and often stately work. The album seems to be surfing some sort of zeitgeist in Americana at the moment. Simple, folksy arrangements using guitar and banjo as a songwriting pairing without drifting too close to the Earl Scruggs bluegrass thing. This Is The Kit could be a handy signpost here. All the songs are tightly constructed with the basic instrumental pairing providing the back bone to all the songs. Continue reading “Ordinary Elephant “Before I Go” (Independent 2017)”

Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Stables, Milton Keynes, 31st January 2018

Supporting the always excellent Mary Gauthier, East Nashville native Aaron Lee Tasjan promoted his excellent ‘Silver Tears‘ album with a troubadour’s turn here. Just him and his guitar….and what a revelation. ‘Silver Tears‘ is a great album and it is beautifully produced couching some great songs with some strong instrumentation and harmonies but here, stripped back, they sound wonderful, unadorned and spontaneous. This is enabled in no short measure by a fabulous set of pipes which Tasjan uses to full effect. Holding notes and bending melodies in a style not unlike Arlo Guthrie or on occasion John Sebastian of whom there is a hint in the sartorial style of embroidered waistcoat, jeans and some killer boots! Continue reading “Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Stables, Milton Keynes, 31st January 2018”

Tyler Childers “Purgatory” (Thirty Tigers 2018)

Building up a steady head of public interest, Tyler Childers follows his three singles of last year with his debut album co-produced by Sturgill Simpson no less. And it could well have been hewn from the same wood as Sturgill’s earlier releases. Lots of guitars, rebel lyricism and fiddles with nods to Nashville, Appalachia and Steve Earle particularly with the ‘Copperhead Road’ fuelled ‘Whitehouse Road’ – note the repeat of the word road to enable such comparisons. Continue reading “Tyler Childers “Purgatory” (Thirty Tigers 2018)”