Tasha Robertson “Sweet Hearts EP” (Independent, 2018)

Sweet Hearts‘ is the debut EP from Essex singer-songwriter Tasha Robertson, and is made up of four tracks. Tasha Robertson’s music falls solidly into the ‘quirky-pop’ category, with a light dusting of folky arrangements. So, from the start, there are melodies on ukuleles, steadily beating acoustic guitar adding rhythm and Tasha Robertson’s own cultivated quirky singing style which lies somewhere between Bjork’s speaking voice and a gulping childlike breathlessness. Similar then to Lucy Rose and not so very far from Kate Nash. Continue reading “Tasha Robertson “Sweet Hearts EP” (Independent, 2018)”

Elephant Micah “Genericana” (Western Vinyl 2018)

As has been said many times before Americana is a broad church and thus many musical styles are accepted inside and indeed they add to its rich diversity. However, it is a challenge to consider this particular work part of the Americana genre whatever way you look at it. The PR provided with this music makes reference to the first track ‘Surf A’ as “a virtual holiday destination, where soft waves of AM static crash and synthetic gulls call to a hazy sun. A skeleton-thin drum loop jogs by but these lazy synth tones are just working on their tan. And then, just as the soundscape approaches maximum repose, a gnarly guitar band busts into the mix like an odd choice by a half-baked algorithm.” Make of that what you will but listening to the track itself will fail to make the situation much clearer. Continue reading “Elephant Micah “Genericana” (Western Vinyl 2018)”

William Elliott Whitmore “Kilonova” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)

William Elliott Whitmore has spent the entirety of his 40 years on this planet living on the family farm in Iowa. As a singer-songwriter heavily influenced by the hardcore punk scene of that community, he has, on his six albums to date, fused this influence with a mix of blues, country and folk. For album number seven Whitmore has put the writing on hold in favour of celebrating some of the musical heroes who have inspired his career thus far. Continue reading “William Elliott Whitmore “Kilonova” (Bloodshot Records, 2018)”

James Houlahan “The Wheel Still In Spin” (Independent, 2018)

The “wagon-wheel effect” is an optical illusion where a wheel appears to be turning backward when, in fact, it is in forward motion.  Science journals argue over its cause, but some attribute the phenomenon – other than when caught in 24 frames – to a theory of perceptual rivalry when there are two different interpretations of the same scene by the brain. Continue reading “James Houlahan “The Wheel Still In Spin” (Independent, 2018)”

Lora Kelley “Lora Kelley” (Independent, 2018)

Charlottesville based, singer-songwriter, Lora Kelley has released a new self-titled EP and it showcases her personal songs and accomplished musicianship really well. Life experiences are the basis for these songs and it’s clear that family and relationships strongly influence the creative process. The music is built around an acoustic guitar backbone and the songs could be described as pop Americana. The delivery is upbeat, catchy and polished. The songs are accessible and well written. So far so good… but listening more closely is rewarding. Continue reading “Lora Kelley “Lora Kelley” (Independent, 2018)”

Jeremy Nail “Live Oak” (Independent, 2018)

‘Live Oak’ is the third album from Texan Jeremy Nail, just the name of the album along is strong with symbolism for Nail. The name of the album refers back to an oak tree in Austin, Texas. that almost didn’t survive after someone poisoned the tree in 1989, but it did. This relates to Nail after he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which led to him needing his leg amputated. Continue reading “Jeremy Nail “Live Oak” (Independent, 2018)”

The Nelson Brothers “Migrant Tales” (Independent, 2018)

Sometimes it can be good to take your time. ‘Migrant Tales’, the fourth album from The Nelson Brothers, has been written over the course of twenty years. Loosely based on the Irish Diaspora, the songs deal with family, history, migration and travel. There are stories here that link to the past of several countries. Steve and Simon Nelson, the heart of this accomplished band, hail from Stafford in the UK but have Irish heritage and links to the United States. Their travels and their relationship with the past have clearly influenced their music in an eclectic and positive way. Continue reading “The Nelson Brothers “Migrant Tales” (Independent, 2018)”

The Mighty Bosscats “God Bless America” (Eigen Beheer, 2018)

  • The poisonous attitudes within the American political climate continues to divide the nation and whip up unrest everywhere you turn. Protest remains consistent among the liberal americana scene and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Well known UK based artists are getting in on the act, the latest being prolific exponent of blues-based rock n roll Richard Townend and his band The Mighty Bosscats. Continue reading “The Mighty Bosscats “God Bless America” (Eigen Beheer, 2018)”

Garrett T. Capps “In The Shadows (Again)” (Shotgun House Records, 2018)

San Antonio’s Garrett T. Capps is a man whose time has come – sort of.  Having spent a decade in and around the Texas roots-rock-country music scene, his stomping track (called appropriately enough) ‘Born in San Antone’ from his first album ‘Y Los Lonely Hipsters’  featured in the US TV show ‘Billions.’ In these days of dwindling hard copy sales, featuring on any TV show, or better still on a game soundtrack is like being ‘top of the charts’ – right? And yet, look on YouTube and you might find the track has not had as many views as you might expect. Fame can be fleeting and Warhol might have been generous when he predicted we would all get our 15 minutes. Warhol’s timekeeping was for an analogue age.  Continue reading “Garrett T. Capps “In The Shadows (Again)” (Shotgun House Records, 2018)”

Ray Davies “Our Country: Americana: Act II” (Sony, 2018)

‘Our Country’ is the follow up to Ray Davies’s first Americana record which was itself preceded by his like-named memoir. The two albums’ artwork are identical other than the original Stars & Stripes silhouette replaced by the Union Jack, and this album has a sense of saying goodbye to a country Davies had long called home. The history of the Kinks in the US was mixed, including the ban for half of the 60’s which blew their chances of joining the British Invasion. Considering that 2004 brought the New Orleans mugging where he was shot and nearly died, he could be forgiven for cynicism, but bathos is the main theme here, even ennui? Continue reading “Ray Davies “Our Country: Americana: Act II” (Sony, 2018)”