Various Artists “Too Late To Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots” (Bloodshot Records, 2019)

Bloodshot Records came into being 25 years ago with the release of a compilation album of ‘Insurgent Chicago Country’. In their own words, “It embraced the pathos and quotidian hardships of classic country with the energy and immediacy of punk.” Now, on their 25th anniversary, they have released another compilation to shine a light on the music that is Chicago’s “hope and hustle”. Continue reading “Various Artists “Too Late To Pray: Defiant Chicago Roots” (Bloodshot Records, 2019)”

Lizanne Knott “Bones and Gravity” (Independent, 2019)

Lizanne Knott is one of those wonderfully expressive singer-songwriters that sound as though, if they had gone down a different route, might have been swallowed up by mainstream Nashville’s blandness. Instead she, along with so many of her peers who are reviewed on this website, has developed a style of alt country-based Americana that is manna to the ears. Continue reading “Lizanne Knott “Bones and Gravity” (Independent, 2019)”

Don Gallardo feat. Lilly Winwood “In the Name of Good Intentions” (JTM Music, 2019)

With his heart in the Americana sound, coming out of his long-time East Nashville residence, but with roots that are firmly in the soil of California, it should probably come as no surprise that Don Gallardo produces music that merges the twang of country with 1970s Laurel Canyon influences. Gallardo’s latest addition to an already very highly regarded body of work is the seven-track EP ‘In The Name of Good Intentions’ and it is fair to say that this small but perfectly formed piece of work can only add to that burgeoning reputation.
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Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Railway Inn, Winchester, 12th September 2019

That the Railway Inn in Winchester has become a hotbed of Americana is due, in the main, to the sterling efforts of promoters, SC4m.co.uk, AKA the husband and wife team  of Oliver and Birgit Gray. Wind the clock back to May 2003 and, in Oliver’s own words, “We started off booking Peter Bruntnell, partly because he’s a mate and partly because he’s a crazed genius.”  Since that seminal moment, Mr Bruntnell has reappeared at the Railway on umpteen occasions and it would seem, based on the packed room, that the good folk of Hampshire are still lapping him up. Continue reading “Peter Bruntnell + Sophia Marshall, Railway Inn, Winchester, 12th September 2019”

The Dead South “Sugar & Joy” (Six Shooter Records, 2019)

It’s fair to say that The Dead South are making noises with a burgeoning reputation as a kick ass, high-energy bluegrass band. The Canadian four-piece can’t help but enhance that reputation with the release of their new album ‘Sugar & Joy’. Sometimes, when scratching around for the right words with which to articulate the feel of an album, it is in the expressions of others that the perfect descriptor come to mind. The late departed Terry Wogan, admittedly not oft quoted in these parts, had an affectionate term for music like this. This, in Tel’s own words, is “hooligan” music at its finest. Continue reading “The Dead South “Sugar & Joy” (Six Shooter Records, 2019)”

Clever Square “Clever Square” (Bronson Recordings, 2019)

Described as the Italian golden boys of American indie rock by their totally unbiased record label, Clever Square main man Giacomo D’Attore has pulled together a new band following the original version’s split in 2015. D’Attore is unambiguous in citing US indie rock as his inspiration and this eponymously titled new album certainly does take a nod in that direction. And all without a hint of an Italian accent. Continue reading “Clever Square “Clever Square” (Bronson Recordings, 2019)”

Ellis Paul “The Storyteller’s Suitcase” (Rosella Records, 2019)

I felt compelled to write about it. Three people dead – over what? A fucking statue.” Ellis Paul outlines in words that brook little ambiguity the drive behind his song ‘The Battle of Charlottesville’. The song is prompted by the tragic events of August 12th 2017 in his adopted home city, a white supremacist rally that left one protester dead, scores injured and a police helicopter crash that took the lives of two state troopers.  And herein lies something of the drive behind Ellis Paul’s life as a storytelling songwriter. Continue reading “Ellis Paul “The Storyteller’s Suitcase” (Rosella Records, 2019)”

Erisy Watt “Paints In The Sky” (Independent, 2019)

Although raised in Nashville, Erisy Watt has a voice and musical style that is a million miles away from much of what is churned out of Music City these days. Watt instead veers more toward the soulful, jazzy, folk sound of the likes of Norah Jones and, on ‘Paints in the Sky’, her debut album, she has created a thing of beauty, a veritable treat for the ears. Continue reading “Erisy Watt “Paints In The Sky” (Independent, 2019)”

Erin Durant “Islands” (Keeled Scales, 2019)

Erin Durant takes her craft seriously. On the road, if a venue doesn’t have her instrument of choice, then she brings her 232-pound piano with her. With this revelation in mind, would this be the first ever 21st century music review to reference Laurel & Hardy if this brought the ultimate in piano removals to mind? The Music Box, 1932, for those too young to have a clue where this review is going.
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Joe Kaplow “Time Spent In Between” (Independent, 2019)

Joe Kaplow is unlikely to be a name familiar to many. Living in what he fondly refers to as “the rich Santa Cruz music community” Kaplow has found himself a base from which he can devote himself to his songwriting craft. Recording his music within the very walls where he resides, Kaplow has now released his debut album. Continue reading “Joe Kaplow “Time Spent In Between” (Independent, 2019)”