Will Hoge “My American Dream” (EDLO/Thirty Tigers 2018)

My American Dream’ is the new collection of songs from Nashville singer, songwriter and musician Will Hoge: 29 minutes and eight songs over which he vents his spleen at the state of his home nation. Someone once said that a message with imagery is poetry, a message without imagery is propaganda. There is no doubt that ‘My American Dream’ comes with a fistful of imagery: try “On nights like this I sleep outside/ Under a bridge beside the Interstate/ Where I can hear those trucks drive by/ And imagine I am inside one/ Just rollin’ down the road/ But I wake up to realize/ That this place is now my home” (‘My American Dream’), and what that song  does for poverty, every other track does for some gathering crisis – ‘Gilded Cage’ for privilege and corruption, ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ for gun control. Continue reading “Will Hoge “My American Dream” (EDLO/Thirty Tigers 2018)”

Rebecca Riedtmann “Not all Who Wander Have Lost Their Way” (Independent, 2018)

Veteran readers (and I mean that in the ‘I got to see all the best bands’ sense) will remember a time when music was wrestled back into the gift of everyone – ‘here is a guitar chord, here is another and here is a third – now go form a band’ we were told.  Was it simpler then? The major hurdle was getting your music in front of an audience, social media would surely have made punk a different beast.  Now anybody and everybody is a couple of clicks away from sharing anything. The difficulty is how to be heard when the internet is jam-packed with shoals of would-bes. But in among the masses is serious talent, and Rebecca Riedtmann is in that category for sure. So let’s have a shout out for Rebecca and promise ourselves that we will check out her debut album ‘Not All Who Wonder Have Lost Their Way’. Continue reading “Rebecca Riedtmann “Not all Who Wander Have Lost Their Way” (Independent, 2018)”

Alejandro Escovedo “The Crossing” (Yep Roc, 2018)

Alejandro Escovedo is renowned for his eclectic catalogue; slipping easily between genres and unafraid to tack between diverse musical reference points he is as comfortable with the raucous six strings of his guitar as he is a lush string ensemble. Diversity comes between and within his albums. His backdrop however remains roots rock and alt-country, and it is that which provides the building blocks for the 17 songs on ‘The Crossing’. The twist with this release is that it is, whisper it, a concept album. No, it’s OK, come out from behind the sofa, the promo sticker on the album cover is still likely to read ‘for fans of Steve Earle’ rather than ‘Yes’ and the music grooves, shuffles and raps out some straight- eight chugging rhythms in a most pleasing way. It also delivers a heartfelt political message. Continue reading “Alejandro Escovedo “The Crossing” (Yep Roc, 2018)”

Amos Lee “My New Moon” (Dualtone Records, 2018)

My New Moon’ Amos Lee’s seventh full length album (discounting the 2015 ‘Live at Red Rocks’ release with The Colorado Symphony) on which he continues to blend soul and jazz on a pallet of 1970s style James Taylor singer song-writing to create a rich and bright Americana soulful folk. His music is entertaining and comforting with his soulful voice it is hard not to be welcomed into his sunny landscapes.
Continue reading “Amos Lee “My New Moon” (Dualtone Records, 2018)”

Nathaniel Talbot “Animal” (AWAL, 2018)

Nathaniel Talbot’s fifth album ‘Animal’ takes a new direction from his previous recordings. Whereas they were dominated by acoustic fingerpicking and fiddle, ‘Animal’ adds an electric edge. Talbot works in the Americana genre; this is roots music that encompasses spirituality (“I’m a man, a man of god, a god-loving man, show me where answers lie lord, take me by the hand shed a light”) and charts a disaffection with American politics (“Another man up in the pulpit, in the statehouse, head of a table. Got a fat pen, scratching egos, talking too loud’). Continue reading “Nathaniel Talbot “Animal” (AWAL, 2018)”

Garrett T. Capps “In The Shadows (Again)” (Shotgun House Records, 2018)

San Antonio’s Garrett T. Capps is a man whose time has come – sort of.  Having spent a decade in and around the Texas roots-rock-country music scene, his stomping track (called appropriately enough) ‘Born in San Antone’ from his first album ‘Y Los Lonely Hipsters’  featured in the US TV show ‘Billions.’ In these days of dwindling hard copy sales, featuring on any TV show, or better still on a game soundtrack is like being ‘top of the charts’ – right? And yet, look on YouTube and you might find the track has not had as many views as you might expect. Fame can be fleeting and Warhol might have been generous when he predicted we would all get our 15 minutes. Warhol’s timekeeping was for an analogue age.  Continue reading “Garrett T. Capps “In The Shadows (Again)” (Shotgun House Records, 2018)”

Arthur Buck “Arthur Buck” (New West, 2018)

Arthur Buck is the coming together of erstwhile REM guitarist Peter Buck and singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur. There was a time back in the 1980s when Buck was knocking on the door of rock royalty. Since the demise of REM he’s been knocking around more generally – working with Mark Eitzel, being part of The Minus and The Filthy Friends, as well as producing his own solo material to mention just a few; he is a man much in demand. Continue reading “Arthur Buck “Arthur Buck” (New West, 2018)”

Gregory Page “A Wild Rose” (Independent, 2018)

Gregory Page’s new album ‘A Wild Rose’ draws on a rich heritage. Page is a Londoner by birth, Irish-Armenian by heritage; his mother was the singer in a band that toured with the Beatles, his uncle the drummer on Tom Jones’ What’s New Pussycat? He counts Jason Mraz among his friends, has supported Dylan and had his music featured on TV and films, while Amnesty International used his 2017 song ‘Say A Prayer’ in a recent campaign. Continue reading “Gregory Page “A Wild Rose” (Independent, 2018)”

Ciara O’Neill “Arrow” (Independent, 2018)

Arrow,’ the second album from the Ciara O’Neill, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from  Portadown, Northern Ireland really is quite a special record. There’s no doubting Ciara’s origins; her voice has that Celtic folk inflexion that is instantly recognisable and has a tendency to make the listener stare into space with wistful homesickness no matter if they haven’t set foot in Ireland, north or south.  The core folk tradition in which this album is rooted flowers in O’Neill’s songwriting with some quite brilliant arrangements where cello and violin often dominate and accentuate the impassioned lyrics. Continue reading “Ciara O’Neill “Arrow” (Independent, 2018)”

The Drunken Hearts “The Prize” (Independent, 2018)

Isn’t it nice when people get straight to the point? The Drunken Hearts don’t hang about; opening the first of the ten songs that make up their new album ‘The Prize’ with Broken Things singer Andrew McConathy lustily informing us of the worn out jeans and faded dreams that accompany a hell of a ride. And so we join this Colorado-based five-piece on a trip through the vagaries of their fortunes filtered through the rich traditions of Southern Rock. It’s all here: love disappearing on a Greyhound bus, lonesome roads and lost highways, owners of broken memories and the plea that you should not let the Machines bring you down or run you out of town! Continue reading “The Drunken Hearts “The Prize” (Independent, 2018)”