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)”

Dan Parsons “Sunday Morning Cinema”(Metropolitan Groove Merchants, 2018)

Where is the next great Americana album going to come from? How about out of Queensland, Australia? That isn’t exactly true; Dan Parsons’ fourth album ‘Sunday Morning Cinema’ was recorded in Melbourne. But Parsons himself grew up in rural Queensland; an only child with a reel to reel 4-track and a developing talent for playing drums, pedal steel, guitar and keys. He learnt his craft well and make no mistake, this is a fine record; nine tracks and 35 minutes fully deserving of your appreciation. Continue reading “Dan Parsons “Sunday Morning Cinema”(Metropolitan Groove Merchants, 2018)”

Bert Jansch “Just A Simple Soul” (Sanctuary Records, 2018)

Try for a moment to count the number of guitar legends who came to prominence in the 1960s and you may be enlisting friends to provide the extra fingers and thumbs needed to keep tally. To have your name lauded by some of those very legends is extraordinary. Jimmy Page admitted to being obsessed with Jansch and Neil Young claimed he did for the acoustic guitar what Hendrix did for the electric. Continue reading “Bert Jansch “Just A Simple Soul” (Sanctuary Records, 2018)”

The Deep Hollow “Weary Traveller” (Independent, 2018)

Weary Traveller‘ is the second album from Americana-Folk trio The Deep  Hollow. Coming out of Springfield Illinois (not that Springfield), the three band members have honed their craft in a variety of projects. Singer/guitarist Dave Littrell fronts a progressive rock band (The Station), singer Liz Eckert has a community theatre background while Micha Walk trades alt-rock in his own Micah Walk Band.  Continue reading “The Deep Hollow “Weary Traveller” (Independent, 2018)”

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)”