Reverend Horton Heat “Whole New Life” (Victory Records 2018)

The good Reverend has been ploughing the furrow marked “furious rockabilly based rock ‘n’ roll” for decades now, and while this new offering is no game changer, it does carry the listener through its generous track listing on a glorious wave of exuberant, tightly constructed, wonderfully performed songs. Opening with the title track ‘Whole New Life’ the template is clear. This album is going to be a blast and despite the stylistic conventions being applied, each track is clearly defined and independent. ‘Hate to Cry’  drops the pace but not the intensity; similarly, ‘Don’t Let Go of Me,’ where the reverb is turned up on guitar and vocals to create a moody, desperate love song.  Continue reading “Reverend Horton Heat “Whole New Life” (Victory Records 2018)”

Martin Stephenson and the Daintees “Gladsome, Humour & Blue 30” (Barbaraville Records 2018)

Revisiting old glories is a tricky business. We all know of tracks re-recorded that fail to match treasured originals or albums where a revisitation of a classic is the loss leader for some rum stuff, so it was with a mixture of apprehension and intrigue that this reviewer picked up the copy of the Martin Stephenson and the Daintees ‘Gladsome, Humour and Blue’. Continue reading “Martin Stephenson and the Daintees “Gladsome, Humour & Blue 30” (Barbaraville Records 2018)”

Adam’s House Cat “Town Burned Down” (ATO Records 2018)

‘Any ful kno’ that the Drive by Truckers were founded in 1996 by Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley but 9 years before that came Adam’s House Cat, founded in a dank basement in Florence, Alabama. The band toured hard for 3 years playing original tunes in a region where covers bands ruled the bars. This album was recorded at Muscle Shoals studios in 1990/1 but was lost in the wake of the band’s demise, tornados and the studio being sold. Continue reading “Adam’s House Cat “Town Burned Down” (ATO Records 2018)”

Glorietta “Glorietta” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)

There is more than a hint of The Golden Smog about the debut album from Glorietta. This is a collection of diverse songs recorded over a week in a ‘ramshackle rental’ outside Santa Fe. Gathered together by Matthew Logan Vasquez ( Delta Spirit, Middle Brother), a disparate band of musicians have created an immediate and in places affecting piece of work. Continue reading “Glorietta “Glorietta” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)”

Eoin Glackin “Fires Of Innocence” (Independent 2018)

Dublin born and raised Eoin Glackin has delivered an album of brash charm which zips along at a fair old pace, full of earworms and some lovely melodies. Opening with the guitar driven ‘High King Falls’ followed by the Hothouse Flowersy ‘Where While You Can,’ all shouted vocals and fiddle harmonies. ‘Barabbas Walks Free’ appears to alter the template with its delicate picked guitar but soon succumbs to a driving rhythm, hollered vocals and there’s that fiddle again along with a short and sweet guitar solo.  Continue reading “Eoin Glackin “Fires Of Innocence” (Independent 2018)”

Zack Logan “Raised by Wolves” (Independent, 2018)

Zack Logan comes from a long tradition of American singer songwriters mining a seam of blue collar, working man’s hopes and dreams. Opening with the subtle finger-picked delight ‘Annalee’ with its gorgeous string backing is reminiscent of early John Prine or perhaps a less care worn Kristofferson. So this is good stuff. It is in many ways a simple album, effective narratives driven by simple guitar lines and fiddle accompaniment, lyrically straightforward but affecting with some gorgeous warm production and a voice built for weaving acoustic stories. Continue reading “Zack Logan “Raised by Wolves” (Independent, 2018)”

Nathan Bell “Loves Bone and Stars, Love’s Bone and Stars” / “Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth” (Angry Stick Recording Company 2018)

Nathan Bell is a working man who now more often than not makes albums. This is the fourth album of the ‘Family Man’ series and is a series of reflective acoustic ruminations on a life being lived and the many strands of society that ebb and flow through that life. Literally the ties that bind and the sense of continuous wonder at a life that seems impossibly ordinary but at the same time utterly extraordinary. Continue reading “Nathan Bell “Loves Bone and Stars, Love’s Bone and Stars” / “Er Gwaetha Pawb a Phopeth” (Angry Stick Recording Company 2018)”

Cordovas “That Santa Fe Channel” (ATO Records 2018)

This is a great album, right off the bat all the boxes are ticked and squared away. Delicate triple harmonies, whoozy swooning choruses, deft instrumentation and just enough rootsy grit to keep the listener and the artist honest. Think Dawes, Dead and Jayhawks with a Nashville twang and a dash of the Laurel Canyon vibe filtered through a gauze made by a young Jackson Brown. Really…. I mean really?  Well yes, dear reader, these songs have got legs and may just sneak up on you when you’re not intending to listen. Plenty of the old earworms here.  Continue reading “Cordovas “That Santa Fe Channel” (ATO Records 2018)”

Charlie Smyth “The Way I Feel” (Independent, 2018)

Charlie Smyth has come to Nashville where he now resides, having been a veteran of the 1990s Chicago and Seattle punk scenes of the 1990s – and perhaps he brings some of that sensibility to his songwriting in the occasionally inspired offering ‘The Way I Feel’. Opening with a Neil Diamond cover is a safe bet but one that perhaps leads the listener to an early conclusion that may not be entirely true. It is a joyous sound – all mariachi horns and big vocals  – a ‘Beautiful Noise’ indeed, but slightly out of kilter with the rest of the album. Continue reading “Charlie Smyth “The Way I Feel” (Independent, 2018)”

Jimmy LaFave “Peacetown” (Music Road Records, 2018)

This album arrives under the banner ‘Austin Legend, The Late Jimmy LaFave..’ and as such presents a reviewer with a potentially thorny problem. What if it’s no good? Is there anything to be gained from constructive criticism as the artist themselves will not be able to respond or react?  Luckily any concerns were brushed aside by a double album full of heartbreak and celebration as well as an underlying sense of melancholy entirely appropriate for the material as well as the deeply sad back story. Continue reading “Jimmy LaFave “Peacetown” (Music Road Records, 2018)”