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”

Will Bennett and the Tells “All Your Favorite Things” (Independent, 2019)

Rabbitt’s’ is Will Bennett’s hometown local and the opening track from ‘All Your Favorite Songs’ reintroduces the listener to the narrative of the small-town escape. Only this time the focus is on the return journey. Grinnel, Iowa is the small town in question and having already left, formed the band and chronicled the events on debut album ‘Wichita’, the boys are now back in town. Continue reading “Will Bennett and the Tells “All Your Favorite Things” (Independent, 2019)”

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)”