Cris Jacobs “Dust to Gold” (American Showplace Music 2016)

"Cris-Jacobs-2016"This guy really likes the blues. And soulfully so.  And with a touch of gospel and rock and roll. He blends genres skilfully and the result is earthy and melodic. Some great guitar playing, whether alone with his vocals or joined by others, he produces a variety of songs exploring his favourite styles. This is his second solo album having fronted Baltimore based band The Bridge from 2001-2011 and what an album it is. Continue reading “Cris Jacobs “Dust to Gold” (American Showplace Music 2016)”

Gitta de Ridder “Feathers” (Little Memories Records, 2016)

"Gitta-de-Ridder"Soft and soothing  vocals, simple yet effective melody sums up”Wanderer”, the first track of Anglo Dutch singer songwriter Gitta de Ridder’s  debut album. “Feathers” seems a very apt title – feathers float, they are soft and gentle as they caress and touch you and so this album’s offerings do exactly that. These are stories of life, love and families. The main elements of the music are vocals and guitar recorded in the main at her home studio, but with the addition of cellos and children’s toy instruments. Continue reading “Gitta de Ridder “Feathers” (Little Memories Records, 2016)”

Anna Elizabeth Laube “Tree” (Ahh…..Pockets! Records, 2016)

 

Anna Elizabeth Laube, 2016The title track, an entry in a song writing competition to highlight the effects of pine beetle epidemic in Iowa City, the 4th album in AEL’s discography and an opening track with a sad weepy fiddle, set the scene.  Breathy, and at times just plain old sad, it shuffles along, asking to be loved, hopping awkwardly from foot to foot of a record – but love it you will, long time.  Her husky tones, the sunny afternoon tunes are a perfect antidote for a grey rainy autumn afternoon. Continue reading “Anna Elizabeth Laube “Tree” (Ahh…..Pockets! Records, 2016)”

Joe Purdy “Who Will Be Next?” (Bread and Butter Music, 2016)

joe-purdy-2016Neil Young, around the time of his Living With War, bemoaned the absence of other, and younger, protest singers. This was never really true, the difference was the level of media attention such artists could attract – and to be fair to Ol’ Neil he recognised this by showcasing songs on his web site. This is all by way of saying that Who Will Be Next? sees Joe Purdy more than fill this gap. Continue reading “Joe Purdy “Who Will Be Next?” (Bread and Butter Music, 2016)”

Dietrich Strause “How Cruel That Hunger Binds” (Independent, 2016)

"Dietrich-Strause-2016"With no prior knowledge of Strause, this album on its initial listening, harks back to a simpler era of music with nods to Gospel and R ‘n’ B and touches of Americana. The vocals are sweet and crystal clear, creating an image of a clean cut American teen idol singing his heart out on a 1940’s/50’s stage, wearing pressed trousers, a neat shirt and sporting a short and Brylcreemed hairstyle. The mixing has a faint echo on it, reminiscent of this bygone era and the use of a Wurlizer adds to the nostalgia. But it is fashioned with a modern edge and has a charming wistfulness about it. Continue reading “Dietrich Strause “How Cruel That Hunger Binds” (Independent, 2016)”

The Coal Porters “No.6” (Prima Records, 2016)

coal-porters-2016On their latest studio album Sid Griffin’s alt-bluegrass rootsy Americana combo continue to do what they do best – proper bluegrass, there ain’t no drums in this here band boy, with a twist. No.6 finds the band in a reflective and slightly nostalgic mood with several songs that are like extended and expanded anecdotes which may, or may not, be completely true but certainly have elements of some kind of truth in them. Continue reading “The Coal Porters “No.6” (Prima Records, 2016)”

Sam Gleaves “Ain’t We Brothers” (Community Music, 2015)

"Sam-Gleaves-2015"Sometimes timing really is everything. The ‘Donald’ is everywhere. A man who, in the course of a presidential campaign unlike any other, managed to insult and denigrate just about every minority on the planet. And so it was, in the midst of the gloom and the bile emanating from across the pond, that a CD arrives from a young man from the mountains of Virginia who shouts, in his own understated way, of tolerance in the face of prejudice. Although released in the USA as long ago as November 2015 its relevance to the political discourse makes it feel current and relevant, and ripe for reviewing. Continue reading “Sam Gleaves “Ain’t We Brothers” (Community Music, 2015)”

John Renbourn & Wizz Jones “Joint Control” (Riverboat Records, 2016)

john-renbourn-wizz-jones-2016Neither of these guitarist should require any introduction – the one the commensurate master of folk, jazz, blues, early music and more, the other the master reinterpretor of others compositions as well as the folk and blues inspiration for a generation of guitarists, including John Renbourn. They hadn’t exactly been touring but the pair had been gigging together – with little clusters of dates appearing at fairly regular intervals – through 2014 and into 2015, in fact right up to John’s death. Continue reading “John Renbourn & Wizz Jones “Joint Control” (Riverboat Records, 2016)”

Natural Child “Okey Dokey” (Independent, 2016)

natural-childNC aren’t one of those bands that can be easily pigeon-holed. By turns here they resemble Ween, Can, a boogie-band or an experimental jazz rock combo. They can be perplexing, joyful or frustrating – you can’t settle into a NC record, it’s a switchback ride, where you crank up really high and then plunge. Thus ‘Self-Titled Blues’ creates a gorgeous simmering atmosphere full of somnambulist organ, relaxed guitar and harmony rich vocals. Then next up is the space-funk of ‘Benny’s Here’ which for six and a half minutes takes us on a trip through the work of Blue Note luminaries such as Grant Green. Continue reading “Natural Child “Okey Dokey” (Independent, 2016)”

Winter Mountain “I Swear I Flew” (Astral Fox records, 2016)

Winter-Mountain-2016I Swear I Flew is Winter Mountain’s first full album since his acclaimed self-titled, debut album in 2013. With a keen rhythm section in support, Cornish singer-songwriter Joe Francis (Winter Mountain) leads the listener through a set of songs perfectly suited for the genre aimed. Francis is not only carrying on a tradition ventured by such legends as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Neil Young but developing certain aspects as he ventures along the road, marrying his fine songwriting to his ability to seamlessly harness his energy. Continue reading “Winter Mountain “I Swear I Flew” (Astral Fox records, 2016)”