Jason Haywood “Folklore” (Independent, 2017)

In something of a departure for the Canadian singer-songwriter, the latest album by Jason Haywood is a dark, ambitious and as big in scope as the land it came from. The opening (The Ballad of Clara Leigh) is vast and atmospheric with the narrator asking if the howl he can hear across the frozen wastes is the wind or the ghost of his murdered love and things don’t much fluffier from here. The music itself, a creative blend of folk styles that moves away from his previous leanings towards a more Country-based sound, is much of what you’d expect from an record entitled Folklore and there is more than one reference to the British folk music by which it’s influenced. Continue reading “Jason Haywood “Folklore” (Independent, 2017)”

Three for Silver “The Way We Burn” (Independent 2017)

Sometimes a style is clear, defined and worn heartily on the sleeve for all to see. Other times a musical style can be subtle, nuanced and gently weaving in and out of tradition and innovation. Sometimes, a style can be mashed merrily and emerge from the speaker like a wet slap in your earholes before assaulting your brain in ways that can make you alternately plead for mercy and beg for more. Meet Three For Silver and their post-apocalyptic celebration of chaos and charm. Continue reading “Three for Silver “The Way We Burn” (Independent 2017)”

Fairport Convention “Come All Ye – The First Ten Years” (UMC, 2017)

If someone were to have lived in a cave for the past five decades and have no knowledge of popular culture, or if, perhaps for some unknown reason, a person was magically ignorant of all the interesting things that people do with sound waves (whether or not they know it’s called “music”), then they might find themselves in a position where a friend, distant cousin or trusted barber might say “I see Fairport Convention have a new box-set out” and their reply would be a terse “Who?”. Continue reading “Fairport Convention “Come All Ye – The First Ten Years” (UMC, 2017)”

Thea Gilmore “The Counterweight” (Cooking Vinyl, 2017)

Thea Gilmore has been a song-writing heavyweight on the British circuit for a long time and has shown a knack for consistent quality and a down-to-earth music that fiddles with genre and tweaks the nose of expectation. Can her latest album live up to such heady appeal or has the magic touch run dry for the Oxford singer?  Continue reading “Thea Gilmore “The Counterweight” (Cooking Vinyl, 2017)”

Erin Costelo “Down Below the Status Quo” (Seayou Records, 2016)

Despite the protestations of countless wanabees across the world who all want their MTV, (or whatever the kids say now) being a musician is tough work. It’s difficult to tell if it’s harder in one genre than another but James Brown certainly had an opinion. The hardest working man in show business no doubt sweated his way through a pretty terrific career so maybe we can agree that soul is fairly tough – especially when it’s in competition with faux-soul pop music back by big bucks and gyrating bottoms. Enter Erin Costelo and her new album Down Below the Status Quo; a soul treat that smacks of toil without the pesky PR machine or MTV veneer.  Continue reading “Erin Costelo “Down Below the Status Quo” (Seayou Records, 2016)”

My Darling Clementine “Still Testifying” (Continental Song City, 2017)

The thought of working with our sweet and loving partner may be enough to send many of us quivering into the corner (or perhaps the pub) but that’s exactly what husband & wife team Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish did when they formed My Darling Clementine. Is it a marriage made in music heaven? Or do I hear the sound of divorce bells and a guitar being inserted unceremoniously into a tetchy spouse’s rear end?  By this stage – 3 albums and over 400 live shows since their inception in 2011 – we have to presume that something about it works for them and, with a good dynamic between the two singers, a complimentary vocal style and well-pitched harmonies, there is enough to choose from that does. Continue reading “My Darling Clementine “Still Testifying” (Continental Song City, 2017)”

Daudi Matsiko “An Introduction to Failure” (Naim Records, 2017)

It’s clear from the moment the steely opening arpeggios breath life into Daudi Matsiko’s first full release, that this is going to be an up-close and personal journey. It’s one that starts like a rainstorm with opening track Home’s gentle bursts of fingerpicked melody giving way to a more substantial flow of strummed heartbreak. Before too long a bass drum brings the promise that it’s going to hammer it down and as the song builds, it briefly does, before giving way to the gentle drip of the storm’s end. Continue reading “Daudi Matsiko “An Introduction to Failure” (Naim Records, 2017)”