Buddy and Julie Miller “Breakdown on 20th Ave. South” (New West, 2019)

The husband and wife songwriting team reunite here for their first set of new songs in ten years. In truth the songs have been written by Julie in the period Buddy was busy working with a host of luminaries from the world of Americana. Back in 2009 the duo released ‘Written In Chalk’ and eight years before that their ‘Buddy and Julie Miller’ album won the “Album of the Year” Award from the Americana Music Association. The 2010s have seen the couple have quite different experiences. Continue reading “Buddy and Julie Miller “Breakdown on 20th Ave. South” (New West, 2019)”

The Felice Brothers “Undress” (Yep Roc, 2019)

Undress’ is the Felice Brothers’ 14th album, the first album of new material for three years and something of a treat. Another of those ‘recorded live’ records (though not quite, this one has minimal overdubs), it does capture a band channelling a vital energy and clearly enjoying themselves. Continue reading “The Felice Brothers “Undress” (Yep Roc, 2019)”

The California Feetwarmers “Gloryland” (Independent, 2019)

And, now for something completely different. Instead of travelling the usual dusty highways, we are going to take a sidestep, shimmy and jitterbug off the beaten track and into the world of the California Feetwarmers. Their toes may be tapping in Los Angeles but their hearts are beating in New Orleans. For these guys 1950 is somewhere in the future, and polishing your wing tips is as important as polishing your trombone. So adjust those braces (err,  suspenders), apply the pomade and dive into ‘Gloryland’, the Feetwarmers’ new 11 track album. Continue reading “The California Feetwarmers “Gloryland” (Independent, 2019)”

Brad Armstrong “I Got No Place Remembers Me” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2019)

‘I Got No Place Remembers Me’ is Brad Armstrong’s second solo album after 2016’s ‘Empire.’ Having previously been in 13 Ghosts who existed for twelve years on indie cred and not much else, he also joined Dexateens in 2008 (which also featured Matt Patton of Drive-by Truckers). ‘I Got No Place Remembers Me’ reflects both of those projects carrying an indie punk ID while wearing its southern-infused garage heart on its sleeve. Armstrong casts his line into the pool of Americana alt verity to deliver stories chipped from rock, hewn from Bald Cypress, dug from dirt, ploughed in the fields and infused with rock n roll poetry and grit. Continue reading “Brad Armstrong “I Got No Place Remembers Me” (Cornelius Chapel Records, 2019)”

AmericanA to Z – Lone Justice

Back in 1985 ‘The Elite’ to me was anyone with access to MTV or a video cassette recorder, or both. Exploring new music was not easy, you could read about new bands in the weekly inkies, but getting to hear them was another matter. So thank heavens for Whistle Test. By ’85 it had dropped the ‘Old Grey’ and my memories are of Hepworth and Ellen and that young buck Andy Kershaw. REM were getting some airplay and they had impressed me so much that my attention was pricked by any mention of Athens, Georgia or ‘the Paisley Underground’. And a mid-evening Whistle Test appearance of a band in plaid pretty assured their guitar and my heartstrings were beating a similar rhythm. And so I marvelled at the Long Ryders and was bowled over by Rain Parade. Soon I was searching for the records by the likes of Beat Farmers, Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, Let’s Active. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – Lone Justice”

LoMB “Cuts” (Seahorse Recordings, 2019)

Cuts’ is nine tracks of avant-garde musical exploration from Giuseppe Lombardo – LoMB – a graphic artist and photographer who has been around the music scene since the early ‘90s in various incarnations. Back then his vehicles were post-punk and new wave bands – sharing stages with the likes of Sonic Youth and Wire give an indication of his pedigree. That influence is still evident and why this nine album is something of an interesting challenge. What LoMB offers on ‘Cuts’ will resonate with some readers on this site but it is fair to say that this is probably not his natural habitat. Continue reading “LoMB “Cuts” (Seahorse Recordings, 2019)”

Ben Bedford “The Hermit’s Spyglass” (Cavalier Recordings, 2019)

‘The Hermit’s Spyglass’ is the fifth studio album from Illinois songwriter Ben Bedford. Weighing in at just a second short of twenty-seven minutes this is an invitation to a sojourn with Bedford at a farmhouse (The Hermitage) on the edge of the Illinois prairie to witness the coming day. So rub those bleary eyes and start with ‘Morning Rise’ where “Out on the rise, west of the town, where the tall Needlegrass burns to the ground. We sit inside, together apart, and a window of light shines in the dark.” Continue reading “Ben Bedford “The Hermit’s Spyglass” (Cavalier Recordings, 2019)”

Martyn Joseph “Here Come the Young” (Pipe Records, 2019)

History, as has often been pointed out, is just one thing after another. But within the churn it is also easy to feel trapped in a moment, and the uncertainty that seems to characterise the current zeitgeist is probably not so different from other times – if we could but see that. So in steps Martyn Joseph to hold up a mirror and shine an exploratory light through 11 songs on his new album ‘Here Come the Young’. Continue reading “Martyn Joseph “Here Come the Young” (Pipe Records, 2019)”

Dolly Parton “Dumplin’ (Soundtrack)” (RCA Nashville, 2018)

Dolly Parton’s latest album ‘Dumplin’’ is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, in which the daughter of a former beauty queen follows in mother’s footsteps by entering a pageant, but this time not to pose but to protest. Jennifer Aniston plays the mother and Danielle Macdonald the daughter. The protesting teenager is something of a ‘plus size’, hence I guess, the title and why Parton is left with a somewhat less than inspiring album title.  Continue reading “Dolly Parton “Dumplin’ (Soundtrack)” (RCA Nashville, 2018)”

Larkin Poe “Venom & Faith” (Tricki-Woo Records 2018)

‘Venom & Faith’ is the fourth album from Rebecca and Megan Lovell, aka Larkin Poe. Originating from Georgia, but Nashville based (can anyone actually imagine walking around Nashville and meeting someone not in a band), the album delivers all that might be expected from an artist immersed in that iconic city. This is an album rich in gritty blues played on guitars that conjure up back porches, rocking chairs, hot evenings and buzzing insects. Continue reading “Larkin Poe “Venom & Faith” (Tricki-Woo Records 2018)”