Sam Morrow “Concrete and Mud” (Forty Below Records, 2018)

A full-fat slab of seventies-era, funky bar room country stomp, gutsy balladry and Southern Rock from Californian Sam Morrow. This is an excellent record – music like the Black Crowes should have made, had they cast their eyes a little wider. Opener ‘Heartbreak Man’ is a steady syrup – fuzz/twang meets Hammond organ groove. Morrow shows us up front the roaming, untameable guy that he is. Continue reading “Sam Morrow “Concrete and Mud” (Forty Below Records, 2018)”

Port Cities “Port Cities” (Independent, 2018)

Port Cities is the award-winning combined efforts of three celebrated Nova Scotian musicians –  Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro and Breagh MacKinnon. They’ve joined together to produce a slab of (modern) Nashville inspired, poppy AOR meets slightly folky Americana. As such it’s inoffensive but decidedly unremarkable. There’s undoubtedly a growing market for this type of just about roots music, but as a sub-genre it falls a long way short of authentic/classic/gritty Americana. Continue reading “Port Cities “Port Cities” (Independent, 2018)”

Tar and Flowers “Indian Summer” (Independent, 2018)

A debut record from the greener, non-plastic reaches of greater Los Angeles. Principally it’s the musical labours of Taylor Hungerford, assisted by French born sidekick Wolf Kroeger. Between them, they’ve cooked up something quite noteworthy. Hungerford’s voice is a half-asleep, folky woozy drawl. There’s influence from a Fleet Foxes or Felice-esque vocal sound perhaps, though Hungerford brings his own distinct flavours to the party. Continue reading “Tar and Flowers “Indian Summer” (Independent, 2018)”

Whiskey in the Pines “Sunshine from the Blue Cactus” (Independent, 2018)

Straight outta Tallahassee, Florida are Whiskey in the Pines, a ¾ bearded combo headed up by singer and principal songwriter David Lareau. They say that their state capital home is two hours from the nearest sun-kissed beach, so there’s little theme parking, surfing or bikini-clad girl watching in this six track E.P. All of which is a roundabout way of getting to the point – this is a fine, fine seven track E.P. Continue reading “Whiskey in the Pines “Sunshine from the Blue Cactus” (Independent, 2018)”

Dave Richardson “Carry Me Along” (Independent, 2018)

A drift of New England based contemporary (yet traditional) folk, if such a thing exists. Dave Richardson’s stock in trade is ‘old school’ roots, certainly in terms of song subject and structure. That’s no bad thing. Inevitably, the music is counterpointed by the obligatory folkie beard; a fine specimen sported for us by Dave, who resides in Vermont and recorded this release in Boston. Continue reading “Dave Richardson “Carry Me Along” (Independent, 2018)”

Luke Daniels “Singing Ways To Feel More Junior” (Gael Music, 2017)

Luke Daniels looks a little like a refugee freed from a Mumford and Sons labour camp. His new album makes use of children’s rhymes for grownups everywhere. That’s enough to set of very loud alarm bells hereabouts. Fear not, the record’s okay (if a little unremarkable) and the beard/braces look is close to being a legal requirement for the self-respecting folkie of today. Daniels is a member of Cara Dillion’s band, also of Riverdance Orchestra. He’s certainly no chancer in the folk music scene. Accordingly this is a solid collection of songs and the children’s rhymes are largely understated; worked into the songs rather than standing out like the proverbial sore thumbs. Continue reading “Luke Daniels “Singing Ways To Feel More Junior” (Gael Music, 2017)”

Thorp Jenson “Odessa” (Independent, 2017)

Springsteen-tastic! Petty-rific! Okay, Virginia’s Thorp Jenson (aka Chris Ryan) isn’t the first musician to wear their influences proudly on their sleeve. It’s certain that he won’t be the last either. So the fair thing to do is to consider this record on the strength of the songs, which (eventually) stand up to a different type of comparison pretty well. Continue reading “Thorp Jenson “Odessa” (Independent, 2017)”

Terry Kitchen “The Quiet Places” (Independent, 2017)

Terry Kitchen is a decidedly old-fashioned, storytelling folkie. He’s been plying his trade around New England for a quarter of century, so it’s safe to say he should know what he’s doing by now. Well-written, poignant and sometimes witty songs are delivered with confidence, backed by a handful of musicians adding dobro, trumpet and mandolin with fitting subtlety. Continue reading “Terry Kitchen “The Quiet Places” (Independent, 2017)”

Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)

Those of you familiar with Richard Warren’s previous solo records will know what to expect from this fourth album – Disentangled.  You won’t be disappointed either. Sounding like a stoner/psychedelic happening featuring Duane Eddy on guitar and Richard Hawley on vocals; it’s equal parts weird, hypnotic and excellent. Welcome to the fertile outer edges of Americana. Continue reading “Richard Warren “Disentangled” (Hudson, 2017)”

Rebecca Pronsky “Witness – Hillary’s Song Cycle” (Independent, 2017)

A mini album dedicated to Hillary Clinton’s ‘defeat’ in the 2016 US Presidential Election and her (imagined) personal aftermath. Let’s not dwell on the name of her opponent, shall we? As is fitting for such a subject, a cast of six female musicians underpin Brooklynite Pronksy’ self-penned song suite in fine style. Although an idea firmly out of left field, it’s a pretty good record; full of the poppy/folky/jazz character you’d expect from Rebecca Pronsky. Continue reading “Rebecca Pronsky “Witness – Hillary’s Song Cycle” (Independent, 2017)”