Gris-De-Lin, or Grey Linen should you prefer to translate from the groovy Gallic into the plain English of Bridgeport, Dorset is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a sense of playful quirkiness evident on her hard-to-pin-down sound and artwork. New album ‘Sprung’ has an amusingly eclectic assortment of descriptors from our colleagues in the world of musical reviews which includes the likes of “skronky jazz and glitchy esoterica” (Uncut). Now, there’s no room in the AUK glossary for such interplanetary labels, but there’s no doubting the originality on show here or indeed the potential for honing a young British talent into something more tangible. Continue reading “Gris-De-Lin “Sprung” (BB Island, 2018)”
Kathy Zimmer’s EP ‘White Noise’ is self-described as “Cosmopolitan Folk”, which shouldn’t cause a flinch as it has nothing to do with glossy magazines featuring quizzes about “Is he really into you?”, and articles offering “Successful Secrets of a Sexual Kind” or even “Fifty top tips for the gas cook”. Nope. Cosmopolitan Folk is sophisticated songwriting, with lyrics describing finely observed situations coupled to complicated arrangements and sharp edged singing which cuts through with its combination of detached and sassy. Continue reading “Kathy Zimmer “White Noise” (Independent, 2018)”
Rod Picott’s pedigree is prodigious and it shows in his music. In this album, produced by Neilson Hubbard in Nashville, he is framed by standout musicians: Will Kimborough, Lex Price, Evan Hutchings and Kris Donegan. His recent tour of the UK will have re-emphasised his stature. He says of ‘Out Past The Wires’ that it is “My most ambitious project of my seventeen year career.” And “The most satisfying recording I’ve made.” Those words stress how important this work is, and also how important our appreciation and understanding of it is, as well. Continue reading “Rod Picott “Out Past The Wires” (Welding Rod Records, 2018)”
Apparently inspired by founding frontman, guitarist, singer and songwriter Robbie Horlick’s travels in Europe, Book Club’s third album, ‘Dust of Morning’ shows the Atlanta-based ensemble demonstrating a growing maturity that has them deserving of a wider audience. That isn’t to say these songs appear inspired by a particular place or places as such – the meditative and reflective nature of this indie-folk typified by the track, ‘Space Between The Days’ from which the album title is drawn: “If the dust of morning shakes/ Itself off you in great escapes/It will return to say its peace/Rearranged but thick as thieves.” Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, as the French might put it. Continue reading “Book Club “Dust of Morning” (Independent, 2018)”
Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega has deployed a new approach with a sound that moves away from her traditional roots-influenced sound into what can be described as a more cinematic sound. ‘Liberty’ has a big, sweeping soundtrack feel to it with lush arrangements and songs that quite simply don’t do what you would expect. There is nothing obvious about the melodies or chord progressions in this collection of smouldering vignettes. Continue reading “Lindi Ortega “Liberty” (Shadowbox Music Inc 2018)”
Girlfriend or girl-fiend? There are some excellent break-up albums around at the moment. Lilly Hiatt’s gorgeously rocking ‘Trinity Lane’ is written in blood and self-recrimination and now along comes Coyote from John Calvin Abney, who offers up the tattered remnants of his broken-heart. If you’re a fan of John Moreland, you will already be aware of Abney, Moreland’s dependable and extraordinary band member who plays guitar and keyboards, not to mention a gorgeous pedal-steel. They grew up together in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have each other’s backs. Abney will be in the UK in June when he will be hitting the road with John Moreland and before performing as a duo with Moreland each night, Abney will be playing a solo set. Continue reading “John Calvin Abney “Coyote” (Black Mesa Records, 2018)”
- Hailing from Sweden, I’m Kingfisher is the moniker of folk singer-songwriter Thomas Jonsson who returns with his sixth solo recording and third under the name I’m Kingfisher entitled ‘Transit’. With over 600 shows under his belt and having achieved significant recognition from the likes of Uncut magazine for his prior releases ‘Arctic’ and ‘Avian’, Jonsson is no stranger to his craft and has returned to stake a claim for the hole left by Bon Iver after the latter’s recent, and experimental change in direction. Lazy comparisons aside, ‘Transit’ is the sound of an accomplished songwriter deserving of the recognition already bestowed upon him and much more.
Ross Cooper’s new album is a true cry to cowboy country. Many of the songs echo his career as a bareback rider, with the lyrics reflecting the rodeo lifestyle. ‘I Rode The Wild Horses’ combines both folk and alt-rock to create a “new Nashville sound” as Cooper calls it. The title track takes an authentic Texas Western feel on a cowboy song, which tells the tale of a weary cowboy traveller. With lyrics like “I’m a spitfire son of the road” it shows Cooper’s impressive songwriting talent and highlights his experience of being on the road with the rodeo.
Continue reading “Ross Cooper “I Rode The Wild Horses” (Independent 2018)”
The Sadness of King Joyce is the debut solo album from Shane Joyce, front man for Ireland’s Midnight Union Band, a freewheeling bunch of folk rockers who recently whipped up a storm at the Ramblin’ Roots weekend. It’s a sight removed from the band’s usual fare with Joyce offering here nine songs which sound as if they were drawn from a well of desperation. He cites the Beat writers along with Dylan and Cohen as his mentors and the Cohen influence is evident on several of the songs here but elsewhere he summons up the sometimes sordid world of Jacques Brel while Gavin Friday and Tom Waits hover around also. Continue reading “Shane Joyce “The Sadness of King Joyce” (Independent, 2018)”
Port Cities is the award-winning combined efforts of three celebrated Nova Scotian musicians – Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro and Breagh MacKinnon. They’ve joined together to produce a slab of (modern) Nashville inspired, poppy AOR meets slightly folky Americana. As such it’s inoffensive but decidedly unremarkable. There’s undoubtedly a growing market for this type of just about roots music, but as a sub-genre it falls a long way short of authentic/classic/gritty Americana. Continue reading “Port Cities “Port Cities” (Independent, 2018)”