Arlo Mckinley “Die Midwestern” (Oh Boy Records, 2020)

Ohio’s Arlo Mckinley was on the brink of giving up on music when he caught the attention of one John Prine. The legendary singer-songwriter and his son Jody signed him up to their label Oh Boy Records on the strength of his soulful, gospel voice and beautiful songs of hard living. Mckinley’s is a story of better late than never, as accident and circumstance almost conspired to convince him that his time would never come. Luckily, aged forty years young we are now presented with ‘Die Midwestern’. Continue reading “Arlo Mckinley “Die Midwestern” (Oh Boy Records, 2020)”

West On Colfax “Barfly Flew By” (Greenhorse Records, 2020)

Drive thru the In-N-Out Burger, head out to the canyon or wherever you won’t get pulled over with that dime bag of weed, turn up the car stereo and chill out to that new band from… Preston. This debut album from West On Colfax abounds with Western themes, and the gods of Americana have conspired to bestow on this quintet a sound that is rich with experience, yet fresh with the fervour of new beginnings all in one roll of the dice. Continue reading “West On Colfax “Barfly Flew By” (Greenhorse Records, 2020)”

Alabama 3 + Curse Of Lono, 02 Academy, Bristol, 20th December 2019

It’s been a long time coming but Brixton’s perennial sharp-shooters Alabama 3 are once again hungry for that “Sweet Pretty Muthafuckin Country Acid House Music.” The unholy congregation of talent who put the menace into ‘The Sopranos’ and whose lifestyle choices have frequently put both Keith Richards and Old Nick himself to shame have just completed an epic collection of shows, dedicated to founding member Jake Black, AKA The Very Reverend Dr. D. Wayne Love, who died on 21 May 2019. Continue reading “Alabama 3 + Curse Of Lono, 02 Academy, Bristol, 20th December 2019”

Lawrie Duckworth “Wonderful Terrible Things” (Independent, 2019)

Lawrie Duckworth debuts his ‘Wonderful Terrible Things’ as an eccentric purveyor of unashamedly dated, swashbuckling yarns, delivered with a blend of the Kinks breezy Albion, alongside hints of the type of foreboding Americana found on non-PC acts such as Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Theatre of Dreams. The dark satire throughout is as obvious as the metaphorical allusion, that is to say, nothing is as it seems. Continue reading “Lawrie Duckworth “Wonderful Terrible Things” (Independent, 2019)”

Triggers and Slips “The Stranger” (Independent, 2019)

Not being down with the Utah scene, I hung out in cyberspace with ‘Triggers and Slips’ a while and first stop was the Small Lake City Concert Series and a version of Alice in Chains’ ‘Rooster’. Morman descendent Morgan Snow takes a pinch of that grungy flavour and the ‘Slips’ sneeze dirty country vibes all over it, resulting in kind of a cross between Son Volt and Pearl Jam. It’s a virus that one can only imagine is going to spread rapidly as the rest of the album hits our shelves, venues and, yes, online platforms of choice. Continue reading “Triggers and Slips “The Stranger” (Independent, 2019)”

The Earl Of Grey “Prince Charming” (Independent, 2019)

There’s nothing out of the ordinary to see here if you’re reading this from a north London watering hole. Chances are there’ll be a talented Australian singer-songwriter strutting his or her stuff as you sip your Fosters. For a rough around the edges, self-styled proponent of outlaw country you’d be forgiven for seeing the irony of the label, considering Earl Grey is a blend of tea normally associated with the English ‘upper classes’. Continue reading “The Earl Of Grey “Prince Charming” (Independent, 2019)”

Edd Donovan and The Wandering Moles “Guardians Of Our Times” (Independent, 2019)

Edd Donovan’s third album finds him retracing his steps in some ways and moving with the times in other, more subtle areas. “The Singing Social Worker”, as he’s known on the folk scene due to his day job and songwriting style, has enjoyed a level of peer appreciation and media attention, without ever gaining the popularity that his work has perhaps merited. With ‘Guardians Of Our Times’, Donovan has decided to get back to basics after the extended band and big production of 2016’s ‘Making Mountains Vol 1’. Continue reading “Edd Donovan and The Wandering Moles “Guardians Of Our Times” (Independent, 2019)”

Jared Deck “Bully Pulpit” (Continental Blue Heaven, 2019)

Not many tracks are under the belt before you start to get a good feeling about Jared Deck. He sounds familiar, but that’s because we’re familiar with great music. He sounds a little hard-bitten, until the empathy of moments like ‘Where I Fall’ give the lie to the more embittered extremes of this emotional rollercoaster of a record. From the factories to the rock ‘n’ roll stages of Oklahoma and beyond Deck is chasing the dream down hard, leaving potential careers in the church and politics in his wake. He comes from the same school as Steve Earle and more recently, Sam Morrow. A little bit rock, a little bit country and all served with a healthy dose of soul. Continue reading “Jared Deck “Bully Pulpit” (Continental Blue Heaven, 2019)”

Louien “None Of My Words” (Jansen Records, 2019)

Live Miranda Solberg is one-quarter of Silver Lining, the Norwegian americana band reviewed on these pages last year and now gaining attention as a solo artist in her own right. Indeed, following on from a Soundcloud demo upload, Solberg found herself playing Norway’s two largest festivals and receiving all kinds of well-earned accolades. Very much based around the themes of mourning and grief following the loss of her father, ‘None Of My Words‘ also explores how those emotions can allow for human growth. Continue reading “Louien “None Of My Words” (Jansen Records, 2019)”

Native Harrow, The Golden Lion, Bristol, 30th August 2019

Deep into inner city Bristol, flanking the famous Bearpit, sits The Golden Lion pub. The Lion prides itself on its musical heritage – framed photos of Elvis adorn the walls, alongside previous performers and patrons of this americana flavoured establishment. On entry, visitors are confronted by an imposing bar, complete with longhorns and lonestars. Having established that, Devon Tuel and Stephen Harms, here on in to be known by their performing moniker ‘Native Harrow’, were deep in discussion with the evening’s sound engineer, a charming gentleman borrowed for the evening from the nearby Mother’s Ruin venue. Pale ales  were purchased and introductions made. Continue reading “Native Harrow, The Golden Lion, Bristol, 30th August 2019”