Kyle Daniel “What’s There To Say?” (Independent, 2019)

Kyle Daniel’s life seems paved with near-misses that turn into gold. The Bowling Green, KY native picked up the guitar out of despair when he broke his leg playing baseball in an all-star junior team. Bitten by the bug, he polished his southern rock chops and took first place in a major blues competition just a couple years later. Continue reading “Kyle Daniel “What’s There To Say?” (Independent, 2019)”

The Crooked Jades “Empathy Moves the Water” (Independent, 2018)

The Crooked Jades are new to me despite their 24 years and 9 albums.  Listening to this offering I am reminded that somebody once said to me, of a student placement, that over and above all the evidence and reasoning you might produce that the only real question is – have they passed or have they failed? Let me tell you straight away that I think you will find that with this release they have passed with distinction. Continue reading “The Crooked Jades “Empathy Moves the Water” (Independent, 2018)”

I’m With Her + John Smith, Hackney Empire, 19th March 2019

Considering I’m With Her performed at the Bush Hall and Union Chapel when they toured the UK back in 2018, the choice of venue this evening could be interpreted as a measure of this trio’s ambition, or is perhaps a testament to their burgeoning popularity, or maybe it’s just a desire to play in arguably the most attractive venue in London – or it could be a combination of all three. Continue reading “I’m With Her + John Smith, Hackney Empire, 19th March 2019”

Grand Canyon “Le Grand Cañon” (Bodan Kuma Recordings, 2019)

Be forewarned my friends… loading this album up on your player of choice will instantly reconfigure the technology of that device. Without any outwardly observable signs that changes are taking place, it will have been empowered with the capacities for both time travel and teleportation. You won’t realize any of this until you hit play and find yourself delivered to somewhere between Topanga Canyon and Chavez Ravine… sometime between 1978 and 1985. Continue reading “Grand Canyon “Le Grand Cañon” (Bodan Kuma Recordings, 2019)”

Pete Gow “Here There’s No Sirens” (Clubhouse Records, 2019)

Pete Gow, veteran frontman of the acclaimed Case Hardin,  has recorded his first solo record ‘Here There’s No Sirens.’ Released on the same label as Case Hardin, Gow’s sound is a deliberate departure from the band’s usual fare. This album is stripped back, focused, and deeply personal. The songs are a mixture of an almost confessional style, with some character driven tracks and one good old fashioned story song, ‘Some Old Jacobite King’. Continue reading “Pete Gow “Here There’s No Sirens” (Clubhouse Records, 2019)”

Clockwork Carousel “Clockwork Carousel” (Tick Tock Records, 2018)

Who would have guessed it!  Americana is alive and well in the New Forest in the shape of Clockwork Carousel who have just released their self-titled debut album.  Normally at this stage – and certainly for a band that relatively few will have heard of – the humble reviewer has listened to the record a number of times, done some background reading and then gleaned all that he/she can from the press release blurb that almost invariably accompanies the music when it is submitted for review. Continue reading “Clockwork Carousel “Clockwork Carousel” (Tick Tock Records, 2018)”

Jeremy & The Harlequins, Water Rats, London, 9th March 2019

At the end of their first UK tour New York City’s Jeremy & The Harlequins made the first of their two back-to-back London stops at the Water Rats, with an appearance planned for the BBC’s Andrew Marr show thrown in as an extra. This series of firsts left them undaunted as it was a supremely unfazed band that took to the stage – a rock and roll vision in denim and leather jackets, with lead singer Jeremy Fury coolly hidden behind aviator shades. This is the last gang in town ethos re-born: a band of individuals who’s on-stage presence, the grouping for harmony vocals, the flamboyant playing  and guitar duelling define them as more than the sum of their parts. Continue reading “Jeremy & The Harlequins, Water Rats, London, 9th March 2019”

Love Trap “Rosie” (Wild Honey Records, 2019)

Love Trap from Turin, Italy are a super-duo of sorts formed by Stefano Isaia and Marco Spigariol from the remnants of a number of different groups (Movie Star Junkies, Lame and Krano to name a few) and ‘Rosie‘ is their debut release under the Love Trap moniker. Combining elements of country and Americana musicianship in the traditional band sense alongside subtle pop sensibilities within the vocal melodies and harmonies the group have crafted a unique sound which blends the two together seamlessly. Continue reading “Love Trap “Rosie” (Wild Honey Records, 2019)”

J.S. Ondara “Tales of America” (Verve, 2019)

The grand but elusive idea of the ‘American Dream’ is one of the USA’s gifts to the world. J.S. Ondara is, perhaps, the very personification of this ideal but his darkly poetic lyrics and tender confessionals expose the doubts, flaws and difficulties in chasing the myth, just like the pain to be found in the search for love. This is a timely piece of art, exploring the conflict of an outsider, with a deep affection for its culture and musical history, finding his place in modern America. At times joyous and at times bleak and haunting, Ondara’s inspiring debut album tells the story of his determination to pursue his dream of becoming a musician in a land far from home. Continue reading “J.S. Ondara “Tales of America” (Verve, 2019)”

Grain Electric, The Peer Hat, Manchester, 16th March 2019

Stuart Warburton and Jamie Fildes previously worked together in the 1980s as members of the excellent Rhythmaires. When that band broke up, each went their separate ways; Fildes enjoying some minor success with the band Buchanan (who had an 8/10 album review by AUK back in 2010) and Warburton performing as a solo artist. Now they have reunited as the joint songwriters and front men of the newly formed Grain Electric. The Peer Hat, located in Manchester’s artistic Northern Quarter, is an established venue for new bands to find their feet, so it was a natural choice for the band to play only their second gig. Manchester folk are famously not unfamiliar with a drop of rain but this weekend’s deluge made even the hardiest of Mancunians think twice before pulling that old waterproof out of the cupboard. Continue reading “Grain Electric, The Peer Hat, Manchester, 16th March 2019”