D.L. Rossi “A Sweet Thing” (Independent, 2018)

Many singer songwriters use their experience of ‘life’, in whatever form that may take, to inform their art. Inspiration can come from many sources but, for many in this business, how often it seems that it is the lowest points in their lives that are the catalyst for their songs. For D.L. Rossi that well of inspiration is deep, drawing as he does upon a background that includes overcoming cancer, a nervous breakdown and a painful divorce. Continue reading “D.L. Rossi “A Sweet Thing” (Independent, 2018)”

AmericanA to Z – Steve Forbert

When he first hit the scene in 1978 someone somewhere decided that labelling Steve Forbert with the “new Dylan” tag was a good idea. Unfortunately, the “new Dylan” arrived just when singer-songwriters playing folk rock on a guitar and harmonica weren’t exactly hot. Never a good idea to call anybody “the new” anything. Well, he did play the harmonica. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Steve Forbert”

Jane Kramer “Valley of The Bones” (Famous Brown Boots Music, ASCAP 2019)

Jane Kramer is a social worker, former domestic violence counsellor and avid humanitarian. Visiting prisons, classrooms, hospitals and rescue missions she has a message to share about the power of music for healing, connection and compassion. On the evidence of this, Kramer’s third studio album, it is a passion for which she is perfectly suited. Continue reading “Jane Kramer “Valley of The Bones” (Famous Brown Boots Music, ASCAP 2019)”

The Delines + Joana Serrat @ The Railway Inn, Winchester, 3rd February 2019

In very broad terms, heading south west out of Waterloo station means that the landscape for Americana venues becomes increasingly parched and music fans of this particular bent have to work hard and travel far to find a home. A huge hurrah then to the Railway Inn at Winchester which has been consistently attracting class acts to this humble venue for over 20 years. So, it came to pass that, due to a long-term relationship with the magnificent Willy Vlautin that stretches back to his Richmond Fontaine days, the much lauded Delines land in icy Hampshire to play not one but two sold out gigs in one day. Continue reading “The Delines + Joana Serrat @ The Railway Inn, Winchester, 3rd February 2019”

Ally Kerr “Upgrade Me” (Much Obliged Records, 2019)

Album number 4 for Scottish folk/pop singer songwriter Ally Kerr. With debut album ‘Calling Out to You’ released back in 2004 Mr Kerr has been around for a while. It was the success of this album in Japan that started the ball rolling in the Far East to the extent that Ally can now look forward to a year of promoting his new work throughout Europe and Asia, including his second headline tour of China. Continue reading “Ally Kerr “Upgrade Me” (Much Obliged Records, 2019)”

George St Clair “Ballads of Captivity and Freedom” (Independent, 2018)

It is probably no surprise that singer-songwriters and balladeers will often draw their inspiration from the world in which they hail. Although now living in the UK, George St Clair hails from the high plains of Texas and, after twenty years as a professional archaeologist and anthropologist, it is those roots that is the stimulus for ‘Ballads of Captivity and Freedom’. Continue reading “George St Clair “Ballads of Captivity and Freedom” (Independent, 2018)”

Pale Mara “Pale Mara” (Independent, 2018)

How best to sum up Pale Mara? By saying that the collaboration of Allison Robinson and Lee Godleski is an easy listen, does that damn this debut album with faint praise? The Cambridge English Dictionary definition of easy listening is “A type of music that is not complicated, serious or difficult. Quiet music that does not need much of your attention.” If that sounds a bit harsh how about this from The Collins Dictionary: “Music, either popular or classical, that is pleasant, tuneful and undemanding.Continue reading “Pale Mara “Pale Mara” (Independent, 2018)”

Seth Lakeman “The Well Worn Path” (Cooking Vinyl, 2018)

The name of Lakeman is a common one in folk circles. Brothers Seth, Sam and Sean have long become a byword for reliably high class and innovative music, be it individually or in collaboration with other high-class musicians. So it is with album number nine for Seth who follows up his understated Americana-style previous album with a return to a band led folk-rock approach. Continue reading “Seth Lakeman “The Well Worn Path” (Cooking Vinyl, 2018)”

Seasick Steve “Can U Cook?” (BMG, 2018)

On the official Seasick Steve website, you will find a 38-second video clip in which a hugely self-conscious and apologetic looking Steve stands propped against a water tank alongside a stack of empty pallets at the back of his barn. As far as trailers for a new album go this is just about as low key as it gets, “I don’t know much what to say……. they want me to say something.” A vision of a groaning PR exec with his face in his hands springs to mind. Continue reading “Seasick Steve “Can U Cook?” (BMG, 2018)”

Billy Wylder “Strike The Match” (Sand & Gold Records, 2018)

Billy Wylder is the songwriting project of Avi Salloway who was a touring member of African Tuareg/desert rock band Bombino for years. Salloway’s social and environmental activism has taken him across Africa, the Middle East, the South Pacific and back to the USA and the Standing Rock Indian reservation. That background has inspired an album that sees Salloway attempting to reconcile the contradiction of a world awash with beauty yet defined by almost incomprehensible social struggle. Continue reading “Billy Wylder “Strike The Match” (Sand & Gold Records, 2018)”