Joan Shelley + Maiden Radio, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 10th October 2018

Joan Shelley is no stranger to Glasgow’s Glad Cafe. Returning to the venue for a fourth time, the Kentucky-born artist has built up a loyal following. Whether a long term fan or a relative newbie attracted by Shelley’s 2017 self-titled album, a sell-out crowd filled the intimate south side room anticipating a night of fine music. Tonight’s openers were Maiden Radio, an all female trio consisting of Cheyenne Marie Mize, Julia Purcell and Joan Shelley herself. It’s arguable that Shelley has been making music with her band for as long as under her own name, both self-releasing debuts in 2010. Purcell confesses that this is their first non-US tour in the ten years they’ve been together and you can’t help but feel a little regret that we’ve waited so long for them to explore beyond their home shores. Firmly rooted in classic country and Appalachian traditionals, it was a chance for Shelley to show another side of her musical talents with which many fans may be unfamiliar. Continue reading “Joan Shelley + Maiden Radio, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 10th October 2018”

Nathan Bell + Doghouse Roses, The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 6th October 2018

For those who seek out excellent music in intimate surroundings the upstairs lounge in Aberdeen’s Blue Lamp is a place to check out. Tonight’s show, from the opening set by Scottish duo Doghouse Roses which was followed by almost two hours from the excellent Nathan Bell, proved that as venues and shows go they don’t come much better! For those not familiar with them, Doghouse Roses comprise Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald who serve up, in their own words, “primarily folk music,” but that description doesn’t really do their art justice.  Between McDonald’s powerfully expressive vocals and Tasker’s high-quality guitar playing, you have a very talented duo who set the scene wonderfully for what was to come later.  Continue reading “Nathan Bell + Doghouse Roses, The Blue Lamp, Aberdeen, 6th October 2018”

Glasgow Americana Festival, 3rd -7th October 2018

Now in its 12th year the Glasgow Americana Festival is essentially a very concentrated dose of life affirming music delivered courtesy of local promoters, The Fallen Angels Club, who otherwise offer us locals regular spoonfuls of sugar throughout the year. Over five days and in various venues throughout the city around 25 acts converged, varying in style for sure but all rooting for roots music, that indefinable Americana we all talk about and which they all, in one way or other, delivered to their audiences. Continue reading “Glasgow Americana Festival, 3rd -7th October 2018”

Scott Matthews + Ady Johnson, Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, 4th October 2018.

Whilst heckling of a complimentary nature is probably welcomed by most performers, when the name John Martyn popped up during Scott Matthews’ set there was a mildly perturbing shout of, “You’re better than he is….cos he’s dead!” from the crowd. Welcome back to Portsmouth Mr Matthews, welcome back. With that tumbleweed of a comment however he strummed into the twisting croon of ‘So Long My Moonlight’ and more than a little John Martyn influence revealed itself (understandably given that former Martyn cohort Danny Thompson appears on the 2011 recording). Continue reading “Scott Matthews + Ady Johnson, Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth, 4th October 2018.”

Luke Combs + Ashley McBryde, Shepherds Bush O2, London, 4th October 2018

To west London for the second of Luke Combs’ sell-out nights on what has been an impressively sold-out debut UK tour. Combs has made huge commercial and creative headway in the last three years and his debut album (since generously expanded with a handful of extra tracks) has been hoovering up accolades and indeed hefty sales, streaming and Spotify hits. It’s not hard to see why. Continue reading “Luke Combs + Ashley McBryde, Shepherds Bush O2, London, 4th October 2018”

John Smith, Cecil Sharp House, London, 20th September 2018

The scene was set for something slightly special as I descended the stairs towards the wood panelled bar at Cecil Sharp house this evening. The weather had turned – the wind was starting to kick up – and there was an air of expectation amongst the small crowd. I was standing, propped up against the bar, next to quite a famous comedian called Rufus Hound (of course, I played it cool and made one or two wise cracks) but we were all here to see John Smith, standing alone, in the corner of the bar with his acoustic guitar and no amplification. Appropriate in this most intimate of places, the home of UK folk music. Continue reading “John Smith, Cecil Sharp House, London, 20th September 2018”

Tyler Childers, Dingwalls, London, 4th September 2018

Suddenly the Summer was behind us, a chill in the air and the streets of London were already getting dark, but not dark yet. There’s a chill wind around Hampstead Road Lock 1’s double-double lock. Dingwalls beckons – it’s a night of doubling up, with two Kentucky bands. And even as the opener, Wayne Graham, are preparing to take the stage it’s already getting crowded in Dingwalls, which is a strong indication that Tyler Childers will come out to a fully rammed venue. Wayne Graham is a four piece band, and no-one in the band is called Wayne Graham; it’s an amalgamation of the surnames of the grandfathers of brothers Hayden and Kenny Miles who are the lead singer and drummer in the band respectively. Continue reading “Tyler Childers, Dingwalls, London, 4th September 2018”

Mean Mary + Rebecca Hollweg, The Green Note, London, 27th September 2018

The intimate Green Note remains the beating heart of London’s acoustic roots music scene, always promoting an eclectic mix of musical genres and able to attract the very best musicians from around the world, many returning year after year to grace its cozy stage. Tonight saw a talented double bill of Nashville based Mean Mary and London’s homegrown Rebecca Hollweg draw an enthusiastic crowd to the Camden venue. The third time now that this gifted pair have played this unique London stage together. Continue reading “Mean Mary + Rebecca Hollweg, The Green Note, London, 27th September 2018”

The Devil Makes Three, Islington Assembly Rooms, London, 14th September 2018

True to their word, The Devil Makes Three appeared tonight in their usual trio guise, the drumming contribution of Sam Amidon, an honorary (and temporary) member of the band who added a rockier edge to their latest and very impressive sixth album, ‘Chains Are Broken’, sadly not present. Nevertheless tonight’s venue was close to its 700 capacity and the band clearly have a good London core of stalwart fans who can identify the songs from the briefest of intros. Continue reading “The Devil Makes Three, Islington Assembly Rooms, London, 14th September 2018”

John Murry + Benjamin Folke Thomas + Steve Grozier, Broadcast, Glasgow, 16th September 2018

John Murry seems to be on his own (smaller) version of Dylan’s never ending tour as he and his band resumed a UK tour which kicked off back in June and then had a short break. Murry was joined on the road once again by his new buddy Benjamin Folke Thomas (the pair seem to have really clicked according to some of their social media posts) who was the main support and who then joined the latter half of Murry’s set on guitar and good vibes. Continue reading “John Murry + Benjamin Folke Thomas + Steve Grozier, Broadcast, Glasgow, 16th September 2018”