Western States “From The Center Out” (Independent, 2019)

I wanted to dig up old demons who still pull the strings…” declares Tim Lloyd, whose previous band The Doxies, were once hailed as “that rare creature, the great Midwestern rock band”. Now fronting the Western States, Lloyd continues to harness the Mississippi River winds, providing country-infused rock to the St Louis faithful around the old Soulard district and further afield. ‘From The Center Out’ is a collection of character-driven narratives on populist disillusion. Snapshots from the opposite end of the American Dream. Continue reading “Western States “From The Center Out” (Independent, 2019)”

Flagship Romance “Concentric” (Independent, 2019)

For an album penned almost exclusively on the road, touring from house party to small-town theatre, ‘Concentric‘ sounds on first spin a little too glossy, a little too Nashville paper hat for the homespun rags to rags story that follows this New Mexico duo around. On the next listen you realise that was a false dawn, that ‘Flagship Romance’ and their long-time associate and producer Lee Miles Buchanan have lulled you into a comfort zone, only for the initial illusion to be subsequently shattered by the razor-sharp harmonies, fusion styles and culturally dynamite content that initial sugar-coated impressions may have left. Continue reading “Flagship Romance “Concentric” (Independent, 2019)”

Curse Of Lono “4am And Counting” (Submarine Cat Records, 2019)

Curse Of Lono are back with another emotional roller coaster, straight off the back of last year’s breakthrough album ‘As I Fell’. The only difference is that this time the skin is off. ‘4am And Counting’ was recorded uncut, live on to tape at Toe Rag Studios, produced by Liam Watson (White Stripes), mixed by Oli Baysdon (Boxed In) and featuring special guests, pedal steel star BJ Cole and harmonica player Nick Reynolds (Alabama 3). Continue reading “Curse Of Lono “4am And Counting” (Submarine Cat Records, 2019)”

MAVERICK LAUNCH PARTY: Sam Morrow + Broken Islands + Henry Brothers, The Bedford, London, 13th June 2019

The Maverick festival is the grandaddy of UK Americana and roots shindigs. For over a decade, Maverick has been bringing the best of emerging and established acts from wherever they lay their hats to the Easton Farm Park in Suffolk, where Paul Spencer in his multiple roles as founder, host, director and general go-to-guy does the leg work and everyone proud. Back on April Fool’s Day attentive readers might recall a colleague attending the first ever launch party for the hallowed event with performers including Dana Immanuel and The Stolen Band. Heavy on bluegrass and cajun, Dana nicely captured Spencer’s emphases for this years bash.  But hang on there, the jokes on us…It turns out that this was just the warm up to the warm up! Continue reading “MAVERICK LAUNCH PARTY: Sam Morrow + Broken Islands + Henry Brothers, The Bedford, London, 13th June 2019”

Fabrizio Cammarata, The Sebright Arms, London, 29th May 2019

There was something ill fitting about Fabrizio Cammarata and his Euro entourage holed up deep within the vaults of this back alley retreat for beatnutz and shoegazers that is the Sebright Arms, way out in the frayed, albeit regenerating,  back pockets of Hackney. His recent album, ‘Lights’ has been well received since it was scrapped and rewritten during a period of inner conflict, the result being much more of a ‘band’ sound than the singer/songwriter we’ve known before. Perhaps the tour venues were chosen with this in mind as Fabrizio came charging out of the blocks with a toughened up, rock ‘n’ roll infused version of the all-new Fabrizio Cammarata. Continue reading “Fabrizio Cammarata, The Sebright Arms, London, 29th May 2019”

Sunday Morning “Four” (Bronson Recordings, 2019)

Following on from the release of Sicilian Fabrizio Cammarata’s critically acclaimed ‘Lights’, the Italian Americana (is that a coffee?) theme is continued by Sunday Morning, who returned with a new line-up in 2015 after eight years in the wilderness. Andrea Cola is back again with a brand new sound to go with the updated personnel. A little older, a little wiser, a new direction – and it sounds like rebirth. Continue reading “Sunday Morning “Four” (Bronson Recordings, 2019)”

Ordinary Elephant “Honest” (Independent, 2019)

One thing that should be made clear from the outset about ‘Honest’ is that there is not a weak track on the album. This is only partly down to the strength of the material – a large debt is owed to the sheer power and authenticity of the delivery. This collection of thought-provoking, heartstring-tugging Americana is all the more remarkable when taken in the context of the relative inexperience of its exponents.  The circumstances surrounding this songwriting duo’s leap of faith from the safety of their nine to five lives to taking a chance on themselves, the open road and a bunch of songs to tell the tale brings an American Dream to generations across the globe. Continue reading “Ordinary Elephant “Honest” (Independent, 2019)”

David Quinn “Wanderin’ Fool” (Independent, 2019)

“Chicago cosmic country!” thus David Quinn is introduced via the gimmick weary world of the media press release. The resulting introduction into the life of this travelling proponent of country rock tells a different story. From the northern woods of Wisconsin to the California pop-rock scene, right up to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and on down to Texas on what he calls his “quarter-life crisis”, there’s more to the man than the label. Continue reading “David Quinn “Wanderin’ Fool” (Independent, 2019)”

Fabrizio Cammarata “Lights” (800A Records, 2019)

Fabrizio Cammarata, from Palermo, Sicily is not a well-known name on the UK circuit. It’s an outdated inequity that our continental neighbours are not given the attention here that our American cousins enjoy when it comes to the genre. Having said that, it’s a debate for another day (and one that I know is close to our cosmopolitan editor’s heart). But to dig a little into the journeys that influence this Mediterranean singer-songwriter and to understand a little of the mystique that drives his craft, backs up the first impression of a class act creating a portfolio of dark, cinematic insights into a Hispanic style of alternative folk.
Continue reading “Fabrizio Cammarata “Lights” (800A Records, 2019)”

Mules & Men “Thinking Sideways” (Independent, 2019)

There’s no disputing the talent, energy and togetherness that this unique band bring to the table. You can argue over the genre – they call it ‘Acid Celtgrass’. What that means is open to interpretation, pigeonholing was never an AUK preference. What matters is that Luke Coffey and his gang of Irish reprobates sting the listener with razor- edged hoedowns not heard from the Emerald Isle since The Pogues last raised hell . Continue reading “Mules & Men “Thinking Sideways” (Independent, 2019)”