Golden Bear “Dear Texas” (C-Side Records, 2020)

Golden Bear want to take you on a journey across the band’s home state of Texas. As implied by the title, the album is declared as a love letter to the lone star state. Recorded during lockdown, with all band members contributing their individual parts from home, the theme of wanting to be out on the road and travelling through the great wide-open spaces of their homeland is ever present. Continue reading “Golden Bear “Dear Texas” (C-Side Records, 2020)”

Desert Blonde “Live Slow Die Old” (Independent, 2020)

Started initially in the studio in winter 2020 but ultimately finished in the extended quarantine that 2021 has proved to be this fourth EP from Desert Blonde, a.k.a. Zach Hinkle, reflects that fact. Without the ability to tinker with the sound too much or the temptation to embellish, the resulting EP ‘Live Slow Die Old’ is a laid back, minimalist affair. A definition of isolation and restraint if you will. Continue reading “Desert Blonde “Live Slow Die Old” (Independent, 2020)”

David Quinn “Letting Go” (Independent, 2020)

David Quinn has declared that the inspiration for his songs is derived from the seat of his pick-up truck. Taking himself for long drives, window down, radio up, you know the sort of thing. Plenty of wide-open spaces in the Midwestern countryside and no pesky neighbours complaining about the noise. If that alone should, perhaps, already give a clue as to the type of music to expect on Quinn’s second album then this can only be confirmed by the choice of musician with whom Quinn has immersed himself in the studio. Throwing the kitchen sink at the project he has recruited support from musicians honed from playing with the likes of Willie Nelson, Jim Lauderdale, Maren Morris, Margo Price, Sturgill Simpson and Kacey Musgraves. Continue reading “David Quinn “Letting Go” (Independent, 2020)”

Tom Blackwell “Memphis Volume V” (Spoonful, 2020)

Tom Blackwell is his own man. A roaming, itinerant past has brought him to his Liverpool base via a number of stopovers, the most important and relevant of which would be Nashville. But, being that he is, as mentioned, his own man, Blackwell, having achieved his long-held dream of reaching the States, eschewed the easy route that opened up to him in Music City. Continue reading “Tom Blackwell “Memphis Volume V” (Spoonful, 2020)”

Spirit of 74 “Spirit of 74” (Independent, 2020)

Spirit of 74 is a new project from musician/songwriter Oz Zeltner, formerly of Oliver Buck and The New Madrids and represents his first delve into a studio in more than a decade. Citing influences that include John Hiatt, Ryan Adams and Tom Petty, Zeltner has set out to capture, in the words of the press bio “songs reflecting on a lifetime of lived experiences as told through snapshots of transcendent moments.Continue reading “Spirit of 74 “Spirit of 74” (Independent, 2020)”

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)”