Deer Tick “Mayonnaise” (Partisan Records, 2019)

Deer Tick, the mercurial Rhode Island indie outfit, have long been multi-labelled with Rock/Folk/Blues/Country tags but they don’t feel they have the drawl for the latter. Well my Providence friends, this is Americana UK, and you gentlemen are Americana at its finest, whether you like it or not. This latest release is proof once more, that this genre is a multi-faceted and exciting one and, in ‘Mayonnaise’, is being finely represented. Continue reading “Deer Tick “Mayonnaise” (Partisan Records, 2019)”

The Life and Times of the Brothers Hogg “Room Service” (Independent, 2018)

In an album review with a limited word count, a band name like The Life and Times of the Brothers Hogg takes up a lot of space. It leaves very little room to talk about their surprisingly un-rootsy origins in Eastern England, it might not allow reference to all the praises being sung about their live performances and it barely leaves any space to tell you why their new release, ‘Room Service,’ is very, very good. Continue reading “The Life and Times of the Brothers Hogg “Room Service” (Independent, 2018)”

John Hiatt “The Eclipse Sessions” (New West Records, 2018)

It’s always with a core of trepidation that I approach a new album by a very long-established artist. It’ll be defended to the hilt by fans but often underwhelms most others, due to the natural tendency to compare to previous form. In the end, when newcomers ask for first experience recommendations of such artists, it’s rarely the later ones that are offered with enthusiasm. Continue reading “John Hiatt “The Eclipse Sessions” (New West Records, 2018)”

Carson McHone “Carousel” (Loose, 2018)

There’s barely a month goes by without the release of an album described as genre-breaking, eclectic or alt-whatever, and Carson McHone’s offering is the latest in line. Fans of 2015’s rootsy and traditional ‘Goodluck Man’ will be scrutinising this latest release for what’s changed, no doubt, so just how alt- can this self-declared new alt-country record get? Continue reading “Carson McHone “Carousel” (Loose, 2018)”

John Smith “Hummingbird” (Commoner/Thirty Tigers, 2018)

John Smith’s history reads somewhat like the tales of the troubadours he loves. Constantly touring with his guitar strapped to his back for the past fifteen years, he has played with, and for, some of the greatest names on the folk circuit and independently released five albums that have amassed 10 million streams (though I think that last one might anachronistically stretch the comparison a touch). “Hummingbird,”  his 2018 tribute to the music (and musicians) he dearly loves, swells with all of this experience and delight in folk’s history and power. Continue reading “John Smith “Hummingbird” (Commoner/Thirty Tigers, 2018)”

Nate Smith “Some Kind of Dancing” (Independent, 2018)

LA’s Nate Smith last graced our speakers back in 2016 with concept album ‘Around and Around’; the concept being his personal journey through love, fatherhood, and divorce. Can this new release match such depth of personal engagement or is there some new ground to cover for the Utah-born storyteller? Continue reading “Nate Smith “Some Kind of Dancing” (Independent, 2018)”

Sweet Billy Pilgrim “Wapentak” (PledgeMusic, 2018)

It has been three years since Sweet Billy Pilgrim’s last release and it seems that more than time has been left behind. The stripped-down duo of Tim Elsenberg and Jana Carpenter (they used to be a six-piece) have crafted an equally lean sound that has lost none of the sweet tragedy of previous offerings but may prove to be a step too far for some fans. Continue reading “Sweet Billy Pilgrim “Wapentak” (PledgeMusic, 2018)”

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)”