Rod Picott “Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil” (Broken Jukebox Media, 2019)

This is Rod Picott’s third album in almost as many years, but this one is a little different to his previous recent efforts. Songs on ‘Tell The Truth and Shame The Devil’ were written after a serious health scare that Picott experienced during the winter of 2018 and reflect on some of his life experiences and regrets – stuffed full of metaphors – and, as he himself says, has resulted in a “raw, honest and uncontrived” finished product.
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Forty Elephant Gang “Next Time Round” (Independent, 2019)

Naming your popular beat combo after a vicious gang of 19th-century thieves and robbers from South London – and female at that – may seem an interesting choice for an Alt-folk (their description) band from East London. However, this debut is one example of when to expect the unexpected. For ‘Next Time Round’ by the Forty Elephant Gang is a very enjoyable first effort, strong songs and good musicianship, with an underlying upbeat feel throughout.
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The Last InnHouse “Skimming Stone” (Independent, 2019)

The Last InnHouse describe themselves as an alt-country/Indie/Folk outfit which is quite a mish-mash of genres and their debut album, ‘Skimming Stone’, attempts to showcase the band’s songwriting and playing strengths in each. The heart of the band consists of original members Victoria Siddoway and Craig McDearmid, and since forming in 2011 they have been writing and performing, developing their sound, culminating in this album.
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Anna Tivel “The Question” (Fluff and Gravy Records, 2019)

Of all the wonderful things rightfully said about Portland’s Anna Tivel, there is one that resonates perhaps more than many others, about how “you lean in to listen how she has put the words together.” It’s quite astonishing how her voice draws you in to really listen to the story she is telling. She creates recognisable characters in simple, uncomplicated environments and situations in her songs that we all understand, because we have all seen or experienced them. Stories written by an exceptional poet and delivered quite beautifully.
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Roseanne Reid “Trails” (Last Man Music, 2019)

With a diverse set of song styles – blues, upbeat country, traditional folk and roots – underpinned with an excellent blend of guitars, horns, organ and vocals – this is a very competent debut from Scotland’s Roseanne Reid. Produced by Teddy Thompson and featuring a guest appearance from Steve Earle (one of her champions), Reid has clearly made members of folk-rock royalty sit up and take notice early in her career with her songs which are full of bluesy southern soulful stock, complemented by Reid’s husky voice and simple but effective guitar playing. Continue reading “Roseanne Reid “Trails” (Last Man Music, 2019)”

Molly Tuttle “When You’re Ready” (Compass Records 2019)

Any artist who can secure the talents of someone such as Jason Isbell on background vocals for their debut album clearly has something going for them, and Molly Tuttle certainly has something going for her. Having already bagged a hatful of industry awards, Tuttle’s first full album release ‘When You’re Ready’ is an album of songs all written or co-written by her about the various stages of relationships – beginning, on the journey, break up, post break up, confusion – very radio friendly, and bursting with musicianship of a high standard. Continue reading “Molly Tuttle “When You’re Ready” (Compass Records 2019)”

Victor Krummenacher “Blue Pacific” (Veritas Recordings, 2019)

Successful artists and writers achieve their critical acclaim when they can translate their experiences and emotions onto a canvas of their choice, be that the written word, the painting, the song. The success of this expression is as much about honesty as just about anything else. Victor Krummenacher’s 9th solo album is a prime example, with a rich diversity of songs that are reflective, driving, upbeat. The artist admits this album is ‘more autobiographical and directly honest than anything I’ve done’ and the depth of that honesty is clear coming a year or so after a divorce. Continue reading “Victor Krummenacher “Blue Pacific” (Veritas Recordings, 2019)”

Danny Schmidt “Standard Deviation” (Live Once, 2019)

Danny Schmidt’s 10th studio album, ‘Standard Deviation’, continues to showcase the strength of his song writing capability, with diverse subject matter covering (among other topics) family, fatherhood, addict recovery, miscarriage and Dylan, all while maintaining a generally positive upbeat feel. The theme of family and friends features strongly throughout. Continue reading “Danny Schmidt “Standard Deviation” (Live Once, 2019)”