Jerry David DeCicca “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret Records, 2018)

As a teenager Jerry David DeCicca had, by his own admission, an obsession with 40 something year old singer-songwriters. Listening to the likes of Reed, Zevon, Petty, Dylan and Springsteen informed the musical direction he was to take. Formerly with The Black Swans ‘Burning Daylight’ is DeCicca’s third solo release and it nods more than a little towards another of that ilk, John Mellancamp. Continue reading “Jerry David DeCicca “Burning Daylight” (Super Secret Records, 2018)”

Josh Taerk “Beautiful Tragedy” (Misty Creek Records, 2018)

Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk, pronounced ‘Turk,’ has, in his relatively short career, garnered praise along the way from some high-profile names such as John Oates (Hall & Oates) and Max Weinberg (E Street Band), along with some eye-popping headlines from esteemed publications such as The Bournemouth Daily Echo – “Rising star hailed as the new boss”. Continue reading “Josh Taerk “Beautiful Tragedy” (Misty Creek Records, 2018)”

William Elliott Whitmore “Kilonova” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)

William Elliott Whitmore has spent the entirety of his 40 years on this planet living on the family farm in Iowa. As a singer-songwriter heavily influenced by the hardcore punk scene of that community, he has, on his six albums to date, fused this influence with a mix of blues, country and folk. For album number seven Whitmore has put the writing on hold in favour of celebrating some of the musical heroes who have inspired his career thus far. Continue reading “William Elliott Whitmore “Kilonova” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)”

The Jayhawks “Back Roads and Abandoned Motels” (Legacy Recordings, 2018)

Gary Louris, co-founder and longtime main man of the much-loved Jayhawks has also been much in demand over the years as a co-writer, working with the likes of Natalie Maines and The Dixie Chicks, Carrie Rodriguez, Scott Thomas, Jakob Dylan and Ari Hest.  Studio album number 10 sees Louris, with the exception of two new songs, reworking some of these songs for The Jayhawks. Continue reading “The Jayhawks “Back Roads and Abandoned Motels” (Legacy Recordings, 2018)”

Heart Hunters “American Eclipse” (Independent, 2018)

Husband and wife duo Heart Hunters (Drew de Man / Brianna Blackbird) write and sing songs with an environmental and social conscience and, with ‘American Eclipse,’ they dive head first into the murky pond of 21st century American life. In de Man’s own words: “we can’t just indulge in driving around playing music – we have to recognise our platform to spread ideas and use our music to aid social movements.Continue reading “Heart Hunters “American Eclipse” (Independent, 2018)”

Jeffrey Foucault “Blood Brothers” (Blueblade Records/Tone Tree, 2018)

Time is precious. Things to do. People to see. So straight to the point. ‘Blood Brothers’ by Jeffrey Foucault is a bloody marvellous album. There are many albums that are slow growers, gradually getting under the skin, each play revealing another layer, another subtle nuance. Let’s be clear, this isn’t one of those albums. This is one of the other kinds of albums, those that grab your attention from the off and, as the final track heads off into the sunset, leaves in its wake a sense that you have been witness to a wonderful thing. Continue reading “Jeffrey Foucault “Blood Brothers” (Blueblade Records/Tone Tree, 2018)”

Mia and Jonah “Spin as One” (Independent, 2018)

‘Spin as One’ is Los Angeles based duo Mia Mustari and Jonah Blumstein’s fourth album and perhaps it is the confidence of a musical marriage of 15 years together that has allowed them to deliver such a confident and compelling listen. If there were any preconceived notions that this songwriting duo would offer up a gentle laid-back acoustic listen then the opening title track puts those thoughts on hold. Mia and Jonah have recruited able musical support to produce a full band sound with the strings of Alan Grubner and Stevie Destanislao’s insistent drums joining forces with Jonah’s harmonica for a joyously upbeat starter. Continue reading “Mia and Jonah “Spin as One” (Independent, 2018)”

I See Hawks in L.A. “Live and Never Learn” (Blue Rose, 2018)

How many bands have suffered the “sounds like the Eagles” curse? Even if being mentioned in the same breath surely means they must be onto something good, attempting to match the songwriting and vocal skills of Messrs Henley and Frey is surely an invidious task and is doomed to suffer by comparison. ‘Live and Never Learn,’ the first album in five years from I See Hawks in L.A., certainly has that early Eagles country rock feel running through the core of its 14 tracks. The title track offers up a microcosm of what is to come, rhythmic, mid-paced tempo, reverby Telecaster and easy on the ear. The quality of musicianship is spot on throughout the album and much credit for that must go to five-times Grammy-winning mixer Alfonso Rodenas. Continue reading “I See Hawks in L.A. “Live and Never Learn” (Blue Rose, 2018)”

Dan Israel “You’re Free” (Independent, 2018)

Dan Israel is going for it. After 13 albums as a part-timer Israel quit his Minnesota day job to concentrate fully on his music. So, probably not a coincidence that his first subsequent release is entitled ‘You’re Free’ and, as the excellent title track says “And all of the sky’s the limit now/Time to make good on your freedom vow/Promised yourself that someday you’d finally flee, so flee.” It is a joyful guitar driven celebration of this new found artistic freedom, years of confinement blown away in a song. Continue reading “Dan Israel “You’re Free” (Independent, 2018)”

Horse Feathers “Appreciation” (Kill Rock Stars, 2018)

Made in Kentucky but with nods to Wigan. Now that is a strange thought on which to begin any review but for this, their 6th album, Horse Feathers have built upon the guitars, strings and keyboards that have been their backbone until now and added just a touch of Northern Soul to the mix. 45 seconds into the opening track ‘Without Applause,’ acoustic guitars are joined by Hammond organ and these unlikely but highly impressive bedfellows are exposed for the world to see. Continue reading “Horse Feathers “Appreciation” (Kill Rock Stars, 2018)”