Stephen Feldman “The Ancient Art” (Independent, 2016)

Finding stephenfeldman1any information about Stephen Feldman on the internet is no easy task which is a pity as it would be good to tell more about an artist who has produced a very satisfying and thoughtful album here. It seems as though he is a Los Angeles based folk musician who is somewhat a veteran having released a number of albums before as part of a group called Poppa’s Kitchen but that is about all that is available. There are eleven songs here all of which have been written by or co written by the artist and all paint pictures of people and events. Continue reading “Stephen Feldman “The Ancient Art” (Independent, 2016)”

Fred’s House “Fault Lines” (Cracking Tunes, 2016)

freds-house-2016Fault Lines is the second album by Fred’s House, following on from their well-received debut, Bonnie and Clyde. Wikipedia cites them as an award winning band based in Cambridge mixing elements of Folk, Pop, Country, Classic Rock and West Coast with a definite vintage feel to their music, echoing the 70’s but creating a fresh new sound that is very much part of now. Continue reading “Fred’s House “Fault Lines” (Cracking Tunes, 2016)”

Michael Baker ”Dust & Bone” (Keys To The Kingdom Records, 2016)

michael_bakerMichael Baker may be a relative unknown in the world of Americana, but he shouldn’t be. ‘Dust & Bone’ is a mighty-accomplished album, with more than a hint of alt-rock and acoustic folk thrown in with the beautiful songwriting and smooth vocals. Kicking off with ‘Steady & The Stuck’, the acoustic intro quickly drops into a full-band chorus and whilst it is not overly electric or loud, it does contain a lot of power that turns the track into a wonderful introduction to Michael’s Anglo-French take on a classic Americana style. Continue reading “Michael Baker ”Dust & Bone” (Keys To The Kingdom Records, 2016)”

The Ormewoods “The Bedroom Sessions” (Independent, 2016)

Thithe-ormewoodss is unashamedly happy music from a new Atlanta based duo Don McCollister and Claire Pearson who appear all loved up and want the world to know about it. And why not in a year full of fraction and strife? Just to add to the frisson we are told that the record was recorded in the bedroom of Claire Pearson who wrote the lyrics on the ten tracks here. There is an energy and enthusiasm to the music which is refreshing and uplifting and whilst the excellent “Hey Babe” has a rootsy feel in the main the songs are mainstream pop fare.

Continue reading “The Ormewoods “The Bedroom Sessions” (Independent, 2016)”

The Way Down Wanderers “The Way Down Wanderers” (Independent, 2016)

'The Way Down Wanderers-2016"The Way Down Wanderers hail from Chicago and, although only playing, performing and writing together for 2 years, have steadily built a reputation as a band to watch. The opening track here ‘Dead Birds’ was an International Song Writing Competition finalist and gets the album off to a cracking start and sets a tempo that rarely lets up.  Continue reading “The Way Down Wanderers “The Way Down Wanderers” (Independent, 2016)”

Oriental Sunshine “Dedicated to the bird we love” (Round 2 Records, 2016)

orientalsunshineDedicated to the bird we love is the debut, and only, album by Norwegian psychedelic folk band Oriental Sunshine. They got together in the heady year of 1968 – a trio consisting of singer Nina Johansen, tabla and flute player Satnam Singh and proud owner of possibly the only sitar in Norway Rune Walle. Fleshed out with keyboards and drums they were what could be called the Scandinavian Incredible String Band. Across eleven tracks on this vinyl only re-issue Oriental Sunshine lived the hippy dream to its full, painting guileless pictures of a beautiful world that was just coming into reach. Continue reading “Oriental Sunshine “Dedicated to the bird we love” (Round 2 Records, 2016)”

The Good Intentions “The Long Unbroken Line” (Drumfire, 2016)

good-intentions 2016Lovers of old-time country/folksy ballads probably know about Liverpool’s ‘The Good Intentions’ by now. This latest record, as with 2013’s ‘Travelling Companion’, sits outside of the constraints of time and trends. The knowing, wistful tones of R. Peter Davies (with a hint of Gram Parsons in timbre), augmented by spouse Gabrielle Monk’s sympathetic harmony voice, retell familiar yet enduring stories.  Continue reading “The Good Intentions “The Long Unbroken Line” (Drumfire, 2016)”

Red Tail Ring “Fall Away Blues” (Independent Release, 2016)

'Red Tail Ring-2016"Red Tail Ring are Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp and ‘Fall Away Blues’ is their fourth full length album. Hailing from Kalamazoo, Michigan, this duo has produced a stripped back album with gorgeous vocals and harmonies accompanied only by fiddle, banjo and guitar. With a mix of traditional and self-penned songs this feels like a fusion of folk meets blues on a laid-back night in after a hard week at work when all you want to do is turn the lights off with a glass of malt in hand. Continue reading “Red Tail Ring “Fall Away Blues” (Independent Release, 2016)”

Lonely Avenue “Lonely Avenue” (Aum Studio Music, 2016)

lonelyHere is a winner, an unforgettable record with its American buffalo cover that takes you securely into thoughtful, rocking Americana territory. This is the band’s first full length studio album. The first, unforgettable, track, has a winning hook line “You got a heart of stone. / Where’s your mamma gone wrong?”  With strings in the back ground (courtesy of Paul Cartwright who has toured and recorded with a vast spectrum of artists), building to a crescendo and the resolution “I’ll stand free”, the band who have written all the songs themselves, are making a clear statement: Listen. We’re from Bakersfield, California. To be taken seriously! Continue reading “Lonely Avenue “Lonely Avenue” (Aum Studio Music, 2016)”

Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire “Swithering” (Middle of Nowhere Recordings, 2016)

"Roddy-Hart-2016"“Swithering” is an unusual title for and comes from a Scottish word meaning to be uncertain about things, which, according to Glasgow based Hart, summed up the album process for him. It was a different way of working as a songwriter whereby he would bring in ideas, lyrics and melodies and then collaborate with the band to form and shape the final product. Hence the album title.  It is an eclectic collection of songs and melodies, reflecting their new, experimental approach to song creation. Continue reading “Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire “Swithering” (Middle of Nowhere Recordings, 2016)”