David Crosby “The Broadcast Archive” (Gossip/Hobo/Zip City ,2017)

This live broadcast box represents how good these “archive” (aka bootleg) sets can be. This particular collection is made up of three CDs, two of which have been generally available for a few years. Towering Inferno is a Crosby, plus backing band, appearance from 1989, New Years Eve with the Dead is dated to 1986 whilst David and the Dorks is Croz with the Dead again, this time from 1970. Taking these from most recent to the earliest – Towering Inferno has a mix of songs from Oh Yes I Can, alongside classic CSN tracks. The sound is spot on, no complaints at all. Continue reading “David Crosby “The Broadcast Archive” (Gossip/Hobo/Zip City ,2017)”

Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)

Peter Graham is a Canadian singer-songwriter from the village of Millbrook, Ontario. Despite having a decade of song writing behind him this 5 track EP, Nowhere in Tacoma, is his debut. His music blends traditional country instrumentation and the narrative verse of folk, with an emphasis on concise and honest lyrics. Peter has surrounded himself with top notch musicians for this collection and they play a huge part in the overall sound. Opening track Tell Nobody Nothing has a lovely rhythmic feel with Anthony Carone’s piano, Dave Gibson’s drums, the pedal steel of Aaron Goldstein and the backing vocals of Brittany Clarke combining to great effect to produce a warm, radio friendly track. Continue reading “Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)”

Roxanne de Bastion, York City Screen Basement Bar, York, 4th May 2017

Roxanne de Bastion, 2017Support for this show is from ‘Fawn UK’, part, it would appear, of York’s hip crowd. Her teenage vigour makes me feel old; reading lyrics from an iphone for a new song rather than a fag packet makes me realise I am.  Her voice seems to come from somewhere else, like it floated in through an open window.  Her ear for a good lyric is great too, “You made me a sandwich, you know I won’t eat”, hints at life experience beyond her years – going to watch her career with interest. Continue reading “Roxanne de Bastion, York City Screen Basement Bar, York, 4th May 2017”

Paul McClure and the Local Heroes “Paul McClure and the Local Heroes” (Clubhouse Records, 2017)

Given the number of gigs he plays up and down the country it comes as something of a surprise to find that Paul McClure, aka the Rutland Troubadour, has managed to find the time to record anything, but he has, and we should all be grateful for it as the world is a better place for the five songs on this EP.

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Catherine MacLellan “If It’s Alright With You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan” (True North Records, 2017)

Gene MacLellan’s not a name this writer is familiar with but mention two of his songs, Snowbird (a hit for Anne Murray) and Put Your Hand In The Hand (covered by just about everyone including Elvis and Johnny Cash) and it’s a fair bet that most folk will have a memory of hearing these.  MacLellan was a Canadian who recorded four albums in the seventies but it was his writing skills that attracted the likes of Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn, Joan Baez and Bing Crosby to record his songs. Continue reading “Catherine MacLellan “If It’s Alright With You – The Songs of Gene MacLellan” (True North Records, 2017)”

Slaid Cleaves “Ghost on the Car Radio” (Proper Records 2017)

Slaid Cleaves releases his first album since 2013’s “Still Fighting the War” and it has to be said that the four-year wait has been worthwhile as “Ghost on the Car Radio” is an outstanding return. Born and raised in Maine but now a resident of Austin, Texas, Cleaves has clearly used the time wisely as this is an outstanding bunch of songs, full of insight and characters who are wrestling with the realities of modern life in small-town America such as the reflective tone of the amateur racer in Primer Gray who dwells on life’s changes as her relates his family’s connection to the sport. Or there are the changes that cause hardship to the family farm in Hickory as the narrator accepts that “you can’t stop the march of time”.  Continue reading “Slaid Cleaves “Ghost on the Car Radio” (Proper Records 2017)”

Mercury Rev, The Barbican, London, 14th July 2017

Mecury Rev have a sound that is often described as symphonic, so this appearance at The Barbican with the Royal Northern Sinfonia offers a real chance to hear the huge sounds of their albums as they were meant to be. Surprisingly there’ll be nothing from Secret Migration, perhaps the bands most symphonic album to date. Mercury Rev’s last album – 2015’s The Light In You – appeared after a seven year break and was their first for Bella Union,and this very special appearance at The Barbican also forms part of the Bella Union 20th Birthday party. Although ever hopeful, this reviewer recalls that the Bella Union 10th Birthday celebrations didn’t feature cake. Continue reading “Mercury Rev, The Barbican, London, 14th July 2017”

Red Moon Joe “Time & Life” (DBS Recordings, 2017)

Here is up to date, relevant, British, Liverpool-produced Americana at its best. The songs are confiding, forceful sometimes. As it says in the first track, “Every page and chorus sweet refrain/ Filled with joy and some… filled with pain.” All you need really! Red Moon Joe are: Mark Wilkinson, who is the founder member (originally forming the band in 1985), producer, singer, electric and acoustic guitars; Steve Conway, pedal steel, dobro, acoustic guitar; David A Smith, bass; Dave Fitzpatrick, harmonica, banjo; and Paul Casey, drums. Continue reading “Red Moon Joe “Time & Life” (DBS Recordings, 2017)”

The Whybirds, The Portland Arms, Cambridge, 7th July 2017

Well – after three studio albums, a live album, EPs, singles and many gigs – that’s it for the Whybirds. Having an announced an indefinite hiatus the Americana band are currently undertaking their last few live gigs – in fact there’s just the Lexington in London on August 11th still to go. There was never any expectation that The Whybirds would bow out quietly, and sure enough they were playing at outdoor festival level in this small pub music venue. Continue reading “The Whybirds, The Portland Arms, Cambridge, 7th July 2017”

Danny & The Champions Of The World “Brilliant Light” (Loose Music, 2017)

For his new Champions album Danny Wilson wanted something different, a collaborative effort that encouraged all the band members to contribute to the song writing process. So, over a period of months and a number of sessions, a collection of songs was accumulated and the end result is a mammoth 18 track, double album. 78 minutes of soulful country rock that gives the chance for all band members, plus a few more guests besides, to showcase their talents for the collective good.

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