Gregory Page “One Hell of a Memory” (Interrabang Records, 2020)

From the very first bar, this album provides stiff competition for arguably one of the finest of musical collaborations, the Transatlantic Sessions. With their heavenly refrain, all of the contributors to one ‘Hell of a Memory’ elegantly enhance the lyrical intelligence and storytelling of Gregory Page himself, making this a rather superb thirty minutes or so of spectacular entertainment. Continue reading “Gregory Page “One Hell of a Memory” (Interrabang Records, 2020)”

Gordon Barry “All The Live Long Year” (Froggy Bug Music, 2020)

Gordon Barry, an award-winning Irish singer-songwriter from charming Wexford, has remarkably handsome vocal talent and refined musical skills. ‘All the Live Long Year‘, the follow up to Barry’s debut album ‘The Best Way To Kill A Monster‘, is graced with some delicate melodies and alluring harmonies together with the superb skills of established Irish musicians Christian Best (Drums), Conor Brady (Guitar) & Cian Boylan (Piano, keys). Continue reading “Gordon Barry “All The Live Long Year” (Froggy Bug Music, 2020)”

AUK’s Chain Gang: Simone Felice “Bye Bye Palenville”

Following on from last weeks, ‘Satan & St Paul‘ by John Fulbright, another sensational writer, performer and producer, who expresses and tackles life’s demons with charm and elegant imagery, is Simone Felice.
Having come back from the dead twice himself, once aged just thirteen and again in his thirties, Felice is more capable than most in depicting dark thoughts and events. Still, he does it with a faith which casts grace over the shadowy subjects. And, as if that was not sensational enough, his prolific work as a producer for the likes of Bat for Lashes, Jade Bird and The Lumineers to name just a few, is to be celebrated also. Enjoy this live performance of his song ‘Bye Bye Palenville‘ (and while you’re at it veer off-piste for a couple of minutes into a sample of his production work with Bat for Lashes, and the haunting In Gods House from the Mercury Prize (2016) nominated album ‘The Bride‘)

Donal Hinely “Diary of a Snowflake” (Scuffletown Records, 2020)

It has to be said: there is a massive clue in the title. Written, recorded and released during the Coronavirus pandemic, this raw, explicit, collection of social-commentary songs will strike a chord, and shock, in equal measure.
Spoiler alert: the satire and parody throughout this album are quite apparent and are exquisitely fascinating but can be confusing and upsetting at the same time. Continue reading “Donal Hinely “Diary of a Snowflake” (Scuffletown Records, 2020)”

Kelley Swindall “You Can Call Me Darlin’ If You Want” (Velvet Elk Records, 2020)

It is hard to believe this is a debut album and that this wannabe actress, turned singer-songwriter, was inspired to change course only after heartbreak inspired revenge. This album packs a punch so forthright that anyone would be forgiven for thinking releasing albums was a well-trodden route by Georgia-born Kelley Swindall, with confidence and the courage of her convictions bursting through in her songs. Continue reading “Kelley Swindall “You Can Call Me Darlin’ If You Want” (Velvet Elk Records, 2020)”

Screaming Orphans “Sunshine and Moss” (Independent, 2020)

This Irish girl-band; Angela (bass, violin, vocals), Gráinne (guitar, vocals), Joan (Drums, vocals)  and Marie-Thérèse Diver (keys, accordion vocals), were formerly known as the Diver Sisters during the years they performed extensively with their mother, American born Kathleen Fitzgerald. The Screaming Orphans, as renamed in the mid-’90s after reaching their teenage years and deciding to go it alone, tour extensively throughout Europe and America where they are best known for their original brand of melodic and timeless pop songs. However, having been born and bred Celtic singers and musicians, the sisters easily step back into their traditional style and sound with a natural sentiment and effortlessly give their modern take on this collection of classic works. Continue reading “Screaming Orphans “Sunshine and Moss” (Independent, 2020)”

Various Artists “Back to Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music” (Horton Records, 2020)

The migration of people of Oklahoma, ‘the Okies’, to California from the mid-’30s to the mid-’50s, stirred by the Dust Bowl era, is a huge part of American history captured in the award-winning Steinbeck novel ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ as well as the Woodie Guthrie song ‘The Ballad of Tom Joad‘.
Due for release on 11th September, ‘Back to Paradise A Tulsa Tribute To Okie Music’ is the result of a group of musicians from Tulsa, Oklahoma, travelling to the iconic Paradise Studio at Grand Lake to record this, the first album recorded there since 1978 thanks to the restoration work of Tulsan, Rick Huskey. It honours numerous Oklahoma musicians from over the years including influential artists such as Leon Russell and JJ Cale. Continue reading “Various Artists “Back to Paradise: A Tulsa Tribute to Okie Music” (Horton Records, 2020)”

Graham Bramblett “The Great Inbetween” (Independent, 2020)

Born and bred in Dallas, Texas and following a stint on Nashville’s Music Row, Graham Bramblett has two full-band records under his belt. This time around, however, this stripped-back 6-track boasts no bass, electric guitar or drums yet the vibe Bramblett achieves with his characterful vocal, upright lyrics, and charming musicality is vividly imposing. Each song has an elegance and thoughtfulness, most oozing fun but with sobering undertones besides. Continue reading “Graham Bramblett “The Great Inbetween” (Independent, 2020)”

Ellen Starski “Sara’s Half-Finished Love Affair” (Independent, 2020)

Throughout this album, born of a couple of chance encounters with Sara which led to a great friendship and the sharing of deeply personal experiences, Nashville-based artist and songwriter Ellen Starski explores and exquisitely illustrates the nomadic lifestyle of a drifter couple destined to be together, in a remarkably entrancing way.
The opening track, ‘Come to me‘, has an irresistible allure taking you deep into a heady vortex of elegance. Starski’s pure and dream-like vocal is utterly seductive, making it impossible to switch off. Continue reading “Ellen Starski “Sara’s Half-Finished Love Affair” (Independent, 2020)”

Teghan Devon “Little Lion” (Broken Juke Box Media, 2020)

Teghan Devon’s voice has the lyrical quality of an angel, that can be of no doubt. It is melodic, symphonic, harmonious. Her musicianship, and that of all the participants on this EP ‘Little Lion‘, is delicate and immaculate. Her lyrics thoughtful, real, and moving.
Yet, this project EP about the loss of her beloved dog, Sarge, does not quite work. Continue reading “Teghan Devon “Little Lion” (Broken Juke Box Media, 2020)”