Siv Jakobsen “A Temporary Soothing” (U OK?, 2020)

In conceiving her second full-length album ‘A Temporary Soothing’, Norwegian Siv Jakobsen ponders the age-old stereotype of artists suffering for their art. As an inherently happy person, albeit a self-confessed worrier and over-thinker, she considered the notion that she may have constructed sadness to allow her to write emotionally and well. Continue reading “Siv Jakobsen “A Temporary Soothing” (U OK?, 2020)”

Emily Barker “A Dark Murmuration Of Words” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)

For her sixth full-length album release Emily Barker is taking on the world. Addressing climate change, racism, sexism and the myths of economic progress, Barker has, in her own softly spoken and articulate way, delivered her own damning indictment of the 21st century. Barker’s self-declared aim with ‘A Dark Murmuration Of Words’ was to veer away from the folk, soul and blues territory of previous albums, leaning instead towards a more modern sound inspired by the likes of Laura Marling. Whether Barker has succeeded in this ambition is a moot point. Continue reading “Emily Barker “A Dark Murmuration Of Words” (Thirty Tigers, 2020)”

Classic Americana Albums: Mary Chapin Carpenter “Stones In The Road” (Columbia, 1994)

Mary Chapin Carpenter can be credited with bringing this reviewer out of the musical wilderness that was his post teenage decade; the 1980s. Struggling to identify with anything remotely described as popular at the time it was through the USA leaning Bob Harris and Paul Gambaccini that my ears were alerted to the what was going on that side of the pond and I realised that my early leanings towards Eagles and Jackson Browne were pointers I should have paid more attention to. Continue reading “Classic Americana Albums: Mary Chapin Carpenter “Stones In The Road” (Columbia, 1994)”

The Bacon Brothers “The Way We Love” (Independent, 2020)

To know that this is album number ten for The Bacon Brothers may come as a surprise to those of us who associate Kevin primarily as an actor. However, alongside Emmy award winning composer and sibling Michael the pair have managed to combine their day jobs with a twenty-year span of hitting the road and the recording studio as a labour of love. Continue reading “The Bacon Brothers “The Way We Love” (Independent, 2020)”

Chris Williams “To Be Determined” (Independent, 2020)

Chris Williams is a singer-songwriter from Wilmington, North Carolina and ‘To Be Determined’, his second album, reveals an artist nailing his colours firmly to the folkier side of Americana. A multi-instrumentalist, Williams plays most instruments on the album and, with copious use of banjo and mandolin, Williams weaves a little bluegrass into proceedings along the way. Continue reading “Chris Williams “To Be Determined” (Independent, 2020)”

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)”