Who is Levi Cuss? If you listen to this record you might just find out, delving into a dark past and redemption through the salvation of music and poetry. Joining the thriving ”Canamericana’’ group of artists driving Americana music forward and out of a predominantly southern heritage, Levi has created an honest and raw record with no frills and dripped with gorgeous steel guitar wailing to accompany his laments, and great blues guitar to texture his more salacious background, not dissimilarly to Steve Earle in his Terraplane record. Continue reading “Levi Cuss ‘’Night Thief’’ (Independent, 2017)”
You can be forgiven for not having heard of Cup ‘O Joe before. A gypsy-folk and bluegrass trio from Northern Ireland are as far from mainstream consciousness as you’d expect, but that isn’t such a bad thing, because it allows them to continue on with their gorgeous blend of gentle bluegrass picking, beautiful folk melodies and mellow harmonies throughout Bluebirds, this fantastic EP.
Continue reading “Cup ‘O Joe ‘’Bluebirds’’ (Independent, 2016)”
Lisa Bastoni has been around a while, performing with acclaimed artists such as Little Big Town, Lori McKenna and Regina Spektor. After taking an extended break to have a family, she is back with this amazing record, due to be released early in 2017. With every song penned by her, and a few co-writes, this is a record with the Bastoni stamp all over it, and with much of the recordings being done at home as well as in studios in Nashville and New York, there is a very intimate feel to this record, helped by the excellent production by Felix McTeigue. Continue reading “Lisa Bastoni ”The Wishing Hour” (Independent, 2017)”
Written as an ode to an absent father, ‘’Wandering Father, Forgotten Son’’ is an album of many textures, with the stylistic differences between Roy Michaels, the father, and Silas himself being mixed throughout the record, as well as the conflict between the missing father, and the man who is mourned following his recent death. What comes from this emotional turbulence is a very raw and gutsy album, leaning as much into Appalachian folk as it does Texan dance-hall and Americana. Continue reading “Silas Lowe ‘’Wandering Father, Forgotten Son’’ (Independent, 2016)”
Sometimes a record comes along and completely blows you away. Amanda Richards won’t be unfamiliar with this concept having been Grammy-nominated as an independent artist, but ‘’Tough Ones To Love’’ is very much in this category, with the songwriting and vocals being absolutely in-sync, alongside the musicality of Amanda’s long-time band ‘The Good Long While’. Continue reading “Amanda Richards ‘’Tough Ones To Love’’ (Independent, 2016)”
Michael Baker may be a relative unknown in the world of Americana, but he shouldn’t be. ‘Dust & Bone’ is a mighty-accomplished album, with more than a hint of alt-rock and acoustic folk thrown in with the beautiful songwriting and smooth vocals. Kicking off with ‘Steady & The Stuck’, the acoustic intro quickly drops into a full-band chorus and whilst it is not overly electric or loud, it does contain a lot of power that turns the track into a wonderful introduction to Michael’s Anglo-French take on a classic Americana style. Continue reading “Michael Baker ”Dust & Bone” (Keys To The Kingdom Records, 2016)”
As “Reckless Heart” was being created, Bap Kennedy was in a losing battle with cancer, a battle that he has very recently lost. As far as a legacy goes for such a rich and varied career, a single album is never going to do it justice, but “Reckless Heart” is a masterfully crafted record, filled with hope, despair, beautiful melodies and soaring musicality. With hints of Rock ‘n Roll, Blues and two-step country, this record is a beautiful blend of traditional American music styles. It is so rare for someone to encapture this musicality coming from foreign shores, but Belfast-born Kennedy does just that, sounding not in the least bit inauthentic, a great credit to an artist who has spent his career associated with legends such as Steve Earle, Mark Knopfler and Van Morrison. Continue reading “Bap Kennedy ”Reckless Heart” (At The Helm/Last Chance Records, 2016)”