Jesse Dayton “Mix Tape Volume 1” (Blue Elan Records, 2019)

Jesse Dayton’s formative musical experience was apparently seeing The Clash supported by Joe Ely, and the spirit of both those artists is all over Dayton’s new album. Collections of covers can be tricky to manage, needing careful song selection and equally careful reworking to keep the spirit of the original while avoiding note for note recreations. Continue reading “Jesse Dayton “Mix Tape Volume 1” (Blue Elan Records, 2019)”

Mark Rogers “Laying It Down” (Independent 2019)

‘Laying it Down’ is Mark Rogers’ first full-length L.P. following a couple of EPs since reactivating his music career in 2012. Five of the eleven songs featured here are recycled and remixed from those EPs. His website describes a mix of styles: “Jazzy Bossa”, “Americana” and “Indie folk Pop”, and there is certainly a mixture here. Opener ‘Right Here’ could have come off the second Tom Petty album. Continue reading “Mark Rogers “Laying It Down” (Independent 2019)”

The Alvarez Theory “The Alvarez Theory” (Independent, 2019)

Starting life as a solo project for Diana (Dee) Diehl, The Alvarez Theory have produced an album of gentle, intimate songs. The band describe them as “tales of small-town heroes, barflies & gunslingers, heart breakers & heartbroken”. All of which amounts to a prime piece of Americana straight out of North London. Continue reading “The Alvarez Theory “The Alvarez Theory” (Independent, 2019)”

W.C. Beck “First Flight” (Independent, 2019)

W.C. Beck describes himself as “an itinerant singer/songwriter from Kansas”. After some years in Portland, he is now based in New York. Having recorded as Chris Beck in the past, ‘First Flight’ is his ninth album, largely written in Paris while studying there. On the album’s Kickstarter page he tells us that the title came from reading a biography of the Wright Brothers and is “a tribute to believing in yourself and pursuing a vision only you can see.” Continue reading “W.C. Beck “First Flight” (Independent, 2019)”

Chris Jones & The Night Drivers “The Choosing Road” (Mountain Home Music Company, 2019)

In the press release accompanying Chris Jones’ new album he says, “I decided this time around to open up more with my writing and worry less about how songs would be perceived by different audiences.” What he has ended up with is a mix of traditional and modern Bluegrass that works well as individual songs but is not perhaps the most coherent album. Continue reading “Chris Jones & The Night Drivers “The Choosing Road” (Mountain Home Music Company, 2019)”

Over The Rhine, Cecil Sharp House, London, Sunday 2nd April 2017

On Sunday night, Over The Rhine brought their uniquely American sound to the home of English Folk Music. The Kennedy Hall in Cecil Sharp House is an imposing room and appeared to be full. While their albums and live shows in the U.S often feature a full band the essence of Over The Rhine is Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler as a duo, mixing voices, piano & acoustic guitars. What struck me after hearing their live recordings was the emotional power of Karin’s singing on Born and Latter Days. On recent songs Linford shares the vocals more and this lends a warmth and intimacy to the songs, they often seem sing to each other as much as to the audience.

Continue reading “Over The Rhine, Cecil Sharp House, London, Sunday 2nd April 2017”