Emily Duff “Born On The Ground” (Independent, 2020)

Emily Duff’s ‘Born On The Ground’ is a breakup album, a collection of nine songs capturing nine different relationship break-ups from her past. In her own words it is a “luxurious, 20/20 hindsight look back, without anger, for 2020.” Exuding a confidence that comes with experience, Duff has infused these tracks with a hard edge, softened by the country soul vocal that is evident throughout. Continue reading “Emily Duff “Born On The Ground” (Independent, 2020)”

Avi Kaplan “I’ll Get By” (Fantasy Records, 2020)

Avi Kaplan was part of the hugely successful Grammy winning a cappella band Pentatonix before leaving in 2017 to pursue a solo career rooted more in the folk music he describes as his heart and soul.  Three years on and ‘I’ll Get By’ has Kaplan broadening his range just a tad, introducing a touch of soul to a debut EP that remains true to his a cappella grounding. Continue reading “Avi Kaplan “I’ll Get By” (Fantasy Records, 2020)”

King Ropes “Go Back Where They Came From” (Big and Just Little, 2020)

Opinion can be really quite polarised when it comes to covers. For every great new interpretation of an old song there can be others that are dismissed under the “if you can’t improve it then why bother” category. ‘Go Back Where They Came From’ by Montana based King Ropes is an album full of covers that could quite easily slip into either category. Continue reading “King Ropes “Go Back Where They Came From” (Big and Just Little, 2020)”

Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding “Last Flight Out” (Independent, 2020)

Ok, to be clear from the very start, Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding are described as a Chicago jazz-folk ensemble so, for some, inclusion here may be construed as a bit of a stretch even if we do surely by now accept that Americana is a very broad church. When the lead instrument is a vibraphone with the close support of the strings of violin, viola and cello, then that stretch takes on limousine like proportions. Continue reading “Steve Dawson & Funeral Bonsai Wedding “Last Flight Out” (Independent, 2020)”

The Blue Highways “Long Way to The Ground” (Independent, 2020)

The Blue Highways are the three Lury brothers Callum, Theo and Jack along with bass guitarist Peter Dixon. London based, the band have already made waves on the Americana scene supporting the likes of Iris Dement, Bennett Wilson Poole and Robert Vincent as well as the kudos of recording a session for Bob Harris’s ‘Under the Appletree’ series. Continue reading “The Blue Highways “Long Way to The Ground” (Independent, 2020)”

Boxes “Why Don’t You Listen” EP (Independent, 2020)

Boxes are a four-piece Manchester-based band that, having played their way around most every venue that their home base has to offer, are now hoping that the release of their debut EP ‘Why Don’t You Listen’ will help bring their music to a wider audience. Their music has the rather specific aim of having the characteristics of country-rock whilst remaining true to their northern roots. Continue reading “Boxes “Why Don’t You Listen” EP (Independent, 2020)”

Sunny Ozell “Overnight Lows” (Chitin Records, 2020)

When an artist’s press release cites influences from the likes of Cassandra Wilson, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt it certainly grabs the attention, which is good, obviously. On the other hand, it does somewhat build up the expectation levels around an album and makes an unsuspecting reviewer approach with caution. ‘Overnight Lows’ is Sunny Ozell’s second album and if she was looking to make an album that showcased her love of the sultry tones of soul, jazz and blues with which these legends made their names then she has succeeded admirably. The album oozes class throughout and, if pressed for a single word to describe the style and feel on offer it would have to be ‘sophisticated’. Continue reading “Sunny Ozell “Overnight Lows” (Chitin Records, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Vanessa Peters “Bright Red”

Financed in large part through Kickstarter, Vanessa Peter’s 2012 album ‘The Burn The Truth The Lies’ is evidence, if evidence were needed, of the talent within our beloved genre that just needs a helping hand to get heard. With that in mind I offer no apology for using the tenuous use of the word ‘truth’ in the album title to link to last weeks gem from Mr Prophet and, hopefully, raise Vanessa’s profile just a tad more.

Pete Gow “The Fragile Line” (Clubhouse Records, 2020)

When, almost a year ago, a colleague on this esteemed website reviewed Pete Gow’s debut solo album ‘Here There’s No Sirens’ the only possible criticism to emerge from what was, in the main, a glowing review, was the fact that the album was “a little one note in terms of pace….with no rocky number to break the tension.”
Continue reading “Pete Gow “The Fragile Line” (Clubhouse Records, 2020)”

Carman A.D. “Wilderness E.P.” (Independent, 2020)

Did you hear the one about the musician who moved to Austin, Texas to start a career away from music? Well, that was never going to work was it. The musician concerned is one Carman A.D, aka Drew Carman, who, after 5 years on the road with old-time Americana band The Corduroy Road, gave it all up for a career as a greenspace/park designer. Continue reading “Carman A.D. “Wilderness E.P.” (Independent, 2020)”