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)”

Lucky Bones “Matchstick Men” (Lucky Bones Promotions, 2018)

It is puzzling why one band can ‘make it’ while others continually fly below the radar. And so it is with Lucky Bones. They are the kind of band that take to a festival stage late afternoon and draw ‘who are these?’ looks from the crowd which soon become murmurs of ‘How come I haven’t heard of these guys before?’ Lucky Bones is the vehicle for the writing of Dublin born singer-songwriter Eamonn O’Connor and truth be told they are not unknown to this site; O’Connor’s first album as Lucky Bones ‘Together We Are All Alone’ was described on here as ‘The first great album of 2010’. Continue reading “Lucky Bones “Matchstick Men” (Lucky Bones Promotions, 2018)”

Levellers “We The Collective” (On The Fiddle Recordings, 2018)

It is easy to forget just how much commercial success Levellers have had; in the 1990s they had more platinum, gold and silver albums in the UK than any other British act. Testament to the appeal they have at a grassroots level rather than flowing from critical acclaim, Levellers have never been – or wanted to be – media darlings. So it is easy to imagine that an album trumpeted as a ‘celebration of their 30th anniversary’ which is composed of re-recordings of old material could have an accusation of ‘no new ideas here’ levelled (if you forgive me) at it. Continue reading “Levellers “We The Collective” (On The Fiddle Recordings, 2018)”