John Murry + Benjamin Folke Thomas + Steve Grozier, Broadcast, Glasgow, 16th September 2018

John Murry seems to be on his own (smaller) version of Dylan’s never ending tour as he and his band resumed a UK tour which kicked off back in June and then had a short break. Murry was joined on the road once again by his new buddy Benjamin Folke Thomas (the pair seem to have really clicked according to some of their social media posts) who was the main support and who then joined the latter half of Murry’s set on guitar and good vibes. Continue reading “John Murry + Benjamin Folke Thomas + Steve Grozier, Broadcast, Glasgow, 16th September 2018”

Great Lake Swimmers “The Waves The Wake” (Nettwerk Records, 2018)

Over their 15-year career, Canada’s Great Lake Swimmers have crafted to perfection their version of folk informed chamber songs led throughout by Tony Dekker. While their last release, ‘A Forest of Arms’ added a more muscular beat to the songs than one expected from them ‘The Waves The Wake’ finds them back in a more ethereal mood. However, Dekker forsakes his usual style of acoustic guitar based writing for a set of songs featuring elaborate arrangements of instruments normally found in orchestral surroundings. Continue reading “Great Lake Swimmers “The Waves The Wake” (Nettwerk Records, 2018)”

Dusty Stray “Estranged” (Great Waters, 2018)

Dusty Stray is the adopted moniker of Jonathan Brown, a man raised in Texas who now lives in the Netherlands. ‘Estranged’ is his fifth album of low key (not lo-fi) songs which hover around the more Gothic edges of Americana somewhat akin to the work of Stephin Merritt with The Gothic Arches who released music to accompany the Lemony Snicket novels although Brown is less theatrical. Brown points to the writer and artist Edward Gorey as an influence and indeed one of the songs here is titled ‘Gorey Story’ which is basically a potted biography of the Cape Cod author. Continue reading “Dusty Stray “Estranged” (Great Waters, 2018)”

Southern Fried Festival, Perth, Scotland, 26-29th July 2018

Eleven years old this year Southern Fried continues to occupy its position as the best Americana and roots music festival in Scotland and perhaps the best of its kind in the UK (although there are three contenders who might challenge that assumption). The festival doesn’t rest on its laurels however and this year saw its headline shows expanded to include the Thursday night while there was the welcome return of the renovated Perth Theatre to the roster of venues as it hosted ticketed and free events. What doesn’t change however is the mixture of world famous acts, the cream of international and UK roots music and a generous helping of more local musicians all adding up to four days of joyous music concentrated within the centre of one of Scotland’s most beautiful cities. Continue reading “Southern Fried Festival, Perth, Scotland, 26-29th July 2018”

Letitia VanSant “Gut it to the Studs” (Independent, 2018)

Giving up a career in social and environmental advocacy to take up music full time paid off for Baltimore based VanSant when she won the Kerrville New Folk song writing competition joining the ranks of previous winners such as Lucinda Williams and Nanci Griffiths. ‘Gut it to the Studs’, her first album since permanently switching on her out of office email response is a powerful collection of intimate songs buoyed by a superb band who can wax and wane as the songs demand. Continue reading “Letitia VanSant “Gut it to the Studs” (Independent, 2018)”

Ana Egge “White Tiger” (StorySound Records, 2018)

Brooklyn based but with a somewhat nomadic background, Ana Egge is one of those songwriters who seem to hover around the edge of the mainstream. She gets great reviews but she’s certainly not a household name even in the most dedicated of Americana infested households. Her album with The Stray Birds, ‘Bright Shadow’, did cause a bit of a buzz, perhaps down to that trio’s reputation but we can safely say here that ‘White Tiger’ is a much more multi faceted affair than the folky infused ‘Bright Shadow’, bursting as it is with imaginative arrangements adorned with horns and synths. Continue reading “Ana Egge “White Tiger” (StorySound Records, 2018)”

Khari Wendell McClelland “Freedom Singer” (Afterlife music/Membran, 2018)

Originally from Detroit but now living in Canada, Khari Wendell McClelland began to investigate his family history some years ago, in particular the story of his great-great-great grandmother, a slave in the States who escaped to Canada via the underground train network set up by abolitionists. This led to him exploring the music of his ancestor’s time which he eventually worked into a multi media stage presentation which then led into this album. Continue reading “Khari Wendell McClelland “Freedom Singer” (Afterlife music/Membran, 2018)”

L. A. Edwards “True Blue” (Independent, 2018)

Hailing from South California, L. A. Edwards has hooked up with Heartbreaker Ron Blair in the producer’s chair for this collection of what is probably best described as “soft rock,” that genre which ruled FM radio in the early seventies. In a serendipitous manner it landed on this reviewer’s desktop just as we entered what we must now admit is a bit of a heatwave and although we haven’t yet stooped to drinking Magaritas it has to be said that the album has been a pleasant balm wafting across the garden as cold lager is quaffed. Continue reading “L. A. Edwards “True Blue” (Independent, 2018)”

Sc4m returns as part of the Rhythm Tree Festival

For nine years sc4m was held annually in Winchester’s Railway pub building up a reputation as one of the best and most intimate Americana/roots music festivals in the UK. This year sc4m relocates to the Isle of Wight linking up with the Rhythm Tree Festival. With their own Woodland stage sc4m will host their show as part of the main event on July 14th.  Over their nine years sc4m had an uncanny ability to spot acts who are now well known in their fledging years including Richmond Fontaine, John Murry and Chuck Prophet so it will be worth making the effort to catch this year’s line up in order that you can tell your grandkids in years to come, “I was there.” Continue reading “Sc4m returns as part of the Rhythm Tree Festival”

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes + The Weeping Willows, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 30th June 2018

A crowded pub in Glasgow on a swelteringly hot Saturday night proved to be no challenge to Australia’s Lachlan Bryan  who, with a four piece version of The Wildes behind him, performed a set of songs which just about defined “Americana,” visiting corners of country, folk, soul and blues and doing so brilliantly. Bryan was accompanied by regular bassist Shaun Ryan and singer Imogen Clark along with Andrew Wrigglesworth on electric guitar and Laura Coates who also sang, the latter pair having played the support slot as The Weeping Willows. Continue reading “Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes + The Weeping Willows, MacSorleys, Glasgow, 30th June 2018”